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3.1 Introduction

In this chapter, various methods employed in this study to answer the research questions appropriately and achieve set objectives are described. The first three parts describe the research design, followed by the research approach, and then the study population. The fourth part describes the sample and sampling procedure to use. The last parts describe variables and statistical analysis used to analyze data, the questionnaire design, and data collection instrument.

3.2 Research Design

This part presents the overall strategy chosen for integration of various components of the study in a coherent and logical way to effectively address the research questions and the research problem. This study is intended at developing a model to improve procurement time on PPP projects in Nigeria. Research design constitutes a blueprint for the analysis, measurement, and data collection. In this study, to obtain evidence that is relevant to the research problem, the study will specify the type of evidence needed to evaluate a program, test a theory, and give an accurate description of a phenomenon. This will lead to the drawing of strong and convincing conclusion and also adequately address the research problem. According to Creswell & Creswell (2017), research design aims at providing a solution to the appropriate methodological approaches to answering research questions and also the provision of a solution to the research questions being investigated. The study also logically integrates all other research components such as instruments and measurement tools, data analysis, and data collection to help in effectively tackling the research problem.

The research questions to be addressed and the research problem to be solved determines the method to be used in conducting research (Marczyk, DeMatteo & Festinger, 2017). This study employs two common research approaches; qualitative and quantitative methods. Quantitative research design uses some observations and numerical data to explain and examine the reflection of observation. On the other hand, qualitative research design uses observation and non-numerical data to explain the meaning and organization of relationships (Kratochwill, 2013).  Quantitative research deals with sampling or study population and hence giving room for methodological planning before data collection begins. In quantitative research, the core roots for analyzing relationships and drawing conclusions are the research variables. In most instances, the relationships involve a dependent and independent variable, but in some cases where the relationship is complex, intervening or mediating variable is introduced (Cresswell, 2014). An intervening variable is useful in explaining the relationship between variables. The most appropriate method of studying variables is using quantitative method since it allows obtaining of the appropriate outcome by testing variables with the help of theories. The nature of the research questions and research problem in this study requires the use of quantitative research method to help in evaluating dependent and independent variable relates, and also to evaluate causal relationships between the dependent, the mediating, and the independent variables. The quantitative methods employed comply with procurement regulatory guidelines of Nigeria.

This study has four research objectives: the first one is identifying and ranking the determinants of procurement time on PPP projects. The next objective is investigating the relationship between determinants of PPP structure of arrangement and time. The third objective is examining the mediating effect of central government financing between determinants of PPP arrangement’s structure and time performance of projects in Nigeria. Relative Importance Index (RII) was used in analyzing factors influencing procurement time on PPP projects. The last objective is to develop a mediation model for the relationship between time performance on PPP projects and determinants of the PPP arrangement's structure with central government financing as the mediating variable. This objective was achieved through tests of the coefficient of the mediation results.

3.3 Research strategies

According to Kratochwill (2013), a researcher uses a research strategy to answer the research questions. The research objectives and questions thus guide the choice of research strategy. Other factors determining the choice of research strategies include philosophical underpinnings, availability of time, and the extent of existing knowledge. There are seven types of research strategies namely; case studies, ethnography, surveys, experiments, action research, archival research, and grounded theory. Action research focuses on the purpose of the research (Cresswell, 2014) and hence the role of the researcher here is within the research study. Ethnography explain and describe the research subjects and requires a lot of time. Archival research involves analyzing data collected for different purposes to determine the implications of the same. Experiments are used in studying casual links and examining whether a change in independent variable causes the dependent variable to change (Kratochwill, 2013). The survey enables a researcher to gather a huge amount of data from a population. Various sources of evidence are used in studying contemporary phenomenon under case studies. Gaining in-depth insight into the context of research is enabled by this strategy. Grounded theory is adopted to help in explaining and predicting a behavior and it involves basing on a theoretical framework to develop new theories.  The above research strategies are useful because they enable the researcher to answer questions of the research and hence shaping the structure and flow of the study.

This research is carried for explanatory reasons because its aim is to develop a mediation model through identification of effects of central government financing on determinants of PPP arrangements structure that affect procurement time of PPP projects in Nigeria. Survey research strategy is thus appropriate in this study. This research employed a survey research strategy and structured questionnaires to collect data from the participants. Another reason for choosing method is that the targeted population is large and hence selected sample can be used in generalizing outcomes. This strategy is also appropriate because the study also aims at developing a model for the mediation effects of central government financing on determinants of the PPP arrangement's structure that affect time performance of PPP projects in Nigeria.

It is important to state unit of analysis in any research. In this study, data collection and analysis were conducted at the individual level thus the individual was the unit of analysis. The individuals that will participate in the study include government officials involved in the negotiation of PPP projects, bankers, PPP practitioners, Head of selected PPP units in Ministries Department and Agencies (MDA’s) in Nigeria, and PPP contractors. These individuals are appropriate and suitable to respond to the research questions properly. This study’s research objectives and questions have a close relationship with professional services and duties of stakeholders involved in PPP procurement and deals directly with determinants of PPP arrangement structure with factors affecting procurement time on PPP projects. Recent research studies used government officials involved in negotiations of PPP projects to investigate factors affecting procurement time on PPP projects and hence using them in this thus is appropriate.

3.4 Population of the Study

            According to Gray (2013), any research involving human beings needs to compose a detailed and clear definition of the study population. Defining the population of the study is important in determining individuals who are eligible for the study. It is also useful in assuring the overall validity of the study results. Creswell & Creswell (2017) defined the research population as a large collection of objects or individuals who are under study. Large sizes of the population always make researchers not to test every individual in the population since it consumes a lot of time and costly.  Gray (2013) claimed that targeting population that will answer research questions is important. Also, sampling technique to be used determines the nature of research population.

            This study targets government officials involved in PPP projects in Nigeria and PPP contractors. The reason for choosing government officials and contractors is because they are critical in determining procurement time on PPP projects. This study considered individuals from all parts of Nigeria, especially in Northern Nigeria. The study focuses on those parts of Nigeria having most PPP procurement experts. The central part of Nigeria has many PPP experts compared to other parts of the country and hence is the major part that the study focuses to obtain information on factors affecting procurement time and finding ways to improve it. Another reason for focusing on the capital city of Nigeria is because some contractors have abandoned projects prior to completion (Olusola Babatunde, Opawole & Emmanuel Akinsiku, 2012) and hence there is a need for knowing what made them do so.

 The study selected appropriate stakeholders to help in analyzing the problem and hence serving as the unit of analysis. The instrument measures central government financing of PPP projects based on PPP arrangement structure and procurement