5.4.2 Discussion of responses to Question 4

Question 4 was intended to allow an element of evaluation of the project on the part of participants and allow them to state explicitly their own opinion of how they used the materials and the value of the format. As with Question 3, answers were used to assess as the strengths and weaknesses of the project, as indicated by objective 4.

Two participants expressed doubt over the alternative structure, both making statements to the effect that the established way must be so for a reason. In interview, one attributed this assumption primarily to familiarity, having stated in the questionnaire: 'At times I found the selecting empowering and positive and at other times annoying. I shifted from wanting a structured introduction and explanation from an expert to enjoying just clicking on what I felt open to at the time'. The other, a participant from a philosophical background, stated that he was 'not sure what the application of this kind of thing is'. Later he commented that 'perhaps the benefit of such a study is to undermine the hegemony of linear structure by demonstrating that another way can produce a different effect, a different outcome, showing everyone there are limitations to the traditional format, even if you don't like the one presented to you. That's what you are really saying isn't it? Make the limitations explicit to the audience: show them the man behind the curtain'.

As can be seen from the examples, the majority of participant responses were very positive. Participants often reported a sense of empowerment, freedom or liberation, discovery, journey or revelation, commenting on their own engagement and learning processes. Many commented specifically on aspects of the study, particularly on the short chapter formats, the capacity to choose their own images as illustrations, and on the role of the short story. Several commented that re-reading the short story at the end was the most powerful part of the process. The preoccupation with physical senses on the second reading may account for this: the second reading being a more embodied and thus wholly engaged one.


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