CHAPTER FOUR RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHOD
Whereas the previous chapter addressed the conceptual and theoretical background, This Chapter 4 provides an explication and description of the research design and methods opted for in this study. Research methodology refers to the technique used to structure the research project, as well as the analysis and interpretation of information in a systematic manner (Polit & Beck 2008: 731).
This chapter further presents details of triangulation methods, according to which different techniques of data collection were used. Triangulation was deemed as relevant as the EAP concept itself embraces a multiple context of employees and family responses, adaptation of Codi programmes to HIV and AIDS in the workplace, as well as socio-economic and cultural issues (Talbot: 1995). The merits of triangulation are advantageous in the demonstration of independent strategies blending and yielding dependable data.
The research design of this project relates to the broader action plan of how the research was conducted; whereas the research methodology refers to the specific instruments used in meeting the objectives of the research (Mouton 2001: 55). A combined qualitative and quantitative approach (triangulation) was utilised in the data collection process of the study, with specific focus on exploratory and descriptive designs. The exploratory orientation of the research design was influenced by the limited availability of knowledge relating to the specific setting of the chosen research topic. The triangulated approach demonstrated how all of the various parts of the research project functioned collectively in an attempt to address the questions. This approach enabled the researcher to identify the appropriate research decisions intended to maximise the validity of the eventual research outcome (Polit & Beck 2012).
As stated in the previous chapters, the study focuses on the effectiveness of EAP programmes in the workplace, as well as issues of employees who are HIV/AIDS-infected and psychologically affected. The purpose of the study is also premised on determining the extent of efficacy or otherwise of the City of Johannesburg’s EAP programmes. The study will assess the importance of linking individual health, safety and organisational wellness to productivity and improved service delivery outcomes in order to improve the effectiveness of the EAP programmes.
The City of Johannesburg’s EAP Department is one of the units situated within the Shared Service Department (also known as the Corporate Services). It services all employees of the City of Johannesburg within different regions (A-G) and Departments. The researcher was able to successfully negotiate entry as an employee of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Council.
DATA COLLECTION PROCESSES
Data collection describes a process of preparing and collecting data, for example as part of a process of improvement or a similar project. Its purpose here was obtaining information to keep on record, to make decisions about important issues, or to pass information on to others. The collected data was simultaneously analysed by mathematical techniques referred to as descriptive statistics. In this case, the collected data was also inferential due to all the inferences made concerning the sampled participants.
The choice of the research approach need not reflect the interests of the researcher conducting or benefiting from the research and the purposes for which the findings will be applied. Decisions about the kind of research method to use were based on the researcher’s own experiences and on the research milieu (Polit & Beck 2012). It was necessary to determine how the role of the EAP is viewed. Furthermore, it was important to examine the manner in which the EAP addressed psycho social issues and HIV and AIDS in the workplace by:
- Evaluating the role of the Employee Assistance Practitioner;
- Contributing towards a reduction in psycho-social problems and HIV and AIDS in order to justify the need for, and costs associated with Employee Assistance Practitioner and their roles in the workplace.
The research population refers to a larger representative group from which a pre-selected set of traits or common characteristics is obtainable. The research population for this project included nurses, doctors, HR officers, employees and other administrative and executive members of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. Since the research population was too large to include all of its members, sampling mechanisms were employed to select a representative group of research participants. According to Polit and Beck (2012) the population is the group consisting of all individuals on whom researchers wish to apply their research findings. A population can be defined as all people or items possessing the characteristic one wish to understand. A carefully chosen representative sample size of fifty-five participants was ultimately identified. Sampling procedures involved several decisions which included the definition of the sampling techniques, the population, selection of a sampling frame, and the sample size itself. It was also important to understand that the sample size was always viewed as an approximation of the whole, rather than as a whole in itself.
An appropriate sample size should be informed by the research objective, research question, and research design (Polit and Beck 2012; Neumann; Talbot 1995). A representative sample consisted of subsets of the different elements of the population, which allowed for study results to be generalized (Polit & Beck 2012).
For purposes of this study, a sample size of 55 employees was opted for, comprising four doctors, ten occupational health practitioners, three COID officers, four human resource officers, four social workers and thirty clients/employees. The 30 clients sampled were selected from the population of 79 clients registered on the programme and attending at least four continuous counselling sessions.
The sampled participants reflected the characteristics of the population from which it was drawn. Since there is rarely enough time or money to gather information from all members of a population; the goal then becomes that of finding a representative sample (or subset) of that population. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were adopted in the selection of the research participants.
The sampling criteria refer to the extent to which the research participants do, or do not meet the pre-selected traits or characteristics intended to advance specifically the research objectives (Polit & Beck 2004: 218; Strydom & Delport 2002: 334). The research participants could either be included or excluded from participation in the study according to the pre-requisite criteria.
