Qualitative research

Qualitative research
It’s one of two types of research. Qualitative research is a method of inquiry employed in many different academic disciplines, traditionally in the social sciences, but also in market research and further contexts such as information technology as per case. It aims to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where, when. Hence, smaller but focused samples are more often needed, rather than large samples
Data collection
Data collection techniques include screening records and reports, direct observation of behavior, face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, and mail questionnaires. If valid information is readily available in records and reports, then further data collection may not be necessary; if direct observation is feasible and will provide the information needed, then there may be no need to ask people to respond to questions.
Recursive relationship between qualitative research and data collection
Each of the research methods discussed above uses one or more techniques for collecting empirical data. These techniques range from interviews, observational techniques such as participant observation and fieldwork, through to archival research. Written data sources can include published and unpublished documents, company reports, memos, letters, reports, email messages, faxes, newspaper articles and so forth.
In information technology and systems it is a common practice to distinguish between primary and secondary sources of data. Generally speaking, primary sources are those data which are unpublished and which the researcher has gathered from the people or organization directly. Secondary sources refer to any materials (books, articles etc.) which have been previously published.
Typically, a case study researcher uses interviews and documentary materials first and foremost, without using participant observation. The distinguishing feature of ethnography, however, is that the researcher spends a significant amount of time in the field. The fieldwork notes and the experience of living there become an important addition to any other data gathering techniques that may be used.
How is this study in the study of information and technology outsourcing
Information technology is the use of computers and software to manage information. In some companies, this is referred to as Management Information Services ( MIS) or simply as Information Services ( IS). The information technology department of a large company would be responsible for storing information, protecting information, processing the information, transmitting the information as necessary, and later retrieving information as necessary.
Therefore when a firm seeks to outsource its information service it needs to conduct a feasibility study to determine whether it’s a worth corporate gesture to subcontract the service or the department. Before a firm reaches an informed decision, a suitable research method and data collection techniques must well selected in order to determine the impact of outsourcing to the organization. This will entail understanding the best data collection methods, with an appropriate data collection approach and data techniques. The two approaches that are more appropriate for IT outsourcing study are the narrative approach and the grounded theory. According to the “Research Design Consideration Flowchart” handout both of these approaches focus more on who, what, where, and when of the study. The narrative approach focuses on collecting life stories how systems functions and then placing them into context to come up with an appropriate system customized specifically for the firm. The grounded theory develops a theory based on data collected of field interviews. These interviews typically focus on 20-60 individuals with an outcome illustrated in a table or figure (Creswell, 2007).
Impact of well researched IT outsourcing.
The phenomenological inquiry focuses on comprehending the fundamental nature of the experience through a psychosocial evaluation of the problem. This is accomplished by studying individual subjects that have real world experience related to the problem of study. Information is collected through personal interviews and observations (Creswell, 2007).
Well researched IT outsourcing has the following significance;
Operational benefits
Despite the pervasive presence of IT in modern business, the operation of increasingly sophisticated data processing environments is often not a core competency for many organizations. The need to improve service quality, attract and retain competent IT personnel, and develop and maintain robust systems can severely strain management’s resources and reduce the effort devoted to the real business value drivers of the organization. The operational benefits of outsourcing, then, support achieving business value by transferring service delivery of IT activities to a “specialist,” thereby allowing management to focus on the organization’s core activities. By minimizing the resources devoted to non-core activities, a business might be able to improve its performance through restructuring or reengineering business processes.
IT outsourcing can also reduce time to market. Rather than devoting time and capital to the development and implementation of suitable IT processes in support of new businesses, processes or products, businesses can take advantage of the ready solution outsourcing offers. In this same fashion, outsourcing can support mergers and acquisitions by offering a scalable solution for the integration of newly-acquired organizations. Outsourcing is also a common option for minimizing start-up times and avoiding the high costs of entering new markets.
Technological benefits
Achieving IT efficiencies may be an organization’s major expectation from outsourcing. By outsourcing, an organization may have access to people, processes and technology that it might not otherwise economically obtain. Outsourcing often provides access to advanced technology that can result in distinct technical leadership. It can be a way of keeping up to date with changing technology and gaining access to IT expertise and, through this, improving the quality of IT services delivered to the business and to customers.
Financial benefits
An important benefit often sought by management in IT outsourcing decisions is financial in nature. Outsourcing offers the possibility of bringing IT costs under control through the efficiencies that might be delivered by the service provider or the sharing of common costs among the service provider’s customer base. In addition, outsourcing can reduce the risk of investing in the wrong technology or significantly limit the required capital investment, making financial resources available for more strategic activities.
Reference
1. Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & research design Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
2. Myers, M. D. “Qualitative Research in Information Systems,” MIS Quarterly (21:2), June 1997, pp. 241-242.
3. Galliers, R., “Choosing Information System Research Approaches,” in Galliers, R. (ed.), Information System Research: Issues, Methods and Practical Guidelines, Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, 1992, pp. 144-162.
4. Galliers, R., “Choosing Information System Research Approaches,” in Galliers, R. (ed.), Information System Research: Issues, Methods and Practical Guidelines, Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, 1992, pp. 144-162.

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