3.1 Chapter introduction
The methodology chapter outlines and critically discusses the techniques used by the researcher in collecting data. The section is divided into other subdivisions which include the research philosophy, research choice, research strategy, research approaches, and the horizon of the research, collection and presentation of data, time scale, ethical consideration and reliability and validity. These subdivisions were adopted from the research onion that was developed by Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (2012). Convenient sampling was used to select the biggest port in India. The research onion adopted by the researcher is illustrated below.
Figure 2: Research onion

Source: (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012)
3.2 Research philosophy
A research philosophy as perWilson (2014), refers to a set of beliefs about what is being studied. The research philosophy used for this study was both interpretivism and positivism. Positivists posit that it is possible to know the world by just observing and making deductions. As such, information is obtained through manipulation of mathematics and logistics. Since the researcher wanted to collect information based on empirical evidence, positivism was the best philosophy. Under this philosophy, the researcher assumed that the Indian community operates under rules and regulations just like any other community. Besides that, the researcher decided to use this philosophy because the collected data was expected to be generalizable to the whole nation.
Interpretivists, on the other hand, posit that reality is obtained from various people thus implying that there are multiple realities (Wilson, 2014). For example, the way that port authorities and staff view port modernization may involve studying their impact on port modernization instead of facts about how various factors promote or undermine port modernization. As such, the researcher will be interpreting how the world works. It is beneficial to use interpretivism because it uses qualitative techniques which allow the researcher to evaluate realities instead of solely reporting on them (Wilson, 2014).
3.3. Research approach
This study utilized a deductive research approach. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012) describe this approach as testing or comparing results against already known or existing knowledge. Deductive approach basically allows for the use of quantitative methods and works from a general point of view to a more specific one. The other alternative that the researcher did not consider was the inductive approach. An inductive approach is more of working from a general to a specific point of view. However, the objective of this study was to confirm the hypothesis that the government has impacted on the Indian Port Sector. It was, therefore, logical to use the deductive approach because the researcher came up with the topic and developed questions and objectives with the purpose of making conclusions and theories based on the research findings.
3.4 Research strategy
The researcher adopted both a literature review and survey strategy. The objective of the study was to investigate the impact of the Indian government on Indian Port Sector. The information required to fulfil this objective can only be accessed through randomly selected port staff and secondary sources. Therefore, use of interviews, questionnaires and secondary sources is the most appropriate tool to collect such data. Questionnaires were advantageous as the allowed for access to a large population for generasability of data. The only disadvantage of questionnaires was meeting the high cost of distributing to a large sample. Interviews, on the hand, helped to provide an in-depth information and analyse different opinions thus providing more understanding of the topic.Using secondary sources enabled the researcher to re-analyse the already existing information.
3.5 Time horizon
The time horizon that was employed for this research was cross-sectional time horizon. The research was only done at one point in time making cross-sectional horizon to be the only appropriate choice. The researcher intended to find out the impact of the Indian government on the Indian port sector. The study happened in January 2017. Such time of research requires the cross-sectional time horizon. A longitudinal time horizon was an inappropriate choice for this study because it involves studying changes in a certain pattern over a long period of time. This was not the case for this study.
3.6 Research choice
The researcher choices used were secondary studies, qualitative and quantitative studies. Questionnaires were used in the case of quantitative studies. Qualitative studies involved the use of interviews. It was imperative to use interviews because questionnaire items were closed-ended (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012). Interviews allowed for the collection of more information from the port authorities. Additionally, the researcher was able to compare the interview explanations with the questionnaire items. Doing this made quantitative data to be more meaningful.
3.6 Data collection and presentation
Collection of data involved sampling technique, questionnaire, interviews and secondary sources.
3.6.2 Sampling technique
The researcher used convenient sampling in order to select subjects that were convenient and in proximity (Wilson, 2014). The study was based on the port of Mumbai and Jawaharlal Nehru Port. The researcher randomly selected 90 port staff from the two ports and administered questionnaires to them. The number of questionnaires administered was 90 but only 70 were filled and returned. Therefore, the sample size was N=70. This sample was manageable and allowed for efficient use of both time and resources. Furthermore, it guaranteed a high degree of reliability and validity when making generalisations.
A government list was used to access all ports in India and the larger ones in terms of operation were selected. Systematic sampling was used to select four port authorities who participated in the interview. This form of sampling involves selecting the 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th port authorities. All fears of occurrence of biases were eliminated by using systematic sampling. The researcher assumed that the study sample is made up of people with accurate information concerning the government and the Indian port sector. This implies that all collected information will be treated as true to the word and a true representation of reality. Besides that, the researcher will assume that the participants are of sober mind during data collection and their responses will be treated as a clear presentation of the best of their knowledge.
