This study is based on the assumption that every person has a unique understanding of forestry, shaped through experiences gathered within their own life world contexts. The research design will draw from both phenomenology and Grounded Theory. While the philosophical underpinnings are mainly based on phenomenology, the research design as well as the approach to data analysis will be mainly grounded in the methodological considerations of Strauss’s Grounded Theory (Grbich 2007, Hardy & Bryman 2004, Mills et al. 2006).
In order to generate an in depth understanding of the phenomenon of forestry and the related aspects of skills needs and the envisaged future, a qualitative approach based on in-depth semi-structured interviews is taken. Conducting these kinds of interviews have been described as especially suited to elucidate and establish understanding of personally perceived phenomena (e.g. Bryman 2012, Flick 2014, Marshall & Rossman 2011, Seale et al. 2007, and Ritchie et al. 2014). Semi-structured interviews are aimed to generate qualitative data and ‘thick descriptions’ of participants’ lived experience through using interview guides which cover the topics presented in the research questions. Instead of following a rigid interview schedule, semi-structured interviews are more flexible and develop with the participants’ answers. Depending on the provided answers the interview structure is altered to create a conversational flow which avoids the formalised character of structured interviews. Furthermore, topics which are not part of the original interview schedule can be picked up on if they are considered to be relevant to the research scope. Instead of applying a purely inductive approach to reasoning, this stu...
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...’ will be interviewed and explicitly not the ‘usual suspects’ (Bryman 2012, Seale et al. 2007, Marshall & Rossman 2011, Miller & Salkind 2002). However, the Grounded Theory nature of this study does not exclude an additional theoretical sampling to fill gaps which might emerge from the interviews and the preliminary data analysis which accompanies the interviewing stage.
Figure 1 presents a theoretical outline of the research design. It should be noted that the research process is set out to be iterative and thus might change due to findings. Each of the interview blocks is set out to take three months’ time. However, the time scale can be adjusted to the factual situation along the way. While the interviews will be carried out in the second year of the project, data analysis and interpretation along with the writing up process will be carried out in the third year.
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