Research Design

Research Design

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-353-9.ch005


This chapter describes the strategy and the research design used in the present research process followed in the book. It begins with an overview of the research approach adopted, details the sources of data and outlines the procedures used for collection of data. Later, it describes the design of the measurement instrument used for data collection. It also provides a brief profile of the responding companies and describes the variables and the constructs used in the measurement of these variables. The chapter concludes with a brief description of the tools used for data analysis in the book.
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Research Approach

Researchers have distinguished research approach from research methodology (Galliers, 1992). The research approach is generally taken as “a way of going about one’s research” and the research methods generally describe the ways adopted to ‘systemize observation’ (Weick, 1984). The research approach may be positivist, interpretive or critical (Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991). The positivist approach is based on the assumption that the reality is objectively given and can be described by measurable properties (Myers, 1997). In the positivist approach, generally there are formal propositions and formal hypotheses to be tested based on pre-assumed relationships between different variables. The positivist approach is commonly adopted in Information Systems (IS) research. On the other hand, interpretive research is based on the assumption that the reality can be understood only through social constructs (Cavana, Delahaye, & Sekaran, 2001; Walsham, 1995, 1995b). Thus, in an interpretive research, a phenomenon is studied through the meaning people assign to it and in the context in which such phenomenon is studied. Therefore, in IS, interpretive research aim at understanding the context in which Information Systems are used and the processes that are influenced by the IS and the processes through which IS influence the context (Walsham, 1995). Critical research is based on the assumption that the social reality is determined by and is also constrained by various forms of social, cultural and political factors that played their role in the past. Therefore, the focus of critical research is primarily on contradictions and conflicts and attempt is made to reduce if not eliminate the causes of alienations and dominations.

The analysis presented in this book is based on a Grounded Theory research carried out by the authors. The Grounded Theory research approach attempts “to develop and integrate a set of ideas and hypotheses in an integrated theory that accounts for behavior in any substantive area” (Lowe, 1996). Thus, this research approach involves generation of emergent theory based on patterns observed in empirical data, and not from inferences, prejudices or the association of ideas (Glaser, 1978, 1992; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). However, there is an ongoing comparison between the emergent theory and the new data to confirm that the theoretical constructs are found across and between the data samples (Gasson, 2004). Since the Grounded Theory research is based on inductive conclusions from analysis of collected data, the findings may be subjectively associated with situation observed (Gasson, 2004). However, there is increasing acceptance of Grounded Theory research approach in IS Research due to its advantage of being based on observed data about real life situations.

The authors admit that the research process followed in this book did not match with the process “whereby theory is described first, empirical research happens next, results are then analysed and conclusions are drawn. Instead, the process involves such aspects as the use of theoretical insights at different stages, the modifications of the theory based on experience…….” (Walsham, 1993). Since, a large amount of data, particularly with regard to levels of trust are based on the perceptions of the participants in the survey, the research process reflects an interpretive research position assuming that the phenomenon or the research variables cannot be defined objectively and thus need to be defined from a specified point of view.

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