From Data to Writing Model
As I started writing the results, I was presented with various possibilities.
As stated by Sandelowski (1998, p. 376), ‘qualitative researchers must choose which story, of the many stories available to them in a data set’.
In the choice of my storyline, I was guided by the data. The process of writing the results section developed in stages and was interconnected with the analysis process.
As summarised in Figure 11 (Holliday 2007, p. 90), the phases of data analysis and writing the discussions fed off each other, in line with a constructionist epistemology.
Dance Analysis Data Timeframes
The first section I wrote was the dance analysis, which was organized around six timeframes.
This structure was driven by the data because, as I analyzed the videos, six timeframes emerged, each with distinct characteristics.
Also, by watching the videos and analyzing all the other data sources, it emerged that the most famous dancers were very influential in the way the dance developed.
Hence, in line with the idea of agency in the way social actors shape heritage, the sections within each timeframe revolved mainly around some pivotal figures in the history of Raqs sharqi.
At the end of each timeframe, I wrote an analysis section to draw some analytical conclusions and connect the data with the conceptual framework.
I did not do analysis within the timeframes sections as I did not want to interrupt the flow of the story.
In the analysis sections, I used tables to organize, summarise and present the data following Wolcott (1990, pp. 63–64), who suggests that graphics ‘not only provide valuable supplements to printed text but can condense and expedite the presentation of supporting detail’.
Data Clustered Around Key Themes
As I wrote the dance analysis, the data clustered around key themes, some of which were key themes from the literature and the conceptual framework, and others emerged during the analysis.
Therefore, I wrote a subsequent chapter (Chapter 6), where these key themes were discussed synchronically across the timeframes.
Doing so, allowed me to bring more analysis into the writing and also to add some relevant data (in particular, but not only, from the one-to-one interviews), which did not fit into the chronological representation of the dance analysis.
Hence, I went from the more particular details of the dance analysis to the wider discussions, in an inductive writing process.
I then wrote the conclusions, with general considerations and recommendations, in a final separate chapter (Chapter 7).
Traditional (Realist) Tale Narrative
The type of narrative I chose could be considered a traditional or realist tale, as explained by Sparkes and Smith (2014, p. 156), because I tried to foreground the voices of the participants, or of the authors of textual data.
However, contrary to Sparkes and Smith’s (ibid) explanation of traditionalist narrative, I did not try to disappear completely from the narrative.
Since I have experience in Raqs sharqi myself as a practitioner and having traveled to Egypt for dance training, I inserted opinions from my own experience where I thought it would enrich the representation of the data.
So, although my writing does not fit into the category of a confessional tale, which Sparkes and Smith (2014, p. 157), identify with ‘highly personalized styles’ adding that the process of the research and its problems are ‘the main focus rather than just the findings’, it has some elements of it.
Also, in line with my constructionist epistemology, I did not aim to express a ‘reality’. Rather, following Smith’s (2006) consideration that heritage is a discourse, I tried to build a discourse that emerged from practitioners’ considerations and their interaction with the artefactual remains of dance from the past (the videos).
Hence, my narrative could be best described as a ‘modified realist tale’, as described by Sparkes (2002, pp. 51–54), in which the presence of the author is felt (for example, the author declares his/her social background), whilst still foregrounding the findings and the participants’ voices.
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Hi – I’m Dr Valeria Lo Iacono and I am a dance researcher with a PhD in dance as a form of living heritage. I also teach belly dance and love to travel to discover new dances around the world. I have worked also as an academic and in the UK and in Korea. Thank you for visiting my site.