Research Methods

  • Jon Yorke
  • Lesley Vidovich
Part of the Policy Implications of Research in Education book series (PIRE, volume 7)


Chapter 5 presents a detailed ‘map’ of the methods adopted to collect and analyse the data in this policy analysis research. The rationale for using qualitative methods is explained, highlighting the sensitivity to context and the support for in-depth, holistic analysis which was sought in this study. To investigate the research questions about relevant policy influences, texts, practices/effects and outcomes, both documents and interviews were used as data sources, and the strengths and weaknesses of each are examined. The complex sampling across ‘global’ (OECD), ‘national’ (Australia, UK and US) and ‘local’ (university) levels of the policy trajectory is tabulated, as is interview participant coding to provide an audit trail and protection of anonymity. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is the primary mechanism of data analysis because it highlights the interrogation of texts within their wider social and political contexts; a specific example of interrogation of a policy text using CDA is included. A discussion of ethical considerations closes this chapter.


Elite interviews Critical discourse analysis (CDA) 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Yorke
    • 1
  • Lesley Vidovich
    • 2
  1. 1.Curtin UniversityBentleyAustralia
  2. 2.The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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