CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Research methodology is the road map or itinerary used by the researcher to accomplish the goals of the research.
In the previous chapter we reviewed the literature of the study which comprised of the theoretical framework, conceptual framework, related studies and the knowledge gap which made the researcher to undertake the study. In this chapter though, the researcher will be looking at the research methodology of the study which contains the research paradigm, research approach and design, sampling procedures among other concepts which will be covered in the rest of the chapter.
Research is being defined by Williman (2011) as a term used liberally for any kind of investigation that is intended to uncover interesting or new facts. A more academic interpretation by Williman (2011) is that research involves finding out about thing that no-one else knew either. It is about advancing the frontiers of knowledge. According to Grinnel sited in Kumar (2011), “research is a structured inquiry that utilises acceptable scientific methodology to solve problems and creates new knowledge that is generally applicable”. Scientific methods consist of a systematic observation, clarification and interpretation of data. Woody sited in Kothari (2004), defined research as defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggesting solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions and carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulated hypothesis. Thus, research is a unique input to the existing heap of acquaintance making for its expansion.
3.1 Research Approach
Mackenzie and Knipe (2006) articulated a research approach as the method that has been embraced to conduct the research. There are two main approaches that form the basis of research in the social sciences, which are the positivist and interpretive (Kumar, 2011). Positivist approach is rooted in the physical sciences, known as quantitative approach, whilst the opposite, interpretive approach has come to be known as the qualitative, ethnographic, ecological or naturalistic approach (Kumar, 2011). Lincoln (2000), terms quantitative research as a set, objective, systematic process to describe and test relationships and examine causes and effects of connections between variable. He also defined qualitative research as an explanatory naturalistic approach to the world.
The research approach in this study involve a combination of interpretivist and positivist approach. Positivist approach is rooted in the physical sciences, whilst the opposite, interpretive approach has come to be known as the qualitative, ethnographic, ecological or naturalistic approach (Kumar, 2011). Use of both approaches allowed for triangulation of the data. The positivist aspect involve quantitative data which was collected which was collected through questionnaires. The interpretivist part of the research involved conducting interviews which allowed the researcher to develop a deeper understanding of the experiences of the research subjects.
In this research, the researcher blended both quantitative and qualitative research approach in order to increase confidence, credibility, and ground-breaking ways of understanding the social phenomena. The researcher used both qualitative and quantitative approaches because they were applicable in assessing the influence of occupational stress on employee motivation. According to Morrison (2000), the objective of using mixed approach was to give insight into a phenomenon under exploration and examination to gather information that the researcher may not be capable to acquire by employing a solo approach, thus, the use of either quantitative or qualitative approach. For the reasons outlined, a combination of interpretivist and positivist approach was deemed suitable for the research.
3.1.1 Research Design
A research design is a detailed plan with a list of specifications and procedures for conducting and controlling a research project (Newman, 2003). The research design enable researcher to get answers regarding the questions as well as to test or confirm hypothesis of the study. It did serve as a guide and much more a plan during this research. According to Flick (2012), the nature of research design indicates the nature of research and lays down the structure of the research.
This research is largely descriptive survey, employing both qualitative and quantitative procedure. It recognises the importance of traditional quantitative and qualitative research but also offers third paradigm choice that often will provide the most informative, complete, balanced, and useful research results (Neuman, 2000). Predominantly, the descriptive research design was adopted as it enabled the researcher to assess stress and its influence on employee motivation at Ayrshire mine. By this, the researcher had ample space to observe, describe and document various aspects of how occupational stress occurs. This strategy was adopted because it enables the researcher to collect to collect large amount of data from a sizable population in an economical manner while presenting a more accurate of the event at a given time.
The researcher used a solo case research design. The solo case research design refers to those in which the phenomenon of concern are studied using a single subject. Newman (2003) suggests that a case study relates the in-depth of a single or small number in a unity.
3.2 Study population/participants
Population of the study is the large group of interest for which a research is relevant and applicable (Furlong et al., 2000). According to Collins et al. (2000), a population is the entire group of persons or set of objects and events the researcher wants to study. Even though the total population will not partake in the research, but the outcomes from the study will be generalized to the entire populace. The populace which will be researched, is known as the target population, which is a set demarcated by a researcher’s explicit attention. The target population constitutes of the managerial and non-managerial employees at Ayrshire mine. The total population of the study was 367 employees from both managerial and non-managerial as populated in the table below.
