Enter or not - how to gain and sustain access to research sites

Jill Owen, Chivonne Algeo, James Connor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


We wrote this chapter because we want to share the lessons learned via our experiences and problems negotiating access to and managing our research in diverse data collection sites. Identifying, gaining access to and negotiating a relationship with your research site/participants is crucial. This chapter provides advice on how to select your research site, start negotiations with them and manage your ongoing relationship. We outline a range of strategies to select and set up your research site, including utilising networks, social media and professional bodies. We then explore key questions of ethics approval, anonymity and identification of the site and people, data ownership, publishing permissions and legal agreements. We outline communication and risk strategies, and mitigation strategies that can be employed to ensure the research relationship is productive for both parties. There cannot be research without participants and this chapter gives you the knowledge to negotiate successful research relationships.
At the end of this chapter, the reader can:
-identify, access and undertake PM research with external parties, drawing on real case studies;
-select a research site, participants and open negotiations so that you gain the access that you require, including advice on developing and utilising research networks;
-discuss the risks and opportunities presented by different types of research engagement; and
-understand the importance of site access and ideas on how to negotiate formal research agreements with third parties and/or informal agreements with collaborators.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesigns, Methods and Practices for Research in Project Management
EditorsBeverly Pasian
Place of PublicationSurrey UK
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781409448815, 9781472407993
ISBN (Print)9781409448808
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Research site selection
  • Negotiating site access
  • Project management fieldwork

Cite this