This chapter presents the techniques applied for the empirical data collection. To find out which aspects play a main role in businesses owned by immigrants and how immigrant integration influence their entity, qualitative research with narrative inquiry strategy was executed. Primary data were conducted through interviewing nine immigrants that own a business in Sweden.
Many questions are needed to be covered and issues have to be solved while doing a research. Special techniques, strategies and approaches are used to collect appropriate data. The research ‘onion’ implemented by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2011) clearly illustrates the whole investigation process. The model introduces stage by stage layers, which begins from the research philosophy, continues with approaches, methodological choices, strategies, time horizons and narrows in techniques and procedures. The understanding and explanation of the layers are required because of their importance (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012).
For the aim of conducting a research in the business field, it becomes crucial to select an appropriate philosophy. According to Saunders et al (2012), the research philosophy that is undertaken by the authors must express their views on the world and its processes. It is the underpinning element in the research strategy and methods choice (Saunders et al, 2012).
With regards to this research paper, Interpretivism is the suitable philosophy which the further strategies were built upon. For the reason that the core of philosophy addresses the importance of humans and their roles, Interpretivism is consistent with the tools selected for the thesis research. In-depth interviews were carried out with individuals who either tried to or had set up their own businesses, in these settings the human characters, their backgrounds and experiences being central, in the topic segment. By choosing this philosophy, it is implied that the roles of humans in the social context and their differences have to be comprehended (Saunders et al, 2012). Consequently, these are interpreted from an empathetic stance (Saunders et al, 2012), meaning the result of the studies were interpreted by the authors in a more subjective manner.
From the axiology point of view, which signifies the investigator’s view of the role of values in research, the study is defined as subjective, since the researchers went into depth and put much emphasis on the value of the study for the society. Epistemology, the science of the acceptable knowledge, states that Interpretivism encompasses such elements as focus on details and what their meaning is in the real context (Saunders et al, 2012).
The research approach lies on the next layer of the model. There are two main, widely known research approaches up to the present: deductive and inductive. The deductive approach concentrates on the theory testing which is derived from the literature review. In this case, the collected data is strictly used to test hypotheses that are linked to the literature theories. In conformity with the literature regarding the research methodologies (Saunders, Lewis et al, 2012), the concept of the inductive approach is generating a new framework by collection of relevant data. This is a more ‘bottom-up’ approach since it analyzes from the specific to the broad areas.
The inductive approach is believed to be more suitable for this type of research. This is due to the fact that the goal of the research focused mainly on the context in which the immigrant business owners achieved the given status. In order to do this and understand the problem by its nature, a small sample of individuals was gathered and analyzed, which suggests the consistency with inductive approach. Another reason is that, in this case, a phenomenon, namely the immigrant businesses, was explored, which afterwards led to the creation of a new framework. Despite the fact that the generated framework holds on a few concepts from the literature, the research added new knowledge to the existing theory and discovered new patterns of the human interaction with the environment (Saunders et al, 2012). In contrast to the deduction approach, induction method allows to have a deeper look at the processes behind the phenomenon (Saunders et al, 2012).
In regards to the widely known research designs, there appear two possible alternatives to exist: quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative research mostly focuses on the relationship between variables, conducting a number based analysis (Saunders et al, 2012). As a rule, experimental and survey strategies tend to be associated with quantitative study. The qualitative research describes wholly the meanings derived from the participants of the study and their relationships, tending to generate a comprehensive framework out of them. Relatively to the quantitative research, the qualitative comprises a greater variety of research strategies, such as case study research or narrative research (Saunder et al, 2012). The qualitative method is associated, as a rule, with non-numerical data which is gathered via such techniques as interviews (Saunders et al, 2012). Between the two methods, the qualitative research is believed to be more appropriate for this study due to the fact the central figures of the research were human beings (business owners), meaning that each of them attributed their shared meanings and beliefs upon the analysed cases. Denzin and Lincoln (2005) claim that qualitative approach goes hand in hand with the interpretive philosophy, which is the case in this research. Therefore, there is need for subjectivity when applying the interpretivism philosophy in order to interpret the data about the researched phenomenon, which leads to a deeper understanding of the matter (Saunders et al, 2012). As a result, subjectivity is a featuring part of this research paper, mainly because of the varying opinions among the interviewees.
For the reason that the qualitative approach is seen mainly as the exploration of in-depth knowledge under naturalistic observations (Blaxter, Hughes & Tight, 2010), it was the efficient tool for researching immigrants and their businesses. This study touched upon the integration process of every individual, which could be described only by having an inside view. The subjects of the interviews – the business owners, were the main characters who engaged in providing the specific information concerning the integration process and business establishment. In fact, the participants’ meanings and views were analysed (Saunders et al, 2012), thus generating new findings with regards to the integration of immigrants and adding more quality to the existing scholarship.
