Publication - Research and analysis

Review of Autism Network Scotland

Published: 15 Sep 2016
Community Health and Social Care Directorate
Part of:
Health and social care

Review to inform the development of any future Autism Network Scotland, or other strategic delivery partner.

49 page PDF

521.0 kB

49 page PDF

521.0 kB

Review of Autism Network Scotland
4 Methods and approach

49 page PDF

521.0 kB

4 Methods and approach

4.1 This chapter describes the methodology for the review, including both the data collection and the approach to the analysis.

4.2 There are three distinct elements to the data collection which have been undertaken for the review as follows: i) a (desk based) documentary review ii) interviews with ANS and University of Strathclyde staff and iii) stakeholder interviews. Each of these is described briefly below. Further details of the documentary review, together with the topics covered in the interviews are set out in Annex 2.

Documentary review

4.3 A desk based documentary review was undertaken using material provided by both the Scottish Government and ANS staff. (See Annex 2 for details.)

4.4 The ANS website was also examined to ascertain i) what materials and resources were available there and ii) how the website was organised.

Interviews with Autism Network Scotland and University of Strathclyde staff

4.5 The following interviews were conducted with ANS and University of Strathclyde staff:

  • Individual interviews with senior ANS staff (the National Autism Lead Co-ordinator, the Autism Network Scotland Co-ordinator and the National Autism Project Manager)
  • A group interview with the (3) ANS advisers
  • Individual interview with the ANS communications officer (the other administrative officer left her post in December 2015)
  • Individual interview with the Research and Knowledge Exchange Support ( RaKET) Team Manager with responsibility for the financial management of the Autism Network Scotland project grant at University of Strathclyde.

4.6 In addition, the Project Development Lead for SharePoint at the Centre for excellence for looked after children in Scotland ( CELCIS), University of Strathclyde provided a demonstration of the SharePoint management information system which CELCIS currently uses, and ANS is planning to adopt.

Stakeholder interviews

4.7 A total of 38 stakeholder interviews were conducted. Twenty-two (22) individuals who are members of the Governance Group and / or Working Groups were interviewed. In addition, a further 16 individuals were selected for interview. This latter group comprised: autism leads within local authorities (8) and the NHS (1); academics (2 - both of whom hold joint appointments within the NHS); third sector service providers (3); a consultant (1); and a volunteer (1). This latter group is referred to in what follows as the group of 'wider stakeholders'.

4.8 Sixteen (16) of the Governance Group / Working Group members and one (1) wider stakeholder were interviewed face-to-face. The remaining 21 interviews were by telephone. Each face-to-face interview lasted 1-1.5 hours, whilst telephone interviews took 15-45 minutes.

4.9 The topic coverage for the interviews is set out in Annex 2. A complete list of stakeholders who participated in the review is attached at Annex 3.

Approach to analysis

4.10 The analysis of the material is presented in Chapters 5 and 6.

4.11 In Chapter 5, the analysis has been structured around the four overarching aims set out for the review (see paragraph 1.4 above) namely :

  • The impact of ANS to date
  • Current governance and financial arrangements
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the current model
  • The future role of such a network.

A section for 'other issues' has also been included to cover material which stakeholders raised but which does not fit within the four main sections.

4.12 In Chapter 6, the focus is on the defining and measuring of outcomes, with particular reference to the Scottish Strategy for Autism Outcomes Approach.

4.13 The analysis draws mainly on the documentary review, the views of stakeholders, and the interview with the representative of the University of Strathclyde finance department; the interviews with ANS staff have been used mainly to aid understanding of the role and activities of the network and are only occasionally reported on directly.

4.14 In order to preserve the confidentiality of stakeholders, the attribution of comments has been restricted to a 2-way breakdown of stakeholders into: i) Governance Group members and ii) Wider Stakeholders. As appropriate, more specific subgroups (e.g. local authorities, the NHS, third sector organisations, national autism organisations) have been referred to in the text.


Email: Annette Pyle,