Studies on the factors influencing collaboration in ECI teams

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This chapter describes the research methodology used in this study. The aims and sub-aims of the study are presented, followed by the research design and phases. Thereafter, a systematic search to identify a measure for collaboration in ECI is described. The identification and selection for this study of the Yang et al. (2013) questionnaire for service providers (CECI-P) and Yang (2010) questionnaire for parents/caregivers (CECI-C) is then justified. The adaptation of these questionnaires for this study is described in Chapter 4. Subsequently, the participant selection criteria, recruitment and sampling, as well as a description of the participants are presented. This is followed by a description of the materials, equipment, and personnel involved in the study. The pilot study is presented in terms of its aims, results and recommendations; followed by the main study, which is described in terms of general procedures, data collection and data analysis procedures, as well as procedural and data reliability measures.

Research aims

The main aim of the study was to describe and compare professionals’ and caregivers’ perceptions of collaboration within ECI teams in South Africa.


The following sub-aims delineate the main aim:

  1. To identify an appropriate questionnaire for collaboration in ECI teams.
  2. To adapt the identified professional (Yang et al., 2013) and parent/caregiver (Yang, 2010) questionnaires, using Malmgreen’s (2005) five-step procedure, for the South African context.
  3. To translate the adapted parent/caregiver questionnaire into Setswana, using the translation procedure described by Peña (2007).
  4. To describe and compare professionals’ and caregivers’ perceptions of collaboration within ECI teams in terms of the domains of the questionnaires. These include i) understanding of collaboration, ii) advantages of collaboration, iii) difficulties with collaboration, iv) factors influencing collaborative relationships, and v) the outcomes of collaboration.

Research design

The research design proposed for this study was a descriptive comparative survey design (Fink, 2003; McMillan & Schumacher, 2006). The descriptive comparative survey design was selected for this study to describe professionals’ and caregivers’ perceptions on collaboration within ECI teams (Fink, 2003; McMillan & Schumacher, 2006). This design was also used to compare and examine differences between professional and caregiver perceptions on collaboration (McMillan & Schumacher, 2006). A survey approach is an economical and feasible way to obtain information from a large sample of participants (Stopher, 2012). Furthermore, a survey is often used to collect information on people’s experiences on an event or activity (Fink, 2003), such as collaboration within ECI teams.
The survey was conducted using a self-administered survey questionnaire for professionals, and a group-administered questionnaire for caregivers. The survey questionnaires were hand-delivered to professionals in ECI teams, and the professionals were allowed to complete the survey questionnaire at their leisure. The caregiver survey questionnaire was administered in a group by a trained research assistant who is proficient in Setswana. The assistant read each question in the questionnaire, while the caregivers recorded their responses independently on their own copies of the questionnaire. This approach was chosen because it eliminates bias against caregivers who have varied levels of literacy and may have had difficulty with written questionnaires (Kumar, 2005; McMillan & Schumacher, 2006). Minimising bias around literacy is particularly important in the South African context since, the illiteracy rate for individuals 20 years and older (i.e. those who have had no schooling or who did not complete Grade 7) is 15.8% (Statistics South Africa, 2015). In addition, administering the caregiver questionnaires in a group enabled the completed questionnaires to be collected immediately, thereby resulting in a high return rate.
However, a survey does present some challenges which have implications for the current study. Administering a survey can be time consuming (Stopher, 2012) and bias may be introduced in the form of nonresponse or by participants providing favourable responses in order to be viewed in a positive light (McMillan & Schumacher, 2006; Stopher, 2012).


Research phases

The study comprised three phases. Phase 1 began with the identification of appropriate measuring instruments; followed by Phase 2, the material development phase, recruitment of participants and the pilot study; and Phase 3, the data collection and analysis phase. These phases are illustrated in Figure 3.1.

Systematic search to identify instruments measuring collaboration in ECI teams

A scoping search revealed that a systematic review on survey instruments for measuring teamwork in healthcare settings exists (Valentine, Nembhard, & Edmondson, 2015). Valentine et al. (2015) review articles published before September 2012, using the ISI Web of Knowledge database. The following keywords were used in their search: team or teamwork or collaboration and survey or scale or measure or questionnaire. They identified 39 surveys that measured teamwork, of which 11 were psychometrically valid. The most common factors assessed in the surveys were communication, coordination, and respect. However, the surveys Valentine et al. (2015) identify are not specifically related to the field of ECI but rather to general healthcare settings.
A further search for articles was done to determine if recent instruments on team collaboration related to the field of ECI were available. The Academic Search Complete electronic database and search engine Ebscohost were used. Incorporating the search terms from the review published by Valentine et al. (2015), the following keywords and Boolean operators were used: collab* and scale or measure or instrument or questionnaire and early childhood or early intervention and health. The descriptors were limited to studies in the past ten years, between 2004 and 2014. Inclusion criteria were peer-reviewed journals and full-text articles published in English. Articles that were selected were related to collaboration in early childhood with a specific focus on measures, scales or instruments. Articles that did not consider collaboration between professionals as well as family members were excluded. In addition, studies that discussed collaboration theoretically or qualitatively were excluded. The search was conducted based on the structure provided by the PRISMA Systematic Review process (Moher et al., 2009). The process followed for the literature search is illustrated in Figure 3.2.


List of Tables 
List of Figures
List of Appendices
1.1. Introduction
1.2. Problem statement and rationale
1.3. Terminology.
1.4. Abbreviations
1.5. Outline of chapters
1.6. Summary
2.1. Introduction
2.2. Collaboration in ECI
2.3. Studies on the factors influencing collaboration in ECI teams
2.4. Variables influencing collaboration in ECI teams
2.5. Evaluating collaboration in ECI
2.6. Summary
3.1. Introduction
3.2. Research aims
3.3. Research design
3.4. Research phases
3.5. Systematic search to identify instruments measuring collaboration in ECI teams
3.6. Participants
3.7. Materials, equipment, and personnel
3.8. Pilot study
3.9. Main study
3.10. Reliability
3.11. Summary
4.1. Introduction .
4.2. Adaptation of the CECI-P (Yang et al., 2013) and CECI-C (Yang, 2010)
4.3. Developing Biographical and Service Information questionnaires for professionals and
4.4. Translation of caregiver materials
4.5. Training of research assistant for administering CECI-C(R)
4.6. Conclusion
5.1. Introduction
5.2. Reliability
5.3. Perceptions of professionals
5.4. Perceptions of caregivers
5.5. Comparison between professional and caregiver perspectives
5.6. Summary
6.1. Introduction .
6.2. Collaboration in ECI services in South Africa
6.3. Summary
7.1. Introduction
7.2. Summary of the findings
7.3. Clinical implications of the study
7.4. Evaluation of the study
7.5. Recommendations for future research
7.6. Summary

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