CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH STRATEGY AND RESEARCH METHODS
In this chapter, the social constructivism research paradigm, the qualitative research approach, and the research design are discussed. The research design commences with an overview of the research site, the researcher’s role, and ethical clearance and permission to conduct the study. Further, the selection of participants, inclusion and exclusion criteria, selection of documents analysed, and theoretical perspectives on document review are described. The research design concludes with a discussion on data collection, data analysis, as well as measures to ensure trustworthiness and authenticity in this study. Figure 1 below provides the study’s research framework.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVISM PARADIGM
In order to address the research aim, a social constructivism paradigm was considered for this study. Social constructivists hold that the meaning of acts, behaviours and events is not an objective quality of those phenomena, but assigned to them by human beings in social interaction. According to social constructivists, meaning is socially defined, organised, and subject to social change (Collin, 2013; Rosenfeld, 2009). Social constructivists also believe that individuals seek an understanding of the world in which they live and work; and develop subjective meanings of their experiences directed towards certain objects or things. These meanings are varied and multiple, leading the researcher to look for complexity of views rather than narrowing meanings into a few categories or ideas. Furthermore, the goal of the research is to rely as much as possible on participants’ views of the situation being studied. The questions asked become broad and general so that participants can construct the meaning of a situation, typically forged in discussions of interactions with other persons. The more open-ended the questioning, the better, as the researcher listens carefully to what people say or do in their life settings. Often these subjective meanings are negotiated socially and historically. These meanings are not simply imprinted on individuals but are formed through interaction with others (hence social constructivism) and through historical and cultural norms that operate in the lives of individuals (Creswell, 2014).
Furthermore, constructivist researchers pay attention to specific contexts in which people live and work in order to understand historical and cultural settings of participants. These researchers recognise that their own backgrounds shape their interpretation, and they position themselves in the research to acknowledge how their interpretation flows from personal, cultural, and historical experiences. The researcher’s intent is to make sense of or interpret meanings others have about the world and generate or inductively develop a theory or pattern of meaning (Creswell, 2014). The social constructivism paradigm was considered in a study by Goliath and Pretorius (2016) on risk and protective factors associated with drug use from the perspective of adolescent research participants. The study allowed for a complete narrative of the studied phenomena, contextualised in the cultural and social context of research participants. Participants in this study were allowed to order their world through narratives, making connections and meanings by linking the past, present, self, and society.
The social constructivism paradigm was also used in a study on substance abuse prevention in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities. The purpose of the study was to identify the ways indigenous theoretical perspectives may guide current and future substance abuse prevention programmes (Walsh, 2014). Another study in which the social constructivism paradigm was considered was by van Staden (2015), in which the researcher wanted to gain information and insight into contributing factors of juvenile delinquency in the Zwelentlanga Fatman Mgcawu Region in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
Qualitative research is an approach for exploring and understanding the meaning that individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem (Creswell, 2014). It seeks answers to a research question. In qualitative research a set of predetermined procedures are systematically used to answer the research question by collecting evidence, and producing findings that are not determined in advance, and applicable beyond the immediate boundaries of the study. Qualitative research also seeks to understand a given research problem or topic from the perspective of local participants involved in the study. Qualitative research is effective in obtaining culturally specific information about the opinions, behaviours, and social contexts of particular participants (Creswell, 2014; Patton, 2002).
The purpose of qualitative research is to increase knowledge of people or situations that are not usually studied, especially the experiences of women, persons of colour, and people who are often marginalised in society. It also provides information that might be used for social change (Patton, 2002). In addition, qualitative research can offer important benefits for studies that involve special populations, including those that are traditionally underrepresented in research and those with low literacy. Qualitative research methods such as open-ended interviews may be less intimidating than surveys for those who were historically marginalised in research. Qualitative research might also be used to improve recruitment methods and retention of underrepresented groups. A qualitative research approach was employed in this study as the aim of this study was not to explain human behaviour in terms of universally valid laws or generalisation, but rather to understand and interpret perceptions of participants regarding substance abuse prevention programmes employed in the Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality in the North West Province of South Africa (Brikci & Green, 2007; Denzin & Lincoln, 2000; De Vos et al., 2011; De Vos, Strydom, Fouche, & Delport, 2002; Nichter et al, 2004; Willig, 2009). Furthermore, this study describes and explores substance abuse prevention programmes, focussing on the process of implementation (Fetterman, 2001).
