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Tutorials: Getting the Idea

Every research project has to start from an idea and that can come from a variety of sources. It can be something you have studied before, or something you have a strong interest in (although beware that does not bias your research work). It might be something you have experienced and want to find out more about or feel there is something that needs explaining.

Below a short account showing how some of the researchers in the case studies came up with their ideas.

Below that is a listing of all the case studies which can be followed through as a narrative.


Loudspeaker icon Getting the idea


Loudspeaker iconGetting started and Bourdieu's theory

How Sally got interested in her topic of entrepreneurship promotion in higher education and about her major theoretical influence, the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu.


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Narratives of the cases

FRCase 1 - Frances Rogers

Undertook a PhD in social psychology on the topic of "The Personal Experience of Whiplash Injury". For analysis she used Template Analysis, a form of thematic analysis that involves coding the text.

Highlights of this case are:

  • Developing a research idea
  • Identifying a social scientific (theoretical) explanation of what was found
  • Changing the code template (the code hierarchy) in the development of the analysis


ETCase 2 - Emma Turley

Undertook a PhD in social psychology with the title "‘It started when I barked once when I was licking his boots!’: A phenomenological study of the experience of bondage, discipline, dominance & submission, and sadism & masochism (BDSM)." The research explored the lived experience of participating in consensual bondage, discipline, dominance & submission and sadism & masochism (BDSM). Traditionally, psychologists have researched this phenomenon from an external perspective, conceptualising it as pathological. By employing a phenomenological approach, Emma understoood this multifaceted phenomenon from the inside, by listening to the voices of those who engage in BDSM.

SJCase 3 - Sally Jones

Undertook a PhD in education and business studies on the topic of "The gendering of entrepreneurship in higher education : a Bourdieuian approach". For her approach to analysis she used an essentially grounded theory approach.


NSCase 4 - Nicola Swan

Undertook a PhD in business studies on the topic of"Corporate Interventions in Rural Communities that lead to Sustainable Development". She undertook a thematic analysis of interview and ethnographic data with the help of Atlas.ti software.

Nicola's research examines the practicalities of how companies address their corporate responsibilities in partnership and taking a long term approach. In many cases they don't act directly in the society, but rather by giving support to other organisations that are working with communities. Typically these are NGOs - non-governmental organisations - such as charities and development companies which are already working in the field to address social and environmental needs. Nicola realised that there was little evidence in the business and social literature of what the outcomes of these interventions look like from a community perspective.

KKCase 5 - Karl Kitching

Undertook a PhD in education on the topic of "Justifying school- and self : an ethnography on race, recognition and viability in Ireland". He undertook an ethnographic investigation of a school in Ireland and analysed his data using discourse analysis.

Highlights of the case are:

  • Why use discourse analysis?
  • Identifying what cases and examples to look at
  • A detailed discourse analysis of some short passages from an interview.