More resources for online qualitative research

Rebecca and I are hoping to speed up the production of our new book – Collecting Qualitative Data using Digital Methods – which is part of the SAGE series “Mastering Business Research Methods“, edited by Bill Lee, Mark NK Saunders and VK Narayanan.

Chapter 5 of this book is “Examples of collecting qualitative data with digital methods”.  While we are checking out whether we can release content in advance of publication, I thought I’d share the reference list from this chapter as it includes lots of great studies across a range of fields:

Baxter, G., and Marcella, R. (2017). Voters’ online information behaviour and response to campaign content during the Scottish referendum on independence. International Journal of Information Management, 37(6), 539-546.

Bell, E., and Leonard, P. (2018). Digital Organizational Storytelling on YouTube: Constructing Plausibility Through Network Protocols of Amateurism, Affinity, and Authenticity. Journal of Management Inquiry, 27(3), 339-351.

Boje, D., and Smith, R. (2010). Re-storying and visualizing the changing entrepreneurial identities of Bill Gates and Richard Branson. Culture and Organization, 16(4), 307-331.

Boland, T. (2016). Seeking a role: Disciplining jobseekers as actors in the labour market. Work Employment and Society, 30(2), 334-351.

Chang-Kredl, S., and Colannino, D. (2017). Constructing the image of the teacher on Reddit: Best and worst teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 64(C), 43-51.

Davison, J. (2010). [In]visible [in]tangibles: Visual portraits of the business elite. Accounting Organizations and Society, 35(2), 165-183.

Delmestri, G., Oberg, A., and Drori, G. S. (2015). The Unbearable Lightness of University Branding. International Studies of Management & Organization, 45(2), 121-136.

Duffy, B. E., and Hund, E. (2015). “Having it All” on Social Media: Entrepreneurial Femininity and Self-Branding Among Fashion Bloggers. Social Media + Society, 1(2).

Glozer, S., Caruana, R., and Hibbert, S. A. (2019). The Never-Ending Story: Discursive Legitimation in Social Media Dialogue. Organization Studies, 40(5), 625-650

Hardy, C., and Maguire, S. (2010). Discourse, field-configuring events, and change in organizations and institutional fields: Narratives of DDT and the Stockholm Convention. Academy of Management Journal, 53(6), 1365-1392.

Hine, C. (2014). Headlice eradication as everyday engagement with science: An analysis of online parenting discussions. Public Understanding of Science, 23(5), 574-591.

Höllerer, M. A. (2013). From Taken-for-Granted to Explicit Commitment: The Rise of CSR in a Corporatist Country. Journal of Management Studies, 50(4), 573-606.

Kassinis, G., and Panayiotou, A. (2017). Website stories in times of distress. Management Learning, 48(4), 397-415.

Kelly, J., Fealy, G. M., and Watson, R. (2012). The image of you: Constructing nursing identities in YouTube. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(8), 1804-1813.

Kozinets, R. V., Dolbec, P., and Earley, A. (2014). Netnographic Analysis: Understanding Culture through Social Media Data. In U. Flick (Ed.), Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysi (pp. 262-275). London: Sage.

Lillqvist, E., Moisander, J. K., and Firat, A. F. (2018). Consumers as legitimating agents: How consumer-citizens challenge marketer legitimacy on social media. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 42(2), 197-204.

Moor, L., and Kanji, S. (2019). Money and relationships online: communication and norm formation in women’s discussions of couple resource allocation. The British Journal of Sociology, 70(3), 948-968.

O’Reilly, M., and Parker, N. (2013). ‘Unsatisfactory Saturation’: a critical exploration of the notion of saturated sample sizes in qualitative research. Qualitative Research, 13(2), 190-197.

Orlikowski, W. J., and Scott, S. V. (2014). What Happens When Evaluation Goes Online? Exploring Apparatuses of Valuation in the Travel Sector. Organization Science, 25(3), 868-891.

Ozdora-Aksak, E., and Atakan-Duman, S. (2015). The online presence of Turkish banks: Communicating the softer side of corporate identity. Public Relations Review, 41(1), 119-128.

Pearce, W., Özkula, S. M., Greene, A. K., Teeling, L., Bansard, J. S., Omena, J. J., and Rabello, E. T. (2018). Visual cross-platform analysis: digital methods to research social media images. Information, Communication & Society, 1-20.

Pritchard, K., and Whiting, R. (2012). Autopilot? A reflexive review of the piloting process in qualitative e-research. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management 7(3), 338-353.

Pritchard, K., and Whiting, R. (2014). Baby Boomers and the Lost Generation: On the Discursive Construction of Generations at Work. Organization Studies, 35(11), 1605-1626.

Pritchard, K., and Whiting, R. (2015). Taking Stock: A Visual Analysis of Gendered Ageing. Gender, Work & Organization, 22(5), 510-528.

