CHAPTER FIVERESEARCH METHODOLOGY5.1.Introduction 5.2. Researchmethodology approach The study adopted the action research methodology approach. Actionresearch is a methodology which pursues change and an understanding at the sametime within a study (Koshy, 2005:1-2). It is concerned with inquiring orexamining a practice with understanding in order to refine it and contribute inthe improvement or enhancement of the practice (Koshy, 2005:1-2).
Stringer(2007) suggests that action research is a systematic approach to investigationthat enables people to effectively deal with the problems that confront them intheir everyday lives. Therefore, put simply, action research is concerned withimproving the quality of practice through intervention strategies. According toWhitehead and McNiff (2006:62), AR tends to: · Require the use of steps thatare separate from each other but also dependant on each other· Be a research process thatparticipative in nature where both the researcher and thee participants in theresearch are active throughout the process · Have data that is qualitativein nature · Be a process that involvesthinking and reflecting and taking action Action research is typically qualitative in nature hence, it isimportant to differentiate the two methodologies.
Qualitative research andaction research are similar in that, data is collected and presented as adescriptive narration with words in order to provide an understanding (Thomas,2010:303). However, the difference lies in the role of the researcher in thestudy and the way in which the data is analysed and interpreted. Herr and Anderson (2005:3)explains that action research is different from qualitative research in that,action research is an “inquiry” thatis done “by” or “with” insiders to an organisation or community but never “to” or “on” them. In qualitative research, the researcher sets and controls theresearch according to his or her study boundaries by deriving data frominterviews, written descriptions of people, opinions and attitudes andanalysing it to making sense of the similarities and differences in opinions,expressing the researcher’s observations and impressions and drawing conclusionson the phenomenon (Thomas, 2010:303; Amaya and Yeates, 2015:8).
Therefore, therole of the researcher in qualitative research can be described as that of anobserver who probes questions on the participants in order to get an in-depthunderstanding and build a picture out of it hence; from Herr and Anderson’sexplanation, qualitative research is research done “to” or “on” theparticipants.In action research, Nasrollahi (2015:18664) states that the role ofthe researcher in the study is to be a facilitator who acts as a catalyst toassist the participants in defining their problems and to support them as theydevelop effective solutions to the issues that concern them. Therefore, in actionresearch, the researcher relies on the knowledge of the participants toidentify the problems and develop solutions thereby drawing conclusions. 5.2.1. Why Action Research? Firstly, in contrast to all other research methodology approaches,action research is the most practical in design, more democratic and flexibleas it incorporates the opinions and voices of multiple stakeholders that areaffected by the issue and problem (Zidack, 2013:11).
As previously mentioned, whilstaction research is qualitative in nature by way of collecting and presenting data,the difference lies in that, action research requires for participants to beinvolved throughout the various stages of the research process; in designingand conducting the study (Amaya and Yeates, 2015:6; Zidack, 2013:11). The researcher’s stance in the approach to the study was that “in order to obtain an in-depth understandingof the state of affairs and the most effective practical solutions, ensure thattraditional leaders and municipal planners, who are directly affected, areactive throughout the study in assisting the researcher to identify the issuesexisting, their causes as well providing solutions that can be implementable.”Secondly, action research is most commonly used in the fields of educationand health sciences. In urban and regional planning, researchers still rely ontraditional research approaches, such as quantitative and qualitativeapproaches, to conduct their researches.
From a localised context, very fewresearchers have conducted urban and regional planning related action researchstudies such as Barclay (2013) in a study titled “The applicability of gaming simulation in teaching and learning inurban and regional planning: a ten-year case study at the University of theFree State” and Strydom (2014) in a study titled “Towards place-making in urban planning through participatory research”and. However, relevant to this study, there have not been any action researchstudies previously conducted by researchers. As conveyed in the literature review chapter, there still remains anenormous “How” gap in the existing literature.
Previous studies have only been able to establish that the overlap of rolesbetween traditional leaders and municipalities is the reason for the tensionthat exists between these two institutions. Furthermore, the previous studieshave similarly alluded to the need of strengthening the relationship between thetwo institutions through meaningful collaborative planning and respecting thecultural internal institutional arrangement of traditional leadership. However,the “missing piece of the puzzle” is that none of the studies have proposedrecommendations on how meaningful collaborative planning should be undertakenor how respect towards the cultural institutional arrangement of traditionalleadership should be conveyed.
Therefore, the motive to adopt an action research methodologyapproach in this study stems from the researcher’s observation of the gap inliterature. The researcher’s intention of the study was to make an in-depthinquiry of why the state of affairs between traditional leaders andmunicipalities has continued even after various studies have been conductedidentifying the problems and solutions. Most importantly, the intention of thestudy was to provide effective practical solutions obtained from those directlyaffected as opposed to the researcher drawing conclusions and recommendingsolutions to her own regard; hence action research was an appropriatemethodology in achieving the researcher’s intentions. how the state of affairs can be improved forbetter practice in future, particularly because the implementation of SPLUMAhas commenced. According to Arthur, Waring, Coe and Hedges (2012:271), researchquestions in action research typically begin with phrases such as “How can…,” “What is the best way…” or “Why…,”and contain a language that indicates the action or change that the studyintends to implement in order to improve a practice. Therefore, the actionresearch methodology was appropriate for this study as the research questions soughtto be answered have similar characteristics as those of action researchquestions. 5.2.
2. The advantages of actionresearch 5.2.3. The disadvantages ofaction research 5.3. ResearchDesign Strategy 5.3.
1. Stringer’s “Look, Think,Act” Action Research Model 5.4. Sampling5.5.
Data Collection 5.6. Data Analysis 5.7. Ensuring rigour in the study5.
8. Ethical considerations5.9. Limitations to the study5.10.Launching the study 5.
10.1. The “Look” Stage 5.10.2.
The “Think” Stage 5.10.3. The “Act” Stage 5.11.Conclusion ReferencesKoshy, V. 2005. Action research for improving practice: Apractical guide.
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Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Bloemfontein: University of the Free State.Arthur, J.,Waring, M., Coe, R. & Hedges, L.V. 2012.
Research methods in and methodologies in education. California:SAGE Publications Inc. Zidack, A.M.2013. Middle school responses to cyberbullying: An action research study.
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