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Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives

Sketches of the Sociology department

Real life methodologies

We are interested in creative ways of researching everyday life, in all its glorious, messy vitality.

Everyday lives routinely combine the ordinary and the extraordinary, the mundane and the exceptional, and we think it is important to devise methods that can appreciate this richness and mixture.

Our approach is qualitatively-driven because we think that qualitative research is particularly good at doing this. We combine tried and tested methods such as ethnography, semi-structured interviewing, and surveys, with more inventive approaches including those that engage the senses and the imaginations of our research participants.

We like to approach our research questions with an interdisciplinary palette of approaches, and to get these to work together to produce insights.

We have developed ‘Facet Methodology’ to encapsulate this approach. Facet methodology is now being used and developed by many researchers in the UK and internationally.

Between 2005 and 2011 (first as Real Life Methods and then as Realities) some of our funding came from the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods to allow us to put some of our more experimental ideas into practice in our research projects, as well as to run major international conferences and interdisciplinary dialogue events, as well a programme of training events for researchers who wanted to gain inspiration and to improve their methodological understanding.

We have produced a range of free toolkitsworking papers and audiovisual resources on research methods and approaches.