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CHAPTER
3

RESEARCH
METHODOLOGY

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3.0 Introduction

The
pre-occupation of this study was to make an assessment Enterprise Resource
Planning Post implementation sustainability factor analysis of NUST from an end
users’ perspective. This chapter will explore methods of data collection to be
used in the study. Primary and secondary data collection methods will be
adopted for the purpose of the research and will be explained in detail in this
chapter. On primary collection of data, a case study was used through the use
of self-administered questionnaires and structured interviews for NUST
employees at the Bulawayo main campus administration offices. Issues discussed
in this chapter include the concept of research design, population and samples
to highlight their significance to the study.

3.1 Research
Methodology

 Kothari (2005) described research methodology
as the logical approach to answering the research problem. The logical process incorporates
an analysis of stages available to the researcher and the logic behind their
application. As postulated in his remarks, Kothari (2005), argued that research
methodology is a journey of discovery not necessarily based on research
methods, but an emphasis is made towards the logic behind the methods used in
context of the research study. Henning (2004), described methodology as a
logical set of methods that can deliver data and outcomes that highlights the
research objectives suitable for the problem under study.

3.2 Research Design

Dr.Sue
Greener (2008:40) postulates that, “a research design is a grand plan of
approach to a research topic”. It also provides glue that holds the research
project together. Kerlinger (2003: 38), define a research design as a “plan,
structure and strategy of investigation conceived so as to obtain answers to
research questions and to control variance”. The quality of the research
project is heavily influenced by the research design. Kothari (2005) propounded
that a research design stipulates what information to be collected, from which
source and by what producers. For the research study to be considered
overwhelmingly done and meaningful, the study has to magnify the important
features of the research design. A good design ensures that the information
gathered is necessary to the research problem under study and that it was
compiled by objective and economical procedures. Burns and Groove (2003:195)
cited on uir.unisa.ac.zw (27/03/2014:11:15am)
states that a research design “is a blue print for conducting a study for with
maximum control over factors that may interfere with the validity of the
findings”.

3.2.0 Exploratory
Research

 According to Dr.Sue Greener (2008),
exploratory research is designed to allow the researcher to have an insight of
some issues with the aim of developing suggestive ideas. The exploratory
research design is the most basic design meant to provide insight and ideas
about a problem. It explores trends in the industry with the notion of identifying
specific ideas and insights to generate explanations as to certain behaviour in
the industry. The fundamental concept behind exploratory research is to explore
and interpret relationships between different concepts and build theory in
relation to the topic. (Kothari, 2005).

 3.2.1 Descriptive Research

S.K
Yogesh (2006:104) stipulates that “descriptive research is concerned with the
present and attempts to determine the status of the phenomenon under
investigation”.  The objective of
descriptive research is to provide a description of various phenomena connected
to individuals, situations or events that occur. It is primarily concerned with
the gathering of numeric measurable data (Safaei Farzad, 2006).

3.3 Target Population

Abdu
(2009), states that the term population means the total number or the aggregate
concern which by virtue of the common characteristics that may lead to the
obtainance of relevant information. Target population also refers to the sample
population on which the researcher is going to draw conclusion from.

The
target population of this research is therefore the employees of NUST Bursars department
at the main campus. The population ranges from the head of department, heads of
sections and accounting assistants’.

3.4 Sampling

Dr
Sue Greener (2008:51) defines sampling as a practical way of studying people
and their activities, thoughts, attitudes, abilities, relationship in relation
to business. A sample can also be referred to a relatively small group or a
part of the population selected for observation and analysis. According to Yogesh
(2006:81) sampling is an indispensable technique of behavioral research; the
research work cannot be done without use of sampling. Sampling is a necessity
in researching because the study of the total population is impracticable. A
sample representing target population of NUST would be undertaken. A sample
therefore refers to the representation of the target population.

Advantages of Sampling

v  It
makes data collection process faster

v  Reduces
the cost of performing the research

v  Follow
up on respondents becomes easier and cheaper

v  It
ensures homogeneity and improvement of data quality and accuracy

v  Data
analysis becomes easier and cheaper

Disadvantages of
Sampling

v  The
sample chosen may not reflect the whole population and may left out some
characteristics which that material effect on the material findings

v  Determination
of the exact sample size might be practically difficult

v  In
the event of non-probability methods of sampling such as convenience and judgmental
techniques not being used, interviewer bias is likely to be high.

