The question above is of historical nature; it requires skimming through and analysing historical information before coming up with a concrete response to the research question. There are certain steps that are mandatory to historical research. The first step is the recognition of the need to carry out a historical research; in our case, it is in order to answer the question. The second step is to gather as much information as possible about the research question. Forming of hypothesis then follows in order to connect the dots between various factors. Data organization and verification then follows. The researcher then selects and organizes the most pertinent pieces of information. Lastly, the researcher needs to make conclusions from the collected data and information. All these steps require the employment of data collection techniques that are outlined below. Each explanation of the method is accompanied by the hindrances of employing the method (Blaxter et al. 2006).
The historical method involves analysis of both primary and secondary sources of information with an aim of forming a conclusion about a certain historical phenomenon. Primary sources are first-hand sources of information; they are the first pieces of evidence about a particular historical phenomenon. Primary sources can be photos, personal diaries, and eyewitness reports. Secondary sources, on the other hand, are the authors’ opinions and judgments about the primary sources (Punch 2009). Secondary sources come from a person who never participated or observed the actual event.
Strengths and weaknesses of the historical method
Primary sources are the most reliable source of information that a researcher can have. However, they are hard to come by. In our research question, the researcher has to skim through thousands of newspaper articles to get into terms with the situation in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. This means that the historical method is cumbersome, tiresome and takes a lot of time. However, the information obtained using historical methods is undisputed. The researchers also have to obtain a number of credible sources with the same message before declaring the information credible.
Solutions to the problems of the historical method
The major problem with the historical method is reliability. How do you establish and ascertain the credibility of the sources you have at your disposal. A comparison, using a large pool of sources, is the best alternative. If a majority of the sources provides the same conclusion, then the materials can be said to be credible. The credibility of the author can also be used to gauge the reliability of the information.
The events of the Arabic uprising happened in three countries over the last three years. Memories of the ensuing events are thus still fresh in the memories of the citizens of those countries. Any serious researcher would prioritize talking to a handful of citizens from that region. An interview is a dialogue between two people, with one leading the conversation. The aim of an interview is to gather first-hand information about a particular event from a person who is directly affected by the event.
Challenges and their solutions
The major issue in conducting an interview is the formulation of questions you are likely to ask the respondent. Careful pre-planning is therefore necessary. The researcher must have a team of qualified assistants who will aid in the formulation of the research plan. The researcher must clarify the objectives of the study and then formulate the questions in relation to the objectives. Recruiting a respondent is also a hurdle, given that most individuals will not want to sit and be asked questions that do not directly benefit them. The interviewer must therefore familiarize him/herself with the would-be respondents and convince them as to the importance of the interview (Powney & Watts 1987). He has to plan the time for the interview in advance.
If the interviewer has selected an interviewee, he or she has no guarantee that the respondent is not biased while answering the questions. To remove bias in the responses of the respondent, the interviewer must develop a good working relationship with the interviewee. He has to learn the background of the interviewee to determine whether the respondent has a reason for giving misleading information.
Language barrier between the respondent and interviewer is yet another problem. If the researcher does not speak or understand Arabic, he or she has to obtain an interpreter. Information passed via an interpreter is in most cases biased. To avert this, the researcher must do a digital recording of the interview with an aim of doing an extra interpretation in the future.
USE OF QUESTIONAIRRES
The research question looks at the impact of the Arabic uprising in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. The word impact can be interpreted as the effects of the uprising on the lives of the citizens of these three countries. Questionnaires can be used to focus the interviews on certain aspects, such as health, politics, freedom, access to education and basic human wants (Peterson 2000).
Questionnaires serve the same purpose as interviews, but are more specific to certain issues. For example, one question can be: since the end of the uprising, do you feel more free?; is it now possible to fight for your rights without fear of dictatorship and intimidation?, and so on.
Challenges and their solutions
Questionnaires are difficult to administer, especially if the area to be covered is geographically huge. Such an undertaking can take lots of time and money. The researcher has to employ statistical sampling in his or her research. Although it might harm the overall aim of the research, so as to reduce the time and cost, the researcher should pick one of the three countries and conduct a detailed questionnaire exercise. The results of the picked country can then be extrapolated to the remaining two nations.
Another problem with the administration of questionnaires is illiteracy. The would-be respondents would have to know how to read and write if they are to be of any use to the researcher. The researcher will be biased in his selection if he chooses to select only the literate people (Dornyei & Taguchi 2010). To solve this problem, the researcher should fill in the questionnaires on behalf of the illiterate respondent. Language barrier, just like in interviews, is also a headache to researchers (Peterson 2000). The questions have to be in language that the respondent can understand, speak, read, and write.
Analysing the answers in the filled questionnaires in order to reach at a conclusion is the daunting task of the whole process (Beiske 2002). If the questions were in a language that the researchers did not understand, the process might even take longer, as the responses must be translated before data mining.
The method used for research analysis determines the credibility of the inferences made from the research. Some users of the research information may prefer historical methods, others interviews, while others would prefer questionnaires. It is the duty of the researcher to choose a method that satisfies both his needs as a researcher and the needs of the users.