Methodology Philosophy Epistemology

Chapter 3 – Research Methodology

3.0 Introduction:

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This chapter on research methodological analysis will concentrate on the research inquiry that was presented in Chapter 2, and discourse how it is embraced into the research doctrine, design, methodological analysis and methods used in this research undertaking.

3.1 Research Doctrine:

Research doctrine relates to the development of cognition in a specific country and nature of that cognition as applicable to the research undertaking. In short, research doctrine could be assumed to encompass the personal beliefs and the manner in which the research worker views the universe. The importance of research doctrine within a research undertaking has been highlighted by many research workers. Easterby smith et Al. ( 2003 ) , argues that it is unwise to carry on research without an consciousness of the philosophical issues that lie in the background. Harmonizing to Denzin and Lincoln ( 2000 ) , the combination of personal belief, research worker ‘s experience and apprehension of doctrine will underpin the preparation of scheme and choice of methods for the research undertaking. Similarly Saunders ( 2006 ) argues that research doctrine influences the research worker about the research procedure. Easterby-Smith et Al ( 2003 ) , Saunders ( 2006 ) considers Ontology, Epistemology and Axiology as the three major paradigms of research doctrine applied in concern and direction research. Discussions will chiefly concentrate on the ontological and epistemic positions of the research undertaking. Whilst Ontology, is linked to the premises that a research worker makes on the nature of world, Epistemology on the other manus is more concerned about the “general set of premises about the best ways of asking into the nature of the universe ‘ ( Easterby-Smith et Al, 2003 ) . Harmonizing to Easterby-smith et Al, ( 2003 ) , ontology can be farther classified into three positions: representationalism, relativism and nominalism. The tabular array shows the inside informations about different ontological positions.

Epistemology can be farther classified into two positions viz. positivism and relativism. These two positions unite on a common premise that the occupation of the research worker is the designation of “pre bing reality” ( Easterby-smith et Al, 2003 ) . Whilst the rationalist ‘s research worker approaches the undertaking of understanding world through design of experiments, on the other manus the relativist achieves it through combination of “triangulation” of methods and through appraising big samples ( Easterby-smith et Al, 2003 ) .

The two chief attacks in direction research viz. deductive and inductive indicates the nature of the informations to be collected and the way of displacement between informations and theory during analysis ( Yin, 2003 ) . Marrying these research approaches to the research doctrines, Robson ( 2002 ) , points out that representational ontology and rationalist epistemology follow inductive attack, whereas relativist ontology and epistemic attacks adopt deductive attack. To understand the philosophical attacks used in this research undertaking, it becomes necessary to revisit and analyze the chief research inquiry presented in chapter 2:

“Is the Toyota Production System ( TPS ) transferable to other automotive makers? ”

Based on the literature presented in Chapter 2, this research begins with the basic ontological premise that in world TPS is movable to other makers given the fact that complete transferability is hard to a greater extent. This is a relativist position since to set up the truth ‘consensus between different point of views ‘ must be established ( Easterby-Smith et Al, 2003 ) . Furthermore, the facts are dependent on the place and point of view of the research worker. Therefore, as a consequence of the research inquiry, a relativist ontological and epistemic attack has been adopted in this survey.

3.2 Research Design

3.2.1 Selection of research design

Research design is ‘the logic that links the informations to be collected and the decisions to be drawn to the initial inquiries of survey ‘ ( Yin, 2003 ) . The possible research designs available to the research workers include instance research, study research, action research, experimental design, participant observation and descriptive anthropology ( Easterby-Smith et Al, 2003 ) . Harmonizing to Meredith ( 2002 ) the choice of appropriate research design should be followed after careful consideration of the nature of the research and the research inquiries that needs to be addressed. Harmonizing to Meredith ( 2002 ) , the cardinal advantages of utilizing a instance survey research are relevancy and exploratory deepness it offers to the country of survey. On the other manus, the chief critics of instance research are that it is clip devouring, demands skilled interviewers, needs more triangulation, its restrictions to pull generalizable decisions from limited instances and deficiency of acquaintance of its processs and asperity ( Meredith ( 1998 ) ; Stuart et Al ( 2002 ) ; Voss et Al ( 2002 ) ; Yin ( 2003 ) ) . Harmonizing to Voss et Al ( 2002 ) , instance research despite its critics can assist non merely the theory but besides to the research workers by developing new thoughts and penetrations. Harmonizing to Yin ( 2003 ) instance survey design can be classified into two chief classs: ‘single instance survey ‘ and ‘multiple instance survey ‘ based on the figure of instances researched to reply the research inquiries. These are farther classified into ‘holistic ‘ and ‘embedded ‘ instance surveies based on the unit of analysis within the individual or multiple instance surveies. For case multiple instance survey ( embedded ) research represents survey from a multiple instances with a more than a individual unit of analysis.

