Overview and Analysis of Research Methodologies
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Published: Mon, 11 Dec 2017
This chapter presents the research methodologies adopted for the research. A combination of both qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches was adopted by the researcher in order to attain a realistic result from the research. Specifically, the chapter discusses the range of methods used by the researcher for the research, research philosophy, research strategy and research methods used to gain data and data analysis.
Research philosophy is about the system in which the research problem should be fundamentally approached, and this includes: positivism, realism and interpretivism. (Davies, 2007)
Positivism: The roots of positivism lie particularly with empiricism, which works with observable facts. The basic philosophy behind positivism is that, all factual knowledge is based on the positive information gathered from observable experience, and that any idea beyond this realm of demonstrable fact is metaphysical. Only analytic statements are allowed to be known as true, through reason alone. (Davies, 2007)
Interpretivism is a view that believes that the world and reality are not objective and external, but are socially constructed and given meaning by people. This view is usually referred to as the qualitative approach and is based on an inductive procedure (Rea and Parker, 2006).(why appropriate to use)
Saunders et al (2003) defines realism that is based on the belief that a reality exists that is autonomous of human thoughts and beliefs, and that can influence their perceptions either consciously or unconsciously. Management and Business research is often a mixture between positivist and interpretivist, perhaps reflecting the stance of realism. (Scheurich, 2007)
The research issues will try to find out, the extent of employee involvement in the implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM) in PZ Industries (NIG.) PLC as a case study. What they do well or not in this regard. Thus, the research philosophy is interpretivism rather than positivism.
Deciding which research method will be adopted depending on what research philosophy is adopted is relevant in a research, Rea and Parker, (2006). For positivism, a deductive process involves the development of a conceptual and theoretical standpoint prior to its testing through empirical observation while for interpretivism, it involves an inductive procedure which is the reverse of deductive process. Interpretivism involves reflecting on recent and past experiences (Davies, 2007). Realism accommodates the use of both deductive and inductive processes (Scheurich, 2007). The research philosophy for this research is interpretivism; therefore, an inductive procedure is adopted.(why is it appropriate)
A research strategy is the plan for the researcher to carry out his research. The main research strategies include experiment, survey and case study etc. The chosen research strategy for this research is the case study.
According to Davies, (2007), case study is the development of detailed, intensive knowledge about a single case, or a small number of related cases. The advantages of using case study include: the detailed observations surrounding the case study method, allow us to study many different parts, scrutinize them in relation to each other, view the process with its total environment and also utilize the researcher’s capacity for versatility. As a result, case study provides us with a greater prospect than other available methods to obtain a holistic view of a specific research; this is not to say that researches based on case study have no shortcomings.
A common criticism of case study is that it provides a limited basis for the traditional “scientific generalisation”. (Gomm, 2009)(explain what it means and introduce your company briefly and of what benefit will it be to the organisation)
Data collection is the most crucial process in a research or study and it comprises of two types: the primary data and the secondary data (Scheurich, 2007)
(Cancell this section entirely, it is not necessary) instead put multi-method approach i.e, why have you choosen questionnaire and interview methods) expantiate with reasons in your own words
According to Scheurich, (2007), secondary data is that which the author has not been responsible for gathering ‘first-hand’. It therefore includes all the data gathered by someone else and presented in a variety of forms, such as journal articles, reports, archive materials, companies annual reports, newspapers and magazines, conference papers, internet and books etc.
For this research, the secondary data collection related to TQM and employee involvement in the implementation and the objectives of this research mainly come from books, journal articles and internet search.
According to Scheurich, (2007), primary data is any data which the author has obtained ‘first-hand’ from its original source as part of the ‘applied’ aspect of his research. It therefore, does not include any data previously gathered by anyone else. Hence, primary data sources include: individual enquiry in the form of observation, conversations, questionnaires, interviews etc.
