The interviews varied in length with the majority

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Unformatted text preview: aking processes and that this was their motivation for participating in the research. Data collection began in May 1998. The interviews varied in length with the majority lasting approximately two hours. All the interviews were tape recorded in full. In addition, notes were taken during the interviews to highlight key issues and facilitate the subsequent analysis of transcripts. After assurances of confidentiality and anonymity, none of the respondents had any reservations about such recording. This emphasis on confidentiality inevitably influences the way in which the data is subsequently utilised and presented. All the companies interviewed have been assigned a code letter. The letter that was assigned to each company depended on the number of decision analysis techniques used in their investment appraisal approach. Company A used the least number of decision analysis techniques. Company B used the next least number of decision analysis tools and so on. These labels have been used throughout the thesis. Although 27 companies were originally interviewed, subsequent merger activity reduced this number to 20. So only letters A to T have been assigned to represent the interviewed companies, with letter T representing the company that used the highest number of decision analysis techniques. Where more than one respondent was interviewed in an organisation, each interviewee was assigned a number so that, for example, the second respondent that was interviewed from company B would be referred to as B2 and the third as B3. It is important to note that where companies merged, the respondents in these organisations were 63 contacted after the merger and asked to report any changes to their corporate investment appraisal process. These insights were then analysed along with the relevant interview transcripts in the next stage of the research. While divisions exist amongst researchers over the issue of whether interviews should be transcribed selectively or in full (Bryman, 1989), given the emphasis within this research on securing an in-depth understanding of attitudes and experiences, it was decided to transcribe all interviews in full. Such an approach, though time- consuming, facilitated the identification of themes, utilisation of quotations and the avoidance of biased judgements arising from initial impressions of the interview data. In addition, when coding the interview data from the transcripts, the original tapes were utilised, alongside the contemporaneous notes, in order to ensure that the interviewees’ expression and emphasis was taken into account (Laing, 1997). Where necessary, respondents were contacted by telephone or e-mail for clarification. The challenges of analysis and interpretation of qualitative data are widely recognised and well documented (Rossman and Rallis, 1998; Bryman and Burgess, 1994; Hammersley, 1992; Denzin, 1978). The difficulty of handling such data is well illustrated by Miles’ (1979) description of qualitative data as “an attractive nuisance”. In a...
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