Quantitative Research and its Aspects

Methodology

It is important to define research methods before the actual process of collecting data (Vogt 2007, p. 52). Every research project uses a given research method in order to arrive at a given conclusion based on the resources available, the nature of the research itself, and other research factors such as the nature of data. Although qualitative data is always important, especially when the description of variables is needed, this research used only quantitative research. Quantitative research is a kind of study that utilizes figures to arrive at a certain conclusion. In this regard, the research will take the form of semi-structured interviews, whereby the researcher identifies the sample population and posts questionnaires to them. This requires a method that would be objective.

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Site and subject selection

Appropriateness of the Site

When selecting a site for a given research project, it is important to determine the factors that would be necessary for making it appropriate for data collection. The site selected by the researcher was considered appropriate for this research because of a number of reasons. The researcher selected a site where major road projects were taking place within the city of Dubai. The choice of this site was based on the fact that the sample population where primary data was to be taken was readily available on this site. The researcher had identified project managers and project portfolio managers as the relevant people who could give accurate data on the research topic. These two strata of the sample population were readily available at this site. This made the site very appropriate for the research.

Granting of the Approval

When conducting a piece of research, it is important to understand that approval is vital when one selects the site for the research. Given that this research will involve a site where government officials are working, two types of approvals would be necessary. The first approval would be from the government officials who are in charge of that particular site. The relevant office must be informed and they must approve such a research process for it to take place within the facility. Another approval would have to come from the individual project managers and project portfolio managers who shall participate in the research. Obtaining these two approvals is relatively easy based on past experiences. The researcher, therefore, believed that the approval would be granted.

The subject selection

According to Haynes (2002, p. 38), a lot of care should always be taken during subject selection in a given research. It is important to ensure that the selected subjects are able to give the desired data in a detailed manner in order to make the research process a success. In this research, the chosen subjects were the project managers and project portfolio managers at major road construction sites in Dubai. The researcher could not interview all populations in the entire country. For this reason, a manageable sample was identified in order to enable the research project to be completed within the scheduled time.

Appropriateness of the subjects in providing required information

Carrying out research is a complex process that requires some kind of skills in selecting the most appropriate subject for the project. When a wrong subject is selected for a research process, chances are always high that the data that will be obtained from them will be invalid. The researcher was aware of this fact, and that is why project managers and project portfolio managers were chosen. Project managers have all the details of a project and understand some of the risks that a government project may face. They have information about how the risk was managed or the impact of such risks when not managed properly. They are, therefore, very appropriate in giving the required information in this research. The project portfolio managers are also helpful in obtaining this information. Given that they are the project coordinators, they understand risks that face various projects, and the consequences that are associated with the risks if they are not addressed adequately and in good time.

The required number of subjects

The nature of research, the time available for the researcher, and the availability of the subjects will always determine the number of subjects required in a research process. This is very delicate research that shall be used by policymakers in this country to determine how such risks can be addressed in order to eliminate their consequences. This means that a considerably high number of respondents will be needed. However, the researcher appreciates that getting this high number of respondents may be a challenge. It may also be challenging to interview a high number of respondents because of time and material constraints. The researcher, therefore, settled on a sample population of 200 respondents for this research. This population was enough to give the desired data for the research.

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The method used for selection

The method of selecting the sample population is vital because in most cases a human being is biased by nature. When left to select the sample population without a clear selection method, chances are always high that one would use personal judgment, probably based on one’s rank or physical appearance (Wamia 2005, p. 54). This can be very misleading because the data collected may be biased on one side. To eliminate such biases, it is important to use a clear method of selecting this population. The researcher will use a stratified sampling method to select the subjects. In this case, the two strata will be the project managers and project portfolio managers. After identifying the population within the two strata, simple random sampling will be used to determine the sample population

Conducting the project with a 50% loss in a subject

As stated above, the nature of research and research resources available will always determine the size of the sample population. It was also mentioned that this research needs 200 subjects for the data to be considered valid enough for a generalization to be made. When 50% of this population is lost, it means that the remaining population will be 100 respondents. This is way below the required number. This will appear like the validity of the research has been slashed in half. The research project cannot continue under such circumstances.

Accessing required documents

Burtenshaw-Gunn (2009, p. 28) says that when collecting data from the respondents, it may be necessary for the respondents to give some documents to support what they are saying. The validity of research cannot just rely on the oral narration of the respondents without any supporting documents of what they are saying. It is, therefore, necessary to assess the availability of the required documents that will back the statements of the respondents. These documents are easily available from the project managers and project portfolio managers who form the sample population for this research.

Methods and Instruments

It has been stated in the previous sections of this paper that this research will take a quantitative approach in arriving at the desired conclusion. The quantitative method was found to be the most appropriate method to use in this research. Quantitative research involves the systematic empirical study of a phenomenon by the use of statistical tools. Its main objective is to employ mathematical theories and models in developing its generalization (Brigham & Ehrhardt 2011, p. 78). Therefore, the quantitative method would help in this research. It would enable the researcher to test the hypotheses put forth for validity and allow the use of a sample as a representation of the entire population. The instrument that will be used to collect this data is a questionnaire.