The inclusion criteria distinguished between the demographics and professional strands in the EAP programme. The latter strand adopted the view that EAP is multi-disciplinary, and for that reason, a heterogeneous group of participants would be relevant in making sense of determining and exploring the role of EAPs within the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality context. For selection as research participants, the following major factors were considered.
- only employees of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Council;
- only those employees located within Corporate Services;
- only those employees rendering health and health care services; and/or
- only those employees who have regularly used EAP services within the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Council.
Employees who were not included as research participants were categorised into the exclusion criteria. The major consideration in this category was those employees who did not attend the EAP service on a regular basis, that is, those who made less than four visits, as well as other staff members who are not directly involved with Employee Assistance Practitioner employees.
Sampling techniques/methods are classified as either probability or non-probability (Neuman, 2011; Bryman, 2012). Probability sampling is based on the idea that the probability of selection of each respondent is known, while the probability of selection is not known with non-probability sampling (Polit and Beck 2012). The probability techniques include simple random, systematic sampling, stratified sampling, and cluster sampling; while the non-probability techniques include convenience sampling, quota sampling, snowball sampling, and judgment sampling. Probability sampling is advantageous in that the sampling error can be calculated. This error is the degree to which a sample might differ from the population. When inferring to the general population, results are reported with an approximated sampling error. In non-probability sampling, the degree to which the sample differs from the population remains unknown. (Polit and Beck 2012). In the event of non-probability sampling, members are selected from the population in some non-random manner.
Judgment/purposive sampling is described as a common non-probability sampling method (Polit & Beck 2008: 343). In this study, purposive/judgement sampling was opted for, as the researcher is knowledgeable about, and familiar with the research milieu to be studied (Polit & Beck 2008:343). Based on her experience as a Codi employee, the researcher’s own judgement was instrumental in determining inclusive criteria. The researcher selected the sample based on its compatibility with the convenience sampling. For instance, the researcher decided to draw the entire sample from representative City of Johannesburg employees. In selecting this method, the researcher was confident that the chosen sample would be representative of the entire population in relation to its demographic and other characteristics.
This sample in the study included the City of Johannesburg employees: Employee Assistance Practitioners; human resource staff; nurses, occupational health practitioners, employees and doctors. The stratified method combined with convenience and judgment add the necessary dimension of EAP and employees are members of the same stratum and similar in respect of the characteristics of interest ensuring better coverage of the population.
Stratified sampling is often used when one or more of the stratums in the population have a low incidence relative to the other stratums (Polit and Beck 2012; Talbot 1995). Stratified sampling is also used as a probability method that reduces sampling error. The researcher first identified the relevant strata and their actual representation in the sample. A stratum is a subset of the population that shares at least one common characteristic. Examples of strata might be males or females, or managers and non-managers. Random sampling was subsequently used to select a sufficient number of subjects from each stratum. « Sufficient » refers to a sample size large enough for one to be reasonably confident that the stratum represents the population.
CHAPTER ONE ORIENTATION TO THE STUDY
1.2 CONTEXT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.4 RESEARCH PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.7 DEFINITION OF KEY CONCEPTS
1.8 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
1.9 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS AND ISSUES
1.10 THE ORGANISATION OF CHAPTERS
CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2 BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT OF EAP PRACTICE
2.3 TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES IN EAP PRACTICE AND DEVELOPMENT
2.4 A COORDINATED APPROACH TO LONG-TERM ILLNESS
2.5 THE EAP PROGRAMME AND SOCIAL FUNCTIONING
2.6 HIV/AIDS IN THE WORKPLACE
2.7 SOME MAJOR ISSUES PERTAINING TO HIV/AIDS
2.8 THE LEGAL CONTEXT OF HIV/AIDS
2.9 MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES ON HIV/AIDS AND THE WORKPLACE
2.10 Maslow’s perspective on individual and organizational hierarchy of needs
CHAPTER THREE CONCEPTUAL AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
3.1 INTRODUCTION .
3.2 A FUNCIONALIST OVERVIEW OF THE EAP CONCEPTUAL ENVIRONMENT
3.3 THE HIV/ AIDS CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
CHAPTER FOUR RESEACH DESIGN AND METHOD
4.2 DATA COLLECTION PROCESSES
CHAPTER FIVE PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF THE RESEARCH FINDINGS
5.2 DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
5.3 RESEARCH RESULTS
5.4 OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH FINDINGS
CHAPTER SIX CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.2 SUMMARY AND INTERPRETATION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
6.5 CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY
6.6 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
LIST OF REFERENCES
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HIV AND AIDS IN THE WORKPLACE: THE ROLE OF THE EMPLOYEE ASSISTANT PRACTITIONERS