The proposed research will extend the methodological approach (Dynamic Patterns Synthesis - DPS) applied within my Ph.D. thesis by further developing the data visualization of results to allow for quicker, and easier, identification of patterns, relationships, and trends as well as advance the communication of findings while developing a track record of publications within this emerging quantitative mixed methods discourse.
The DPS method is situated within complexity theory and configurational methods (Haynes, 2017). It was included in recent ESRC CECAN advice on policy evaluation methods supplied to the UK civil service (Bicket, et al, 2020). It combines the complementary strengths and weaknesses of cluster analysis (CA) and aspects of configurative approaches like qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) in a specific and longitudinal policy research situation. In its application within my thesis, it became evident that the DPS method provided an avenue for assessing and interpreting aspects of country convergence, as well as the changing patterns of convergence that exist within and between cases. In instances where complexity is high, such DPS interpretations are also subject to the researchers' epistemological and ontological approaches. This could sometimes make the understanding inadequate and in need of further research and theorizing.
For this reason, this project aims to advanced the application of the DPS method by applying it in an RStudio software package (creating a Java program or 'do-file') and include the application of 'Natural Language Programming' (documentary analysis) to complement the method. This is aimed at providing an additional layer to the analysis of complexity across cases and assist in establishing "a history of policy and other processes in relation to each of the cases in a representative sample of areas" (Byrne & Uprichard 2007, p. 50). Here, users of this method would also be able to identify similarities and differences in policy documents and this could be used to further interpret DPS results. Through the ESRC funding, I would further develop this advanced methodological approach and improve the data visualization of results while developing a track record of publications within this emerging quantitative mixed methods discourse.