3. Research Methodology
The aim of this research is to examine how the effectiveness of NGOs humanitarian relief work can be enhanced under China’s and Taiwan’s Emergency Plan through the Wenchuan Earthquake and Morakot humanitarian supply chain. However, this research’s objectives are multifaceted.
First, the research will critically examine the Emergency Planning Structure in China and Taiwan. Secondly, it will critically analyse and evaluate the process of humanitarian supply chain management during a disaster cycle. Thirdly, identify various supply chain strategies and their possible applicability and effectiveness if applied to Humanitarian supply chain management. Fourthly, the research overlooks the supply chain management to find out fundamental knowledge of humanitarian supply chain management as well as its index of effectiveness. Last, the paper will conduct an examination on various challenges faced by NGOs before providing the recommendations on how to enhance NGOs effectiveness during the calamities.
However, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of NGOs humanitarian relief work under China and Taiwan Emergency Planning Structure aspects, this research will try to establish how NGOs from China and Taiwan apply their humanitarian relief supply chains during disasters. This will enable evaluation to be conducted on whether the approach the NGOs apply is either viable enough or not. Besides that, this research will entirely rely on; qualitative, quantitative and case study approaches to conduct the research. This chapter will begin by examining the philosophy of the methodology. It will then highlight the approaches used in research before illustrating and evaluating the methods that will be used for completion of this research.
A research philosophy is a belief about the way data should be collected, analysed and used. The Research Philosophy includes; ontology, epistemology, and methodology. Besides that, philosophical assumptions based on research can be divided into positivism, interpretation and critical analysis (Stanford 2006 p.44).
Through studying various philosophy concepts which involve the way a researcher views the world, then these assumptions will support the research strategy choice as part of the method strategy (Sanders et al 2007 p.23). Although this can be affected by various factors such as time or degree of access to data, it is more likely to be affected by the impact of the researcher’s view on specific knowledge and developments of progress (Shavelson 2002; Saunders et al 2007). As an illustration, researchers that pay more attention to the speed of the first response phase will definitely use different methods in contrast with those who pay attention to the recovery phase. This is mainly because they not only have a gap on strategy and methodology used, but even their perspective is different. This therefore means that, researchers of first response phase will often make completely different conclusions and recommendations. Therefore, it is very important for researchers to understand the research ideas and aims to ensure that the researcher chooses the right method as this could help enhance the reliability of their research results. Besides that, the naming of ontology at the onset of research is essential since it plays a great role in determining the type of research design that will be used to examine how the effectiveness of NGOs humanitarian relief work can be enhanced under Emergency Plan through the Wenchuan Earthquake’s and Morakot’s humanitarian supply chain. Epistemology on the other hand is more about what the main components of valid knowledge are and the best ways of obtaining this knowledge. The two are related in a way that; choosing objectivism ontology often leads to the use of positivism epistemology thus allowing the flow of research to flow from general to specific. In this case, quantitative methods are used to achieve the objectives of the research. Otherwise, the selecting constructivism ontology leads to interpretive epistemology and inductive methodology.
According to Sanders (2007), ontology mainly explores the nature of reality. Both Blaike (2014) and Welty (2003) point out that philosophy is the subject of scientific practice which can be traced back to Aristotle. It mainly explores the type of object, its structure, properties, events and processes thus illuminating on the reality that can be related to all areas. Ontology on the other hand is about the things out there or the existence of things. Ontology’s ideas mainly centre on why it is important to know what is out there. Although the nature of existence is often about how to learn, it is important to know that it is also related to how it has been researched or studied (Yin 2004 p.12). This will thus make it possible to conceptualize social reality in some terms.
In general, researchers have some ingrained ontological assumptions that often affect their understanding of what is real, whether the property exists or whether there is any attribute of a group of things in the other (Flower 2009). If these basic assumptions are not considered, some researchers may be blinded in some particular aspects of their investigation because they implicitly assume or take for granted, and therefore are not open to problems, to consider or to discuss (Flower 2009). When considering the different points of view about what is real, researchers must be realistic about how to measure another question and that is the basic definition of knowledge of reality. This leads to epistemological issues.
