Present Scenarios of
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Title chapter: Statistical Tales: Bringing in Reflexivity to Make Sense of Quantitative Data
Author: Yuliya Lakew
Keywords: Reflexivity, Quantitative Methods, Statistics, Positivism
Abstract: Reflexivity has long become part of qualitative researcher’s arsenal for validity and credibility claims. However, very few quantitative researchers take the time to look back at their research process and ponder over the cost of deriving knowledge from statistical models – what has been omitted, polished, ignored or not taken into account. In this chapter I will try to bring reflexivity into my own quantitative research of young people’s environmental behavior by reflecting over what knowledge I have produced so far and why. Having worked with five waves of longitudinal data for two different age cohorts, I lived through several ‘existential’ crises failing to comprehend the stories that the data was telling me and failing to ‘impose’ my theoretical stories on it. It has challenged me to unravel conventions and granted assumptions of media studies as a discipline, reflect upon data’s temporal and spatial components, the subjective position of the researcher, the limits and the meaningfulness of generalizations, and the role of interpretations in statistical analysis. My personal research journey serves as a helpful background for a discussion of difficulties working with longitudinal quantitative data.
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