3.4.0 Sampling
Techniques

The
researcher opted to use a stratified random sampling technique to gather data
from a range of NUST employees in Bulawayo. Focus was directed towards the use
of stratified random sampling because the sample to which conclusion was drawn
does not consist of a homogeneous group.

Twenty
employees were selected from NUST as a sample. The selected employees were from
different sections of the Bursars Department of NUST namely, Students accounts,
Buying section, Budgetary Control, Salaries and Benefits, Payments section.

 

The
sample is represented diagrammatically in table 1 below:

Table 3.1 Population
and the sample size

Department
sections(management  and  accounting staff members)

Population

Sample
Size

Students
accounts

                

         5

Purchasing

                10

         3

Budgetary
Control

                 8

         2

Payments

                11

         5

Salaries
and Benefits

                 6

         5

Total

                49

        20

 

3.5 Types of Data

The
researcher used a multi approach of data usage, thus, both primary and
secondary data were used in the research study.

3.5.0 Primary Data

According
to Kothari (2004:95), primary data refers to data that which is collected
afresh and for the first time and thus happen to be original in character.
Primary data is information used in research that has been collected using
questionnaires, interviews and observation by the researcher.

Usually
primary data is of paramount importance because it provides information that is
current and up to date. Data is always reliable since it originates directly
from the parties involved. Primary data can either be overt or non-overt
(D.Cooper and W.Emory:1991).Overt primary data results from asking questions to
interviewees. Non-overt primary data refers to data derived from the oral or
written responses, for example data from participant observation. The researcher
used both overt and non-overt data to accomplish the objectives of the study.

3.5.1 Secondary Data

As
postulated by Kothari (2004:95) secondary data refers to information which has
already been collected by someone else and which already has passed through the
statistical process. Secondary data refers to information that is in existence,
available on publications such as books, reports, journals, magazines and work
by various scholars. Secondary data for this research was collected from
databases, magazines and journals. Other information was sourced from published
dissertations from other scholars, internet and textbooks to appraise
literature arguments and recent developments on ERP post-implementation.
Secondary data made a significant contribution in identification of literature
gaps and case study. These sources were used to justify the research problem
and reducing the time and cost for gathering primary data.

3.6 Research
Instruments

3.6.0 Questionnaires

A
questionnaire is a list of written questions which can either be open or closed
ended, used to gather responses on particular issues from respondents.
According to Wegner (2005), a questionnaire is in two basic ways; firstly the
respondents can be asked to complete the questionnaire with the researcher not
present (postal questionnaires), which basically means the respondents complete
the questionnaire without the aid of the researcher. Secondly respondents could
be asked to complete the questionnaire with the assistance of the researcher.
The researcher used both open and closed questions, open ended questions were
used to increase the respondents’ contribution and closed questions were used
to guide the respondents to remain focused on the problem under study.

Advantages of
questionnaires

v  Castillo
(2009) postulates that questionnaires are one of the cheapest and most feasible
ways of gathering data. A questionnaire is also an easy way to standardize
responds since each respondent is asked the same questions in the same way.

v  Questionnaires
enables the respondents to provide as much information as possible without fear
of victimization, since names are not a pre-requisite and they can complete the
forms probably at home lunch time or anywhere else alone (Naoum 2007).

v  Questionnaires
allow interviewees enough time to answer questions honestly and accurately and
it also enables the researcher to reach some inaccessible areas more
easily. 

 Disadvantages of questionnaires

v  Wegner
(2005) stipulates that the major drawback questionnaire is that the presentation
of the questionnaire makes it cumbersome for the researcher to classify complex
matters and opinions, even if open ended questions are used.

v  The
depth of responses that the respondents provide tends to be more limited than
with any other method of research. In circumstances where the researcher is not
present, it is difficult to gain assurance respondent has understood a question
properly.

v  The
researcher has no control over respondents. There is no assurance whatsoever
that the questions were answered by the right respondents especially in cases
where the questionnaires are answered in the absence of the researcher.

v  Questionnaires
are not flexible; all respondents can answer the same questions in the same
manner.

