3.9 Authenticity and Trustworthiness
Trustworthiness encompasses the four main criteria of credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability (Daymon and Holloway 2011).
First, we will look at credibility, which Bryman (2004) defines as research that has been undertaken in good practice and is an accurate representation of the
participant’s social context. Throughout the research credibility was strived for.
During the interviews, the responses provided by respondents were regularly
checked to ensure that what the interviewer had heard the responses correctly. This was particularly vital in situations whereby there was room for mishearing the
conversation, or having the sound and therefore words distorted. This did happen in some of the cafes where the interviews were conducted. As an example, in the interview with the Development Executive at Red Arrow Studios the interviewer
asked to move tables to a quieter area in order that all responses could be heard and recorded properly. Member checking also involved asking for clarification on points if what was being said by the participant was not fully understood. For example, in the
116 interview with the senior product manager at the BBC iplayer, acronyms were used by the participant which the interviewer was not aware of. By seeking clarification this ensured that the respondents account was understood properly.
The interviews were recorded on two devices to ensure that if there were any problems with one of the devices, then an accurate recording was made on the second device. All interviews were transcribed and those transcriptions were double checked against the original recordings to ensure that what was recorded was an accurate representation of the interview.
Hammond and Wellington (2012) define transferability as when the findings from one study can be applied to research outside the research project. Although the findings from this study are not generalisable to other settings, it is deemed that by providing a full description of the research aim and questions, methodology, and analysis and findings from the data, other researchers can make a judgement and assess the transferability of the study to other settings (Saunders et al. 2016). For example, the conceptual framework and evolved theoretical discussions found in the conclusion can be considered by others and decisions made as how they can be transferred to another study on brand management, brand identity or brand co-creation.
In addition, to ensure credibility, this study was compared to other existing studies, to look at the similarities and to contribute further to the theoretical development of brand management, brand identity and brand co-creation.
External feedback was sought throughout the entire thesis journey by attending and presenting at research seminars, such as the European Media Management
Association annual conference, the Global Brand Management conference, and the
117 Bournemouth University Doctoral seminar and conference series. This peer
debriefing (Lincoln and Guba 1985) enabled the researcher to discuss the methodological approach, the data collection technique, the different emerging patterns, and the analysis with peers. Feedback was crucial for improving the quality of the research and its trustworthiness.
Dependability addresses the desire for consistency, allowing others to evaluate the research process and replicate the research approach (Bitsch 2005). By doing so, a replication should produce the same findings (Miles and Huberman 1994). Not only was a clear research process followed (see Figure 4), a sequential approach to the analysis was also adhered to (see Table 3). Hence an audit trail throughout the entire research process was established. Robust data management was established (see section 22.214.171.124) to ensure not only was the data accessible and well organised but that it was protected (Auerbach and Silverstein 2003; Marshall and Rossman 2006).
The use of Nvivo 12 software was beneficial to aid transparency and to help with the audit trail, therefore supplementing trustworthiness and dependability.
Confirmability considers the researcher bias in the research process (Daymon and Holloway 2011). Qualitative research does locate the researcher in the world of the research which needs consideration in order to minimise bias.
Although complete objectivity is impossible (nor necessary) within a qualitative approach the researcher tried throughout the research to always act without bias.
The researcher was guided in how to do this by following the steps outlined by Miles et al (2014).
118 Firstly, the methods and procedures used in the research were detailed and that they followed a sequenced phase of events involving data collection, data analysis, data findings and drawing overall conclusions (see table 3). This ensured the researcher followed prescribed steps in their approach. For example, by creating and utilising the units of analysis and the corresponding definitions for each unit, this ensured that the analysis was linked to existing theoretical sources. This ensured that the analysis had confirmability as it was not done based on the views and assumptions of the researcher. Secondly, conclusions were clearly linked to the literature, the conceptual framework, units of analysis, and codes, categories and themes drawn from the data.
This ensured that a random approach to analysis was avoided, giving the researcher a clear framework and structure which they kept to in approaching interpretation of the data and findings. This minimised the potential for researcher bias. Thirdly, a clear data management system was set up (see 126.96.36.199), encompassing a structured process to data management. This included interview notes, audio recordings of the interviews, transcribing the interviews and uploading the data into Nvivo . Again this ensured a framework was in place to minimise bias. Finally, reflexivity was used to determine how the views, assumptions and values of the researcher may have
influenced the interpretation of the data (see Appendix 11 for an example of reflective notes taken after an interview).The researcher carefully considered their role within the research process, continuously reflecting yet recognising that they could not be removed from the research. Throughout the interviews a conscious attempt was made to ask open questions and ensure that the researcher’s opinions, in the way of leading questions, did not come in. When this did happen, for example when
interviewing the MD at Latimer and discussing co-creation, the interviewer was aware
119 not to continue the positive conversation which began around the concept which could lead the participant to incline towards providing favourable answers. .