Epistemology is what is known to be true, which can contain a diversity of research philosophy (Jerry 2008 p.34). The term doxology is what is believed to be true. Under scientific use, this means to transfer things people believe into things people know i.e. doxa to episteme. According to Grix (2004), ontology is related to what people might know and the simple explanation of epistemology is about the truth that is out there but is yet to be discovered. Furthermore, Thomas (2004) defined epistemology as “branch of philosophy that asks questions such as how we can know anything with certainty; or what methods can yield reliable knowledge”.
In this research, there is need to know how the humanitarian supply chain management works. But first, it is essential to find out whether this academic research area exists. Thomas (2004) quoted the Royce list containing four ways of achieving this. First is rationalism. It refers to knowing through thinking and reasoning. If research area is not logical, then that assumes there is nothing that can be true. In this way knowledge occupies a prominent position in both mathematics and philosophy. Second item is empiricism and largely depends on sensory perception. When the assumption is precise consciousness, then it is the truth. In this case, empirical science therefore plays a key role in the world. Third is knowledge which by intuition is the basis of the direct or obvious consciousness, perhaps from the unconscious process. It is assumed that, if there is consciousness of insight; then the area of research is real. For instance, a large portion of basic art knowledge is intuitively derived from meditation or from personal knowledge. Finally, authoritarianism plays a significant role. This refers to the way of knowing based on the power or authority. It is true because the authority says that it is true. For example, in some religions, the authority reveals the truth about God or Allah or Buddha. In his research, Thomas (2004) comments that the field is often largely drawn from one or two out of these four (list above). For instance, a cognitive method is usually adopted as rationalism philosophy tries to build the truth through the deployment of parameters and rebuttal of some aspect. In contrast physical scientists think carefully, use logic control and record the empirical observations and interpretation theory (Richard 2010). This therefore means that every single path to knowledge can be effective but has limited specific aspects of the world for which it may be suitable.
In this research, the epistemology is built on the reality of what happened after the Gujarat earthquake in 2001. This resulted to augmented focus on the importance of logistics to humanitarian relief. Moreover, the percentage of the funds spent on humanitarian supply chain management literary forced the academic community to pay attention on how to apply the business supply chain management models in humanitarian relief arena. The significant problem in humanitarian supply chain is how to improve this fifteen years development gap behind business supply chain so that it becomes more flexible, effective and efficient.
However in epistemology, there are two main orientations found in the social science fields. According to Sanders (2007), these are positivism and interpretivism. Whereas positivism must imitate the importance of natural science, interpretivism advocates the role of the human social action (Bryman and Bell 2003; Bryman and Bell, 2007; Sanders et al 2007). Although they represent the two main approaches, they are not the only ways to support social studies of epistemology. The following section forms a discussion of the two and how they apply to the current research.
The roots of positivism can be traced back to Aristotle and was largely used as the main research approach in the twentieth century (Grix 2004). Instrumental contributions towards its development were however achieved through Francis Bacon and Auguste Comte among other researchers (Thomas 2004; Grix 2004). Apparently, it refers to the method of knowledge gained by limited observable facts and their relationships. Since it rules out unobservable entity references to god and to the senses (Crossan 2003), this epistemological approach is considered wild and comprises a mixture of; empiricism, objectivism, naturalism, and behaviourism (Bryman and Bell 2003; Grix 2004; Thomas 2004).
As their distinguishing features, positivists believe that reality is stable and can be observed with interference phenomena being studied and from an objective point of view which it describes (Cohen, 2007). Besides that, they argue that even in isolation, the observed values of the phenomena can be repeated. This often involves the manipulation of reality so that only one independent variable changes. This will in turn make it possible to identify the regularity and form of the relationship between some of the constituent elements of the social world.
