The nature of the data required and the research problem dictate the methods to be used in collecting data. In this case, study, the researcher will visit the area of the survey and use the data collection instruments such as checklist as a guide to observation interview schedules to ensure the researcher asks the same questions.
Questionnaires will be distributed and collected from the respondents at the end of one week from the onset of the study. That is will be to gauge the experiences of various managers and key leaders before the beginning of the comprehensive study, which will provide the background to the case studies. Initially, the questionnaires will be confidential, but those who will participate in the follow-up survey will have to provide their name. Anonymity will, however, be respected in the report. There will be a mixture of data furnished by the questionnaires. Some of the data will be analyzed in a quantitative way. That will be that data that has to do with the background and experience of the respondents regarding succession planning in their companies. Data related to perceptions will be analyzed using the qualitative method.
The fieldwork will take a period of three months and will be a distinct and discrete phase of the investigation (Johnson, 1994). Visits will be made to eight companies, and eight managers will be interviewed based on the follow-up questionnaire and some observations from the company. Scrutiny of the companies’ strategic plans will also be done. The interviews will be used to gather information about the strategic plans of the company to (or “intending to”) finding out to what extent, they have undertaken succession planning. They will help in establishing the experiences and opinions of these managers regarding succession planning and their plans. The case studies from the investigations will be used to examine the impact of succession planning in selected companies. If such companies have not adopted succession planning, then the study will attempt to establish the reason for this. Interviews and observations, as well as other reports, will provide a more detailed qualitative data that will be used to form the case studies.
From the investigative phase
The fieldwork will be a significant part of the survey. It is the part, which involves investing most in the study by way of time and personal involvement (Johnson, 1994). The study is intended to avoid an open-ended period of data collection and plans are to include about seven case studies from the onset. It should be realized that this stage being the most enjoyable and rewarding, there might be temptations to visit more companies. That might, however, be limited by time and resources. It is intended that each visit will last about four hours so that a general tour of the company can be conducted and to allow interviews to take place as well as the observations.
Ordering of data
All questionnaires will be collared, classified, and kept for analysis. They will be preserved even after the study is complete so that the researcher can be prepared to be accountable for the investigations (Johnson, 1994). Field notes will be written up based on the interviews and observations from the selected companies.
Analysis of the data
Data analysis is the process of bringing order, structure and meaning to the mass of information collected (Mugenda & Mugenda, 1999). Data analysis in qualitative research is sometimes ambiguous and time-consuming. Qualitative data analysis seeks to make general statements on how categories of themes or data are related. In qualitative studies, data is in the form of text, materials photographs that describe events and occurrences. Data collection and analysis go hand in hand and are simultaneous. The steps the researcher will use in analyzing the data will include data organization, creating categories themes and patterns, coding which will serve for reference and actual functions and data interpretation.
The data collected from the questionnaires and visits to the companies will help to evaluate the particular experience of managers of the companies to generalize. The tension between the study of the unique and the need to generalize is necessary to reveal both the single and universal and the unity of that understanding (Simmons, 1996).
The findings from this study will be compared to results from background reading and of official reports from the selected company’s websites. That will be done to avoid the weaknesses in many dissertations where little use is made of the data collected in the eventual discussion of the thesis topic (Johnson, 1994). The initial questionnaires will be analyzed and the data presented in the following chapter in the statistical and tabular format as appropriate. The data will be compared with research from elsewhere. The data collected from interviews and observations in the companies during the visits will form the basis of the case studies partly. However, quotations will be made to create recommendations in subsequent chapters.
The purpose of this stage is to provide the overall conclusions or message of the research to be summarized in a memorable form (Johnson, 1994). The conclusions should have the ability to communicate the researcher’s empirical experience to a wider audience (Johnson, 1994). The case studies in the following chapter are therefore ideally suited to the needs and resources of the researcher (Blaxter et al. 1999).
The researcher will use the collected data to write a report, which is aimed at addressing the research questions and the objectives of the study. In qualitative data, the report put together the data, which is being analyzed. The choice of words and phrases as one writes the story is in itself an analytical and interpretive act (Mugenda & Mugenda, 1999). The report will give a vivid and descriptive account of the situation under study. It will also give an analytical view citing the significance and implications of the findings. The report will show how different or similar the results are compared with the researcher’s expectations, derived from the experience or literature review as well as the relationship between concepts and attempts to advance alternative explanations arising from the data.