Using Written Accounts to Analyze Temporality: Mass Observation Project and the Duration of Belonging


This SAGE Research Methods Case focuses on the use of written accounts, more specifically Mass Observation Project accounts, as sociological data. The project that is described here is a journal article titled “What does the duration of belonging tell us about the temporal self?” that was published in Time and Society. I will first describe the Mass Observation Project before explaining my sociological interest in belonging, and why I chose to use Mass Observation Project data to study belonging. I will then describe the directive on belonging that I commissioned with the Mass Observation Project and the responses that it gained, followed by an exploration of the differences between written data and interview data and of the benefits and drawbacks of using written data.

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