Ict Strategies For Sustainable Human Development Education Essay

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The main substance concern of this research proposal is the relationship between community engagement and provision of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services for sustainable (community) development. Drawing primarily from project on provision of Telecentres services in Western Cape Province (Cape Access project), the author aims to explore real issues or topics from a community's perspective that serve to marginalise or disadvantage and deprive individuals or culture from harnessing opportunities available for community transformation and emancipation. This agenda entails looking into some specific topics of: (a) what are the community's anticipated opportunities or "freedoms" they value to pursue in the sites where ICT services for development are used; (b) what design strategies or motivations were employed to formulate and implement ICT services for development; (c) critical analysis (comparisons) of pre-existing opportunities (and challenges), anticipated opportunities given the new provision of ICT services and how this new technology shape with community's ends (is it in alignment or in conflict?) and (d) action-oriented interaction or construction of strategic and effective ICT services for sustainable development, taking cognizant of critical role of community participation play within this process.

Both practitioners and researchers face a mammoth task of understanding and comprehending social life "so as to help people unshackle from constraints of irrational and unjust structures that limit self-development and self-determination" (Kemmis and Wilkinson, 1998).

The author's approach to these questions is conceptual and methodological, involving critical analysis of what and how existing versatile scholarly knowledge can - and cannot- tell us about these topical issues. The author wrestles with how practitioners and researcher comprehend, assess, and think about technology and its social context implications, both in the emancipation of communities and in achieving real sustainability. Adopting the Sen's (1999) capability approach, the author assume that the main aim of ICT for development projects is to enlarge people's real possibilities or capabilities and the author believes that it is paramount to re-examine the conceptualisation of ICT for development through the lenses that focuses more on the process (design and methods) so as to achieve desired results.

The proposed study will follow a qualitative approach. Within this qualitative approach, the researcher will take a critical interpretive paradigm stance and use grounded theory research method (inductive logical reasoning) in data collection, processing, analysis and application.

Keywords: Community participation, ICT for sustainable human development, Critical interpretive, Grounded theory, Sen's Capability Approach,

Rationale of conducting the research

Practitioners and researchers, both alike have wondered how developing communities (countries) can use the technological advancements and initiatives for their societal harmony and progress. Underlying this ambitious goal is the presupposition that ICTs can accelerate and enhance prosperity, sustenance and development in developing communities. In their quest to comprehend power and structural changes within and across nations, cultures and/or economies, both Castells (2000) and Friedman (2006) provide a vivid picture of how ICT initiatives, innovations and extensive usage can empower individuals in a network society. True to their novel, is the fact that while other cultures and communities have been advancing and embracing positively the opportunities brought forth by the "information age society", most of the developing countries (especially in Africa) have lagged behind or perished to say the least. Why has (African) developing countries "perished" or failed to advance sustainable life given the purported new possibilities and capabilities of ICT for development?

The complex suggested solutions relies on understanding how society (researchers, implementers, practitioners, institutions) originate, adapt, acquire and disseminate new and existing knowledge to create opportunities or expand "boundary of freedoms".

Without doubt, translating the appealingness and richness of such theoretical argumentation into implementation is the greatest challenge that researchers, beneficiaries and practitioners face (Brandolini and D'Alessio, 1998; Alkire, 1998; Robeyns, 2000; Klasen, 2000; Chiappero-Martinetti, 2000; as cited in Comim, 2001 p. 3).

Based on preceding discussion, it is apparent that there is a need to articulate the design and implementation of strategic and effective ICT strategies for sustainable development. Community participation occupies an integral part within this development arena.

Statement of Purpose

The proposed study aims to explore, describe and critique the designing, formulation and implementation of an ICT strategy (Telecentre) for social democratic empowerment, taking into account knowledge acquisitions (feedback, review, values, perceptions) from participating communities before- and after- operationalising the strategy, and in turn contribute towards designing and promoting positive engagement (active collaboration) between parties.

