Methodological reflections – University of Copenhagen

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Methodological reflections

We will use a comparative approach as well as an interdisciplinary methodology. This will allow for a comparison of conditions, forms and impact relating to CHIs at three different levels: synchronically by looking at contemporary perspectives and topical issues; spatially by comparing different approaches to CHIs and the turn toward cultural Bildung and digitization around the world (especially Europe and the U.S.); and diachronically by focusing on the long historical trajectory of Bildung, education, digitization and cultural rights.

Various research tools and methodologies will be used, including paper-based and webbased questionnaires, interviews and archival work. Weekly meetings of the participants (who will all be based at the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen – see below) will help toward developing a common understanding of research methods and expectations.

More specifically:

Porsdam’s approach is that of the historian of ideas and/or cultural historian – roughly: working with sources, both empirical and theoretical (e.g. UNESCO archival material); gathering, selecting and analysing relevant information along with verifying the authenticity and veracity of this information and of the most pertinent collected evidence; and understanding ideas and cultural concepts as something that are themselves historically conditioned rather than eternally fixed (Brett, 2002).

Porsdam also intends to conduct qualitative interviews with CHI scholars so as to get a more detailed understanding of their beliefs, attitudes and values (Seidman, 2012; Silverman, 2013).

Bonde Thylstrup’s approach is cultural-theoretical. She will work conceptually with the notions and genealogies of curation, Bildung and individuation; draw on theoretical frameworks such as post-structuralism, curatorial studies, information technology studies and infrastructure studies; as well as include a series of qualitative interviews with key figures in the cultural heritage institution world.

Waagstein will apply traditional computer science methodology for IT-system development (e.g. Sommervile, 2011). This will be used to analyze, plan and execute the implementation of a prototype of a set of digital tools. To explore the user requirements for the digital tools, interviews will be applied (Kvale, 2008), where the type of interviews depend on the stage in the development cycle.