Motivational Actions That Stimulate People to Become Novice Entrepreneurs

Summary

The focus of this chapter is on research design. The study addresses the disparity in knowledge surrounding motivationally stimulated experiences or incidents that happen to trigger an available worker (AW) to become a novice entrepreneur (NE). It also focuses on how published work on the characteristics of the available workers only addresses the development of people once they have become novice entrepreneurs, and does not account for the establishment or development of new enterprises in the first instance. Little has been researched or published about what acts as a motivational stimulus to bring about the transfer of a person from the relative safety of available worker status to that of the uncertain world of the novice entrepreneur. According to Rabey (2001, p. 26) however, “circumstances and situations will determine the stimulus which will generate a response to drive forward, to withdraw or to wait for a further signal.” Other noteworthy authors such as Gibb and Ritchie (1982, p. 92), Carsrud and Johnson (1989, p. 43), Bridge (2008, p. 12) made substantial comments that support the continual change in the level of attribution of skills, characteristics and behavior used in the development of new enterprises through improved knowledge and life experience.

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Academics such as Hornaday and Aboud (1981, p. 81) and Delmar (2000, p. 113), have approached this research exploration from a different standpoint and have focused specifically on the personality characteristics of a successful entrepreneur as being the only vehicle responsible for the change. Although the motivation to achieve appears to be fundamental in the individual, it is generally thought that this can also be developed from an early age. Much of the initial work by Chell (1985) presented evidence that a great deal of research into successful entrepreneurship has been focused on the trait theory of habitual patterns of behavior, thought and emotion. However, it ignored the taught or trained elements of entrepreneurship.

Could the personality of an individual predispose them to flourish in an entrepreneurial setting based on the attribution for their success being inherited? Often the perceived traits inherited by a potential entrepreneur are often referred to as “it’s in the blood”. This is always based on the previous success of the parents, siblings or other members of the family. If this is true then the AW would be destined for success because they have been endowed with natural gifts at birth that would carry them forward and make them naturally successful. Research conducted by McClelland (1965, p. 29) in this area revealed that people who were not born with the “necessary trait”. One could still learn them over time, and once the character has been acquired, it could be maintained almost indefinitely

Table 1

Suggested reasons for the Development of the Nascent Entrepreneur
Features Author(s)
Personal Characteristics Delmar (2000) Hornaday and Aboud (1981),
Circumstances and Situations Rabey 2001
Attribution of skills, characteristics and behavior Gibb and Ritchie (1982) Carsrud and Johnson 1989),
Bridge (2008)
Taught or trained elements of entrepreneurship. Chell (1985)
Taught Traits McClelland (1965)
“Born or Made” Timons (1994)

Table 1 suggested reasons for the Development of the Nascent Entrepreneur and some of the authors who have worked in this field.

These two predominant schools of thought regarding the makeup of the successful entrepreneur were originally focused upon by Timmons (1994, p. 73). He speculated whether entrepreneurs are ‘born’ or ‘made’. He had the assumption that a person born with a particular “type of character” would be genetically empowered with a natural talent to succeed in business no matter how difficult the challenge can be. Both trait and cognitive approaches reveal something about the development of the novice entrepreneur and by comparison, there is little report surrounding any stimulation that may trigger the action needed to motivate the AW to attempt the change. An individual’s expectation concerning where the control over future events resides has been described by Rotter (1996, p. 38) in his theory of the internal or external “locus of control”. It is not improbable to accept that this “issue of internal control” may encourage self-belief in an individual that stimulates a motivation that helps them to move forward and take an opportunity to become NE.

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On the other hand, Rotter explained that “external control” is a mechanism that resides outside of the person and the control either lay in the hands of other “powerful people” or the outcome for the individual is down to fate or chance. Internal and external control mechanisms can be seen as a bipolar dimension running from one condition to the other, as a sliding scale where who or what influences the control necessary for change resides. Each individual has characteristics that will place them on this scale at some point which will be compatible with these and combine a number of their features such as attitude to risk, personal make-up, education, skills and so on. Locus of control (LOC) is unambiguous in nature and not all control will emanate solely from one or the other (LOC) and in many cases is a combination of both depending on the individual.

Rotter’s LOC is just one approach to motivation and stimulation factors that may encourage people to work for themselves and to gain rewards for doing so. Herzberg (1959, p. 62) proposed the “motivator-hygiene (MH)” theory another two-dimensional speculative paradigm focusing on the working environment and may provide the environmental “comfort zone” in which people work. It involves such things as remuneration, conditions of work, company policy, supervision, etc.

