Interviews were conducted

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Primary Research

Interviews were conducted with (Number )make sure you insert the number of interviews and why that number , also relate back to literature about number of interviews contacts within the financial department of Birmingham City Council, throughout March 2010. Prior to the interview, all interviewee's were provided with a summary of the research objectives, information on data storage, consent forms and confirmation of their anonymity. These consent forms granted permission for the interviews to be recorded on tape and later transcribed; with intention of using any relevant information gained within the project.

The interviews conducted can be categorised as being either, in-depth or follow-up interviews. The semi-structured in-depth interviews lasted varying amounts why did you do these types of interviews reference to lit. of time, depending on the participants' availability and the researcher's belief that all relevant questions had been answered exhaustively. The questions were pre-emptively chosen to gain the most topical and in depth data possible on the effects of policy change on employees within the finance departments of local councils. The interviews consequently asked numerous probing questions on sensitive topics (e.g. staff reduction and cost cutting) why . Therefore anonymity was granted as a means to re-assure participants that there was no foreseeable negative consequence in their participation.

The resulting data was transcribed within two days of conducting the interview. The transcription invariably resulted in the need to obtain further clarification on answers that remained unclear or required a substantive support. Therefore, follow-up interviews were a necessity.

Once the data was judged to be sufficiently in-depth, an inductive thematic analysis of the data was conducted. This approach was selected, as the best means to gain insight into financial departments, by improving our comprehension of policy change as a whole (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). A further reason this rationale was chosen, is due to the fact interpretive researchers view organisations as a social site; a community which shares important characteristics (Kunal et al, 2009). Yet the approach allows the project to study the fragmentation, tension and the effects of policies on employees, rather than suppressing the difference to provide a united culture (Martin 1992).

Consequently the thematic approach analysed employees perception I am not convinced you can interpret perception , therefore you need to mention limitations of (number) themes, on three cognitive levels based on Schein (1992) Three Level of Culture. But can you do this with only three interviews?????

The first level being artefacts, the most superficial level focuses upon the in depth description of the change in technical procedures and the councils structure due to redundancy and merger of departments, and how this impacted on employees (Kunal et al, 2009). The second level, the espoused level, analyses the participants' views of the change in policy and the strategic goals of the financial department. The third and most tacit level of analysis of the semi-structured interviews will examine the individual basic assumptions of the role and purpose of the financial department.

There is no comment on the level of the employees you will be interviewing and why that level

The project chosen solely uses interviews as a means of obtaining primary research for numerous reasons. One reason for adopting the semi-structured interview method is the fact that it facilitates the building of positive rapport between the interviewee and interviewer BUT does not answer employees perceptions(Blumberg et al, 2005). As although the interviewer has chosen the topics they wish to discuss, the questions are not totally predetermined, therefore the interviewee can discuss what they believe the important issues are (Martin 1992). This rapport in turn aids in the high validity of the data extracted, as the interviewee feels more comfortable at discussing the changes in the financial department in depth. Will this get you the depth or purely the info they want you to have?

A second reason the project solely used semi structured interviews was for pragmatic reasons. The only other feasible method of primary research that could be conducted was questionnaires due to time, access and resources constraints is this the end of the sentence?. However questionnaires in this field are viewed by many researchers as being superficial why?; therefore the abstraction of quantified data and statistical correlations as being an accurate picture of organisation life, are generally dismissed as only showing a very remote depiction of everyday practices (Dewhurst, 2006). Therefore, although the report uses forms of triangulation,what is the triangulation you do not say to give a theoretical foundation and provide evidence to support the data extracted from the semi-structured interviews. The project consequently, chose not to attempt other forms of primary research, as the author believed the "meshing" of different forms of primary research might adversely affect the validity and truthfulness of the report (Blumberg et al, 2005).


One of the limitations of the literature review you are not discussing the lit review limitations you need to concentrate on the research was it inability to gain full access to all possible sources information. As access to internal materials produced by Birmingham City Council due to it is political sensitivity was not granted. Consequently, the image portrayed of Birmingham City Council may have differed if all relevant documentation been released. Could you mention what additional info may have been useful need to link to original research question and sub set research questions . However the aim of the project was to comprehend human experiences, although the literature supports the arguments presented throughout this project: to give a strong theoretic backbone to the project, the validity of answers and increasing the understanding of effects of policy change was the main concern of this project.

