Gatekeepers In Research & Recruiting

Over the last two weeks I’ve had a really good response to my recruitment call for women in IT or women who have left careers in IT. I’m almost at a point where I can start arranging times with some of the women who have been in touch, which is really exciting. I get the feeling it’s possibly going to be a bit hectic, but… nothing’s ever straightforward. Not for me anyway. In addition to feeling excited (and nervous, and giddy, etc. etc.) I’m also feeling very grateful right now. Like, super grateful.

Gatekeepers In Research & Recruiting

I’m grateful for every single share and retweet my study has had so far. I’m grateful for my friends and family on Facebook passing out the flyer to people who might know someone who knows someone else. And you know what? I’m especially grateful for the gatekeepers.

A gatekeeper (Devers & Frankel, 2000) is someone who can give you a foot in the door. They can help you negotiate access to a particular sample, publicising and promoting your study within a group or organisation.

I’m still in contact with a lot of people from my brief stint in IT, and a few of my close friends have proved to be really great gatekeepers – passing on my study details to their colleagues and other industry contacts. I’ve also had great responses from certain course leaders and administrators at Leeds Met in a bid to recruit students for my women working towards careers in IT groups, though I’m a little sad that the uptake in that particular group has been low. Chalking it up to exam/coursework season for now, but will have to think about alternative ways of reaching this population, or widening my net a little.

Amazingly useful for recruiting women currently working in IT have been the good people running community groups and events such as Agile Yorkshire and Leeds Girl Geeks. Fantastic, efficient people that have sent a bunch of potential participants my way. Reaching out on Twitter has been great for me, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone needing to advertise a study. That tiny character limit really makes you think about your key points!

The gender gap in IT is something that needs to be addressed, and it’s great that I’ve found like-minded gatekeepers who have been willing to help me out.

Like I said, super grateful.

North West Gender Conference

Next week I’m speaking about my meme research at the NW Gender Conference in Lancaster. It’ll be my first conference paper, so erm… wish me luck and nice things? I don’t generally do nervous, usually I get nervous AFTER something stressful. I think I’m more excited than nervous – hoping for a supportive environment and some fresh feedback on the memes chapter. I’m also really looking forward to seeing fellow Leeds Met PhD lovely Gemma Ahearne (aka @princessjack) speaking there. If nothing else it’s a day away from the computer!

Are you speaking at any conferences or events soon?

Care to share some tips with a total newb like me? 

4 Replies to “Gatekeepers In Research & Recruiting”

  1. I had no idea this would be your first paper! What a great conference choice. I am really excited to hear your paper and get to share research experience/ Thanks for the shout out :-).

    1. No problem Gemma – I’m really looking forward to hearing yours too. With us both not being in the office much (ships in the night, etc.) it’ll be good to hear what you’re up to 😀

  2. Hey Jessica, I’m one of the cofounders of Leeds Girl Geeks and also the local editions of TEDWomen in Leeds and Bradford.

    Thanks for the kind words and if there’s anything I can do to help, do let me know… will definitely be interested in your findings, maybe we can tempt you to talk about them at a future event 🙂

    1. That would be brilliant – I’d love to, and I will definitely be in touch when I have some findings to talk about. Thanks again for your retweets, and if you can think of anyone else who might be interested in taking part do pass my details along.

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