According to Ashley (2005), positivism has a long and rich historical tradition. Because of this, it is so embedded in our society that knowledge claims not grounded in positivist thought are simply dismissed as unscientific and therefore invalid. Positivism also has particularly successful associations with the physical and natural sciences. In this respect, positivistic approaches could help a researcher to seek identify, measure and evaluate phenomena and to provide rational explanation. Therefore applying positivism to the current research will entail adhering to the observation that solitary “factual” knowledge gained from the established virtual links as well as relationships among different elements of the humanitarian supply chain management within distinctive NGOs as well as related agencies is trustworthy. This will therefore be instrumental in determining the best way to enhance both effectiveness and efficiency of the humanitarian supply chain management and its operation. Besides that, positivism will limit the current research to data collection and its subsequent interpretation by use of objective approach thus making the findings of this research both quantifiable and observable.
Interpretivism, as distinct from positivism, is trying to “understand the reality of life and constitute an overall objective by survey and consideration by social actors to build specific meaning to the world” (Outhwaite 2009). Interpretivism usually has considerable links with other terms such as; idealism, constructivism, phenomenology and relativism (Grix 2004; Thomas 2006).
The subjectivity of interpretivism concerns understanding, and cannot be explained by mechanical means (Primus 2009). This makes it a very appropriate approach to business and management research especially in the areas of organizational behaviours, marketing and human resource management. Besides that, interpretivism’s major concern is about the behaviour of participants. Therefore, when choosing research methods, attempts to describe, translate and interpret research theme events must be used from the perspective of people who are the subject of the research. This stand point therefore assumes that people tend to influence events and actions in an unpredictable manner which interferes with any attempts to identify construction rules or guidelines (Bryman & Bell 2003). However, from an interpretivism research method point of view, human behaviour is not easy to measure as is natural scientific phenomena. Human motivation is not always visible, such as the internal thought processes, so that it can become difficult to generalize, for example, the motivation just observed. In addition, people have a habit of interpreting events in dissimilar ways (Bryman & Bell 2003).
Research shows that interpretivists assert that only through subjective interpretation and intervention in reality can reality be fully understood. The study of phenomena in their natural environment is the key to the interpretivist philosophy, together with the acknowledgement that scientists cannot avoid affecting those phenomena they study (Richard 2010). They easily admit that there may be many interpretations of reality, but maintain that these interpretations are in themselves a part of the scientific knowledge they are pursuing (Bryman & Bell 2003). In this respect, interpretivism epistemology will enable this research to develop the truth by basing it on social interaction thus paving way for inductive approach to be applied. This will necessitate use of qualitative methods for collection and analysis of data.
3.3.1 Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
Qualitative research usually requires a lot of different academic disciplines like those frequently used in social sciences and educational researches. The aim of qualitative researchers is to gain a better understanding of human behaviours, and why they act as they do. Besides that, qualitative research methods investigate the reasons and methods of human decision-making, not only just what decisions people make but also answers question like; why, when, where and how they make decisions (Richard 2010). Thus, qualitative research tends to focus on a smaller but more concentrated sample resulting in tighter information or knowledge about a particular case study. In the traditional view, qualitative methods produce only particular case study data; any more general conclusions need different considerations. In addition, qualitative methods can be used to seek empirical support for the postulated hypothesis (Bryman 2001). Among the key cons of this approach are; it has a complete and detailed aim. Key benefits are also derived from the fact that the researcher is the ultimate instrument used in gathering of data. Flaws on the other hand exist for this approach. First, during the process of research, the research gets immersed fully in research topic. Finally, since the qualitative methods cannot be designed before research, the qualitative approach becomes time consuming.