For this study, telephone interview and questionnaire will be used for collecting the primary data.(why is it useful and possible barriers to it in your own words & opinion)
Questionnaires are one of the most widely used data collection strategy. It provides an efficient way of collecting responses from a large sample prior to quantitative analysis, because each respondent is asked to respond to the same set of questions. (Saunders et al, 2003). Questionnaires can be associated with both positivism and interpretivism approaches of research. The response rate, the reliability and validity of data collected are two key criteria to a good questionnaire. (Scheurich, 2007)
According to Davies, (2007), three main techniques exist in exploring peoples’ opinion and attitudes. These include:
Closed questions: the respondent is required to select between a limited numbers of answers.
Open-ended question: the participant is allowed to use his discretion in providing any answer to the questions and it’s either written down, verbatim or the researcher is armed with a list of probable pre-determined responses.
Scales: limited choice of answers has been chosen to measure an attitude, an intention or some aspect of the participant’s behaviour. The key to designing scalar questions is to decide on what should be measured and then to select the relevant attributes by which they can be rated.
In this study, closed questions and scalar questionnaire will be used.(explain why you used it properly in your words & opinion)
Questionnaire design is important to quantitative data collection. Most of the style of the quantitative method is attitude scaling. There is an example question ‘Reward system’ below
Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
I am satisfied with –
the organisation’s reward system 1 2 3 4 5
The advantages of choosing questionnaire method are time saving for participants and guarantee the accuracy of questionnaires, because the pattern of questions are the same .The next stage is to identify the number of sample(say how you encouraged them to do so). The questionnaire will be designed with 25 questions in four A4 papers(because……………….). There are about 400 people in PZ Industries (NIG.) PLC head office in Lagos, comprising of 5 departments and the questionnaire will be distributed to 100 people who are working in different departments and holding different job positions (managers and employees). Based on the number of people working in each department, the questionnaire will be distributed in the following order:
HRM department = 30
Purchasing department = 20
Product department = 15
Finance department = 10
Marketing department = 25
Before this explain the rationale behind your choosing this departments and how they were encouraged to participate)
Because of the long distance, the distribution and collection of questionnaires will be e-mailed to the researcher’s friend who is equally a manager in one of the branches of PZ Industries (NIG.) PLC at IIupeju, in Lagos state. He will print 100 questionnaire copies and help the researcher to distribute and collect these questionnaires, then post to the researcher.( more on question design like objectives and questions that answers them)
According to Scheurich, (2007), interviews are associated with positivist and interpretivist philosophies. This is an approach where the selected respondents are asked questions about what they do, think or feel. A positivist method suggests ‘closed questions’ which have been designed prior to distribution. An interpretivist method suggests ‘unstructured questions’, where the questions have not been designed in advance. There are five different interview styles: structured interview, semi-structured interview, focus group interview and telephone interview.(which did you choose and reason because , reason problemstec)
Although the questionnaire has provided the researcher with the main data about what PZ Industries (NIG.)PLC does well or not in the involvement of employees in the implementation of TQM from the participants, the reasons and thoughts of their opinion cannot be ascertained. Thus, four telephone interviews will be utilized in this research (the CEO who is very familiar with the organization, HR manager who knows the employees needs and wants and their level of motivation in doing their job, the marketing manager who well know marketing and front- line employees, Product manager who well knows about quality of their products and back-line employees). The purpose of the interview is to find out what is, in the mind of the interviewee that cannot be known directly (Scheurich, 2007). The interview method is a very good complement to the questionnaire.
Telephone interview allows interviews sometimes with individuals otherwise not accessible because of one reason or the other. It therefore involves speed, access and lower cost. There are also disadvantages with interview method for qualitative data. This particularly relates to the complexity in establishing the needed trust, usually so important for obtaining this type of data (Davies, 2007). However, in this research, the researcher is quite familiar with these interviewees, so this eliminates the problem associated with trust when interviewing people over the phone.
