Chapter 3 3

Chapter 3
In this chapter, the research methodology of the study is discussed. Babbie & Mouton (2013:75) refers research methodology as the paradigm used, theoretical model and data gathering. Research methodology covers the whole process of how the research was conducted. This research will use the qualitative research approach throughout the study, therefor use of interviews, observations and desk research shaped this research. Ethical considerations and measures to provide trustworthiness are also discussed in this chapter.
Research design is defined as a general strategy for conducting a study. Brewer (2010) define research design as a framework that constitute the blue print for collection, measurement and analysis of data which intend to obtain valid objectives and accurate answers to research questions or assumptions.
3.1.1 Qualitative research design
Qualitative research refers to a research that deals with phenomena that is difficult or impossible to quantify mathematically, such as beliefs, meanings, attributes, symbols and this may involve content analysis and a detailed case study (Bricki and Green, 2012). Qualitative research relates to the understanding of some aspect of social life, and its methods which in general, generate words, rather than numbers, as data for analysis (Bricki and Green, 2012). However according to Burns & Grove (2003:356) qualitative research are inductive, holistic, emic, subjective and process oriented methods used to understand, interpret, describe and develop a theory on a phenomena or setting cited in Morse & Field (1996:1999). Qualitative research is mostly associated with words, language and experiences rather than measurements, statistics and numerical figures.
Holloway (2015:4) argues that researchers who use qualitative research adapt a person centred and holistic perspective to understand the human experience, without focusing on specific concepts. The original context of the experience is unique, and rich knowledge and insight can be generated in depth to present a lively picture of the participants’ reality and social context. Holloway (2015:5) further substantiate that qualitative research approach helps the researcher to generate an in-depth account that will present a lively picture of the research participants’ reality. In qualitative research, the researcher is required to be a good listener, non-judgmental, friendly, honest and flexible.
Characteristics of qualitative research approach:
? uses an inductive form of reasoning: develops concepts, insights and understanding from patterns in the data
? uses the emic perspective of enquiry: derives meaning from the participants’ perspective
? is ideographic: aims to understand the meaning that people attach to everyday life regards reality as subjective
? captures and discovers meaning once the researcher becomes immersed in the data
? uses concepts in the form of themes, motifs and categories
? seeks to understand phenomena
? determines observations by information-richness of settings, and modifies types of observations to enrich understanding
? presents data in the form of words, quotes from documents and transcripts
? Analyses data by extracting themes
? uses a holistic unit of analysis, concentrating on the relationships between elements, concepts and so on
? uses words as the basis for analysing rather than numerical data
? considers that the whole is always more than the sum
Extracted from (Brink ; Wood 1998:246; Burns ; Grove 2003:357)
Advantages of using qualitative research for this study
? Qualitative research is a means to understanding human emotions such as rejection, pain, caring, powerlessness, anger and effort.
? Since human emotions are difficult to quantify or have a numerical value assigned to them, qualitative research appears to be a more effective method of investigating emotional responses than quantitative research.
? Abstract thinking processes are used to develop research findings from which meaning and theoretical implications emerge.
Extracted from Brink ; Wood 1998:246; Burns ; Grove 2003:374-374.
Qualitative research approach gathers data through the multiple sources such as interviews and observations instead of single source of data (Creswell 2007:38). The researcher opted to use qualitative approach to a greater extent as it is best suited in understanding rural community’s experiences and the context in which these experiences occur in relation to the process of socio-economic development. This approach enhanced a face to face interaction between the respondents and the researcher and this helped to get to an understanding of emerging issues which were beyond the questions under study. The use of the qualitative approach enabled the researcher to get the opportunity to observe, record and interpret non-verbal communication (i.e., body language, voice intonation) as part of a respondent’s feedback, which is valuable during interviews or discussions, and during data analysis. In addition to the above, qualitative research has been used so as to reveal a target audience’s range of behaviour and the perceptions that drive it with reference to the topic under study. McNabb (2002:269) adds that in qualitative research, data is usually collected through field notes, observations and interviews with the participants, however this is supported by Bui (2014:14), who cites that this process is typically conducted in the natural settings of the research subjects or people being studied. This approach helped the author to overcome some of the constraints that can compromise the results of the study such as self-consciousness, spontaneous reactions and comments, hence assuring quality control of the study.
Population includes all elements that meet certain criteria for inclusion in a study (Burns & Grove 2003:43). For the purpose of this study, population consisted of the; community members, government officials and NGOs representatives. The community members comprised of the local leadership that is; the councillor, village heads, business people, religious leaders and external workers (teachers, nurses, and vertinary officers).
Sampling can be defined as a process used by a researcher to identify and gather people or things to be studied (Ritchie and Lewis, 2013). However scholars like Orodho and Kombo (2017) have further defined sampling as a procedure of choosing a number of people or entities from a larger population such that the sampled group who possess the elements that are representative of the features of the entire population group which can be exemplified to a process of cutting a piece from a cake and choosing methods of justifying the sample selected. Hence the need to have a small but representative sample of 30 respondents which included government departments, NGOs representatives and community members was essential to cover up the whole community.
