Shaping methods, shaping voices and the engagement of discourses in an age of uneven rural change


Michael Woods, Aberystwyth University, UK

Anthonia I. Onyeahialam, Aberystwyth University, UK



The process of rural change is uneven, a consequence of the complexity associated with the involvement of the interrelated dimensions of change, actors, stakeholders and diverse places. Capturing these unevenness and its causes is often met with conflict of choice, purpose, voices and representations. In unpacking these to provide answers to rural problems, researchers have progressed beyond, to mix and cross the known traditional methodological boundaries at different points of their research - data collection, analysis, representation and communication. How we choose and reflect on the choices has implications for the type and diversity of knowledge chosen, produced and disseminated in these contemporary times.

This session is to allow researchers to reflect on their choice of methods and to question how it impacts on the creation, production and dissemination of knowledge and the co(s) of them. Thus, we are looking for demonstrable examples of actual work, focusing on how the research was carried out, how it has embraced multiple voices and interpretations of knowledge within the context of the conference theme rather than on details of the work. We seek research that draws on multiple methods within the quantitative to qualitative realms or at its nexus; combine multiple and diverse data sources in new and innovative ways beyond the traditional; research introducing new analytics, techniques such as digital technologies and research designs drawing on contemporary research methods using new types of data - big and small data, visual methodologies like Geographical Information Systems (GIS), mixed methods; how these choices have been used to communicate, (mis)interpret knowledge, exclude or include voices, challenge or re-inforce inequality or justice and influence policy for rural change.


We propose a 20 minutes oral paper presentation followed by 5 minutes of questions from the audience. Following this, we further propose a round table/panel discussion to reflect on some of the issues identified to cut across the talks, and the way forward for rural studies.