Rubin and Rubin (2006) described qualitative research as the process of deriving detailed and encompassing description and explanation of a phenomenon by considering various perspectives of the phenomenon. This fits the intention of the investigation on UAE government export policies and export industry performance to derive data from the perspective of the government through official reports and papers, the perspective of the export sector by surveying managers of export companies, and third parties from books, journals and newspaper articles, and papers.
Robson (2002) added that qualitative research also applies to studies focusing on various issues surrounding the phenomenon such as the determination of relationships, understanding of situations, interpretation or derivation of meaning from events, and implications of factors and occurrences. This coincides with the intention of the study to provide an understanding of the dynamics of UAE government export policies and the performance of the export sector.
Blaxter, Hughes and Tight (1998) described quantitative research as applicable to investigations seeking to test or form concepts, theories and hypothesis relative to the phenomenon under investigation. Creswell (2003) further provided that quantitative research focus on the collection of measurable data. In practice, quantitative research process involves the testing or formation of concepts and hypotheses in empirical situations to derive measurable data and statistical results as an explanation for the phenomenon.
This applies to the study in terms of the derivation of measurable data on the nature and extent of link of UAE government export policies and export sector performance and the extent of impact of these export policies on the performance of specific export companies. The mixed method applies with qualitative research as the primary method and quantitative research as a supporting method. By combining methods, conclusions and generalisation finds support from measurable and non-measurable data, enhancing the credibility of the study. Time Horizon The time perspective of the study is cross-sectional.
Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2003) explained cross-sectional research as the collection of data in a single point in time similar to taking snapshot information. Cross-sectional perspective is distinguishable from the longitudinal perspective that considers information in a long period usually moving towards the future and retrospective perspective that considers historical information. The cross-sectional perspective describes the time horizon of the study on UAE government export policies and export sector performance because the information collected cover the existing situation during the data collection period.
Data collection happens within a two-month period, which is sufficient to ensure gathering of rich data but short enough to report a snapshot of the phenomenon. Data Collection and Data Analysis Methods The data collection and data analysis encompasses the data required to satisfactorily fulfil the three-fold research aim and satisfactorily answer the research questions, the data collection methods, and the data analysis methods. Data Requirement The study requires both secondary and primary data.
Creswell (2003) described secondary data as information drawn and presented for an original purpose other than the current research investigation. Secondary data can come from books, journal articles, newspaper accounts, research reports, website articles, and similar sources. Investigating UAE government export policies and export sector performance required focus on official or government reports and documents to derive an accurate snapshot of export policies supported by other secondary sources.
Creswell (2003) explained primary data as first hand information collected for the exclusive purpose of a research investigation. Primary data comes from managers of the major non-oil exporting firms in the UAE. Data Collection Methods Desk research is the method in collecting secondary data. This method involves the collection of already existing data (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill 2003). This covers the collection of documents and reports on export policies from the UAE official website and visiting the UAE agencies or departments involved in the development of export policies for relevant documents and reports.
Desk research also involves library research to derive pertinent information from various secondary sources. Interview guided by a survey questionnaire is the method of collecting primary data. Rubin and Rubin (2006) described the interview method as the process of directly obtaining accounts of selected respondent with actual knowledge or insights into the phenomenon under investigation using communication and discursive tools. The researcher conducts one-on-one interviews with managers of the major non-oil exporting companies in the UAE.
The survey questionnaire follows a semi-structured format by incorporating both closed and open-ended questions. The closed questions require the respondent to select from multiple choices. Answers comprise measurable or quantitative data. The open-ended questions provide the respondents room for clarification and explanations. Answers comprise qualitative data. (Schostak 2006) Utilising a semi-structured format serves the important purpose of providing direction in the interview process to derive both quantitative and qualitative data thoroughly addressing the research questions.
Purposive sampling applies in the selection of the managers of the major exporters in the UAE to comprise respondents. Rubin and Rubin (2006) explained purposive sampling as the selection of respondents using criteria. Major non-oil exporting companies comprise the preferred source of primary data because these can likely provide valuable insights into the relationship between government export policies and export sector performance. Managers from the top five non-oil exporting companies comprised the research respondents. Data Analysis Methods
Transcription of the interview data and summary of the questionnaire answers follows the data collection stage. Analysis of qualitative data happens by determining themes depending on the answers of the respondents, comparing the answers of the respondents, and drawing implications (Miles & Huberman 1994) relative to the research questions and the three-fold aim of the study. Analysis of quantitative data is through descriptive statistics by deriving frequency, means, and standard deviation (Gill & Johnson 1997). Reliability and Validity Issues
Reliability and validity are issues affecting the credibility and quality of the research. Easterby-Smith, Thorpe and Lowe (2002) described reliability as the extent that the methods selected support consistent results. Ensuring reliability in the current study includes the uniform method of conducting the interviews and using a survey questionnaire as guide. Conducting the interviews at the convenient time and place of the respondents also supports consistent results with the respondents having a similar cooperative state of mind during the interview.
Using a uniform method of treating and analysing data also ensures consistency in the results. Easterby-Smith, Thorpe and Lowe (2002) explained validity as the extent that data collected reflect the phenomenon under investigation. Developing consistent and complementary methodological framework reflecting the three-fold research aim and research questions support validity. Ethical Considerations Ethical issues also affect the quality of the research results.
Robson (2002) explained ethical issues as involving research standards and ethical practice. Employing the objective approach to capture different perspectives and using multiple sources comply with acceptable research practice. Coordinating with the managers and exporting companies to obtain their agreement to participate and keeping certain information confidential are also good practice.
Blaxter, L. , Hughes, C. & Tight, M. , 1998. How to research. Buckingham: Open University Press. Creswell, J. W. , 2003. Research design: qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Easterby-Smith, M. , Thorpe, R. & Lowe, A. , 2002. Management research: an introduction. 2nd ed. London: Sage Publications. Gill, J. & Johnson, P. , 1997. Research methods for managers. 2nd ed. London: Paul Chapman. Miles, M. B. & Huberman, A. M. , 1994. Qualitative data analysis: an expanded sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
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