3.3.1 Sample Size
A population selected for this study was meant to be representatives of the whole population as suggested by Kelly (2011), since it can be generalised over a huge population. For various reasons, small sizes are usually preferable since they enhance data to be fully explored and clearly analysed as compared to a large sample size (Ritchie and Lewis, 2013). Responses from the respondents can usually be similar in nature, which makes the research manageable. The sample size remained small since it was academic and limited by resources. A sample of 30 respondents was drawn from a pool of government employees, NGOs staff and community members of Emadwaleni Ward. These respondents included 15 individual community members from Emadwaleni Ward, 5 NGOs employees 3 government employees and 7 Emadwaleni ward leaders such as Councillor, village heads, business people, religious leaders and extension workers.
Gender mainstreaming was endorsed upon sampling to enable a fair representation of the community members. Data that have been collected include the types of projects implemented by NGOs in the ward, factors that affect NGO operations, implementation of the development projects and how rural communities participate in the process.
3.3.2 Purposive Sampling
Purposive sampling is a criterion based selection of participants Mason (2002). Ritchie and Lewis (2013) adds that purposive sampling enable a detailed investigation and comprehension of the central themes which the researcher wishes to investigate. Ritchie and Lewis (2013) extra wrote that these characteristics maybe socio-demographic features or may be specifically related individual experiences in an organization. Government employees were chosen basing on their areas of operation in the district and their interaction or relations with NGOs. NGO representatives were selected on the basis of their area of operation, positions held and the experience they have in relation to the research topic.

Data gathering is the precise, systematic gathering of information relevant to the research using methods such as interviews, observation, focus group discussion, narratives and case study Burns & Grove (2003:373). Polit & Hungler (2014:51) further state that the empirical phase which involves the actual collection of data, is followed by preparation for data analysis. According to Talbot (2015:472) data collection begins with the researcher deciding from where and whom data will be collected. This research acquired data from field survey and desk research using varied techniques in collecting the data as explained below.
3.4.1 Interviews
An interview is defined as a conversation between two people that has a structure and a purpose and it is designed to elicit the interviewee’s knowledge or perspective on a topic Guest et al (2013:113). Interviews are characterised by four features:
? they are conducted on one on one allowing for probing thereby enabling the researcher to focus on the content of the responses given by the interviewee
? utilize open-ended questions to ensure detailed responses,
? inductive probing which entails use of questions that are based on the interviewees response
? Allows the interview to feel more like a conversation Guest et al (2013:113).
This study utilized all these four features of interviews that are outlined above for collecting data from the representatives of the NGOs’ management, government officials and from the community members.
The researcher opted for this as one of the methods of data collection as it enables one to probe the participants and generate deeper understanding of the topic. The researcher asked questions based on the participants’ responses. Guest et al (2013:116) pose that interviews allows interviewees to give meaning to their experiences The participants described their own experiences to the researcher as they perceived them.
The interviews were conducted face to face. Face to face interviews allow for optimal communication as both verbal and non-verbal communication is noted by the researcher (Alasuutari, Bickman ; Brannen 2008:317). It allows for the researcher to tie the verbal and non-verbal communication for better understanding. The interviews with the participants were conducted English and Ndebele which are the local languages for the areas where research was conducted. The researcher personally conducted all the interviews and this was done for the following reasons:
? The sample size was manageable since it was small
? To ensure accuracy and consistency in the data collected
? The researcher is fluent in both English and Ndebele languages and therefore did not need an interpreter.
The interviews with the representatives of each NGO aimed at understanding the development approach which they use to achieve socio-economic development of rural communities. Individual interviews enabled the researcher to explore an individual’s values, understandings, experiences and perspectives of the matter under investigation. Therefore, interviews allowed the researcher to ask into complex issues, enabling to learn more about the contextual factors that govern the operations of NGOs.
The acquisition of field data involved the use of the interviews whilst the respondents were at the epicentre of being the primary sources. Field research data was extracted from the people experiencing the works of NGOs in Emadwaleni Ward, instead of the use of the available recorded stale volumes of data. Answers from respondents formed part of the field data.
The researcher engaged people from two villages of Emadwaleni ward which are Mangala and Ndiweni village. The interview guides were used to solicit information on the needs of the benefiting community of Emadwaleni, their expectations from NGOs and the relevance of the projects in their livelihoods. The in-depth interview guide was used to collect information on the origins of the projects being implemented by the NGOs from the concerned government ministries such as the Department of Social Services and Women Affairs, MRDC, Ministry of Local Governance and the civil society. The advantage enjoyed by the researcher was that the interview guides which were used enabled him to probe and record the nonverbal comments from the respondents and minimise the flaws of the results.
