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Access to fieldwork: “strange” work in a Middle East setting

Access to fieldwork: “strange” work in a Middle East setting Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to stress the importance of effectively gaining access to organizations for fieldwork, an essential element of work for a qualitative researcher. Design/methodology/approach – The paper investigates the cold calling and networking involved when 29 prospective organizations were contacted to gain permission to undertake research involving fieldwork, including observation and interview. The approach taken is a quantitative analysis of communicative media involved; e‐mails; telephone calls; and face‐to‐face meetings. Findings – Four organizations granted permission to research, a 7:1 prospect to success ratio. It was found that a great deal of time was spent in attempting to contact and follow up with gatekeepers. Three important barriers to gaining access were found, and ways to “lift” those barriers were attempted. Detailed record keeping of communication was vital, and specific documentation, invitation; a proposal; a protocol, created to negotiate access. Research limitations/implications – There are limitations of sample size, a suggestion for future research is to expand on this sample. Practical implications – The practical implication is for qualitative research involving fieldwork. Three barriers to gaining access for fieldwork are cited, and methods to “raise” such barriers are considered. Changes to research practice are identified by following these insights into raising barriers to organizational access. Social implications – The research influences corporate social responsibility and informs industry policy through the idea of partnering with academic institutions for future research. The research findings can have practical value for the industries concerned. Originality/value – Through analysis and evaluation of the access process, methods of contact can be adapted to smooth the research journey. The value of the findings and insight is to new researchers, and can be useful for existing researchers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues Emerald Publishing

Access to fieldwork: “strange” work in a Middle East setting

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1753-7983
DOI
10.1108/17537981011089587
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to stress the importance of effectively gaining access to organizations for fieldwork, an essential element of work for a qualitative researcher. Design/methodology/approach – The paper investigates the cold calling and networking involved when 29 prospective organizations were contacted to gain permission to undertake research involving fieldwork, including observation and interview. The approach taken is a quantitative analysis of communicative media involved; e‐mails; telephone calls; and face‐to‐face meetings. Findings – Four organizations granted permission to research, a 7:1 prospect to success ratio. It was found that a great deal of time was spent in attempting to contact and follow up with gatekeepers. Three important barriers to gaining access were found, and ways to “lift” those barriers were attempted. Detailed record keeping of communication was vital, and specific documentation, invitation; a proposal; a protocol, created to negotiate access. Research limitations/implications – There are limitations of sample size, a suggestion for future research is to expand on this sample. Practical implications – The practical implication is for qualitative research involving fieldwork. Three barriers to gaining access for fieldwork are cited, and methods to “raise” such barriers are considered. Changes to research practice are identified by following these insights into raising barriers to organizational access. Social implications – The research influences corporate social responsibility and informs industry policy through the idea of partnering with academic institutions for future research. The research findings can have practical value for the industries concerned. Originality/value – Through analysis and evaluation of the access process, methods of contact can be adapted to smooth the research journey. The value of the findings and insight is to new researchers, and can be useful for existing researchers.

Journal

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern IssuesEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 9, 2010

Keywords: Research; Qualitative methods; Corporate social responsibility; Middle East

References