Data Bee and Discourse Bee are groups facilitated by PGR students in the College of Medicine and Health. We meet together regularly to share qualitative data and discuss ideas.

We set up the groups as we were all looking for ways to improve our data analysis, problem solve issues that arise out of our data and ‘check-in’ on our thinking about the work we’re doing. We meet every fortnight or so and have looked at interview data, focus groups, naturally occurring data and even film clips. Nothing is off the table.

The groups work like this: one person brings along some data in the form of a transcript and (ideally) an anonymised sound or video file. The presenter explains a little about their project and their stage of analysis and what they’d like to get from the session. We listen to the extract and then take ten minutes or so to re-read the transcript and make any notes. We then discuss interesting features of the data which might include potential themes, areas of discursive interest or our emotional responses to the data. We encourage each other to root all our comments in the data – it’s easy to let the data trigger our own favourite thoughts and theories – and to listen well to each other so we can build on points that are made. Sometimes we disagree on our interpretations of the data, and this can lead to a good reflective discussion on how we can see data differently.

Data Bee tends towards working with thematic analysis (although this is led by the researcher bringing data) whilst Discourse Bee (as you might imagine) is rooted in types of discourse analysis, primarily conversation analysis.

We’re always open to new people coming along and find that a new voice can really help to challenge habitual ways of thinking. Those of us who attend regularly have found it’s a great way to expand our thinking about data, learn from others and also get informal feedback on our work, without the pressure of delivering a PowerPoint!

If you’d like to go on our mailing lists, do get in touch. Alternatively if you’d like to set up a group in your own department, we’re happy to chat with you about the benefits and pitfalls.

We’re also running a qualitative data analysis event in Exeter in May – working title Doing Quality Qualitative Research – with support from Exeter’s Researcher-led Initiative Awards, The British Sociological Association and The British Psychological Society. Follow us on Twitter to keep up with progress.

Data Bee is convened by Jennie Hayes

Discourse Bee is convened by Daisy Parker