Research Methodology

Research Methodology


Assessing the Challenges Faced by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Malawi

The Case for Blantyre City, Malawi

Robert Alexander Cheleuka

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[Quantitative Methods: UU-Doc -801]

Table of Contents

Research Problem Statement 1

Research Purpose Statement………………………………………………………………2

Selected Research Method and Justification………………………………………………3

Research Questions or Hypothesis………………………………………………..………4

Intended Data Collection tools and Analysis………………………………….…….……5

Sampling Method to be Used……………………………………………………………………………………….8


Research Problem Statement

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are a catalyst for national development. Edwin & Ozkaya (2020), claimed that well managed SMEs are the economic powerbase to stimulate economic growth of a country. However, the current situation with Malawi MSMEs is different according to Majanga (2015) who described that challenges facing them range from poor management of the enterprises due to lack of business skills, not advanced in technology, poor access to finances. Lack of connectivity to local and international markets and political affiliations in this case if the entrepreneur is not affiliated to any political party, it becomes difficult to have business with the government or well established institutions (Kaonga ,2018).Carter (2012) described restriction of access to markets as a hindrance to MSMEs. MSMEs face competitive challenges related to size and distortions in markets poses a major challenge as well.MCCCI (2017) added that lack of adequate skills in first time entrepreneurs leads to business failure as most of the entrepreneurs start businesses with the wrong reasons and also poor roads which entrepreneurs use to transport their produce are not in good condition. There are also frequent power cuts in rural areas and load shedding in urban areas. Malawi Government (2012) also describe the HIV pandemic, inadequate business skills, lack of finance, growth and registration procedures as some of the causes of MSMEs failure in Malawi. Various studies reveal that most of small businesses start every year but significant numbers of them fail right in their infancy stage Biyase (2009), Fatoki and Smit (2011). Undoubtedly, the most recent covid-19 pandemic will have an additional negative effect on the MSMEs.Therefore, the purpose of this study is to analyze challenges faced by MSMEs in Blantyre district in Malawi.

Research Purpose Statement

The Schumpeter Theory of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The purpose of this mixed method study is to assess the Challenges Faced by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Malawi to be specific in Blantyre. As Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises have a great impact on the economy of Blantyre, and the whole nation as well through creation of jobs, product and service provision to the public among others, assessing the challenges that these Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises faces will have a positive effect, as the study will identify challenges that these entrepreneurs face and come up with possible solution to the problems. The overall objective of this study is to examine the challenges faced by MSMEs in Malawi and answer the main research question. This study will employ a mixed method approach thus qualitative and quantitative approach since this will help to get opinions as to challenges faced by MSMEs and also have quantifiable data on the same. The study will also employ a questionnaire for collecting data in quantitative approach and interviews and Focus Group Discussion for qualitative approach as data collection tools. The participants will be randomly and purposively sampled both from urban and rural set ups. These participants will be every entrepreneurs both that have physical business establishments and those who have no-physical business establishments. The participants will be within the age range of 20 and 45 years. Both male and female participants will be targeted and also belonging to any nationality and tribe regardless of any political affiliation. This age group has been targeted because it is the age group of people that is very active in business affairs.

Selected Research Method and Justification

This study will employ a mixed method approach which is also called triangulation thus qualitative and quantitative in nature. Creswell (2005) defines qualitative study as a type of research in which the researcher relies on the view of participants, asks broad, general questions, collects data consisting largely of words from participants, describes and analyses these words for themes, and conducts the inquiry in a subjective, biased manner and in a natural setting. The researcher becomes the instrument for data collection.

However, Saunders et al 2012 explains that quantitative research examines relationships between variables, which are measured numerically and analysed using a range of statistical techniques and Zikmund, Babin, B,Carr, & Griffin,( 2010) assert that Quantitative Research Approach addresses research objectives through empirical assessments that involve numerical measurements and analysis.

The combination of qualitative and quantitative approach makes the study to be reliable and valid. The weaknesses from one study (either qualitative or quantitative) can be overcome by the strength of the other study approach as each approach has its strengths and weaknesses. Each approach is useful; qualitative study helps the researcher to get more views from the participants since the participant will be given chance to explain according to his experiences and behavior or views of participants are expressed (Choy,2014). While quantitative study involves the collection of statistics data so that the information can be quantified or statistically analyzed. This quantitative study approach is also reliable and takes a short period to administer and analyses as well as a positive side (Creswell,2005).