For the intent of this research undertaking, a individual instance survey design was employed. To understand the interrelatedness amongst the factors within the individual instance survey, multiple constituent analysis ‘embedded ‘ ( Yin, 2003 ) was done within this research design. Through the individual instance survey, the production system in specific automotive house was identified and exhaustively analysed for comparing with TPS to reply the research inquiries. The full production system was subdivided into: Management, People, Production and Automation, Suppliers and Customers positions and each of these were considered as separate units of analysis in relation to replying the research inquiry of transferability of TPS.

3.2.2 Possible Research Designs

Although the instance survey attack is selected for this survey, there are other possible attacks to research design and these include: Action research & A ; Surveys. It is rather of import to understand the suitableness of the single attacks to turn to specific research inquiries before doing a choice ( Easterby smith et Al, 2003 ) . Table 1 explains the possible research designs for this research and justifies the choice for the most appropriate attack.

Research Design

Objective of

design attack

Status of Selection


Case Study

Focus of instance survey is on a ‘contemporary phenomenon with in existent life context ‘ .

Screens research types such as exploratory, explanatory and descriptive.

( Yin, 2003 ) .


The research inquiry is more explorative in nature as it tries to place the critical success factor in execution of TPS in a specific house i.e. trying to understand a ‘live phenomenon.

Use of interviews and observations for informations aggregation together with apprehension of a ‘live phenomenon ‘ justifies the choice of instance survey attack as the most appropriate research design for this research.

Action Research

Implement alteration as a portion of research procedure in the topic of survey.

( Easterby-Smith et Al, 2003 ) .

Not selected

This research aims to place the critical success factor for execution of TPS

From the research inquiries it is rather clear that there are no purposes to implement any kind of alteration in the administration of survey.

Hence Action research is non a suited attack to be used for this research.

Survey Research

Attempts to roll up big samples across big or little figure of organisations over a period of clip.

( Easterby-Smith et Al, 2003 ) .

Not selected

Since in this research merely one specific administration will be analysed, response from study inquiries could go inappropriate for analysis and replying the research inquiries.

In add-on, there is restriction of clip in this research for disposal of studies and analysis. Hence study research is non the most appropriate attack to be adopted.

3.2.4 Potential failing:

In choice of the instance research design for the undertaking, it was of import to understand and extenuate the possible failing within this method. The possible failings of instance survey are: clip, entree and generalizability of the research findings ( Meredith ( 1998 ) ; Stuart et Al ( 2002 ) ; Voss et Al ( 2002 ) ; Yin ( 2003 ) ) . The undermentioned treatments highlight how the possible failings were addressed in this research undertaking.


To turn to the issue of entree to the instance company, information about the cardinal forces was obtained and application for permission was sent out at early phase of undertaking. The written consent was obtained from the instance company for carry oning the information aggregation through interviews, direct observations and archival paperss in add-on to the entree of cardinal forces of assorted subjects in the administration.


To turn to the issue of clip restraints in the instance survey research, the research worker had narrowed down the boundaries for the research. From the beginning, the range of undertaking has been narrowed down from holistic attack of TPS towards its transferability position taking into consideration the available clip for the undertaking. Besides clip restrictions were one of the chief grounds for concentrating on a individual instance administration with embedded unit of analysis to supply an in deepness analysis on subject of survey.

Generalizability of the research findings:

Generalizability besides known as ‘external cogency ‘ is defined as the “extent to which it is possible to generalise from the informations and context of the research survey to broader populations and scenes ( Hedrick et al. , 1993 ) . Meredith ( 2002 ) points out that the oppositions of instance research argue that its “theoretic generalizability” is less because the consequences keep good merely for peculiar state of affairs, whereas the advocates of instance research claim that theory developed from such surveies becomes applicable to similar and non similar state of affairss. Through the survey of a individual instance administration, the purpose of this research undertaking is to widen and generalise theories on transferability of TPS i.e. ‘analytic generalisation ‘ , instead than a ‘statistical generalisation ‘ ( Meredith, 2002 ; Yin, 2003 ) since the individual instance administration studied here does non stand for a sample or population.

From the above treatments, it is apparent that individual instance survey is realistic in footings of the nature of the survey ( exploratory ) , clip restrictions, deriving entree and resource restraints. The statements presented above justify the choice of instance survey design for this research undertaking and supports both the research inquiry and the research doctrine adopted in this research undertaking.

3.3 Research Methodology – Qualitative

Case survey design would be best suited to understand, the prevalence of a phenomenon in a existent life context and deductions of the informations instead than merely the measuring ( Yin, 2003 ) . Revisiting the research inquiry mentioned in the earlier subdivision, it is rather clear that the research aim is to map a production system of a specific house with TPS i.e. understanding a phenomenon in existent context. Furthermore, a greater grade of interpretative attack demands to be followed in order to place the grade of intimacy for execution of TPS and screen out the transferability issues faced by fabricating houses while emulating TPS. Thus the qualitative methodological analysis for informations aggregation and analysis for this research is justified.

