Using Mass Observation Project writing to investigate continuity and change in voluntary action: 1981 – 2012
The Mass Observation Project (MOP) is an ongoing volunteer writing-project. Running since 1981, it has involved more than 3,500 self-selected volunteer-writers who have responded in free-form to themed questions or ‘directives’ sent to them three times a year. Their responses include discussions of a broad range of issues relating to British society; as well as descriptions of their individual lives and activities. The MOP is thus a unique source of longitudinal secondary data.
This paper discusses a mixed-method study that drew on MOP writing to examine continuity and change in voluntary action between 1981 and 2012. The paper begins by discussing some of the methodological challenges involved in using MOP writing in a mixed-method study of voluntary action. It then examines some of the key insights that MOP writing has contributed to understanding voluntary action between 1981 and 2012. These include variations in how writers conceptualise and define volunteering, life-course trajectories in volunteering, and writers’ views on who should be responsible for the provision of certain services – voluntary initiative or the state.
Date: 10 June 2019, 12:45 (Monday, 7th week, Trinity 2019)
Venue: Department of Sociology, 42-43 Park End Street, OX1 1JD. Access building via Tidmarsh Lane. Seminar to be held in lecture theatre, ground floor
Speaker: Dr Rose Lindsey (University of Southampton)
Organising department: Department of Sociology
Organiser: Christiaan Monden (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Public
Editor: Antoinette Moffa