Gemstones Competitiveness Analysis and Methodology


As mentioned earlier, this thesis proposal will be aiming to undertake a competitiveness analysis of Gemstone artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) value chain focusing on key issues, constraints and opportunities of small-scale precious stone miners in Erongo Region of Namibia and comparing them to ASM in the Karas Region. The main objective of the research is to determine the major constraints to improved performance of gemstone value chain. In this chapter, the discussion will focus on the description of research design of this study, sample selection details, instrument designing and data collection procedures and methods of statistical analysis. This chapter will detail the procedures that the researcher will employ in the course of collection and analysis of data.

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Research design

This study will use a descriptive research methodology. Research assistants will administer a survey to a predetermined sample of participants from a specific population. According to Jonker & Pennink use of the term ‘survey’ connotes use of research methods such mainly questionnaires and interviews (34). In this study, the survey will be used to obtain data and information from individual gemstone artisanal small-scale miners and their businesses. There is consensus among scholars that surveys are among the most important tools used to collect and analyze information from targeted individual entities (Mastropieri et al. 50). Besides individuals, surveys will also be used to obtain information from small mining businesses.

In the study, there will be administration of questionnaires as well as interviews. Mastropieri et al. touts the above methods of research as some of the most cost-effective in research. Precisely, he singles out questionnaires as less expensive and easy to administer. Questionnaires also allow for confidentiality, a crucial factor in research. It is for the above reasons that the researcher chose a descriptive methodology approach that will use a questionnaire to extract information from miners concerning gemstone artisanal small-scale mining.


The study will use the stratified random sampling approach and will draw participants from the following regions; Omatjete, Uis, Okombahe, Omaruru, Tsubusis, Karibib, Otjimbingwe, Usakos, Usakos-Henties Bay T-junction and Walvis Bay, Otjimbingwe, Omaruru, Okombahe and Usakos-Henties Bay T-junction. Random sampling will be preferable because it is best research method best suited to obtain a representative sample (Kumar 180). Also, the sample that will be used in this research will comprise of sub-groups from the regions mentioned above. Therefore, stratified random sampling will come in handy in making proportionate and meaningful comparisons between the sub-groups of miners in the population. According to Bergh & Ketchen stratified random sampling will also be crucial in producing a representative mean of the miners’ population besides providing the best reflection of key issues, constraints and opportunities of Small-Scale Semi-Precious Stones (Gemstones) (78). As a result, this study will use a sample that will be disaggregated on the basis of regions to accommodate the variation of in the elements being investigated.

This study will use a carefully selected sample on which the pre-designed sample will be administered. The sample will be developed from a list of gemstone dealers and miners in the regions mentioned earlier. The study will use a sample size of 1500 participants drawing ten participants from the regions mentioned above.


The main instruments for data collection in the study will be questionnaires and oral interviews. Questionnaires will be used to collect miners and traders opinions on the key issues, constraints and opportunities of small-scale precious stone businesses. Interviews will be used to collect participants’ viewpoints about the problem of study. It is important to note that these two methods fall into the qualitative and quantitative categories. The use of methods from both will ensure wholeness in investigating key issues, constraints and opportunities of small-scale precious stone miners.

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According to Blessing et al, questionnaires are some of the most popular and most effective instruments in research (109). In designing a questionnaire, reliability and validity are crucial to its ability to elicit consistent responses. In developing the questionnaire to be used in this study, the researcher will take into account the following guidelines that will ensure consistent responses are achieved. It is important that the terminology used in phrasing the questions be as precise as possible. Also, the questionnaires must avoid using difficult words as well as confusing phrases (Kumar 180). In making a questionnaire, it is important to avoid general assumptions about respondents and any other aspect relevant to the study. Furthermore, it is recommended that researchers design questionnaires that don’t use double barreled questions (Mastropieri et al 67). Another important aspect of questionnaire that is crucial to a successful study is the use of an appropriate response format and pre-testing the questionnaire using a mock sample. Krishnaswamy says that to achieve reliability and validity in questionnaire responses, it is important to employ different people’s viewpoints in evaluating the questionnaire’s accuracy (196).

In taking into account the above factors, the researcher will seek the opinion of several experts’ opinions of the appropriateness of the questions in the questionnaire. The experts will study and respond to questions. The research will use a review list that will determine the level of clarity, clarity of questions, relevancy of questions, the precision and the scope of the questions. The panelists’ opinion was sought on any other issues they might deem necessary in the questionnaire. The questionnaire instrument that will be used in this study contains six sections that focus on the all aspects of key issues, constraints and opportunities of small-scale precious stone miners. The questionnaire instrument that will be used in this study is found in the appendix section of this paper.