The majority of the features of this theory may be considered as part of the “external Locus of Control”. As such, it would only contribute to one side of the equation. Items such as salary and working conditions on their own would not normally be considered as a strong enough stimulating motivator to encourage an employee to give up employment in favor of self-employment altogether. It may encourage them to seek a higher position within the same organization or to change to an employer offering better opportunities. An employee may be highly motivated in the job that they do but be dissatisfied with the working conditions, environment or vice versa. Hygiene factors can often operate independently of “motivators” and in many cases, this in-balance is not strong enough to encourage a potential move but maybe a contributing factor to the overall decision to do so.

Approach to Research

The research discussion proceeds with the construction of a suitable vehicle that allowed the recording of data relevant to the issues outlined and the decision to use either quantitative or qualitative methods to achieve this. Consideration was given to the part that ethics, data quality, protection of the subject and the purity of gathered information have to play in the research and the complexity in identifying and recruiting a suitable cohort of subjects to achieve this. This chapter provides the background to the research and asserts the value of utilizing qualitative values more so than quantitative ones although it is clear that there is an interaction of both in the final analysis. The identification of suitable interview participants was vital in order to ensure that those who are eligible and willing to join the research study cohort are able to do so.

The research method has been chosen for its ability to uncover information at the interview stage and later in analysis and review. This chapter discusses the rationale behind the research philosophy, justifies the selected approach, and explains both the positive and negative aspects of using the chosen method and the alternative approaches considered. Furlong and Oancea (2007, p. 93) observed that research is undertaken for a variety of reasons, to develop insights, provide meaning, generate theory and answer empirical questions for the development of academic understanding. Previously Robson (1999, p. 38) had put forward that the selection of a research methodology depends on the “type of information sought, from whom and under what circumstances”.

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The approach to the research study depends on the differing perspectives of the participants interviewed, the diversity of the rich data uncovered and the use of both qualitative and quantitative approaches in the evaluation of the data produced. It is evident in its description that this research study is transparent in its aims and generates significant suggestions that are used to reach a meaningful conclusion. A suggestion made by Halfpenney (1979, p. 799) is that “qualitative research by comparison to quantitative research is “soft, flexible, subjective, speculative, exploratory and grounded”, which fits well with the pragmatic nature of the study and allows raw data to flow freely from the subject to the interviewer unrestricted, and is collected for future review and analytical assessment. All of the comments with regard to qualitative research by Robson (1999), Furlong & Oancea (2007) and Halfpenny (1979) lend themselves to the approach to interview needed in the case of uncovering hidden or shrouded data from dissimilar cases.

The investigation tends towards the understanding of events that stimulated the participants to take action and a longitudinal assessment of events that might have acted as a catalyst for that change. Qualitative research is an approach typically associated with the social constructivist paradigm (Guba & Lincoln 1994, p. 59). It relates to the social construction of knowledge between the interviewer and the participant. It provides “rich descriptions of the subjects’ feelings, the meaning and interpretations are given to events with the resultant behavior” (Kvale1996, p. 125). It is about recording, analyzing and attempting to prise out or uncover the “deeper meaning and significance of the participant’s “behavior and life experiences”, which may also include conflicting or contradictory beliefs, behaviors and emotions (Silverman 2000, p. 1-12).

The Pragmatic approach

The selection of a pragmatic approach to investigative research has a philosophical tradition that centers on the linking of practice to theory and vice versa. This approach to longitudinal research is appropriate as the information sought is untangled from various incidents or unrelated events that are reported during “story-telling” and is different for each participant taking part. It is established that the participant has not been subjected to this particular process previously but confirms that some incidents may have been spoken about in isolation at the time of their occurrence. For example “I broke my leg so gave up the idea of football at that time,” this is just one incident, not a whole story.

The nature of pragmatism in research is the unfolding story that leads you to where it needs to go in a naturally progressive way. As a consequence, it is not possible to lay out a systematic approach to interview structure. The story only becomes clear when the interview has almost concluded and although it is possible to isolate investigation techniques that will help unravel some issues it becomes clear that as one issue is settled, another one will arise requiring a different approach to subjective investigation. A pragmatic approach involves using any method of investigation which appears best suited to the situation faced and allows the researcher to react quickly to participant comments in order to collect important data that may otherwise be overlooked or lost. However, caution is advised as all methods have some degree of limitation in their value. This approach was chosen for this study because of the nature of the data which was needed. The researcher needed information from the respondent in an oratory form. The respondent will be narrating his thought about the research topic, and the researcher will be recording the information.

