Research Design Presentation

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A presentation prpared for a Research Design module as part of a 3+1 Ph.D studentship at Cardiff University for the "+1" MSc. Social Science Research Methods (Business Track) course.

A presentation prpared for a Research Design module as part of a 3+1 Ph.D studentship at Cardiff University for the "+1" MSc. Social Science Research Methods (Business Track) course.

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  • 1. Gavin D. J Harper
  • 2.
    • The Social, Economic & Political Impacts of Alternative Vehicles & Fuels.
      • Ph.D. Focus
        • Porterian Clustering In Organisations Delivering Components for Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Vehicles
      • MSc. Focus
        • What Can The UK Learn From the Californian Fuel Cell Cluster.
  • 3.
    • Critical realist ontology underpins my research.
    • The notion of hidden structure at a deep level underpins many of the ideas encapsulated in cluster theory.
    • There is a belief that clusters result in emergent properties of increased productivity and stimulation of innovation.
    • However, I embrace criticism of Porter’s model of clustering, and also consider weak constructionist view.
  • 4.
    • The fuel cell industry is relatively immature.
    • There is not a wealth of literature on the structure and characteristics of the fuel cell industry.
    • Cluster theory is a well-understood approach applied successfully to understand high-technology industries.
    • The techniques I will apply in my research will attempt to understand the fuel cell industry in the context of cluster theory using approaches which borrow from industrial and economic geography.
  • 5.
    • Cluster policy is influenced by a range of stakeholders.
    • It is important to capture the views of these stakeholders to ensure that a full picture of the situation is encapsulated within the study.
    • Cluster policy exists at the juncture of policies surrounding regional development; technology and innovation encouragement and industrial policy.
  • 6.
    • Within the MSc. Thesis Timeline
      • Hydrogen Valley Initiative
      • Birmingham Conference
      • Long Beach, California (DAMN)
    • Within the Ph.D Thesis Timeline
      • Vancouver, Canada – Ballard Fuel Cell Cluster
      • Iceland, Plans to be Hydrogen Economy by 2050
  • 7.
    • PURE Energy Centre, Shetland
    • Birmingham University Fuel Cells Group
    • Fuel Cell Store, U.S.
  • 8.
    • To some degree, time constraints are dictating the way that the MSc. Portion of my research is structure – seizing upon the opportunities that are available to me for data collection.
    • This limits the study to the collection of data in the UK, and in California during a two week visit in May.
    • The Ph.D portion of my research aims to be global in scope, capturing the major players in the Fuel Cell industry.
  • 9.
    • Dealing With Innovation, Information May Be Cutting-Edge & Commercially Sensitive
    • Companies may have commercial interests that they do not want disclosed.
    • Anonymity will be offered to all participants, however, in a small industry, where the ‘industry’ is the focus rather than the processes occurring, anonymity may be undesirable and hard to achieve.
    • This may result in a greater degree of comments and data being tacit or ‘off the record’.
  • 10.
    • Less Data Access Issues
    • University Information Perceived To Be ‘Easier’ To Collect
    • Existing Academic Contacts Could Smooth The Path To ‘Data Collection’
  • 11.
    • Qualitative Data gleaned from structured interviews.
    • A common format allows meaningful comparison to be made between different locations, however there is sufficient flexibility within this format to gather additional ‘rich data’.
    • Qualitative methods suit exploratory nature of research.
  • 12.  
  • 13.
    • Interviews with partners both from university and spin out firm.
      • There may be differences of opinion in where firm is located.
      • Issues of power and control.
    • Initial interviews may follow up with questionnaire to harvest ‘quantitative’ data to support arguments.
    • Interviews will create the opportunity to form ideas more thoroughly and gain appreciation of the environment in which clusters operate.
  • 14.
    • Ensuring Validity With Qualitative Methods
      • To ensure the robustness of my research, rich description is required.
      • Triangulation of methods may be employed later in the study, with some quantitative data supporting qualitative findings.
      • Knowledge will be ‘transferable’ to some degree, in that this is another study of a high-tech industry using the clustering approach, which has successfully been applied before.