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									    The utilisation of qualitative
         methodologies in
    Work Based Learning [WBL]



Mike Hart         (Mike.Hart@wkac.ac.uk)
Professor of Business and Informatics
Tim Friesner (Tim.Friesner@wkac.ac.uk)
Senior Lecturer in Marketing



                                           1
Qualitative Methodology in
degree programmes
 Most social science courses will
   contain elements of qualitative
   methodology
 Business studies courses typically
  include:
  - quantitative methods
  - often survey analysis techniques
  - rarely qualitative methodology ‘per se’

                                              2
Work Based Learning
components
Middlesex University’s National Centre for
 Work Based Learning indicates that:
 Recognition and Accreditation of
  Learning [RAL] earns credit (portfolio)
 Programme Planning informs a
  Learning Agreement
 Research Methods helps underpin
 Work Based Project is written/defended
                                            3
Traditional work placements
 Include a synoptic report in which the
  organisation and their own role within it
  is analysed
 Students are encouraged to keep ‘field-
  notes’ as an ethnographer
 Critical self-reflection has always been
  difficult to write

                                              4
Tools of Qualitative Analysis-
Ethnography
 Anthropological roots of ‘I am a camera’
 Phenomenological mode of
  understanding the ‘common sense
  knowledge’ of an organisation
 Latterly, ‘thick descriptions’ are
  deployed which contextualise
  experience

                                         5
Tools of Qualitative Analysis-
Observation
 What to observe? (social interactions,
  policies and procedures)
 Observation notes (‘what I saw’)
 Methodological notes (‘how I collect
  data’)
 Theoretical notes (‘hunches,
  hypotheses’)
 Personal notes (‘own feelings’)

                                           6
Tools of Qualitative Analysis-
Interviewing
 Questionnaire schedules often criticised
 Experienced interviewers listen ‘with an
  inner ear’
 Problems of how to record and
  transcribe data
 Interview analysis – needs coding frame
 Interviews as a source of quotes

                                             7
Tools of Qualitative Analysis-
Documentary Analysis
 Abundant sources of data within
  organisations
 Skills associated with a historian are
  required (provenance, context)
 Should be subject to content analysis in
  which themes can be categorised (and
  perhaps measured)

                                             8
Tools of Qualitative Analysis-
Case Study
 Intensive study best utilised
   to generate hypotheses (induction)
   examination of social processes in
    depth
 Description can crowd out analysis
  (particularly in student projects)
 Transferability of findings is problematic


                                               9
Tools of Qualitative Analysis-
Integrated approaches
 Howard Becker’s (‘How I learnt what a
  crock was’) is an interesting example of
  how several approaches may be
  combined
 Quantitative and qualitative
  methodologies may be combined to
  give representativeness as well as
  ecological validity
                                          10
Deployment in WBL – deep
learning
 De facto role as participant observers
  encourages deep learning (even in
  routinised jobs)
 Seeking out the questions to ask is one
  skill to be acquired
 Even short attachments (50-60 days)
  can give benefits

                                            11
Deployment in WBL – self-
reflection and learning styles
 Draws on work of the reflective
  practitioner
 Students may utilise any of the
  following:
  - Belbin
  - Honey and Mumford
  - Deming’s PDCA cycle
 Students find self-reflection difficult
                                            12
 Deployment in WBL – Personal
 Development Planning
 QAA has argued for PDP for each
  student:
  - become more effective learners
  - understand how they are learning
  - improve general skills for management
  - articulate personal goals
  - encourage positive attitude to learning
 QAA Website:
  http://www.qaa.ac.uk/crntwork/progfileHE
  /contents.htm                             13
Deployment in WBL –
Preparation of reports and portfolios
 At the conclusion of WBL a defensible
  claim has to made for academic credit (in
  the form of a learning journal or
  placement report)
 Methodological expertise needs to be
  demonstrated in these reports
 Epistemological issues now achieve
  some prominence for students
 Generic skills useful for Final Year
  Projects                               14
Ecological Validity
 The term is used by qualitative
  researchers to enhance the inter-
  relationships of factors in naturalistic
  settings
 Students should be encouraged to adopt
  this frame of reference (e.g.relating work
  patterns to socio-economic factors)
 Caution should be exercised on extent to
  which experiences are generalisable 15
Conclusions
 Qualitative methods have a particular
 salience for Business Studies students
 undertaking WBL
 Even casualised work can present
 excellent learning opportunities
 E-learning now facilitates good practice
 King Alfred’s work experience website:
http://www.wkac.ac.uk/business/we/
                                           16

								
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