This chapter reveals a synopsis of the methodological point of view of the study. It provides a synopsis of different types of research designs that may be applied to research, each paradigms talents and weaknesses followed by an outline of the procedure taken. The study methodology section provides a detailed look at the chosen methodologies.
Research design can be considered as a "blueprint" for research. It deals with problems such as: which questions to review, which data are relevant, what data to collect, and the way to analyse the results (AdvertisementЁr et al. 2008). Hence it can be said its role is to hook up the study questions to data, demonstrating how they'll be connected and the various tools and procedures which is adopted to do this objective. The design is the composition of any piece of empirical research gives route and systematizes the research. Different types of research designs have different advantages and disadvantages and the methods you select will influence your results and conclusions. Reliable observations that can assist the understanding of a trend are of key interest.
There are three main approaches to a study problem:
Quantitative methods are available in all cultural sciences where a measurement is included. They measure the before and the after expresses of a research entity and record the difference between them or take a "snapshot" (in example a survey questionnaire) of today's state. The research of these measures typically involves reports and results are generally shown using figures also.
Table :Common Quantitative Research Methods (Source:(Porcino and Verhoef 2010))
Unlike quantitative methods, which create numerical steps, qualitative research is mostly concerned with evaluation of vocabulary and text to develop an appropriate knowledge of the research subject from multiple view things. The most frequent form is registered interviews which can be transcribed for examination. With regards to the target and the strategy taken, the research can produce results that change from simple information and basic interpretations to theory or abstraction of contextual data. These conclusions are shared in the form of written information and summaries backed by samples sourced from the info (Porcino and Verhoef 2010). You will find four main types of qualitative research:
Table : Qualitative research methods (sourced in part from: B. Johnson and Christensen (2004)& Creswell (2002))
Tashakkori and Teddlie (2002) describe merged methods research as focusing on merging quantitative and qualitative research within one study. Researchers who make use of this technique apply philosophical assumptions along with methods of inquiry. It targets collecting, analysing, and mixing up both quantitative and qualitative data within a study or group of studies (Creswell 2002).
According to Experiment-Resources (2012) a technological paradigm can be explained as:
"A framework made up of every one of the commonly accepted views about a subject, a structure of what course research should take and exactly how it ought to be performed. "
For a lot of the 20th century quantitative has been the dominating paradigm with qualitative only approaching of age as a real alternative through the 1980s. Blended research while being conducted by rehearsing researchers so far as the 1950s has only gained real validity as a paradigm in newer times with the release of such catalogs as the "Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioural Research" by Tashakkori and Teddlie (2002). R. B. Johnson and Onwuegbuzie (2004) emphasize that quantitative research demands researchers to:
"Eliminate their biases, continue to be emotionally detached and uninvolved with the items of research and test or empirically justify their stated hypotheses"
Qualitative researcher on the other palm helps a constructive or interpretive paradigm and Creswell (1994) represents it as:
"an inquiry process of understanding predicated on distinct methodological customs of inquiry that explore a interpersonal or human being problem. To builds a complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, information complete views of informants, and conducts the study in an all natural setting"
Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies have their talents and weaknesses. Qualitative research allows comprehensive and complete analyses of chosen issues, without the constraint of predetermined categories permitting depth, openness, and aspect. Quantitative research on the other hands, requires the use of standardized instruments therefore the differing perspectives and activities of individuals can fit a limited quantity of predetermined response categories, to which statistics are designated (Patton 2001). The primary differences between they are portrayed in Table : Characteristics of Qualitative and Quantitative Research (source: wordpress) below.
Table : Characteristics of Qualitative and Quantitative Research (source: wordpress)
The advantage of a quantitative research method could it be enables the reaction of a large level of individuals to be measured and analysed to a limited group of questions, facilitating comparability and statistical aggregation of the data. This gives a wide generalizable, set of findings provided succinctly and parsimoniously (Patton 1990). In comparison, a qualitative research method can produce an array of detailed information in regards to a limited variety of persons or situations. This increases the understanding but reduces generalization (Patton 1990). One method to minimise the disadvantages of every retrospective method and fortify the research design is to utilize both qualitative and quantitative methods in the study program.