Pritchard, K., and Whiting, R. (2017). Analysing Web Images. In C. Cassell, A. L. Cunliffe & G. Grandy (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods (Vol. 2, pp. 282-297). London: Sage.

Rokka, J., and Canniford, R. (2016). Heterotopian selfies: how social media destabilizes brand assemblages. European Journal of Marketing, 50(9/10), 1789-1813.

Rose, G. (2012). Visual methodologies: An introduction to researching with visual materials (3rd ed.). London: SAGE.

Saunders, B., Sim, J., Kingstone, T., Baker, S., Waterfield, J., Bartlam, B., Burroughs, H., and Jinks, C. (2018). Saturation in qualitative research: exploring its conceptualization and operationalization. [journal article]. Quality & Quantity, 52(4), 1893-1907.

Snelson, C. L. (2016). Qualitative and Mixed Methods Social Media Research:A Review of the Literature. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 15(1), 1609406915624574.

Sundstrom, B., and Levenshus, A. B. (2017). The art of engagement: dialogic strategies on Twitter. Journal of Communication Management, 21(1), 17-33.

Swan, E. (2017). Postfeminist Stylistics, Work Femininities and Coaching: a Multimodal Study of a Website. Gender Work and Organization, 24(3), 274-296.

van Bommel, K., and Spicer, A. (2011). Hail the Snail: Hegemonic Struggles in the Slow Food Movement. Organization Studies, 32(12), 1717-1744.

Whiting, R., and Pritchard, K. (2018). Reconstructing Retirement as an Enterprising Endeavor Journal of Management Inquiry,   (First published 13 December 2018).


May 4, 2020 at 7:44 am Leave a comment

Resources for online qual research

So here is a straight cut and paste from my CV of things I’ve (co)written that might be useful to anyone switching to qualitative research online  – please email me at if you can’t get access to these freely via the journal site or on the Swansea University repository

Pritchard, K (2020) Examining Web Images: A combined visual analysis (CVA) approach.  European Management Review 17(1), 297-310

Pritchard, K; Mackenzie-Davey, K and Cooper H (2019) ‘Aesthetic labouring and the female entrepreneur: Entrepreneurship that wouldn’t chip your nails’.  International Small Business Journal37(4), 343–364.

Whiting, R and Pritchard, K (2018) ‘Re-constructing retirement as an enterprising endeavour’.  In press at Journal of Management Inquiry.

Pritchard, K and Whiting, R (2017) ‘Analysing web images’ in SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods Volume 2 (Eds. Cassell, C; Cunliffe, A and Grandy, G) Sage.

Whiting, R and Pritchard, K (2017) ‘Digital Ethics’ in SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods Volume 1 (Eds. Cassell, C; Cunliffe, A and Grandy, G) Sage.

Pritchard, K and Whiting, R (2015) ‘Taking stock: a visual analysis of gendered ageing’ Gender, Work & Organization SI Problematizing Gendered Ageing in the New Economy, 22 (5) 510-528.

Pritchard, K and Whiting, R (2014) Baby Boomers and the Lost Generation: On the discursive construction of generations at work’, Organization Studies SI ‘At a Critical Age: The Social and Political Organization of Age and Ageing’, 35 (11) 1605-1626

Pritchard, K and Whiting, R (2012) Autopilot? A reflexive review of the piloting process in qualitative e-research’ Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 7 (3) 338-353.


April 24, 2020 at 7:06 am Leave a comment

Some reflections on a prize for our paper

Last Wednesday, I received an email which simply said:

“Please find attached a letter from the Editors of the International Small Business for the attention of yourself and your co-authors of the paper ‘Aesthetic labouring and the female entrepreneur: ‘Entrepreneurship that wouldn’t chip your nails’.”

My initial reaction was one of concern – the paper was accepted and published, what could have gone wrong since?  So I was rather dumbstruck to read:

“We are delighted to inform you that your paper ‘Aesthetic labouring and the female entrepreneur: ‘Entrepreneurship that wouldn’t chip your nails’’, published in the International Small Business in 2019 has been voted the best overall paper by the Editors and Consulting Editors of the ISBJ“.


Kate, Helen and I are all thrilled and incredibly proud to have received this accolade.  We of course need to include our participants and Entrepreneur Barbie in our list of thankyous.  Since our work on this topic began several years ago we have given many presentations and even won a “Research as Art” prize.  We have had a few set backs too, the path to publications did not run smoothly at first and an early version of our paper was rejected from a different journal!

Here are some general observations I have made during these presentations over the years.  We have always had a slide titled “Why Barbie?” in our presentations but as we grew in confidence we also had one with “Why Not?” emblazoned across it.  I found that when I stopped apologising, my own confidence in our research grew.   (That is dangerously close to a Barbie motto however).

