3.1 Introduction

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This chapter provides the description of research methodology employed in this study. According to Kothari (2004), research methodology refers to a systematic way applied in addressing the research problem. It describes the methods and techniques employed in conducting the research study.

This chapter covers research approach and design, area of the study, the population, sample and sampling techniques. It also provides data collection methods, instruments for data collection, validation of the instruments, data analysis procedures and ethical consideration.

3.2 Research Approach and Design

This study used qualitative approach to collect data. Research approach depends on the problem to be researched. Therefore the choice of the approach depends on what the researcher was trying to find out (Silverman, 2011). This study adopted a qualitative research approach because of several reasons. The nature of research favoured qualitative approach which deals with social phenomena. In this approach factors influencing truancy in primary schools were smoothly discovered because qualitative approach is social cantered. It allows participants to give their own accounts which lead the researcher to discover reality through their own words. This approach was also chosen because of its flexibility in research design and data collection. The research design is not completely specified in advance. It continues to be remoulded and modified as the field work continues. In this case I did not approach the study with hypothesis to test or standardized questions to answer.

Therefore, though a I have an idea of the problem, I cannot predict the answer from the participant. Although this approach is good in research of social phenomena still it has limitations.

3.3 Study Area

The study was conducted at SJK(T) Ladang Bukit Jalil. The area was selected in the sense that, the district had adequate community primary schools and the problem of truancy was much experienced. Also, very little was known about the factors that influences truancy in community primary schools in the district.
3.4 Target Population

Tuckman (1994), referred the term population as the group set out to study. Econ (1998), adds that population are the people that researcher has in mind from whom he/she can obtain information. Kombo and Tromp (2006), population is the group of individuals, objects or items from which samples were taken for measurement. It refers to an entire group of persons, or elements that have common characteristics.
In this study targeted population consists of both upper and lower level students of SJK(T)Ladang Bukit Jalil,kl.

3.5 Sample and Sampling Procedure

3.5.1 The Sample Size

According to Fraenkel and Wallen (2000) sample is a smaller group of subjects drawn from the population in which a researcher is interested in gaining information and drawing conclusions. It involves a process whereby a researcher extracts from a population a number of individual so as to represent adequately a large group. The sample size of the study and its composition is as shown in the table below;

Respondents AGE Male Female Days of Absence from January till May 2018
1 7 1 0 49
2 8 1 0 45
3 8 0 1 55
4 9 0 1 52
5 10 0 1 38
6 11 1 0 42
7 12 1 0 55
8 12 0 1 57

Table 3.1: Composition of the Sample size of the Study


3.5.2 Sampling Procedures

Sampling procedure is the procedure used to select people, place, or things to study in the targeted area (Kombo & Tromp, 2006). It is a process of selecting a sub-group from a larger population with elements necessary to provide information for the study. This study employed both probability and non-probability sampling techniques to obtain sample of the study. Probability sampling involved simple random techniques and for non-probability sampling, purposive sampling techniques was been used.

3.5.3 Purposive Sampling

This is a technique for selecting elements of sample to be studied in which the researcher selects element purposefully because they possess important information for the study. In purposive sampling, sample elements judged to be typical or representative are chosen from the population. The techniques will be used to get sample of head of schools and discipline master/mistress.

3.5.4 Simple Random Sampling

In a simple random each item or element of the population has an equal chance of being selected (Kothari, 2004). Simple random method is used if the sample obtained obeys the criteria of randomness. In the this study a I used simple random
sampling in selecting only one school to participate in the study.

3.6 Data Collection Methods

Different data collections instruments were used to cross-check accuracy of data gathered and thus maximize validity and reliability of the study. Data were collected through interview, focus group discussions and observation.

3.6.1 Interview

According to Stake (2010), interview is a form of conversation with the purpose tailored to the achievement of the objectives of the research. It is the interaction and exchange of dialogue that may involve one to one interactions, or group interview, and may take place face to face or through the telephone (Kombo & Tromp, 2006).

However, Kothari (2004) accept that, interview is a method of collecting data which involves presentation of oral-verbal stimuli and reply in terms of oral-verbal responses through personal interviews and telephone interviews.

Interviews allow a researcher to ask the question, “why”. It is argued that the interview enable a researcher to explore some topics in depth and discover the reasons and motivations which make the participants acts in a certain way.

The purpose of interviewing people was to find out what is in their mind and what they think or how they feel about something. An interview allowed subjects to

provide their interpretations of the world in which they live and express how they regard for the situation from their own point of view. The interview questions are found behind this study in the appendices part.

The study employed a semi-structured interview which give the researcher ability to probe and ask follow-up questions thereby gaining a deeper understanding of the interviewee’s experience, feelings and perspectives concerning the topic under discussion and collect the information of the world in which the respondents live.

Therefore, the researcher conducted individual interviews to collect data from four

(4) head of secondary schools, four (4) class teachers, one (1) from each school, four

(4) discipline master/mistress(s), one (1) from each school and forty (40) students from four selected community secondary schools in Mbulu district. During face to face interview, the researcher built friendly environment, using simple and polite language with short and clear interview questions.

