«Dissertation Zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades Doctor rerum agriculturarum (Dr. rer. agr) eingereicht an der Landwirtschaftlich-Gärtnerischen ...»
Techniques for scientific research comprise diverse ways of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data that might answer the research questions in an appropriate way, according to Bryman (2001: 29). The author explains five different research designs: (1) quasi experimental design, (2) cross sectional or social survey design, (3) longitudinal design, (4) comparative design, and (5) case study design. Case study is considered more appropriate for the study of social and qualitative studies based on inductive and deductive reasoning, as this particular design deals with the complexity and nature of the questions (Stake 1995: 2).
Source: Own Presentation
4.3 Case Study Design Yin (1994: 2) defines the case study design as an empirical inquiry that explores a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context when the boundaries between the phenomenon and context are not clearly apparent and in which multiple sources of evidence are used. It presents detailed information about a particular participant or small group of respondents, frequently including the accounts of the subjects themselves; in the form of qualitative descriptive research, the case study draws conclusions only about that participant or group and only in that specific context. Researchers are interested only in exploration and description, instead in the discovery of cause-effect relationships. The role of case studies has become more prominent as a tool in research within the social sciences, e.g., in poverty, unemployment, and community based problems (Gulsecen and Kubet 2006: 97, Grassel and Schirmer 2006: 217).
The design of case studies is very important because of the potential lack of robustness in this method. Yin (2003: 39) explains various designs for case studies; they can be single or multiple depending on the issue in the research questions. Single case study design is preferred where there are no other cases available for replication, e.g., the effects of the tsunami in Hawai 2010 can only be conducted by using single case study design. In such cases, the events are rare, and conclusions cannot be generalized, but this problem can be solved through “triangulating” to test the validity of the data by other sources. Single case study design can be of two types: (1) holistic, where the researcher deals with only one unit of analysis and (2) embedded, which has many subunits.
Similarly, multiple case study design is derived from the real life events that have numerous pieces of evidence through replication. This is a “comparative” study between separate case studies (Yin 2003: 49) based on the related topic. Replication occurs at two stages: (1) the literal replication stage, where cases are selected with similar results, (2) the theoretical replication stage, where cases are chosen to explore the confirmation or rejection of the pattern of the initial cases (Yin 1994: 46). This model helps in the development of the theory when all or most of the cases show the same results. This case study design has two approaches: (1) the holistic approach, where only one phenomenon is studied at large scale, and operational details cannot be investigated, (2) the embedded approach, in which the researcher can understand the event in detail and gain better results. Land degradation is a complex phenomenon and can easily be studied through embedded multiple case study design, and so I have adopted this research design and selected three different cases, tested the hypothesis drawn from the theories, and finally compared the results.
Yin (1994: 53) explains a protocol for case study research, in which he gives prime importance to the unit of analysis and case study questions. The unit of analysis is a major entity in a research study, e.g., individuals, groups, or events. In my study, the unit of analysis is the “household” affected by the land degradation because of intergenerational land distribution and the availing different options of land-use change. According to the Census Program of UK (2011: 4), a household is defined as the people living at a same address sharing a common household. In my study, people were living in the same house and shared the main common entrance. For the analysis of land degradation related to these issues, one hundred and fifty households were visited in three different regions.
Case study questions should be very clear and specific and are asked during the field survey.
Most of these questions are open-ended and focused on 'how' and 'why' for the qualitative analysis; for quantitative analysis, questions are based on 'how much'.
The data was collected in twenty villages from three main regions near Gujranwala and Lahore (Shaikhupura-Kamoke region, Qadirabad Dam region, Nandipur Region). These regions were selected for the analysis of land degradation.
4.4 Field Research Process
According to Lincoln & Guba (1985: 319), public records are materials kept for attesting to an event or providing some required information about a particular phenomenon. These records are collected from the areas in which the evaluation is taking place. Study of this information is not common but is potentially useful. In this study, for the selection of study regions, some reports and maps of the soil survey of the Soil Fertility Institute, Lahore and the monthly statistical bulletin of Pakistan February 2008, published by Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) Islamabad were used. With the help of these maps and reports, three areas were pin-pointed in the north east of Punjab, with different scales of land degradation. A further twenty villages among these three areas were selected randomly according to the requirement of the study.
The major indicator for the selection of the villages was their distance from the main road.
