Coda: The death of data

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Data Are Dead. Data died a long time ago, but few noticed. Poststructuralism took away positivism’s claim to a God’s eye view of the world, that view which said objective observers could turn the world and its happenings into things that could be turned into data (Richardson, 2000, p. 928; St. Pierre and Adams, 2011, p. 620). e argument was straight forward, things, words, “become data only when theory acknowledges them as data” (St. Pierre and Adams, 2011, p. 621). In a single gesture, doubt replaces certainty, no theory, method, discourse, genre, or tradition has “a universal and general claim as the ‘right’ or privileged form of authoritative knowledge” (St. Pierre and Pillow, 2000, p. 928). Indeed all claims to universal truth “mask particular interests in local, cultural, and political struggles” (Richardson, 2000, p. 928). Data Died a Long Time Ago. Who noticed? Science-(and evidence-) based research initiatives (SBR; EBR) keep the word in the limelight. Mixed methods is the new watchword, an old strategy which says data can be both qualitative and quantitative.2 By keeping a focus on data, and its management, traditional qualitative inquiry texts are also complicit in this conversation. Complicit, too, are those who call for the use of computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) (see Davidson and di Gregorio, 2011, p. 627). Data Are Alive and Well. e skeptics will not be quieted. e practices that produce data remain under assault. Criticism comes from all sides, from the new materialisms to decolonizing, feminist, critical, sacred, queer, Asian, postempirical, postqualitative, and posthumanist pedagogies (see Denzin, 2010, 2012; Jackson and Mazzei, 2009, 2012; Koro-Ljungberg, 2010; Lather, 2007; Lincoln, Lynham and Guba, 2011; MacLure, 2003, 2011, 2012; Richardson, 2000; Smith, 2012; St. Pierre and Adams, 2011; St. Pierre, Adams and Pillow, 2000). Where Do Data Live? Ostensibly, data would have no place in these left pole epistemologies;3after all, they off er harsh criticisms of conventional, traditional qualitative methodology. Ironically, such has not been the case. e dreaded word keeps resurfacing, still hanging around, even in deconstructionist discourse. Here is a sampling of phrases found in recent works: • think with data • practice plugging theory and data into one another • use transgressive data • stay close to the data • code data, decode data, deconstruct data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContemporary Music Tourism
Subtitle of host publicationA Theory of Musical Topophilia
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781315421360
ISBN (Print)9781629581637
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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