Research MethodologyAs the processes of digital transformation vary depending on the business sector,the research is supported by an interpretivist approach. This approach makes use ofthe subjective paradigms that are already existent in the social world to recognisetheir presence, to induce them, and utilise them as the basis of a new discussion ortheory (Gold, 2012). In order to formulate an in-depth interpretation resulting innew knowledge, Packard (2017) suggests the use of external sources that pertainsto ‘human experience’ and internal sources that refer to one’s ‘imagination’. Froman epistemological perspective, this research adopts an interpretivist approach as itseeks to make sense of the subjective and socially constructed expressions. This willhelp to make sense of digital transformation processes and support understanding ofthe impact COVID-19 is having on organisations undergoing or considering digitaltransformation (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2016). Having an understanding ofphilosophical assumptions has a significant impact on exploring effective approachesto the research investigation (Johnson and Clark, 2006)Research Strategy and DesignThis research project adopts a qualitative research strategy which is often associatedwith interpretivist philosophical assumptions (Denzin and Lincoln, 2011). Thesuggested primary data collection methods are semi-structured interviews, whichare applicable as they are vital to derive a better understanding of the currentclimate of digital transformation and allow understanding of the implications of theCOVID-19 pandemic on businesses undergoing digital transformations. The benefitsof using semi-structured interviews allows for a predetermined set of questions to beanswered that address the overall research objectives, but also allows for a higherdegree of flexibility compared to structured interviews (Longhurst, 2016).Participants will be selected through purposive sampling, a non-probability samplingtechnique. This technique allows the selection of clients of the business who haveknowledge or experience in helping to explain the research question (Bernard,2002), specifically participants that are proficient and well-informed (Creswell andPlano Clark, 2011) on the subject of digital transformation and have experience ofworking with businesses who are transitioning through COVID-19 (Etikan, Musa andAlkassim, 2016). Using purposive sampling therefore supports the selection ofparticipants that possess the relevant knowledge on the implications of COVID-19 ondigital transformation (Tong, 2007). The semi-structured interviews will befacilitated online, due to the government restrictions in place due to coronavirus(GovUK, 2020). The interviews will be scheduled at a time convenient for theparticipants. The purpose of the research will be discussed with the business clients,and participants will be asked to sign a consent form. Ethical standards will bemaintained throughout the data collection process with submission to NBS for ethicalapproval prior to the start of the research process. The participant’s anonymity andconfidentially was ensured for all participants to establish a safe and trustfulatmosphere (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2016). Given the governmentrestrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the interviews will held online andvideo meeting software utilised to facilitate and record the interviews.Thematic coding will be used in this research as it allows systemic simplification ofthe collected data. Codes, identified in the literature review and summarised in theconceptual framework, will be applied to the transcripts of the interviews (Gibbs,2018). Through an inductive process, each code will be used as a category toidentify further sub-codes in the transcribed interviews (Waring and Wainwright,2008). Thematic coding, as an analysis method, therefore allows for simplifying andstructuring of the interview data and help identify the main issues surroundingdigital transformation from the perspective of the clients of the business.
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