Context

Cape Access Project

The research proposes to use the Cape Access project as the research sites. Cape Access is a project by the Provincial Government of Western Cape aimed at provision of ICT skills, knowledge and facilities to the local communities. The Cape Access initiative has a mandate to promote access, usage and diffusion of ICTs to the public with the vision of empowering communities. The proposed main objectives of empowering communities and individuals through provision of these ICTs services are:

enable marginalised or disadvantaged groups access and diffuse ICTs services, skills and knowledge

drive communities knowledge society - this entails creation of competences, and capabilities (freedoms) in education, health, economy, science, culture or communication among networked individuals, communities and organisations

sustainably develop the poor, unemployed, or all marginalised groups within society

Cape Access project has about nineteen established centres spread across the Western Cape. Among other considerations, the Telecentre (referred to as e-Centre within Cape Access) are located in areas mainly occupied by disadvantaged, poor or rural people.

Research Feasibility

With the assistance of Information systems Department, the author intends to get permission to access participants, communities and research sites from the municipalities, respective Telecentre (e-Centre) management and/or Provincial Government of Western Cape management.

In order to minimise costs, the researcher will select relative near sites and representative enough for the marginalised communities (core phenomenon established), for instance the researcher may select sites from high-density urban, rural, and/or growth point areas.

The researcher will aim to access and collaborate with the following groups of people:

Local inhabitants within the community

Regular and irregular users of the Telecentre

Staff at the Telecentre

Authorities and/or implementers of the Telecentre initiative

The researcher, in collaboration with Information Systems, will write (or send emails) to solicit permission to access the research sites within the first week of June 2011. The researcher will visit communities and research sites to access feasibility and have a preliminary evaluation on participants' acceptance, willingness to collaborate and assess the barriers that may impede the research.

It is important to highlight that the sample selection mechanism, and data to be collected through in-depth interviews are closely linked to the phenomena to be studied. Care has to be exercised to carry out the study within the grounded theory framework/procedures as discussed in methodology section.

The research aims to conceptualise and operationalise his study within the preceding context discussed. The researcher proposes the Cape Access Project as suitable and appropriate research site given the vision, objectives and context of the ICT initiative for sustainable development.

Conceptual Framework

The author's interest in this study necessarily position him in the midst of broad debates over the relationship between society and ICTs, over the ways power shifts within institutional settings, over representation and empowerment mechanisms within communities and more importantly over what constitute well-grounded and suitable methods (strategy) for addressing questions highlighted earlier on.

The author intends to conceptualise the proposed study in terms of the following (conceptual) frameworks:

Community participation

Community participation as an emancipatory strategy

Sen's Capability Approach

ICT strategy for sustainable development

In-depth literature study on these topics will provide basis or building blocks for conceptualising the research question and thus pave way for the inductive logical reasoning of building a theory from the study (grounded theory building). Following the grounded theory framework, the researcher aims to minimise literature to reduce having preconceived notions.

Concept Clarifications

The definitions below are confined within the domain or structure of the proposed study.

Community participation

Community refers "to a group of individuals who live in the same area or place" for instance local or rural community (Oxford English Online Dictionary)

Participation refers "to the act of taking part in an event or activity" (Oxford English Online Dictionary)

World Health Organisation (2002 p. 10) defines "community participation as a process by which people are enabled to become actively and genuinely involved in defining the issues of concern to them, in making decisions about factors that affect their lives, in formulating and implementing policies, in planning, developing and delivering services and in taking action to achieve change".

The terms community participation, community involvement and community engagement are used interchangeably in this study, referring to engagement, involvement or participation of the local community "in both the mutual-help effort in, and the formal decision-making process on, the formulation and implementations of projects and programmes that affect them" Choguill (1996 p. 432).

Community participation as an emancipatory strategy

In this study, the terms emancipation and empowerment are used interchangeably.

