Gathering and analysing qualitative information takes time and skills which my clients often do not have access to in-house. Contracting me on a freelance basis enables them to get the answers they need in an efficient and cost-effective way. I have particular experience working in the voluntary and charity sector.
My work involves collecting information, analysing and distilling it and re-presenting it in a form which is useful to the client, usually a report. There are many applications for the kind of work I do but at its most fundamental I take a body of data and see what, if anything, it tells you. I can also gather data for you either by face-to-face interviews, focus groups, questionnaires etc. I am always happy to advise on what can be done and welcome approaches to discuss possible jobs or for a quotation.
Through my work with St Mungo’s I have developed a particular expertise in conducting qualitative peer research. The value of peer research is that interviewees are considerably more comfortable talking to someone who is, or has been, in a similar situation to themselves. I train the researchers and guide them through the process of deciding which questions are important to ask. Drawing up the interview script is part of my job and then I sometimes accompany the interviewers to their sessions. Data comes back to me either as written notes or audio/ video files and I then perform a thorough qualitative analysis and draw up findings.
Recent projects include
· Little Red Schoolbook (Pinter and Martin, 2014). Researched and wrote footnotes for this re-issue of a book previously published, and banned, in the 1960s.
· Society of Indexer surveys. Analysing the results of several small membership surveys (70-100 respondents) for a professional organisation. Started 2008 and ongoing. One of the surveys involves year-on-year comparisons building up a picture over time of trends in the profession.
· St Mungo’s Disability Focus Group (2012-2014). For this ground-breaking project, which included both staff and client researchers, I trained peer researchers and analysed data from 10 interviews plus focus groups. I subsequently wrote a report which led into action for the Working Group.
· An Even Better Deal for Women (2013). Follow-up to the 2008 project (see below). Trained two groups of peer researchers and analysed data from 60 interviews (25% audio). Wrote up final report, reviewed with peer researchers and revised.
· No More: Homelessness through the eyes of recent rough sleepers (2013). For this project I trained peer researchers, accompanied them to interview sessions, did some interviews myself and analysed the data (34 interviews, mostly audio) into an interim report. See the final report here. I also had the pleasure of being present when the report was launched at the House of Commons
· Evaluation of Putting Down Roots (2013). For this evaluation of St Mungo’s award-winning gardening project I trained peer-researchers, accompanied them to sessions for interviews and analysed the data.
· Out in the Cold (2012). Peer-researched report about homeless people’s experiences of eviction. I trained researchers, analysed data, reviewed literature and wrote a report which was then turned into the briefing here
· Bridging the Gap. (2012). Peer-researched report about access to mental health services. I trained researchers, analysed data and was main author of the report here
· Baby Café National Statistics 2012. Analysis of operational data belonging to a small charity and production of various statistical reports, graphs and information products from the data.
· Rebuilding Shattered Lives (2012). See campaign at http://rebuildingshatteredlives.org/ . Gathered primary data via interviews with homeless women and conducted literature review to provide a background document for internal reference for use throughout the campaign.
· Mental Health and Homelessness Briefing (April 2012) here. Participating author, gathered and organised material and drafted text.
· Construction of new thesaurus to underpin Society of Indexer’s Indexers Available application (2011 and ongoing). This is a fascinating and difficult a lot of politics and ruffled feathers as well as the intellectual challenge of constructing a thesaurus of ‘everything’. If nothing else it proves that I’m tenacious.
· Broken, Battered, Bereft. (2011) Report on rough sleeping here. Participating author, conducted case study interviews and wrote up.
· Enough Room: Is society big enough for homeless people (2011). Participating author including doing a large part of the data analysis for this report into homeless people and Big Society. See it here
· Happiness Matters (2009). Main author/researcher on a large scale peer-researched project into the mental health of homeless adults. Read online by following the link from this page
· A Better Deal for Women (2008). Sole author/researcher on combined literature review and peer-researched project looking into services for homeless women.
· What Works? (2008) Sole author/researcher on project looking into what services are effective in homelessness provision.
· Evaluation of a pilot project testing the implementation of Reflective Practice across a staff body.
· Soft indicators for healthcare interventions. Working with a small parenting charity to evaluate the effectiveness of their work.
Smaller projects I have worked on include preparing strategy background documents, tidying databases, survey and questionnaire design, data analysis and report writing.