In the social sciences, both Given and Lisa (2008) state that; quantitative research refers to the use of statistical, mathematical or computational techniques and other methods to carry out systematic empirical study of social phenomena. The goal of this research is to develop and apply a mathematical model related to the social phenomenon, theory or hypothesis. Apparently, quantitative research is the most important measuring process since it fundamentally links the phenomenon of “empirical observation” and “mathematical representation”. Besides that, quantitative data includes a variety of information presented either in digital form, such as statistics or percentages. Quantitative research methods will generally make use of obtained data, pre-data and data analysis to give a summary of findings. There are two methods which could be used to analyse quantitative research methods. These are; descriptive statistics and the linear programming methods. This approach comes with a number of advantages. First, the data used can be relied on to act as a snapshot of the whole population. Secondly, by just increasing the sample size, the p-value can be adjusted to the required one. This ultimately improves the statistical power thus further boosting accuracy. Although this approach is instrumental in research, it is known to experience several flaws. First, sometimes quantitative approach fails to give vital information. It is also known to be time consuming and has a tendency of making predictions difficult.
Quantitative and qualitative research studies typically contrast, for instance, analysis and observation to discover the potential meanings, patterns and relationships, including the type of phenomena and entities classified in such a way as to not involve any mathematical model of explanation. A scientific investigation normally draws a distinction between qualitative and quantitative aspects, although some researchers argue that the two go hand in hand. To exemplify this, Gutting (2004) states that “large amounts of qualitative work have usually been prerequisite to fruitful quantification in the physical sciences”.
Therefore, this researcher believes the best way is to conduct both quantitative and qualitative research. This is mainly because both research methods have advantages and disadvantages meaning that the weakness of one method can be supplemented by the strengths of the other. In studying the humanitarian supply chain management among the NGOs of different regions, the qualitative method will be preferred in this research owing to the proximity of the researcher to the population.
3.3.2 Case Studies Approach
A case study can be used to develop both primary and secondary data. According to Yin (2004), the distinctive features of a case study is that; it attempts to explore contemporary phenomenon in real-life situations especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not obvious. Compared with other methods, a case study is one of the advantages of the ability to research, in-depth. In addition, case study is one of the best applications. This is mainly because it solves the description or explains how or why it happened (Shavelson 2002). Its main purpose is to produce a first-hand description used in understanding of people and events. Besides that, Yin (2004) defines a case study as an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly defined. Yin (2004) further argues that; a case study allows an investigation to retain the holistic and meaningful characteristics of real-life events such as; individual life cycles, organisational and managerial processes, neighbourhood change, international relations and the maturation of industries.
This case study provides an opportunity to researcher to study a particular subject in depth, such as one organisation or a group of people. It normally contains information/data collection and analysis, which could be both qualitative and quantitative information/data. When giving case studies a consideration, data should be collected from different sources and its integrity ensured. Due to their renowned benefits of simplifying research, case studies have been applauded by critics. In their opinion, critics focus on the extent to which the method can generate some useful data, bring high availability of the several distinct (Thomas 2004). The value of the form of case studies shows another aspect of triangulation (e.g. using a number of circumstances, if possible). According to Rothbauer (2008), triangulation is an effective way to enhance case study’s effectiveness.
In this research, the chosen case study is China’s Wenchuan Earthquake. The reason to choose this particular site fully depends on the degree of development in humanitarian aid and the NGOs participation rates during disaster. China is not only a country that is still in the developing stages of solving humanitarian relief issues, but also the country’s NGOs have so far barely been officially noticed by Chinese Government. Therefore, the benefit of this research is to act as an eye opener to the government and will inform them that time has come when the Chinese government should both reinforce and enhance its NGOs’ capability to carry out more effective humanitarian relief work under China’s Emergency Response Plan. However for the purpose of achieving the objectives of this research, the scope is limited to only two NGOs that are selected to act as appropriate case studies. These include one NGO involved in both Wenchuan Earthquake and Morakot. Therefore these are appropriately selected as China Red Cross and Tuz Chi which are both most influential NGOs in China and Taiwan respectively.
