Learning from Research: Getting More from Your Data

By Judith Bell; Clive Opie | Go to book overview

4.5
THE FIELDWORK

There was no way of recognizing who were the image makers and identifying what Jan described as 'the framing influences within a culture' other than by becoming immersed in the daily workings of the related cultures of educational, police and juvenile justice district offices. Knowing and understanding the territory and, above all, establishing trust can't be achieved by carrying out a few interviews and dropping in at a few meetings.

It was probably inevitable that the original time allocated for data collection had to be extended in order to accommodate the whole gamut of policy processes associated with school non-attendance. In fact, she found she frequently had to return to the field beyond the initial data-collecting period, which can be dangerous. Such a practice has been known to result in the researcher collecting more and more data but never quite managing to get down to the task of deciding what to do with it.

One legitimate reason for her regular return to the field was that her original neat time line did not always coincide with real life. She wished to follow the progress of some students from their first reported truancy to their final exclusion from school, but the dates for exclusion and review panels and

-147-

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Learning from Research: Getting More from Your Data
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Figures and Tables xiii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 - The Descriptive Study 5
  • 1.1 - Background to the Study and Critics of Descriptive Studies 7
  • 1.2 - The Preparation 11
  • 1.3 - Moving on to Data Collection 15
  • 1.4 - Using Computer Statistical Packages 21
  • 1.5 - The Wretched Grids 26
  • 1.6 - Discussion 30
  • Further Reading 37
  • Part 2 - Evaluation Study 41
  • 2.1 - Background to the Study, Obtaining Permission and Reviewing the Literature 43
  • 2.2 - The Preparation 46
  • 2.3 - Operationalization of the Concepts 50
  • 2.4 - The Questionnaire 55
  • 2.5 - The Findings 62
  • 2.6 - Discussion 68
  • Further Reading 73
  • Part 3 - The Experimental Study 79
  • 3.1 - Background to the Study 81
  • 3.2 - The Literature Review 84
  • 3.3 - Obtaining Permission and Ethical Dilemmas in Experimental Research 88
  • 3.4 - Aims and Purpose of the Study 91
  • 3.5 - The Plan for Data Collection and Analysis 96
  • 3.6 - The Result 101
  • 3.7 - Overall Findings 107
  • 3.8 - Limitations of the Study and Recommendations 115
  • 3.9 - Discussion 117
  • Further Reading 121
  • Part 4 - Ethnographic Study 127
  • 4.1 - Statement of the Problem and Purpose of the Study 129
  • 4.2 - Setting the Scene and the Analysis of Documentary Evidence 133
  • 4.3 - The Review of the Literature 137
  • 4.4 - The Research Contract and the Principle of Informed Consent 144
  • 4.5 - The Fieldwork 147
  • 4.6 - Analysing the Data 157
  • 4.7 - A Solution to the Problem? 163
  • 4.8 - Dcussi0n 166
  • Further Reading 171
  • Part 5 - The Survey 179
  • 5.1 - Background to the Study 181
  • 5.2 - The Preparation and Planning 189
  • 5.3 - The Staff Questionnaire 194
  • 5.4 - Discussion of the Findings 206
  • 5.5 - Discussion 217
  • Further Reading 222
  • Postscript 227
  • Learning from Research 229
  • Glossary 233
  • References 250
  • Index 255
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