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What is evidence – and how can I use it in my EBI? Plenary session: “Making a difference” residential school (B839) November 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "What is evidence – and how can I use it in my EBI? Plenary session: “Making a difference” residential school (B839) November 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is evidence – and how can I use it in my EBI? Plenary session: “Making a difference” residential school (B839) November 2014

2 Aims of this session What do we mean when we talk about evidence? Why is evidence important? What kinds of evidence might I use in my EBI? How might I critically reflect on and evaluate the quality and scale of the evidence I use? An opportunity to work with others in the resi school beyond your own tutor group Have some fun (with evidence?? Yes!)

3 Buzz group Talk with your neighbour, in pairs, for 2 minutes: What is evidence in an EBI – how might we define it?

4 Evidence: a definition “the available facts, circumstances etc supporting or otherwise a belief, proposition…. Or indicating whether or not a thing is true or valid” Concise Oxford Dictionary

5 Small group activity 10 minutes Why is evidence important in an EBI? Why is evidence important in management more generally? List as many reasons as your group can think of, with illustrative examples.

6 The importance of evidence Supports and justifies your argument Raises questions about whether your argument is accurate (e.g. where the evidence does not fit your argument) Encourages you to improve your thinking about or use of theory or practice Enables you to go beyond assertion (“this is what I think”) into persuasion (“I can reinforce my argument with data”) Demonstrates that you have engaged with course material

7 Collecting evidence is not…… Cherry-picking the “best” evidence that fits your ideas. Presenting illustrations and examples which support your ideas and ignoring the counter-examples Being drawn to vivid cases which support your argument Thinking that one or two examples “will do”

8 Collecting evidence is…… Systematic Give serious thought to how you are collecting evidence, that you are drawing on the full range of possible evidence, that you think about your role and values in collecting and interpreting data Sceptical Subject your evidence to disconfirmation not just confirmation; be critical of your work; think about other possible explanations of your evidence Ethical Collect your data in ways which are fair to other people and do not create harm to others. (Robson, 2002: Real world research)

9 Small group activity 15 minutes Tables 1 & 2: What does systematic evidence collection look like in an EBI? How would you know it is systematic? Tables 3 & 4: What does a sceptical stance to your EBI look like? What can you do in practical ways to be sceptical? Tables 5 & 6: How can you behave in ethical ways in collecting and using evidence in your EBI?

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11 Types of evidence (1) Primary data: data that you collect yourself (e.g. you conduct some interviews or you design and use a questionnaire) Secondary data: data that has been collected by others but which you use to analyse your improvement initiative (e.g. you analyse sales figures, or annual appraisal scores, company reports, government figures) Which type of evidence are you going to use? Both? One or the other? Why? Be clear about how it will help your EBI? What will it add to your argument?

12 Types of evidence (2) Quantitative: Numbers, or data which is expressed in numerical form (e.g. sales figures, rating scales on a questionnaire, counting how many interviewees mention a particular practice) Qualitative Data which is about meanings, interpretations and perspectives (e.g. how people feel about working for company X; the varied emotions people talk about in relation to a new work practice; their questions about your EBI)

13 Small group activity 15 minutes. Discuss: Are you clear about whether you are using primary or secondary data, and mainly numbers or words in your EBI? On what basis can you justify your choice (what are the advantages/disadvantages of your choice?) Are there any themes about the choice of types of data on your table?

14 How much evidence do I need for my EBI? A very good question! There is no fixed answer to this. But remember you are not doing a PhD – you should collect enough evidence to ensure your argument is plausible and interesting. But your evidence is likely to be indicative rather than definitive. Think about what would make strong evidence and collect as much of it as you can in the time available (but allow time for analysing it as well).

15 Stay critical about your evidence All evidence is flawed in some way or another. What are the weaknesses as well as the strengths of your data collection and analysis? Have you surveyed enough people? What about the non-responders? Have people in interviews told you what they think you want to hear? Has fear in the workplace affected how honest people are prepared to be? What about the evidence which did NOT fit your improvement initiative? Use the discussion part of your EMA to write up some reflections on the quality and scope of your evidence. Good researchers are critical of their own work.

16 Evidence and reflection Your EMA asks you to critically reflect on your EBI. So use ideas, reflection, speculation, and so on to think about your EBI. But be careful to be clear and explicit about where you have evidence to support your argument and where you are using reflection to expand on or critique your initiative. Both are important – but they are different types of understanding of your EBI.

17 Aims of this session What do we mean when we talk about evidence? Why is evidence important? What kinds of evidence might I use in my EBI? How might I critically reflect on and evaluate the quality and scale of the evidence I use? An opportunity to work with others in the resi school beyond your own tutor group Have some fun (with evidence?? Yes!)

18 Buzz group Talk with a neighbour for 1 minute each. What has been most valuable for you in this session? What are you going to do as an action for your EBI following this session.

19 Over to you…… Hope the aims have been fulfilled for this session. What else do you need/want to know in order to design and collect evidence for your EBI? Remember to use your research methods textbook to help you with particular data collection techniques. GOOD LUCK!!


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