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The use of research through methodoligies to achieve objectives

The purpose of this chapter is to accomplish the aim and objectives of this research through various methodologies. The appropriate research methodologies should put into consideration from initial stage of the research, which have been thoughtfully evaluated on the data collection and data analysis. According to Creswell (2003), research methodology references the procedural rules for the evaluation research desire and gathered of effective knowledge, while research design functions as the research blueprint.

Further clarifies by Sekaran (2003), research methodology is one of the important challenge for researcher established regulatory framework for the collection and evaluation of existent knowledge for the purpose of arriving at, and validating, new knowledge as this research the data collection was divided into two categories, desk study (secondary data) and fieldwork (primary data) will be carried out accordingly.

3.2 Research Purpose

Saunders et al (2000), clarifies there are three main research purposes to achieve the research activity which are the exploratory, the descriptive and explanatory purposes.

3.2.1 Exploratory

Exploratory research explores through focus on explains, exploratory research investigates a specified problem to discover new knowledge (Robson 2002). The researcher will review and gather the wide range of relevant literature on ICMS. This primary purpose require researcher to select the research topic including the aim and objectives. Researcher shall focus on the stakeholders in the field of study and linkage which able to determine the outcome of research.

3.2.2 Descriptive

In second research purpose, further collection and summarisation of literature review and pilot study enhance the research problem and issues. Punch (2000), explains the purpose of the descriptive research as collection, organisation and summarisation of information about the research problem and issues identified therein. Descriptive research entails the thorough examination of the research problem, for the specific purpose of describing the phenomenon, as in defining, measuring and clarifying it (Dane, 1990).

Questionnaire is design according to the factors which correlate to the research aim and objectives. Questionnaire design is dedicated for targeted stakeholders to adopt the feedback and produce data analysis. Case study including the brief interview can direct obtain the real experience from the rich experience relate with this study. Without limitation on guidance of questionnaire, the actual fact from case study enables to adopt the primary causes and effects, including the chances to clarify further details related to this study.

3.2.3 Explanatory

Explanatory purpose analyse the causes and effects of the relationship between user organisation culture and performance feature of ICM in this study. The analysis result provides clear information which allow contractor to procure the most suitable ICMS in order to minimise the time and cost overrun.

3.3 Data Collection

3.3.1 Primary data

Two primary data being adopt by researcher are Questionnaire survey and Case Study according to the aim and objectives of the research study as following Table 3.1:

Item

Research Objectives

Method of Primary Data

1

The major problem encountered by contractors in the use of ICMS for building construction industry within Selangor state of Malaysia.

Questionnaire Survey

2

Identify and gain insight into the strength and weaknesses of ICMS.

Questionnaire Survey

3

To review the impact of implementing ICMS for various building and construction projects.

Case Study

Table 3. : Aim and objectives of the research study

As mentioned by Fellows and Liu (1997), choice of research method is necessary to deal with different amount of resources available. The scope and depth required will affect according to the use of field work. Below Figure 3.1 shows the Breadth Vs Depth in “question-based” studies.

Questionnaire

Case Study

Interviews

(a)

(c)

(b)

Figure 3. : Breadth v. depth in ‘question-based’ studies (Fellows and Liu, 1997)

Survey techniques such as questionnaires and interviews allow researcher to achieve broad but shallow data. The postal questionnaire can only expect obtain 25% - 35% useful result after make allowance for ignore by respondents and invalid questionnaire feedback.

On the other hand, case study allow researcher go deep into the study but narrow outcomes. This narrow result from case study is essential for the research project organisation but not represent the whole contractor firm of construction industry within Selangor state.

The human interactions at various levels within organisation are indicated in Figure 3.2 below. This allow researcher to identify various research strategy to deal with different level of organisations for the research study.

Board

Executive

Operational Managers

Knowledge Workers Higher Potential ROI

Operations

Figure 3. : Human interactions at various levels in organisations (Alshawi and Ingirige, 2003)

Knowledge workers who enclose the highest potential of ROI have found that the most collaborative handle with ICMS operation. Therefore, members within this level have enough experience to answer the problem statement, strengths and weaknesses of ICMS application in their organisation. The advantages of questionnaire able to solve the issue of adopt data from numerous members. Due to the time constraint, such questions may have to be answered in the respondent’s own time rather than provided on the spot as is usually associated with interviews (Naoum, 2007).

