Method and Data

Our research focuses on what participants in crisis management training do and how they do it. The analysis targets specifically the participants’ real-time talk and bodily conduct, and it aims to show how their talk and actions communicate their personal perspective and understanding of a situation, how they communicate that perspective to others, and, finally how the participants as pairs and teams build on joint understanding of a situation by talking and interacting with each other. 

Our main research materials are audio-video recordings, which are essential for forming a realistic and truthful perspective to the real-time activities in the exercises. Additionally, we participate in the exercises. The aim is to make observations and write notes; we talk to the trainees and the instructors, without, however, disrupting the exercises themselves. The discussions and written notes help us build on general understanding of the studied setting and to remember contextual details that are not visible in the video recordings.

The method we used to analyse the research materials is called conversation analysis. In the analytic process, researchers view the recordings repeatedly. The analysis focuses on the details of participants’ talk  and bodily actions, showing how trainees, moment by moment, build on a joint understanding of a situation with each other. The analysis shows

  • how an event or action is followed, made relevant, or may require another action in response;
  • how possible problems emerge and are solved step-by-step;
  • how trainees visibly and audibly make sense of what happens around them, and how they collaborate through talk and interaction; and
  • what people really do, in contrast to what they say they do, revealing details of which the trainees are not necessarily aware or to which they do not necessarily pay attention.

The analysis is supported by carefully written transcriptions that include various details of the participants’ talk and bodily action. The clear benefit of this analytic process is that it can be used to analyse and capture the participants' live communication as it occurs in real-time.

The video recordings, the transcriptions and the observations help us to understand the practical issues and problems crisis management trainees encounter in the exercises. They help form a realistic and truthful understanding of the participants’ real-time conduct when practicing for crisis situations.

Figure 1: Recording technology in UN military observer patrolling vehicles

Figure 2: Technician's space for controlling the video recording technology in a tactical operations centre

Last updated: 18.3.2020