Emancipation refers to "the process of freeing someone from legal, social, or political restrictions" (Oxford English Online Dictionary)

Empowerment refers to the process of making someone stronger and more confident, especially in controlling his/her life and claiming their right" (Oxford English Online Dictionary)

According to Samuel (1991), community participation may be thought of as an instrument for community empowerment (as cited in Choguill, 1996 p. 432). MacWhirter (1991) defines empowerment as:

"The process by which people, organisations or groups who are powerless (a) become aware of the power dynamics at work in their life context, (b) develop the skills and capacity for gaining some reasonable control over their lives, (c) exercise this control without infringing upon the rights of others and (d) support the empowerment of others in the community" (as cited in Rowlands, 1995 p. 103).

Based on preceding definitions, community participation maybe viewed as a strategy to enable representation, and capacity building within a marginalised community so that it may unshackle itself from the various constraints it faces.

Sen's Capability Approach

The aim of Sen's Capability Approach is on individual well-being, inequality and poverty (deprivation). The focus of Sen's Capability Approach is on people's capabilities (that is, what people are effectively able to do and to be). Sen (1999) uses the concept of "freedom" to refer to effective opportunities people have to lead lives they have reasons to value. As such, well-being and development are regarded as a function of people's capabilities (freedoms) to undertake actions and activities they want to participate in and be whom they want to be.

According to Zheng and Walsham (2008) the Capability approach is profound philosophically, but methodologically vague.

The proposed research has a mandate to make an inquiry on the ICT for sustainable development methodological phenomenon in developing communities (thus, contextualising the study).

Telecentre as an ICT Strategy for sustainable development

In this study, Telecentre refers to a commonplace where the people can access computers, internet and other technologies for their prosperity and development of new skills and knowledge.

In this study, Sustainable development concept refers to the ability for a maximum number of human beings to achieve higher development in present and future generations. Sustainable development has many facets namely: economic, socio-political, environmental and human. Sustainability entails prosperous continuance, without necessarily depleting resources available for future generations. From this contradictory statement, sustainable development is a complex issue, and not all paradigms (schools of thoughts) agree on the best strategy or course of action to take to attain sustainable development.

Of great concern to this proposed study is the notion that, sustainable human development "in present information age is based on the knowledge, its development and accumulation" (Sirageldim, 2003 p. 2).

The challenge for researchers and practitioners is to review if such notions hold, for which communities, under what settings, and which methodology or framework is best suitable to achieve sustainable development.

Contextually, a Telecentre is equivalent to a facility that facilitates or promotes sustainable development through provision of ICT services to the marginalised groups of the society.

As such, the terms Telecentre and ICT services (strategy) for sustainable development are used interchangeably.

Why use grounded theory strategy

From one angle, the researcher has a stance that there is no theory available to explain the process on community participation in formulation and implementation of ICT strategy for development because the participants (sample) are different.

From another angle, literature has disjointed models (both contextually and in objectives) available for sustainable development or community participation, but the models are not developed for the particular context in this study. Sustainable development models do not have a provision for community participation.

As such, available models are incomplete in catering for community variables of interest within this study hence the proposal to use grounded theory.

Research Questions

Primary research question

Taking into consideration the prosperity and sustenance needs of community and the desire for implementers (researchers and practitioners) to provide suitable, effective and strategic ICT services for development, the proposed study will be guided by the following main research question:

Why do strategic and effective design and implementation of ICT strategies need to incorporate knowledge acquisitions from community engagement?

Subsidiary research questions

In order to fully exhaust, explore and analyze the primary study question, the researcher will address the following secondary questions:

To what extent, if any, do implementers incorporate community contributions and objectives in designing ICT strategy for sustainable development?

Does the community understand or acknowledge the motivation or concept of provision of ICT services for development (Telecentre)?

If not, was there a community awareness (coscientisation) campaign and how wide-spread, understandable, and/or effective was it?

How do project implementers engage with the community in formulating, and/or evaluating appropriateness of an ICT strategy?

What are the desired opportunities or anticipated/unrealised capacities that the community value most?

In comparison with new provision of ICT services for development (Telecentre), are communities' values or unrealised opportunities in alignment or in conflict?

Why does poverty in communities persist despite the provision of "basket of freedoms" through enrolling of a Telecentre?

