The Open UniversitySkip to content

'You can't move in Hackney without bumping into an anthropologist': why certain places attract research attention

Neal, Sarah; Mohan, Giles; Cochrane, Allan and Bennett, Katy (2016). 'You can't move in Hackney without bumping into an anthropologist': why certain places attract research attention. Qualitative Research, 16(5) pp. 491–507.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (361kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


In social research some places and populations are disproportionately targeted by researchers. While relatively little work exists on the concept of over-research those accounts that do exist tend to focus on participant-based research relationships and not place-based research relationships. Using interdisciplinary approaches and fieldwork experiences from a recently completed qualitative study of urban multiculture in England we develop the over-research debates in three key ways. First, the notion of ‘over-research’ carries negative connotations and we reflect on these as well as the possibility of more nuanced readings of research encounters. Second, we develop a more relational analysis, in which place – the London Borough of Hackney – is understood to be an animating force in the research process. Third, we argue that our experiences of the research provide evidence that many of the participants in the project were adept and confident in their engagements with the research process. In this way, the article suggests, disproportionate research attention may foster not research fatigue but a more knowing and co-productive research relationship.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 The Authors
ISSN: 1741-3109
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Living multiculture: understanding everyday social relations, the new geographies of ethnic diversity and the changing formations of multiculture in England (D-10-054-SN)ES/J007676/1ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Extra Information: 17 pp.
Keywords: Hackney; multiculture; over-research
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Research Group: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
International Development & Inclusive Innovation
Item ID: 44331
Depositing User: Giles Mohan
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2015 09:06
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 09:54
Share this page:


Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU