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Keith Townsend and Mark N.K. Saunders

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Keith Townsend

This vignette tells of a qualitative data collection process with a recalcitrant participant. How long do you try to build report before you finally say ‘that’s enough’? For this author, it was eleven minutes.

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Amanda Lee

This chapter reflects upon the author’s personal experiences of dealing with supervisor feedback as she progressed through her doctoral studies. Feelings of inadequacy are addressed and advice is given on how to deal with this and move forward. Finally, practical hints and tips for dealing with supervisor feedback are provided.

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Dr Robin Durie, Dr Craig Lundy and Professor Katrina Wyatt

A number of drivers for contemporary research are focusing attention on how to achieve public engagement in research undertaken by Higher Education Institutes (HEIs). In 2008, RCUK funded six ‘Beacons for Public Engagement’. We sought to understand how each Beacon had created the conditions for two-way engagement in the research design and delivery. We undertook an initial scoping study of the organisational culture within each Beacon and, using maximum variation sampling, selected seven projects which were our case studies. The analysis of the findings from these case studies from a complex systems perspective led us to conceptualise an ‘engagement cycle' which has three phases or elements: creating the conditions; co-creation of research; and, feedback loops to inform ongoing and future research. In this chapter, we discuss the approach we used to gather the data, how complexity theory underpins the approach and the interpretation of the findings, and how the results led to the engagement cycle.

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Assistant Professor G. Christopher Crawford and Professor Bill McKelvey

Life is not normally distributed – we live in a world of extreme events that skew what we consider ‘average.’ The chapter begins with a brief explanation of the basic causes of skewed distributions followed by a section on horizontal scalability processes. These are generated by scale-free mechanisms that result in self-similar fractal structures within organizations. The discussion then focuses on one of the most cited mechanisms purported to cause power law distributions: Bak’s (1996) ‘self-organized criticality’. Using three longitudinal datasets of entrepreneurial ventures at different states of emergence, the chapter presents a method to determine whether data are power law distributed and, subsequently, how critical thresholds can be calculated. The analysis identifies the critical point in both founder inputs and venture outcomes, highlighting the threshold where systems transition from linear to nonlinear and from normal to novel. This provides scholars with a conceptual–empirical link for moving beyond loose qualitative metaphors to rigorous quantitative analysis in order to enhance the generalizability and utility of complexity science.

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Angelique Gatsinzi

Using social media is increasingly becoming popular in academia. It is a great way to connect with the global academic network and share your journey as a researcher. In this chapter, you will find tips on how to take advantage of social media tools to enhance your researcher profile online.

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Professor Alexandros Paraskevas

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Dawn C. Duke

Writing is hard for everyone from time to time. This chapter describes the real stories of newer researchers who have overcome their own writing blocks, providing tips and techniques to inspire researchers who are struggling to write.

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Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore

All researchers know that there can be difficulties in gaining access to research participants. So why haven’t this group of intelligent people come up with better ways to solve this problem? I thought I had – my incentives would solve this problem – until one examiner at my viva asked about the incentives.

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Fernanda de Paiva Duarte

Autoethnography is a constructivist approach through which the researcher studies her or his own experience alongside that of participants. In this chapter, I demonstrate the value of autoethnography in research projects on corporate social responsibility (CSR). In such projects, there is often a possibility that the investigator may become part of the research as they interact with the participants. In the case reported here, I became an ‘audience’ for the ‘corporate performances’ organized by the employees of a large mining company in Brazil. I use a vignette based on my personal reflections to demonstrate the benefits of the autoethnographic method in this CSR research project.