Sampling Strategies

Examples of differing sampling strategies that are commonly used in case research have been considered and depending on the type of sample sought will rely on what the researcher is trying to test or reveal (Robsob, 1999, p. 28). One method considered is Maximum Variation Sampling where Maykut & Morehouse (2000, p. 64) proposed that it can be a “purposefully sample of people or settings that represent a wide range of experience related to the incident of interest.” In this case, the goal is not to build a random and all-purpose sample, but rather to try to represent a range of experiences related to the research study with maximum deviation. Maximum Variation Sampling is an emergent sequential approach that is learned from the initial participants of the study who act as a baseline to the study. They can subsequently influence the direction of the research based on their findings.

This type of sampling can be useful in situations where a random sample cannot be drawn or when the study sample size is very small and the rationale for using it is dependent on the type of study undertaken. In contrast to this and other sample types, the researcher might use a standardized selection of participants who belong to a “smaller group”, but who have many distinctive characteristics for comparison such as gender, occupation, language, education, religion and so on. In the consideration of which type of sampling to use in this study, one of the most challenging forms yet most revealing is the use of “extreme case” selection where the subjects provide unusual, difficult, or unrelated events for evaluation. Critical Incidents Technique is an example of this type of sampling and is described by Fivars (1980, p. 48) as a strategy for revealing data in difficult circumstances which has proved to supply high-quality output data for analysis in challenging situations. As an example and from a psychological point of view, Fivars considered research into alcoholism and drug abuse. Although it did not have any exact or obvious problems to be resolved, extracting meaningful data from a number of disorientated, uncommunicative and frustrated people was difficult. The observation and collection of data in a straightforward manner was challenging and in many of the cases, current issues were shielded by an altered perception of the event and could only be revealed clearly by external observers.

In other research situations, the use of alternate methods of sampling such as focused question and answer sessions, traditional questionnaires, focus groups and probing interview questions, in general, would have a satisfactory outcome. It is considered that this research study relies upon a pragmatic approach to the story of “life experience” and these approaches to sampling would result in a limited array of subjective answers. Selected questions in these circumstances require only a positive or negative response and do not give the option for the participant to allow for any personal comment, expand on the unusual event or recount their own thoughts and feelings on the question and therefore lack the flexibility needed to uncover hidden or “clouded” gems of information for evaluation. Other methods of investigation may have also failed to obtain any more sustainable credible answers for similar reasons to the other methods of data extraction considered.

In this study, the researcher was keen on addressing the above issues in order to ensure that the collected data was within the expectation. Sampling was done in order to ensure that the researcher obtained the best individuals who had the capacity to provide the desired information. The researcher had limited time available for the research, and this necessitated the need to narrow down the sample size for this research. The researcher also maintained flexibility in data collection in order to uncover any hidden information. This strategy proved so effective in this study.

Selecting the Sample Group

A set criterion for entry into the research study is constructed and examined to establish which of the proposed participants fit the set conditions for research. The criterion requires that the participant needs to have been in business for three years or more and to have started a business where “none had existed before” (Draheim 1972, p. 119). The criteria for this research study have been set closely in order to uncover specific data that will test the basis of the study and provide “real” information for analysis. As a result of this, the selection and recruitment of an appropriate sample group were not easy to achieve. Many of the prospective participants although originally appeared to fit the criteria for investigation on scrutiny, do not conform to the criteria set and are not invited to join the study. Many other participants who genuinely fit the criterion for the study failed to attend and will be eliminated.

There is no discrimination in gender; age or type of enterprise considered. In order to select a meaningful sample group, potential participants were sought based on information from Business-Link and other business associations such as Vistage (An association for business owners), Linkedin (A social business Internet organization), financial institutions, personal recommendations and other business associates. These organizations produced a substantial sample group for interview and analysis who after a brief examination, are deemed to comply with all aspects of the study and are able to return relevant high-quality data for analysis.

