Since late 2020, the SOCEY team have presented a number of papers at conferences and participated in other seminars and workshops related to the SOCEY program of work.
The first was the annual Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference 2021, from 28 November to 2 December and co-hosted by RMIT School of Education and USQ School of Education. The conference was held both on Zoom and at face-to-face hubs in various cities in Australia. After the cancellation of the 2020 conference, and so many others, due to COVID-19, it was fantastic have the conference again in a blended format, making it still accessible to overseas colleagues and those isolating.
Our team was part of the face-to-face Melbourne Hub for the Politics and Policy SIG on 2 December, held at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. SOCEY team members Julie McLeod and Kate O’Connor chaired the afternoon symposium, ‘What Makes Data Sensitive and What Makes it Safe? Ethical, Technical and Conceptual Aspects of Data Sharing for Education Policy and Research’. The session comprised four papers from colleagues both in the room and joining us online from Australia and overseas, with discussant, Kalervo Gulson (University of Sydney):
- Luci Pangrazio (Deakin), ‘The Conceptual and Methodological Challenges of Researching Digital Data in Context’
- Julie McLeod (presenter), Kate O’Connor & Nicole Davis (SOCEY), ‘Sharing Sensitive Data: Governance, Ethics and Educational Research’
- Julie McLeod (presenter), Kate O’Connor (presenter) & Nicole Davis (presenter) (SOCEY) ‘Archiving & Sharing Qualitative Data in Studies of Childhood, Education and Youth: Navigating Ethical Dilemmas and Debates’
- Ian Hardy (University of Queensland), Vicente Reyes (University of Nottingham), M. Obaid Hamid (UQ) & Louise Phillips (Southern Cross University), ‘Navigating Datascapes: Mapping the Ethical Landscapes of Data’
The session explored formal and informal definitions of sensitive and safe data, and how these are constructed and mobilised in relation to educational research and policy formulations. This encompasses the generation of sensitive data and in particular the re-analysis or re-use of different types of data – e.g., administrative, governmental, qualitative and quantitative – that has been collected for a range of purposes. From debates about big and little data, to analyses of ‘datafication’ and the rise of data management plans, questions circle around access and use, regulation, security and openness. These are often rendered as technical or compliance issues or as risks that can be addressed by clearer protocols and measures to safeguard ethical probity.
The papers addressed the conceptual and methodological dimensions of these matters, including the nuanced yet powerful differentiations between knowledge and data, the slipperiness of definitions of data and the paradoxes inherent to data-driven decision making, the movement of data within and between contexts and the implications of these matters for educational research and policy making.
Our second conference was the online Small Data is Beautiful: Analytics, Art & Narrative on 18 & 19 February 2022, organised by the Australian Cultural Data Engine, the Narrative Network and the Digital Studio in the Faculty of Arts in partnership with the Victorian College for the Arts at the University of Melbourne. The conference featured papers from diverse disciplines including history, sociology, digital humanities and the cultural sector.
Nicole Davis presented for her SOCEY co-authors Julie McLeod and Kate O’Connor on ‘Archiving and Sharing Qualitative Data: Opportunities and Debates in education research’. The paper addressed some of the possibilities that the archiving and sharing of qualitative datasets presents for researchers and discussed ethical and practical dilemmas to making such data more accessible. The presentation drew on findings and case studies from our Discussion Paper, Doing Research Differently, as well as Julie and Kate’s journal article, ‘Ethics, Archives and Data Sharing in Qualitative Research‘ (Educational Philosophy & Theory 53.5 ).