Mixed method research is a wide type of research in which both quantitative and qualitative methods, techniques, and characteristics are merged in a single overall study. Among the major goals for a researcher who perform combined research is making sure the mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods, paradigm characteristics, and types of procedures; complement talents and lessen weaknesses in the study. When different techniques provide the same result, you have "corroboration" which results in improved upon evidence to support results. Other important aspects which can derive from carrying out combined research include the ability to develop results, or discover something otherwise would have been skipped by an individual approach. Predicated on the research targets proposed in this inspection, the research methodology of a books review, a questionnaire survey, and a research study incorporating set up interviews, was implemented. It had been envisaged by the author that the blend of these strategies would supply the highest possibility of successfully getting together with the targets of the study. Figure has an overview of the research methods.
The section outlines the procedural construction used for the study. It provides a synopsis of the research methods which is employed to accumulated evidence to support or reject the explained hypothesis.
The first goal of the thesis is "To critically analyse the prevailing body of literature associated with Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)". A books review is a process of reaching this objective as it allows a crucial and in depth evaluation of the prior research in this field. The synopsis should permit anybody reading the thesis to understand why this particular research program was pursued.
The seek out 'Life Cycle Examination (LCA)' within the W. I. T. collection database returned over 8000 hits. This is further sophisticated to be limited to articles from scholarly magazines, including peer-review, the subject term "life circuit assessment" and time of publication (between 2002 and 2012). This reduced the quantity to at least one 1, 248 papers, that have been further broken down into areas of relevance such as background, methodological aspects, marketing etc. The International Journal of Life Routine Evaluation was the other key source considered because of its singular devotion alive Cycle Diagnosis. Again similar standards were applied. The highest cited documents were then decided on and examined, along with recent enhancements to your body of knowledge that have been regarded to be of merit. These developed the primary body of the books review, with papers of particular relevance prior to 2002 making up the balance.
The books review helped to give a detailed understanding of the various aspects of LCA at the moment and exactly how it will fit within business. It helped identified the ideas behind LCA and the primary issues it encounters to establish itself as an instrument of worth. In addition, it provided insight into the marketing aspects of LCA and the rewards which can be accrued from a business perspective.
What is research study research? Eisenhardt (1989) argues that the knowledge of phenomena can be gained via a case study strategy and Yin (2002) explains it to be:
"an empirical inquiry that investigates a modern day happening within its real-life framework".
The decisive element in defining a report as a research study is the choice of the average person unit of analysis and the environment of its restrictions (Flyvbjerg 2005). By choosing to execute a research study, it becomes more about what is being studied as opposed to the methodology chosen. Qualitative or quantitative, analytical or hermeneutical, or a combination of these can be used to study the individual device. Mintzberg's (1979) argues in favour of 'immediate' research in an organisational environment and Yin (2002) features that a circumstance study is specially good for analyzing "why" as well as "how" and "what" questions being asked about a contemporary set of events over that your investigator has little if any control. Thus it can be said that case studies are a very important method to take notice of the world all around us. It's important to understand research study research can be predicated on any mix of quantitative and qualitative techniques which is not strictly for qualitative research paradigms. Typically, it includes multiple data resources which range from: direct observations, interviews, and documents (J. Rowley 2002). The most testing aspect of the utilization of case study research is raising the research from a descriptive accounts of 'what happens' to a worthwhile piece of research that may be an addition to the prevailing body of knowledge.
The second target of the thesis "To determine the difficult in implanting an LCA, To look at what benefits can be gained via applying a streamline LCA and also to accumulated participant views with regards awareness, attitudes, road blocks, bonuses and the role LCA can play" can be fixed via the case study method.
It should be mentioned before I move forward, that while extensive LCAs have been made, a total quantitative LCA has not yet been achieve neither is it ever apt to be. Gathering a full data established for such is near impossible. To doing a comprehensive LCA is a feat alone and only sensible with no limitations to time, price, data supply etc. As all these commodities are in very short supply for this research a much quicker and cheaper alternative approach would need to be used. A Streamlined LCA was chosen; this swift but still demanding alternative to the ISO LCA strategy, minimising data collection and uses general data where feasible. Such strategies are being more and more followed for items such as eco-labels. It has been reported that up to 80% of your company environmental issues can be recognized in a small percentage of the time utilising this approach.