3.6.2 Questionnaires
A pilot study was done prior to the actual study by administering 10 questionnaires and interviewing one randomly selected port authority. The pilot study was advantageous in that it allowed for evaluation of the study feasibility, time, cost and statistical variability (Fowler Jr, 2013). After the pilot study, it was discovered that the questionnaire items were too many and the planned number of 10 interviewees would be unmanageable. The number of items in the questionnaire were reduced from 25 to 11 and interviewees from 10 to 4. The pilot study as such provided insights on the ambiguity of the questionnaires and they were corrected appropriately. Questionnaires were administered to participants to be filled at their own free time because they had different break times. Using self- administered questionnaires increased the possibility of accessing many respondents in different ports in India. However, questionnaires were costly to produce and distribute to a large number of respondents in different locations.
The items in the questionnaires involved Likert Scale questions in which the respondents revealed their level of agreement or disagreement with the availed statements. According to Wilson (2014), Likert scale questions allow for assessment of the level of attitude and opinions held by the sample towards specific aspects. The criteria used was a scale of 1-5 in which 1 implied strongly agree, 2 for disagree, 3 for neutral, 4 for agree and five for strongly agree.
3.6.3 Interviews
5 interview questions were used during the study and were administered to four systematically sampled port authorities in India.
3.6.4 Secondary sources
Secondary methodology involved use of data that was already collected for another purpose and is readily available, the secondary sources used for this study were government records, trade associations, the library and the internet. The information that was collected from this sources included journals, country reports, publications, official statistics, industry statistics and websites that had information on the government initiatives on the Indian Port Sector.
The researcher used secondary data because it was hard to collect information from government officials. Wilson (2014) argues that government officials do not readily discuss issues or conduct interviews with anyone, therefore, interviewing or distributing questionnaires to them would be unrealistic and would have compromised reliability and validity. Secondary data is cost effective, high quality time-saving and allows for re-analysis of findings. While searching for secondary sources over the internet, the researcher used words such as ‘Indian port sector,’ ‘marine industry’ and ‘government in marine industry.’ These key words were critical as they allowed for the collection of the most convenient data. The inclusion and exclusion criteria were used to determine the articles to be subjected to critical analysis (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012). This criterion was based on the year of publication, the significance and expertise of the author and the study topic. The sources that were included involved those that had the key words and a topic about the impact of government on the port sector. Also, the researcher used journals not older than 5 years and old not older than 10 years. In selecting books and journals, the researcher chose those with authors who had experience in the subject of government and/or Port Sector in India. Therefore, sources that did not involve these components were excluded.
3.6.4 Data analysis
Collection of data was done using qualitative, quantitative and secondary sources. Quantitative data was collected using questionnaires and analysed using statistical methods. SPSS statistical software was used to analyse this data and feedback presented in percentages and rates by coding data through real numbers such as 1,2,3… for easy analysis. The analysed data was presented using tables, charts and figures. Qualitative data, on the other hand, was analysed using recursive abstraction. This method as per Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012) does not involve coding. Instead datasets are summarised and distilled to obtain the required information.
3.7 Limitations, validity and reliability
The research was carried out in one country only, India. The researcher only used a sample size of 120 respondents and 4 interviewees. Despite this limitation, the researcher ensured that there was validity and reliability in ore r to achieve generalizable findings. Validity as per Hair (2015) refers to the truthfulness and accuracy of the findings. To ensure high validity, the researcher used percentages to calculate and compare the number of participants for and against a specific statement. These percentages were obtained from SPSS software. Involving the port authorities also ensured collection of accurate information.
Reliability refers to the ability of data to be dependable because of its consistency. The researcher is confident that if this research was carried out in the same place and using the same procedures by another researcher, they wold arrive to similar findings. Using a large number of respondents also ensured validity because patterns could be drawn from the questionnaire answers. Therefore, the findings of this study can be used by organizations to make critical decisions.
3.8 Ethical considerations
It is essential to observe ethics when undertaking a research. Security, confidentiality and consent were observed by the researcher. The researcher observed ethics by seeking permission from managers of the studied ports before initiating the research. Consent was also sought form individual respondents and no one was forced to take part in the study. Seeking permission involved wiring an introductory message to inform the respondents of the necessity of participating in the study. Collected data was protected from unwanted parties by sing passwords in secured computers. Also, collected data was only used for research purposes.
3.9 Timescale
Table 1: Timescale
Jan Feb Mar Apr May
Developing an outline
Writing literature review
Writing methodology
Preparation of questionnaires
Data analysis and discussion
Reviewing the dissertation
(Source: Researcher, 2017)