LSE Master's Informal Job Information Network

How do Master's student's at the LSE in studying Social and Public Communication at the Departament of Psychological and Behavioural Science get information on career opportunities outside of official University sponsored channels?

The purpose of this research is to critically analyze peer transmission of career information. For this research, I will leave behind all pretensions to objectivity, and instead strive for an reflexive subjectivity, complete participation participant observation. I am studying a phenomena that I am part of and have an active interest in and will feel some of the same pressure and motivations found in the peers that I am studying. This work will build on the research of Luca Paolo Merlino and her 2014 model of informal job search. It will also be informed by Michele Pellizzari's work at the London School of Economics in 2004 "Do Friends and Relatives Really Help in Getting a Good Job?" I will use some of the analytic tools laid out by Joseph A. Conti and Moira O'Neale in their 2007 work "Studying power: qualitative methods and the global elite" where they argue that engaging feminist methodologies and their focus on power dynamics and intersectionalities allows for a more effective analysis of elite behaviour --- LSE being an elite university. I hope to report my findings to LSE career services so that they may improve their services for students.

#Participant Observation
I will conduct my research throughout a week during term time (January or Febuary) at the London School of Economics after project approval. I will go about my regular routines, while taking field notes on all career- related conversations. I will ask participants directly if I can use their comments anonymously for a participant observation. As a complete participant, I do not have to worry about access considerations, gatekeepers, stakeholders, and key contacts.
I will tell those involved that I am using my notes on communications about career information for my participant observation. As members of this course, they will already understand the implications and be fully informed participants, avoiding any ethical issues. There are no potential benefits and harms of the experiment.

Instructions regarding the interview: I will spend 20 minutes interviewing them at a two person table in at the Garrick at LSE.

What are your job plans after our masters?

  • Did you know that you wanted to work in that field before you started here?

  • if so: Have you learned anything interesting about the field in the course?

  • if so: From where did you learn about it? From peers? Or from Career services? Other?

  • Who? Could you please tell me their name? I will not use their name in the public report but will use it to see who is spreading the most information about jobs.

  • if not: How did you learn about the field? From peers or from Career services?

Have you looked at any specific companies in your chosen area?

  • How did you learn about them? From peers? Or from Career services? Other?
  • How much do you know about what its like to work there?
  • Where did you learn what you've learned about what its like to work there?
  • Have you gotten any references or introductions from peers?
  • Who? Could you please tell me their name? I will not use their name in the public report but will use it to see who is spreading the most information about jobs.
  • Have you gotten any references or introductions from career services?

How will you seek out information in the future about career opportunities? Peers? Or Carreer services? Any other?

Is there anything you think is important that we haven't mentioned?

If you want to follow up, you can text me at xxxx or message me at xxxx.

If you would like to withdraw from the study, tell me and your data will not be used.

To achieve a random sample, I will interview members of my MY421 seminar studying social and public communication. I will give each member of both groups a number selected by a random number generator, and reach out to members of both groups in order of their numbers untill I have enough interviews as specified by the course syllabus.

The greatest challenge I will face in my research will be maintaining reflexive subjectivity as a complete participant in my participant observation. I believe that any pretensions to objectivity are foolish and futile, as we can never put aside the cultural and genetic differences and biases that make us who we are. Rather, I believe that we should recognize our perspective and make our biases clear. Participant observation has been criticised for its inherent lack of objectivity for years (eg. Morris S. Schwartz and Charlotte Green Schwartz's 1955 work "Problems in Participant Observation." Thus, I will have to tread carefully, taking full advantage of the readings offered by the course and the resources offered by the program to maintain reflexive subjectivity.

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