The findings from above analysis will be linked to theories and opinions with the intention of drawing a conclusion and making adequate recommendation.
data requirement table with how each objective each objective is been meant ie.like the one you did befor but put obj I : question so and so 1 ,7 ,8,23)
(what questions dis you ask and why ,link to objectives)
and refer to interview schedule appendix that you have prepared and refer to them)
Whatever your research questions and objectives, you will need to collect data to answer them. If you collect and analyse data from every possible case or group, it is referred to as census, but for many research questions and objectives, it will be impossible for the researcher ,either to collect or analyse all the available data, owing to restrictions of time, money and often access (Saunders et al, 2003).
According to Saunders et al,( 2003), sampling technique provide a wide range of methods that enable the researcher to minimize amount of data the researcher need to collect, by considering only data from a subgroup, rather than all possible cases or elements, and which can be categorised into two broad groups of probability sampling and non-probability sampling. Probability samples, are notable by the fact that each population element has a known, non zero chance of being selected in the sample, but with non-probability samples, the reverse is the case, where there is no way of estimating the probability that any population element will be included in the sample, and thus, there is no way of ensuring that the sample is representative of the population.
This study will be based on non- probability sampling because the sample size is not critical. The size of the interview is 4 persons, and for the questionnaire, it is 100. The choice of interviews within the sample will be based on managers holding different job positions in the organisation and whose ability to contribute meaningfully to the topic under research is not in doubt.
Quantitative data analysis can be categorized into two types: descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics deals with quantitative data that are summarised or displayed in the form of charts, tables, percentages and averages. This type of statistical method is commonly used in management research for analysing data obtained from investigations of a limited nature (Davies, 2007)
Inferential statistics may involve the application of descriptive statistics, but have the main aim of drawing results from the data with regard to a theory, model or body of knowledge. Also, this frequently involves reaching a conclusion from a ‘sample’ to generalize to the ‘total population’. This type of statistical method is therefore important to those whose research undertaking is based on positivism (Davies, 2007)
The research philosophy for this research is interpretivism, thus, an inductive process is adopted. Therefore, the descriptive statistics is adopted in this study, because the questionnaires are to be collected from limited respondents and using SPSS (Statistical package for social sciences) or Excel to analyse the data. A percentage table will clearly show the results of the same sort of questions. Take sample question as an example
From the above table, it can be seen that most of the employees at PZ Industries (NIG.)PLC are not satisfied with the reward system in place in the organisation, thus, the organisation is not doing well in this aspect to motivate employees to put in their best, in the implementation of TQM strategy.(how did you you analyse the qualitative data like…giving iterpterations to what was said duing the interview session……. and quantitative data Ms excel (reason and why talk more please)
The results from 4 interviews and 100 participants in PZ Industries (NIG.) PLC may not be representative of what would be found in the larger number of employees. The people invited to take part in the questionnaire, may influence the outcome, because some respondents may respond in a way that the organisation want them to respond, rather than giving their genuine opinion, because of fear of repercussions.
The researcher would have preferred to interview more of the employees at PZ Industries (NIG.)PLC by himself, instead of relying on the marketing manager and product manager to give the opinion of front-line employees and back-line employees respectively during the interview, but this was not possible because of distance problem.
Sample distribution was also limited by distance; the researcher could not personally distribute and collect the questionnaires, so, maybe respondents to the questionnaire at PZ Industries (NIG.)PLC may not cover all departments as intended.
(ETHIC CONSIDERATIONS……..ONE OR FOUR PARAGRAPHS)
EXAMPLE : SPEAK ON CONFIDENTIALITY AND GIVE REASON MAYBE TO REASSURE THEM ETC AND LOOK FOR OTHER REASON YOU CONSIDERED LIKE ……THEN GIVE REASON …….LOOK AT APPENDIX 1)
*** Generally ,put every thing in past tense as if you have done it)
****(your data anlysis should be change to findings and conclusions as chapter four as in the paper she gave you in discussion @ office)
**** conclusions and recommendations as chapter 5
*** write an action plan and reflective statement(5 pages of refective statement) like u did with hrm in context despite u telling them u don’t need cipd , she said it’s a requirement)
(multi method approach)
Multiple Methods in ASR
by Jerry A. Jacobs, Editor, American Sociological Review
In recent years, the American Sociological Review (ASR) has featured papers based exclusively on ethnographic research (e.g., Timmermans, 2005), interview data (e.g., Tyson et al., 2005), and sociological theory (e.g., Frickel and Gross, 2005). However, a series of papers that combine different types of data and approaches in the same study are especially noteworthy. One quarter of the papers I have accepted for publication in ASR since becoming editor in 2003 draw on more than one research method. This brief essay highlights some of the ways that authors have employed such multi-method1 research to provide a more informative account of the social world.