Both qualitative and quantitative methods have their own benefits and weaknesses and the choice of the appropriate method lies with the researcher’s wish to understand the features of the data produced which will support the research case for later analysis. Qualitative research data produces the most favorable concepts when the researcher wants to understand more deeply the opinions, ideas and intangible values of an occurrence which would be difficult to understand by quantitative data alone. Qualitative methods of exploration depend on a direct request for information from the subject by a variety of inquiry types which should expose data that gives way to quantitative analyses later in the study due to the amount of data to be compared and analyzed and manipulated.

The Selected Participants

Maykut & Morehouse (2000, p. 43) suggested that careful consideration of the research study will decide which type of subjects and settings can give up the best information and whether discussions or interviews should be focused, general or adopt a critical incident scenario. These comments are supported by Creswell (1989, p. 119) who states that the researcher will intentionally select “participants who have experience with the central facts or the key concepts that are being explored and determines the number of subjects required to provide the data”. These comments support the researcher in their choice of technique and the mix of participants for the study and represent a diverse number of participant types showing differing demographic features in age, gender, time in business and so on. An unnaturally large amount of diversity in this information and the status of the participants can be difficult to manage however Fivars (1980, p. 37) has demonstrated previously how the use of the Critical Incidents Technique can reveal accurate data in the most chaotic of situations. In this study because of the assorted themes encountered and the low number of subjects CIT (Flanagan 1954, p. 83) is chosen as the most appropriate technique to handle any data uncovered from a variety of situations and cases presented. Despite the diversity in participants the research study continues to ask the question of whether the participant (s) will reveal any singular or multiple stimuli that will account for their motivation to move forward towards entrepreneurism.

CIT Background

For this research it is necessary to use a set of procedures for collecting “life-stories” from selected participant’s with regard to their own observations of the interaction of their social behavior and activity in such a way as to make it possible to utilize the information in assessing whether any motivation or stimulation existed to help transform them from AW into an NE. Critical Incidents Technique as described by Flanagan (1954, p. 34) outlines procedures for collecting incidents of special significance and that meet a systematically defined criterion and declares that an incident is “any observable human activity that is sufficiently complete in itself to permit inferences and predictions to be made about the person performing the act”.

In this research study, CIT is used to uncover data from the participants and the resulting data is then modified by the principles of Grounded Theory (GT), as described by Corbin & Strauss (1990, p. 61), to organize and analyze the results uncovered. The modified process gains (now referred to as CIT) its capability of observing multiple “incidents” in a serial mode and organizing them for analyses. CIT looks for the causes that affect change in multiple situations and collates them into a table recording comments individually from all respondents. Glaser and Strauss (1967, p. 34) discovered Grounded Theory from original research they conducted which allowed them to develop a constant comparative method of assessment which has now become a standard in qualitative analysis for social scientists. CIT reflects an orderly methodological approach and is considered to be the most appropriate and acceptable method in collecting data with regard to events that occur over a longer period of time. The contrast between CIT and GT is strong although in comparison GT is a more flexible and structured process than CIT.

Critical Incident Technique (CIT)

Critical Incident Technique is described as “a set of procedures or a sequence of processes for collecting direct observations of behavior or circumstances which hold key significance and can be defined objectively to meet the criteria of the research,” (Flanagan 1954, p. 327). These direct observations are called Critical Incidents (CI) because they are essential in describing the circumstance of an event and the behavior of an individual in that situation to provide a valuable basis for the development of behavioral and situational interviews (Latham, Saari et al 1980, p. 23). CIT provides rich information and uncovers incidents retrospectively which is especially appropriate for the identification of unusual events that have occurred and would not have been picked up by other investigatory techniques. This technique allows subjects to report events that have occurred from their perspective and in their own words but do not force them into any given framework of response which is useful when issues have occurred and where the cause and severity are not known. On the other hand, the technique is reliant on events being remembered by the participants as accurately and as truthfully as possible however many critical incidents may be lost due to a failure of memory or the events becoming unimpressive and imprecise due to the time since the event and therefore go unreported.

The more common or repeated events can often be forgotten or over-looked completely (attribution error) and the researcher must ensure that the participant(s) consider this in their “life story” before the interview begins and if this is not coordinated by the researcher these events may tend to emphasize only rare important events. It is important to remember that the analyses GT has to make underpin the data uncovered by CIT and in this respect, it is essential to pay particular attention to the data uncovered prior to analyses.

