Saturday, 25 September 2010

End of data collection

Friday saw the last of my interviews. I have completed 20 in all. across 9 counties of England with 13 staff from the NHS, 3 people who have retired and 4 who work in non NHS settings. In relation to length of career there were nurses representing all of the decades from the 60's through to 2008.

A range of diverse roles were represented - specialist nurses within the NHS including health facilitation roles, acute liaison roles, inpatient and non inpatient services. There were also management and leadership roles represented - a modern matron, locality manager, lead for public health and commissioning lead. In non NHS roles there were managers from within social services and the independent sector.

I have felt honoured to be able to listen to peoples stories of their careers and many of them echoed my own experiences.

The next phase is thematic analysis

A challenge too far!

The online interviews are off for this project. I just havent been able to get over the issue of blocks and firewalls. Most people of course want to undertake the interviews during working time and during the testing phase I cannot find a 'chat room' environment that the various firewalls will let in. There are systems through which I can develop my own but the time and technological skills required is not something that I have for this project.

So although the online interviews were a potential tool for follow ups I will be using email as an asynchronous route for any follow ups I need.

Thats the bad news .... next post the good news

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Challenges of online interviewing

An increasing number of researchers are using computer mediated communication (CMC) to undertake data collection. focus groups, interviews and the like are engaged with in the virtual world allowing for geographical distance and an inexpensive way to collect qualitative data but there are challenges.

The decision whether to use synchronous or asynchronous techniques is a key issue for the researcher to grapple with - synchronous will give a real time experience but can be difficult to manage particularly if it is a focus group and a number of participants are involved.

Mediating the conversation and ensuring that the research questions have been covered can be a challenge.
Asynchronous (not real time) techniques (some studies using emails with interview questions posted to the participant directly or view a messageboard system) allow for a more considered response from the participant but is this what the researcher is looking for? For both there are a number of considerations and specifically for my study and the online interviews: The challenge of developing a reflective 'conversation' rather than a closed response to a series of questions. Also the recognition that synchronous 'conversations' use more of the conventions found in speech whilst asynchronous is more literate. For example synchronous conversations may include more references to humour and other emotions. The use of emoticons and phrases such as lol (Laughs Out Loud) replaces verbal utterances in the face to face interview.

For the study I am undertaking the challenge will be to create an environment which will enable synchronous 'conversation' as a follow up to a previous face to face interview. The development of rapport will be important but I will have met the participants prior to the online interview so the will have a mental picture of who they are 'talking to'.
Some studies have also pointed to concerns around confidentiality, use of complex programmes and people being able to 'log into' a conversation. to address these issues I will be using a 'chatroom' environment called 'disposable chat'. The room is set up using a password and once the conversation has finished the 'room' disappears. No one can enter the room without the password so each participant will be sent by email their password and a link to access the room. I will also send telephone contact details in case of technical difficulties. We will meet in there at a mutually agreed time and date and have our conversation.Files of the conversation can then be saved to a secure server.

The online interviews will start in October and continue with those participants
who want to be involved.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Annual Review

The time has come again for my annual review - Thursday this week I will be reviewing the year and my progress.

So where am I? Two interviews under my belt and another planned for Thursday afternoon. The interview technique is challenging and I have found that in order to gather the data I want I am adapting the BNIM method more and more. The first phase works well - using the SQUIN means there is am open opportunity to tell their story. In accordance with the method the second part of the interview develops particular incident narratives to explore aspects of their story further.
Another 7 interviews are planned for early June so Iam hoping there are no cancellations and these go to plan.

The next step after the interviews are to transcribe the interviews and email these back to the participant. At this time the particpants will be asked if they would like to take part in an online follow up interview, having found a 'chat room' environment that meets my needs.

to be continued.....

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Where did time go??

June !!!! Is that the last time I blogged - shame on me! Time to catch up.

Ethical approval was followed by a pilot interview in July. A critical element in the research process. A chance to 'test out' the biographical narrative interview technique. The interview went well, a nurse who had worked within local authority provision for over 15 years. A key area of interest was how this individual maintained her identity as a learning disability nurse even working outside of the NHS for such a prolonged period.

The interview was recorded on a data recorder and transcribed. Following transcription I had the opportunity to send the transcription to Tom Wengraf for comments. The comments received were useful and provided critical feedback. The process of interview will be discussed elsewhere in the blog as this was a steep learning curve.

August and September saw me writing the transfer report required but the University to transfer from MPhil to PhD. Initially I felt this was a 'hoop' to jump through as I already hold a Masters degree but the University regulations state that as it is more than 5 years old I had to register as a MPhil student then transfer. However, I found the process valuable and clarified my thoughts and work to date. The report was assessed and approved by early November.

With a break for Christmas, an interview for a new post, and a three week holiday in Australia I started March with a 'spring' in my PhD step.

I contacted 6 of the individuals who had agreed to take part in the study and sent out a 'final call' for further participants. This has lead to a renewed interest in the study and I am starting to 'book' interview dates and times.

A decision also needed to be made about the 3rd phase of the interview which is the online interview. I had been planning to use a 'chat room' environment but had become concerned about my lack of technical knowledge and ability to organise this. However I have discovered a website which offers simple, free and instant online chat rooms and have decided that I do want to continue to use this as part of my methodology.

So hopefully I am on track and will post around interview techniques shortly