To perform this streamlined methodology in the most effective complete manner possible, SimaPro software was used because of its extensive databases and conformity to the ISO 14040/44 strategies.
It was envisaged that the case study to be looked at should be one that the reader could relate with; a product that impacts many individuals on a daily basis. Because of this it was determined that a medical device would be a fascinating item to examine, due to its growing relevance within world and its far reaching impact on everyday routine. A set of suitable products was drawn up and numerous companies were contacted with the task opportunity. While interest was shown, it became visible relatively quickly that it might be very difficult to obtain a member out of this sector to consent to such a report scheduled to informational requirements set out within the range. A secondary market which had evenly or even more wide getting significances was assessed, the toy sector. Every home, and its own occupants are stakeholders in this particular sector, and environmentally friendly, toxic free playthings are fast becoming
customer requirements as better knowledge of potential ills from unsavoury elements become known. A job scope was delivered to a local supplier Hasbro's and agreement was reached to handle a streamline LCA on one of their popular products Monopoly J1 with the view to highlighting environmental hotspots and bettering the look from an environmental point of view.
Figure : Monopoly
The variety of products in the toy sector is huge: vehicles, lego, dolls, puzzles, table games etc. As a result the success of the toy sector relies greatly on its capacity to innovate and adapt to consumer preferences. The primary players to be found within the toy sector are importers, assemblers (combine parts produced by suppliers) and manufacturers (produce their own) with the key toy producer at the moment being China, handling an enormous 70% of the market
Figure : Toys and games (Source: www. ukas. com)
share (Herranz 2006). The primary locations for toy creation in Europe include France, Germany, Italy and Spain with other areas where gadgets are economically important including Waterford in Ireland; Billund in Denmark; Malta; and Silesia in Poland among others. The entire retail market for traditional gadgets (video games are not included) in europe (EU) totalled 15. 5 billion in 2010 2010, 2% down on 2009 (T. I. E. 2010). Infant/preschool playthings were the main toy category in 2010 2010 with almost 20% market talk about, with video games/puzzles (11. 9%), dolls (11. 1%) and outdoor and athletics toys (10. 9%) being the other main players (T. I. E. 2010). Playthings generally are combining more digital components as they become more accessible from a cost perspective. It has resulted in more technical toys which are difficult to maintain, repair and recycle. As a result alternative often becoming the most well-liked option. Toy companies aren't very active as it pertains to protecting of the surroundings, while some took the first steps such as the addition of any environmental supervisor and ISO 14001 qualification; hardly any have included environmental requirements in the look with their products.
Priorities for environmental improvement of playthings includes:
Minimise the total amount and selection of materials used: Less intake means reduced environmental influences throughout the toys and games lifecycle and a lower variance in materials used simplifies control and recycling of the toy.
Utilise materials which have a minimal environmental impact: By using an environmental research tool materials with less environmental impact can be preferred.
Minimise the amount of primary packaging used: Oftentimes toy presentation is over-sized. From an environmental point of view reducing the quantity of materials used to a minimum or manufacturing presentation for dual purpose or reuse can prolong it useful life.
After the eco design has been completed a modified impact analysis is to be completed to review advancements from an environmental point of view.
The final factor of the case study will involve a semi set up interview to gather participant views with respect the process; does they think it is beneficial, has it increased their awareness, has their attitude to LCA improved, and has their understanding of obstacles, incentives and the role
Figure : Interview (Source: Wordpress)
LCA can play being increased. It is hoped these conclusions will develop and strengthen studies from the questionnaire component. The interview agenda was dived into three phases. 1: warm-up 2: target and 3: shutting (Chan and Hawkins 2010):
In the "warm up" phase an overview of the purpose, intended uses for the interview data and the actions taken to protect confidentiality and anonymity were provided. Also agreement for note-taking and also to record the interview was sought. A couple of easy to answer track record questions are asked first, including the interviewee's job name and duties, time with the organisation, etc. to generate trust and allow the interviewee to get in the interviewing mindset.
