ADULT LITERACY EDUCATION IN ETHIOPIA

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CHAPTER 3 : RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This chapter describes research methodology. It includes the research paradigm, the research design, the research type, sampling strategies, data collection tools and data analysis techniques. The target population of the study and sampling methods and the methods followed to select the participants, who provided various types of data needed to answer the research questions, was also highlighted.

THE RESEARCH SETTING

The researcher has chosen to conduct this research in two villages of East Shewa zone located in the central part of Oromia region. Misraq Shewa (or “East Shewa”) is one of the Zones of Oromia Reginal State in Ethiopia. East Shewa is located in the middle of Oromia, connecting the western regions to the eastern ones.
These two villages are considered throughout this study for the following reasons:
Firstly, a major adult literacy program initiated by DVV-an international NGO, which is actively involved in adult literacy and other literacy program run by local and religious organizations that are directly related to women’s empowerment program;
Secondly, these two villages have the advantages of being easily accessible; transport is available all year round.
Finally, the choice of these two sites is dedicated to my experience and exposure to that particular society as I grew up in that particular cultural setting.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Research design

In this study, the researcher’s intention was to explore the impact of adult literacy program on women’s socio-economic empowerment, as little or no research was done in Ethiopian contexts. For that reason, an exploratory research was used.
Exploratory research is the researcher’s tool to understand an issue more thoroughly, before attempting to quantify mass responses into statistically inferable data. Exploratory research design does not aim to provide the final and conclusive answers to the research questions but merely explores the research topic with varying levels of depth. Exploratory research tends to tackle new problems on which little or no previous research has been done (Brown, 2006). Moreover, it has to be noted that exploratory research is the initial research, which forms the basis of more conclusive research. It could even help in determining the research design, sampling methodology and data collection method (Singh, 2007).

Research paradigm

The paradigm of this research is constructivism. Constructivists claim that verity is relative and that it is dependent on one’s viewpoint. This paradigm recognizes the importance of the subjective person’s creation of meaning, but does not refuse outright some notion of objectiveness (Miller & Crabtree, 1999).Constructivism is based upon the premises of a social construction of reality (Searle, 1995). One of the advantages of this approach is the climax collaboration between the researcher and the participant to enable participant to tell their narration (Crabtree & Miller, 1999). Through these stories, the participants are able to describe their views of reality and this enables the researcher to better understand the participants’ view (Robottom & Hart, 1993). This paradigm fits to the purpose of this study as it explores the impact of adult literacy program on women’s socioeconomic life based on their real life stories.

Research approach

This study is a qualitative research, which brings a unique perspective to the questions posed by it (Denzin, 2000). It allows the researcher to study things in their natural settings (Creswell, 2011). According to Marshall (2003), the strength of qualitative research is its ability to provide complex textual descriptions of how people experience a given research issue. It provides information about the “human” side of an issue.
In this study, the qualitative research method is selected as it contributes at least in two ways:
It provides rich descriptions of complex phenomena (women’s adult literacy program and its impact on their socioeconomic life);
It gives voice to those whose views are rarely heard (in the case of these study- women).

Research type

This is qualitative case study type of research that is intended to facilitate exploration of a phenomenon within its context using a variety of data sources. This guarantees that the issue is not investigated through one viewpoint, rather a mixture of lenses, which take into account numerous aspects of the marvel to be uncovered and caught on (Baxter and Jack, 2008).
A qualitative case study method was used with a purpose of understanding the impact of adult literacy on the socioeconomic life of rural women who participated in the program in two villages of Oromia region, Ethiopia. One of the main reasons for using a case study method is that exploring the relationship between literacy and socioeconomic empowerment is a very complex situation. This is mainly because; the relationship between the two, when analyzed, especially with figures and statistics sometimes could not be accurately related. Because there are several factors that make such relationship difficult. There could be many influences on what is happing-suitability of the literacy program to the cultural contexts, interest and motivation of literacy facilitators, an interest of participants to the literacy, quality of the literacy program in improving the life of participants, which should be explained contextually. Moreover, some socioeconomic outputs gained as a result of adult literacy could not be described using numbers, but explained qualitatively based on the voice of respondents. In addition to this, case study method helped the researcher to make a thick description of the issue under study by gathering rich information from different sources.
According to Yin (2003:2), “the distinctive need for case studies arises out of the desire to understand complex social phenomena” because “the case study method allows investigators to retain the holistic and meaningful characteristics of real-life events.” Case studies are chosen methodologies, especially when “how” or “why” questions are being raised in a research.