A qualitative research approach was also employed in other substance abuse prevention studies and proved successful in addressing the goals of those studies (Department of Social Development, 2013; Maithya, 2009; Nichter et al., 2004). The objective of the study by the Department of Social Development in Limpopo Province (2013) was to collect baseline data to enable government and the private sector to improve the treatment, prevention strategies, and approaches to reduce substance abuse among the youth in Limpopo. The research study by Maithya (2009) aimed to establish the current trend of drug abuse among students in Kenyan secondary schools, analyse the strategies used to address the problem, and propose a programme for prevention and intervention. Research methodology information acquired from the above scholars enabled me to consider employing a qualitative research approach and relevant ethical aspects. Further, it enabled me to select interviews, focus groups and document analysis as suitable methods for data collection, as well as thematic data analysis, thus ensuring trustworthiness of this study. These studies also provided guidelines on how to proceed with this study and make recommendations for substance abuse prevention programmes for adolescents in the Ramotshere Moiloa Municipality.
Qualitative research methods such as unstructured face-to-face individual interviews, focus groups interviews, and document reviews including substance abuse prevention policies, plans, programmes, and published reports targeting adolescents were utilised in this study. These data sources allowed me to identify substance abuse prevention programmes implemented in the Ramotshere Moiloa Municipality and explore multiple dimensions of substance abuse prevention programmes. Furthermore, data obtained from the documents analysed enriched and complemented data obtained from interviews (Cho & Lee, 2014; De Vos et al., 2011). Also, using more than one data source in this study provided insights, diverse perspectives, and holistic views about the development, implementation, and reflections on substance abuse prevention programmes (Cornett, 2010; Tonkin-Crine et al., 2016). Furthermore, it improved my understanding of substance abuse prevention programmes for adolescents that enabled me to address the aim of this study from multiple perspectives.
According to Burden and Roodt (2007), Hyett, Kenny, and Dickson-Swift (2014), Patton (2015), Yeasmin and Rahman (2012), using more than one data source enhances the credibility of the study’s findings. Further details about these research methods and credibility matters are provided later in this chapter under data collection as well as the sections on trustworthiness and authenticity. Qualitative data obtained through these methods took the form of transcripts and summaries; which were rich in detail, and provided meaningful insights and experiences about substance abuse prevention (Brikci & Green, 2007; De Vos et al., 2011; Mouton, 2001; Qualitative Research Consultants Association, 2015; Woods, 2006). The qualitative research approach employed made it possible for me to identify substances abused by adolescents, explore reasons for their use of substances, identify substance abuse prevention programmes in place to address the substance abuse problem, identify stakeholders involved, reflect on programmes implemented, and provide recommendations on substance abuse prevention programmes (Brikci & Green, 2007; Woods, 2006).
By employing qualitative research methods, my relationship and interaction with participants were less formal and participants had the opportunity to respond more elaborately and in greater detail. I had the opportunity to respond immediately to what participants said by amending changes to subsequent questions based on responses provided by the participants. Information gathered from these scholars provided guidance on how to interact with participants and amended changes on research questions for this study (Brikci & Green, 2007; Denzin & Lincoln, 2000; De Vos et al., 2002; Nichter et al, 2004; Willig, 2009).
In this section, I provide a discussion on the research site, researcher’s role, ethical clearance and permission to conduct the study. This is followed by an explanation on the enablers and barriers for the recruitment of participants, the selected participants, the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and selection of documents. Finally, data collection, data analysis, as well as trustworthiness and authenticity are described. An exploratory design was considered in this study, as the number of selected participants was small. I also had to rely on individual interviews and focus group discussions with participants, as well as reviewing data from documents. Open-ended questions were employed during individual and focus group discussions that allowed me to gain insight about substance abuse prevention programmes.
Furthermore, I was able to develop recommendations for the development and implementation of substance abuse prevention programmes, as well as to identify future research on substance abuse prevention programmes for adolescents (Eugene & Lynn, 2016; FluidSurveys, 2014; Nardi, 2016).
OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH SITE
Salmons (2015) defines the research site as the physical, social, and cultural site in which the researcher conducts the study. This study took place in one of the villages in the Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality in the North West Province of South Africa. There is a town called Zeerust, which is a commercial hub for most of the villages situated in Lehurutshe area, a few of which include Borakalalo, Dinokana, Gopane, Lekgophung, Mokgola, Moshana, Mosweu, Ntsweletsoko, Senkapole, Serake and Supingstad. Batswana people refer to Zeerust town as Sefatlhane. The main languages in the Ramotshere Moiloa Municipality are Setswana, English, and Afrikaans. Following the democratic dispensation in 1994, the name of the Zeerust Municipality was changed to Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality. The municipality was named after a mid-20th century chief of Bahurutshe boo Moiloa who was a political enemy of the apartheid state.
