How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 29: Gaining access to apparently easy informants

Mireia Valverde


Mary was a young, bright PhD researcher in human resource management. For her fieldwork, she was to carry out one or two case studies to explore variability in the people management role of line managers in contexts where they would not be vocationally drawn into managerial roles: doctors would definitely make great informants! It was only a matter of gaining good access to one or two (large) hospitals. Luckily, her supervisor had good connections with the board of the hospital next door to the university. It was going to be so easy: she would literally just have to cross the street, do her interviews, go back to her office and start transcribing! Sure enough, a meeting was set up with the board for Mary to present the project. Within a week, full permission was obtained to interview the entire group of 50 medical and nursing managers.

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