An anticipated problem of the research method employed, when using qualitative studies as a tool to comprehend and evaluate the inner view of employees in the public sector, is the interviewers skill and bias. Interviewer bias can impact on semi-structured interviews by the interviewer selecting the avenues of thought and opinions that are similar to their own slant. This in turn will, jeopardise the truthfulness of the interview and the accuracy of the results.

Consequently, suggestions made by Fontana and Frey (1994), were used to tackle interviewer incompetence. Fontana and Frey (1994) stated that the best practice within an interview is to treat the interviewee as an equal and only guide conversation back to topics covered in the brief. According to Dewhurst (2006) conducting interviews in this manner serves two functions, both keeping the interviewers questions neutral and combating interviewee expectations by disarming their defence mechanisms and making them feel more comfortable. As a result, of the recommendations given, the project attempted to reduce the impact interviewers' skill on the neutrality and level of information ascertained. Did you and could you do this ?

The project also aims to reduce the problem of not gaining sufficient in-depth information, due to the interviewer skill; by carrying out follow-up interviews to clarify any issues highlighted during transcription that need more validity or supporting evidence. This in turn, will be a form of research evidence triangulation. The project noted that some of the supporting evidence was marked private and confidential due to the evidences political nature. Therefore reports and workshop discussions generated by Birmingham City Council, which were not publicly available, was not used as part of the project. Therefore, maintaining the high ethical protocols this project abides by.

A more general limitation of conducting semi-structured interviews with a limited sample is whether the study can be generalised in traditional sense (Myers, 2000). Although the author accepts this as an issue, the quality of the participants and richness in validity is believed to be sufficiently re-deeming:

As purpose of this report, is not to establish correlation link or definite causal effects with major outcomes such as organisational performance (Cameron and Freeman, 1991), but increase in the literature and knowledge basis on the affects of policy change in the financials department of the local government.

Word count 1417 ( is that too much ???) do some limitations need to be added at the end . This I cannot answer but remember it must justify the approach you have taken the number of interviews the structure of those interviews etc.

Does the explanation of how I analysed results explain sufficiently tell the reader how they were analysed This does not go into the research methods this is more relevant to the results and analysis section

Is it the way I ascertained the results in sufficient depth. See earlier comments.

Should overall limitation 3 be part of my methodology limitations, it seems more of theoretic problem than a problem conducting the research.

Barring a linking sentence to the end is there anything else I need to do see comments

There is little refrence to research literature and the reasons the approach was taken

Overall limitation

  1. Change in topics - impacted on the amount of participants and therefore the validity of the project, attempted a too difficult/ broad topic when considering time and word counts.
  2. Question whether you was able to actually answer the question meaningfully, but remember not to go as far as dismissing your work cause that will impact on markers views and may result in less than a 2.1 mention your use of the freedoms of information act to gain more access unsuccessfully.
  3. Schiens approach can be said to be static and is three levels of analysis sufficient to tackle he complexity and range of human thought. This can be cited back to group work. State that you could not find any research that actually analysed policy change (in general and in the public sector) analysed this way.
  4. Give a nod to time, money, resources, and access. - however as stated in the work I already had some access, so time only impacted on the full utilisation of the access.
  5. Re-mention interview technique and whether the interviews felt rushed, or you felt over whelmed by the people power the people you was talking to had. And state that for the purpose of the dissertation observations and longitudinal studies would have been useful but due to time restrictions it would not be feasible to conduct within your last year of education as such.
  6. Compare your limitations to the group's limitations - motivation. Setting targets and sticking to them and learning how to critically analyse/ change your way of thinking
  7. Think of limitations to do with the discussion, maybe your writing style etc.

Remember not only to state problems but how the ones you predicted or the ones that can be over come what you did to over come them. < -- you're not totally lazy and have started working hard enough to get a 2.1