Ramotshere Moiloa Municipality is one of the five local municipalities in the Ngaka Modiri Molema District in the North West Province of South Africa. The municipality is situated in Marico valley, approximately 240 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg and on the N4, the main road link between South Africa and Botswana (Ramotshere Moiloa Municipality Reviewed Integrated Plan, 2014; Statistics South Africa, 2011). Figure 2 below represents a map of Zeerust.
According to the Census report of 2011, Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality had a total population of 155 513 of which 99.6 % were African, with Asian or Indians, Coloureds, Whites and other population groups making up the remaining 0.4%. Furthermore, the total population consisted of 32.9% young people from 0 to14 years of age, 59.7% people of working age 15 to 64 years, as well as 7.5 % people aged 65 years and above (Statistics South Africa, 2011).
The settlement type consisted of 70.5% tribal or traditional area, 11% farm area, and 18.5% urban area. There were 40 740 households, with an average household size of 3,6 persons per household. Sixty four per cent (64%) of these households were owned and fully paid for, 16.9% were occupied rent free, 9.5% were rented, 5.9% were owned but not yet paid off and 3.5% fell under other households not specified. It was reported that 19% of households had access to piped water in their dwellings and 38.2% had access to piped water in their yards. Only 8.3% of households did not have any access to piped water. The main source of water, 65.4%, were provided by the regional or local water scheme operated by the municipality or other service providers for water. Twenty one point three per cent (21.3%) of water was from a borehole, 0.3% was from a spring, 0.4% was from a dam, pool or stagnant water, 0.6% was from the river or stream, 0.6% was from water vendors, 8.9% was from a water tanker, and 2.3% was from other sources not specified in the Census Report (Statistics South Africa, 2011).
With regard to toilet facilities, 59.1% of households had pit toilets without ventilation, 6.4% had pit toilets with ventilation, 0.5% used chemical toilets, 0.2% used bucket toilets, 22.3% had flush toilets connected to the sewage system, 4.2 % used flush toilet with a septic tank, 1.5% had other toilet facilities, and 5.7% did not have any toilet facilities. This information confirms the current challenges with the supply of water within the Ramotshere Local Municipality and other municipalities in the North West Province, South Africa. In the municipality, 81.9% of households had access to electricity for lighting, 58.1% for cooking, and 52.8% for heating. A very limited number of households used other sources of energy such as gas, paraffin, solar, candles, wood, coal, and animal dung for cooking, heating and lighting. For example, there were 16.7% households using candles for lighting. Thirty five point three percent (35.3%) of households used wood for cooking, while 33.7% households used it for heating. There were 0.1% of households using animal dung for cooking, while 0.2% used it for heating. (Ramotshere Moiloa Reviewed Integrated Development Plan, 2014; Statistics South Africa, 2011).
The Zeerust Area Project Office in the Ngaka Modiri Molema District of the Department of Basic Education in the North West Province of South Africa has 55 primary schools and 26 high schools. There used to be about 11 middle schools, starting with Grades 7 up to 9. Seven middle schools were merged with some primary schools and high schools. Four middle schools were not yet merged with either primary or high schools. Through the restructuring of these schools, Grade 7 learners from these middle schools were transferred to neighbouring primary schools and all the Grade 8 and 9 learners were transferred to neighbouring high schools. Therefore, primary schools have learners from Grade R to 7, while high schools have learners from Grade 8 to 12 (Department of Basic Education, 2014).
These changes were implemented in the North West Department of Basic Education as informed by the National Department of Basic Education (2014), which stated that middle schools were a legacy of the former Bophuthatswana Homeland. The concept of middle schools therefore did not fit into the current basic education framework of South Africa. These changes were challenged by the South African Democratic Teacher’s Union (SADTU), which felt that the costs involved in implementing these changes could be spent on infrastructure and resources (South African Democratic Teachers Union, 2014).
These schools are divided into clusters managed by cluster managers appointed by the Department of Basic Education, North West Province. The role of cluster managers is to ensure that schools are provided with the required physical and human resources, which depend on the number of learners enrolled in those schools. The minimum educational qualification for school principals, deputy principals, heads of departments, and educators is a three-year teaching qualification, while the educational qualification for support staff including administrators and cleaners is Grade 12. Cluster managers are responsible for ensuring that each and every school has a School Governing Body (SGB) consisting of the principal, parent component, educator component, and learner representative council. The term of office for the School Governing Body is three years (Department of Basic Education, 2014).
