5.1 Research Philosophy
“As suggested by Remenyi et al. (1998), there are several major questions that require significant consideration by researchers such as „How to research?‟ and „What to research?‟ But central to the researcher‟s answers is their perspective on „Why research?‟
This refers to the systematic search for knowledge, existence, and reasoning. It involves an establishment of facts to both new and existing knowledge and behaviour. Research philosophies are aimed at addressing the objectives of a study rather than the research methodology itself. Whatever research philosophy you select, it will begin with certain assumptions. These assumptions will serve as a platform from which you will move ahead . This study will apply positivism research philosophy. The use of positivism will assist in application of scientific methodology to understand and research on social or psychological phenomena (Feeney and Heit, 2007). Positivism will be used to quantify the responses from the questionnaires, and to seek statistical and causal relationships that exist among variables (Schulze, 2003).
5.2 Research approach
While working on a research proposal or project, it is crucial to determine which is the excellent research approach that fits to the study. To support the methodology it is crucial to follow a research exemplar that is suitable to the research approach (Berger, 2011). There are two kinds of research approaches; inductive and deductive approach.
According to Asheim (2006) deductive approach allows a researcher to develop a hypothesis by using an existing theory. The researcher works from more general information to more detailed information. Deductive reasoning may also be referred as the ‘top-bottom’ approach as the researcher works from the top with a broad spectrum of information towards the bottom. Deductive reasoning involves beginning with a theory of an existing topic of interest. The researcher then narrows the topic to testable set of hypotheses. The hypotheses are then narrowed further by collection of data used for confirmation or rejection of the original theory, which allows the development of a conclusion.
Inductive approach requires the collection of data before development of a theory. It is the opposite of deductive reasoning as it starts from a specific observation. The researcher measures, detects patterns of regularities, formulates tentative hypotheses, and ends up developing conclusions. This approach is limited on the fact that it does not always generate logical scientific conclusions.
However, the study will incorporate deductive approach. The deductive reasoning will be used in defining the existing theories related to the study. Additionally, to develop and prove theory and explain observations made by the result of the questioner (Feeney and Heit, 2007). Moreover, it helps to discuss the result and to point the negative and explain the positives.
There are more approaches of research philosophy, and they contain significant differences that affect the thinking style regarding each research process. Following are those approaches:
Nature of knowledge and justified beliefs are the main concerns in this approach of research philosophy. It is a core area of philosophy in which sources and limits of knowledge are also discussed besides its nature. Epistemology is about proving such-and-such knowledge true instead of finding out how to such-and-such. Questions such what additions should be made to true beliefs to transform them into knowledge? What are the kinds of sufficient and necessary conditions of knowledge? What is the structure of knowledge?
This approach to research educates us about the concept of justification, how justification of true beliefs is affected by the internal and external factors and how knowledge is disseminated .
Research process is significantly governed by values like ethics and aesthetics. To make a research credible, you have to include proper values that are accepted universally by everyone. You also have to share your own values and related them to the topic you are researching. This helps in making sound judgements when you are concluding your research .
The main concerns of this research approach are reality and existence. It questions the differing views of the researchers and the ways in which the world is operating. Ontology is based on two factors: subjectivism and objectivism. The former deals with the consequent and perceptions of social actors regarding life existence in the world and the social phenomena involved in it. The latter one deals with the positions of social entities that exist externally around the social actors who want to seek knowledge regarding their existence in this world.
The subjective view states that because the social phenomena are the results of social perceptions and behaviour; that is why they are subject to revisions. In order to understand the social actors, you have to study the subjective meanings that motivate them. For example, in order to design a product in a company, as a researcher you will have to analyze the factors of the product that will motivate the customers into buying it.
5.3 Data collection methods
The process of collecting and evaluating information on the variables through a systematic manner in a research to solve its queries, test hypothesis and know the outcomes is known as data collection. Data collection methods are used in all education fields; however, they differ from one field to another. The aim of data collection is to logically prove the research or gather evidences. Data collection also helps in minimizing the errors that occur in a research .
Secondary source implies data that have already been collected, and have gone through statistical interpretation and analysis (Berger, 2011). Secondary data can be collected from published or unpublished sources that may include journals, articles, books, and bureaus amongst others.
Primary data are given in the form of original or raw materials. The data needs the application of statistical methods for purposes of interpretation and analysis. Primary data collection methods include direct personal interviews, observation, and questionnaires. Primary data has an advantage over secondary data as the researcher generates original data that is unbiased. The data is basic and compiled from a first-hand experience and observation. As much as it is time consuming to collect data using primary data collection method, the researcher is assured of reliability and validity of the results (Kothari, 2005). Theories generated from an analysis of primary data are original and considered for scientific analysis and presentation.
Following are the categories of data collection methods:
Questionnaires are papers containing certain questions asked to the whole or sample of a population that helps in deducting the appropriate results from the research. These questionnaires are either handed to the people or emailed to them, which they have to return back after completing them. Questionnaires are often used to gather routine data from sample population. They contain questions that reflect on the thinking styles, perceptions, opinions and feelings of the targeted group of people.
Interviews are the most reliable way to collect data from targeted audience. Interviews can either be conducted through surveys or recorded. In live interviews, there are more chances of acquiring accurate data. In interviews the researcher asks questions to the participants face-to-face and records their answers. Later on, the researcher evaluates these answers and then concludes his or her research. There are two types of interviews conducted:
- Open-ended interviews
In this type of interview, the interviewer is able to gather practices, opinions or beliefs of the interviewees.
- Structured interviews
In this method, the researcher first design the interview according to his or her research needs and then asks the questions to the audience. Afterwards, he or she records the data him or herself in whatever manner it is appropriate to get accurate results for the research .
- Direct Observation
Researchers observe the targeted audience or place for a long period and then conclude their results based on that observation. They observe patients, men, women, children, patients, markets, factories, cafes, malls or other people or places. They communicate with their targeted audience then observe their behaviour or they apply changes to any place and then observe the reaction of people at that place .
6.0 Sampling design
The research methodology plans should clearly detail the sampling structure. In the current study, the research attempts to reach women in Saudi Arabia who are currently doing business or those owned-businesses in Saudi. Moreover, the survey research will be conducted in Saudi Arabia. Focused on obtaining 100 to 120 respondents of women in business in Saudi for the close-ended questionnaires.
The research will follow informed-consent ethical rules proposed by Saunders et al. (2012). The respondents will be informed of the purpose, procedure and expected duration of the study (Berger, 2011). Participation will be through Saudi women owned businesses or they are under working conditions and any participant who wishes to decline or withdraw from the study will not be denied the right. Participants will also be informed of the benefits that the study prospects. Respondents will also be ensured of their anonymity and confidentiality. The study will respect the privacy of the participants by ensuring that the respondents are not identifiable, except in exceptionally and defined circumstances (Kothari, 2005). The researcher has completed the ethics form of the university and attached in the Appendix (1).
Anon., n.d. BBC. [Online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/intermediate2/pe/skills_and_techniques/methods_gathering_data/revision/1/[Accessed 19 April 2014].
Anon., n.d. FAO Corporate Document Repository. [Online] Available at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/x2465e/x2465e09.htm#b3-6.3%20DATA%20COLLECTION%20METHODS[Accessed 19 April 2014].
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