CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH DESIGNS AND METHODS3.1 IntroductionChapter three provides more understanding and data into some generic and specific challenges faced when conducting research, particularly in the context of green supply chain management in SASKO (Shakaskraal). It delivers a description of the data, methods and limitations of the data analysis.3.2 Study Area 3.3Research DesignA research design is an outline that the researcher will use as a guide to complete the objectives of his research (Myers, Well & Lorch, 2010:3). A research design includes the stages that will be followed to gather the required information and analyse it to achieve the objectives of the research.
The research design covers issues concerning the study such as the purpose of the study, in which location it will be conducted, the type of investigation that it will be and the technique that will be used to analyse the data (Bougie & Sekaran, 2013:94).In general, the research methodologies are twofold; quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative research is a reliable oriented way of investigating the world as a causal system that can be measured, designed and remarkably estimated based on different statistical investigation.
However, qualitative research focuses on expanding the understanding of the companies’ actions by specifying qualitative data. Primarily, qualitative research functions by specifying single cases, such as interviews or part of texts. Nevertheless, to confirm the academic research perception and variety, both qualitative and quantitative methods are needed. This research will be qualitative and quantitative (Mixed-Method approach). Both primary and secondary data will be used. There will be scheduled direct interviews within the Shakaskraal depot, questionnaires (In the form of structured lists of probing questions, which will comply with the ethical standards) as well as direct and indirect observations on site. There is public access on the company’s environmental standards as well the integrated annual reports to which reference will be made. Secondary sources such as information from electronic media, journals and books about Green Supply Chain Management in relation to Pioneer Foods: SASKO will be used.3.4 Research Methods3.4.1 Interviews and Questionnaires The target population refers to the entire group of people, events or subjects of interest that the researcher wants to investigate (Bougie & Sekaran, 2013:239-240). An element is one member of a population. The target population form the pool of subjects or events that the investigator aims to explain, quantify or obtain data from in order to make an analysis or conclusion (Schindler & Cooper, 2005:370). The target population for this study included the production, administrative and logistic staff at Pioneer Foods SASKO (Shakaskraal Depot). The reasoning behind selecting the Pioneer Foods SASKO (Shakaskraal Depot) branch as the study site is because it is one of the key production plants in South Africa.Interview and questionnaires are the main data collection method in this study. Moreover, interview is the most common way to collect data in qualitative research. Interview is an interaction of both parties where the aim is to find out what someone has in mind. (Eskola & Suoranta 2008, 85; Koskinen et al. 2005, 157) Adjusting data collection and flexibility required by the situation are essential benefits of the interview (Hirsj¤rvi et al. 2004, 194).In general, there are three types of interviews: structured interview, semi-structured inter-view and depth interview. Structured interview is referred as survey interview’, since the researcher has defined the questions, the order of the questions and usually the answer choices too. Semi-structured interview allows the interviewee more freedom to voice their opinions than structured interview, allowing the interviewee to use own words for answers and changing the order as well. Additionally, the interviewee can even suggest new questions. Depth interview aims to minimise the effect of a researcher to the interview and in the perfect form the role of a researcher is to set some general topic of interest. Semi-structured, or theme interview, is clearly the most used qualitative data collection method. The efficiency builds on the fact that the researcher can guide the interview without a total control. (Koskinen et al. 2005) In this study the semi-structured interview will be used. 3.4.2 SamplingA sample is a subgroup of a population (Schindler & Cooper, 2005:364). Basically a sample is the members or elements that have been selected from the population to be investigated (Bougie & Sekaran, 2013:241). Different methods are used to deduce which elements of the population will be selected for the sample (Marschan-Piekkari & Welch, 2004:175). These techniques are called sampling techniques. Sampling techniques can be divided into two groups, known as probability and non-probability sampling techniques. In probability sampling each element of a population has an equal chance to be selected to be a part of the investigation. Sampling is a method of data collection that involves selecting a group of people from a certain area and using the data collected for research information. A random sample of employees from SASKO (Shakaskraal) will be invited to participate or voice their views regarding Green Supply Chain Management. All these endeavours will be aimed at establishing how the employees feel about integrating environmental thinking into the company’s supply chain.3.4.3 Probability and Non-probability SamplingProbability sampling is used when all members of the population have the required knowledge and information needed by the researcher but the population is large and researching each member of the population will take too much of time (Bougie & Sekaran, 2013:247). Non-probability sampling is when not all members of a population have an equal chance to be selected to be in the sample (Marschan-Piekkari & Welch, 2004:190). This technique is used when only a limited number of members in a population have the information that the researcher seeks (Kothari, 2004:15). For this study a non-probability sampling technique was used because only some elements of the population obtained the information required by the researcher.3.5 Data CollectionSemi-structured interviews using a semi-structured interview guide will be used to collect the primary data. The reason for the use of this instrument is because it allows the study to be conducted by keeping the questions limited to only those that are of value to the study (Flick et al., 2004:268). According to Raworth et al. (2012:1), a semi-structured interview is extensively used technique in development research. A semi-structured interview does not use set questions, instead it centres on specific topics but covers them in a conversational technique (Raworth et al., 2012:1). In a semi-structured interview the questions are not as fixed as it is for structured interviews and allows for some freedom to vary the course of the interview (Schuh, 2011). According to Galletta (2013:24), semi-structured interviews are adequately designed to focus on a specific topic but also facilitates for the participants to add their own opinions of focus for the study. The interview guide will consist of open-ended questions. The reason for the use of a semi-structured interview is to focus on the related topic but also to facilitate for a change in the direction of the interview in order to achieve the objectives of the study. This is significant because the researcher is conducting exploratory and descriptive research.3. 6 ConclusionThis chapter discussed the research methodology used in this study. This chapter begins with the identification of the research process that the study followed and then moved on to the research design. The target population and selection processes were then stated and the reasoning behind the methods used was explained. This chapter concluded with an explanation of how this study proposed to collect data, ensure data quality and the method used to analyse the data. The next chapter presents the data analysis, findings and the discussion thereof.