The "focus" level is the longest level and includes questions about the participant views on life cycle assessment, motivations to look at, applications and benefits, complex and commercial feasibility, marketing probable and finally role of regulatory, economic and informational devices in decisions to adopt.
The final stage "closing" ends the interview by asking the participant if they would like to add anything relating to what role they perceive LCA will have within their organisation in the future.
In circumstances where any matter of confusion arose, a summary of the interview was sent back to the interviewee for validation. When the interview synopsis had been completed, a careful examination was conducted to see data to compare and contrast with the conclusions of the questionnaire survey. The semi organized interview transcript can be evaluated in Annex 6
According to Bourque and Fielder (1995):
"A questionnaire survey can be utilized only when the objective of the analysis is clear rather than complex"
In the area of LCA execution, much research has been conducted using questionnaire surveys to gather information ((Cooper and Fava 2006; Lloyd and R. Ries 2007; Reap et al. 2008; Country wide Geographic and GlobeScan 2010). These experts tested the consequences of LCA within the business enterprise environment and ideas, attitudes and values. The questionnaires format was used to obtain a big database of LCA information with a low degree of details. The third to seventh objective of this thesis included evaluating if environmental understanding has grown, discovering existing attitudes towards LCA, assessing obstructions to LCA adoption, examine the role green image and branding can play and take a look at the influence of policies, regulations and
incentives within Irish Industry. As a big repository of information would be needed from a variety of Irish companies to meet these objectives, a online questionnaire study was viewed as the most appropriate strategy to take on them. The greatest advantage of an internet questionnaire survey is its lower cost compared to other methods. Online questionnaires also have sample-related advantages including: geographic coverage, bigger examples, and wider coverage within an example population.
Figure : Study (source:www. surveytool. com)
Questionnaires have been employed by researchers to assemble data for tranquil a while. A well designed questionnaire sometimes appears as the key to success with regards to surveys. When analysts develop questionnaires for data collection, they actually so predicated on their own research requirements; hence, their questionnaires can differ vastly. With regard to the research in hand, several questionnaires were examines but none of them fully met the research requirements. As a result, it was essential to create a new questionnaire. Good understanding into questionnaire development was gained from looking at other practitioner's makes an attempt, but as no guiding theoretical platform exists to develop perfect questionnaires; one must guide oneself by wanting to learn from the do's and do not born from others encounters. In essence you can understand questionnaire design as more of an art form than a precise science. Inside the European commission payment (2009) online tool for analysis of socio-economic development; "Sourcebook", six main steps involved with carrying out a highly effective survey are layed out:
Designing the questionnaire
Pre-test or pilot
Administration of the questionnaire
Codifying the data
Interpreting and disseminating the results
The primary step 'making the questionnaire' is the most crucial and there's a need to rigorously explain the survey targets. Construction of the questions with their appropriate measurement scales needs time and consideration to ensure they match these aims. Segments of existing questionnaires which have been rigorously tested (in example governmental) were used where possible to ensure integrity of the review. The questionnaire was designed generally of shut questions (choice between a limited number of answers), along with a variety of semi open up questions (a set of options with the response "other" included to allow respondent judgment be collected). For just about any normative or everyday questions triangulation was used.
The secondary step 'sampling' involves determining the survey population. The populace in the context of this review was thought as including all Irish businesses with the characteristics I wanted to understand. Out of this perspective it was decided to concentrate on businesses that experienced already shown at least some degree of environmental initiative as these would most likely have at least some basic knowledge of LCA. Businesses which possessed already being certified to ISO 14001 were chosen to form the key body of the population with R&D and educational physiques making up the total amount. In all 3 hundred and fifty seven ISO 14001 skilled companies were sourced from the National Standards Relationship of Ireland (NSAI) and an additional 20 composed of R&D and educational entities. All were approached to obtain authorisation to forward the survey, examine their suitability and also to ensure the survey was delivered to recognised environmental officials. This resulted in a final populace of one hundred and ten organisations (including R&D and educational facilities) who consented to obtaining and looking at the survey with the probability of contribution.