Research methods/strategy

Selection of participants

The target populations of this study are three main groups that are involved in the adult literacy program. These are adult literacy supervisors, adult literacy teachers, and women who participated in the literacy program. The selection of the participants was done based on purposive sampling. The purpose of purposive sampling is to select information-rich cases whose study will illuminate the questions under study. It is a form of non-probability sampling in which decisions of the individuals to be included in the sample are taken by the researcher, based upon a variety of criteria, which may include specialist knowledge of the research issue, or capacity and willingness to participate in the research. The purpose of purposive sampling is to ensure quality by selecting individuals who have experienced the phenomena being studied (Patton, 2000).
Thus, in this study, sampling deliberately included those data sources that are the richest sources of information in specific contexts. In the first stage, the selections of adult literacy supervisors and teachers were done based on the following criteria:
Adult literacy supervisors and teachers having, at least, five years of experience directly or indirectly with literacy were selected.
Adult literacy supervisors and teachers who are currently involved in the program.
Adult literacy supervisors and teachers who are working in the rural settings.
In such manner, five adult literacy teachers and three adult literacy supervisors were considered.
The second stage involved the in-depth interview with women who participated in the adult literacy program. The objective was to develop an understanding of the relationship between adult literacy and socioeconomic life of rural women. The criteria used for selecting women respondents were:
Women who had no exposure to formal education and any form of training prior to joining the adult literacy program;
Women who were active participants in the adult literacy program;
Women with relatively low socioeconomic status before the implementation of the program;
Based on the above three criteria, the researcher picked 20 women. Generally, a total of 28 individuals were selected for this study.

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Data collection

Data collection is a process that includes many activities ranging from finding people and places to collect good and credible information. It is aimed at collecting credible information to answer the research questions raised by the researcher (Baxter and Jack, 2008).
In this study, major data collection tools were in-depth interview and focus group interview.

