Methodology Research Ethics Seminar Series

Wednesday 01 January 2014

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CBiS continues to hold the Special Methodology Research Ethics Seminar Series, which aims to create informal opportunities for researchers to discuss research ethics and its role in research practice. The seminars showcase some of the research being done across BES, and how BES researchers have managed the ethical issues associated with their respective research projects. The latest seminar in the series was presented by Dr Carlos Ferreira, and titled Access, power and adaptation: researching the emergence of markets for biodiversity offsets and took place on the 19 May.  Carlos focused on the ethical issues deriving from undertaking research involving elites, with the audience discussing matters and contributing opinions.

The next seminar in the series is scheduled for 10th September. The speaker, Dr Jennifer Ferreira, will discuss comparative case study research in the European context.

As part of a series of research methods cases produced by SAGE Jennifer’s paper explores issues related to the use of comparative case study research in a European context. It draws on a doctoral research project funded by an ESRC CASE award which sought to explore the different institutional contexts for the temporary staffing industry.

Since the early 1990s the temporary staffing industry experienced rapid growth in many areas of Europe, although the extent and rate of this growth varied across the continent (Coe, Johns and Ward, 2007). The existing literature on labour market intermediaries and the temporary staffing industry failed to adequately address the importance of national institutional arrangements, and so the research sought to addresses this research lacuna by providing a comparative study of temporary staffing industries in three different political-economic contexts: the United Kingdom, Germany and the Czech Republic.  Essentially it sought to find out who were the key actors in the TSI in different countries and what affect the wider national setting had on its activities.

This methods case provides an overview of the practicalities of carrying out comparative case study research within a European context. The business led nature of this research meant that many of the interviewees were what can be classed as 'elites', and so this methods case will also highlight some of the particular methodological issues involving this type of research participant (Rice, 2010). Furthermore this paper discusses the ethical considerations that were necessary regarding the relationship with the CASE partner for this research (a leading transnational temporary staffing agency), and the participation of the researcher in an internship within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).