CIT is an excellent technique for data mining and reveals first-class information from each of the participant’s and has proved to be most valuable in scrutinizing the early stages of large-scale tasks which indicate its ability to quickly isolate and group incidents of a similar focus together. In many respects, CIT contradicts the traditional model of research, where the researcher chooses a theoretical framework and offers up the model to the phenomenon to be studied and concurring with Koch (2009, p. 3-15) “CIT is an only partially structured procedure for collecting qualitative data” nonetheless it is clear to see that the addition of Grounded Theory (GT) provides the mechanism to enhance the results of CIT, and reveal comparable event types for analyses. In terms of analyses, the CIT technique does not have the flexibility when attempting to serially compare single, one-off events over multiple participants with multiple experiences whereas GT does. Using straightforward interview techniques such as questionnaires would have difficulty in revealing and analyzing the data necessary to complete the study with such multiple diverse subjects, histories and attitudes.

As the story is individual to each participant it is not possible to arrive at a substantial conclusion between participants without extending the analysis of the data to a more embracing method of analysis. Before any investigation of the data uncovered takes place it is required to be “standardized” prior to being placed into similar categories for further analysis. The selected method used for the standardization of data is “Grounded Theory” (GT) which has been used to overlay the data uncovered by CIT where is used to make sense of the collected data and produce key points which are marked with a series of codes extracted from the text. The codes can then be grouped together into similar concepts and refined into a more workable series of categories which form the basis for the creation of a theory. In the construction of this study, a number of alternative methods of data collection and analysis were conscientiously considered with the modified CIT technique considered to be the most realistic process to reveal relevant data and analyze the multiple events of numerous participants successfully in a consistent manner. Figure 16 shows a workflow diagram of how the data is treated once it has been revealed in the open interview and similar or same events are coded and put into the same or similar “coded groups”. Once the data has been coded it is reviewed, memoed and similar/same codes (after the memoing has taken place) are put into “Concept” groups which are further reviewed with the resulting data placed into categories. The intention is that once the base data is placed into categories and individually defined an “Over-arching theory” can be established which helps to answer the research question.

The setting for Interview Data Collection

Kvale (1994, p. 86) commented on the importance of setting the right scene to enable the subjects to express themselves in an uninhibited and non-threatening way during the data collection process. In some cases, this may mean adopting a less rigid approach to the interview where it is essential for the interviewer to be prepared to let the participant lead the way and to allow for spontaneity, freedom of speech and comments about tangential issues. This can be an uncomfortable situation for the traditional interviewer as in conventional circumstances they will be testing a hypothesis that will allow them to lead an interview, ask questions and stimulate responses that have been determined by the proposition. In the case of CIT, it is the participant.

Essentials topics in the CIM “map”

In this technique the response is different from directed interviews because the interview is guided by the participant rather than the interviewer and who becomes the storyteller and the interviewer a ‘silent story-taker’. For the first few studies, this was both a difficult and unnatural position for the interviewer to hold as remaining silent is in direct opposition to a conventional interview where asking relevant questions will help uncover the data sought. At no time did the researcher interfere, interrupt, disturb or go beyond the narrative as told by the participant even when the conversation became stilted, flat, and un-stimulated or dried up altogether. The structure of the interview does not allow for any unplanned interference in comments made by the interviewer although direction prompting was absolutely crucial for the continuity and re-direction of the story so that all of the pertinent areas were covered by all the participants and is important for data comparison later. Under no circumstances where the details of any previous interviews revealed to the subject and as soon as the objective of the study and the contents of the Critical Incident Matrix (Fig YY) had been revealed the subject was left to lead the “Story-telling” alone.

Interview Overview

In order to gain the best results from this study the reasons for the interview are clearly explained prior to the interview to set the scene and give each participant the opportunity to review their life story to this point. Ethnography is a form of qualitative research that focuses on the discovery and/or comprehensive description of the culture of a group of people and is a common approach to incident reporting because of its ease of use. Hammersley (1991, p. 149-164) emphasized that “the use of ethnography as a method is not far removed from the sort of approach that we use in everyday life to make sense of our surroundings”.

Prior to the interview, each participant is issued with a request for consent to record the interview, an explanation of the reason for the study and an explanation sheet of the Oxford Brookes University rules and regulations with regard to the interview. To fulfill the criteria for an interview a written description of the study is issued along with information on university contacts who they may wish to contact should the participant become unhappy about the interview. The participant is made aware that they could withdraw from the study at any time in which case their details would be destroyed.

