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close this bookThe Impact of Training on Women's Micro-Enterprise Development - Education Research Paper No. 40 (DFID, 2001, 139 p.)
close this folderChapter 3: Methodology
View the document3.1 Introduction
View the document3.2 The research design
Open this folder and view contents3.3 The research instruments
View the document3.4 Procedures for setting up the field work
View the document3.5 Monitoring of the field work
View the document3.6 Data analysis
View the document3.7 Methodological issues

3.7 Methodological issues

The Matrix turned out to be a very effective tool for recording changes in the women's lives between one visit and the next. The Indian researcher added pluses or minuses to the summarised points so as to allow the reader to have a quick idea of whether the woman's situation had improved or not (see sample in Appendix 3). This researcher also produced four sets of consolidated data in matrix form to sum up the situation of the women as a group at each visit. This would not have been possible on the other projects because the women were all engaged in different activities.

The main problem reported by the researchers with the Matrix was the same as that reported above in 3.6. At times it was not possible for the women to accurately assess changes to their lives between one visit and the next, especially in terms of income gain or loss. Income used for business purposes and that used for the household could not easily be separated out. The woman could not necessarily remember what her situation was at the time of the previous visit. So figures recorded were often approximate.

The small size of the sample was problematic in terms of the reliability and the generalisability of the findings. In the Sudan group four different types of training (one technical and three business-oriented) were covered. In Peru two different types of technical skills training were covered. In the Indian Group 1 sample, only eight women received the formal training component, they received a much reduced programme of formal training to that of the previously trained group, and one woman left the village immediately after the training and did not return until towards the end of the research period. None of these changes could have been anticipated at the start of the research, nor those associated with the other countries originally included in the study (Sri Lanka, Eritrea and Sierra Leone). This points to the need to identify larger samples at the planning stage than the research design requires so that one can make allowances for the unexpected.

Practical problems of communication also arose. In the case of the Port Sudan programme, it could take two months for the completed interview schedules to reach the UK and this did not allow time for feedback and requests for clarification to reach the researcher in time for the subsequent visit. Changes in personnel in the two UK offices of the NGOs also complicated the research process.