The attention. The ‘field notes’ of the conversation
The data was recorded using two methods, field notes and audio recording. The first method is the more unobtrusive of the two and elicited the least amount of discomfort from the group member. Many of the knitters had either a notepad, a phone, tablet or piece of printed paper which either had the pattern that they were knitting (sometimes crocheting) or notes to keep track of the particular pattern that they were doing. However, at the mention of an audio recording, many seemed uncomfortable with the idea until it was mentioned that a phone would be used to record the audio.
The field notes collected a few different information
a. The date
b. The start and end time of the group meeting
c. The total number of knitters who attended
d. Image of the layout of the room, seating patterns and changes in the seating patterns
e. Groupings of the knitters
f. Conversation topics
g. Grouping of conversation cliques
The notebook was kept on the table in plain view of the group and since it was a natural occurrence to have notes on the table, it did not draw much attention. The ‘field notes’ of the conversation topics would be in a ‘reduced’ form whereby the main topic of the conversation would be noted down and if needed the context and manner in which the conversation occurred. These notes would then be converted into a word document format at the end of the day (Appendix 1). The location and names of the participants were not recorded in the field notes.
Audio recording was done using a smartphone. Recordings were made with the purpose of assisting the researcher in gathering data that might have been left out otherwise, either because it seemed trivial or was not recorded in the field notes. As it was a phone and since many knitters had their phones on the table as well, most the knitters would relax and ‘forget’ that they were being audio recorded.
To note, although it was mentioned in the participation information sheet that images might be captured, the researcher decided not to do this as it may compromise the anonymity of the participants. The lack of images is also partly due to logistics as the researcher did not invest in a camera as the phone was in use during the entire meeting to take the audio recording.