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Chapter 3

h3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 INTRODUCTION
This chapter will present a comprehensive outline of the research methodology that
will be utilised for this study. Also included, will be the philosophical assumptions
underpinning the research and the empirical tools to be applied. The chapter further
aims at justifying the selected approach and outlining the sampling techniques and
sample utilised for the study. The key objectives of the study are:

 Objective 1: To investigate the stakeholder perception of MTN SMME CSR


programs.

 Objective 2: To assess the relevance, impact and performance of the MTN


SMME CSR programs.

 Objective 3: To identify best practices for evaluating and monitoring MTN


SMME CSR programs

3.2 RESEARCH STYLES


According to Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill (2013) research is an undertaking by
individuals who seek to systematically investigate a phenomenon for the purpose of
enhancing their knowledge. They go on to point out key research characteristics
which include the systematic collection and systematic interpretation of data.
Literature reveals a number of research styles that are utilised by researchers today.
The main styles include idiographic, theoretical, constructive, critical, empirical, and
nomothetic and information systems. This study will be based on information
collected by administering a questionnaire. Hussey and Hussey (1997) states that
questionnaires are associated with phenomenological methodologies. A
questionnaire is a list of carefully constructed questions, chosen after considerable
testing, with a view of eliciting reliable responses from chosen sample. The aim is to
find out what a selected group of participants do, think or feel. Lee (1999) argues
that a case study research method has been the qualitative method mentioned
second most often in studies published in organizational sciences. Although the main

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purpose in the management literature has been to generate new theory. However,
Yin (1994) as quoted by Lee (1999) clarifies the fact that case study research is best
suited to the examination of why and how contemporary, real-life (organizational)
phenomena occur, but under conditions where researchers have minimal control.
Case study addresses many of the questions traditionally answered by laboratory or
field experiments. The major difference is that the study cannot require control or
manipulation of variables. This argument would suggest that case study theory is
also applied where the researcher is making an investigation about existing
knowledge and reporting on it.

For this study the empirical style, which is, qualitative methodology is the dominant
and mainly based on respondents self-administering the questionnaires. The
questionnaire will be presented to them face to face with timelines for returning the
form. The questionnaire will address the objectives outlined above and aims to
investigate the key stakeholder perceptions of MTN SA Foundation SMME CSR
programs and gathering evidence that can be used to make inferences on CSR
programs within MTN.

3.2 RESEARCH METHOD


According to Jankowicz, (2015) the term method in research refers to the obtaining
of information through a systematic approach to extraction and analysis of data.
Crotty, (2014) also add that a research method entails the application of various
techniques and processes during a data collection exercise in order to investigate
stakeholder perceptions on MTN CSR programs. Research methodology entails the
combination of various elements which include plan of action, strategy, design,
process and the analysis of evidence collected from various participants (Crotty,
2014). According to Leedy (2014) the research methodology should address four key
issues which including; how is the data is analysed, where is the data going to be
obtained, what type of data is needed and how is the data going to be collected.

3.4 THE RESEARCH ONION


The research methodology for this research will adopt the various research
constructs outlined in Saunders et al. (2013) research onion portrayed in the diagram
below.

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Figure 3 Research Onion Saunders et al. (2013)

3.5 PHILOSOPHICAL PARADIGM


According to Collis and Hussey (2013) philosophical paradigm is the research
philosophy or the paradigm of the research. They also add that the paradigm is a
model which includes methods, theories and data defining methods that explain the
link between theory and data. Contrary to Collis et al, 2013, Saunders et al. (2013)
differs in that they believe that a philosophy is linked to a thinking or belief of an
individual on how knowledge is developed and created. They also add that
philosophy is impacted by how a researcher explains the knowledge developed and
will influence the carrying out of the research by the researcher. However, Myers,
(2012) philosophical paradigm is the epistemology that serves as a guideline for any
research. This study will take on the phenomelogical paradigm.

