Research Phase

The projects used different methodology to collect their evidence.

Aberdeen’s project was accomplished in two phases: research and training. During the research phase, an electronic questionnaire was sent out. The results were used to design the next stage of the project: conducting more in depth interviews. Some of the interviewed staff, would then be given training on e-mail management methods (the subject of the project); the others would function as a control group against which the impact of the training could be judged.

The Nottingham’s team conducted an audit of physical and electronic space used for document storage, which informed several of the metrics used in the Calculator. Other data relating to staff time and the cost of that time was obtained by asking the staff involved with the process to track time taken. To achieve that, the team have undertaken a small ‘time and motion’ type of study, which involved each of the members of staff measuring the time taken to complete ten student disciplinary cases (the subject of the project) of varied complexity. Once the new process was established the study was repeated.

The Oxford team reported that in order to collect their information, they carried out records surveys and information audits across the department concerned. In addition, the team collated data from internal and external storage facilities including the cost of space used for storage plus retrieval costs.

The team from Cardiff carried out audit visits and a survey on a selection of personnel files (the subject of the project) to try and capture a true list of the types of documents on file. This captured data included estimated figures based on an average number of files being cleansed each week. In order to measure the time to find information from an HR file, staff were asked to complete a form each time they searched for information on a personnel file. These results were then averaged. The same exercise was repeated after the temporary members of staff had cleansed roughly 500 files. This methodology of ‘before and after’ comparison was used for other measurements in the project.

Huddersfield’s team used focus and testing groups as part of their methodology. The team also used timed tests to gather their data. Two groups of staff of 14 and 15 attended the tests, which consisted of three individual tasks which they timed using a stopwatch. The first task involved finding a ‘Programme Specification Document (PSD)’ (the subject of the project) from another department using pre-existing methods; the second, repeating the exercise using the school’s own network drive search facility; the third involved looking for the same information on the web. In addition to the timed tasks, the participants have also been asked a number of qualitative questions.

The King’s team carried out selective analysis on staff storage profiles within shared drives, local computers, external HDD etc. They also conducted initial interviews based on the¬†DRAMBORA¬†methodology.