3.4 Research Methods – Data Collection & A ; Analysis

3.4.1 Beginning of Datas:

Data for instance surveies can be collected through six beginnings: paperss, archival records, interviews, direct observation, participant observation and physical artefacts ( Yin, 2003 ) . Harmonizing to Yin ( 2003 ) , these single techniques are complementary to a greater extent and in order to develop a good instance survey design, research worker should take at including every bit much techniques to the extent possible. Similarly Voss et Al. ( 2002 ) , states that multiple beginning of grounds ( ‘triangulation ‘ ) is the of import rule for informations aggregation in instance research. Based on the above arguments the primary informations aggregation for this research was carried out by semi structured interviews, direct observation, archival records and company certification.

Harmonizing to Yin ( 2003 ) , the cogency and dependability of the grounds collected can be maximized by three rules: Triangulation, Making a information base and keeping a concatenation of grounds. Amongst these three rules, Triangulation has the most important impact on the cogency and dependability ( Stuart et al, 2002 ) and hence treatments presented below will concentrate on the elements of triangulation adopted for this research undertaking. Triangulation:

Yin ( 2003 ) defines ‘Triangulation ‘ as the usage of multiple beginnings of grounds and points out that the any decision based on multiple beginning of grounds is likely to be more accurate, dependable and valid. Harmonizing to Collis and Hussey ( 2003 ) and Yin ( 2003 ) , triangulation can be classified into methodological triangulation ( different methods ) , informations triangulation ( informations beginnings ) and investigator triangulation ( different judges ) . In add-on to the aggregation of qualitative informations, Voss et Al. ( 2002 ) argues that instance research provides better chance to roll up quantitative informations with greater truth and dependability than study research. The information collected through interviews were verified through direct observations to increase the cogency and dependability. Hence by combined usage of methods together with aggregation of qualitative and quantitative informations ‘methodological triangulation ‘ was achieved in this research undertaking. ‘Data triangulation ‘ refers to the aggregation of informations from different beginnings to increase the dependability of consequences ( Easterby-Smith et Al, 2003 ; Yin, 2003 ) . Based on these statements, qualitative informations aggregation for this research was chiefly carried out by interviews, direct observation, archival records and company certification. Finally ‘investigator triangulation ‘ refers to aggregation of informations by different research workers so as to place similarities and differences in the informations collected ( Yin, 2003 ) . Since this research was carried out by a individual research worker, research worker triangulation as suggested by Yin ( 2003 ) was non possible.

3.4.2 Datas assemblage:

The information assemblage in instance based research are normally achieved through the written and taped records of the interviews, company information and research worker ‘s observation ( Stuart et al, 2002 ; Yin, 2003 ) . It is pertinent to advert here that merely manus written notes were employed for this research undertaking since permission for audio tapes were non granted by the instance administration. The replies to the inquiries in the signifier of manus written notes were detailed instantly after each interview so as to guarantee that informations aggregation was complete. Yin ( 2003 ) points out that research worker ‘s prejudice straight affects the informations aggregation procedure and findings of the research. To protect against mistake and research worker ‘s prejudice, the key informations gathered were dual checked with participants themselves and through direct observations.

3.4.3 Data Analysis:

Harmonizing to Miles and Huberman ( 1994 ) , the three chief attacks to qualitative informations analysis are interpretivism, societal anthropology and collaborative societal research. Social anthropology is associated with ethnographic surveies whereas collaborative societal research is more orientated towards action research. Since the research survey was based on instance research, interpretivism was the most appropriate attack to be used since it emphasizes on understanding the topic of survey through societal interactions ( interviews and observations ) and phenomenologies.

“The most serious and cardinal trouble in the usage of qualitative informations is that methods of analysis are non good formulated”

( Miles and Huberman, 1994 )

The above quotation mark acknowledges the importance of informations analysis procedure related to research as this undertaking chiefly focuses on the aggregation of qualitative informations. Harmonizing to Collis and Hussey ( 2003 ) ; Miles & A ; Huberman ( 1994 ) , qualitative information for instance survey research design can be analysed either by ‘within instance analysis ‘ ( individual instance survey ) or ‘cross instance analysis ‘ ( multiple instance surveies ) . Qualitative analysis for this research would be carried out by agencies of ‘within instance analysis ‘ since this research would look for informations aggregation from a individual instance survey. By utilizing multiple units of analysis ( embedded ) ‘within ‘ the same instance survey, the research worker was able to place the production system in the instance administration and map it with TPS to place and convey out the transferability of TPS.

3.5 Drumhead

To reason the subdivision on research methodological analysis, figure 3.2 presented below summarizes the chief research attack used within this research undertaking.

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