Quality Time

Cohort and observation combined: a charity case

Kathryn Hall
NOP Consumer
Steven Browning
National Lottery Charities Board


This paper consists of two parts. The first part explains why qualitative research over a three year period proved the most effective means of tapping into the experiences and perspectives of small charities which were awarded a National Lottery grant to fund a specific project. It will explain why a longitudinal qualitative research approach with an observational research element was able to provide particularly rich findings. It will demonstrate the role of research in discovering how small grant recipients coped with the responsibility of running a project throughout its life, how they developed and adapted to circumstances, and how they viewed and responded to the Charities Board throughout the term of the grant. The first part of the paper will also explain the benefits and potential problems that are likely to occur in a study of this nature.