Facet Methodology

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18th January 2024

Lead institution:
University of Manchester

Author:
Magdalena Rodekirchen

This ‘How-To’ Guide outlines the Facet Methodology approach used by Magdalena Rodekirchen, research associate at the University of Manchester. The video was created in collaboration with Tom Young.

Twitter: @MSRodekirchen

Social scientists from the Methods for Change project came together to discuss the research methods they use and how methods create change in society. Drawing from the expertise in the Aspect network, they collaborated on a series of ‘how to’ guides which are step-by-step instructions and top-tips for adopting these methods in a range of sectors. Visual and multisensory pieces, including comics, illustrations, posters, booklets, short films and animations were then developed in collaboration with creatives to capture the key value of these research methods with a view to being able to convey them to a variety of audiences.

It is hoped that these resources will be useful for people in higher education, commercial, public sector, third sector and community organisations who are interested in experimenting with, and expanding professional skills in, the adoption of social science research methods.

Funded Project:
Methods for Change Phase 2

Facet Methodology is a research approach that centres the creativity, playfulness, and inventiveness of the researcher(s) by imagining the research process as a gemstone and facilitating an exploratory approach to mixing methods and theories. It aims to uncover connections which would not have become visible by using one perspective and one method alone and thereby trouble existing assumptions about a problem or phenomenon.

Facet Methodology allows the researcher to use an interdisciplinary mix of methods in an iterative process, in which both the content of the enquiry and the methods used are adapted over the course of the research. In other words, the researcher adjusts the lines of enquiry and their respective methods according to what they learned from the previous explorations. A big advantage here is the flexibility to revise and refine the research as it progresses, and new insights emerge as well as for participants to play an active role in co-designing the research. Due to its inter-disciplinary orientation, Facet Methodology can be adapted to a wide range of themes and sectors. It does so by exploring how various elements, such as social, economic, environmental, spatial, temporal, biophysical, material, spiritual or others, are both lived and experienced by people and animals, and how all these elements are also multi-dimensional and connected.


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Should we spend more time talking about methods?

This blog by the Methods for Change team, illustrated by Jack Brougham, asks if we should spend more time talking about the methods we use as researchers. Drawing on a recent paper, we suggest that researchers need to articulate why methods matter in creating change to global challenges. We share three creative techniques that we have experimented with across the Methods for Change project that can encourage playful, reflective conversation about methods and their role in galvanising change.

Collaborative Zine Making Method

This ‘How-To’ Guide outlines the Collaborative Zine Making Method used by Professor Sarah Marie Hall from the University of Manchester and developed in collaboration with Inspire Women Oldham. The zine was also created in collaboration with Inspire Women Oldham.

Oral Histories of Sensory Memories

This ‘How-To’ Guide outlines the Oral Histories of Sensory Memories method used by Associate Professor Roisin Higgins from Maynooth University, Republic of Ireland. The poster was created in collaboration with Maddy Vian, Maddy Vian Illustrations.

Pop-up Stall Method

This ‘How-To’ Guide outlines the Pop-up Stall method used by Dr Robert Meckin and Dr Andrew Balmer from the University of Manchester. The poster was created in collaboration with Maddy Vian, Maddy Vian Illustrations.