Board or executive level within the organisation will concern on the outcome of ICMS implementation. Compare with knowledge workers, they are clearer and concern about the impact of ICMS within their organisations. Therefore, researcher apply case study and focus the particular members of the board or executive level to obtain real experience and data regarding the impact of ICMS within the organisation.

A) Questionnaire Survey

In order to facilitate data collection, an intensive questionnaire survey was conducted to fulfil the need of the research as the following Figure 3.3. Questionnaire must full preparation and tailored match with the first and second objectives of this research.

Literature review on ICMS

Compile all ICMS require data

Produce Questionnaire

Test and Review on Questionnaire

(Pilot Study)

Conduct Questionnaire Survey

Questionnaire Feedback

Formation of Data Summary and Tabulation

Analyse Data

Result, Findings & Recommendations

Final Report

Figure 3. : Flow chart of Questionnaire Survey procedures (Fellows and Liu, 1997)

Questionnaire survey is the main source for the research, questionnaire survey allow researcher collect accurate and reliable information within the allocated time frame. It has been the most widely used data collection technique for descriptive and analytical surveys in order to find out facts, opinions and views on current situations (Naoum, 1998).

According to Goh (2007) post-survey verification of results served as qualitative inputs as well as supporting the quantitative results. Such questionnaire can be helpful in collecting large volume of data on a limited budget and in a short time through a sample of a given population and therefore be used to test research hypotheses (Mandal et al., 1999). Figure 1.1 indicates the flow chart of Questionnaire Survey procedures in conducting this research.

Refer to Fellows and Liu (1997), there are two primary forms of questionnaire – open or closed. In order for respondents to answer the questionnaire easier and simple, closed questions apply for this research. However, it is difficult to design a simple and summary questionnaire for respondent to feedback in the appropriate box was short in order to ensure that it would not take more than 5-7 minutes to answer. Bored and long questionnaire will discourage the participation and influence the accuracy of respondents’ feedback answers. Therefore, researcher requires present the clear and straightforward questionnaire to gather the widespread information. The questionnaire included a paragraph defining research title, introduce to respondents so that they know clearly then only able to answer the questionnaire survey.

A five-point Likert scale was employed for scoring responses (1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree and 5 = strongly agree) to the questionnaire survey. Basically the questionnaire is divided into three main sections. The first section A: Demographic information, focus on the general information of respondents and responding companies. In this section, the researchers background such as class of contractor category, respondents and their companies years of experience in the construction industry, years of experience and amount of expenses in using ICMS.

There are two sub-sections in Section B: Major problem encounter by contractor during implementation of ICMS. The first sub-section B attempted to check the five factors of limitations and barriers. Meanwhile the second sub-section B, targeted to survey on four factors of resistance to change from company’s members.

Same as previous section, Section C questionnaire also consist of two sub-sections to identify and gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of ICMS. First sub-section C to identify the fourteen strength factors of ICMS including factors comply with 5-S objectives and requirements. The last sub-section of questionnaire consists of 2 questions to ensure the factors of weaknesses of ICMS.

The final questionnaire after carried out pilot study survey including the letter of consent, a sample letter of questionnaire survey attached in Appendix A were duplicated into 125 copies and distributed to contractor companies in Selangor state, Malaysia through email. The short cover letter of consent explains the descriptive purposes of the study to boost up the response rate.

Eventually, the survey was carried out within two weeks duration. While waiting for the respondents’ feedback, researcher prepares formation of data summary and tabulation for the analysis through computer software Microsoft Excel format.

As a result of this 24% was obtained, 30 respondents returned the questionnaire completely and the rest of 76% companies do not provide any respond.

B) Pilot Study

The first draft questionnaire was prepared and review by research supervisor for suggestion and comment. Researcher amends the questionnaire according to the comments and feedback from supervisor.

Full pilot study was conducted with two targeted course mate, an example of letter sent for the pilot study attached in Appendix B. One of the course mate suggested that the questionnaire should content the introduction of ICMS to ensure respondents able identify and much more understand the purpose of research topic survey.