In the primary data collection stage, interviews constitute one of the main sources of data. However, there are two basic yet important requirements for choosing of respondents in the current study. First, the respondents need to again relevant acknowledge within the scope of research. Secondly, the respondents must be willing to openly discuss all the issues with interviewer. In order to fulfil the aims of this research, primary data will be gathered through interviewing of various persons serving as humanitarian personnel from different NGOs; people from different departments in the Government and military as well as those from disaster response and recovery team.
Data utilized in any research can either be primary or secondary but this fully depends on the source of information. However, this research used a combination of both primary and secondary data. The secondary research was first conducted which was then followed up with primary research to fill any gaps in the study. Secondary sources used include; scholarly analysis of humanitarian supply chain management in the humanitarian relief work, official reports of Chinese and Unite Kingdom authorities, international humanitarian organizations as well as newspaper and online articles.
The main aim of preferring the use of primary data is that; researchers have a chance of collecting information for the specific purposes of their study and therefore don’t have to filter the collected data (Tracy 2012). In essence, the questions the researchers ask are tailored to elicit the data that will help them with their study. Researchers collect the data themselves, using surveys, interviews and direct observations. In its basic form, primary data constitutes information collected by the researcher directly through such instruments as; surveys, interviews, focus groups or observation. When this is tailored to the researcher’s specific needs, primary research provides him with the most accurate, reliable and up-to-date data (Creswell 2013).
Semi-structured interviews refer to attempts made to collect information from another person by asking questions. Although the interview follows the predetermined questions, semi-structured interview provides a chance for participants to state what in their opinion they regard as the most important issue to the industry (Bryman 2007). Many researchers prefer the use of semi-structured interview because the interview questions can be prepared in advance (Shavelson 2002). This therefore allows the interviewers to be prepared and appear competent during the interview (Cohen 2006). Besides that, the semi-structured interviews not only allow informants to freely express their views using their preferred terms, but these also provide reliable and comparable qualitative data (Tom 2001).
The research selected semi-structured individual interviews because they have capacity to provide a deeper understanding of NGOs humanitarian relief work. Through a face-to-face conversation the researcher sought to find out how and why those NGOs manage their supply chain, what procedures are involved, effectiveness of their relief measures and basic level of humanitarian support for affected population. Subjective views of respondents were used as the crucial instrument for interpreting empirical data acquired through secondary sources. Protagonists’ views on the efficiency of humanitarian logistics and their opinions on potential ways to improve it formed critical supplement and interpretation materials for understanding humanitarian supply chain management during the disasters among different NGOs. A number of persons were interviewed to meet the objective of this research. First, various humanitarian personnel were drawn from the two aforementioned NGOs and provided useful information that was used in examination of the China’s and Taiwan’s Emergency Planning Structure. Secondly, respondents were randomly chosen from different government department as well as military. These respondents gave crucial information on how they manage the humanitarian supply chain during a disaster cycle. Finally, respondents were also drawn from various disaster response and recovery team who will disseminate important information that was used to determine the index of effectiveness. All this information was valuable towards understanding various challenges faced by China’s and Taiwan’s NGOs and therefore provided a base to make appropriate recommendations.
The interview is one of the main sources of primary data collection, and the choice of respondents in the study was critical. It therefore needed to meet the following two requirements. First, respondents needed to have the relevant knowledge within the scope of research. Secondly, they had to be willing to openly discuss issues with the interviewer.
A total of 12 interviewees were interviewed whose backgrounds were drawn from either central/local government and had previously been involved in the humanitarian relief aid and humanitarian supply chain management during Wenchuan Earthquake/ Typhoon Morakot or NGO worker/officer that has previously been involved in the humanitarian relief aid and humanitarian supply chain management.