According to the criteria of the study the ideal method of data collection is a one-on-one consultation conducted investigating any incidents that may have occurred and once an interview is established CIT is used to record the participant’s memories of past events. On rare occasions, telephone interviews are acceptable although memo/note-taking is difficult.

Once the participant and the researcher are satisfied that there is no more to be added the interview is bought to its natural conclusion with all accompanying administration complete. The participant is reassured that all information will remain anonymous and that a copy of the transposed interview would be sent to them for their own review and records. In order to maintain anonymity and security, all interviews are issued with a study code and the participants with a coded identifier. Both the confidentiality and “story” content of the study are kept secure by the researcher until the results of the study are written up and published as a thesis. In the future should a selection of the text(s) be chosen for further publication or to support another academic paper/article the approval of the participant will be sought by the researcher before approving the request for use?

During each interview “memo notes” are taken to enrich the details of the interview and is used to record reflective notes about what the researcher is learning about the person and the data taken to supplement the information given by the participant. This relates to the overall impression of the participant and what they may have done to take advantage of a developing situation. It is important to remember that these “memo notes” are recorded to enhance the recording of the interview process and are not part of the GT process for analyzing the data into codes and so on. It is only later that the interview and accompanying notes are transposed and analyzed until a concept(s), categories and theories become apparent. During the collection of the data, the participant is asked to focus on one or more critical incidents or episodes that they have experienced personally and that may have had an important effect on the final outcome of their decision to change. From time to time the research setting does not allow for the taking of notes in which case mental notes must be made. Mental notes generally have a high rate of decline but by noting brief phrases, quotes, keywords and the like at inconspicuous moments the researcher can jog his/her memory when comprehensive field notes are later compiled.

Codes, Memoing, Concepts & Categories Overview

All transcribed data for each case is reviewed and specific events or incidents are put into codes. When the original data is reviewed the same or similar events in each case are detailed and organized into codes, concepts and categories. Once this has been achieved a table of incidents point to a natural “leader board” of events with outcome used to look for any incidents that may have influenced the subjects’ decision to move forward and become entrepreneurs over time. Compared to other methods of data collection the main stages in traditional CIT are the gathering of circumstances surrounding an incident by interviewing those subjects who have observed the event or who have been involved. The data collected is compiled and its relevance is summarised prior to classification into groups of events. The CIT provides a valuable basis for the development of the subject’s event “story” as seen and reported by the subject and the observers to the event. It is fair to say that the comments made by the subject and those of the observer(s) do not always match each other’s recollections of the incident.

Sensitivity Analysis

In every research finding, correctness is always very important because an action may be taken upon the findings and recommendations of a given research. In case the result deviates from the truth by a considerable wide margin, it can result in serious consequences, especially if the action taken is of great impact. However, it is worth appreciating that human being is prone to making errors on a number of occasions. This error can be in the process of input of the data or its analysis. Whichever point it may arise from, the consequences of such errors may be adverse if the action were to be taken upon its recommendation. Sensitivity analysis is therefore important in mitigating such errors in a report. It helps in determining how robust given research is.

In this study, the researcher appreciates the fact that such errors may occur. For this reason, there is a need to develop measures that would help validate this research.

In this research, the main aim was to evaluate motivational factors that would stimulate people to become novice entrepreneurs. Reliability and Validity studies below help further explain how this research ensured that it maintained the correctness of the findings.

Validity

The validity of a measurement instrument can be measured by the degree to which the instrument measures accurately what it is supposed to measure In this survey, content validity was measured where the representativeness, or sampling adequacy, of the content of the measurement instrument, was checked with the help of experts in the field. In this study, the validity of the instruments was preserved ensuring the accuracy of the measurement where each variable’s indicators of existence were extracted solely from the literature of the work of previous researchers in well-established papers. In this study, internal validity was ensured by checking the representativeness of the sample. External validity was also guaranteed by asking respondents to give their views.

Reliability

Reliability means the appropriateness, applicability and truthfulness of a study. It refers to the ability of research instruments to produce results that are in agreement with theoretical and conceptual values. The consistency of the measure, the probability of obtaining the same results again if the measure was to be replicated is referred to as reliability. It is the relationship between the true underlying score and the observable score. Internal consistency is also important for the survey since it indicates the extent to which the items in the measurement are related to each other. Since the reliability declines as the length of the question increases, the questions would be designed to be straight to the point. The idea behind internal consistency procedures is that questions measuring the same phenomenon should produce similar results.

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