Besides that, he also point out researcher should put in the definition of every single item for 5-S element in the questionnaire due to the reason of 5-S still consider not well-known by every respondent. Base on the recommendations from the above two respondents, the questionnaire was furnished and prepare for distribution.

C) Case Study

Case study allow researcher to obtain an in-depth analysis of the topic of study within the manpower or resource within the case study organisation itself. Author applies the Triangulation method from Fellows and Liu (1997) for the case study in this research. Triangulation allows author implement two or more research methods to identify the result analysis from case study as compare with aim and objectives of research. This method allow researcher to gain personal experience by refer the case study record and self-observations on project site.

3.3.2 Secondary data

As Creswell (2003) states, secondary data, which is an unobtrusive data collection method, depends on the location of pertinent and verifiable previously published academic studies and theories.

Secondary data for this study will begin with extensive quantitative research data relate with ICMS topic in order to understand the framework of the study. Further, main source of reference materials come from journals, article and dissertation related to the aim and objectives of this study allow researcher understand in depth about the issue discuss, application procedure, factor and causes, result and findings from other authors. Dr Naoum (2007) explains that journals contain wide range of perspectives and are comparatively more updated than books.

3.4 Research Approach

Both quantitative and qualitative approach will analyse the data gather in this study. As Punch (2000) emphasises, both approaches must be used in order to arrive at both an objective, measurable understanding of the phenomenon.

3.4.1 Quantitative Approach

Quantitative tools generate data analysis which presented in the form of numerical or statistical format. This calculation method provides the straightforward result to test the validity of aim and objectives of this research. This direct significant result from questionnaire allow researcher to recognise which the most and common factors influence contractors are during implement ICMS in Selangor state, Malaysia.

3.4.2 Qualitative Approach

Qualitative approach does not involve any numerical techniques or statistical format. It allow researcher to gain deep insight into the real experience including the causes and effects in the linkage among the objects in the study (Naoum 2007). Case study allows research to review the impact of implementing ICMS to the contractor’s firm by refer to the real experience.

3.5 Research Constraints

3.5.1 Research Constraints for Questionnaire

This primary data limit the respondent feedback within the answer indicated in the questionnaire design. No flexibility for respondent to do further clarification of alternative answer or discuss on latent issue of conditions in this study.

According to Dr. Naoum (2007), there are few main limitations of postal questionnaires, such as (a) must contain simple questions, (b) Inflexible technique, (c) Accuracy, (d) No control over respondents and (e) Industry fatigue. For this study, researchers faces the Accuracy issue while require questionnaire for proof, respondents may answer generally follow their public profile rather than the fundamental corporate reality.

3.5.2 Research Constraints for Case Study

Building construction contractors in Selangor state, Malaysia are the object targeted for case study in this study. The main constraint for case study in this research is due to the lack of available ICMS player within Malaysia building construction industry. There are only four contractor firm who adopt ICMS practice in their construction firm.

Besides the first contractor firm who implement ICMS practice accept for case study, most of the contractors still remain the old guard attitude refuse to provide information regarding this case study. They refuse to share the experience and knowledge, keep as private and confidential as the company asset. Application for case study has been rejected by the involved company. Some of them refuse to present substantial information has create the difficulty to accomplish this research study.

Besides that, the contract agreement in between contractors and ICMS software vendors result increase the complexity of case study due to the reason of contractors consider the ICMS as part of the asset for their software vendors. In order not to overpass the copyright of software vendors, contractor considers not deliver information regard ICMS to outsiders. Therefore, researcher face difficulty obtains the information from contractors or available information which is limited for this study.

To avoid the company interest conflict during compile the research data collection, author will keep conceal the company background and profile to maintain the private and confidential data obtain from the case study.

3.6 Data Analysis Methods

Once data collected, choice of data analysis method is required to obtain the results from the research. As stated by Dr. Naoum (2007), the descriptive statistics method is the simplest method of analysis which provides a general overview of the results. Frequency distribution summarised all the large amount of data collection and distribute according to category or class.

3.6.1 Questionnaire Analysis

Questionnaire analysis in this research consists of three sections and will present in pie charts and histograms (bar charts or column charts). First section will present under table format and pie charts for distribution frequency such as mean years of respondents working experience. Second section and third sections will present in histograms format through simple percentage calculation with listing the categories and percentage of replied rate.

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