The role of NGO’s in the care of orphans

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In this chapter the research methodology for the study of the factors impacting on learning in orphanhood is discussed. The research design within Maslow’s theoretical framework is elucidated. The study population is described and .it is explained how the study sample has been selected.
The research instruments are clarified and methods of data collection are explained and motivated. The ways in which ethical principles and scientific rigor have been maintained throughout the data collection stage are demonstrated. The methods used in analysing the data are described.

Purpose of study

This study aims to provide scientific knowledge of the factors affecting the learning profile of orphans as compared to non-orphans, and to identify the relationship between these factors and learning outcomes in Zimbabwe.

Research Objectives

The proposed study has as objectives the following:

  • to identify factors that impact on learning in general
  • to assess the impact of those factors on the learning profile of orphaned children in particular
  • to compare the learning outcomes of orphaned children with those of non-orphans
  • to identify relationships between identified factors and learning outcomes.

Research Questions

  • What factors affect learning in general?
  • How do these factors affect the learning profile of orphaned children in particular?
  • How do the learning outcomes of orphaned children compare to those who are not orphaned?
  • What relationships exist between the affecting factors and learning outcomes?

Quantitative Research Approach

A quantitative approach was adopted for the study within the Evaluation Process and Outcome Research Design.
Table 3.1 espouses the tenets of quantitative research, which include conceptual, design and planning, empirical, analytic and dissemination phases. Also included in Table 3.1 is an explanation of the major thrust of each phase and, most importantly, the activities carried out in each phase in a systematic and orderly manner. The activities range from formulating and delimiting the problem through to selecting the research design, collecting data, analysing data and communicating the findings. Inherent in the descriptions are references to the current study process.

Evaluation – Process and Outcome Research Design

The Evaluation- Process and Outcome Research Design suited this study best because it allowed the researcher to explore, describe, analyse and make comparisons in an attempt to fulfil the study’s objectives in a formal, objective, systematic process, using numerical data to obtain information on the variables being studied (Bryman & Cramer 2001:2).
The main aim of the process and outcome evaluation design was to establish whether the intended (and unintended) outcomes of learning with reference to orphans had materialized. The design advocates probability-sampling methods, for example, the simple random method for selection of subjects and the stratified random method for the selection of schools.
The design allows multiple methods of data collection, which generally use all forms of structured and semi-structured methods. In addition to questionnaires, it was useful to include observations and interviews so that information from different sources could be crosschecked. In exploring factors that affect learning, the study expanded its explanatory value by approaching the problem from different angles at the same time, which was made possible by the use of the Evaluation- Process and Outcome Research Design.
The typical application of the design is for performance measurement and impact assessment. Evaluation research design is associated with experimental, quasi-experimental and quantitative evaluation studies (Mouton 2001:160). The strength of this design lies in its ability to assess causal outcomes and impact. For analysis the design favours structured and more quantitative methods such as descriptive statistics and ANOVA (Mouton 2001:160). Limitations of the design include context effects, subject and researcher effects and measurement error when operationalising and measuring outcome indicators (Mouton 2001:161)

The Theoretical Framework

Maslow’s humanistic motivation learning theory was the chosen framework of the study (see item 2.3).

Study Population

The study population comprised form four students aged between 15 and 19 years and guidance and counselling teachers in the Harare region.
Although the HIV and AIDS pandemic was not the only reason why the study concentrated on orphanhood, it is assumed that a high incidence of HIV will result in a high mortality rate amongst AIDS cases and consequently an increase in the number of orphans. The Harare region with its high prevalence of HIV and AIDS was therefore chosen for the study (National AIDS Council Report March 2002).
For the purposes of the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, Zimbabwe has been divided into nine regions. Harare, one of the regions, is metropolitan in nature with an extensive central business district, urban areas with high-density and low-density dwellings, peri-urban areas and medium sized commercial farming areas. The national population of form four students in 2002 was 15,804; 9,267 were boys and 6,537 were girls. The Harare region had a form four student population of 4,574; 2,353 were boys and 2,221 were girls (Ministry of Education Sport and Culture- Statistics: 2002). The sample was drawn from form four students. These students, whose average age was between 16-17 years, fell into the 15-to-18-year age group that covered the largest proportion of the population of youth in Zimbabwe. This was the age group that was most likely to be affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic in terms of orphanhood, considering that the first case of HIV was diagnosed in Zimbabwe in 1985. Research findings point to the fact that 41.7% of the age group 10 to 19 years are sexually active in Harare, having had their first sexual encounter at the age of 14.8 years (UNICEF 2002a: 42). It is envisaged that involving this age group in the study, besides the fact that they are old enough to provide accurate data for the study, could also create awareness about the prevention of HIV and AIDS (Children on the Brink 2002:28). The population of form four students in the study was drawn from the Harare Region’s Secondary Schools, of which there are 74.


