Tuesday, 30 December 2008


I'm using Miles & Huberman to find ideas that will help analysis such as a matrix analysing role against the three dimensions of social capital to see which dimensions appear in the interview data against each role.

Another couple of ideas I'm using from Miles and Huberman are the
  • data accounting sheet
  • codes, listed all on one page.
It will probably help when I can use Nvivo to code, instead of the various colours that I'm using on the transcripts, like pink for relationships, purple for cognitive, and green for structure.

It's a bit slow but sometimes a simple thought stimulates a lot of analysis, it's just finding the right thought.

Miles MB, Huberman AM. 1994. Qualitative data analysis : An expanded sourcebook. Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008


A rolling synopsis of your thesis is something you should write in your first year, advised Dunleavy. My brother swapping Christmas presents gave me the book as a 'mitbringsel' [1] last week, and it is indeed a good read. However, it is also scary. For instance in chapter three, Dunleavy says you should write a rolling thesis synopsis of three or four pages, and that you do this in your first year onwards. That's what's scary because I hadn't even thought of that and my supervisors hadn't mentioned it and I haven't done it - hadn't. I have now. I had to think about it for some days, but supervisor #2's advice to write up my case studies with my research questions in mind gives me a structure:
  • Chapter 1 about consultancy and the public sector
  • Chapter 2 the conceptualisation of engagement in the literature
  • Chapters 3-7 address each of my research question in turn
  • Chapter 8 conclusions
Now I just need to put together the 80,000 words to answer my research questions, and collect the data and analyse it.

[1] A mitbringsel is a small present for no particular reason but that you bring with you when you visit someone.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas eve at the office

It's quiet with only a few students in, and (almost) fewer academics, but the support staff are here. We had a Christmas quiz in the canteen with questions set by our ex-research director, wearing his Moroccan fez, which was a clue to one of the questions:

Where was the first university?
  1. Egypt
  2. Iran
  3. Morocco
Most people were leaving by three o'clock. One of my fellow students is coming back to spend Christmas with us. We left around lunch time.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Project management & social capital

Found an interesting workshop last week - too late. It was a workshop on IT project management, and some of the papers looked useful, especially the one on social capital in IT project management by Randolph and Petter.

Friday, 19 December 2008


It's interesting to see that the Home Office is recognising the efforts of staff and suppliers who drive value by offering awards. See here. One category is of collaborative working with the Home Office. I'd like to see the entrants for that, but another category is for contribution to a project or programme and that might be closer to my research interests.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Transcription nearly done

I think I've got nearly the transcription done. I've finished all of one project and most of the other. I want to finish it before Christmas while I've got a comfortable and warm office desk to type at. Then I'll use my big old Edwardian bank desk at home to scribble analysis notes at while the office is closed.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


A student has submitted his final thesis and waiting for his viva, next March, which is horridly far off. So he's got to keep his research in mind for six months, waiting for the examination. He spoke to us about his experiences getting this far, and gave us some advice:
  • warn your supervisors when you're going to submit
  • get your examiners sorted out early
  • read Dunleavy's book "Authoring a PhD"
This book, he says, is worth £100 because it radically helped him to sort out his ideas when he had a mass of data and wondered what to do with it. So I tried to put it on my wish list, but Amazon tells me it's already there. I think someone might have got it for me for Christmas. :)

Dunleavy P. 2003. Authoring a phd : How to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke ; New York.

Sunday, 14 December 2008


I could get someone else to do the transcription for me, but doing it myself brings some of the themes to mind. I'm finding trust and commitment and team work keep coming up. And if people have worked together they trust each other quicker and teams gel.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Supervision after data collection

I emailed a short description to supervisors before yesterday's meeting, just to give them an idea of the projects that I'd had access to.
  • One supervisor hadn't been reading my emails and was a bit surprised at my progress.
  • One supervisor was really helpful on answering my question about how to write this up by tabulating and using my research questions as headings and sub headings.
But it's early days yet and I have another year and forty weeks for things to go wrong.

Monday, 8 December 2008


You'd think that with this gap in my blogging that I wasn't working, but I'm transcribing. I've got several hours of interviews from more than one project, so have heaps of work, just transcribing. I haven't started the analysis yet.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Now for the technical bit. How do you capitalize titles or stop them from capitalizing?

  • Open Endnote.
  • Go to Edit and in the drop down list find Output styles - see the figure
  • Pick a style - I've chosen Academy Management J
  • Click on Edit - it's highlighted in the figure
  • That will open a new window with information about this style. Go down the information on the left hand style and highlight Bibliography. That opens a different window on the right hand side with three radio buttons that allow you to choose what sort of capitalization you want. Select your choice.
  • Baboom! You've done it.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Transfer of knowledge

It's been bugging me - how does transfer of knowledge link with social capital?

One of our first year PhDs had a problem with Endnote. If you import a reference and it comes with capitals, then how can you automatically change it so in your references it isn't capitals? He came to ask me as one of the second years in the room. (This is an open plan office with desks for around 30 people, around 15-16 of whom are students and the rest are academics.) I knew it had to be something with the template but didn't know what, so I faffed about a bit, looking on templates that did and didn't change the CAPITALISATION but then went back to what I was doing.

First year student returned an hour later having worked out how to do it and told me.

So there's a transfer of knowledge - in one minute I knew, and so did the third year student who over heard. There's value from knowing and being in the same room as that first year and we saved two more hours of two other students searching independently. Why did he come and ask? Probably because he knew in the first place that other students are approachable, because the room lends itself to moving around casually and asking, because he suspected I might already know, which he could guess from already having chatted over coffee. See coffee video - he's often at coffee with us. So sharing coffee builds social capital and shares learning.