According to Singh, interviews can be classified into three categories namely; structured interviews, unstructured and semi-structured interviews (88). Structured interviews are formal interviews that follow and answer a set of predetermined questions with a regular pattern which is strictly followed by the interviewer. On the other hand, the unstructured interview is basically guided by the interviewees as opposed the interviewer. In most cases, the unstructured interview is open and one cannot easily determine its direction or conclusion. In the semi-structured interview, a combination of both interview approaches is employed. A researcher follows a set of predetermined questions as well as other he/she may deem unnecessary. This research will use the semi-structured interview because the researcher feels it is best placed to probe participants for precise information. During the interviews, the questionnaire will provide the guideline to the questions the research assistants are going to ask.

Data Collection

Data collection will involve three processes namely; pilot survey, formal survey and oral interviews. Pilot survey will precede the other two and while formal survey and oral interviews will take place concurrently in the field. Unlike the pilot survey, the latter two will be used to collect data and information crucial for the completion of study.

Pilot Survey

The pilot survey will be conducted before the formal survey. A group of 50 miners will be chosen from the regions involved as participants of the pilot survey. The questionnaire developed for the study will be administered and pre-tested in the pilot survey. A total of fifty questionnaires will be administered and returned by research assistants. After the pilot survey, the researcher will carefully inspect the questionnaire to identify and remove any that will be invalid. The main aim of this pilot survey will be to determine the reliability of the questionnaire that will be used in the study. The researcher will use the reliability analysis scale through use of SPSS software to measure the internal reliability of the items of the questionnaire used in the pilot study. If reliability is ascertained, the questionnaire will then be used in the formal study.

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Formal Survey

It is important to emphasize again that the participants of the study are miners in the Namibia’s mining industry, whose opinions on key issues, constraints and opportunities of small-scale precious stone business will be sought. A group of ten miners from the participating regions will be randomly chosen to participate in the study. In total, there will be 1500 participants since every region will produce ten participants. The questionnaire administered on the participants of formal survey will be exactly the same as the one that will be used in the pilot survey. It will accommodate any changes if any that may be warranted by the reliability scale. The questionnaires will be sent by mail to the participants who will have a span of two weeks to fill and return them. Research assistants will supervise and give help where necessary in the course of the study.

It is important to note that the researcher expects some of the participants not to return their questionnaires. Others may answer questions in a way that will render the questionnaire invalid. The researcher will therefore include extra questionnaire in the 1500 questionnaire sample to cater for any such eventuality.

Oral Interview

Miners will be randomly chosen from the participating regions to participate in the semi-structured interviews. Interviewees will be free to choose a location of the interview so long as it is within the accepted places. Interviewees will also choose whether to sit face to face or side by side with the interviewer during the interview. The interviewer will follow an interview guide that is more or less similar to the questionnaire. Research assistants who will also be interviewers will ask questions contained in the interview guide and will also be required to encourage interviewees to express personal opinion beyond the questions contained in the interview guide. With the interviewees’ permission, the interview sessions will be recorded for further reference and analysis.

It is worth noting that all research ethics will be taken into account during the data collection process. Research assistants will clearly explain to participants what the research entails and all participants will be required to voluntarily assent for their participation. All participants will be free to use their names, pseudo-names or no names at all if they are not comfortable. Additionally, participants will be free to withdraw from the study at any stage without any repercussions. Research assistants will also make it clear that the research will be for academic purposes only and the information will not be used for any other task whatsoever.

Data analysis

After the questionnaire are returned and determined to be valid, analysis of the data will take place. The researcher will analyze the data using SPSS software as well as Microsoft Excel. The surveys will be examined to ascertain their completeness and correctness. Incomplete surveys will be done away with to make sure credibility of the results. These softwares will be used to compute and store the collected data from the questionnaires. There will be an intensive use of descriptive statistics to analyze the data that will be computed by the softwares mentioned above. Using the descriptive statistics procedures, frequency tables will be constructed and means, standard deviations, percentages and frequencies will be obtained from the data in the questionnaires based on individual questions. Analysis will also include data and information from open ended questions that was possible thanks to the semi-structured nature of the study. There will be a comparison between the data in questionnaires and that in interviews to determine if there is any consistency in the answers that were provided by respondents. Data analysis is normally succeeded by the results section. The findings obtained from this analysis will be presented in the next chapter of results. All the procedures above were meant to only credible data will be obtained and used for analysis.

Works cited

Bergh, Donald, & Ketchen, David. Research Methodology in Strategy and Management: Volume 5, London: Sage Publications, 2009. Print.

Blessing, Lucienne et al. DRM, a Design Research Methodology, New York: McGraw- Hill, 2009. Print.

Jonker, Jan & Pennink, Bartan. The Essence of Research Methodology: A Concise Guide for Master and Phd Students in Management Science, New York: Routledge, 2010. Print.

Krishnaswamy, K. Management Research Methodology: Integration of Methods and Techniques, New York: Springer, 2009. Print.

Kumar, Aryind. Research Methodology in Social Science, Chicago: Spinger, 2002. Print.

Mastropieri, Margo et al. Applications of Research Methodology: Volume 19, New York: Cengage Learning, 2006. Print

Singh, Yogesh. Fundamental Of Research Methodology And Statistics, Melbourne: Thomson Learning, 2006. Print.

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