Speaker: Martin Ruskov and Sara Sullam
Affiliation: Department of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Mediations, University of Milan, Italy
Title: Towards a Phenomenographic Framework for Exploratory Visual Analysis of Bibliographic Data
Abstract: A recurring challenge when studying history of translation is interpreting catalogue metadata. On one hand such interpretation is limited by the fact that data present in catalogue records is tabular and nominative, and not quantitative. On the other hand, such research is guided by tacit knowledge of scholars in the humanities, and thus it could be challenging to reproduce its results. We take inspiration from phenomenography, a discipline within educational research that examines how students perceive the phenomena being learned. We adopt the view that scientific inquiry is a collective form of learning. By doing this, we turn to the phenomenographic theory that variation is necessary to understand the phenomena being studied, and is achieved through three distinct patterns of variance: contrast, generalisation and fusion. We propose an approach to visualise the combination of nominal data and tacit knowledge by subjecting it to these three patterns. We illustrate our approach with two case studies from literary translations between Italy and the UK in the post-war 20th century. Our claim is that on one hand this guides scholars on how to analytically approach their research questions, on the other it drives them to externalise and validate hidden assumptions. Our approach offers a way of doing reproducible science not only when conducting literature research with bibliographic data. It is also applicable in the wider cases within the humanities when tabular data are available.