3.6.1 Interviews

Holborn
(2002) postulated that an interview is a meeting between the interviewee and
the interviewer. An interview can also be defined as a face-to-face meeting in
which an interviewer asks respondents questions designed to draw responds
pertinent to the research hypothesis. It is used to collect factual information
as well as opinions. Interviews can be classified into three namely,
structured, unstructured and semi-structured. Some studies may require only one
form of interview, while others require both. In this research, the researcher
is going to use the structured interview to collect data.

A structured interview was scheduled to
gather data from Innscor Africa Ltd employees. The researcher used the
interview scheduled plan to gather data from the sample of selected employees
within Innscor Africa ltd employees. The interviews provided the researcher
enough time to speak to the respondents giving their in depth ideas and views
concerning controllable and uncontrollable costs at Innscor Africa Ltd.

Advantages of
Interviews

v  Naoum
(2007) postulated that interview gives high response rate, approximately 60%
-70% and there is instant feedback.

v  Interviews
provide more accurate answers since the researcher is able to probe for more
accurate answers.

v  Answers
can be explored, finding out ‘why’ the particular answers are given.

Disadvantages of
Interviews

v  Interviews
are time consuming; they require careful preparation in advance to arrange
appointments with respondents.

v  Interviews
are expensive to carry as their require travelling to the interviewees, in this
research the researcher travelled to Bulawayo.

3.7 Pilot Study

A
pilot, or feasibility study, is a small experiment designed to test logistics
and gather information prior to a larger study, in order to improve the
latter’s quality and efficiency (www.nc3rs.org.uk
04/04/2014:9:25pm).For validation of the
questionnaire, the researcher carried out the pilot feasibility study. Before
dispatching the actual questionnaires a preliminary analysis was conducted. The
pilot study was carried out to establish reliability, clarity and validity of
the research instruments deployed for the gathering of the final data. The
pilot study exposed misconceptions of the interviewees and the need to
restructure some of the questions for relevance and clarity purposes.

 

The
feasibility study was carried out with the assistance of six members, two of
them were professionals with relevant working experience and four of them were
fellow accounting students. Draft questionnaires and interview guide questions
were delivered to these selected members for analysis and review before coming
up with the final questionnaire and interview draft guide.

The
results of the pilot testing were enormous; interviewees helped the researcher
to rephrase some of the questions both for interviews and questionnaires which
they think were irrelevant. Above all, the results helped the researcher to
detect possible flaws in measurement procedures including time limits and
instructions.

Table 3.2 Results of
the Pilot Study

Sample

Questionnaire
and Interview questions distributed

Questions
approved

Professional
1

                        19

                     18

Professional
2

                        19

                     18

Fellow
Student

                        19

                     19

Fellow
Student

                        19

                     19

Fellow
Student

                        19

                     18

Fellow
Student

                        19

                     18

 

The
researcher found it necessary to remove all questions unapproved questions
which were found to ambiguous and irrelevant.

3.8 Validity and
Reliability of Research Instruments

3.8.0 Validity

Validity
can be defined as the extent to which the instrument measures what it purports
to measure. Validity can be further classified into content validity,
criterion- related validity (or predictive validity), face validity, construct
validity, factorial validity, concurrent validity, concurrent and convergent
validity. (www.michaeljmillerphd.com
05/04/2014:10:46pm). Validity ensures that
the sample that has been adopted by the researcher adequately represent the
target population under study.

3.8.1 Reliability

Saunders
(2009:156) postulated that “reliability refers to the extent to which your data
collection techniques or analysis procedures will yield consistent findings”.
It can also be defined as to the extent to which a questionnaire, test,
observation, interview or any measurement procedure produces the same results
on repeated trials. (www.michaeljmillerphd.com
05/04/2014:10:46pm).Reliability also encompasses minimization of errors in the
data collected. The information gathered by the researcher was consistent to a
larger extent hence it was considered reliable.

3.9 Chapter Summary

This
chapter explored the research methods used in this research study. It addressed
the aspects of research methodology, research design, data sources, samples and
research techniques. The researcher described the strengths and weaknesses of
all research instruments and methods used, which include the questionnaires and
interviews. The next chapter will explore the findings that were conducted with
NUST bursars’ department employees. Focus will also be directed towards
presentation and analysis of data collected using tables, graphs, description
and diagrams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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