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Research Methods

Research Methods


  • Hard Data – Collection of data covering Key Stakeholders, including Performance Review Process, current Workforce development plans, training courses, existing competency frameworks, professional standards and competency frameworks and performance data
  • Soft Data – for example, how members of staff feel about the organisation, Employee Opinion Survey data especially findings about employee engagement, Customer feedback on quality, Market data on the organisation, one to one interviews with key stakeholders, observations of Delegates, ‘Graffiti’ Whiteboards, etc.
  • Energy Data – The current feelings of the energy and enthusiasm of staff about the development agenda
  • Readiness and capability Data – Diagnostic Development Workshops, Theatre of Inquiry, whether the staff who have to implement the new agenda are both ready to shift and capable of carrying out the change.
  • Political Data – Meetings, Observations and One-to-One Interviews with Key Stakeholders, whether the differences between the various stakeholders, agencies and groups will support and facilitate or block the development agenda.
  • Competency Data –  Observations, Diagnostic Workshops, Theatre of Inquiry, whether those groups that have to shift to a new way of working are able to sustain the change
  • External Data – Survey Data, the feelings and views of external bodies who have a stake in the organisation and the future agenda
  • Professional Data – depending on the requirement additional ‘professional’ information, e.g. HRM best practices, best practices etc.

What to do with the Data Collected

Data Collection Method

What Will Happen to the Data

Review of Hard Data

Summarize current situation reference context, situation and processes, particularly in regards to performance outcomes.  Draw conclusions about the selected areas of enquiry.

Data from Visits & Interviews

Pull together answers to questions and other observations to report on what various stakeholders are doing and why, and the implications for the organisation and the change agenda.


Use statistical analysis to show patterns, documentation of common themes that emerge (e.g. priority development areas), as well as qualitative statements that demonstrate key themes and statistical trends

Workshops and Focus Groups

Analyse and report on dominant ‘story lines’ and themes, backed up by votes from participants on which stories and visions for the future they prefer.  Clusters of energy around different story lines/visions

One-to-One Interviews

Extract the patterns across the answers to the same questions, looking at the similarities and differences between certain groups in their perspective towards the same thing.