Specialists in bespoke training and research
Use our cultural expertise to understand, improve and change your workplace culture. Specialists in masculine workplaces. Research, training and consultancy in all masculine workplaces including police and fire service with a particular emphasis on formal and informal cultures, modernisation, entreprenerial thinking, change management, resistance, racism, sexism and equality.   Women fire fighters, women in the fire service police, policing and equality in the police and fire service - the fitting-in website where academia and the fire service can meet to discuss fire service culture and other matters- a resource for research and consultancy for the fire and rescue service and firefighters and police and policing- Organised by Dr Dave Baigent this site provides a place to share and publish your own research, to look at what others have written about the fire and police service and to ask about our commercial offerings.


Academics are not the experts, managers are the experts but what fitting-in can do is to help managers to use their expertise.

Theory without practice is a waste - Practice without theory may just be dumb!



Baigent, D. (2000) Research some basic tips 2: what is research? http://fitting-in.com/research2.htm.

To help researchers in the fire service I will be producing a series of articles. The first follows and introduces research in a simple and easy to follow way. Email queries or questions direct to dave.baigent@fitting-in.com.

Research some basic tips 2.

To help researchers in the fire service I will be producing a series of articles. The first follows and introduces research in a simple and easy to follow way. Email queries or questions direct to dave.baigent@ntlworld.com.

There is a lot of research carried out in and on the fire service. In general terms most of this is in-house. It can take the form of a project completed at the Fire Service College, or when firefighters and officers take degrees at university. When research is done by insiders in this way the researcher has an enormous amount of experiential knowledge. This knowledge then informs the research process as it takes place. This can have advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, experiential knowledge can mean that the researcher is well informed on their subject. On the other hand, it can lead to the researcher having already made up their mind as to the results before even starting the research. In this second scenario, the research process hardly takes place at all, and the researcher just finds evidence to prove their case. This then leads to findings that are not really research based at all, but only designed to pass a test or examination. If this happens in the fire service, this type of research will often replicate a traditional view. It may also feed back to the instructor/lecturer the very views they have given to the student. Such research is unlikely to push at the boundaries of discovery. In affect, research of this type does little to add to knowledge, it just confirms that which has occurred before.

Confirming what has gone before is not necessarily wrong, but it is wrong if the basis for that confirmation is unsubstantiated. That is to say, the data collected to prove the case is actually biased towards doing that. People often forget what research is actually about. It is a process of collecting evidence and then analysing that evidence. The aim is to produce some work that reflects what is really happening. This can only be done if evidence is collected systematically and if all the evidence is reflected in the writing up. The researcher must remember that good research challenges what has gone before, by further testing to identify the relevance of earlier thoughts.

Let me say this another way that uses my experiential knowledge of the fire service. Testing a BA set takes place to prove that as far as possible the set will be perfectly safe to use at a fire. Most firefighters therefore test their set with the anticipation that it will pass the test. But they do this by trying to find evidence that proves the set is faulty. For example to test for the integrity of the set you observe the pressure gauge. If the needle moves when it should not, then the set fails the test.

Research is just like this, most researchers start off with some idea of what they are going to find. They then seek out data that will test their thoughts. Most people might think that the aim should be to corroborate what has gone before. However, the best way to do this is to look for data that challenges any earlier assumptions. All the time you should be testing your evidence, looking for dadta that may challenge your original analysis. When you find such evidence and include it in the analysis then you are on the road to providing good research.

Words to remember. Experiential knowledge of the fire service: knowledge gained from actually working in the fire service. Experiential knowledge of the fire service is often taken to mean knowledge of having been a firefighter and having attended operational incidents.

New words to remember

Researchers call evidence they gather during their research process ‘data’.

It is common to call a piece of research that has been written up a thesis, dissertation or paper.

Email queries or questions direct to dave.baigent@fitting-in.com

Do you want help with your bibliography?

Baigent, D. (2000) Research some basic tips 1:what is a bibliography and how do I make one? http://www.fitting-in.com/s/bib.htm

AND DON’T forget, if you want your work published on this site then send it to dave.baigent@fitting-in.com

Home -- 'A fire station for all' and other Swedish Work
Recent index of contributions on fire service matter -- Older index of contributions
Workshops on fire service culture and equality -- Educational Workshops -- Consultancy
Elite briefing/workshops --- Academic Reference Point -- Are you big enough to stand a snapshot cultural audit from fitting-in -- Cultural Audits ---- Audit Commission Report   'Rising to the Challenge' -- Snapshot Audits -- Research -- Problem solving by  fitting-in -- Support for degrees and masters qualifications -- Work completed over the years -- Impact AssessmentsEquality Action Plan
Labour Government's Equality and Diversity Strategy
One Decade On - Survey on women firefighters
C&LG firefighters survey 08
Draft papers for reading
Main Index
Contact us
Some things from Australia on equality
Melbourne DiversityConference
CV & References
Have you seen Ethos?
Audit Commission on equality
How do I send my writing to fitting-in for publication
What does fitting-in publish
How do I do research - some basic tips
Writing a bibliography
Reports from Government
Diversity Strategy
Contact us
Synopsis of papers on Open Government

References: See what The Swedish Fire Service, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Fire Services, Swedish MSB and Tom Carroll (Past president of CFOA ) and others have said.

Fitting-in can provide a cultural audit that not only feeds back on attitudes in your service it also provides an outside view on how your organisation is thinking at all levels that is supported by recommendations for focussing change.This is what Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service had to say about the Ethos research, communications and training project:

"The Service are delighted with the research and reports produced by "Fitting-in. We believe that your original hypothesis and work undertaken in Merseyside has resulted in a ground breaking piece of work that can only serve to inform the wider fire and rescue communities." 

For further information or just to talk about what fitting-in can provide ring Dr Dave Baigent (FIFireE) 07802 495 329 or email

Academic theory without practice is a waste - practice without theory may just be dumb

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