Table of Contents
Data Collection Summary Intro
Before describing, in detail, the process adopted for each method of data collection and analysis, I have provided a summary below of the procedure I followed.
This summary consists of a list of the main steps I took for each method, in chronological order, and it provides links to the sections in which the process is unpacked in more detail.
Three Data Sources
The three data sources I used were:
- online dance videos
- other textual and visual data (which included specialized books, DVDs, websites, blogs, social media and open forums)
- and interviews.
These three sources allowed me to adopt an ethnochoreological approach (based on my interpretation of ethnochoreology outlined at the end of 2.3.1) as:
- the analysis of historic online videos provided a focus on the formal aspects of the dance and a diachronic insight into it
- the other textual and visual materials and the interviews highlighted the synchronic dimension and the experiences of participants and their role in society.
These three sources were accessed during the same period of time, but each presented its own challenges and needed to be used in a different way (see 4.4).
Before starting the search for videos available online (see the rationale in 184.108.40.206), I decided to focus on Egyptian-style raqs sharqi performances (rather than Bellydance in general) as this is the topic of this research.
I then decided to search for videos of famous Egyptian-style raqs sharqi dancers (most of them Egyptian nationals, but also some famous non-Egyptians who have strong connections with Egypt), as they are the ones who are most likely to be influential among the international community of practitioners for this genre.
I Identified the most famous and influential dancers (see sampling strategy in 220.127.116.11 for details on how I did this).
I searched for videos on YouTube and Vimeo, as they are the most commonly used platforms that the international Egyptian raqs sharqi community uses to share dance videos.
Following the sampling strategy (18.104.22.168), I selected the dancers whose videos I was going to search for and analyze. I analyzed a total of 1,028 videos.
I analyzed videos a first time by paying attention to: movements, dancers, visual settings, aural elements and socio-cultural context in which the dance seemed to take place. To analyze movements qualitatively, I used Laban analysis and Kaeppler’s kinemes system to isolate individual movements and/or sequences of movement that recurred and formed part of the Egyptian raqs sharqi movement vocabulary. For this first round of analysis, I wrote notes for each video.
From the analysis, patterns and trends emerged so that videos that had things in common could be grouped together (for example, by dancer, movement vocabulary or timeframe).
I selected the most representative videos from the groups I had identified, to be watched again during a second phase of the analysis. As many videos presented similar features to each other, I chose the ones that represented certain characteristics more clearly.
I created an Excel spreadsheet with different tabs for movements, props, costumes, dancing styles and other items.
The second phase of the video analysis overlapped with the writing of Chapter 5 and with the analysis of other visual and written texts (which also included going through the notes I had written during the first round of the video analysis).
As I wrote Chapter 5 and analysed texts and videos, a timeframe emerged, which led to a historical presentation of the dance. While I wrote Chapter 5, I again watched the videos selected in phase one and I coded them using tags in Zotero.
During phase two of the video analysis, I chose which videos I would refer to in the final text of the thesis (based the best video quality and how representative they were) and watched these a third time. (See 22.214.171.124 for more details on the video analysis)
Additional considerations and difficulties: I analyzed all the videos myself, but the initial plan was to use some of the videos during the interviews and ask the participants to comment on them.
However, due to time constraints, I had to do the video research and the interviews at the same time, so I did not have a list of videos to use by the time I started the interviews.
A problem connected (see 126.96.36.199) with the use of online videos was that sometimes videos are removed or accounts are closed. Thus, it was vital to write down and save notes for each of the videos I watched, for future reference.
Other Textual and Visual Data
- I decided to use online and offline texts on Egyptian raqs sharqi, in order to get an idea of the discourse surrounding this genre in the international community of practitioners (see the rationale in 188.8.131.52).
- The first sources I found were through my own experience as a practitioner and blogger and my knowledge of what other practitioners had produced.
