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Firstly, it is the research philosophy. There are two main types of philosophy and they are positivism and interpretivism. In this research the interpretivism philosophy will be applied to adopt the nature of theories on the factors influencing the project management performance.
Secondly, it is the research approach that includes deduction and induction. In this research, the induction approach is considered the appropriate approach for the project management when the researcher examines three factors influencing the project management performance at BORDA Vietnam.
Thirdly, it is the research strategy. There are three categories of research strategy such as exploratory, descriptive and explanatory. To pursue the purpose of this research is to explore the understanding of the concepts of project management and the impacts of factors on the project management performance at BORDA Vietnam, the exploratory strategy is selected to use.
Fourthly, it is research methodology. There are two methods when conducting the research generally. They are quantitative and qualitative. With each method there are advantages and disadvantages duing application. In this research, the qualitative method is chosen to apply due to its appropriateness for the topic of factors influencing the project management performance at BORDA Vietnam.
Fifthly, it is the data collection and data processing that describes how the primary and secondary data will be collected and how the collected data will be analysed to have findings for the next chapters.
Last but not least, it is ethical issues of the research.
3.1 Research philosophy
Sauders at al. (2009) emphasises that the research philosophy relates to the development of knowledge and its nature. It will reflect the researcher’s view of the world and underpin the research strategy.
There are different philosophies of the research such as positivism, realism, interpretivism and pragmatism and these belong to the research philosophy which is the first layer of the “research onion” (Sauder et al., 2009). Depending on the type of research topic which philosophy will be adopted in the research?
Positivism reflects the philosophical stance of the nature scientist (Sauder et al., 2009). The positivism philosophy is applied to the research for generating the existing theories to develop the hypotheses and these hypotheses will be tested with highly structured and large samples relating to the observation and numeric data. However, when observing the social reality (Sauder et al., 2009), the researcher is independent from which is observed.
In the management research, the interpretivism refers to the understanding difference between the human as “social actors” (Sauder at al., 2009:16) and the objects. It focuses on the subjective meanings and the interpretation of the meanings behind the social phenomena. By applying the interpretivism philosophy for the research, the qualitative methodology is more appropriate to help the researcher conduct the small sample with in-depth interview and focus group interview.
Project management performance plays an important role in the success of the project. However, there are many factors but the research focusing on three key factors influencing the project management performance. The factors are leadership style, teamwork and staff motivation. For conducting the research, the interpretivism philosophy is selected to help the researcher interpret the meanings of contextual observations and collected information from interview.
3.2 Research approach
Research approach relates to the theory of the research. It explicit the concerned questionnaires for survey or guidelines for interview. There are two different kinds of research approaches, deduction and induction. Sauder et al. (2009) pointed out that the deductive approach is when to develop the theory and hypotheses and the research strategy is designed to test those hypotheses. The deductive approach is believed to be more appropriate with the positivist philosophy. Other way round, it is inductive approach in which the data is collected and theory is developed as the results of data analysis. The inductive approach is considered more appropriate with the interpretivist philosophy.
3.2.1 Deductive approach
Deductive approach involves in the development of theory and hypothesis. The data or findings from questionnaire survey, guideline interview and secondary sources are the results to be tested to confirm or reject the hypotheses (Gill and Johnson, 2010). This approach is suitable with large sample from the quantitative method.
3.2.2 Inductive approach
Inductive approach allows the researcher to develop the theory base on analysis of the phenomena. The theory is developed based on the result of data analysis. Sauder et al (2009) suggested that the small sample conducted for the research is suitable with the inductive approach.
The research on factors that influence the project management at BORDA is to pursue the purpose of identifying and analysing three burning factors really affecting the performance of project management at BORDA Vietnam. The small sample of interview with the managers and staffs of BORDA office and involved partners will be conducted. Therefore, the inductive approach is considered more appropriate to conduct this research.
3.3 Research strategy
Research strategy plays an important role during conducting the research. According to Sauders at al. (2009:141) the research strategy helps to guide the research questions, objectives, the extent of existing knowledge, the amount of time, other available resources and to underpin the research philosophy. There are three categories of research strategy such as (1) exploratory, (2) descriptive and (3) explanatory (Yin, 2003, cited in Sauderset al.2009:141). Each category is valuable with different research purposes. However, it is pointed out that “the purpose of enquiry may change over time” (Robson, 2002, cited in Sauders et al, 2009:139).
The exploratory strategy is useful to clarify the understanding of the phenomena by finding out “what is happening, to seek new insights, to ask questions and to assess phenomena in a new light” (Robson, 2002: 59, cited in Sauders et al., 2009:139).
There are three principal ways of conducting the exploratory research:
A research of the literature
Interviewing “experts” in the subject
Conducting focus group interviews
(Sauders et al. 2009:140)
“The object of descriptive research is to portray an accurate profile of persons, events or situations” (Robson, 2002:59, cited in Sauderset al.2009:140). It means that before the data is collected, it should be a clear picture of which data should be collected. However, the descriptive research is as one piece of exploratory research and also the explanatory research.
Explanatory research focuses on explaining the “relationship between variables” (Sauderset al.2009:140) of a situation or a phenomena. This strategy is more quantitative in the research methodology. In addition, it can be a combination between the quantitative and qualitative methods in the research methodology by collecting the qualitative data for explanation of the reason to the phenomena or problem.
The purpose of the research is to gain the understanding about the concept of project management and impacts of factors influencing the project management performance in BORDA Vietnam.
In view of the foreging, the exploratory strategy is chosen to use in this research that helps the researcher to interpret the findings to the meanings of this research.
