Privatization: An International Review of Performance

By Graeme A. Hodge | Go to book overview

6
Performance Data for Privatization as Contracting Out
In the last chapter it was argued that there is a need nowadays, with so much accumulated research, to synthesize these studies in order to provide a more informed overall picture of research findings for an area. It was suggested that such a careful synthesis would usually require the use of meta-analytic techniques to assist in contrasting and comparing the various findings available. The central thrust of this meta-analytic approach was the desire to collect research findings as data, and then study this data in a quantitative way to form a picture of what the research findings say. An attitude of data analysis is then applied to these collected findings in a structured and, importantly, transparent way. So, how was the data gathered, and what parameters best describe these research studies and findings? In this chapter, I aim to answer these questions.
SEARCHING FOR DATA
In establishing a comprehensive set of reports on contracting-out public sector services, we are continually seeking answers for the question, What does the literature look like? Our first discovery is that it is voluminous. Although the vast majority of reports on the subject are discussions and commentaries, there is still a reasonably large body of studies claiming to report empirical results. The corollary to this, however, is that what one finds in the literature can depend to a large extent on where one searches for evidence, and whether one seeks results to support and legitimize particular conclusions already formed.The literature search for this project was undertaken through the following databases:
1. ABI/INFORM Global
2. Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS)
3. Dissertation Abstracts Online (DAO)

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