- I focused on reliable sources, produced by practitioners (Egyptian and non-Egyptian) with several years’ experience in the field (see 184.108.40.206 for details).
- I then selected sources that included themes connected to the sensitizing concepts from the literature review.
- Through the sources I found, I came across new information and links to other sources, in a process of virtual snowballing (see 220.127.116.11)
- Themes emerged from analyzing these sources and from the interviews with participants, which allowed me to narrow down the number of textual sources to use from 321 to 186.
- I analyzed the texts using thematic analysis (see 4.6.2). At the same time, I also analyzed texts from interviews and from the video analysis notes, using the same method.
- I generated the first category of codes from the research questions, theory and literature. Thus, these were the etic codes, based on a deductive process.
- The second category of codes emerged from the data. These were the emic codes, based on an inductive process.
- I then proceeded to theming the data by cutting and sorting quotes (identifying them and then grouping them together). I arranged the quotes in groups by using paper and scissors and applied tags using Zotero.
Further considerations on the analysis process: the approach to the analysis process I adopted was hybrid, as employed by Fereday and Muir-Cochrane (2006), to make sure that the theoretical framework and the research questions were represented, as well as letting new insights emerge from the data.
Fereday and Muir-Cochrane (2006) explain that they employed an inductive approach, for which they cite Boyatzis, as well as a template approach, for which they draw on Crabtree and Miller.
Fereday and Muir-Cochrane’s (2006, p. 83) template was ‘developed a priori, based on the research question and the theoretical framework’.
In addition, they explain that ‘inductive codes were assigned to segments of data that described a new theme observed in the text’ (Fereday and Muir-Cochrane, 2006, p. 88).
Similarly, I generated two categories of codes, as mentioned above: one category was shaped by the theory and the other one by the data.
- I selected participants via purposive and expert sampling (see 18.104.22.168)
- I selected international participants to understand the transcultural dimension of Egyptian raqs sharqi .
- I contacted potential participants via email or social media messages. I proactively approached six, while four volunteered after seeing my posts online.
- I built rapport with participants by contacting them before the interviews. Moreover, I already knew some of them as I had met them before in person or communicated with them online.
- I prepared questions for semi-structured interviews (which provide guidance while allowing for flexibility), based on my research questions.
- I asked participants to read the information sheet and fill the consent form.
- Three interviews were carried out in person, six via Skype and one by email.
- The interviews were recorded and were all conducted in English.
- I interviewed only 10 participants because of the amount of data I had gathered from other sources, which meant that I reached a saturation point after interviewing just nine participants.
- I analyzed the interviews in the same way as I analyzed and coded the other textual data.
Additional considerations: I found that language was an obstacle.
I do not speak Arabic and, if I did, maybe I would have managed to contact more Egyptian practitioners and possibly interview some of them.
In the sections that follow I explain the research process for each method in more detail.
I also used convenience sampling, as I interviewed those practitioners I managed to have access to.
For instance, I tried to include practitioners who are not interested in the cultural aspects of Egyptian Raqs sharqi, but I did not manage to involve them as they were not interested in this type of research.
My participants were all over the age of 30 as it seems that the longer practitioners are involved, the more they become interested in the cultural aspect of Egyptian Raqs sharqi.
I tried to interview Egyptian nationals but I did not succeed. Had I traveled to Egypt during my research, I would have managed to involve some Egyptians.
However, my research had to be based in the UK and online as it was not possible to travel to Egypt due to financial and logistical constraints (see 22.214.171.124 ).
So, I tried to interview Egyptian dancers and musicians who live in the UK (who are few) but they either did not engage or agreed, at first, but then did not follow up. In one case, a gatekeeper stopped me from accessing a male Egyptian dancer as he is quite famous and is always very busy with a variety of paid engagements.
Similarly, I did not manage to interview male Egyptian-style Raqs sharqi practitioners as they are very few.
The practitioners I interviewed were international, but they had either lived in or traveled to Egypt.
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