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3.5.2 Alternative Research Methods
Online questionnaires have been conducted for this study, as it turned out to be the best method to gather the information needed. This is because other data collection methods such as interviews and focus groups were not feasible as the participants had a very busy programme and couldn’t make an appointment to visit them and collect the information face to face. According to Kahn and Cannell, (1957) cited in Saunders et.al (2007) interviews are a purposeful discussion between two or more people. The use of interviews can help in the gathering of valid and reliable data that are relevant to a research question. The advantage of interviews is that they allow for explanation (Bryman and Burgess, 1994) but also allow for individuals who possess special knowledge who are willing to share their knowledge with someone else (Crabtree and Miller, 1999; Heeley et.al, 2003). However, this method could not be implemented as the potential interviewees had a busy programme and acted as an obstacle to complete this kind of method.
On the other hand, focus groups are groups of people who have been brought together to discuss a specific topic in depth. A moderator usually leads the discussion of the group which is usually made up from 4-6 or 7-10 people (Maholtraet.al, 2006). Focus groups are a very useful tool for collecting relevant and reliable data. The discussion allows the moderator to investigate complex behaviour such as what different people think about a certain topic and why they hold such views. Maholtraet.al (ibid) continues suggesting that a key advantage of this type of discussion is that it can be very creative with different people sitting in a relaxed environment. In addition, for this study, focus groups were difficult to conduct as it would be difficult to bring the group together and difficult to access them
Therefore the most suitable way to conduct the research was by using online questionnaires. The research aim and the objectives of the study have led in the use of questionnaires as it would help in the gathering of effective and consistent data as these questionnaires were distributed to people who possess special knowledge in the field of management. Nevertheless, using intranet-mediated questionnaires it helped in the control of the situation and control the order of the questions and stick to the research topic as with the alternative methods, information could be irrelevant and escape from the main subjects. The process of conducting the participants was by visiting them in Cyprus at their offices. The researcher intended to do face to face interview, but this was not possible due to the fact that the potential interviewees had lots of work to do and it has been difficult to find time and arrange an appointment for the interviews to be made. Therefore, the next thing that the researcher did was by conducting them by telephone, letting them know who the researcher was and what was trying to achieve in the research study. Then the researcher informed them that they would receive a questionnaire to their emails and kindly asked them to answer the questionnaire.
3.5.3 Research Instrument Design
The research instrument for this study as stated before was intranet mediated questionnaires as the data collection method. Intranet-mediated questionnaire is like an online questionnaire. The rise in internet usage and computer-mediated communication has had an impact on the research community (Wright, 2005 cited in Skiadas C, 2010). Perhaps the most apparent advantage of using online questionnaires is cost, time and the removal of geographical and temporal boundaries (Wright, 2005; O’Neill, 2004). According to O’Neill (2004) there is evidence to suggest that online questionnaires obtain a higher number of responses than paper based questionnaires. However, some of the disadvantages of using online questionnaire are the lack of respondents with internet access, not everyone has internet access and the skills to use the internet but also the lack of support of clarification of the questions (Kenneth and James, 2013).
However, the employees of the organisation managed to answer the intranet mediated questionnaire and send it back to the researcher. The questionnaire was consisting of closed questions (see Appendix A) in the form of multiple choice so that it would be easier for the respondents to answer. Intranet mediated questionnaires are usually directed in one of two ways via email or via a website (Hewsonet.al, 2003). For this study the researcher chosen to direct the questionnaires via email and the confidence that the right person would respond has been achieved. Another reason for choosing intranet mediated questionnaire was to reach particular persons as respondents. Furthermore, the questionnaire was divided into two sections. First one being the Finance Sector and the second one is the Business Performance Section. The researcher intended to reach a respondent from the finance department and another from the business’s operations department. The first step to conduct the research was to get in touch with the organisation’s employees and inform them that they will receive an email from the researcher including some instructions on how to answer the questionnaire. After this process, the questionnaires have been send and the researcher allowed time to the respondents to answer the questionnaire. In this case, the researcher had a list of questions that needed to be covered and the process of identifying these questions and topics were directly linked to the research study but also to the literature themes. This means that from each topic (Finance and Business Perfomance Sections) the researcher could explore different aspects required in order to achieve and meet the aim and the objectives of the study (Saunders et.al, 2007).The questions included in the intranet mediated questionnaire were based on the research objectives and the first section of the intranet mediated questionnaire was based on Finance. These questions arise from the ratio analysis and the second section which is the Business Performance was mainly focused on the operations of CYTA and the competition within the Telecommunications Industry.
The sampling strategy that will be implemented for this study is purposive sampling. Purposive sampling enables the researcher to use his judgment to select cases that will best enable him to answer the research aim and meet the objectives (Saunders et.al, 2007). Neuman (2000) cited in Saunders et.al (2007), suggests that ‘this form of sample is often used when working with very small samples and when the cases are particularly informative.’ Therefore the method of choosing the participants will be according to the information that the research questions were trying to ascertain. Since the case study is based on CYTA it is best to gather information from the organisation’s financial department since those people are experts in this field and will have the knowledge to share their thoughts.