Research Premises

Delineating philosophical assumptions and paradigmatic perspectives

To begin with, the author perceives social reality (ontologically view nature) as relativist. Relativist philosophical assumptions consist of a stance towards nature of reality (essence of social phenomena being studied in this proposal) as subjective and multiple, as will be evident from contributions from participants in the study (Cohen et. al, 2010; Guba and Lincoln, 1988 as cited in Creswell, 2007 p. 16-17).

Having taken that philosophical assumptions stance, the author proposes to use a critical interpretive paradigm approach (epistemological worldviews) in this study. Epistemology poses the question of 'how do we know what we know about a phenomenon'. An interpretive theory in turn tries to provide answers to that question through trying to understand the deeper meanings and "subjective world of human experience" (Cohen et. al. 2010 p. 21). Interpretive approach predominantly focuses on the understanding, sense making, translating and/or construing of meanings that shape actions and/or institutions. According to Klein and Myers (1999), the underpinning assumption for interpretive research is that knowledge is acquired, or at least filtrated, through social constructions such as language, consciousness and shared meanings. In addition to that, in order to explore and comprehend on the role community participation plays in formulation and implementation of strategic and effective ICT strategies for sustainable development, the researcher suggests adopting a research design that is "interactive and creative, selective and interpretive, illuminating patches of the world around it, giving meaning and suggesting further paths of enquiry" (Rock, 2001, p. 30).

Metaphorically, lenses dictate the way and extend to which we see, inquire about a phenomenon and/or what we get eventually. Therefore, in addition to epistemological interpretive lens, the author proposes to add critical epistemological lens so as to incorporate the richness associated with critical theory in research inquiry on emancipation and advocacy/participation. Given the 'double hermeneutic' nature in interpretive paradigm ("researchers striving to interpret and operate already interpreted world"), there is need to include a critical epistemology lens so as to account for social behaviour within the "political and ideological contexts" (Giddens, 1976; Habermas, 1984; as cited in Cohen, 2010 p. 26). In brief critical theory is charged with need for a prescriptive action that empowers marginalised humans so as to unshackle themselves from the constraints disadvantaging them (Fay, 1987; Madison, 1995 as cited in Creswell, 2007 p. 27). According to Cohen et. al. (2010 p. 26), critical theory is not merely meant "to understand situations and phenomena but to change them. In particular it seeks to emancipate the disempowered, to redress inequality and to promote individual freedoms within a democratic society".

It becomes apparent that it is suitable to employ critical interpretive technique in understanding more about the community complexity issues or social meanings that are embedded in people's beliefs, ideas and/or discourses on ICT strategy for sustainable development.

Methodological preference

Given the philosophical assumptions and paradigmatic perspectives above, the researcher intends to use inductive (idiographic) approach in collecting and analysing the data. The inductive logic reasoning is characterised by focusing on individuals' ideas, emerging issues and understanding general behaviour so as to make abstractions and generalisations of a phenomena.

No research has been conducted within the proposed context and with the intention of inquiring on understanding linkages between community participation and provision of ICT services for development. Practitioners and researchers have come to realise that there is need not only to assess and examine ICT usage, diffusion or affect, but also to pay greater attention to examination and assessment of research approaches (Howcroft and Trauth, 2004). The research approach impacts significantly on pragmatic conceptualisation and implementation of strategies. Proneness to failure or success of a project or strategy therefore depends on how researchers and/or practitioners choose to decode, interpret or acknowledge social reality. The way we choose to practice or inquire a phenomena has consequences- intended or unintended. Ignorance or sidelining has dire consequences too which are beyond the scope of this proposal.

To complement and critique traditional methodologies, the research is therefore proposing to use inductive approach in this study.

Delineating a mode of inquiry

Cohen et. al. (2010) defines research design as an outline or description of research procedures for conducting a study and its aim is to assist in ascertaining answers to research questions. McMillan and Schumacher (2001 p. 31) describe mode of inquiry "as a collection of research practices" (as cited by Maree, 2007 p. 33). Therefore, the mode of inquiry informs research design.