It is important to understand the design of this instrument used in collecting data. The questionnaire had several parts. The first part sought to capture the background information of respondents. It also dealt with the demography and gender of the respondents. This was to ascertain the prevalence of views in various categories in order to ensure that if any differences came about, then they would be captured in their demographic space.

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It also dealt with the academic credentials and work experiences of the respondents. The motivation for this section came from the understanding that different sections of the population respond differently to issues, based on their age and academic credentials. The last part dealt with the specific issues relating to financial risks associated with government projects, how they can be managed, and the consequences that they have if they are not managed appropriately. A sample questionnaire is attached in the appendix of this document. This project will be completed within a period of one year six months. The first month will be spent on the development of a research project.

It may take about three weeks for the proposal to be approved. When approved, the next four months will involve collecting and analyzing secondary sources of data. The review of scholarly articles and books will be done at this time. This will help in developing the hypothesis. The researcher will then take a week to develop a comprehensive research questionnaire. The following six months will involve collecting the primary data. It will take another four months to compile all the information in one document as a report.

Limitations

The boundaries of the research project

Understanding the boundary of research helps in avoiding unnecessary data while in the field. In this research, the focus will be restricted to government projects risks, their impact and risk management approach.

Topic not researched in the project

Project risks and risk management is very broad topic. Therefore, this research will not take into account project risks in the private sector or any other topic that is outside the boundary of this research project as defined above.

Aspects not covered in the project

In this project, the research will not cover aspects of project management that are not related to project risks. For instance, it is not the concern of this project to analyze how well some projects are managed unless this has a direct impact on some risks.

Subject groups not included

It would have been desirable to bring project members on board in this research, but the limitation of time and materials available for the research made this impossible. This subject group was, therefore, avoided.

Locations or sites not investigated

This research would be highly valuable to the entire country, especially to the policymakers. However, it was not possible to conduct interviews in the entire country. For this reason, Dubai was selected as the appropriate location. All other projects in other emirates were not investigated.

Contextual factors are not included

The researcher will try to ensure that this research is conducted in a comprehensive manner, with all relevant details being included. However, the research will not go into unnecessary details such as project implementation strategies as long as they are not directly or indirectly related to project risks and risk management.

Time periods not covered

This research was limited by time. The project was focused on obtaining the recent data, specifically within the last 15 years. Any information dating further than this was considered irrelevant because of the rapid changes that have taken place in the field of technology.

Work plan for PHD thesis

Activity Duration
Research proposal One month
Approval of proposal Three weeks
Collection of secondary data Four months
Developing questionnaires One week
Collection of primary data Six months
Analysis of primary data Two weeks
Compiling the report Two months

List of References

Brigham, E & Ehrhardt, M 2011, Financial management: Theory and practice, South-Western Cengage Learning, Mason.

Burtonshaw-Gunn, S 2009, Risk and financial management in construction, Gower, Farnham.

Haynes, M 2002, Project management: Practical tools for success, Crisp Learning, Menlo Park.

Vogt, P 2007, Quantitative Research Methods for Professionals Author, Pearson, New York.

Wamia, G 2005, Quantitative methods in research, University Press of America, Lanham.

Appendix

Sample Questionnaire

Background Information

  • Nationality:
    • Emirati ____
    • Non-Emirati _____
  • Gender:
    • Male _______
    • Female _______
  • Highest level of education:
    • High School_____
    • Bachelor’s_______
    • Master’s _______
    • Doctorate______
    • Other ____
  • For how long have you been employed here?

Specific Details about Your Risk Management

  • For how long have you been working in this? __________________
  • What is your level in the project as an employee? (Tick the appropriate level)
    • a) Non-management staff
    • b) Middle-level management
    • c) Top-level management
  • Have you witnessed any different risks as a manager when implementing various projects?
    • Yes
    • b) No
  • If yes, how positively or negatively has this influenced your performance as an employee of that project?
    • a) Positively
    • b) Negatively
    • c) Does not matter
  • How would you rate your level of satisfaction in the manner in which such a risk was handled? (Give a scale, where 1= very poor and 5= very good)
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Do you find any difference in the performance of a project in cases where risks management structures are put before a project begins, and in cases where they are not?
    • a) Yes
    • b) No
  • Do you think male risks in government projects have been the main reason why the government of Dubai has been forced to overspend on some of these projects?
    • a) Yes
    • b) No
  • Do you think this has an impact on the economic performance of these projects upon their completion?
    • a) Yes
    • b) No
  • What do you think is the best way to address the identified issues?

The researcher highly appreciates the fact that you have taken your time to respond to the above questions. The researcher would like to assure you that the information gathered will specifically be used for academic purposes and that it will remain a confidential document that is to be shared between the researcher and the faculty only. Thank you very much!

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