In China a total of 6 people were interviewed. The first 2 people were interviewed from Red Cross which ranks as the vastest NGO in China and 3 people from government, 1 person from military. The reason of interviewing them is that; the government was the leading department during response and recovery stage. The military only played supporting role. Although no single regulation calls for NGOs’ involvement, during Wenchuan Earthquake, NGOs made great contributions in humanitarian support and relief operations. This shows that; the government, military and NGOs are the leading response and recovery parties in China during disasters. On the other hand, in Taiwan, efforts to interview respondents from Red Cross were watered down and as a result, Tzu Chi – the biggest NGO in Taiwan – stood out as a better alternative. They too were involved in international relief aid. In addition, they made significant contributions during Typhoon Morakot. Besides that, 2 persons from the government department were interviewed. This research’s case study involved only 12 interviewees mainly because the selected departments constitute the main force during disaster response and recovery. Besides that, 3 people were interviewed from the Civil Affairs Bureau which plays an instrumental role in both managing and distribution of relief goods. In addition to that, the case studies did not focus on the central or senior decision-making level but limited its choices to the actual operator in the field. In this respect, all the interviewees were drawn from either the same level or in-charge of the same work/things. For instance, whereas government’s interviewees were being drawn from Civil Affairs Bureau which specializes in emergency supplies management and distribution, the NGO interviewees were drawn from those involved in the field of disaster relief.
On the other hand, the most important reason why military interviewees were selected for China is that; military is the only government body that gets involved in provision of manpower during disaster relief, especially in the rescue phase. This means that China’s army is the main source of China’s disaster relief and can therefore not be ignored. However in Taiwan, the army just plays a supporting role. Therefore, interviewing for the purpose of meeting the objectives of this research was realized through face-to-face conversation the time of which was determined through a phone call. A total of six core people were interviewed, three people from Government sector which is mainly responsible for relief materials management while two people were selected from NGOs and one from military.
Time and Location
Using the appropriate schedule assented to by the respondents; the researcher conducted the interview using on-line communicational devices such as Skype. One full interview took approximately 1 hour to be conducted. The interviewing process in China was conducted in July 2014. After obtaining their informal consent, they were provided with the formal consent form that contained basic description of research topic and purpose, ethical and confidentiality provisions to assure them that their opinions and views were not to be used in other purposes than research of primary data. Besides that, respondents had every right to freely terminate their participation in the interviewing process at any stage without giving explanations of their motivation.
Semi-structured interview was organized around the following six main points:
Frame structure of the existing humanitarian relief aid and humanitarian supply management in China;
During the disasters, how does the humanitarian supply chain system operate and why;
How humanitarian supply management is organized and what part is played by different emergency relief institutions and organizations;
How could humanitarian supplies chain become more flexible and effect, and how important is it to apply this into the humanitarian relief work;
In what ways do the authorities coordinate their efforts at local level/ national level, and are they really satisfied by the roles played by different authorities;
What was the biggest challenge or challenges during disaster time, why, and how do these challenges get solved.
Besides that, the interview questions excluded sensitive questions linked with respondents’ organizational position, personal views on effectiveness of Chinese authorities’ response to disaster and other issues associated with moral hazards. Each respondent was granted with opportunity to refuse answering any question he/she chose to remain silent on.
According to Saunders el al (2007), secondary data refers to data that already exists since it has already been collected. The advantages pointed out by Weathington (2010) of relying on this secondary data are its ability to save the researcher a lot of financial resources as well as time. In other words, using secondary data will always cost the researcher much less than collecting primary data. In addition, secondary data usually provides permanent and readily available data sources that can be checked relatively easily by others in the form of data and research results which means more openness to public scrutiny (Brains 2011 p.105).
According to Saunders et al (2007), there are three different types of secondary data. First category is made up documentaries which are made up of either written materials and comprise of; books, journals, magazine, newspapers, websites or non-written materials which include; television, radio, pictures, drawings, films, DVDs and CD-ROMs. The second type consists of multiple sources which comprise of; industry statistics and reports, as well as government publications. Final type is surveys and is generally made up of; government surveys, organisation surveys and academics surveys. To effectively make use of secondary data sources in fulfilling the objectives of this research, all the three types were utilized. The researcher made use of published journal found freely on online databases, reliable websites, accredited news sources as well as books written by renowned authors about humanitarian supply chain management. Moreover, the reference from the articles and book contains reference to the source of data, so the researcher can track these down to the original source. In addition to that, secondary data was collected from industry statistics and reports as well as government publications touching on areas related to the objectives of this research.