Interviews and Surveys
Several authors of ASR papers have conducted interviews in order to refine the questions employed in a subsequent statistical analysis. In this approach, the qualitative investigation helps to clarify the nature of the issues under investigation, but the “real proof” is presented in the statistical analysis. For example, Benson and Saguy (2005) interviewed 150 journalists, politicians, activists, and academics in their study of the media coverage of social problems in the United States and France. However, the empirical heart of their article was a statistical analysis of 750 articles on immigration and 685 articles on sexual harassment in these two countries. Similarly, Uzzi and Lancaster (2004) conducted in-depth interviews with a small number of lawyers and clients before embarking on a study of social ties and pricing patterns in large U.S. law firms.
Qualitative data play a more central role in the research of Cherlin and his colleagues (2004) on abuse in families. After conducting a survey of more than 2,000 families, Cherlin et al. followed up on 256 of these families with a series of repeated, open-ended interviews over a period of 12-18 months. They found that reports of abuse surfaced increasingly as respondents came to know the researchers over this extended series of interviews. Thus, in this study, qualitative data played a key role in obtaining a more complete and accurate measurement of the phenomenon under investigation.
Qualitative data are also sometimes used to help clarify the meaning of the responses to survey questions and to better understand the social processes that might produce broad outcome patterns. For example, Edgell (forthcoming) and colleagues interviewed respondents in four cities to follow up their national survey of attitudes toward atheists. The qualitative data helped establish that attitudes toward atheists are not generally the result of face-to-face encounters but rather represent a symbolic affirmation of the role of religion and skepticism about the moral standing of those who would reject a role for religion in their lives. Similarly, Giordano and colleagues (forthcoming) conducted a survey of more than 1,000 adolescents and then asked more detailed, open-ended questions of a subset of 100 respondents. They drew conclusions about gender differences in confidence, engagement, and power from both types of data.
Multiple Quantitative Approaches
Multi-method studies are not limited to the blending of qualitative and quantitative research but can also appear in the artful combination of different quantitative methods in the same study. Pager and Quillian (2005), for example, combined a social experiment with a follow-up survey in their study of racial discrimination in hiring practices. The first portion of their study uses an “audit” methodology, sending “testers” to apply for jobs at various employers who had advertised positions. This experiment is designed to compare the success of Black and White applicants who are portrayed (fictitiously) as having or not having criminal records. Pager and Quillian returned to the same employers six months later to conduct a survey of the employer’s attitudes about hiring different types of employees. In addition to uncovering discrepancies between employers’ deeds versus words, this follow-up survey allowed a comparison of the insights that can be gained from survey versus experiment.
In another case, You and Khagram (2005) combined aggregate national data (i.e., one data point per country) with a multi-level statistical analysis of survey data from 30 countries. They used the survey data to bolster their claim that countries with more inequality have more corruption because there is a higher normative acceptance of corruption in countries characterized by higher levels of inequality.
Historical studies often combine various types of data. For example, Somers and Block (2005) principally examined historical documents in their investigation of welfare reform in Great Britain in the 1830s and the United States in the 1990s. They supplement this qualitative analysis of political texts with a statistical portrait of welfare expenditures before and after reform in both countries. Similarly, Riley (2005) draws on archival, statistical, and spatial data in his study of the connection between civil society and the rise of fascism in Italy and Spain. Wilde’s (2004) study of the success of the reform movement during Vatican II is primarily a qualitative analysis of archival documents, but her summary of the vote counts is an indispensable element in her story. Molnar’s (2005) study of debates among Hungarian architects drew on interview data as well as historical documents and supporting statistics. The 1950s time period she studied is recent enough that participants were still alive and available for interviews.
