CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
Necessity is not the mother of invention. Knowledge and experiment are its parents. It sometimes happens that successful search is made for unknown materials to fill well-recognised and predetermined requirements. It more often happens that the acquirement of knowledge of the previously unknown properties of a material suggest its trial for some new use Willis R. Whitney (1960): National Academy of Sciences
The previous chapter reviewed the literature on KM, OP, HSD, public-sector reform and governance, organisational transformation, the knowledge-based view and the conceptual framework of KM capabilities.
This chapter consists of eight sections. Section 3.1 commences with an introduction, followed by a perspective on the philosophical epistemological stance for the study in Section 3.2. The subsequent sections present detailed descriptions of the methodological approaches in Section 3.3, the research design in Section 3.4, the data analysis in Section 3.5. This is followed by the evaluation of the research methodology in Section 3.6 and ethical issues in Section 3.7. The chapter ends with Section 3.8, which presents the conclusion.
The objective of this chapter is to outline the research methodology employed in this study and to address the research problem through the research questions. Research methodology refers to an inquest for knowledge and explains how the research was conducted (Castro et al., 2010). It is therefore, a process of a scientific and systematic search for pertinent information on a specific topic to solve a research problem. Furthermore, it is a methodology which is concerned with the understanding a researcher has about social reality, the interpretation given to a phenomenon and the essential apparatus put in place for designing appropriate research methods comprising techniques employed in getting to the issues to be addressed (Creswell, 2014).
Therefore, a methodology can be considered as a set of procedures that can be followed for achieving an objective. The objective in this sense is that of exploring an observed phenomenon and getting to the root of its possible causes and effects (Terrell, 2012).
The purpose of this chapter is to discuss empirical research with focus on the objectives formulated in Section 1.5 in Chapter One. The literature review showed that certain factors ought to be considered if KM is to be used for improvement in OP and HSD. These factors pertain to determining the KM capabilities, OP and HSD.
The operational objective of this research study was to empirically determine by means of qualitative and quantitative research, the degree to which these factors are related and could be used to improve OP and HSD in an organisation. The constructs that were included in the conceptual model were operationalised to determine the degree to which the independent variables (knowledge infrastructure capabilities and knowledge process capabilities) influence the dependent variables, OP and HSD. The dependent variables would change as a result of variations in the independent variables. Ultimately, the purpose was to develop an SEM of knowledge-based OP and a HSD model to verify the theoretical conceptual model.
The research design, research method and statistical data analysis used to achieve the objectives of this study are subsequently discussed. The discussion focuses on guidelines found in the literature and its application by the researcher in order to achieve the empirical research objectives.
The exploratory principal component factor analysis was also used here to identify the factors that influence OP and HSD and the SEM technique was used to develop the knowledge-based OP and HSD model was comprehensively discussed. Essentially, in this chapter, the data structure and the empirical models used for this study are described.
In Chapter Two, it was established from literature that, because of the need to transform the GDH and to implement public-sector reform initiatives, the use of KM was found to have improved, inter alia, OP and HSD.
It was further established that improved OP and HSD can be observed in effective knowledge infrastructure and knowledge process capabilities (Zaied et al., 2012). Other researchers, such as Tseng (2016), Tseng & Wu (2012) and Ogbadu, Abdullahi & Abdullahi (2013), also demonstrated the close relationship between OP and KM.
The literature review was not intended merely as a means to an end; the end was envisaged as achieving an understanding of the application of KM in the public-sector and accepting that KM is the strongest contributor and driving force to general OP and improved HSD in the GDH.
The chapter further explains the data collection and sampling procedures that were used to ensure the reliability and authenticity of the study (Palinkas, Horwitz, Green, Wisdom, Duan & Hoagwood, 2015). The research design was used to structure the research and show how all the major parts of the research project collaborate in an attempt to address the research questions. Essentially, this research design provided the mechanism that holds the entire research project together (Palinkas et al., 2015).
