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Research methodology and methods

The effective, efficiency and benefit of the research are based on research method. There are several research methods, such as action research and phenomenography, qualitative research method (Interviews, focus, groups and observation) and quantitative research method (questionnaire, survey and experiment).

Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research
The research methods can be divided in to several ways. But main methods are qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative research is natural science to study natural observed. It may be questionnaire, survey, experiment and numerical method such as mathematical modelling. (Straub, Gefen, & Boudreau, Quantitative, Positivist Research Methods in Information Systems). Qualitative research is much focused on the collection and analysis of numerical data and statistics. Qualitative research method is developing in the social science and it provides researchers to study social and cultural observation. Qualitative research is described about the interview, participant and observation data.   It is explain about social observable fact.  Also it can be case study research, action research and ethnography. (Myers) .

Philosophical Perspectives
Every Research can be qualitative or quantitative. These two ways depend on the assumption, Components and which research method will be appropriate, so when we evaluate qualitative research, we need to know about theses assumptions. One of them suggests as “paradigms” for qualitative research. They are positivism, post-positivism, critical theory and constructivism. (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). Other suggests got three categories, based on the underlying research “epistemology”. They are positivist, interpretive and critical.

Positivist research generally describes by the measurable properties and it does not depend on researcher and his/her instrument. It is generally test theory.  It can be evidence of hypothesis testing, observation from sample population and countable measure of variables. (Orlikowski, 1991) “Interpretive researchers start out with the assumption that access to reality (given or socially constructed) is only through social constructions such as language, consciousness and shared meanings. The philosophical base of interpretive research is hermeneutics and phenomenology (Boland,R).” “Critical researchers assume that social reality is historically constituted and that it is produced and reproduced by people. Although people can consciously act to change their social and economic circumstances, critical researchers recognize that their ability to do so is constrained by various forms of social, cultural and political domination (Myers, M. D.)”.

Qualitative Research Methods
Action Research
There are lot of definition of action research method. Action method is solving problem with using practical or experiment things. If you’re research is based on “How to” then action research is very appropriate. It is also very important when we wish to built collaboration between with various kind of group. We can define action research in following way. “Action research aims to contribute both to the practical concerns of people in an immediate problematic situation and to the goals of social science by joint collaboration within a mutually acceptable ethical framework (R.N, 1970)” The action research is tried to enlarge the stock of knowledge about the social science community. (Clark, 1972). This is consists with social changes. Kurt Lewin, a Prussian psychologist. He is most often credited with coining the term ‘action-research’. He said about action research as “proceeds in a spiral of steps each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action and fact-finding about the result of the action” (Lewin 1946, (Hart & Bond, 1995)). Spiral level based on many action research method.

The Action Research Spiral

There are many advantages with action research. They are:

  • It is based on practise, so it’s avoiding problem of needing to be implements.
  • It improves individual and collectives, because it encourages professional workers to recollect and use their strengths.
  • It uses validity criteria and validation process based on contributes with practical situation. (Wisker, 2001)

Ethnographic research comes from the discipline of social and cultural societies. Ethnographer is needed to spend more about time on the filed. Ethnographers immerse themselves in the lives of the people they study and seek to place the phenomena studied in their social and cultural context. Ethnography now widely used in information system organisation.  (Lewis)

Grounded Theory
Grounded theory is theory grounded in experiences. However, it is often cited as a rather loose and unstructured way of approaching observed experience, which then provides grounding of the development theories. (Wisker, 2001). According to Martin and Turner (1986), grounded theory is "an inductive, theory discovery methodology that allows the researcher to develop a theoretical account of the general features of a topic while simultaneously grounding the account in empirical observations or data (Martin & Turner, 1986) It has specific approach to built the theories, so it’s different with other methods. The ground theory suggests there must be reciprocal action among data collection and analysis.  This approach is increasing among IS research literature, because the method is extremely useful in developing context-based, process-oriented descriptions and explanations of the phenomenon. (Orlikowski W. , 1993)

Case Study Research
Case study design becoming spreading in social research.  The case study approach generally can choose number of possible events, such as people, social movement and organization. The understanding the case studies, it can be divided in to two main types, and each types can be divided in to sub types. The first type is focus on individual behaviours and experience. The second type consider about the operation of organization, group or social movement.  Through these types, a researcher can take the role of “either an outside observer or a participant-observer”. (R.Murray & L.Brubaker, 2008). The good case study gives better decision for research. The methodology that follows for case study based on four stages: They are: 1. Design the case study. 2. Conduct the case study.3. Analyze the case study evidence. 4. Develop the conclusions, recommendation and implication. (Yin.R, 1994)
When we develop the case study we have to consider following things.

  • All data about the case is gathered. Example: The case title is based on “A program’s failure with client”, so we need to collect data about the program, its process and the client. We need collect regarding the documentation things, such as application, historical and records. Also we have to collect questionnaire, interviews and observation.
  • Data is organized in to an according to the focus of the study.
  • A case study narrative developed. Narrative means it must be readable story that summarised and integrate all the information regarding the case. It must be very clear, so it can be understand the outside the audience very easily.
  • The narrative might be validated by review from program participants. It must be fully describe with his/her experience and results.
  • Case studies might be cross-compared to isolate any themes or patterns. We have to explain other case studies regarding that topic with main case study. (McNamara)

“A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident (Yin, 2002).”

How to analyse the case study
Case Study analyse process (Davies, 1996)

Above figure illustrate “How to analyse the case study?”.

  • Analyse of the case study.
  • Identification the problem.
  • use the theory to evaluate the recommendation.

Case Study design advantages - The case study approach can be used in theory-building and theory approach research.  It can be used for variety research methods and use to force for “multiple source” of data.  It can be fit in well with the small-scale research through “concentrating effort on one research site” (or just few sites) and focus on one or more case studies and allows researchers to deal with not obvious or details of complex social situation. (Denscombe, 2003)

Case Study design disadvantages - The case study does not ensure reliability or generality of findings, useful only as an examine tool, may lack methodological strict application and contextual nature of evidence is limiting. (Davies, 1996)