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Our Methods book published

Katrina and Rebecca are delighted to announce the publication of their methods book: ‘Collecting Qualitative Data using Digital Methods‘. The book is published by Sage, part of the Mastering Business Research Methods series and is available in both print and digital versions.

The book represents in many ways the methodological journey of the ‘Age at Work’ research project. Our aim has been to provide an accessible guide to using specific methods, ones that use and study web-based activities and settings, of qualitative data collection. It’s pitched at Master students and also at those who supervise Masters projects and may be less familiar with digital methods than other forms of qualitative data collection.

In the book we introduce and explain two related approaches that we term ‘tracking’ and trawling’, we address the underlying philosophical assumptions that inform the use of these methods, discuss key components in their use and the challenges that might be encountered over the course of a project. We have included some examples of published studies (beyond our own work) that have used these methods (other authors will not have labelled them specifically as tracking and trawling!). We also assess the strengths and limitations of these methods. The focus of the book is on data collection though we do include some tips on preparing for data analysis. We have also prepared some supplementary material (thoughts on data analysis) which we are very happy to share via the link below.

We have thoroughly enjoyed writing the book and we very much hope it provides a useful resource for all who want to learn more about digital methods of qualitative data collection. We coudn’t possibly have predicted just how timely this topic was going to be, with the COVID pandemic forcing so much research away from in-person methods of data collection and towards virtual versions and digital means.

Our grateful thanks to our many excellent colleagues, collaborators and doctoral students who inspired and supported our methodological journey.

Open access paper now out!

We are delighted that our paper ‘Tyred out: natural ageing and aesthetic labour in Pirelli’s 2017 calendar is now published online in Gender, Work & Organization and is available open access!


We review how natural ageing is constructed in contemporary media discourse by examining coverage of the 2017 Pirelli calendar.  While highly digitized and provocative representations of youthfulness might be readily associated with this calendar, the 2017 edition featured actors aged 28-71, shot in black and white with limited makeup and apparently no digitization.  As older women we reflexively examine its exposure of how women might age naturally; and discursively unpack tensions surrounding understandings of beauty and empowerment across media coverage.  We suggest the Pirelli calendar is a complex media production, with impact that extends far beyond the product itself, spreading through the economic system and connecting tyres to art in the process.  We progress understandings of aesthetic labour across the lifecourse, offer further development of the beauty and empowerment tensions embedded in the aesthetics of natural ageing and explain how natural ageing facilitates a multi-layered process of binding.

Key Words: Age, Beauty, Aesthetic Labour, Qualitative Research, Digitalisation

@SAGE_Methods blog post #MethodSpace

Over the last few months Rebecca and I have had the opportunity to present to many different audiences about our book – Collecting Qualitative Data Using Digital Methods. We are very grateful to all those who invited us to present and for the great discussions with participants.

We are concluding this round of events with a Blog for SAGE Methodspace: Thinking about collecting qualitative data using digital methods? There is also a discount voucher is you fancy getting your own copy of the book: Use the code MSPACE20, for a 20% discount when ordering from SAGE!

Keep following us on social media for news of the reunion tour!

Collecting qualitative data using digital methods: SWDTP Workshop Materials

Rebecca and I were delighted to give a recent session for University of Bath Centre for Qualitative Research, whose website contains materials from all recent sessions.

A recording of our session on Collecting Qualitative Data using Digital Methods is now available along with an animated summary and reading list:

Video now available!

Rebecca and I were delighted to present on Collecting Qualitative Data Using Digital Methods at a recent webinar with the AoM Strategy as Practice group.

A recording of the zoom webinar is now available on YouTube or you can view it here in our blog!

SAP Webinar (K. Pritchard, R. Whiting, M. Wenzel): Digital Strategizing & SAP Research – YouTube

Forthcoming event: Centre for Qualitative Research, University of Bath

Katrina and Rebecca are looking forward to running a seminar based on our recent Sage book (Collecting Qualitative Data Using Digital Methods) on 25th March 2-4pm, registration required.

New methods book underway!

Katrina and Rebecca are delighted to announce that work on a new methods book is well underway.  The book – Collecting Qualitative Data using Digital Methods – is part of the SAGE series “Mastering Business Research Methods“, edited by Bill Lee, Mark NK Saunders and VK Narayanan.

