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Qualitative research is both the cornerstone and lifeblood of the CEN philosophy and business model.  Cornerstone as it provides the foundation upon which any Instructional Design or Knowledge Transfer is built; and lifeblood as ongoing research feeds new ideas and theories into the creative creative process.  CEN utilizes three specific qualitative research methodologies: Grounded Theory, Ethnography and Case Study.  Though all three have many similar data collection methods and generate theories from the data, their respective purpose is quite different.
   
 

CEN relies heavily on Grounded Theory for the extraction of Tacit and Implicit Knowledge, especially from key individuals within an organization. 

An integral component of Grounded Theory research is the combination of the simultaneous data collection/analysis (Hyatt, 2007; McCallin, 2003)  process and constant grouping and organization of data and ideas based on a multiple coding protocol. (Calloway & Knapp, no date) 

Comprehensive field notes will be kept of each event. The field journal will consist of initial interview notes & non-verbal observations, initial memo notes for idea units and methodology notes to modify future processes. Krane and Maird (2005) however, suggest reflective journals should be kept distinct from field notes to lessen their impact on observations.

Detailed transcripts of each meeting will be created along with non-verbal action notes from video and personal observations.  Chronological narratives will add another raw data component. Bloom et el. (2003) and  Holt & Dunn (2004) both advocate the use of narratives as it provides the participants point of view as well as furnish some insights into their respective complete implicit hiring process over time. Focused coding then organizes the units into concrete concepts.  Axial coding is the process of  regrouping into categories until theories begin to emerge from the data. (Hallberg, 2006)

PURPOSE: To chronicle, document or even codify the vast amount of Tacit Knowledge of:
    A CEO / founder who will soon retire
    A key figure in a winning sports organization
    A highly successful event manager from an NGO
    A small team of innovative designers or engineers

 
CEN relies on Ethnographic studies to document Tacit, Implicit and Explicit knowledge from a specific group of people. The researcher 'becomes' one of the group to experience 'their' world. Specifically to understand how participants see their own world so the researcher can describe how it ticks. (Hustler, 2002)

PURPOSE: In a corporate or NGO setting, this method is useful for truly understanding the corporate culture of any organization or recognizing latent causes for corporate dysfunction.  Ethnographic studies are capable of generating multiple reports for different levels of an organization. (Goetz & Lecompte, 1984)
 

CEN utilizes Case Studies to understand and document a specific event or critical incident within an organization. To develop a theoretical explanation of the event or critical incident being studied. (Torrance,2002)

PURPOSE: Types of Case Studies include:
   Policy - where a policy is treated as an event
   Evaluative - the examination of a process
   Professional Development -
How effective are training programs?
   Action Research - Theorizing or simulation of future plans