Until recently, the practical aspects of research design were undervalued. When funds for social research were relatively plentiful, the business of obtaining funding for a project (or even a programme) could be seen as a tedious chore that had to be gone through before one got down to the serious business of doing research. If poor organisation and management meant that a project failed or was never properly completed, one would simply move on to a new project with little fretting over what went wrong or why. Textbooks on research design would focus almost exclusively on the niceties of designing research to test causal hypotheses, with scarcely a glance at the practical aspects of mounting a study (Ackoff, 1953; Krausz and Miller, 1974; Bynner and Stribley, 1978; Miller, 1992). As universities came under pressure to demonstrate their outputs and productivity, the organisation, management and funding of research attracted greater attention (O’Toole, 1971; Orlans, 1973; Bernstein and Freeman, 1975; Useem, 1976; Gibbons and Gummett, 1976; Piatt, 1976; Crawford and Perry, 1976; Abramson, 1978; Rossi, 1980; Kogan and Henkel, 1983; St Pierre, 1983).