Schwartz and Schuman’s (2005) paper, “History, Commemoration and Belief,” draws from an especially broad range of sources. They show that while the reputation of President Lincoln as a great leader has remained strong, the basis for this belief has shifted from Lincoln as the “savior of the union” before the Civil Rights movement to Lincoln as the “great emancipator” since that time. They support this claim using data from surveys conducted over a 50-year period, as well as analyses of history textbooks, the writings of leading historians, and cultural symbols such as statues and memorials. Their theoretical point is that the study of commemoration as portrayed in statues and celebrated in parades should be accompanied by research on how these commemorative activities are received, as tapped by surveys and other measures of popular beliefs. Thus, in their view, a complete assessment of issues of collective memory requires multiple sources of data.
While multi-method research can be a fruitful research strategy, this approach is neither necessary nor sufficient for completing a high-quality study. Designing, collecting, and analyzing data from across diverse methodological styles is often only possible under the aegis of a large research project. Dissertation writers, for example, may wish to combine methods but may lack the time and money to complete each facet of the study effectively. Many seasoned investigators also face obstacles that put this strategy out of reach. Moreover, the presentation of different types of data in a single article presents its own challenges.
For example, space constraints may prevent the full presentation of qualitative findings. It can be difficult to achieve a substantive and stylistic balance between diverse genres of research. And sometimes different sorts of data speak to somewhat different issues. In short, multi-method papers present their own challenges and thus require at least as much skill and insight to be effective as do single-method studies.
Many sociologists view the social world as a multi-faceted and multi-layered reality that reveals itself only in part with any single method. While there are precedents for most if not all of the approaches described above, their use by so many scholars is striking. Multi-method research is more common in the context of journal articles than was the case a decade or two ago. It is also significant that so many sociologists are combining methods rather than trying to herald a single approach as the right way or the best way.
1 I use “multiple-method research” to refer to studies that draw on data from more than one source and present more than one type of analysis. Such research often, but not always, combines quantitative and qualitative data.Hierarchical linear models typically draw on data from different sources but combine them in a single statistical analysis. Studies that exclusively rely on this very useful method would not qualify as multi-method. Of the 66 papers I have accepted for publication thus far, nearly 26 percent (17) fit my multi-method definition.
Benson, Rodney and Abigail C. Saguy. 2005. “Constructing Social Problems in an Age of Globalization: A French-American Comparison.” American Sociological Review 70(2):233-259.
Cherlin, Andrew J., Linda M. Burton, Tera R. Hurt, and Diane M. Purvin. 2004. “The Influence of Physical and Sexual Abuse on Marriage and Cohabitation.” American Sociological Review 69(6):768-789.
Edgell, Penny, Joseph Gerteis, and Douglas Hartmann. Forthcoming. “Atheists as ‘Other’: Moral Boundaries and Cultural Membership in American Society.” American Sociological Review.
Frickel, Scott and Neil Gross. 2005. “A General Theory of Scientific/Intellectual Movements.” American Sociological Review 70(2):204-232.
Giordano, Peggy, Monica A. Longmore, and Wendy D. Manning. Forthcoming. “Gender and the Meaning(s) of Adolescent Romantic Relationships: A Focus on Boys.” American Sociological Review.
Molnar, Virag. 2005. “Cultural Politics and Modernist Architecture.” American Sociological Review 70(1):111-135.
Pager, Devah and Lincoln Quillian. 2005 “Walking the Talk? What Employers Say Versus What They Do.” American Sociological Review 70(3):355-380.
Riley, Dylan. 2005. “Civic Associations and Authoritarian Regimes in Interwar Europe: Italy and Spain in Comparative Perspective.” American Sociological Review 70(2):288-310.