Polit and Hungler (1995:284-287) concur in describing the sampling plan as the process of selecting a portion of the population to represent the entire population. The advantage of sampling is that its management is realistic and cost effective. The risk of sampling is that the sample may not be fully representative of the study population in terms of characteristics, behaviours and beliefs (Polit & Hungler 1995:284-287).
Stratified random sampling was used to sample the schools. The aim of stratification is to enhance representativeness (Polit & Hungler 1995:286). Stratified random sampling requires the population under study to be divided into strata based on identified attributes, for instance area of location, type of school, status, level and board. The subsets into which the population was divided were homogeneous. Elements from each subset were randomly selected, based on their proportion in the population, as was done for the abovementioned schools. The advantages of using the stratified sampling strategy were that the representativeness of the sample was enhanced; the researcher had a valid basis for making comparisons between subsets if information on the critical variables was made available. Also the researcher was able to over-sample a disproportionately small stratum to allow for their under-representation, statistically weigh the data accordingly, and continue to be able to make legitimate comparisons (LoBiondo-Wood & Haber 1990:277). The stratified random sampling method, apart from increasing homogeneity and reducing variability, thus reducing the generalization error, was ideal for comparing learning outcomes, which this study required.
The simple random sampling method was used for selecting the students and teachers. After the population is defined, a sampling frame is constructed, which in simple terms is the actual list of population elements. The elements are numbered consecutively. A table of random numbers or a computer is then used to draw at random a sample of desired size. Random samples are not subject to researcher bias and random selection guarantees that differences between the sample and the population are purely a function of chance, making probability sampling ideal for this study (Polit & Beck 2001:265).

Sampling Procedure

The sample for the study included stratification and coding of Secondary Schools. SPSS software was used to sample 21 secondary schools out of a total population of 74 in Harare as indicated in the sample framework in Table 3.2 below. Only 18 schools were accessible. For reasons that included, inter alia, interference with the students’ study leave, it was impossible to access the following schools: C, H and J.

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Background to and context of the study
1.3 The problem statement
1.4 Purpose of the study
1.5 Research objectives
1.6 Research questions
1.7 Theoretical framework
1.8 Assumptions
1.9 Study design
1.10 Study population
1.11 Sampling
1.12 Methodology
1.13 Data collection
1.14 Data management
1.15 Validity and Reliability
1.16 Ethical principles
1.17 Significance of the study
1.18 Dissemination of findings
1.19 Clarification of concepts
1.20 Summary
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Orphanhood
2.3 Maslow’s Theoretical Framework
2.4 Care systems for orphans
2.5 The role of NGO’s in the care of orphans
2.6 Legislative issues regarding the protection of children and orphans
2.7 Education and the acquisition of life skills
2.8 Factors impacting on education and learning
2.9 Summary
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Purpose of Study
3.3 Quantitative Research Approach
3.4 The Theoretical Framework
3.5 Study Population
3.6 Sample
3.7 Research Instruments
3.8 Methodology
3.9 Pilot Study
3.10 Data collection
3.11 Data management and data analysis
3.12 Validity and reliability
3.13 Ethical Considerations
3.14 Summary
4.1 Introduction
4.2 General factors impacting on learning
4.3 Specific factors impacting on learning and/or school attendance
4.4 Learning outcomes
4.5 Relationships between identified factors and their impact on learning
4.6 Summary
5.0 Chapter 5 Conclusions, Recommendations, Areas for Future Research and Limitations
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Factors that impact on learning
5.3 The impact of orphanhood on learning in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy
5.4 Conclusions
5.5 Recommendations
5.6 Limitations
5.7 Areas for future research
5.8 Summary
5.9 References
5.9 Appendices

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