All three of us reflected on our own (sometimes strongly negative) reactions to our data.   We had to engage in some serious reflexivity but also we had fun!  From the wonderful gift of my very own Entrepreneur Barbie (who has travelled from Birkbek, to the OU and now has a sea view at Swansea) to our matching Barbie pens, taking the “what Barbie are you” quiz and discussing if we could really wear bright pink to present at a conference.  Working with Helen and Kate has been pure joy (not counting the paper rejection bit).

We are hugely grateful to our supportive (and still anonymous) reviewers at ISBJ and the editorial team for publishing the paper and now recognising it.  Thanks also to the wonderful response from friends and colleagues on Twitter!



March 5, 2020 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Online first via EMR: Examining Web Images: A Combined Visual Analysis (CVA) Approach

I am delighted that my new paper in European Management Review is now available online:


n this methodological paper I set out a framework for Combined Visual Analysis (CVA), bringing together compositional, reflexive and semiotic analysis. I explain how CVA was applied in a research project exploring the visual repertoire of human resource management (HRM). I describe each stage in detail, consider how research practice is instrumental in shaping research outcomes and reflexively explore the challenges encountered. The CVA framework provides a research protocol for those working with (in visual analytic terms) large numbers of pre‐existing images. It offers an approach that enables breadth and depth, while maintaining a qualitative focus on the images themselves.

February 12, 2020 at 9:42 am Leave a comment

Health at Work: Critical Perspectives. Out now

Leah and I are delighted that our book is now in print.  We first met in the 1980’s when we worked in the same large consulting firm, and it was a lovely surprise to end up briefly at the same institution just a few short years later (in 2015).  Sadly we are now working about 250 miles apart (at the Open University and Swansea) but this book gave us the opportunity to reflect back over both our professional and academic careers to date.

Here’s what we say this book is about:

Engaging with some of the most debated topics in contemporary organizations, Health at Work: Critical Perspectives presents a critical, contingent view of the healthy employee and the very notion of organizational health. Drawing on expressions such as ‘blowing a fuse’, ‘cracking under pressure’ or ‘health MOT’, this book suggests that meanings of workplace health vary depending on how we frame the underlying purpose and function of organization.

Health at Work takes some of the most powerful and taken-for-granted discourses of organization and explores what each might mean for the construction of the healthy employee. Not only does it offer a fresh and challenging approach to the topic of health at work, it also examines several core topics at the heart of contemporary research and practice, including technology, innovation, ageing and emotions.

This bookmakes a timely contribution to debates about well-being at work, relevant to practitioners, policy-makers and designers of workplace health interventions, as well as academics and students. This book will be illuminating reading for students and scholars across management studies, occupational health and organizational psychology.

And you can order a copy if you feel so inclined!

September 26, 2019 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Reflection on our recent paper via Sage

You can read our blog about our recent JMI paper here

February 20, 2019 at 8:56 am Leave a comment

SoM Seminar 13/2/19 3pm: Dr Harriet Shortt and Prof Sam Warren


The architecture of identity: Sensory innovations in the post-occupancy evaluation of a university’s ‘new building’ #myUWEBBSview

13th February, 3pm, School of Management room 106

Professor Sam Warren, University of Portsmouth and Dr Harriet Shortt, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England

We report on preliminary findings from an innovative post-occupancy evaluation of the Bristol Business and Law School’s new building at the Frenchay Campus, University of West of England (UWE), UK. This project is an academic-industry collaboration between UWE, Stride Treglown (the building architects), ISG (the construction firm), and Godfrey Syrett (the furniture designer/ manufacturer) to explore the user experience of the new building following occupation by staff and students in April 2017 ( The aim of the project is to generate data on the operation of the building in ways that better represent lived, sensory dimensions to using the space, particularly as they intersect with socio-cultural understandings of a contemporary university’s mission and purpose (Lefebvre 1974/1991, Merleau-Ponty 1962/2002). Somewhat surprisingly, architects are not routinely involved in the post-occupancy evaluations of new buildings which are more usually carried out by construction firms with surveys overly focused on technical attributes, such as energy efficiency and air quality etc. (Hay et al., 2017). This project arose, in part, as a response to ISG and Stride Treglown’s desire to employ a creative methodology that would go beyond the technical-function ‘building performance’ metrics (e.g., see RIBA 2016) and provide them with more qualitative, emotionally rich data based on user experiences of the space over a period of 12 months.

Conceptually, we hope the project will generate insights into the ways in which the senses are imbricated with identity, and how identity-theories might be ‘fleshed out’ through attention to how the social meshes with the sensory in an organizational context. In doing so we put forward a materially grounded perspective on identity at work in line with recent developments in this area (e.g., Aslan 2017).