Table 3.1: Population size drawn from management and general employees
General Employees 360
3.2.1 Sampling/selection approach
The sample population is a subset of the entire population, and inferential statistics is to generalize from the sample to the population (Furlong et al., 2000). It can be described as a selected subset of subjects in order to draw conclusions about the entire set. According to Saratankos (2005), the use of sampling is very important in research because it enables the researcher to select a portion or section of the population to represent the entire population from which he/she obtains relent information with the use of appropriate sampling techniques.
The sample was determined using Yamane’s (1967) simplified formula corrected to proportion to determine the sample size of the study. It is defined as;
Where: N = Total population n = Sample size e = Precision
The researcher focused on a sample of 78 employees from the two divisions, the management and general employees as from the above table. The sample population was 21% of the total population. Amedeho (2002) pointed out that, a sampling size of 5-20% is ideal to represent the entire population. This sample involves employees from both gender, all ranks and departments with each given equal opportunity so as to get better results.
3.2.2 Data collection methods and techniques
Williman (2011), define research instruments as the apparatuses that are used for collecting the data essential for the research. This research employed a concoction of both primary and secondary data. Primary data was collected using questionnaires, interviews and direct field observations, while secondary data was collected from the documents and record found at Ayrshire mine.
A questionnaire is any written instrument that presents respondents with a series of questions or statements to which they are to be reacted by either writing out their answers or selecting from a panel of existing answers (Ong’anya and Ododa, 2009). Self-administering questionnaire were designed in both open ended and closed ended questions. Open ended questions allowed respondents to give answers in their own way whilst closed ended questions provided a number of optional answers from which the respondents were instructed to choose from. This was done to collect both quantitative and qualitative data.
A questionnaire is a standard instrument, that is, the same questions are asked to different respondents. This standardization allowed data to be obtained from different respondents to be interpreted comparatively, and to be generalised to other situations (Kumar, 2011). Questionnaire were used as they are effective in gathering descriptive data especially on large population. Also, they became logical as they facilitated a wide coverage of topics which represented all the objectives on one questionnaire.
The questionnaire was the principal data collection instrument as it offered a number of advantages. Firstly, questionnaire allowed the collection of large amounts of information within a short period of time and in a relatively cost effective way. It was possible to use a large sample leaving the results more dependable and reliable. Secondly, is the ability of data to be analysed using existing cheap and readily accessible software such as Microsoft Excel and (SPSS). Also, no question asked respondents’ names, this gave them anonymity and freedom which can generate more reliable and valid information. The researcher mainly chose questionnaires because they were relatively inexpensive as compared to other instruments. This was very desirable as the researcher was working within the limitations of a very constricted budget.
However, the lack of interaction between the researcher and respondents did not give room for classification and verification of facts. In addition, it was depending on the ability and willingness to the respondents to provide the information needed and the researcher had no way of developing participant’s interest.
Kumar (2011), defined an interview as a two way conversation initiated by the interviewer to obtain information from a respondent. Structured interviews were used which meant that questions were asked following a guide. This was done ti keep the interviewees focused on the research topic since occupational stress can be a very emotional topic and hence the need to avoid the respondents getting carried away.
The interviews were employed so as to get in depth knowledge on the sources of stress and coping strategies being practised at Ayrshire mine to ensure that their workers are happy and motivated. Another advantage of using interviews was that sensitive topics were pursued and probed further on which could be difficult to address in questionnaire. Key informants are summarized in Table 3.2 Below.
Table 3.2: Interviewees and rationale for choosing them
Mining Manager This individual has the in-depth knowledge and overall understanding of what affects workers and why since he works closely with them.
SHEQ Manager The person is an expert in workers’ welfare and has immense knowledge on copying strategies that are being implemented by Ayrshire mine.
Human Resources Officer She knows the challenges being faced by workers on a daily basis and sometimes know the source of the challenges. Has insight of what should be done to manage such threats affecting workers.
Nurse in Charge This individual was chosen she witnesses workers’ burnout on daily basis. Through counselling sessions, she gets in-depth knowledge of what affects workers.