5.5.1 Phenomelogical paradigm


According to Denzin and Lincoln (2011) the purpose of the phenomenological
approach is to illuminate the specific, to identify phenomena through how they are
perceived by the actors in a situation. In the human sphere this normally translates
into gathering ‘deep’ information and perceptions through inductive, qualitative
methods such as semi structured open-ended questionnaires, discussions and
representing it from the perspective of the research participant(s). This paradigm will
facilitate the extraction of stakeholder perceptions of the CSR programs.

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3.6 RESEARCH APPROACH
According to Crowther and Lancaster, (2013) there are two main types of researches
used in most studies today and these are deductive and inductive.

3.6.1 Deductive approach


The deductive approach hinges on the development of hypothesis and theories
which are then subsequently tested through the study of empirical evidence
(Crowther and Lancaster, 2013). They also add that the approach entails the
utilisation of various techniques to reveal the application of different theories in real
world situations Saunders et al. (2014) point out that the deductive approach takes a
shorter time compared to the inductive approach.

3.6.2 Inductive approach


The Inductive approach is the basic opposite of the deductive approach where the
research objective to develop theories and hypothesis that seek to bring more
understanding of the evidence presented from observing the real world. The
development can be through various means in the inductive approach. According to
Crowther and Lancaster (2013) the inductive approach is a very flexible approach
especially on the design of the research and the sample data required and hence it
would be very suitable for studying perceptions in organisations. This research will
take on a qualitative inductive approach as it seeks to benchmark stakeholder
perceptions of MTN SMME CSR programs against existing theory.

3.6.3 Qualitative Method


The Qualitative research is an Interpretivism approach that is mainly based on the
interpretation of words instead of numbers (Miles and Huberman, 2014). They add
that it is often utilised in seeking answers to questions on various phenomenon for
the purpose of comprehending the phenomenon (Leedy, 2014). According to Sykes
(2013) the strength of the qualitative approach like the inductive approach lies in its
flexibility as it allows for open ended questions.

Yin (2014) adds that the qualitative approach facilitates the understanding of
complex issues where meaning can be queried, and topics explored from various
angles. The qualitative approach allows for clarification of questions for participants
and facilitates the validation of the data as semi structured open-ended

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questionnaire can ensure the clarification of any blurred points. According to Myers,
(2012) it is practically impossible to extract the actual understanding behind the
occurrence of a process that has a human element to it without a detailed discussion
with a human being.

Myers (2012) also points out that the qualitative method facilitates the
comprehension of subjectivity and complexity that enables a researcher to use
interpretations to gain an understanding of a particular situation. The qualitative
approach is suitable for the research on the stakeholder perception of MTN SMME
CSR programs because it will aid in bringing out a deep meaning of the phenomena.

Clearly, SMME owners and managers, play a significant role in driving the MTN
SMME CSR programs. This research project will require the writer to distribute semi
structured open-ended questionnaires to SMME owners and managers involved in
the MTN SMME CSR programs. Through semi structured open ended
questionnaires, the writer hopes to rely on the memories of those involved in the day
to day running of the SMME processes. In that way we can learn about their
perceptions of the MTN SMME CSR programs. Researchers use a variety of
strategies to support the validity of their findings (Leedy & Ormrod 2015).

3.7 RESEARCH STRATEGY


The strategy of a research outlines the direction of a study and is often the most
important decision a researcher makes (Pathirage, 2014). According to Yin (2014)
the research strategy is the design of the research constituting a rational framework
for moving from one point of the research to the other. Marshall and Rossman (2015)
also add by pointing out that a research strategy is a logical plan that reveals the
research population, role of the researcher, research site, data collection
instruments, analysis of data and research management outline.

The research strategy choice reflects the nature of the research and the objectives of
the research. Research strategies range from case studies, ethnography, action
research and experiments (Saunders et al. (2014). This research will mainly focus on
10 SMME organisations hence a case study strategy will be adopted for this study.

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3.7.1 Case study
According to Hartley, (2014) a case study offers a comprehensive view of processes
as they unfold in any organisation. Easton, (2012) points out that the main objective
of a case study research is to evaluate the context and procedures which shed more
light on the theoretical issues under study.

