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.

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Research Design Presentation

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