In sum, the research will use qualitative mode of inquiry. The table below provides a summary of the specific assumptions and perspectives.

Table 1: Qualitative mode of inquiry summary

Philosophical Assumptions (Ontological dimensions)

Paradigmatic perspectives/worldviews (Epistemological dimensions)

Nature of relationship between researcher and what is being studied

Relativist

Critical interpretive

Researcher attempts to lessen distance between himself and that which is being studied; is suspicious of object being studied; and tries not to further marginalise the participants; recursive interactions within a natural (field) setting

Source: Adapted from Creswell, (2007 p. 17)

Discussions on the role of values in the research (axiological assumptions), language of research (rhetorical assumptions) and the methods to be used (methodological assumptions) are provided in the role of researcher, research design and research methods sections below (Creswell, 2007).

Research Methodology

Research Design

The research will employ a qualitative (interactive) mode of inquiry. The researcher will employ inductive logic reasoning tactics within grounded theory methods for data collection and analysis.

Data Collection methods

A grounded theory is a research method that not only describes but generates or discovers a theory; an abstract analytical schema of a process, action or interaction (Strauss and Corbin, 1998). Within the grounded theory framework, the researcher aims to use the systematic procedure (approach) of Strauss and Corbin (1990, 1998). The researcher will use the following research instruments in collecting data: in-depth interviews, document analysis, observations, and/or audios.

The researcher intends to make in-depth interviews at community sites with groups of people (participants) mentioned under research feasibility section.

Participants to be interviewed are theoretically chosen, implying to say they are chosen in such a way that they may help to "best form a theory" (Creswell, 2007 p. 64). This is known as theoretical sampling.

In an attempt to avoid participants from adopting linear way of thinking in understanding, exploring or providing ideas on their societal challenges, the researcher aims to use the following techniques:

Recursive interaction

Interview participants from different groups, backgrounds, communities

In collecting data, the researcher will conducts several interviews with the aim to saturate the categories (or discover more information until no more can be found) (Creswell, 2007). Strauss and Corbin (1990) describes category as a representation of a unit of information composed of instances, happenings and events.

Data Analysis Strategy

According to Cohen et. al., (2010 p. 183) "data analysis involves organising, accounting for, and explaining the data; in short, making sense of data in terms of participants' definitions of the situation, noting patterns, themes, categories and regularities".

The proposed underpinning strategy is inductive data analysis, which holds that multiple and subjective realities are embedded in the data. Data analysis is attempts to 'process' data that would have been collected. Data analysis will follow the systematic Strauss and Corbin (1990, 1998) approach suggested above. As earlier discussed, data analysis process starts with data collection when the researcher is attempting to solicit more information, formulating and aligning (focusing on) emerging categories or concepts and avoiding data overload (Cohen et. al., 2010). "This process of taking information from data collection and comparing it to emerging categories is called constant comparative method of data analysis" (Creswell, 2007 p. 64). According to LeCompte and Preissle (1993 p. 237-53) "researchers should set main outlines of the phenomena that are under investigation" (as cited in Cohen et. al., 2010 p. 184). The data is coded into major categories of information or notes - the process involves taking apart "field notes, matching, contrasting, aggregating, comparing and ordering notes made" (Cohen et. al., 2010 p. 184). The aim of this process is to identify one open coding category to focus on (which is known as core phenomenon) (Strauss and Corbin, 1990).The core phenomenon is further coded into a model which is then developed into propositions (or hypothesis), thus a theory is generated.