3.6.3 Focus Group Discussions

This is a method which involves identification of a group of people normally not more than eight where by questions are passed to them and answers are collected through discussions (Kombo ; Tromp, 2006). Under focus group discussion, respondents from similar background or experiences discuss a specific topic as designed by the researcher. The strength of focus group discussion relies on allowing the participants to agree or disagree with each other about the issue. It helps to get into insight about the issue, the range of opinion and ideas, the inconsistencies and variation that exists in that particular group in terms of beliefs, experiences and practices.

The objective of focused group discussion was to get high quality data in a social context where people could consider their own views in the context of the views of others. Focused group discussion is considered to be important because it helps to identify the participants’ experiences, attitudes and beliefs about the problem of truancy in that particular school. Focus group discussion allows participant an opportunity for peer commentary expressed by others regarding topic of truancy.

The discussion helps to obtain practical suggestions and recommendations from the participants on the factors influencing truancy in SJK(T)Ladang Bukit Jalil.

This technique promoted interaction among participants and stimulate most of them to state their feelings and experiences on the phenomena, which they otherwise not express if interviewed individually.

3.6.4 Observation

Observational data are the information collected through observing directly what is happening (Stake, 2010). It is the collection of information by way of researcher’s own observation, without interviewing the participant.

Careful interpretation of what is being observed is the key point to the researcher during observation. The researcher visited classroom in the sample schools to observe classroom setting, available classroom facilities, teaching methodology and how classes were conducted. Observational check list was used to maintain the focus and the researcher record against each item. The observation checklist is found in appendices part.

3.7 Data Analysis Procedure

3.7.1 Qualitative Data Analysis

Bogdan and Birklen (1992), defined qualitative data analysis as working with data, organizing it, breaking it into manageable units, synthesizing it, searching for patterns, discovering what is important and what to be learned.

In this study, qualitative data was analyzed by transcription of information basing on the research instruments used in data collection in the field. All recorded interviews

were dated, copied out and labeled according to where and when it was collected. Data gathered was sorted into identified patterns. Procedures started by categorizing data and grouping them on the basis of their themes.

All information and data addressing a particular objective was grouped together and interpretation of each was done in line with the research objectives. The researcher used content analysis techniques to analyze data gathered through focus group discussion where he organized oral information collected into themes and categories, continuing revising the information until a final perspective emerges.

Analyses of the themes were done strictly according to the issues pinpointed in the literature review and the theoretical framework. At this stage, large amount of unorganized data were reduced into a manageable and analytical meaningful of data. Mile and Huberman (1994) argue that data reduction is logical part of data analysis in qualitative research because processing huge amount of data is difficult and time-consuming.

Data obtained from documents was reviewed and grouped together to show trends and widen the scope of understanding on the factors that influence truancy in community secondary schools in Mbulu district in Manyara region.

The information from documentary review as well as observations was incorporated to those from interview so as to get the full picture of the theme and to see if there was convergence.

3.8 Validity and Reliability of Data

Validity and reliability of data depend on the instrument used in the research (Kothari, 2004). Validity refers to the degree to which a method, a test or a research tool actually measures what is supposed to measure.

Reliability refers to the ability of an instrument to produce consistent results that means the method, or a test or a research is reliable if it produces the same results whenever it is repeated. (Kothari, 1990). Reliability of data was observed through triangulation method of data collection (one to one interviews, focus group discussion, observation and documentary analysis).

In order to ensure validity of the data collected and reliability of research instruments, a pilot study was conducted in one of the community based secondary school in Mbulu district. Also the supervisor assisted to refine the instrument focusing on the study, research task and questions.

The collected data was been analyzed and the result from the pilot study helped the researcher to identify and clear out ambiguities caused by the instrument. In all, validation of research instruments continued during the field work by correcting, restructuring and modifying parts or whole questions whenever the needs arise as the study proceeds.

3.9 Research Ethical Considerations

Social research deals with human beings to conduct investigations. Researchers were therefore having a clear responsibility to ensure that, they recognize and protect the

rights and general well-being of their participants (Cohen et al., 2007). Such ethical issues that the researcher has to consider in the social research that involves human being includes voluntary participation and harmlessness, anonymity, confidentiality and disclosure (Bhattacherjee, 2012).

In ensuring anonymity and confidentiality, the researcher concur with Cohen et al (2000) that although as a researcher knows who has provided the information or able to identify participants from the information given, the study made no connection getting them to be known publicly; the boundaries of surrounding the shared secret was protected. The study therefore was in a position to keep faith with those who have helped to get the relevant information to this study.

Research ethical consideration was very important to ensure that the research norms are adhered to while considerations were given in order knowledge and truth is kept to avoid errors. To carry out this study research clearance letter was collected from the Open University of Tanzania and submitted to the district authority. Thereafter the researcher was provided the permission letter by the district executive director (DED) to conduct data collection from schools. All these are attached behind this study in appendices part. Appointment was made to meet all the respondents of the study.

During the process of data collection, self-introduction was made first. All respondents were assured for the confidentiality of their information and hence not required either to mention their names, or they were not forced in any way to answer question(s) that makes them uncomfortable.


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