Research Methodology A formal and well-defined research methodology is very much crucial to the success of a research study. Most researchers understand that the quality of sampling and subsequent responses plays an integral role in determining the accuracy of the conclusions formed. The study undertaken will require a great deal of information to be extracted from the accounting professionals, thus requiring a great deal of personal and business communication techniques to be used wisely. Furthermore, the research purpose and objectives have to be aligned with the research methodology so that the study remains within the specified regulations (Kumar, 2008). This chapter will discuss in detail the theoretical basis and guidelines for this research and describe the research study design covering analysis methodologies, sampling size, sampling methodology, data collection methodologies and analysis guidelines. It also presents the methods of validity and reliability analysis of the data collected.
Research Design Research designs are of different types and they depend on the type of research method chosen. Research designs can be experimental, quasi or non-quasi designs (William & Donnelly, 2006). Experimental designs are the most rigorous designs of all with strong internal validity. But this type of research design only works for one variable at a time although linking this design with other designs can provide more accurate results (William & Donnelly, 2006). Quasi experiments consider different groups for experiments with easy implementation. However, keeping the problem statement and the research questions in view for this research, none of the above-mentioned experimental designs will be used. Selecting an appropriate framework is essential in identifying the research concepts. The research design will be a non-experiment type research because the research is not an experiment about the firms employment in Egypt but rather is a descriptive research that will take into account a review of literature backed by a small survey. No experiments are necessary to evaluate a cause and affect relation because the independent variables acting upon the dependent variable is a matter of different behavioral theories and perceptions of different individuals. In descriptive research, the accurate picture of the phenomenon will highlight the areas that need improvements in this type of research , and the analysis of will develop a better framework that manipulate the study (Kumar, 2008). The purpose of this research is to gather data from Egyptian accounting professionals and develop a conclusion on four different aspects of their accounting practices that are suggested to be affected by cultural factors native to the Egyptian society. This research will be exploratory and will be aimed at gathering facts and opinions to make an assertion and a suggestion. The objective of this research is not to make definitive or exhaustive conclusions because the problem has not been researched upon earlier. The study is geared towards describing the general characteristics of the influence of cultural factors on accounting practices of a large population. Thus, a viable approach in conducting this study would be define a sampling strategy and accordingly select a sample that would reflect the characteristics of the population as accurately as possible (Taylor, 2006). This design will certainly reach the desired goals in that the participants would be employees in financial sector and other related departments.
Research Analysis For the purpose of this research, qualitative as well as quantitative research methods will be used. Mixed method research is appropriate for determining scalable findings while still getting an in-depth look at the data. Mixed methods are a design form of methodological triangulation (Creswell, 2009). An integrated research approach captures qualitative research'sÂ descriptive richness andÂ quantitative precision measurement (Singh, 2007). Mixed methods may be used effectively in a wide range of studies where trends need to be identified within the general population by using a large number of participants, while also incorporating their subjective views through numerical assessment of their subjective responses. The significance of the using both the research methods together can provide more accurate findings and results that can be used to make the recommendation that is one of the purposes of the research. Using only one research method cannot give an in-depth analysis of the research topic. Qualitative data can only provide a review of literature that is although very thorough but cannot be used to gain insight in the minds of people and their perceptions (Creswell, 2003). Quantitative data, on the other hand, addresses this problem, but alone it cannot provide a strong background for the research (Goddard & Melville, 2004).Therefore, a combination of both the methods that is a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods will be used to carry out this research. The role and impact of cultural factors on financial reporting and compliance with IFRS of firms in Egypt can be analyzed by using quantitative and qualitative research. Qualitative and quantitative methods are important for this research. According to Sale, Lohfeld and Brazil (2002) "qualitative research can be used to collect primary data or a firsthand knowledge on the research topic". Although qualitative research can take time to collect this information, qualitative data is usually very accurate. On the other hand, quantitative research method takes into account the secondary data resources such as review of academic journals, articles, books, newspapers, and Internet. This research can provide a deeper understanding of the topic and can be used to analyze the 'for and against arguments'. The combination of both the research methods can help accomplish a more valid and genuine research conclusion.
Research Methodology The research method of a study is a blueprint and plan undertaken to acquire information to complete the research. This research is exploratory because of its nature to define the research problem in an intuitive approach rather than supporting previous research material published on the subject. The research study will comprise of two stages: Stage 1: the respondents will be subjected to a questionnaire comprising of 12 questions, 3 per segment being tested. All the respondents will be asked to mark their opinions on a Likert scale (1-5) with the meaning of each question depending on the context and stance of the question itself. It is possible that two questions with equally opposite scores (1 and 5) may convey one meaning and vice versa. Stage 2: Once stage 1 has been completed, the responses from the questionnaire administration stage will be tallied and a bunch of 100 respondents will be selected randomly, irrespective of their responses. These will be subjected to a semi-structured interview where a set of ten different questions will be administered to them, gauging their opinions and rectifying their answers in stage 1. The objective here would be to cross-match their responses and to identify any biases or hindrances restricting a comprehensive answer in print. There would be informal discussions in this stage which would form the interpretative portions of the research conclusions.