The Department of Basic Education also appoints subject specialists for Grades R to 12. The role of subject specialists is to provide curriculum support to educators and to ensure quality learning and teaching in all schools. All these schools are public schools and managed by the Zeerust Area Project Office (Department of Basic Education, 2017). The educational levels of employees in the Ramotshere Moiloa Municipality include Grade 12, undergraduate, and postgraduate qualifications (Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality Reviewed Integrated Development Plan, 2014; Statistics South Africa, 2011). The current educational status in the Ramotshere Moiloa Municipality might be informed by the fact that the Department of Basic Education in the North West Province puts substantial effort in ensuring that they advance the academic success of learners in schools starting from Grade R to 12. In addition, there are support programmes aimed at ensuring that learners pass Grade 12 with good marks. The support programmes include extra classes after school hours, weekends, and during school holidays (Department of Basic Education, 2016).
Furthermore, each high school or secondary school has Life Orientation educators responsible for implementing Life Orientation lessons to learners. Some of the tasks of these educators are to teach learners about healthy lifestyles and available careers, and to expose them to career exhibitions aimed at providing learners with information about career opportunities as well as institutions offering courses in these careers. Furthermore, information about the scores required to be admitted to study certain courses are provided (Department of Basic Education, 2012). In some instances, tertiary educational institutions and organisations offering financial assistance to learners in higher educational institutions visited schools to provide information about requirements to be met before funding is allocated (National Student Financial Aid Scheme, 2015; Ralarala, 2007).
Information provided by tertiary educational institutions and organisations offering financial assistance encouraged learners to work hard and improve their Grade 12 scores so that they are accepted into higher educational institutions with scores high enough to obtain financial support. In addition, because of career guidance offered in schools; once these learners complete their undergraduate qualifications, they seemed to be encouraged to further their studies in order to stand a better chance of meeting the requirements for various employment opportunities. The benefits of post-secondary education are well documented and have major implications for economic growth, equality, and social mobility. Obtaining a post-secondary qualification led to greater lifetime earnings, lower unemployment, and lower poverty rates. Over the course of one’s working lifetime, the median earnings of Bachelor’s degree recipients were 65% higher than median earnings of high school graduates (Baum, Kurose, & Ma, 2013).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 STUDY ORIENTATION
RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
RESEARCH PARADIGM OR WORLDVIEW
RESEARCH STRATEGY AND METHODS
CONTEXT OF THE STUDY AND DATA SOURCES
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
Local Drug Action Committee
Mini Drug Master Plan
Prevention of substance abuse
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
LITERATURE SEARCH PROCEDURES
PRIMARY SUBSTANCES OF ABUSE
THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE ETIOLOGY OF SUBSTANCE
USE AND ABUSE
The development of identity
Coming of age and initiation rituals
Disease or biological theories
Symbolic interaction theory
Social control theory
Cultural and traditional perspectives
COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION
Substance abuse prevention
Involvement of law enforcement officials
Substance abuse treatment within the African healing context: How Africans
relied on African medicine
Connecting with the community
Barriers to substance abuse treatment
Restorative justice: process to reintegrate substance abusers into society
Resource allocations for substance abuse prevention programmes
Evidence-based strategies for substance abuse prevention
CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH STRATEGY AND RESEARCH METHODS
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVISM PARADIGM
OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH SITE
THE RESEARCHER’S ROLE
Personal and professional reflections
Views and beliefs
Permission to conduct the study
Enablers and barriers for recruitment of participants
Enablers for recruitment of participants in this study
Barriers for recruitment of participants in this study
Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Selection of documents
Protection of participants
Confidentiality and anonymity
Setting of individual face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions
Analysis of interview data
Advantages and disadvantages of thematic analysis
TRUSTWORTHINESS AND AUTHENTICITY
CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONS
The description of the participants
Racial group and cultural heritage
PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF IDENTITY
Substance abuse as a social entrapment-holding youth to ransom
You can’t tell me, I do as I see
In search of greener pastures
IT’S HARD BEING A TEENAGER
Substance abuse as creating work for idle minds
Substance abuse as an escape route to oblivion
Hardship as a way of life
A sense of stagnation
A sense of helplessness
DECONSTRUCTING THE FALSE NARRATIVE
Broken beyond imagination
A need for creative and innovative interventions
A need for a holistic and wider stakeholder participation
Going back to our roots – reinvigorating our moral fibre
Pulling all strings together
CREATING NEW RAYS OF HOPE
Communities as intervening agents
Going round and round in circles
CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS, LIMITATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS
Training and development
Rehabilitation centres and aftercare support
Reflections on substance abuse prevention programmes
CONTRIBUTION OF THIS STUDY
REFLECTIONS ON THE RESEARCH JOURNEY
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT