Assignment 1

The purpose of this assignment is to analyse secondary qualitative data in the form of interview transcripts and prepare a report on the analysis approach and interpretation of the interview data. For best onscreen readability any work produced using Word should be presented in Arial text size 12 and 1.5 line spacing.

Citations and reference list should be written and formatted according to a standard formatting style (APA 7).

Add the front page provided in Moodle and include the accurate word count of the assignment and tick the plagiarism statement. All submissions will be plagiarism checked through Turnitin. Please, also check the feedback sheet that will be used to evaluate your assignment, to understand the assessment criteria.

Details of the study that collected the data to be used in this assignment

Henderson, S., Holland, J., Thomson, R., McGrellis, S., Sharpe, S. (2011). Inventing Adulthoods, 1996-2006. [data collection]. 3rd Edition. UK Data Service. SN: 5777,

Students are provided with a selection of five transcripts obtained from interviews with young people involved with the Inventing Adulthoods Project. They are also provided with the interview schedule that was used to collect the data and a brief description about the Project and the research used to evaluate it. There are also links and references to further resources relevant to the project which should be consulted. Students should have an in depth read through all the transcripts before selecting the qualitative analytic approach and coding these secondary qualitative data.

The Assignment:

For this assignment 1, students are asked to analyse secondary data provided in the relevant folder and to write up their qualitative analyses and present them in the wider context of a research report. Given the limited word count of this qualitative research report, students are asked to not provide an abstract but to start this assignment with a brief introduction and a brief conclusion (shorter than what would be typically done). 

 Required lay-out of the Qualitative Research Report

1. Provide a short introduction that describes rationale for a qualitative approach (citation to existing research/theory) and states clearly two research questions (around 300 words)

2. Describe the methods section clearly and in detail (Participants, Materials, Procedures), justifying the selected analytical approach, explaining how the data were obtained (open access?). Consider ethical and reflexive issues relevant to this research (around 600 words)

3.  Present a qualitative analysis that elaborates codes and derives from them meaningful and independent themes and subthemes and support them with evidence in the form of verbatim extracts (800 words, approximately)

4. Include a discussion/conclusion, where you connect themes and subthemes to previous literature, answering to the research questions and highlight some unexpected findings. Critically evaluate the contribution that the analysis makes in informing existing research and theory in this area, highlight few limitations (two-three) and consider practical implications and future research directions (around 300 words)

Formative Feedback for Assignment 1 (200 words)

For the formative feedback related to Assignment 1, students are asked to present ONE THEME from the given qualitative dataset (all interviews).

When you write this up, think about what a theme is, how you identify a ‘theme’ – what analytic technique you us (Thematic Analysis, IPA or Discursive Analysis).

Provide an ‘analytical structure’ including the name of the theme, explanation of the theme and your selected evidence (direct verbatim quotes) to support your observations/interpretations associated with this specific theme.  Please use the ‘feedback’ document to help inform your own submission.   

Details of the study that collected the data to be used in this assignment

Henderson, S., Holland, J., Thomson, R., McGrellis, S., Sharpe, S. (2011). Inventing Adulthoods, 1996-2006. [data collection]. 3rd Edition. UK Data Service. SN: 5777, (click on Full Catalogue Record)

A qualitative longitudinal dataset on young people growing up in England and Northern Ireland between 1996-2006.

“Inventing Adulthoods is a qualitative longitudinal study of over 100 young people growing up through their teens, twenties and early thirties at the turn of the 21st century. The rich biographical material generated in up to seven interviews with each participant provides a unique window on most aspects of growing up during a period of rapid social change between 1996 – 2006 in England and 1996 – 2010 in Northern Ireland. Participants were drawn from five socially and economically contrasting areas of England and Northern Ireland and this gives important insight into the role played by where young people live in determining the resources they are able to draw on to shape their lives and pathways in post-modern times.”

This study of young people’s accounts of adulthood is situated within a historical and theoretical account of social change. A range of commentators have pointed to the salience of theoretically defined processes of individualisation (Beck 1992, Bjerrum Nielsen and Rudberg 1994), detraditionalisation (Lasch and Urry 1987, Heelas et al. 1996), and disembedding (Giddens 1991) that are transforming the relationship between the individual and social structures. In terms of young people’s transitions to adulthood these processes are underwritten by an extension of economic dependency,‘structured contradictions’ between different markers of adulthood (Chisholm and Hurrelman 1995, Jones and Bell 2000) and an uncoupling of ‘youth’ and adulthood’ from material and embodied markers (Lury 1996). In a UK context we have also witnessed increasing inequality with diminishing opportunities for upward social mobility (Schoon et al 2001, Walkerdine et al 2001). So young people are faced with biographical problems: problems of social mobility (defending against a loss in social status relative to parents, as well as seeking to increase status relative to parents), and problems of social (re)production (creating forms of adulthood that are similar or different from those of their parents and significant others).

These biographical problems are structured by a range of factors that include locality, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and disability, each providing young people with access to particular resources and identities and constraining access to others. The rapidity and particular character of social changes mean that young people are forced into projects of reinvention as well as reproduction which may demand new kinds of resources and skills in the short term – such as fluidity and reflexivity (Giddens 1992, Bauman 2000) – as well as the transmission of more traditional forms of social, cultural, symbolic and material capital (Bourdieu 1986), that most often takes place over generations (Bertaux and Thompson 1997:19). So although there is less room for social mobility than in a previous generation it is possible that there may also be a greater role for individual agency and entrepreneurialism in the formation of new social positions. (Thomson (2005). Inventing Adulthoods: Young People’s Strategies for Transition: ESRC Full Research Report, L134251008. Swindon: ESRC: (p3)  

Henderson, S., Holland, J., McGrellis, S., Sharpe, S. Thomson, R. (2007) Inventing Adulthoods: A Biographical Approach to Youth Transitions, London: Sage.

Thomson, R. and Holland, J. (2002) ‘Imagining adulthood: resources, plans and contradictions’ Gender and Education, 14(4), pp.337-350.

Thomson, R. et al. (2002) ‘Critical moments: choice, chance and opportunity in young people’s narratives of transition to adulthood’, Sociology, 36(2), pp.335-354.

Thomson, R. and Holland, J. (2002) ‘Young people, social change and the negotiation of moral authority’, Children and Society, 16(1), pp.1-13.

In addition, research outputs from the project can be found here:

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