pter 3: Research Methodology


The purpose of methodology chapter is to present philosophical assumptions under which this research is founded, as well as to introduce the empirical techniques and research strategy employed. The chapter helps to define the scope and limits of the research design and assists in situating the research amongst existing research tradition in social sciences.

The philosophical assumptions underlying this research emanate from the positivist tradition. This denotes an objective epistemology and the ontological belief that all things are ultimately measured and that all knowledge is scientific. The research strategy employed was to carry out multiple case studies in three organizations and the local community. Central data collection technique used in this research study were participant’s observation, analysis of existing data, and semi-structured interviews.

The chapter is segmented into four sections. In the first, interpretivism and Positivist research paradigm are examined. The ensuing section is about the paradigm of this research study. It gives the justification of the paradigm selection with arguments in line with the aim and objectives of the study. Section three distinguishes research method (case study) from the research methodology and describe a range of research method available in the literature which is relevant for this study. Finally, the fourth section looks at research design and looks at the reasons for selecting the three, data sources, research analysis, data collection, and analysis, and presents a brief summary of the expectations derived from the theoretical framework that has been adopted.

The Interpretivist and Positivist Research Paradigms

The interpretivism involves researchers making interpretation of the elements of the study, which means that the paradigm integrates the human interest into the research study (Snape and Spencer, 2003). Accordingly, the interpretive researchers make an assumption that access to the reality (socially constructed or given) is only through the social constructions such as instruments, shared meanings, language, and consciousness. The interpretivist philosophy development is based on the positivism critique in the social sciences. Interpretivism is linked to the philosophical position of the idealism, and it helps to categorize together diverse approaches including hermeneutics and phenomenology, social constructionism, and the approaches which reject the objectivist view that meaning resides within the world independent of consciousness. On addition, the interpretivism studies mainly focus on meaning and can use multiple methods to reflect different aspects of a given issue (Johnson and Onwuegbuzie, 2004).

Interpretivist approach basis its reality and nature of knowing on two key beliefs that is relativist ontology and subjectivist epistemology (Snape and Spencer, 2003). The relativist ontology approach considers reality to be intersubjectively based on the understandings and meaning on experiential and social levels. As such reality id developed experimentally and socially through understanding and meaning. On the other hand, subjectivist epistemology (transactional) holds that it is not possible to separate people and their knowledge, and, therefore, there exist a clear link between the object of investigation and the researcher. The approach considers who we are and the way in which we understand the surrounding world as a central element of the way we understand ourselves

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