3.4 Research methodology
There are two main types of research methods: (1) qualitative and (2) quantitative. Each method will be selected to use depending on specific research topic and analysis sample.
3.4.1 Qualitative method
According to Sauders et al.,(2009:480) “the qualitative data refers to all non-numeric data or data that have not been quantified and can be a product of all research strategies”.
“There are many things in human life which may not be quantitative. They are no worse for that. If they are of non-quantitative nature, they can be investigated in terms of their own ‘categories’ and such investigation is no less scientific than measurement” (Michell, 1999:14, cited in Giorgi A, 2005:80).
When conducting the qualitative research, the purpose is to understand the “meanings expressed through words” (Sauderset al.2009:482) of the problem or phenomena from “real world settings” (Golafshani N, 2003:600).
The qualitative research “means such methods like interviews and observations are dominant in the naturalist (interpretive) paradigm and supplementary in the positive paradigm” ((Golafshani N, 2003:600).
The qualitative data after being collected is inputed into the analysis process through three main types:
Summarising (consideration) of meanings;
Categorisation (grouping) of meanings;
Structuring (ordering) of meanings using narrative.
3.4.2 Quantitative method
According to Ponterotto J.(2005:128), “the quantitative method focuses on the strict quantification of observations (data) and on careful control of empirical variables”. This method needs the large sample and uses of statistical procedures to examine the meanings and variables (Ponterotto and Grieger, 1999, cited in Ponterotto, 2005:128).
The quantitative research helps the researcher familiarize with the problem or phenomena to be studied and develop the hypotheses to be tested through the quantitative techniques. The categories of quantitative method include (1) the emphasis is on facts and causes of behaviour (Bogdan and Biklen, 1998, cited in Golafshani N, 2003:597); (2) the information is in the form of numbers that can be quantified and summarised; (3) the mathematical process is the norm for analysing the numeric data and (4) the final result is expressed in statistical terminologies (Charles, 1995, cited in Golafshani N, 2005:598).
From the different above definitions and concepts of research methods, the researcher select the qualitative method that is considered the most suitable and conceptual analysis shall be applied via observation of daily management work at BORDA Vietnam and the in – depth interview to all staffs and managers of BORDA office and partners involving in the project. It is small sample. The qualitative method will help the researcher find out the key crucial factors affecting the performance of the project management. The qualitative method will be described through the research process in the figure below:
Theories relating to the project management
Qualitative method, data collection: + Primary data: in-depth and group focus interview, daily observations + Secondary data: desk research
Discussion and analysis of findings
Identification of weaknesses & corresponding causes in PM
Recommendations & solutions for improving PM performance
Figure 3.1: Research process
(Source: Author’s design)
3.5 Data collection
The data used for this research comes from both primary and secondary sources.
3.5.1 Secondary source
Secondary data collection: the data will be collected from the books, articles, journals publication, reports, annual working plans, desk research, evaluations. These resources provide the information and data on the activities and project implementation at BORDA Vietnam.
3.5.2 Primary data
– In-depth interview: the in-depth interviews will be conducted with 15 staffs of BORDA office and involved partners, 2 focus group interviews for staffs and managers to collect their opinions, comments and assessments on current project management performance and the factors influencing the project management performance at BORDA Vietnam. The contents of the in-depth interview guideline shall be flexible and subject to the persons interviewed to be able to get the best results for analysis, summarising and consolidation. The tentative duration for the interviews shall last from 15 October to 31 October 2012. The primary data collected through the interviews is used to give insights into the main factors influencing the project management performance within the implementation progress.
Observation from daily management work: The researcher is a part of this team, so that the daily management work at BORDA Vietnam will be observed.
3.6 Data processing
The information and data from the interviews shall be collected, summarised, consolidated and analysed to see the problems of project management and examined whether the factors such as leadership style, team work and staff motivation have an effect on the performance of the project management at BORDA Vietnam or not. The feedback from the interviewees is also considered the useful inputs for the recommendations and solutions of the researcher.
3.7 Research ethics
In the scope of this research, the researcher focus on examining the practices of financial and human resource management to the project management performance at BORDA Vietnam in the period of 2011 – 2013. Because of time limits, the research cannot be conducted for other factors such as the role of management of quality, information system, knowledge, relationship, etc. to the project management performance.
The research will use both the secondary and primary data, especially the in-depth interview questions for information collection. Before interviewing, the researcher will ask the potential interviewees directly or through emails and telephones for their convenience and agreement of spending time and providing the information, opinions. Without agreement, the researcher will not provide the name of interviewees in the research or any sensitive information will be kept confidentially for the researcher only.
Moreover, this is an independent study from the point of view of the researcher. The findings and recommendations will be proposed to the high management level of BORDA to help improve the project management performance of project implementation in Vietnam.
Through this chapter, the researcher describes the picture of how the research will be conducted and how data is collected and analysed. After studying about the different types of research philosophy, approach, strategy, method the researcher select:
Research philosophy: interpretivism
Research approach: inductive
Research strategy: exploratory
Research method: qualitative
The findings from the in – depth interviews with individuals of 15 interviewees and two focus group interviews for staffs and managers of BORDA Vietnam and involved partner – VAWR/ CTIC and from the daily observation of the management work as well as from the desk research of the secondary data, the meanings shall be “summarised, categorised ans structured” (Sauders et al., 2009:490)
The research ethics are mentioned at the end of this chapter. The researcher will ask for acceptance of using the personal information from the interviewees. Without the agreement, it will be considered the confidential information and will not be displayed in the research.
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