In this study, I opted for the mixed methods of research approach. This concept mixes both the Qualitative as well as the Quantitative to validate the data. The mixed method, according to Creswell (p.15, 2003, 2nd ed.) originated in 1959 when Campbell and Fiske used it to validate psychological traits. Other scholars have since followed suit, leading to the development of diverse procedures for mixed methods.
The diverse mixed methods are used for different ways of collating and analyzing data, and for different reasons. Some scholars start with a Qualitative method for exploration and end with a Quantitative model to test on the sample population and vice-versa; this is known as Sequential mixed method.
Another is the concurrent mixed procedure, whe
re both the Quantitative as well as the Qualitative methods are used at the same time for analysis of the data. Then we also have the Transformative Mixed Procedure, where the researcher studies through the lens of the particular theoretical perspective with the objective of affecting the result upon the participants.
There are also many different terms used to describe the mixed method which include, “intergrating, synthesis, quantitative and qualitative methods, multi method, multimethodology… but recent writings use the term “mixed methods” (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2003).
The challenge of this mixed method has been taken by researchers and many journal writings replicate the phenomenon favorably, some of whom include: Agar & MacDonald who wrote on Focus Groups and Ethnography, Brannan, J. as well as Tharp & Gallimore, to mention a few.
The choice of the mixed concurrent method for my study is deliberate because it is better suited for the research questions being tested. Moving from the Quantitative claim that Democracies in Emergent Societies are in need of certain basic requirement of “transparency and accountability”, the qualitative assertion is descriptive. In the Nigerian case, relying on the report of Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI), where Nigeria is listed as the second most corrupt nation in the group of those surveyed, we study the dysfunctional democratic society in order to prove or disprove the assertion. In the Quantitative research, we seek the cause and effect connection between “corruption” as a variable and dysfunction as the effect.
The mechanism variable would be to determine to what extent the independent variables of
- Corruption Index
- Presence or lack of Rule of Law
- Free and fair elections
- Money Politics
Affect the quality of Democracy in Nigeria?
On the Qualitative side, because our study is a mixed concurrent method, we will have to also determine the causative factors; why the lack of variables that make for an ideal Democratic structure. A deduction from the sampling of the opinions of Nigerians will have to be made to test the hypotheses that the result of a combination of the above variables is a “Dysfunctional Democracy” which is an oxymoron.
The difficulty is the tools used to analyze especially the qualitative data which consists mainly of representative articles on the subject randomly collated from internet sources. Bob Kerlin sums up this difficulty of interpretation of qualitative data in the following way:
Given the breath of traditions we bring to qualitative inquiry, this may not be surprising but it is tremendously problematic and obfuscates our thinking about how we might effectively use computers for qualitative work…Is the concept of “analysis” or hierarchical representations of data even appropriate to qualitative research, or, as SHANK (1999) suggests, is “synthesis” more reflective of the way we might approach our craft? Graduate students often find themselves caught between these two world views.
While the internal threats to validity may be the random choice of internet sources, the external threats to validity are far more pronounced as there are no scientific methods of judging the rightness of expressed political opinions on the internet.
I sought to compare and contrast the parameters of the normative democratic setting as retained in the studies to the situation in emergent societies, particularly, Nigeria.This effort was geared to suggest solutions where necessary to remedy the situation using the prescriptions as found in the studies.
A situation to be addressed as detailed by all the studies include the reform of the judicial process to ensure the rule of law; the formation and maintenance of a fair and conclusive electoral process that leans less towards “money politics”; government institutions that are transparent and accountable to the citizens by way of independent audits and an active promotion of civic and advocacy groups to freely monitor the activity of government.
The deficiencies in the studies are found in the lack of practical means of resolving the democracy needs of the people without undue hardship to their economic interest.As summed up by Fareed Zakaria:
Across the globe, democratically elected regimes, often ones that have been re-elected or re-affirmed through referenda, are routinely ignoring constitutional limits on their power and depriving their citizens of basic rights. This disturbing phenomenon – visible from Peru to Palestinian territories, from Ghana to Venezuela – could be called “illiberal democracy”.
Zakaria postulates that in order to practice the pure form of democracy which is a representative government for the majority, constitutions for ‘transitional countries’ like Nigeria must be creative and imaginative to forestall the accumulation of power and abuse of office by the power elite. This is an area that needs further study.
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Study in part for MBA program. The footnotes removed to enable publication on Nigerian websites.
Creswell, John W. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc. 2003