In-depth interview

An in−depth interview is an open-ended, discovery-oriented method that is well suited for describing both program processes and outcomes from the perspective of the target audience or key stakeholders. An in-depth interview is a conversation with an individual conducted by trained staff. The goal of the interview is to deeply explore the respondent’s point of view, feelings and perspectives.
Among the tools that were employed to collect data for this study, the in-depth interview had weight in that it took a longer period than a focus group discussion. It was a major tool to generate relevant information in response to issues under this study. The researcher made several trips to the area in order to meet with women, adult literacy supervisors and teachers before conducting an in-depth interview with each participant. This informal meeting with the respondents helped the researcher in preparing themes and issues on which the guiding questions for in-depth interviews were formulated. These interviews included open-ended questions. Interview with women who participated in the study was coded Wr 01 to Wr 20. Each interview with adult literacy teachers was coded Alt 01 to Alt
5. The individual interviews with adult literacy supervisors were coded Als 01, Als 02 and Als 03. With regard to focus group interviews, the first focus group interviews were coded FGI 101 to FGI 110. The second group interviews were coded FGI 201 to GFI 210.
I) Interview with adult literacy supervisors
The interview protocol had three main parts:
Face sheet that was used to record time, date, place of interview and the special condition that might affect the interview and finally demographic data;
Interview questions related to a problem under study;
Post interview comment sheet-a place to write notes after the interview.
The interview questions were prepared in English and translated into a language of respondents to avoid language barriers. The interviews were properly recorded, and notes were taken by the researcher. The consent form prepared by the researcher and signed by the respondents was in place before the interview. The following questions formed part of the interview with adult literacy supervisors:
Would you tell me your age?
Qualification?
Years of experience in the adult literacy program?
How could you describe the main purposes of women’s empowerment program through adult literacy?”
How would you explain, the way the adult literacy program changed women’s self-esteem and understanding?
How could you describe the impact of adult literacy program on women’s social life?
Does women’s participation in adult literacy program equip them with the skills that help them to engage in different income earning activities outside their home? How?
Does the knowledge, women gain from the adult literacy program help them decide on the income they generate?
What major challenges do you think women face in the adult literacy program?
The following data were obtained from an in-depth interview conducted with three
adult literacy supervisors who were supervising the program. The responses of
the supervisors were presented as follows:
The participants answered as follows to the question, “how could you describe the main purposes of women’s empowerment program through adult literacy?”
Als01 The program targeted women who were living in the rural area. It has three main themes functional adult literacy, skill training, and entrepreneur support. The lesson of literacy incorporates all these three elements. So the main aim of the program was to improve livelihoods of women through these three elements. Thus, it was designed to bring about socioeconomic empowerment.
Als02 The program has business skill training together with adult literacy. It is not a conventional type of literacy (simple reading and writing). It was designed to make women active by teaching the lesson that directly related to women’s socioeconomic problems. The skill training components of the literacy program included poultry production, animal fattening, honey production, dairy (milk and milk products) and the like. It was believed that inclusion of these elements in the conventional type of reading, and writing will highly improve women’s participation and brings about women’s socioeconomic empowerment. Poverty has been identified as the major obstacles for women in the study area to make progress. As a result, simply reading, and writing does not tackle the problem on the surface unless it includes skill training components that help women get economic freedom.
Als03 “The adult literacy program incorporated a conventional type of literacy (reading and writing), skill training and entrepreneur support. Its aim was to empower women.”
When the supervisor was asked “how would you explain, the way the adult literacy program changed women’s self-esteem and understanding?” the he responded in the following way:
AlS01 The program is quite different from the literacy program that we were familiar with (reading and writing). The approach of implementation was based on the so-called “reflect” approach forwarded by Paul Ferrier. The learners supported by their teachers tried to find any social and economic issues that hinder their progress in the village. Next, they were invited to list all possible problems that need to be addressed. Afterward, the adult literacy teachers, together with the women, prioritized the issues. After that, they thoroughly discussed and designed their personal action plan to change the problem. They were discussing their private social and economic problems in such ways. As a result, we have seen a lot of changes in their self-concept and confidence. Really, they improved a lot. They had got the energy to take some major solutions to their problem. They speak freely on the issues they want to comment, like fighting for their right.
Als02 Actually, as a supervisor, I have seen so many changes. Many of them had a wrong understanding about their potential, their sexual orientation, and their right. However, the researcher could say women’s self-concepts toward themselves were highly improved as a result of their participation in the adult literacy program. But, a lot should be done to make them totally free from any type of segregation. Our society is highly patriarchal. So a lot is needed. The deconstruction of the wrongly constructed thinking’s towards women in our society needs further education in addition to adult literacy program of this a kind.
Als03 “The ways they express their feelings, ideas, and address issues improved. They talk in the large group with confidence.”
Participants responded as follows on the question, “How could you describe the impact of adult literacy program on women’s social life”
AlS01 Ahhh! There were a lot of improvements. For example, our presence at the public meeting had highly increased. Moreover, women’s knowledge of female genital mutilation, harmful traditional practices, and female abduction were improved. The practices of all these social evils were minimized. I have seen changes.
AlS02 As a supervisor, I have seen so many changes, though it is not enough. In the past, women were afraid of talking about issues related to family planning and their understanding of the concept was wrong. They thought that family planning was the hidden agenda of the government to sterilize women. However, as issues related to health were one of the lessons of the adult literacy program, they had got the chance to discuss it very well. Many of them decided to use one of the family planning methods and to give birth to their own plan. Moreover, adult literacy improves their social network among themselves. They ask each other in the village. They do have formal meeting times apart from the normal literacy schedule. Their personal hygiene was also improved. Their attitude towards their child’s education was also improved.
Als03 “Their personal and children’s hygiene also improved. Their attitude toward family planning methods and children’s education were also enhanced.”
For the question, “Does women’s participation in adult literacy program equipped them with the skills that help them to get engaged in different income earning activities outside their home? What type of activities?”
AlS01. This program was intentionally designed for this purpose. The adult literacy program had skill training parts on animal fattening, small trade, and growing different types of vegetables, honey production and the like. There were professionals from technical & vocational colleges, supporting adult literacy teachers on these issues. As a result, women participated in the adult literacy program gained more income.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 
DECLARATION 
TABLE OF CONTENTS 
LIST OF TABLES 
LIST OF FIGURES 
ABSTRACT 
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 
1.1 ADULT LITERACY EDUCATION: AN OVERVIEW
1.2 BACKGROUND AND MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.4 MAIN AND SUBSIDIARY RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. 6 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.8 DEMARCATION AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
1.9 STRUCTURE OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 
2.1 HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF ADULT LITERACY EDUCATION
2.2 ADULT LITERACY EDUCATION IN ETHIOPIA
2.3 ADULT LITERACY AND ITS CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE SOCIETY
2.4 POLICY APPROACHES TO WOMEN AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
2.5 THEORIES EXPLAINING WOMEN’S EQUALITY AND ECONOMIC FREEDOM
2.6 THE CONCEPT OF WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT AND ITS RELATION TO ADULT LITERACY
2.7 TYPES OF ADULT LITERACY
2.8 ADULT LITERACY EDUCATION EXPERIENCES OF DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
2.9 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER 3 : RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 
3.1 THE RESEARCH SETTING
3.2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
CHAPTER 4: DATA ANALYSIS, INTERPRETATION, AND FINDINGS 
4.1 DATA ANALYSIS PROCESS
4.2 RESULTS OBTAINED FROM IN DEPTH INTERVIEW AND FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION
4.3 FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN THE ADULT LITERACY PROGRAM
4.4 INTERPRETATION AND THE FINDINGS
CHAPTER 5: OVERVIEW, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
5.1 OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY
5.2 CONCLUSIONS OF THE STUDY
5.3 RECOMMENDATIONS
5.4. Model of empowerment emanated from data
5.5. Bibliography
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