Data, research and institutionalised education: Storying as a vehicle to demystify data

Year: 2021

Author: Hardy, Ian, Phillips, Louise, Reyes, Vicente, Hamid, Obaid

Type of paper: Individual Paper

In this article, we draw upon narrative accounts of how data impact us as educators researching and working in university and schooling settings in multiple, varied national contexts. We contest globalised notions of data as inherently and ‘universally’ beneficial, necessary and ‘evidence-based’. Instead, we reveal how data actually exist in place, space and time, and how they are transient and problematic, even as they appear to be omnipresent and omnipotent. We draw upon our diverse individual experiences as educators and researchers working within and across multiple national and subnational contexts – in England, Singapore, Bangladesh, Australia and the Philippines – to reflect on how data have reconstituted and recalibrated our experiences in these school and university settings.  The substantial elevation in the status of data causes us to question how we should respond, even as we contest dominant, global, conceptions of data and datafication more broadly. We seek to break the ‘myth’ of data – that we somehow cannot live without the supposedly complete construction of work and life that more dominant, reductive assemblages of data provide. In doing so, we argue for the demystification of these broader data regimes.