Conducting Case Studies as an Insider Researcher: Not for the Faint-Hearted!

20th June 2019 : 12:45 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Qualitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Gary Morris (DPhil Education)

Location: Seminar Room K/L, Bruner Building C, Department of Education

Convener: Victoria Elliott

Gary Morris is a 3rd Year DPhil student in the Department of Education.  His doctoral research is focused on understanding the processes involved in university-business knowledge exchange activities and how these affect the learning outcomes.

To that end he set out to conduct interviews with both university staff and their external collaborators in ten short case studies.  Anticipating that identifying suitable cases and then gaining the co-operation of both parties posed some challenges, he decided to conduct all case studies within the University of Oxford to improve the chances of success.  Notwithstanding the fact that there are some extremely helpful people across the University, the challenges in conducting insider research are still considerable, particularly as a doctoral researcher, and should not be underestimated by anyone considering this option.  However, during the course of his fieldwork, Gary learned a range of lessons from his experiences of engaging with a wide range of Departments across all four academic Divisions, and with their external collaborators.  The latter spanned private, public and third sector organisations.  He hopes that some of these lessons and the chance to discuss them may be of benefit to those considering similar research activities.


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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