Quantitative methodology Quantitative studies are limited to specific, pre-determined variables. A study should begin with clearly defined questions with the intent of generating statistically significant answers. Edmunson and McManus (2007) have noted that quantitative research begins with testing one or more specific, theoretical hypotheses with a random and representative selection of research participants. Quantitative research is appropriate for this research because it can be used to gain an insight into the attitudes, behaviors and aspirations of the Egyptian firms towards accounting practices. For this purpose, a questionnaire will be a central part of the research (Singh, 2007).
Qualitative methodology Qualitative research methods are appropriate for this research as qualitative research will involve an account of different scholars' views and ideas as well as reasons for the high rate of employment of Egyptian firms in financial sector. For this purpose, secondary methods of data collection such as case studies and literature from the journals, periodicals, articles will be taken into consideration (William & Donnelly, 2006). In addition to this, Internet search will retrieve the latest reports regarding the literature review, and a survey questionnaire will be distributed to provide up to date information. Such an extensive amount of research is necessary to take into account the past and present information on the industry so that the evaluation of future can be objective and not subjective (Sale, Lohfeld & Brazil, 2002).
Population The population consists of all Egyptian accountants and reporting professionals across various industries. Every industry comprises of accounting and financial reporting functions, thus the population for this study would comprise of all accounting and reporting professionals across all industries in Egypt. However, Egypt as a country, has a large population of organizations scattered across its capital, Cairo, Alexandria, Giza, Luxor and Port Said. The geographical distribution of the population is large and it would not be a viable study if the entire population of Egypt were to be considered as a population for the study - then the sampling strategy would have to ensure that there are selections from all of these cities. Thus, for the purpose of simplicity, and assuming an average distribution of the population across all the cities, we will define the population of this study to comprise of accounting and financial reporting professionals in Cairo. The underlying supporting argument to narrow down the population would be the fact that Cairo is an appropriate reflection of the entire Egyptian population of accountants and financial reporters and that the research outcome would not be significantly affected by this decision.
Sampling Strategy The sampling strategy will be based upon the general principles of research governing an exploratory study. The sample will be selected using a stratified random sampling technique. This is to ensure that all groups and industries of Egyptian accountants are represented equally in the research. Furthermore, to increase the efficiency and reliability of this research, the sampling will include all the industries in Egypt - banking, financial services, FMCGs, services, malls, importers, exporters, manufacturing concerns and charities - in their proportions in Cairo. The sample will consist of 150 different organizations, where each organization must provide a minimum of one accountant as part of the survey, and can also provide as many as five different accounting professionals to act as respondents for this research. Therefore, the minimum number of respondents for this survey will be 150 while the potential maximum respondents can be 750. However, we would expect an average of 300 respondents to be part of the survey. It is true that a higher sample size would be more accurate and would reflect the characteristics of the population more closely, however, there needs to be made a balance between the objectivity of the research and the costs associated in dealing with so many responses. The sample will be restricted to 300 responses in the first stage of the study. For the second stage, a handful pick of 100 respondents will be selected from the questionnaire respondents and be made part of the second stage of the research. Once again, the objective is to balance the objectivity and the resources allocated for the research wisely. The respondents will not be discriminated on age, gender or seniority in the organization. This is because the main idea behind conducting the survey is to know why firms enter the financial sector. The responses from the respondents of other sectors will be analyzed to know their perception about the employment in the financial sector. The respondents have a complete overview and the implications of the seriousness of the survey so that an objective answer is obtained. The respondents are given full surety about the confidentiality of their responses and the information is not shared with anyone except for the research purposes (Taylor, 2006).
Accomplishment of Study Goals The proposed research method and the research design is the best choice for the accomplishment of the proposed research goals and objectives. This is because, this research design and method will cover every aspect of the topic and its variables using a simple but in-depth descriptive analysis of the firms in Cairo. The most important part of the research is the review of different literature available so that a comprehension literature is available to answer the research questions and findings of the survey can validate it. The findings are generalized to entire firms population in Egypt.