For clarity, Cohen et. al., (2010 p. 184) provided seven sequential steps portrayed in qualitative data analysis as shown below:

Step 1: Establish units of analysis of the data, indicating how these units are similar to and different from each other (Unit of analysis is category - conceptual, actual, classification element, cluster, issue)

Step 2: Create a 'domain analysis' - group data into related items or units - category

Step 3: Establish relationships and linkages between the domains - this process ensures that data, their richness, and 'context-groundedness' are retained

Step 4: Making Speculative inferences - researcher meticulously shift research from description to inference. This entails to posit some explanations for situation, some key elements and even their causes on the basis of data evidence collected

Step 5: Summarising - main features, key issues, key concepts, constructs and ideas encountered

Step 6: Seeking negative and discrepant cases - in theory generation it is important to seek not only confirming cases but to weigh th significance of disconfirming cases

Step 7: Theory generation - theory is derived from data, meaning to say theory is grounded in data and emerges from it

Grounded theory is an iterative process, which moves "backwards and forwards between data and theory until the theory fits that data" (Cohen et. al., 2010 p. 185). Grounded theory thus becomes suitable for inquiring emerging issues, non-linear happenings and complexities within society since theory maybe recursively modified in light of new and more revealing information (Creswell, 2007; Cohen et. al., 2010).

Role of the researcher

The researcher within the critical interpretive field of study is a key instrument because s/he is an active participant as the interviewer, interpreter and/or analyser. The researcher is responsible for the interviewing participants, examining documents and observing behaviour. Given the rigorous interactions and analysis involved between the researcher and participants, the researcher (playing a key participatory role) has to guard against bias, preconceived values and personal interests in relation to the study phenomenon and process (Creswell, 2007). Cohen et. al., (2010 p. 492) note that as grounded theory sets aside preconceived notions, the following abilities are required from the researcher in order to achieve greater reliability and validity:

Tolerance and openness to data and what is emerging (seeking only confirming rather than disconfirming instances)

Tolerance of confusion and regression (feeling stupid when the theory does not become immediately obvious)

Resistance to premature formulation of theory

Ability to pay attention to data (e.g. how representative is the people and data, and how to know if there are missing people and data)

Willingness to engage in the process of theory generation rather than theory testing; it is an experiential methodology

Ability to work with emergent categories rather than preconceived or received categories

More importantly the researcher has to be conscious, careful and continuously abide by ethical guidelines of the community, research site and/or institutions under being studied. Ethics are discussed in greater detail in the Ethics sub-section.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance concerns data validity and reliability. According to Winter (2000) "qualitative data validity might be addressed through honesty, depth, richness, and scope of the data achieved, the participants approached, the extend of the triangulation and the disinterestedness or objectivity of the researcher" (as cited in Cohen et. al., 2010 p. 133).

There are many standards or instruments available to measure or evaluate of quality assurance (validity and reliability). There are many perspectives on validation and reliability so the author will summarise most important issues applicable to the proposed study paradigm.

In practice, the researcher will employ the following validation strategies or techniques to minimise threats to validity (adapted from Creswell, 2007 p. 207):

Prolonged engagement and persistent observations in the field including building trust with participants, learning culture

Researcher make use of multiple and different sources, participants to provide corroborating data (without neglecting data that is nonconforming significantly)

Debriefing or peer review with externals to check on the research process

On the outset, researcher has to clarify on the prejudices, biases, past experiences and orientations that are likely to shape the approach and interpretations of the study

Participants review of data, analysis, interpretations and conclusions

Rich, thick descriptions of participants and settings under study

Ethics

An Ethics consideration entails looking onto issues that concerns the morality, human sensitiveness, privacy, confidentiality, voluntariness and/or protection from harm or further marginalisation of already marginalised groups. Suffice to say, Ethics is a delicate issue which the researcher has to consider or pay attention to especially when humans are objects of study. The following are some of the general agreements/principles the researcher has to understand and pay attention to:

Protection from harm

The researcher ought to be honest, humble, respectful and empathetic towards participants and should give a debriefing of the study. According to (Leedy and Ormrod, 2001) researcher should not "expose participants to undue physical or psychological harm" (as cited by Maree, 2007 p. 298).

The researcher has to be sensitive to: the unintentional disturbances or exploitation of participants (especially the marginalised) and any power imbalances that may exist between the underrepresented communities and authorities (Creswell, 2007).

Privacy, confidentially and anonymity

According to Burns (2000), both the participant and the researcher ought to have a concise understanding regarding the confidentiality of the results and findings of the research (as cited in Maree, 2007 p. 299).