The third step 'pre-test or pilot' involved the review being delivered to a limited amount of respondents who provided a crucial review of the proper execution and content of the questionnaire. This empowered filtering of the questions to avoid terribly worded sections or the necessity of intricate answers. The final version of the questionnaire was drawn up third, step.
The fourth step worried 'Supervision of the questionnaire'. Cost is always a significant factor in any decision with regards which method is used, which was
also the truth for this analysis. A self-administered questionnaire developed in SurveyMonkeyTM software and written by e-mail was picked due to being
http://www. showlamb. com/images/Misc/Survey_Monkey_logo. png
Figure : Survey monkey logo
relatively cheap to administer across a sizable sample, the problem is this selection is they generally have a minimal rate of response (sometimes only 20%). It has been exhibited that through increased contact advancements in response rates can be achieved, with pre-notice contact appearing to be always a primary element in strengthening the response rate impact (Dillman 2007). Therefore; it was considered pertinent to attempt a pre notice connection with each proposed receiver outlining the review motives and targets. The pace of response has also been seen to boost through the use of reminders, so that it was made a decision that two reminder e-mails would also be directed. The survey questionnaire was delivered on Monday the 30th of July and remained open till Thursday the 15th of August, with a reminder directed on Wednesday the 7th of August and again on the Mon the 13th of August.
The fifth step 'Codifying the data' entails recording the info for subsequent examination. This is achieved via study software. Any modifications required to account for imperfections and also to avoid bias in non answers will be dealt with here.
The final step 'Interpreting and disseminating the results' which involves conducting an analysis of the leads to reveal any meanings of value in the studies is conducted in chapter 4.
The questionnaire transcript can be viewed in Annex 7
As with any research one needs to be alert to the restrictions of ones analysis and such is the case here also. As Patton (1990) affirmed:
'There is no perfect research design, there are always tradeoffs'
Time and reference constraints have significantly limited this research and subsequently the accuracy of the conclusions will be relatively diminished.
The following limits from the case study element were witnessed:
When it involves conducting LCAs, tradeoffs are part of the process. LCAs are built around assumptions, and in cases like this the author's assumptions. The validity of these can always be called into question. All you can do is provide just as much detail as possible on all these assumptions so visitors can make judgement
As the author has conducted both LCA and interview, there can be an acknowledgment that there may be factors of interviewer bias in regards to certain questions. However, the author remained objective and was conscious not to add this position in to the semi framework interviews.
The following limitations from the questionnaire component were noticed:
According to Yin (2002) a restriction of the review method is that they don't permit the researcher answer the 'why' and are generally speaking used to just find the 'how' and 'what'. That is also the situation in this component of the research as respondents are limited by the questions.
Response rates change noticeably and many respondents stop online surveys with out completing making their response ineligible.
This research only represents a snapshot of Irish industry and really should therefore only be looked at as a first step in the study of LCA in this particular framework. Where possible constraints were reduced or eradicated via rigorous design and via the adoption of your mixed research methodology.
Ethical issues are ever before present in all varieties of research. The research process must maintain integrity and protect the rights of individuals to privacy. Matching to (Cohen et al. 2007):
"A code of moral practice makes analysts aware of their obligation"
The concept of voluntary involvement and up to date consent were put on this research. Individuals were not coerced into engaging and prospective individuals were fully prepared about the procedure and risks involved in research before consenting to participate. All respondents to the web questionnaire were guaranteed confidentiality.
The finding of the study will be of value to consultant technicians, any companies considering LCA adoption, as well as others with an intention in environmental tactics. The conclusions will also help broaden the prevailing body of knowledge with respect LCA.
Validity and reliability have been strengthened through adoption of the chosen research methodology. Careful structuring, prep, and data examination have contributed to the inner validity; while a solid representative sample, intensive literature review and mixed method research have strengthened the external validity. Reliability is obtained via the acknowledgement of limitations, identification and mitigation of bias, piloting to reduce mistakes and any ambiguity, and via demanding scoping.