|The Impact of Training on Women's Micro-Enterprise Development - Education Research Paper No. 40 (DFID, 2001, 139 p.)|
|Chapter 3: Methodology|
At the end of the field work period, preliminary analysis was carried out on the data, based on an analysis of the answers to the questions contained in the schedules. Data were recorded manually for each woman according to replies given to each question, so that the preliminary analysis provided a separate but complete account of each woman's activities, thoughts on her business activities etc at the time of the researcher's initial visit and at each subsequent visit. In the Indian case, this preliminary written analysis did not give an account of each woman's replies because they were very similar. This was not surprising because the women were all working in the same field (silk reeling), came from the same village where most of their families were related, shared very similar experiences and were treated as a group for the purposes of training and credit by the local NGO. The group experience therefore formed the basis of analysis.
Quantitative data on income change proved problematic to analyse. The researchers had found it difficult to obtain an accurate figure for daily, weekly or monthly income (a not uncommon situation, see Kabeer, 1995). Many of the women involved in trading were unable to distinguish between turnover (gross income) and net profit. Sometimes they gave a figure which did not take their loan repayments (with interest) into account; sometimes repayments were accounted for. Some did not want to give the researcher an exact figure for fear of losing their loan (either because they were being too successful or not successful enough) and many did not want to reveal their real income in front of male members of the family. Sometimes they gave conflicting figures between one interview and the next and there was some confusion as to whether they should be reporting increases or decreases since the previous visit or since the first visit. Income could fluctuate widely between one day and the next. Despite the difficulties in recording income changes accurately, the table in Appendix 4 is an attempt to provide patterns of income for all the women on the four projects who were in productive work at the time the study started. For the Group 1 women, this records income changes at the time of each visit (two or three monthly intervals). For the first occasion these represented changes since the women were trained, and on subsequent occasions they represented changes since the previous visit. For the Group 2 women, the first visit recorded income changes in the period after they had received training, and the second visit recorded any subsequent changes in income.
The table in Appendix 5 represents an attempt to indicate the number of cases where there was a clear link between the training, increased income and credit. For the Group 1 women, the income change (increase or decrease) was that which occurred during the first four months of field work (for many women there was a subsequent decline); for the Group 2 women, the time scale was not specific but referred to the period following the training. In all cases, the income is assumed to be net of loan and interest payments.
During data analysis, information from the questions in the A and C schedules and the Matrices for each woman were condensed into broad categories of data according to the principles of grounded theory as applied to qualitative research, with progressive focusing leading to the emergence of the main findings.
These case studies were used as the basis of a three-day workshop held at the University of Sussex in September 1998, to which all members of the UK team, local researchers and research supervisors of the four complete studies were invited. Unfortunately the participants from Sudan were unable to attend because of the closure of the British Embassy in Khartoum at the time, which meant that they were unable to obtain visas.
At the workshop, the main findings of the research were extracted out of the four detailed case studies. These were used as the basis for the writing of the final report for DFID by Fiona Leach (Sussex University). A draft version of this report was sent in December 1998 to the participating researchers and research supervisors, and the other members of the UK team for comment. The final report was completed in January 1999. This Education Research Report provides a fuller account of the four completed case studies than was possible in that report.