In order to build understanding so as to answer the research question, this chapter considered the various schools of thought from which are derived the various methods of research.
At the same time, the research method employed for this study, which is mixed-methods research, was highlighted using the thirteen distinct steps in the mixed-methods research process, as illustrated in Figure 15. This involved collecting, analysing and interpreting quantitative and qualitative data in a single study. Using Determining the research/mixing rationale.
- Formulating the research objective(s)
- Determining the research/mixing purpose
- Determining the research question(s)
- Selecting the sampling design
- Selecting the mixed-methods research design
- Collecting the data
- Analysing the data,
- Validating/legitimising the data
- Interpreting the data
- Writing the mixed-methods research report and
- Reformulating the research question(s)
This chapter also deliberated on what type of research design should be used to investigate the interdependence between the intensity of KM activities and OP and HSD empirically.
This research design should demonstrate how the results of the literature review and the empirical data could be utilised for KM capitalisation by the GDH for improvement in OP and HSD.
Philosophical and epistemological perspective
Generally, social research aims to find patterns of regularity in social life and to focus on how and why things actually are what they are (Babbie, 2015). The aim was to study social patterns in social life to proffer an explanation as to why or how the phenomenon is the way it is so that a verifiable solution can be sought (Babbie, 2015). Since the main focus of this research study was to uncover and discover patterns that helped explain and achieve the aim and objectives of the envisaged research, a methodological approach was required to facilitate the research process (Creswell, 2014).
The purpose of this section therefore, is to provide a background to the philosophical stances of this research. This research was done applying both qualitative and quantitative methods using data from the survey, interviews and documents. Since both quantitative and qualitative data was analysed and interpreted in order to obtain the research results, the epistemological stance of this study was identified to be the infusion of the objectivist and positivist perspectives.
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.2. Background to the research problem.
1.3. Research focus
1.4. Statement of the research problem
1.5. Research objectives
1.6. Scope of the study
1.7. Research questions
1.8. Rationale for the study
1.9. Originality of study
1.10. Research methodology and design
1.11. Ethical considerations
1.13. Limitations of the study
1.14. Outline of the thesis chapters
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2. Theoretical framework
2.3. Contextual setting
2.4. Knowledge Management
2.5. Organisational performance
2.6. Healthcare service delivery
2.7. Public-sector reform and good governance
2.8. Organisational transformation
2.9. Knowledge-based view
2.10. Review of the conceptual framework
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
3.2. Philosophical and epistemological perspective
3.3. Methodological approaches of research
3.4. Research design
3.5. Data analysis and presentation
3.6. Evaluation of the research methodology
3.7. Ethical issues
CHAPTER FOUR: QUANTITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
4.2. Participation in survey
4.3. Issues of concealing true feelings
4.4. Hypothesis of the study
4.5. Descriptive statistics of the sample
4.6. Descriptive statistics of KM capability measures
4.7. Exploratory factor analysis of dimensions
4.8. Tests of normality of the composite variables
4.9. Independent T-TEST differences between socio-demographic variables
4.10. ANOVA test for significant mean differences between variables
4.11. Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Structural equation modelling
4.12. Summary of quantitative data analysis
CHAPTER FIVE: QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
5.2. Challenges experienced during the data gathering process
5.4. Characteristics of interview participants
5.5. Mixed-methods thematic analysis process
5.6. Knowledge management capability dimensions
5.7. Organisational document analysis
5.8. Conceptual knowledge management capability framework
5.9. Data comparison and integration: Qualitative and quantitative results
CHAPTER SIX: DISCUSSIONS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.2. Summary of Chapters
6.3. Summary of research findings
6.5. Limitations of the study
6.6. Implications of research for theory and practice
6.7. Suggestions for further research
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
The Improvement of Organisational Performance and Healthcare Service Delivery through Knowledge Management Practices in the Gauteng Department of Health