Methodological K/Nots: Designing Research on the Enforcement of Labour Standards

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: Booth 41
Oral Presentation
Kiran MIRCHANDANI , Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, OISE, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Mary GELLATLY , Parkdale Community Legal Services, Toronto, ON, Canada
Andrea NOACK , Department of Sociology, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada
This paper traces methodological considerations in designing a research project which aimed to challenge the enforcement of labour standards in Ontario, Canada. It documents the discussions of a multi-disciplinary team, situated in both universities and community settings, which met over a three year period to develop the project design. Discussion of methodological possibilities often began with “nots”; that is, consensus on methodological approaches the team collectively rejected. Out of these discussions emerged suggestions and approaches through which we navigated dilemmas in research design.  Three such “knots” are presented in this paper, specifically: [i] epistemological tensions around mixed methods and the politics of mixing, [ii] the attempt to capture the relationships between policies and their practice/enactment, as well as research and its impact [iii] the need to develop interviews which both establish respondents as knowers, and simultaneously focus on that which is unsaid/normalized in life history accounts.