Aimed at taught postgraduate students completing a Master’s dissertation, this series offers a detailed look at a particular method to support students in their research journey.

Our book focuses specifically on the way in which students can engage with digital methods to collect qualitative data.  Many of you will be familiar with the term ‘big data’, in which large scale quantitative methods are used to map internet phenomena.  In contrast, the approaches we cover in this book focus on the ways these maps are navigated in relation to specific management and business issues.  Our own research on age at work uses these approaches, for example in our papers on generational identity (in Organization Studies), images of gendered ageing (in Gender, Work and Organization) and understanding retirement (in Journal of Management Inquiry).

We will provide further updates on our blog as the book is produced and then published.

Update and new paper “Reconstructing Retirement as an Enterprising Endeavor” in @JMgmt_Inquiry

We’ve been very quiet on this blog and its related twitter account this year. We have been busy!

The BIG news is that Katrina is now Professor Katrina Pritchard in the School of Management at Swansea University. Many congratulations to her on this very well deserved promotion. We have come quite a long way from when this project started. I was a part-time PhD student and research assistant and Katrina was a junior lecturer, both of us in the Department of Organizational Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London.

Right at the end of 2017 (so near the end in fact that we didn’t see the published volumes till early 2018) we published two chapters in the The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods, one on digital ethics and the other on analysing web images. Full details on our Publications tab on this blog. And do contact us if you would like copies of either chapter.

And following a similar pattern in 2018, we are delighted to announce that we have a new publication that has just appeared in the Journal of Management Inquiry. Entitled ‘Reconstructing Retirement as an Enterprising Endeavor’, this is the link, and we have arranged for the paper to be openly available for download for a couple of weeks (linked to a short introductory piece we have written for the Sage Business and Management Ink website). We’ll post details of when this is live as soon as we have them. In the meantime, the abstract of the paper is as follows:

This article explores issues of age and enterprise in later life as manifested in tensions between retiree and entrepreneurial identities. We utilize the concept of a discursive event to examine time-bound online data, specifically media texts and reader comments associated with the online news coverage of an insurance company report. This report introduced the label Weary to describe “working entrepreneurial and active retirees.” Our analysis shows how keeping healthy and active are constructed as insufficient markers of a productive and successful older age. These markers are supplanted by a neoliberal discourse that prioritizes enterprise and economic productivity in retirement. However, the Weary subject position has implications within this discourse that constrain the valued contribution of older adults to productive work yet deny access to this group to entrepreneurial endeavors. This highlights the destabilization of retirement and critical tensions in its discursive reconceptualization as a period of entrepreneurial endeavor.

We have also been contracted by Sage to write a book about the qualitative internet methodology we have used in this project.  It will be part of the excellent Mastering Business Research Methods Series conceived and edited by Bill Lee, Mark N. K. Saunders and Vadake K. Narayanan. The series is designed to support researchers by providing in-depth and practical guidance on using a chosen method of data collection or analysis.  Our book is due to be published in 2020.

In the meantime, we are looking forward to more Age at Work in 2019. All best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

Age at work goes outdoors

In April and May 2018 Katrina Pritchard 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’. An initial working paper on descriptive statistics is available here and further detailed findings will be reported at a later date once our analysis is complete.

From an age perspective, our initial review of results highlights some interesting statistics which we will be examining further.  For example, most male respondents were between 46 and 65 years old and most female respondents were between 26 and 55, illustrating some age/gender differences in participation which also carried through to organisational membership and achievement of leadership awards.  When looking a different activities, there was little difference in participation in hill/mountain walking but rapid declines in participation in climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking with age.

Katrina will be exploring age and gender more specifically as part of this work in the next stage of data analysis.

Our chapters in SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods

Rebecca and I are delighted to have a chapter in each of these volumes.  Please do get in touch if you’d like a copy of either chapter.

Pritchard, K and Whiting, R (2018) ‘Analysing web images’ in SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods Volume 2 (Eds. Cassell, C; Cunliffe, A and Grandy, G) Sage: London

 Whiting, R and Pritchard, K (2018) ‘Digital Ethics’ in SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods Volume 1 (Eds. Cassell, C; Cunliffe, A and Grandy, G) Sage: London


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