Schwartz, Barry and Howard Schuman. 2005. “History, Commemoration, and Belief: Abraham Lincoln in American Memory, 1945-2001.” American Sociological Review 70(2):183-203.
Somers, Margaret and Fred Block. 2005. “From Poverty to Perversity: Ideas, Markets, and Institutions over 200 Years of Welfare Debate.” American Sociological Review 70(2):260-287.
Timmermans, Stefan. 2005. “Suicide Determination and the Professional Authority of Medical Examiners.” American Sociological Review 70(2):311-333.
Tyson, Karolyn, William Darity Jr., and Domini Castellino. 2005. “It’s Not a Black Thing: Understanding the Burden of Acting White and Other Dilemmas of High Achievement.” American Sociological Review 70(4):582-605.
Uzzi, Brian and Ryon Lancaster. 2004. “Embeddedness and Price Formation in the Corporate Law Market.” American Sociological Review 69(3):319-344.
Wilde, Melissa. 2004. “How Culture Mattered at Vatican II: Collegiality Trumps Authority in the Council’s Social Movement Organizations.” American Sociological Review 69(4):576-602. American Sociological Review 70(1):136-157.
THE POTENTIAL AND THE PROBLEM
An extraordinary surge in the methodological diversity of clinical research studies has occurred during the past 2 decades, with a recent dramatic rise in the scope and sophistication of mixed methods designs.1,2 Mixed methods (also known as multimethod) research involves integrating quantitative and qualitative approaches to generating new knowledge3 and can involve either concurrent or sequential use of these 2 classes of methods to follow a line of inquiry.4,5 Combining methods activates their complementary strengths and helps to overcome their discrete weaknesses.6 Increasingly, integrated mixed methods designs allow researchers to follow emerging questions, rather than limiting their research to questions that are amenable to a particular method.7 Multimethod research brings together numbers and narratives, description, hypothesis testing, hypothesis generation, and understanding of meaning and context to provide fuller discernment and greater transportability of the phenomenon under study.
In the past, proponents of quantitative and qualitative methods have been divided into separate camps with different skills and world views.8 The benefits of integrating these methods, however, are increasingly recognized and acted on in the medical and health care arena,1,2,6 as they have been for a longer time in the ethnographic tradition from anthropology and the case study tradition from educational research.7,9 Among many examples, a 1999 National Institutes of Health task force issued guidelines for rigorous qualitative and multimethod research.10 Two years ago, the (US) National Cancer Institute hosted a conference on mixed methods research that identified multimethod research as an important approach to solving some of the most intractable problems in cancer control research. An article by the Medical Research Council on the design and evaluation of complex interventions to improve health11 identified the use of mixed methods as essential.
Even so, the dramatic advances in the scope and sophistication of conducting mixed methods research have not been met with parallel progress in ways of disseminating the results of mixed methods studies. From our point of view, a major dilemma is that the results of multimethod studies often are segregated in different publications that reach limited and often nonclinical audiences. For example, Wilson and colleagues12 reported in JAMA on the ineffectiveness of nicotine gum in smoking cessation, while in Social Science and Medicine, Willms13 reported qualitative findings from the same study that the meaning patients attributed to their cigarettes was more influential in stopping smoking than either counseling or nicotine gum. Both articles have important messages, but the JAMA article does not reference the other, and they are published in journals with very different readers. Thus, different fields only come to know part of the research—reminiscent of the story of the 4 blind men each feeling a different part of the elephant and thus unable to develop a coherent idea of the whole.
Davies, M., B., (2007) Key Concepts in Social Research Methods, New York, Palgrave, Macmillan LTD
Gomm, R., (2009) Doing a Successful Research Project, New York, Palgrave, Macmillan LTD
Rea, L., M., and Parker, R., A., (2006) Designing and Conducting Survey Research, San Francisco, Jossy-Bass
Saunders, M., Thornhill, A., and Lewis, P., (2003) Research Methods for Business Students, 3rd edition, London, Pearson Education LTD
Scheurich, J., J., (2007) Research Methods in the Postmodern, London, Falmer Press
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