This chapter describes the study's research questions, how its research design addressed these questions, the different phases of the study, the variety of different methods used, and the characteristics of the childcare workers who participated. One strength of the study design has been the use of qualitative and quantitative methods to provide different types of data and different levels of understanding. The Postal Survey sought to generate contextual information about the four groups of workers and their views of care work, and enabled researchers to identify cases for the biographical sample, including potential leavers. The biographical case study interviews captured individuals' life stories in all their depth and uniqueness and were thought to be particularly insightful into how care workers developed an ethic of care, entered, and became attached to childcare work. The interviews conducted with different tiers of management in local authorities, children's services, and care homes aimed to shed light on the organisational level that set the parameters for care work and its conditions.
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