By following the model elaborated by Saunders et al (2012), the methodology choice chapter also gives explanation for the nature of the research. There are three possible types of research: exploratory, descriptive and explanatory. Amongst all, the exploratory study appears to be more suitable for this thesis because of the reason that the open question approach for the explorations of the topic was applied. Thus, the experts or individuals with the certain experience in the field were interviewed and expressed their point of the story. According to Saunder et al. (2012), this is exactly what an exploratory study depicts. This type of study could be done in numerous ways, one of which is via interviews, most of the times unstructured. Since this approach tends to be more flexible,the discussions with the subjects bore a more personal mark and touched upon the hard reaching detail about their opinions on integration and business management (Saunders et al, 2012).
All strategies are a concrete scheme of steps which helps to achieve units’ objectives. Thus, a research strategy could be defined as a plan that helps the individual to explore the way he or she will answer the research question. The narrative inquiry strategy was applied in this paper due to its entire connection to the qualitative research design (Bauer Gaskell, 2000). According to researchers, a narrative is “a story, or personal account which interprets an event or sequence of events” (Saunders et al, 2012, p.187). The strategy involves the collection of narratives – written, visual or oral, that focuses on people’s stories, experiences and examples of specific cases. The narrative research presents the collection and analysis of complete stories rather than certain interview questions that have frames. Moreover, narrative inquiry includes greater sensitivity to social and cultural differences (Trahar, 2009) that could be necessary for researching the field of immigrants. The strategy preserves the linkage of the events in story and their chronological connection that optimizes analytical potential of the research.
In narrative inquiry, the interviewee is the narrator and the investigator is the listener. The narrative can provide a brief story about the case or extended one describing all the aspects of the event. As stated by Saunders et al. (2012), in-depth interviews are the main techniques of gathering stories. However, other methods such as participant observation could also be used. Depending on the context, the strategy may be used with one or just few numbers of participants, or with slightly larger samples. The most often, small samples are the most frequently used ones because of sizable amount of information to analyse. The main difficulty could be the research participant may most likely drift away as the story does not always match the posed question (Trahar, 2010).
Relating to the time horizon, this research is cross-sectional because it was carried on a particular topic at a certain time period. Many researches pointed out that majority of studies are made for the educational purposes and as a result data is time constrained.
The selection of techniques and procedures of factual data collection is an inseparable part of the study process (Saunders et al, 2012). Interviews are the corresponding method of data collection. “Interviewing is a popular way of gathering qualitative research data because it is perceived as « talking, » and talking is natural” (Griffee, 2005). Interviews do not assume any statistical cognition, and interviewee are usually close at hand and voluntary. The empirical data was obtained in order to contribute to the current research, particularly by interviewing immigrants that are operating or operated their own enterprises in Sweden, meaning that the main criteria of interviewees’ selection was only their background.
In-depth interview is one of the most appropriate methods to collect data for qualitative research and it is inherent for narrative inquiry strategy (Saunders et al, 2012). Therefore, this type of interview was used for the research. In-depth interviews are interviews in which “participants are encouraged and prompted to talk in depth about the topic under investigation without the researcher’s use of predetermined, focused, short-answer questions” (Given, 2008, p.423). This type helps to understand the context and find out what is happening. Moreover, it provides important information for background and contextual information for the research. In order to have some control over the direction of discussion and to fulfil the missing points that are needed for the research, some structured questions were prepared (see Appendix 1.).
All the interviews were conducted face-to-face and the duration of these was approximately one hour. The interviews started with the explanation of the topic and purpose of the research, whereupon participants were asked to tell us a story of themselves and the business they own focusing on integration together with business foundation, and the relationship between these ones. At the end of each interview, there were asked prepared questions, which bore important details for the purpose of the topic, but were missed by the interviewees.
After collecting all essential data from interviewees, the narratives were presented in the next chapter followed by the analysis of the acquired information. The data display and analysis approach were used to perform the qualitative data analysis. According to Miles and Huberman (1994) the process of analyzing is composed of three stages: data reduction, data display, and drawing and verifying conclusions. To begin with, data reduction comprises summarizing the received information and focusing on the certain parts of the data. It helps to become conversant with the major and most important subjects that have appeared from each interview (Saunders et al, 2012). Thus, after the records transcription, the narratives were condensed into shorter and more structured stories in order to avoid irrelevant information and not exceed required word limits.
The next step, data display, presents the data in forms of matrices, boxes, networks, charts or stories (Miles & Huberman, 1994). In this paper, in order to retain valuable characteristics of narratives the empirical findings are displayed as stories according to their structural elements using a logical sequence and presented in three parts: background and business start-up process; immigrant integration; relationship between immigrant integration and business. This includes reporting the situation around which the story is organized, the events or behaviors that happened in relation to the situation, the outcomes and consequences connected to this story (Saunders et al, 2012). In addition, the stories in the empirical data chapter were written from the third person’s perspective, including a few open speech phrases to confirm the credibility of the facts.
2.3Further Business Growth
4.1Accounting Bureau – Ella
4.2Small Hotel – Alexander
4.3Café – Oksana
4.4Electric Services – Peter
4.5Translating Services – Eleanor
4.6Beauty Salon – Anna .
4.8Design Consulting – Jordi
4.9IT Help – Hector .
5.1Analysis of Narratives
5.2Background and Business Start-up Process
5.4Relationship between Immigrant and Business
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
The integration process of immigrants owning a business