Workers’ Representative Represents workers and their plights and hence has in-depth comprehensive details on issues affecting fellow colleagues.
220.127.116.11 Field Observations
According to Peter (20110, observations refers to the use of eyes to observe people and their environment, situation, interactions and phenomena and recording what is seen as data. Observational research findings are considered strong in validity because the researcher is able to collect in depth information about the particular situation on ground.
18.104.22.168 Secondary Data
Jewel and Abate (2001) defined secondary data as a collection of data from a source that has already been published in form of reports, books, journals, historical information and census data and collected for purposes other than the original use. In this study, secondary data was used to complement the data acquired from primary sources of data so as to come up with a stealth comprehensive study. Some of the data employed include clinic records, SHEQ Policy and other Ayrshire Mine Private Limited documents.
However, the researcher had no control over the quality of data as it might have been collected for other purposes. To counter the problems, the researcher had to exercise caution when using dated information from the past because out dated researches may have little or no relevance to the current situation.
3.2.3 Ethical Considerations
Ethical consideration are an important part of the research studies. Ethical guidelines and principles need to be considered throughout the study, as this research study should not cause any harm to any of the individuals included in the study nor the organization itself (Arrman and Björk 2017). Research is only of any value if it is carried out honestly. Ethical consideration fall into three categories which are, during design, collection, and reporting of the data.
This research was conducted after approval from the organisation. A permission to conduct the study was obtained from the Human resource manager at the mining company of consideration in order to carry out the study. The researcher takes full responsibility in conducting the whole research and abiding to the organizational policies and rules and regulations of the university. Oral consent was obtained from the interview participants, after being explained the purpose of the study. Informed consent is important for ensuring that the interview respondents understand the meaning of participating in the research study. All participants were informed that the study was voluntary and they were allowed to terminate their participation at any stage of the study without any explanation.
Sharing information about a respondent with others for purposes other than research is unethical (Kumar, 2011). Confidentiality is a concern of the researcher in the study. Stringent level of confidentiality was maintained to ensure there was no misrepresentation of data. Privacy was issued on the time of data collection and all the participants were advised that the information will be confidential and names will not be taken down.
According to Kothari (2004), the use of information in a way that will directly or indirectly affects respondents adversely is unethical. Data collected throughout the research remained within the scope of this project as a way of ensuring trust.
Bias on the part of the researcher is unethical (Kumar, 2011). Bias is different from subjectivity. Bias is deliberate attempt to hide what you have found in your study, or to highlight something disproportionately to its true existence, it is absolutely unethical to introduce bias into research activity.
3.3 Data Analysis
After collecting data, it must be classified and presented in meaningful forms to have a better insight of the research problem (Panneerselvan, 2006). On completion of sampling and finding results, there was need to interpret what the results meant and this involved the use of diverse techniques to analyse and present data. These methods facilitated a systematic analysis of the data from which research findings and conclusions were drawn. This study produced both qualitative and quantitative data and each employed suitable technique.
The numerical data adopted from the questionnaires was analysed and summarised to produce trends and establish answers to the research questions. Statistical manipulations were done using SPSS and data generated from it was presented using pie charts, graphs and tables using Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word. Qualitative data from key informant interviews, direct field observations and those from questionnaire was also summarised in a manner befitting, adding descriptive flesh to the skeleton provided by quantitative data.
3.4 Reliability and Validity Issues
Reliability and validity are viewed as statistical properties used to evaluate the quality of research. According to Flick (2012), reliability is the method of evaluating the authority and reputation of the source. Validity refers to the degree to which the data collected in a research study actually replicates the phenomena being studied (Blumberg et al., 2008).
In order to maintain reliability and validity of the data, the researcher conducted a pre-test survey to determine whether the questions were clear to participants and whether they understand the requirements. The preliminary study helps the researcher to identify potential problems with the design especially the research instruments.
This chapter outlined the research methods employed in carrying out the research. The main aim of the chapter was to give a clear description of how the research was conducted. This chapter shows a vivid description of all activities undertaken by the researcher. This research focused on issues such as research approach, design, instruments, research population and sampling procedure. The chapter also dealt with the collection of data and its data analysis among other methodological components of the research. The following chapter will be focusing on data presentation.