Sample Qualitative Research Proposal
Background of the Study
When surveyed, almost 60% of employees expressed a desire to leave their current position for another they perceived as “better” if such opportunities arose (Romanova, 2013, para. 16). Organizational leaders frequently hold the mindset that compensation is the ultimate factor in determining whether employees leave a company, despite recent studies to the contrary (Carter, 2013; Pym, 2015; Stark, 2014). Beyond the academic research community, few consider giving deference to stronger indicators of employee turnover intentions. Both employees’ perceptions of their value to organizational structures and work-task satisfaction bore a more significant relationship to workers’ employment decisions than either salaries or job locations (Banner, 2014; Whitehall, 2014).
As an amalgamation of forces, work engagement is not a one-dimensional configuration, but a multi-layered structure encompassing organizational, leadership, and employee paradigms (Hammond, 2014). Though often regarded as the antonym to burnout, careful quantitative examination of employee work engagement confirms a myriad of constructs require further exploration to describe fully the phenomenon (Garrett, 2012; Johnson, 2014; Ward, 2015). These factors require in-depth exploration to elicit descriptions from individuals who possess views, opinions, and experiences with the phenomenon (Starke, 2012). Strongly encouraged, as a recommendation for further study, is development of thematic awareness of such factors related to the phenomenon of employee work engagement (Carter, 2013; Pym, 2015; Stark, 2012; Ward, 2015).
Statement of the Problem
The general problem is leaders fail to consider factors beyond compensation that guide employees’ decisions to leave organizations (May 2015; Odinson, 2014). The specific problem is leaders in manufacturing industries lack an understanding of the phenomenon of employee work engagement (Rogers, 2015). Qualitative research describing the phenomenon is valuable (Lee, 2015; McCoy, 2015) and will add to the existing body of knowledge specifically related to the field of leadership (Ward, 2015).
Purpose Statement for Qualitative Methodology
The purpose of this envisioned qualitative descriptive single case study is to explore how manufacturing industry leaders describe the phenomenon of employee work engagement. To obtain the three independent data points required for case study triangulation analysis (Coulson, 2013), the researcher proposes two different types of interviews and direct observation of leaders. These data sources are: 1) in-depth one-on-one interviews utilizing open-ended questions with 10 leaders of the manufacturing organization, 2) a focus group discussion with 15 leaders of the manufacturing organization using a semi-structured interview approach, and 3) direct observations of at least 10 leaders of the manufacturing organization. In total, the researcher anticipates a minimum of 35 different leaders will contribute data.
The research question that will guide the envisioned study is: how do leaders in the manufacturing industry describe the phenomenon of employee work engagement?
To ensure the ethical treatment of all human subjects, as well as anonymity of organizations, an extensive review of all ethical procedures, requirements, and protections should be undertaken (Simmons, 2013). To abide by these guides, the researcher provides specific procedures as measures to guarantee the highest degree of commitment to ethical principles in research.
Each participant shall be provided written documentation describing the study, as well as the data sought. Individuals, who voluntarily agree to participate, will sign a document identified as the Informed Consent Form. To protect the identity of each participant, recommended is the use of an alphanumeric code in place of individual names, dates of birth, employee identification numbers, or other such individualized information (Fitz, 2012). For the envisioned study, once participants sign Informed Consent Forms, assigned is a random alphanumeric code allowing them to remain anonymous. The researcher conducting a study using purposeful sampling must develop a reference document that shows the connection between the individual participants’ names and their alphanumeric code (May, 2015). With respect to the envisioned study, this researcher will keep in a secure location an Excel spreadsheet that contains the information.
To protect further the identity of both participants and the organization, a pseudonym for the company should be used (Peterson, 2013). The organization, which is the situs of the envisioned study, shall be referred to as “Company A.” Site permission, which complies with IRB University guidelines, is needed from a company official when research will take place at the organization or involve company employees in their organizational capacity (Hunter, 2013). The researcher obtained site permission written on Company A’s official letterhead, signed by the appropriate organizational official, and dated within six months of submission of this proposal.