We Research It: how we work

Research in society cannot be conducted like laboratory research. It is not possible to isolate and control variables in people’s lives as it is in a test-tube. Research in the real world is an unpredictable puzzle.

We Research It logoAt We Research It, we solve such puzzles through rigorous research, using qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods techniques within a clear ethical framework. Our approach to research is participatory: we would rather do it with you than do it to you, because we know that this yields the most robust results, as well as building research knowledge and capacity within your organisation or team.

We offer a range of data collection methods including questionnaires (in hard copy, by email, or on the Web), interviews (by telephone, Skype or face-to-face), focus groups (electronically or face-to-face), document analysis, participatory appraisal methods and photo-elicitation. The computer programs we use most often for data analysis are NVivo (for qualitative analysis) and Excel (for quantitative analysis).

We see our research as a conduit that links theory with practice. We take an eclectic approach to theory, drawing on aspects from a range of formal and informal theories as appropriate, including (but not limited to) grounded theory, evaluation theory, critical theory, learning theory, and the practice theories used by the commissioners and/or steering group of the research in hand.

Our approach to work is solution-focused, flexible, participatory and ethical. We aim to produce research reports, in plain English, with understandable findings and recommendations that can be implemented to improve practice. We belong to the Social Research Association and abide by their ethical guidelines.

Helen is a Visiting Fellow at the UK’s National Centre for Research Methods, and at Staffordshire University’s Graduate School. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Click here to see our full project history.

We are always happy to discuss potential projects with no obligation: please contact Helen for more information.

Quality

We ensure quality by:

  1. Accepting work within our areas of expertise
  2. Working to full and clear briefs from clients
  3. Communicating clearly and thoroughly with clients
  4. Maintaining clients’ confidentiality in accordance with our confidentiality procedure
  5. Conducting research in accordance with the ethical guidelines of the Social Research Association
  6. Writing in plain English
  7. Meeting deadlines
  8. Seeking feedback on the quality of our work from clients, and using any feedback received to improve our practice
  9. Handling any complaints in accordance with our complaints procedure
  10. Operating excellent internal management of the company’s finances, staff and workload, using professional advisers such as accountants and solicitors when necessary
  11. Taking the necessary steps to ensure that we keep our skills and knowledge up to date
  12. Reviewing the company’s procedures and statements at least once a year, and revising them if necessary

We achieved ISO 9001:2000 certification in 2003 (which later became ISO 9001:2008 certification). In 2008, 2009 and 2010, our assessor agreed with us that we could no longer increase the quality of our work; our job had become to maintain the very high standards we had reached. In 2011 we decided it was unnecessary to keep paying for this feedback. We continue to use the same systems of quality management, and our quality manual is available for inspection on request. It is a long and detailed document, so we wrote the statement above to summarise our approach to ensuring quality.