Yin, (2013) also argues that one of the critical application of the case study strategy
comes when there is a blurred line between the issue under investigation and the
context in which it is defined. He also expounds that the utilisation of the strategy is
critical in adding knowledge on group, individual, political and social phenomenon.

Myers (2012) points out that a key element of the case study approach is to collect
data from real people in organisations in order to give relevant contribution to
knowledge as a rich collection of information is made with this strategy through its
unrestricted nature.

According to Dooley, (2012) a case study strategy is a unique and flexible research
design which has the ability to integrate different paradigms and various qualitative
data collection methods including semi structured open ended questionnaires and
document analysis. This he adds will often result in a broad scope of coverage and
give a more complete view of the researched phenomenon.

Bonoma, (2015) highlights a case study approach as a very strong strategy as it


presents a robust way of studying elements in their natural setting and formulate
theories from practice. He also adds that the why and how questions are easy to
answer using the case study approach.

This research utilises a case study design and a qualitative research procedure to
investigate the phenomenon of the perceived performance, relevance and impact of
MTN SMME CSR efforts the natural setting of the SMME organisation where the
researcher will investigate the phenomenon of interest (Dooley, 2012). The 10
identified SMME’s will be a questionnaire with both closed and open ended
questions to respond to.

3.7.2 Study Population


The population of this study will be made up of all small, medium and micro-
enterprises (SMMEs) in Gauteng South Africa that have benefited from the MTN

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CSR program. From 2005, approximately 20 SMMEs have benefited from the MTN
CSR program.

3.7.2 Sampling Techniques


According to Eisenhardt (2013) an effective case study approach will often utilise 5
to 12 participants depending on proposed critical causal variables. In this study the
views of the case study participants will present an in-depth view which will facilitate
the understanding of the the stakeholder perception of MTN SMME CSR programs.

Purposeful sampling will be utilised to select the case study participants. According
to Merriam (2011) the concept of purposeful sampling is a popular method utilised
for selecting participants for a case study strategy. He also adds that in this
methodology the sample is hand-picked in an environment where the researcher has
background information on the participants in the organisation and hence are
deliberately selected to provide the most valuable evidence. The criterion for the
selection will mainly be SMMEs who have benefited from the MTN CSR program.

A purposefully selected sample comprising of 10 SMMME owners/managers. With


purposeful or purposive sampling, the sample will be hand-picked for the research.

3.7.3 Data Collection


The researcher will seek to collect sufficient data that will facilitate the answering of
the proposed research questions. According to Tellis (2011) case studies are often
referred to as triangulated research approaches that utilises various sources of data.
For this study data will be collected using from various sources of data including
semi structured open-ended questionnaires and documentation.

According to Dooley (2012) case study strategies advocate the use of various data
collection methodologies enhancing research validity. Putins and Petelin (2010)
point out that semi structured open ended questionnaires are still a key tool for
communication in most societies. They add that semi structured open ended
questionnaires facilitate the exchange of information between individuals. Dwyer
(2013) however, argues that unlike casual conversations semi structured open-
ended questionnaires are often structured, planned, prearranged, have a
prearranged purpose and often under the control of the researcher.

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Marshall and Rossman (2015) point out that in-depth semi structured open ended
questionnaires are the most appropriate methodology for a study that has an
exploratory and descriptive focus. This research will utilise semi structured open-
ended questionnaires to gain critical access to the stakeholder perception of MTN
SMME CSR programs. According to Gillham (2012) semi structured open ended
questionnaires are a key tool that offers flexibility and regarded as the most
important data collection tool in a case study research.

3.7.3.1 Semi structured questionnaire


Semi structured open-ended questionnaires were distributed to 10 SMME owners
and managers in the Gauteng region. Semi structured open-ended questionnaires
were utilised in order to give participants the opportunity to present their views at
their own discretion. Wu (2015) adds that the open-ended nature of semi structured
open ended questionnaires allow for the efficient collection of data in organisations.
Participants will be encouraged during responding to semi structured open ended
questionnaires to elaborate on their responses and to refer to examples where
possible.

