Switching on the BBC: Using Recursive Abstraction to Undertake a Narrative Inquiry-Based Investigation Into the BBC’s Early Strategic Business and Management Issues

Authors: Polkinghorne, M. and Taylor, J.



Journal: SAGE Research Methods Cases

Volume: Part 2

Pages: 1-20

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

DOI: 10.4135/9781526473134

This case study considers the use of the recursive abstraction qualitative research method within the context of a narrative inquiry. Although part of a larger project that considers a range of sources over a period of years, the text being analysed for this case study has been retrieved from a 1928 copy of the BBC Handbook. The purpose of the research is to use the information within this book to identify the BBC’s early strategic business and management issues. The part of the BBC Handbook being considered is the introduction, which was written by Reith who at the time was the Director-General of the BBC. The recursive abstraction method has been employed to undertake the required qualitative analysis of the introduction. This method comprises six steps, which are used to isolate and highlight text of interest. The highlighted text is then paraphrased, and gradually the paraphrased comments are collapsed to form themes and codes. Using this process, it is possible to identify from the themes and codes the core underlying trends that represent the strategic business and management issues of most importance to the Director-General. From the 4½ pages of text, 14 strategic business and management issues have been highlighted, some of which are unexpected and represent an original contribution to our understanding of the issues facing the BBC at this time.

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