Introducing Jo Belcher

 Jo Belcher, PhD Scholar, University of Surrey

I’m a PhD researcher based in the Sociology department at the University of Surrey. My research is funded by the South East Doctoral Training Centre (ESRC grant) and fuses online with offline methods (both quantitative and qualitative). It aims to explore the nature of online support spaces for parents of children with a rare syndrome (Rett syndrome). It will involve the use of online methods including an online survey, an online record completed after use of these sites (on PC or smartphone) and Skype and email interviews where synchronous or face-to-face methods are not feasible.

In terms of participating in the network, I am particularly interested in:

  • exploring how the inclusion of digital research options might help to increase response rates in certain audiences (such as carers)
  • how we might position digital methodology alongside offline modes of data collection, which all have biases and advantages
  • discussing how digital and offline methods can be combined in a complementary and robust way
  • exploring the ethical dilemmas involved in accessing, analysing and reporting upon online interactions about sensitive issues
  • how, as a research community, we can convince funders, ethics boards and other researchers of the value of online methodology as a mainstream research tool

I am looking forward to working with others to develop this exciting area of methodology, to meeting others from a range of disciplines and to supporting the network through promoting these seminars through a range of digital methods.

Email: j.belcher@surrey.ac.uk

Twitter: @jo_belcher

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