Fieldnotes and situational analysis in environmental education research: experiments in New Materialism



Ruck A & Mannion G (2020) Fieldnotes and situational analysis in environmental education research: experiments in New Materialism. Environmental Education Research, 26 (9-10), pp. 1373-1390.

This article details the approach taken to a recent study in an environmental education context, with a focus on the writing and analysis of ethnographic fieldnotes. This approach drew upon aspects of new materialist theory and multi-species ethnography for the writing of fieldnotes, and Situational Analysis for their analysis. These approaches represent a ‘site of experimentation’ that arose through attempts to carry out research in a manner sensitive to new materialist theories, whilst operating within a time-bound, collaborative study. As well as highlighting potential synergies, this article also explores the constant tensions that arose when attempting to use existing qualitative research methods in combination with new materialist theories. It is not intended as a guide to conducting research in a ‘new materialist’ or ‘post-qualitative’ manner, but rather as an insight into the tensions, synergies and on the-ground methodological struggles within this site of experimentation, and what was produced through the ‘research assemblage’ thereby created. The article aims to demonstrate the ways in which existing qualitative research methods were re-oriented through this approach, as well as the onward effects of these re-orientations on what then amounted to ‘the data’.

Environmental education; post-qualitative; new materialisms; ethnography; Situational Analysis

Environmental Education Research: Volume 26, Issue 9-10

FundersThe British Academy
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online03/04/2019
Date accepted by journal27/02/2019
PublisherInforma UK Limited

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Professor Gregory Mannion

Professor Gregory Mannion

Professor, Education