Table of Contents

Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods on Human Resource Management

Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods on Human Resource Management

Innovative Techniques

Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series

Edited by Keith Townsend, Rebecca Loudoun and David Lewin

This Handbook explores the opportunities and challenges of new technologies for innovating data collection and data analysis in the context of human resource management. Written by some of the world’s leading researchers in their field, it comprehensively explores modern qualitative research methods from good project design, to innovations in data sources and data collection methods and, finally, to best-practice in data analysis.

Chapter 3: Anchoring qualitative methods for longitudinal studies

Rebecca Loudoun and Keith Townsend

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, research methods in business and management, research methods, qualitative research methods, research methods in business and management


This chapter details an innovative research methods approach to measuring change in experiences at work over multiple time periods and worksites. Using a recent research project in a large public sector organisation we describe a longitudinal study where baseline qualitative, interview data were “anchored” in such a way that subsequent changes in responses could be tracked over time at an individual and an aggregate level. While qualitative research is generally considered the superior option for exploring “how” rather than “how many” questions, and for understanding phenomena from the perspectives of those being studied (Pratt, 2009), deliberate strategies need to be used when trying to evaluate changes in people’s experiences over time. Significant technological developments have occurred, with digital recorders, ubiquitous desktop and notebook computers, transcription or voice recognition software, computer-aided qualitative data analysis software (for example, NVivo) all becoming readily available to support the qualitative researcher. Despite this, qualitative research does not lend itself naturally to easy comparison over different time periods.

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