February 7, 2019 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Aesthetic labouring and the female entrepreneur: ‘Entrepreneurship that wouldn’t chip your nails’ Paper accepted in ISBJ

A few years ago I spotted a media article about Entrepreneur Barbie and was immediately hooked.  I somehow convinced (actually they didn’t take that much convincing) Kate Mackenzie Davey and Helen Cooper to become equally obsessed.  We’ve presented on this research along the way at different research seminars and the Gender Work and Organization conference, receiving lots of fantastic feedback along the way for which we are very grateful.  And we also won a ‘Research as Art’ prize, which was great fun!

Finally some of our research has made it into print via the following article to be published in International Small Business Journal.  Perhaps Mattel was right after all: ‘If you can dream it you can be it – anything is possible’.

Pritchard, K, Mackenzie Davey, K and Cooper, H (In press) Aesthetic labouring and the female entrepreneur: ‘Entrepreneurship that wouldn’t chip your nails’


Recognising significant interrelations between neoliberal and postfeminist discourses, we advance understandings of constructions of female entrepreneurs by unpacking their visual representation and exploring the role of aesthetic labour.  Given the impact of contemporary media, we focus on key images integral to the marketing of Mattel’s Entrepreneur Barbie as a postfeminist ‘cultural motif’ (Duffy et al., 2017: 262) and investigate how these representations of female entrepreneurship are consumed. First, we highlight the practical demands and emotional risks of the aesthetic labour required to achieve such postfeminist glamour.  Second, links between conventional femininity and entrepreneurial success are both celebrated and challenged, highlighting perceived limits to achievement.  Finally, we unpack understandings of the relations between entrepreneurialism and aesthetic labour to move beyond assumptions of the instrumental power of the makeover. Our findings thus, enrich understandings of the consumption of postfeminist images of entrepreneurs.

December 10, 2018 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

Transitions to retirement: opportunities for qualitative research


Working with colleagues at Swansea University and beyond, I have been involved in work with the Centre for Ageing Better to conduct a review on research into the experience of transitions to retirement.

Dr Martin Hyde has outlined the main findings of our work, which was conducted multinational team comprising researchers from Swansea University (in addition to Martin and myself, Dr Cara Reed and Ms Maria Cheshire-Allen), the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (Prof Kene Henkens and Dr Marleen Damman) and the Stress Research Institute in Stockholm (Dr Loretta Platts).

Here I want to focus on the methodological issues and opportunities related to qualitative research in this field, which is summarised in an appendix to the report.

We found that not only that there fewer qualitative than quantitative studies, but we also found that these were more variable.  While there were examples of excellence, we also found cases where the methodological explanation in papers made it difficult to report with confidence on findings.  We found that while data collection methods were often described in some detail, there was much less information provided on analytic approaches.  Broad labels, such as template and thematic analysis, can indicate the overall style of approach but do not offer enough detail on the actual analytic process applied.  Lack of space for such detail in published papers is often raised as a concern by qualitative researchers and is likely to be a factor in this regard.

In the context of our review while small studies, particularly those that looked at specific occupational groups, raised interesting issues it was not always possible to position these clearly in relation to evidence from the the wider set of research publications.  What they did show however is that there are many interesting aspects of transitions to retirement that can (and even should) be explored via qualitative means.  It was clear that while research in this area has started to use interviews and focus group, there is a huge potential to build on this with studies deploying more diverse and contemporary approaches (for example, those utilising visual or multi-modal data).  It was also interesting to see some of the mixed methods studies reviewed using qualitative research more advanced ways than simply ‘backing up’ a survey study.  Overall then the report could be used as a useful springboard for qualitative researchers looking to identify research questions and approaches to further our understanding of this complex area.

As the report outlines, we used a specific set of search terms to generate the literature considered in our review.  As with any search strategy this means that some studies that may have considered aspects of relevance may not have been included.  We suspect this may have been more likely to be the case for qualitative research studies, since these often have more diverse titles and key words as they are less ‘variable’ driven in this regard.

After posting this blog, via Twitter, I was also reminded of the importance of funding in this debate.  As Debora Price rightly pointed out the difficulty of obtaining sufficient funding for in-depth qualitative research is without a doubt a critical issue for advancing research in this field.




December 6, 2018 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

Outdoor Leadership Working Paper 1: Descriptive Statistics Report

In April and May 2018 myself and William Fear conducted a leadership survey with Mountain Leaders and related organizations and, through Facebook, with members of groups that walk in the mountains. We received 459 completed questionnaires. The purpose of the survey was to: 1) get an understanding of the ‘mountain/hill-walking’ community; and 2) to explore perceptions of leadership among both professional and lay groups in relation to ‘Mountain Leadership’.  Our questionnaire drew on concepts from both authentic and behavioural leadership theories.

We have now produced our first working paper which sets out our preliminary findings based on descriptive statistics.  Further detailed findings will be reported at a later date once our analysis is complete and subsequent qualitative research is planned.

Working Paper 1

September 14, 2018 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

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