Data Collection Data collection refers to the sources used for collection of data that depend on the type of research method chosen (Kothari, 2006). For instance, qualitative data collection will take into account the numeric data of the past and present whereas cross sectional data collection method will consider the data across different regions in a particular time frame (Saunders et al., 2006). Most researches focus on the primary and secondary information collection for data analysis. Primary information will consist of questionnaires from the firms in financial sector. Secondary research will consist of literature review based on academic journals, books, articles, and Internet search (William & Donnelly, 2006). Methodological approach and design is a framework that binds a research together so that the research questions can be analyzed effectively. The reasons and future of the Egyptian firms employment in financial sector can be analyzed by using two most commonly research methods together known as qualitative method and quantitative method. This will be done to ensure a strong and authenticate research so that it can become a basis for future researches. The research design consists of questionnaire and literature review. The literature review comprises of academic journals, articles, books and reports related to the role of cultural factors and their influence on accounting and financial reporting in Egypt and in particular employment in the financial sector. The aim and purpose behind the collection of such an extensive data is to gain knowledge on the employment environment for firms and how it is shaping their career choices. Further, the objective of the research is not to form a definitive conclusion on the subject but rather provide suggestions and assertions that can either be affirmed or denounced by further researchers (William & Donnelly, 2006). Data Collection Techniques For the purpose of literature review, the data collection will consist of periodicals, journals, articles, newspapers, books and, Internet for the last five years. Consideration of all these sources of secondary information is necessary because each source contains different type of information and literature to complete this research (William & Donnelly, 2006). Because secondary research includes all these techniques of data collection, no other techniques is necessary. These techniques can provide the trends and changes in the employment world in Egypt and particularly in the financial industry. To provide more ground to the literature review findings, primary research will use questionnaire that is closed end survey so that verification of variables under study is done. The need to reduce bias and errors in data collection is necessary and thus care has to be taken when conducting the research. The data collection techniques should be independent of each other and any contrasting research material should not be hidden as a result of confirmation bias. Further, over-confidence bias should be eradicated to the largest extent possible by reducing a possible conclusion right at the beginning of the study and keeping all options for conclusions open till the end (Kothari, 2008).
Data Collection The collection of data relating to the employment environment in the Middle Eastern countries is necessary that narrows down to Egypt and firms employment public financial sector in the country. The data collection will focus on all the industries existing in Cairo but on a pro-rate basis to ensure a fair reflection of the population in the sample. The data collection will be done in stage 1 by administering the questionnaire through email and by following up with the organizations to fill in their responses. The second stage would involve focus group sessions covering the respondents in a facilitating manner in groups of ten to incorporate a healthy dialogue.
Instruments Different researches use different data collection instruments. The survey questionnaire is the most useful in terms of serving the purpose of this dissertation because it allows the collection of subjective participant attitudes in a numerical format through the use of a Likert style questionnaire. "The questionnaire is a favored tool of many of those engaged in research, and it can often provide a cheap and effective way of collecting data in a structured and manageable form (Edmondson & McManus, 2008). The purpose of the survey questionnaire that will be used is to collect data to measure the dependent variable, firms employment and the independent variables such as job empowerment, job security, society attitudes, and career choices. Time frame is limited for this study and thus it does not allow an elaborate process of collection of interview data with a large participant sample and subsequent qualitative analysis of the data (Kothari, 2008). Research Objectives Null Hypothesis: Egyptian accountants are more likely to value statutory control. The effect of cultural factors affecting four accounting facets - statutory control, uniformity, conservatism and secrecy - on accounting practices. There is nothing called perfect data. However, what makes the extraction of information from data so tedious a process? Empirical Research Statistical Tools and Profilers Research Parameters Primary Research and First-hand data collection: Stage I: Questionnaire administered to 300 respondents. Stage II: Interviews of 100 respondents. IFRS accounting rules and regulations Literature Review Secondary Research: Books, journal articles, internet & unpublished researches. Diagram 1: Conceptual Model - Hypothesis 1 Research Objectives Null Hypothesis: Egyptian accountants are more likely to value uniformity. The effect of cultural factors affecting four accounting facets - statutory control, uniformity, conservatism and secrecy - on accounting practices. There is nothing called perfect data. However, what makes the extraction of information from data so tedious a process? Empirical Research Statistical Tools and Profilers Research Parameters Primary Research and First-hand data collection: Stage I: Questionnaire administered to 300 respondents. Stage II: Interviews of 100 respondents. IFRS accounting rules and regulations Literature Review Secondary Research: Books, journal articles, internet & unpublished researches. Diagram 2: Conceptual Model - Hypothesis 2 Research Objectives Null Hypothesis: Egyptian accountants are more likely to value conservatism. The effect of cultural factors affecting four accounting facets - statutory control, uniformity, conservatism and secrecy - on accounting practices. There is nothing called perfect data. However, what makes the extraction of information from data so tedious a process? Empirical Research Statistical Tools and Profilers Research Parameters Primary Research and First-hand data collection: Stage I: Questionnaire administered to 300 respondents. Stage II: Interviews of 100 respondents. IFRS accounting rules and regulations Literature Review Secondary Research: Books, journal articles, internet & unpublished researches. Diagram 3: Conceptual Model - Hypothesis 3 Research Objectives Null Hypothesis: Egyptian accountants are more likely to value secrecy. The effect of cultural factors affecting four accounting facets - statutory control, uniformity, conservatism and secrecy - on accounting practices. There is nothing called perfect data. However, what makes the extraction of information from data so tedious a process? Empirical Research Statistical Tools and Profilers Research Parameters Primary Research and First-hand data collection: Stage I: Questionnaire administered to 300 respondents. Stage II: Interviews of 100 respondents. IFRS accounting rules and regulations Literature Review Secondary Research: Books, journal articles, internet & unpublished researches. Diagram 4: Conceptual Model - Hypothesis 4