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CHAPTER 3 – RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The purpose of this study is to investigate and understand the spiritual experience and status of expatriates living in Africa in relation to the South African and African mission churches. To this end, specific research design is necessary to adequately take account of the entire problem and to propose specific solutions or amended praxis to the Church. This chapter considers research methodologies that will adequately address the theological problem statement that is:
South African expatriates in Africa experience spiritual problems because the Churches in Africa, and the Church in South Africa, are not prepared for or geared to supply spiritual support structures to South Africans residing in other African countries.
In the science of Practical Theology, this study will embark on investigating the praxis of the Church with regards the lifestyle of the expatriate living in a strange country in relation to common Church praxis according to Zerfass’ Model (See Heyns & Pieterse, 1991, pp. 38-40; Janson, 1982: p. 173). In theological research, however, one must agree with Fowler’s statement that, “Practical theology, with its penchant for dynamic categories of analysis and its responsiveness to the situations and needs of persons, promises – without oversimplification or a new dogmatism, to close the gap between theological truths and the texture of pain and confusion in society and in people’s lives” (1984, pp. 43). Based on the aforementioned statement, is it clear that the intended research methodology must seek to adequately answer the research questions in relation to its subjects (expatriates and the Church) in order to meet the objectives of the research investigation and of Practical Theology (Maykut & Moorehouse, 1995, pp. 50-55; cf. Dunne, Pryor, & Yates, 2005, pp. 14-16; Kalof, Dan, & Dietz, 2008, pp. 5-6). It is, however, not the intention to take a dogmatic approach, but to find and address the gaps, practicalities and unknowns in the service the Church offers its members abroad.
The outcome of this research journey sheds light on the current situation experienced by the expatriates and the Church. In line with this, the research report should supply a good situation analysis that will influence the Church to set strategies that will effectively deal with its dilemma.
In this chapter, research considerations shall be addressed in the following order:
Testing the thesis statement
Common research designs
Research design for this investigation
Strengths and weaknesses of this design
In the myriad of different methods and approaches of research types that have been bundled into two groups, namely qualitative and quantitative approaches, it is understandable that researchers initially seek to categorise their research as falling into one group or the other. Following on from this, the next approach is to find a research method that best suits the investigation and to stick to that method only. Hammersley cites Brannen (1995), and points out that the human is prone to using dichotomies. This also is the case in research as there seems to be a gulf between qualitative and quantitative methodology (Niglas, 2000129; cf. McBride & Schostak, 2012; Kleining & Witt, 2001130).
While qualitative theories and methods such as discourse analysis, hermeneutics and content analysis are widely used in theological studies, semiotics, conversation analysis, narrative analysis, empowerment evaluation, philosophical analysis, conceptual analysis and others may also be considered (Mouton, 2001; Ladner, 2008; Dunne, Pryor, & Yates, 2005131).
Qualitative research models are live, more prone to experience than numbers and the method cultivates ground for inductive thought, whereas data creates theory by allowing for actions to be contextualised within situations and time (Woods, 2006; Kalof, Dan, & Dietz, Essentials of Social Research, 2008132). Qualitative research is criticised for not having the ability to compare different qualitative scales, thus opening up the researcher to generalisation, impressionism, bias and subjectivity (Florer, 2011; Woods, 2006133).
In conclusion qualitative research has an inductive approach to the subject with an ontological orientation to constructionism and an epistemological orientation to interpret situations. Qualitative theories seek to investigate and test with a direct inclination to deductive thinking. Its ontological orientation is objectivism and the epistemological orientation thus leans towards natural science (Ladner, 2008; Dunne, Pryor, & Yates, 2005; Woods, 2006). This approach therefore lends itself to proving the thesis statement of this research investigation.
On the other hand, quantitative research is by far the most common practice in most sciences. For the scientist, qualitative data is accurate, can be grouped, manipulated mathematically, and the results of the research can be displayed logically in graphical format or in tables. The conclusions are logical and controlled with very little room for personal bias, allowing these results to be analysed in different ways by statisticians. People understand numbers and because an explanation that is quantified is easily accepted, humans regard such as factual. In other words: data can test a theory or thesis statement through quantification and controlled methods of analysis.
Quantitative research is about the type of data and the level of measurement required. This may vary between nominal, ordinal, binary, discrete or continuous measuring of data (University of West England, 2006)134. Also, in statistics, different means and measures may be decided on, these may include mean135, median136, mode137 and variability, including range138 and standard deviation139. Quantitative research, too, has its disadvantages, such as not being able to evaluate less factual data; not being able to deliberate grey areas in research; and research is dependent on statisticians and statistical interpretations. In Bryman’s evaluation of qualitative research he singles out three main problems namely, interpretation, the theory and investigation being interwoven, and the problem of generalisation in case studies (Bryman, 1990, pp. 73-91).
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND ORIENTATION OF THE STUDY.
2 Personal observations
3 Background and rationale
4 Practical theology
5 Clarification of terms and concepts
6. Research: aim, focus and subjects
7. Research objectives
8. Research methodology & Ethics
10 Thesis layout
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2 Historical perspective
3 Expatriates in Africa post 2000 A.D.
4 Migrating spouses and families
CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
2 Research design
3 Strengths and weaknesses of this design
6 Ethical considerations
CHAPTER 4 RESEARCHED EXPERIENCE.
2 Summary of research results
3 Mixed research coding
4 (A) South African church resources
5 (B) Local country Church resources
6 (C) SOUTH AFRICAN church and expatriates
6. (C1) Mission plan
7 (D) Local country church
8 (E) Migration
9 (F) Repatriation
10 (G) Spiritual / social impact
11 Generalisation in qualitative response
CHAPTER 5 THEOLOGICAL EVALUATION.
1 (A) South African Church Resources
2 (B) Local country church resources
3 (C) South African church and expatriates
4 (D) Host country church 215
5 (E) Migration
6 (F) Repatriation
7 (G) Spiritual Impact
CHAPTER 6 DEVELOPED THEOLOGICAL THEORY.
2 Migration Scenarios
4. Spiritual Needs
5. Church Investment
6. The Migration
7. Churches and the expatriates
8. Spirituality and spiritual outlook
CHAPTER 7 RESPONSE – A PROPOSED STRATEGY
2 Answers to research questions
3 The praxis
4 Vision, mission, values, goals
5 Proposing strategies
6 Implementation of the strategy
CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS.
1 Closing Statements
3 Further Research Possibilities
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SINGING THE LORD’S SONG IN A STRANGE LAND: A PRACTICAL THEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES OF SOUTH AFRICAN EXPATRIATES IN AFRICA AFTER 2000 A.D.