The semi structured open ended questionnaires duration will be averagely around 45
minutes each and conducted in English. Participants will be allowed adequate time
to answer questions without the interruptions from the semi structured open ended
questionnaires.

3.8 DATA ANALYSIS


According to Wu (2015) data analysis entails the structuring and ordering of
collected data. Thematic analysis will be utilised for this study.

3.8.1 Thematic Analysis


Thematic analysis also known as template analysis entails the provision of a
framework that outlines the richness of data facilitates the organisation of the
collected data into a structure (Crabtree and Miller, 2013). Themes for this study will
include the research objectives and patterns found in the collected data that will be
grouped to facilitate the understanding of the data.

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3.9 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
3.9.1 Reliability
According to Gillham (2012) reliability refers to the dependability or consistency of a
measure. Data will be gathered by the same interviewer and this naturally can lead
to consistency issues. This issue will also be addressed by data collection method as
the researcher plans to use semi structured open ended questionnaires and
documents in his study A pilot test will be done before the major research to review
and improve data collection processes.

3.9.2 Validity
According to Hardy and Bryman, (2014) validity is mainly concerned with whether
the measure utilised is actually measuring what it is supposed to be measuring.
Validation also includes taking the research findings back to the research
stakeholders and assessing whether the findings conform to the experiences of the
participants (Silverman, 2011). The researcher will ensure that after every interview
the collected and transcribed data will be given back to each participant to review
and ensure validity. According to Stake (2015) a good qualitative study must always
validate the collected data as it is also an ethical obligation of the researcher to
remove any misrepresentation and misunderstanding.

3.10 KEY ETHICAL CONSIDERATION


According to Saunders et al. (2014) human participants of a research should always
be treated with respect and not harmed Saunders et al. (2014) point out that ethics in
the context of research is behaviour that is appropriate in relation to participants and
recipients of the resultant work

Informed Consent

The University of South Africa has an ethical validation process which ensures that
researchers conform to a reasonably accepted standard. The participants of this
study are going to be informed on the outcome of the information provided. Voluntary
participation declaration forms will be signed by each participant to indicate that they
are interested in participating in the study. In line with the ethical code no intrusion,
stress or distress will come upon the participant’s physical or mental well-being.

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A consent letter highlighting the research objective will be obtained from the
University and presented to the participant and will point out that the collected data
will only be utilised for the purpose of the research and treated in a manner that will
protect the confidentiality and anonymity of the participating organisation. Voluntary
participation will be clearly outlined to participants pointing out their right to pull out
from an interview at any point they feel uncomfortable. The informed consent
principal will be outlined to participants before any questions are answered.

Confidentiality and Privacy

Names of either individuals or organisations will be dealt with in strict confidence and
their trust will not exploited. The researcher will ensure that the research material
which includes the questionnaires will not be sensitive, discriminatory or
inappropriate. The researcher has also ensured that the design of the researcher is
adequately well-grounded to ensure that the participant’s time is not wasted during
the collection of data collection. The research instruments that will be utilised for this
research will subjected to the requests of the University’s ethical research
committee.

Permission

The researcher will take all ethical issues into consideration and ensure that
permission to conduct the research in the selected organisations is sought prior to
any collection of data. This will be done through the form of letters of permission in
order to ensure the legality of the exercise.

3.11 CONCLUSION
This chapter outlined the methodology and research design to be utilised for this
research. The primary focus for the section was the establishment of a robust
research methodology. The study will utilise mainly a qualitative approach. A
comprehensive explanation and justification of the research approach to be utilised
was outlined. A case study survey was pointed out as the key research strategy. The
main data collection tool identified for this study will be the semi structured open
ended questionnaires complemented by documents. The non-probability sampling
method will be the main method for selecting the research participants and thermal

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analysis will be utilised for data analysis. Finally, key ethical considerations were
outlined emphasising more on ensuring confidentiality and the comfort of the
participant.

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