The researcher will treat all participants' information and responses private, and data will be presented anonymously so as to safe guard identities of participants. The researcher will abide by standards and principles provided by the Ethics committee of the University of Cape Town.

Informed consent and voluntary participation

Participation is expected from two groups of people namely from organisations (Telecentre staff and Municipal/Government personnel) and the community inhabitants.

First we discuss community inhabitants or non-staff users of Telecentre. The research will contact the user or approach community inhabitants and ask for their willingness to take part in the study (i.e. the researcher will initially get verbal consent). At the start, the participant is briefed on the research being done and researcher will emphasise that the participant may pull out at any point in time. At the end of the interview, the researcher will "ascertain whether or not the participant is available and willing to take part in follow-up interviews at a later stage" (Maree, 2007 p. 298).

During the follow-up, the researcher will bring forth a letter of consent to be explained, elaborated by the researcher and signed by the participant if in agreement and willing to participate in the study.

Secondly, in the case of institutions (and management), the researcher will solicit approval from executive management, discuss and get written consent both on working relations and organisational ethical issues pertaining to how the research will be conducted.

Limitations and Delimitations of the Study

Limitations and Challenges of the Study

The list below summarises the some of the major challenges or limitations expected in the proposed study:

Researcher has to set aside, as much as possible, theoretical ideas and preconceived perceptions

Research travel, communication and other costs

Cultural barrier and resentment

Witting and unwitting evidence from participants during observations, interviewing

Lack of technical knowledge and language differences

Delimitations of the study

The list below summarises some techniques to remedy challenges above:

'Discriminant sampling' - the researcher will gather additional data from participants similar to those interviewed in the first place to check if the information (theory) holds for additional participants (Creswell, 2007)

The researcher will look for representative sample sites within vicinity and may apply/look for research grants

Spent more time with participants to learn and live with them so that participants may start to appreciate and understand the essence of the study

Pay close attention to details, confirm with the participant if what has been imparted or inferred is what s/he intended

Researcher will brief participants in detail and use non-technical language during interviewing and try not to stereotype participants

Proposed Research Schedule and Layout

Proposed research schedule

The table below depicts the schedule summary of the proposed research.

Table 2: Proposed research schedule

Research Activity

Duration (weeks)

Completion Date

Finalising research proposal

2

25 July 2011

Literature Review

3

27 July 2011

Proposal Presentation

2

10 August 2011

Pilot Site Visits

2

24 August 2011

Research Design

2

7 September 2011

Data Collection (Theory Sampling, Open coding)

8

2 November 2011

Data Analysis (Axial & selective coding; develop substantive-level theory )

4

30 November 2011

Mini-dissertation (Memoing and Theory generation)

2

16 December 2011

Final Dissertation Hand-in

6

15 February 2012

Proposed layout of study

The proposed layout of the final dissertation is as shown in Appendix A.

Conclusion

There have been many reports by researchers and practitioners that ICTs initiatives can lead to sustainable development in developing countries (including South Africa).

The research proposal presented herein is expected to contribute to the appropriateness, planning and designing of ICTs strategies for sustainable development. The main concern for this study is on the strategy, approach or methodology used.

The research intends to keep the study open and not to have a preconceived notion on what is happening, how it should happen and/or why it is supposed to take a particular course of action. The researcher will read as wide as possible and guard against confining literature. The description and prescription (theory generated) has to be 'grounded' in the data.

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Appendix A - Layout of proposed Study

Chapter 1: Introduction

Overview

Rationale of study

Research Problem and Questions

Purpose of Research and Concepts Definition

Chapter 2: Conceptual Framework

Literature Review

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

Research Design

Role of the researcher

Data Collection methods

Data Analysis strategy

Strategies for validating findings

Anticipated Ethics issues and significance of study

Chapter 4: Research Results

Research Findings

Data Analysis and Interpretation

Theory generation

Chapter 5: Conclusion and Recommendations

Limitations

Results summary of study and recommendations

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