The infinity approach: a case study
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As fourth-year Information Technology students make the transition from under-graduate studies towards a post-graduate degree, an honours research project may be a daunting task (For readers from outside South Africa: the South African ‘honours’ degree is an extension of the classical ‘B.Sc.’ degree which enables a student to commence with Master-studies thereafter. While already considered ‘postgraduate’ in South Africa, the ‘honours’ degree in South Africa is reasonably well comparable to the final study-year in the (longer) U.S.American ‘B.Sc.’ curriculum). At the Vaal Campus of the North-West University a series of lectures are offered in an attempt to guide students to make this transition. Students are firstly introduced to research paradigms and then each of the four prevalent information systems paradigms is focused on, to explain the methodology and methods applicable, and how it may be implemented. Each lecture in the lecture series is accompanied by an assignment. Although many obstacles present themselves in the completion of the honours research projects, a prominent one was identified. It concerns the interpretivist paradigm and specifically the collection of qualitative data with its accompanying data analysis. To assist students, the analogy of the infinity symbol (∞) with an example were used to explain the concept. Important focuses of the explanation include the crossroad faced by researchers when they need to decide on whether they have reached a point of saturation in a study or not. This facilitation supports the gaining of insight into a phenomenon and the implementation of the methodology in collaboration with the selected method to ensure the validity of the research. This is called the ‘infinity approach’. This paper builds on earlier research by implementing a pilot case study as an evaluation of that approach.