Journal of Public Administration - Special issue 2, November 2009
Volumes & issues
Special issue 2, November 2009
Source: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 781 –787 (2009)More Less
The aims of the South African Association for Public Administration and Management (SAAPAM) include publishing one annual special edition of the Journal of Public Administration. These special editions focus on research methodology and include different research approaches and designs that researchers in the public administration and management field could use to achieve the best research results.
Author W. SchurinkSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 788 –802 (2009)More Less
In general, researchers will agree that social science research is a systematic and organised process whereby enough knowledge (evidence) is gained to provide an accurate or truthful representation of a phenomenon under study. However, agreeing on this does not mean that they will agree on theoretical or methodological issues. In fact, there is a vast difference of opinion between qualitative and quantitative researchers as to how the social world should be studied.
Author E. SchurinkSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 803 –823 (2009)More Less
This article introduces the reader to the fundamental elements and process of a qualitative research design. It argues that a research design is more than a researcher's plan to do qualitative research. The importance of the interrelatedness of the elements in the research undertaken is explained from an insider perspective. As a starting point and basis to understand the development of a qualitative research design, this article firstly provides background information on the meaning of design in qualitative research. Following this the theoretical approaches in qualitative research, the formulation of the research question, research strategies, the choice of a research setting or sampling, and the different qualitative research methodologies that could be followed to develop a conceptual framework for the research, are discussed. Lastly, attention is given to the importance of the research design as tool for trustworthy research.
Methodological perspectives for novice grounded theory researchers in Public Administration and Management researchAuthor C. AuriacombeSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 824 –848 (2009)More Less
This article aims to contextualise some common misunderstandings about grounded theory (GT) and highlight different versions of this method as a qualitative research method. It also aims to provide an understanding of the central concepts related to grounded theory. An overview investigates the development of the qualitative approach to research; gives a historical context of grounded theory as well as of certain principles and concepts of grounded theory. Attention is paid to the process of applying theoretical concepts in terms of the context of a qualitative grounded theory approach. This article concluded with an explanation of selective aspects of the different grounded theory (GT) coding phases that any novice researcher with a basic knowledge of research data analysis methods can follow.
Author J. MoutonSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 849 –865 (2009)More Less
Many social interventions do not lend themselves easily to impact evaluation. A successful impact assessment of a relatively simple linear cause-effect relationship is at best not a straightforward matter. Most policy interventions are, however, typically complex organisational and institutional programmes that have ambitious multi-sectoral transformation agendas. Such complex interventions make life even more difficult for the evaluator who wishes to conduct an impact assessment. Unlike the everyday examples of instantaneous linear impact, the impact of social programmes is often only evident after some time has lapsed. It is usually the accumulated result of various effects or outcomes that together produce the benefits to the target group. Moreover, it is made up of very different kinds of mutually reinforcing effects and often at different levels. Subsequently, they normally comprise of various potentially overlapping and cumulative non-linear causal relationships.
Complex policy interventions are needed to assess the impact of these highly sophisticated and specialised evaluation designs and methodologies. This contribution compares and assesses three such evaluation designs, namely experimental and quasi-experimental designs, evaluative case studies and outcome monitoring and assessment.
It is argued that the evaluative case study design emphasises contextual explanations that are essentially narrative in nature. Moreover, it is embedded in a distinct theoretical framework and is potentially a much more appropriate and fruitful approach to assessing the impact of complex social interventions than the other designs that were assessed.
Fourth generation evaluation research as a form of qualitative constructivist inquiry : the case of the Presidential IzimbizoSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 866 –884 (2009)More Less
This article explains the concept and importance of Fourth Generation Evaluation in the context of qualitative constructivist inquiry as a form of qualitative field research and highlights why it is an appropriate method for the study of public activities. The article also argues that there is a growing requirement for a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research in Public Administration. A constructivistic and interpretivistic approach is tested for its applicability by reviewing the Presidential izimbizo as a potential case-method, supporting Fourth Generation Evaluation as a theoretical construct for a qualitative research approach. The article aimed to establish whether there are any identifiable key elements of participatory evaluation in the Presidential izimbizo and also to determine whether there are similarities in the methodology of constructivist inquiry and the Presidential izimbizo.
The article concluded that the specific case study did not fit neatly into the 'Fourth Generation Evaluation' methodology as described by Guba and Lincoln (1989) but most elements of deliberative evaluation and construction building (public debate or involvement) were fittingly visible and transferable to the Presidential izimbizo.
Author P. CroucampSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 885 –896 (2009)More Less
A number of software tools for data management exist in the market. However, the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) seems to be most frequently used at tertiary institutions. This paper suggests that SPSS, or for that matter any other software programme aimed at simplifying quantitative research, should be a prescribed module in post-graduate curricula. Statistical software technology allows for scholarly access to the complexities of the binding element between phenomena. It empowers scholars and researchers to turn knowledge as the basis of their research into an understanding of complex phenomena. The skills to quantify social concepts are an intellectual area of concern in developing political systems, such as South Africa. Well-conducted research and data sets are perhaps both insufficient as well as rather expensive to obtain. It is also true that large volumes of data are generated, but not managed for purposes of scholarly understanding because of the limited capacity of research institutes. The perception that quantitative research requires advanced statistical experience, contributes to the inadequate interest in the discipline. This paper introduces the SPSS programme briefly and reflects on the conceptual qualities of simplification and understanding.