The interviews were conducted face to face. Face to face interviews allowed for optimal communication as both verbal and non-verbal communication is noted by the researcher (Alasuutari, Bickman & Brannen 2008:317). It allowed the researcher to tie the verbal and non-verbal communication for better understanding. In focus group discussions, guiding questions were also used. The interviews with the members of the NGOs were conducted by the researcher in local language for the area where the study was conducted.
Use of open-ended questions do not need a one-word answer but provide interviewees with sample opportunity to express their feelings (De Vos 2017:293). Open-ended questions allowed participants to respond in their own words (Polit & Hungler 2014:349).
3.4.2 Observations
The researcher employed both participant and non-participant observation as ways of collecting data. An observation in qualitative research is watching what is happening with an intention of gaining understanding (Bouma & Ling 2014:58). By spending time residing in the communities, the researcher wanted to see how the community members interacted during NGOs workshops and how the NGOs delivered their development services. Clarity was sought from those responsible where the researcher felt that the observations needed clarification. The researcher maintained a journal in which observations were being recorded. Informal conversations provided some insight on how the community members view the NGOs’ model of development. Participant observation provided the researcher with a platform of unearthing those things which the researcher had missed or regarded as unimportant during interviews. The data collected from observation was presented in a narrative form. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2008) defined observation as a way of gathering data by watching behaviour, events, or noting physical characteristics in their natural setting. Hence observations can either be overt or covert. Observation as a method of data collection enabled the researcher to get data from individuals who were not in a realistic option during the survey. The researcher also enjoyed the collection of necessary data when respondents were unwilling or unable to provide data through interviews since the observation method required little from the individuals from whom data was needed.
3.4.3 Document analysis
According to McNabb (2018) secondary data is defined as information that has already been recorded which covers the already available literature relating to the subject under investigation. In this case available sources of data included NGOs research documents, newspaper, books, internet, journals and any other relevant information related to the subject matter.
Data analysis is a process of systematically applying statistical and logical techniques to describe and illustrate, condense, recap and evaluate data. Yin (2017), substantiate that this process consists of examining, categorizing, tabulation and testing evidence to address the initial proportion of the study. According to Burns ; Grove 2003:479 posit that data analysis can be mechanism for reducing and organising data to produce findings that require interpretation by the researcher. De Vos 2017:339 posit that data analysis is a challenging and a creative process characterised by an intimate relationship of the researcher with the participants and the data generated. Coffey ; Atkinson (2006:189) cite that qualitative data analysis needs to be conducted with rigour and care. In phenomenological research, the analysis begins as soon as the first data are collected. They may consist of no more than a single interview. Data from interviews and observations was grouped in relation to similarities and analysed to deduce a generalization about the responses and their correlation to the research variables. Data collected from the sources such as books, newspapers and journals was synchronised to the field data to come up with a single explanation of the research results. To analyse the data, the researcher used a strategy which involved the collection of some data, constructing initial concepts and hypotheses, test against new data, and revise concepts and hypotheses. World Health Organization, (2014) explains that this approach implied that data collection and analysis was embedded in a single process and undertaken by the same individual.
In carrying out this study, the researcher considered ethical concerns as it is articulated in the four principles of Tom Beauchamp and Jim Childress (1983) quoted by Bricki and Green (2002): autonomy which refers to respecting the rights of the individual, beneficence meaning doing good, non-maleficence meaning not doing harm and justice particularly equity.
The researcher also had a moral obligation to strictly consider the rights of the participants who were expected to provide this knowledge (Streubert Speziale ; Carpenter 2013:314). According to Streubert Speziale ; Carpenter (2013:314) the researcher considered it very important to establish trust between the participants and himself and to respect them as autonomous beings, thus enabling them to make sound decisions cited in Burns ; Grove (2003:65).
Relevant authority was sought from the Matobo Rural District Council (MRDC) so as to gain access to the district’s rural communities. The researcher also petitioned informed consent from the selected respondents before conducting the interviews. The participants were made aware of the nature of the study and have been participating willingly as Moriarty (2011) supports by noting that “researchers need to let participants know about the broad areas of their enquiry”. Data collected from the research has been held confidential and applied solely to the intended academic purposes. In addition anonymity was assured because the results do not mention the participants’ names. Ethical measures are as important in qualitative research and it include ethical conduct towards participant’s information as well as honest reporting of the results.
This chapter presented the research methodology and the design of the study. This provided the road map of the study. A detailed explanation was given on how the participants were chosen and how the data was collected. Validity, reliability and ethical issues are important elements of research and in this chapter, the researcher discussed how these were upheld. The chapter has revealed the research design and the methods which were used to collect data for the study underlining the pros and cons of the methods used. The chapter also highlighted the ethical considerations which were highly upheld in this study. This chapter further validates how the collected data is going to be analysed in chapter four so as to support the topic which attempts to answer the question of the contributions made by the rural people of Emadwaleni ward in planning and developing projects as well as what the community desire from NGOs in the development process. The findings of the study are presented in the next chapter.