CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This chapter contains a detailed discussion of the research methodology that was followed to pursue the objectives of the study. The first part of the chapter deals with the nature of the study and its paradigm. This is followed by a comprehensive outline of the design of the study. The chapter concludes by discussing ethical considerations for the study.
THE NATURE OF THE STUDY AND ITS PARADIGM
The study was aimed at investigating how teachers of African languages apply OBE principles in their teaching of senior phase school learners. In order to achieve this aim the study followed a qualitative research approach. Qualitative research is defined by Holloway (1997:1) as “a form of social inquiry that focuses on the way people interpret and make sense of their experiences and the world in which they live”. This approach was selected because it allows for an exploration of the behaviour, perspectives and experiences of the people studied, as pointed out by Holloway (1997:1). This approach gave the present researcher an opportunity to interact with individuals or groups whose experiences the researcher wanted to understand.
In its nature the qualitative research approach is interrelated with the interpretive research paradigm. The concept “interpretative” is used interchangeably by other authors with phenomenology (Mouton and Marais 1990:19). The term “interpretative” refers to the fact that the aim of such research is not to explain human behaviour in terms of universally valid laws or generalizations. Rather, it seeks to understand and interpret the meanings and intentions that underlie everyday human action (Mouton 1988:1 and Hysamen 1994:17-18). In this study, this paradigm was used to attempt to understand the meaning of events and interactions of curriculum supervisors and teachers in their training workshops and African languages classrooms respectively.
The techniques mainly used by interpretative paradigms are both in-depth interviews and participant observations. These techniques require that the researcher spend much time in direct personal contact with those being studied in their natural settings. There is a long connection between these techniques of data collection and phenomenological theory. The belief of this paradigm is that if you want to understand the way people think about their world you need to get close to them, to hear them talk and observe them in their day-to-day lives (Bogdan and Biklen 2007:35). In fact, the researcher gathered large quantities of detailed qualitative data to acquire an in-depth understanding of how the participants create meaning in everyday life.
The concept “research design” refers to the planned structure of an investigation used to obtain evidence to answer research questions (McMillan and Schumacher 1993:31; Hysamen, 1994:10; and De Vos et al 2005:389). A design entails an outline and discussion of the procedure that was used for conducting a study, which includes answers to the questions when, from whom, and under what conditions the data were obtained. In fact, the design indicates how the research was set up, what happened to the participants and what methods of data collection were used.
The following questions were raised to guide the research design:
To what extent are teachers knowledgeable about the OBE approach?
How do teachers of African languages in the senior phase apply OBE principles in classroom teaching and learning?
What problems are experienced with the current OBE teaching and learning methods used in the Vhembe and Mopani Districts of the Limpopo Province?
What intervention programmes by the Department of Education are in place to monitor and promote the use of OBE principles in the teaching and learning of African languages at senior phase in the Vhembe and Mopani Districts of the Limpopo Province?
What could be recommended for the application of OBE principles in the teaching of African languages in the senior phase?
What followed was the design of the study in pursuit of the answers to the formulated research questions.
Sampling and Sampling Procedures
Sampling was important because the total population was too large and the scope of the problem too wide. It, therefore, became necessary to decide on how to reduce the scope of the investigation. In order to understand the phenomenon, a small sample was needed. In other words, generalisability was less important than the collection of data and the understanding of the ideas of the people chosen for the sample, as recommended by Holloway (1997:142).
In order to select participants for the current study, purposive sampling was used. Purposive sampling (also known as judgemental sampling) is one of the types of non-probability sampling methods in which every person does not have an equal opportunity to be part of the sample. In purposive sampling the researcher uses his/her own judgement about the individuals to be sampled for the purpose of the study (Wagenaar and Babbie 1992:231; McNeil 1995:39).
In this study, the researcher decided purposively to use two areas out of a possible five, Vhembe District and one area in the Mopani District, on the basis of their typicality. Grinnell (1988:253) indicates that “a primary assumption in purposive sampling is that by selecting persons who are “typical’ with regard to our study’s variables, any errors of judgement in selection will tend to counterbalance one another”. Furthermore, the researcher chose purposive sampling because it allowed the researcher to select participants that the researcher deemed to be informed about the topic under investigation. In purposive sampling researchers purposely seek typical and divergent data (De Vos 2002:335). It should also be noted that the manner in which purposive sampling was used in this study was not fixed in advance but was an ongoing process guided by emerging ideas.
The researcher preferred to conduct this study in these districts because of a number of factors such as: the selected areas in these districts were part of the now disbanded Lebowa, Gazankulu and Venda homelands. He himself was born and bred in the Vhembe District in the former Gazankulu homeland, and studied at a tertiary institution in the former Lebowa homeland. He is currently working in the former Venda homeland. The researcher is thus familiar with the three African languages and cultures of the inhabitants of the districts.
Other areas in these districts were purposively left out, firstly, because they were too far away from the researcher’s areas of operation. Secondly, they were well-represented by the areas that were selected. Lastly, they were also under the same district control as the chosen areas. The researcher therefore felt that the information gathered from the two sampled areas would not be significantly different from that of the areas purposively left out.
The study was set out to investigate the teaching of three African languages, namely, Sesotho sa Leboa, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. These languages are predominantly spoken and taught in the Sekgosese, Thohoyandou and Malamulele areas respectively. Map 2 in Appendix B shows the research site for this study.
This study was only conducted in ten secondary schools. The ten secondary schools were selected from three circuit offices, namely, Sekgosese, Thohoyandou and Malamulele. In order to choose these circuit offices purposive sampling was used. The selected circuit offices had both urban and rural schools in which the African languages under investigation were taught as first languages. The ten selected schools were selected purposively considering accessibility as a key factor. A sample size of 17 teachers from the 10 secondary schools was used. The researcher arrived at this number of participants by requesting two African language teachers in each selected school. The total number was 20 but only 17 teachers were available to take part in this study. In selecting schools which participated in this study, a systematic sampling procedure was used. The total number of schools from which the selection was made was 90. The number (10) was selected and then every tenth school was selected to participate in this study. However, for the tenth school the researcher selected the one which was very close to his home which was not selected while using the systematic sampling.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE OF THE STUDY
1.2 THE FIELD OF RESEARCH
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
1.8 DATA ANALYSIS
1.9 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.10 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1.11 CHAPTER DIVISIONS
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2 FRAMEWORK OF THIS STUDY
2.3 REASONS FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT TO A NEW CURRICULUM IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.4 OBE, CURRICULUM 2005 AND NATIONAL CURRICULUM STATEMENT
2.5 THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES
CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.2 THE NATURE OF THE STUDY AND ITS PARADIGM
3.3 RESEARCH DESIGN
3.4 DATA COLLECTION
3.5 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
3.6 PILOT STUDY
3.7 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
3.8 LIMITATIONS IN DATA COLLECTION
3.9 DATA ANALYSIS STRATEGIES
CHAPTER 4: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.2 DATA PRESENTATION
4.4 DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSIONS
CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY, FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.2 SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
5.3 FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
5.4 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
THE APPLICATION OF OBE PRINCIPLES IN THE TEACHING OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES IN THE SENIOR PHASE