Table 4.2: Check List for Field Survey Process Steps in field survey
Interviews with some experts in regional and district government offices and law chambers were also conducted during this time, and relevant material was collected, which was very helpful in the household survey. In Table 4.2, a list is provided showing all steps of the field survey. For further detailed information about the land degradation in the area, I used the expert opinions of the Agriculture Research Center Kalashahkako near Gujranwala together with the additional help of the District Office of Environmental Protection in Gujranwala and the District Office for City Planning, Gujranwala and tried to determine the major causes of land degradation in the region. I also visited some law chambers in the District Court of Gujranwala and the High Court of Lahore for the discussion of the issues related to my research. Finally, information was gathered from various sources, mainly through three openended questionnaires: questions in two questionnaires were asked from relevant experts and questions in the third questionnaire were asked from the affected households.
4.5 Data Collection
As previously explained, qualitative data is extremely varied in nature and cannot easily be recorded numerically because information is mostly based on textual data and in the form of a story (Auerbach and Silverstein 2003: 24). Different sources can be used for the collection of qualitative data, e.g., participant observation, behavior personally observed by a researcher, experts’ opinion, cultural artifacts, documentation, media accounts, and general discussions with people in the area individually or as a group. In my study, three different methods were used to investigate and collect the information.
4.5.1 General Group Discussion
During the first step, I visited the different villages and met most of the villagers at an open place with the reference to a senior person or a representative of the people to discuss the problems related to my study. This person was, in some places, the nazim13 (mayor) of the Union council14 or the landlord of the village, and in some villages; he was the Imam of the local mosque. This meeting was approximately of three to four hours in duration. On the basis of information provided during this meeting, strata were derived for the stratified sampling for Nazim is the representative of local people in a local body administration Union council is the smallest division in local body administration and will explain in fifth chapter in detail household selection. These strata were defined on the basis of land quality. Then, some affected households were marked according to the size of the total affected houses in the village (about one third of effected households per village), and next day, these houses were visited individually. During this visit, the two persons from one household were interviewed.
A person, who was culturally in the powerful position, acting on behalf of the head, was my first respondent (R1). Second respondent (R2) was the other member of that household, who was deprived and did not get his right.
4.5.2 Interviews with Landowners
Words spoken by people represent data in cases of inquiry, and the interview is the major source of data collection and is the most difficult with respect to obtaining the right response.
Mischler (1986: 11) explains an interview as a joint product of interviewee and interviewer talking together, and the way in which they talk to each other. The use of interviews as a data collection method begins with the assumption that the perspectives of the participants are meaningful and knowable, and it is assumed that their views will contribute to the success of the project. An interview is not only a paper and pencil survey but is important in the case of interpersonal contact, and if opportunities for the follow-up of interesting comments are desired.
Two types of interviews are used in evaluation for qualitative research. The first is the semi-structured interview, in which the researcher has a theme to be covered through a questionnaire. Although a questionnaire has previously been administered, some questions have to be omitted according to the situation of the interview and a particular topic. The second type is the in-depth interview, in which there are no hard and fast rules for the interviewers and no rigid forms; indeed, the interviewer seeks to encourage free and open responses, and there may be a trade-off between the comprehensive coverage of topics and an in-depth exploration of a more limited set of questions. In-depth interviews also encourage the capturing of respondents’ perceptions in their own words, a very desirable strategy in qualitative data collection. This allows the evaluator to present the meaningfulness of the experience from the respondent’s perspective. In-depth interviews are conducted with individuals or with a small group15 of individuals, permit personal interaction with the
Small group of individuals about 10 to 12 is known as focus group.
respondents, and provide an opportunity to explore topics in depth. It also allows the interviewer to explain or help clarify questions to increase the usefulness and effectiveness of responses and to be flexible in undertaking an interview with particular individuals or circumstances.
Among these visited household from the selected regions, an interview was conducted with two members, who were legal shareholders in the property of the predecessor. One interviewee was the caretaker of the estate, according to the culture of the family, and the second respondent was a member of the family, who had suffered because of anomalies of the law or culture. Questions were semi-structured and in the local language, and interviews were recorded and noted down with the permission of the respondents. These interview guidelines were flexible, as Bryman (2001: 323) maintains that questionnaires help a researcher with respect to the flow of the questions, but sometimes the order can be altered according to the situation of the interview. Similarly, they are helpful in defining topics, the behavior of the people, and clarifying the problem, although specifications of the interview questions cause some problems. Flexibility of guidelines is necessary in the case of audio recording of the interviews. Interview guidelines are explained in Table 4.3.
Table 4.3: Interview Guidelines for Landowners
1. Personal data of landowner
2. Ownership of land
3. Land history
4. Distribution and transfer of land
5. Conflicts among family about land distribution and land transfer
6. Land sale or purchase
7. Structure of land and land degradation