In this transcribed excerpt below, Wambui contrasts the "loose" organizational style of the Working Group with the more rigid and pre-determined system that she is used to ("research should be done like this, this, this"). Others on the call agree that there is a heavily established way of doing proper qualitative research that our group is not following and in that way is "experimental." Are there already established spaces for doing such experimental qualitative research work and if so, where are they and who are part of them?
“A group like this. It’s so organic… and I think that’s good. One of the thoughts that will probably come up is the extent to which… the word democracy comes to mind. At what point is there kind of a structured framework and at what point is it like a free for all? I’m not even sure what I am asking. It’s just occurred to me that because it is so organic, there are so many loose edges. And even for you Angela who set up this group and this PECE collaborative program. Is that the idea? Is this you know, … it’s a very experimental, free flowing kind of organic thing? Is that the idea of it? I find it interesting from a research point of view…
AO: “Yes. I would love for you to interview me. [Laughs] And I think we should actually, it would be lovely for you to ask me questions. In my mind, yes. And I think there’s something beautiful about the organic nature of this kind of coming together. Who decides they want to be part of it… it’s really delicate. And I think that that’s my biggest worry is how do we maintain the balance between having something organic but also having enough structure, the light structure in our collaboration so we feel like we understand what is going on and it’s not just anyone doing anything. So I think that balance is really also something we should reflect on and talk about as part of this dissertation writing project thing. [Laughs]. We do need …some sort of idea of what we are doing, we just want to make sure we don’t overdetermine it too fast and lose maybe some of that nice organic quality. The organic part I think opens up things and allows opportunities for the more experimental stuff. To figure out how do we do this together. Without just saying, this is the way it has always been done, we should just do that. So we are kinda still balancing all those I think.”
WW: “Because this is part of the idea of PECE isn’t it? It’s an experimental approach to ethnographic research. What is interesting is that you are doing it in this particular research context that we are in ... where …we tend to have a very rigid space. Things are... do research that is like this, like this, like this. So even how we interact in the group is informed by those structures that we come from. So perhaps moving forward there will be opportunity to reflect, like for you who is based in the US and working with an advisor who was the founder of this platform. To reflect on the different nuances that come from using this platform in different contexts. Be it cultural, be it, you know, whatever it is. So I am just throwing that at you as well.”