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Handling and analysing data Sarah Jack. Why me and what am I doing here? What do I bring? – 15 years of qualitative work – 15 years of entrepreneurship.

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Presentation on theme: "Handling and analysing data Sarah Jack. Why me and what am I doing here? What do I bring? – 15 years of qualitative work – 15 years of entrepreneurship."— Presentation transcript:

1 Handling and analysing data Sarah Jack

2 Why me and what am I doing here? What do I bring? – 15 years of qualitative work – 15 years of entrepreneurship research What do I hope we can all take away? – A handful of practical guidelines – Some insights into common problems – A wider range of options and choices to consider – Greater confidence in approaching how we handle and analyse qualitative data

3 How did I become a qualitative researcher? Firstly – Had a choice as enjoyed numbers Secondly – specifically chose the qualitative route Thirdly – a love of stories Fourthly – my PhD Finally – I just loved doing my PhD and interviewing people about what they did and why and I just found their stories fascinating.

4 Techniques Packages v good old highlighter pen! Number of themes Transcribing Be concise Write for the toughest Does it work for you Two stages: descriptive categories and analytical categories (See ISBJ paper)

5 Techniques (cont.) Have a framework It can be hard work and so it should be Justify Let the voice of your respondents really shine through Provide some form of overview of your results Don’t be prescriptive Show your passion for the research Writing helps with your thoughts and the thought process Research Question

6 Things I and others have learnt I do my best thinking whilst actually writing. It becomes a process through which I can articulate it to myself. But that just writing doesn't work - it needs to be interspersed with other things - and I don't mean academic things, I mean things like walking, cooking, cleaning and reading things which are inspirational but completely unconnected. Sometimes you need to give your brain space to work out patterns on its own. And don't try to start at the beginning (or wait till the analysis is 'finished') - just start.

7 Some issues: For me, it's avoiding waffle Résistance by others Using qualitative data to simply illustrate, you need to do more. Getting published! That you can't do it properly until you have ALL of it in your head The key thing is the RQ Space.....eek! Need to “boil it down” to fit! Method Shift from description to analytical is the most difficult

8 Presenting your results Space again! Use ways other than text to present your findings and to add richness Two examples: – Entrepreneurship metaphors – Longitudinal Read and look at how others have done it. Don’t just read for content, read for structure, technique and process

9 Table 2: Case Study Respondents RespondentActivityEstablishedBackground & Route to Entrepreneurship Employees (2006) Turnover (2006) MikeOil supply services 1973Various jobs. Take over of previous employer 200>£14mn PaulComputing services 1990Bad car accident led to reassessment of life. Worked for major oil company allowing him to recognise related opportunities 65>£6mn JillVideo production 1985Sales and marketing, set up business with partner when employer (same industry) went into liquidation N/A

10 Here’s how we did it in our research note, where space is even more constrained 1.We presented our theme summaries in clear bullet points The overall impression created by these findings is of a broadly four- part social construction of the entrepreneur, a continually contested archetype: the dominant image of the entrepreneur is as a predatory, aggressive, exploitative, war-like leader the entrepreneur is also understood as a very hard-working, rather child-like, victim of, for example, risk, big business, and competition by the creation of new ideas, the entrepreneur acts as an important engine of economic growth and is an admired “winner”, whose support of others extends beyond job and wealth creation. the entrepreneur is also perceived as a maverick outsider, pioneering and exploring, using their special, almost magical skills.

11 2. We used summary tables to highlight trends Table Two: Top Five Metaphor Clusters per Country CyprusGreeceIrelandItalyPolandUK Engines of economic growth (12%) Predator (22%)Work machine s (14%) Predator (20%)Predator (18%)Predator (9%) Victims (10%)Exploiters (18%) Idea Creator (12%) Risk Taker (7%)Work machines (11%) Future Creator (8%) Predator (9%)Work machines (9%) Predator (10%) Engines of economic growth (7%) Engines of economic growth (6%) Contested Archetype (6%) Warriors (6%) Victims (6%) Grower (7%) Maverick (7%) Vision Creator (7%) Leaders (8%)Victims (7%) Leaders (7%) Vision Creator (8%) Leaders (6%) Work machines (7%) Persister (7%)Social Animal (5%)

12 3. We just told the story, in words The Greek sample exhibits the most suspicion of the entrepreneur, with 40% of the sample’s metaphor depicting him as a ruthless, predatory, criminal exploiter of others. Many of the Greek leadership metaphors are rather negative in tone, using words which are also redolent of fraud and exploitation (feudal landowner, lords). Another 16% of the Greek metaphors, nevertheless, emphasize that entrepreneurs are also victims of fate and work. Interestingly many respondents simultaneously held several stances. For example, a Cypriot pupil described entrepreneurs as being, firstly, like “Sheep among the wolves. Wolves=Big Businessmen. Sheep=Small Businessmen”, drawing attention to both the dominant predation metaphor, but also to the entrepreneur as victim. His second metaphor depicted them as “Idols. You admire them for their courage”, portraying the entrepreneur as brave winners. By contrast, his third metaphor returned to the childlike victim theme: “Blind in the darkness. They don’t know where to begin.” As well as being a theme in its own right, the notion of the entrepreneur as a paradoxical, multi-faceted and contradictory concept runs right through all the data. Examples of metaphors which directly alluded to this complex and contested social construction included: “saints and sinners”, “slaves and kings at the same time”, “the strong and the weak”.

13 4. We used a simple model to summarise our themes Aggressor predator, warriors, exploiters Winner winners, leaders, engines of economic growth, social animal, idea creator, vision creators, future creator, grower, money machines, processors, players/racers Victim children, victims, risk takers, work machines, persisters, Outsider mavericks, force of nature, outsiders, journeyers, explorers, business wizards, catalysts Figure One European Schools’ Social Construction of the Entrepreneur

14 Stage 1: Our interests Stage 2: Agreed illustration felt to reflect these interests Networks Network evolving Network patterns of change ties/links with/to others and the specific network eg making contacts, joining network, involvement with network eg explanations/indicators of network change, reasons for change, influencers of change, ways in which network changed

15 Stage 3: Descriptive categories patterns/themes refined into indicators for categorising raw data Descriptive distinguishing definition of category Stage 4: Synthesis of descriptive categories into analytical categories which provide insights into research questions Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 represented by initial interactions, initial meetings, making initial contact, joining the network and becoming involved in the network [Calculative, self seeking purpose, what can i get from this network and its members, rational business process probably as a consequence of the enforced hierarchy and representation] represented by starting to share ideas, becoming more confident in participation, generating ideas with others, more involved in network and what network represents [building identity in network while recognising identity of others, realising potential of network and interaction with group, reciprocity and open to ideas of others, shared values] represented by what can be given to network, group and members, recognising reciprocal process, generating bonds to and with other group members [demonstrations of affection for group and group members, generation of strong and emotional bonds based on respect, reciprocity, trust and shared values, recognising network as a learning environment and wanting to be a part of that environment so being prepared and willing to work towards enacting that environment but participating voluntarily and wanting to participate] Functionalist Instrumental Altruistic (but socially based)

16 Some quick tips Write Focus on evidence Pick out the sexiest and most relevant bits Use quotes Honesty Be convincing

17 More Tips Tell the interesting stories that match the themes Trial and error Make use of other tools to support your work PhD students write Publishing

18 What I hope we can take away: – A handful of practical guidelines – Some insights into common problems – A wider range of options and choices to consider – Greater confidence in approaching how we handle and analyse qualitative data – Don’t be afraid to try – Listen to the reviewers but be prepared for criticism


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