I’ve noticed an increasing number of students in recent years convinced that they must do a mixed method doctorate to place them in the best position for an academic career. Whilst a doctorate requires some form of original contribution, what experienced academic staff realise is that the goal of a doctorate should not be to ‘change the world’. It is much less exciting, I’m afraid – the goal should be ‘to finish’. The more complex your project, the less likely you are to finish, certainly on time anyway. I don’t wish to crush the optimism of any new or potential student, but the single most important thing to remember is – the only good doctorate is a completed doctorate. Longitudinal studies, multiple studies, mixed methods – all of these approaches will lead you to an excellent research project, but what will lead you to a completed research project?
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.
Carol Atkinson and Keith Townsend
Completing a doctorate can involve a variety of routes, not all of them easy. In this chapter, the authors describe how students can work with their supervisors to move the doctoral project towards an easy track. For example, being a self-starter and taking the initiative from the outset by arranging meetings with supervisors makes for a solid beginning to the PhD journey. Maintaining regular contact is also advised, as is establishing a good relationship through being honest about the help required. Managing diverse feedback is encouraged too, not least as a great preparation for a career in publishing. The authors share their thoughts on reading widely, on getting involved in academia, and on publishing research results. The chapter ends with a useful summary of the key learning.
Keith Townsend and Rebecca Loudoun
Events can be interpreted many ways, and sometimes we don’t always like the ways things are interpreted. This chapter tells of an attempt to design a longitudinal research project with qualitative data when the authors experimented in the quantifying of qualitative data – specifically, the use of key words, in an attempt to find a baseline for measuring differences in employee experiences at a multi-site organisation.
Keith Townsend and Ashlea Kellner
Rebecca Loudoun and Keith Townsend
Keith Townsend and Paula K. Mowbray
The notion of employee voice has been well established in the earlier chapters of this volume. In this chapter, the authors explore the important role of line managers in facilitating and managing employee voice. Despite the integral role that line managers play in contributing to a culture whereby voice is embedded within the organization, research on line managers and the role they play within voice regimes is an underinvestigated area. In order to better understand the line managers’ involvement in employee voice, the authors begin this chapter with an outline of and how line managers came to play such an important role in organizations. Critical components of the employee voice debates are examined before exploring in more detail the research that links line managers and employee voice. The chapter outlines areas that are underinvestigated or of growing importance in relation to the study of line managers and employee voice, including the obstacles line managers face, and how power and structure may influence line managers’ involvement in employee voice within an ever-changing work landscape.