A case study from the Greek banking sector: Data collection methods

A case study from the Greek banking sector: Data collection methods

Several authors have suggested that it might be useful to gather data from multiple sources when conducting qualitative research. This phenomenon is called ‘triangulation’ and is also necessary when undertaking a case study. In the present study three methods were employed in order to collect the appropriate data. In particular, nine in-depth interviews were conducted with the bank’s medium and senior executives and secondary and visual data concerning general information about the bank’s operations and organisational structure were gathered through press articles, the bank’s leaflets, newsletters, monthly reports and the bank’s Web page.

The in-depth interviews were based on an interview guide that was developed around a list of topics regarding the new service development (activities, formality, functional involvement). However, despite the fact that it was focused on those issues that were central to the research questions, ‘the type of questioning and discussion allowed for greater flexibility’. Furthermore, the ‘funnelling’ process of questioning was used, where ‘the initial questions are designed simply to start the informant thinking about the issue in general terms’. Then, ‘the interviewer guides the informants’ view toward more specific issues by using questions that narrow the area, while at the end the interviewer begins to ask specific questions directly about the issue being examined’. Moreover, during the interviews some ‘probing questions’ were used in order to elicit information more fully from the respondents, while an effort was made to avoid leading questions and create an interpersonal and communicative climate with all the respondents.

The summation of responses was based on the content analysis method, which consists of three stages: transcription, mechanical analysis and interpretative analysis. The main objective of this analysis is to understand the meaning of what each respondent says and try to work out the implications of these meanings. This goal can be achieved by going beyond what people say and ‘not accept their comments at face value’.