Role of libraries and information and communication technologies

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Birks and Mills (2011:4) argue that it is important to understand the difference between research methodology and research methods as these are sometimes confused. Research methodology refers to a set of principles and ideas that inform the design of a research study (Birks & Mills 2011:4). It is about the decisions that a researcher makes regarding cases to study, research methods to use, data gathering and data analysis techniques to adopt when planning and executing a research study (Silverman 2010:109-110). Mathipha and Gumbo (2014:41) assert that research methodology encompasses research methods, data collection and data analysis techniques that can be used in order to conduct a research study. For Mouton and Marais (1990:15-16), the main goal is planning and executing the scientific research effectively in order to ensure that the findings are more credible.
In this study, the identification of a suitable research methodology and research methods for a research study was influenced by the research problem studied (Gray 2009:33). This study was based on the premise that IK has not been managed as scientific knowledge; hence, Lwoga, Ngulube and Stilwell (2010:176) argue that there is an urgent need to manage before much is lost.

Research approach

Due to the aim of the study, which is to establish and explore the management and preservation of IK at the Dlangubo village, a qualitative approach based on the constructivist philosophical assumption was adopted. Charmaz, in Gubrium and Holstein (2002:677), posits that the constructivist approach places priority on the phenomenon of a study and sees both data and its analysis as having been created from the shared experiences of the researcher and the participants and the researcher’s relationship with the participants. Constructivists study how participants construct meanings and actions in their natural settings. They also view data analysis as a construction that not only locates the data in time, place, culture, and context, but also reflects the researcher’s analytical thinking. Because the researcher aimed to share her views regarding IK management challenges and how gaps can be addressed, this study used the qualitative approach based on a symbolic interactionism paradigm with constructivist methods. According to Berg (2004:8), symbolic interaction is an umbrella concept with a number of related theoretical orientations. Blumer (1969), in Berg (2004:8), as the original founder of this theory indicates that in symbolic interactionism, human beings communicate what they learn through symbols like language. Therefore the role of researchers is to attach meaning to these symbols and also gain understanding of how people interact in order to construct and re-construct their social world (Berg 2004:8; Charmaz in Gubrium & Holstein 2002:678).
Embedded in the constructivist paradigm is the qualitative approach, which uses a naturalistic in-depth inquiry to explore the studied phenomenon (Creswell 1998:15; 2008:46). The strong feature of the qualitative approach is the subjective understanding of human experiences in their natural setting (Silverman 2010:119). In this approach, the researcher relies more on the views of the participants and usually gathers data by conducting an inquiry in a subjective, biased manner. This process involves asking broad general questions, collecting the textual data and then describing and analysing data in order to develop theory (Creswell 2008:46). Qualitative research uses tools like participatory mapping methods, structured, semi-structured and unstructured questions, observations and focus groups in order to study things in their natural settings and interpret them in terms of the meanings that people attach to them (Gray 2009:371-374). In qualitative research, structured questions can assist in comparing differences among things while unstructured questions assist in getting detailed information about a particular phenomenon. However, qualitative researchers are encouraged to make use of unstructured questions in order to get detailed information from the participants and thus ensure reliability (Creswell 2008:51-56). Researchers using the qualitative approach do not jump to conclusions quickly, but collect as much data as possible in order to do comparisons (Gray 2009:15).
For Silverman (2010:104-109), the qualitative approach is an intellectually diverse field in which researchers can use various models like naturalism, emotionalism, ethnomethodology and postmodernism to understand the social world. For example, naturalists give priority to understanding subcultures and they tend to ignore how people create meaning or make sense of their own world (Silverman 2010:105, 124).

The rationale for using the qualitative approach in this study

The nature of the topic and the research questions used in this study informed the rationale for choosing the qualitative approach (Creswell 1998:17; Silverman 2010:13; 120). The qualitative approach allowed the researcher to engage in an in-depth interviewing process in order to explore IK management challenges and opportunities experienced in the area of study. The aim was to get empirical evidence from the knowledge holders regarding the phenomenon studied. In this context, the researcher went into the field without prior knowledge to explore the studied phenomenon in line with the objectives of the study. The qualitative data collection tools that were used included grounded theory, participatory methods, semi-structured interviews (SSIs), focus groups and observation.
Many related studies have used the qualitative approach to explore the problems studied. For example, Dahlberg and Trygger (2009) used both the quantitative and qualitative approach, but predominantly the qualitative approach, in-depth interviews and participatory observation to explore the unsustainable harvesting of medicinal plants for the primary health care purposes by the Mnqobokazi community of the Mkuze wetlands of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Keirungi and Fabricius (2005) used the qualitative approach, SSIs and the participatory method to explore the unsustainable harvesting of medicinal plants for commercial purposes by the community of the Nqabara village in the Eastern Cape Wild Coast in South Africa. Elia, Mutula and Stilwell (2014:20) used the qualitative approach and a post-positivist paradigm to study the way in which farmers used IK to adapt to climate change and variability in the semi-dry region of central Tanzania. Hart and Aliber (2010:79) used a combination of qualitative and participatory research methods and techniques in their study to determine the way in which farmers, especially female farmers in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, used specific technologies (conventional and traditional) provided by government extension workers in producing food crops for commercial and subsistence use (Hart & Aliber 2010:79). Lwoga (2010:22) used the mixed method and mainly the qualitative approach to explore the application of knowledge management approaches and ICT in managing agricultural IK in selected districts of Tanzania. Mosia and Ngulube (2005) used the qualitative approach, focus groups and SSIs to study the management of knowledge for the sustainable use of estuaries in the Eastern Cape. Roos (2008:660) used the qualitative approach to explore the way in which elders became increasingly vulnerable to drought in certain parts of South Africa. In this context, the qualitative approach was used to explore the challenges and opportunities of IK management and preservation in the Dlangubo village. The data gathered assisted in the construction and re-construction of theory for socio-economic development purposes.

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Problem statement
1.3 Research purpose and objectives
1.4 Contextual background
1.5 Significance of the study
1.6 Originality of the study
1.7 Limitations and delimitations
1.8 Research methodology
1.9 Definition of terms
1.11 Summary
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Theoretical framework
2.3 IK practices
2.4 Methods and tools for managing and preserving IK
2.6 Role of Libraries and ICTs in managing IK
2.7 The recommended library model
2.8 Summary
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research approach
3.3 Research design
3.4 Study population
3.5 Sampling procedure
3.6 Data collection tools and procedures
3.7 Qualitative data analysis
3.8 Ethical consideration
3.9 Evaluation of qualitative data
3.10 Summary
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Biographical information of the participants
4.3 IK practices
4.4 Methods and tools used in managing and preserving IK
4.5 Ownership protocols and knowledge about the South African intellectual property laws
(Dlangubo sampled participants and the knowledge intermediaries)
4.6 Role of libraries and information and communication technologies (Dlangubo sampled
participants and the knowledge intermediaries).
4.7 Recommended model for IK management and preservation (Dlangubo sampled participants
and the knowledge intermediaries)
4.8 Summary
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Biographical information of the participants
5.3 IK practices
5.4 Methods and tools used in managing and preserving IK
5.5 Ownership protocols and knowledge about the South African intellectual property laws
5.6 Role of libraries and information and communication technologies
5.7 Summary
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Summary of research findings
6.3 Contributions of the study
6.4 Originality of the study
6.5 Conclusions about research objectives
6.6 Recommendations
6.7 Proposed model for the area of study
6.8 Further research
6.9 Limitations
6.10 Summary

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