Research Questions or Hypotheses

General Objective

Generally, the study intends to assess challenges facing the growth of micro and small and medium enterprises, a case study of Blantyre City and rural in Malawi.

Research Questions

This study aims at answering the following questions;

i. How does technology influence the growth of MSMEs in Blantyre City?

ii. How does training and development influence the growth of MSMEs in

Blantyre City?

iii. What is the influence of marketing on social economic and economic

development of MSMEs in Blantyre City?


Ho1a: Technology influences the growth of MSMEs

Ho1b: Technology does not influence the growth of MSMEs

Ho2a: Training and Development influences the growth of MSMEs

Ho2b: Training and development does not influence the growth of MSMEs

Ho3a: Marketing has an influence on social and economic development on MSMEs

Ho3b: Marketing has no influence on social and economic development on MSMEs

Intended Data Collection Tool and Analysis

The researcher will use both primary and secondary data. Data collection tool for quantitative research approach will be the structured questionnaires. This will be chosen because it is quicker and cheaper than face to face interview and has high measurement validity (Sanders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012). The questionnaires will be closed ended. The qualitative research approach will use in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The process entails asking questions, listening to and recording the answers, and then posing additional questions to clarify or expand on a particular issue. The goal is to explore in depth a respondent’s point of view, their behavior and opinions (Sanders, etal, 2012). Questions are open-ended and respondents are encouraged to express their own perceptions in their own words. Data analysis will be done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) package. Whereas qualitative data analysis will followed an approach of analytical induction. This analytical induction refers to observing similarities among various social phenomena to develop concepts or ideas through a systematic method.Considering the research topic, problem statement and purpose of the study, the researcher will employ different ethical measures in order to safe guard the participants. According to Celling (2015), beneficence will be observed. The researcher will conduct his research in a manner that will safeguard the participants and the public by doing good to the participants regardless of age, race, religious background or education level and also observe justice (Fouka and Manntzous,2018). Consent will be obtained from the participants (Resnik,D,2015).Trustfulness and confidentiality will also be observed Participants will be informed that they have a right to privacy. Participants will also be anonymous (Cellings,2015).

Sampling Method to be Used

When the researcher wants to conduct the study in the selected field, then he needs to select the appropriate approach to be employed. The researcher will select either probability sampling or non-probability sampling approach or a combination of both. Before selecting a sampling method for a research study, the researcher has to understand the aim of the study and then choose the right sampling method. For this research, the researcher will employ both probability sampling and non-probability sampling because he will employ both quantitative and qualitative research approaches (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009).Probability sampling method, is when participants will be selected randomly. On this one, the researcher will employ systematic random sampling as the researcher will use both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Systematic random sampling fits well with quantitative research method approach (Sushani, 2017).The researcher will also employ non-probability sampling method. The researcher will use a purposive non-probability sampling method because the researcher wants deliberate selection of the participants whom he does not want to miss any more. Purposive sampling technique is described by Saunders et al., (2007) as “the selection of the sample on the basis of the researcher’s own knowledge of the population, its elements and the nature of the research aims”. It involves personal judgment of the researcher. Further, purposive sampling is a common technique used in similar qualitative studies due to lack of accurate and up-to-date sampling frames. It confines to specific type of people who can provide the desired information, either because they are the ones who have it, or confirm to some criteria set by the researcher (Sushani, 2017).Purposive sampling technique is most convenient in this study because of the nature of the study. Since respondents selected will be those running small businesses. The study is targeting Micro, small and medium enterprises in Blantyre both rural and urban, A total of 200 partricipants is targeted with age ranges from 20 to 45 years.

A sample size of 100 participants made up of 25 who own barber shops and saloons,25 who own hard ware shops,25 who own restaurants,25who have small farms growing different crops.

Data analysis methods

The data collected during the study was analyzed using Microsoft office excel software because of its ability to provide graphical and tabulation presentation of data analysis. The data analyzed was in form of both qualitative and quantitative data. Content analysis was also used to analyze qualitative data to reveal intents, motivations and behavior of people in the chosen sample. According to Saunders et al., (2007) , content analysis can be done quantitatively as well as qualitatively and computer programs can be used to assist the researcher.


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