Three roles, one researcher and a ‘respectful forgery’: confronting the challenges of working alone as a dramatic play researcher
This paper outlines the challenges faced by a qualitative researcher working within a 2-year, longitudinal study of the dramatic play of one group of pre-adolescent girls. Here the researcher, sensitive to the various permissions and conditions necessary for such play to be observed by an adult, opted to work alone in the field. This decision, which resulted in the need to adopt a range of multiple and at times competing roles, generated tensions at the data collection phase of the project. These tensions are described, including those that related to the competition between the researcher urge to collect high quality video recordings and the insights gained by becoming co-player within the child-generated play texts. De Marinis (1985, New Theatre Quarterly, 1, 383) has described video recordings of live drama as being, at best, 'respectful forgeries' of the actual events and, as a result of the competing researcher roles used within this study, the recordings collected within this study were even less adequate. For this reason, a 'thickening' of the data (Lee & Gregory, 2008, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 7, 30) was deemed to be required, with a formalised, collaborative analysis approach being adopted. The article concludes with a consideration of options to overcome the challenges of the approach used within this research project.
International Journal of Play
Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies