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Qualitative longitudinal analysis for policy: incapacity benefits recipients taking part in Pathways to Work

Corden, A. and Nice, K. (2007) Qualitative longitudinal analysis for policy: incapacity benefits recipients taking part in Pathways to Work. Social Policy & Society, 6 (4). pp. 557-569. ISSN 1474-7464

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This article draws on the authors’ experience in conducting a recent qualitative longitudinal study in the evaluation of the Pathways to Work Pilot for incapacity benefits recipients. Findings from the qualitative longitudinal research highlighted issues that might not otherwise have been apparent. This approach to policy-related research provides new perspectives and opportunities for substantive findings. It also presents a number of challenges. Issues arise about how to engage with policy makers when exploring changes over time. Policymakers are often keen to have ‘emerging findings’ from panel data, but an initial cross-sectional analysis to meet such requirements contains views and experiences of people who subsequently drop out of the panel. The full longitudinal perspective then comes from a smaller group, and there may be some surprises in comparison with the ‘emerging findings’. At the same time, the focus of policy interests may shift during the lifetime of the panel, especially during a pilot or trial in a rapidly developing policy area. Researchers may be asked to introduce new topics or abandon some lines of enquiry, and may face ethical issues in deciding how to make best use of the data.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Social Policy Research Unit (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2009 15:58
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2009 15:58
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1474746407003892
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Identification Number: 10.1017/S1474746407003892
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7466

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