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Account-Giving and Contending With Real and Imagined Audiences in Evaluation Research

By: & Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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In this case study, we present methodological and analytical challenges that arose as a result of conducting evaluative research of a workforce development program for low-wage, low-skilled, entry-level hospital workers. We conducted interviews at all levels of the organization, including supervisors and low-ranking frontline workers. Methodologically, interviews and consent had to be designed to ensure confidentiality and to minimize fear of repercussions should respondents criticize the workforce development program. Analytically, we recognized that the factors shaping the interview content were as important to analyze as the content itself. Real and imagined audiences, the status and job position of the participants, and the identity work performed by the participants were also analyzed as data that contextualized the responses given. This case study illustrates how analyzing account-giving provides a deeper understanding of the interviews and the organizational structures and processes out of which they are produced.

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