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Methods

How we do our research and evaluation

We use a wide range of research and evaluation methods and approaches. We can advise on the best methods for your project, including mixed methods designs,  but the main research methods we use are as follows:

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Focus groups, interviews and ethnography

We can conduct interviews or focus groups or use ethnographic methods to gain data and insights from your key stakeholder groups.​ Focus groups can be conducted in-person or online (e.g. via Zoom, MS Teams, etc.) and interviews can be in-person, online or by phone. We can also use ethnographic methods to collect data including observational studies, diaries, or data submitted via mobile devices such as images, messages or audio / video files. ​All of these 'qualitative' methods provide a deeper understanding of the issues affecting groups and individuals, and help in monitoring and evaluating your provision, and planning improvements.

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Questionnaires, surveys and polls

Surveys and quick polls are the ideal way to gain an understanding of the opinions and experiences of large numbers of stakeholders. We can design or revise your survey/poll questions, build and host online surveys in Qualtrics (a professional survey platform), create paper surveys, administer surveys and polls via mobile phones, and we can undertake the analysis and reporting of your survey findings. The data collected can be used to explore overall strengths and weaknesses and through deeper analysis, we can help you to identify differences between groups based on background characteristics and monitor trends over time.

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Analysis of existing data
 

We can analyse (or re-analyse) data you already hold, for example, responses from surveys you've conducted, transcripts from focus groups or interviews, or any other datasets that you routinely collect such as participation data, membership databases or usage statistics. Where appropriate we can synthesise and draw together the key messages from across a range of datasets. We can also analyse comments made in response to free text / open-ended survey questions to provide you with data-driven summaries of the issues raised and the prevalence of the different topics. This helps to shed more light on the tick box responses in your survey, for example by telling you not just whether respondents are satisfied or dissatisfied, but why this might be the case and which aspects of provision have caused this view.

Case studies

Focus groups and interviews
For a national charity we undertook focus groups with staff members and interviews with previous clients to identify the nature of the different advice 'journeys' clients experience and to help the charity in developing its provision, specifically for those with multiple support and advice needs.
Surveys and polls
For a large primary school we undertook playground polls with pupils and parents to help the school in identifying its strengths and weaknesses and to support their Ofsted preparations. We returned two years later to repeat the polling to assess any change. We also conducted a staff satisfaction and wellbeing survey to inform developments in school management.
Analysis of existing data
For a large university we analysed the range of student surveys conducted in recent years to draw together the findings and identify what has changed and any priority improvement areas. This exercise also served to inform subsequent student experience research which we conducted.

"I really appreciate the care that Kathy took to ensure that the research brief was fulfilled as planned. A very professional service."

Sarah Heesom

Transform Teaching School Alliance & Trust

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