5. Results

In order to evaluate the capacity of this project to meet objectives 2-5, participants were asked to record the order of chapters read. All chose uniquely except two individuals, who opted for the order presented (alphabetical). Participants were also asked to record their engagement with the images for Collage Packs A and B, identifying how they used them as illustrations, and to answer written questions. Participants were not advised how to answer the questions, but instead left to answer them as they thought fit, with follow-up questions asked during interview for clarification. All responses were then collated and evaluated both for trends and for unique responses.

It was found that, with one exception discussed later, there was no difference in the type of response from postgraduate researchers and other participants. Surprisingly, there was also no discernible difference between the types of responses given by archaeologists and non-archaeologists. It is, of course, likely that some participants used the same words to communicate different ideas or, conversely, expressed some of the same ideas in other phrases: particularly across disciplines specific terms and concepts may carry different meanings (cf. Hicks and Beaudry 2010).

However, it would be impossible to account for all these differences, even if days of interview were undertaken with each candidate, as the differences might well remain obscure and implicit. For this reason, no attempt is made to address fine differences in the semantics, but rather to look for the overall trends emerging from the results and explore their significance. The decision to explore only general trends presented some limitations, as the level of detail is not as refined as would be the case with in-depth analysis down to the level of word choice for every participant. However, this level is more than sufficient for the needs of the project: to verify whether the material successfully engaged participants in the matter set out in this article; to evaluate the potential of this type of hyperlinked article to communicate across disciplinary and professional boundaries; and to assess the potential of this type of participation to generate new research questions and perspectives, and contribute to more dynamic understandings of the past.

All responses included here are with the permission of the participants, and extracts from both written responses and interview transcripts are reproduced faithfully. In the case of each question asked, responses typically followed several general trends, with most participants answering using a combination of several common response types. These trends are discussed both individually and in relation to each other, as appropriate.


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