3.3.4 Reliability and Validity
It is very important that assessment and association of validity and reliability of the methods to be used in this research takes place. According to Thomas (2006), validity and reliability is frequently present together in social research. Cozby (2009), states that reliability refers to the constancy of results achieved in research. In order to meet this criterion, another researcher should be able to replicate the original research using the same subjects and research design with application of the same conditions (Collis and Hussey 2009).
On the other hand, both validity and reliability are crucial in ensuring research conducted is effective in achieving its goals is the most well-known use of qualitative and quantitative research. Utilization of interview, documentary survey (including literature and grey literature) to validate the outcomes of the research will be instrumental in this research. By using high number of both primary and secondary sources of data, validity of this research will be attained. Among the accepted definition of reliability is the consistency that a research instrument achieves in its role (Bryman 2001). In order to ensure reliability is increased to acceptable levels, the use of random sampling in selection of interviewees was put to practice. Secondly, the fact that only one person was used in conducting of interviews is a reason good enough that ensured reliability of collected data.
3.4 Research Ethics
Ethics are norms or standards of behaviour that guide moral choices about our behaviour and our relationships with others. The goal of research ethics is to ensure that no one is harmed or suffers adverse consequences from any of the research activities. Therefore, the researcher needs to receive ethics approval before collecting any data (Gregory 2003). Apparently, this research has conformed to the Coventry University research ethics guideline. It considers the five main principles i.e. rights, routes, risks, respect and record keeping.
With reference to the principle of rights, interview questions excluded sensitive questions linked with respondents’ organizational position, personal views on effectiveness and efficiency of Taiwanese/Chinese/British authorities’ response to disaster and other issues associated with moral hazard. Each respondent was granted the opportunity to refuse answering any question he/she wanted, they also had the opportunity to withdraw from the interview at any point without giving an explanation.
With reference to routes, the researcher looks forward to receiving the ethics approval before collecting any data. For the case of respect, the interview participants assented that their views and opinions taken in appropriate and non-bias context without changing their original meaning may be attributed to them. They agreed therefore that their interview responses can be used in the current research process. With regard to risk and confidentiality, there will be no real names that will appear in this research, and research will personally be sealed with feedback separated from other information. Finally, with regard to record keeping, the research was first granted permission to conduct and record interviews before getting started. Primary data security was guaranteed by use of password protected computers. Each file containing interviewee’s feedback data will be also protected by unique password known only by the researcher. Upon completion, all the data will be destroyed on or before 1st of August, 2016.
The study is naturally limited due to the fact that obtaining the full scope of empirical data associated with natural disaster and humanitarian relief response to it meets a number of challenges. Moreover, data linked with humanitarian relief management and logistics is often sensitive in terms of national security due to the fact that military personnel and security forces are widely used in the course of humanitarian relief operations (Christopher 2000).
Besides that, primary data collection and analysis procedures are limited by subjective perspective of respondents and interpretation difficulties. Seeing emergency logistical management through the prism of main managers is often instrumental in understanding the response, but may impair objective perspective on disaster. In this study, this potential discrepancy was overcome through efficient utilization of theoretical research framework organized around sound methods and approaches for the analysis of secondary data. In sum, the researcher hopes that this research will contribute to better understanding of theoretical and practical aspects of emergency logistical management in highly complex emergency situations.
Nevertheless, the transparency of the government information access is very different among these three places. This means that the results of this research might receive different levels of information. This will in turn cause failed accuracy of comparisons if the data are based on different level of information under different countries’ policies. Finally, the capability of comparing among three parties is also a significant limitation to this research.
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