PUBH6013 Organisational Knowledge Management In Public Health NGOs: Assignment 2 Answer

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Question :

Subject Code and NamePUBH6013: Qualitative Research Methods for Public Health
AssessmentAssessment 2: Individual Research Proposal
Length1, 500 words (+/- 10%)
Learning OutcomesThis assessment addresses the following learning outcomes:
  1. Understand epistemologies as they relate to qualitative research and when to use qualitative methodology
  2. Critically evaluate different theoretical and methodological approaches to qualitative research
  3. Appreciate cultural and ethical considerations for qualitative research in Public Health
  4. Understand sampling techniques, bias and rigour as they apply to qualitative research


This assessment involves developing a research question, preparing interview and probe questions, identifying four people that you can interview on this topic (for example, your family or friends, colleagues), and reflecting on your motivation and justification of your research proposal.

Step 1:

Develop a research question (similar to the ones you have explored throughout this subject) that supports qualitative exploration of a topic of your choice.

Develop interview and probe questions that will support your investigation into your research topic.

Step 2:

Prepare a research proposal for your qualitative project. You must include:

  • A brief literature review to summarise the existing knowledge in this space, and justify your proposed project.
  • Your research question and the knowledge gap that it will address.
  • A summary of the key elements of your chosen methodology (ie grounded theory, phenomenology etc) and why it is appropriate for exploring your research question.
  • Your methods, including how you will select your participants (in this case, four people whom you already know), and your interview scheme.
  • A personal reflection on your motivation for exploring this research question, and any ethical issues that should be considered (including risk of bias).

Once you have received feedback from your facilitator on your research and interview questions and made any necessary changes, you can start your interviews.

NOTE: Make sure that you have the permission of your interviewees before recording your conversations.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Justification of your research proposal (20%)
  • Summary of methodology and methods (30%)
  • Reflective writing on motivation and ethical considerations (20%)
  • Academic sources (10%)
  • Use of academic conventions (20%)
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Answer :

Organisational Learning & Knowledge Management in Public Health NGOs


The increasing population growth rate across the world has been a major concern for governments & public health experts. This is mainly due to the various kinds of diseases which is affecting the people & the inability of hospitals in dealing with that. In this situation public healthcare has become important owing to its affordable pricing & quality of doctors. World health organization, American Society for Microbiology, Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases are some organizations which are working tirelessly in improving the quality of healthcare (Colbran et al. 2019). The present research will focus on interviewing four managers of two reputed public health NGOs CRDF Global & the Global Health Network. The managers were interviewed through subjective questionnaire & they were directly linked to the organizational learning process. All of them were MBA in HR domain & have been working with these organizations for 15 years.

Literature Review 

Learning by itself is a continuous process which goes on over the lifespan of an individual. It comes from practical as well as academic sources of knowledge. In the words of Silvestri et al. (2018), most successful people never stops learning & gathering knowledge helps them perform well in their work. Some important theories of knowledge management & organizational learning will describe the matter in greater depth & details.

Experimental Learning theory

The theory was developed by Kolb in 1984, which said that learning is basically a four stage cycle which comprises of concrete experience, abstract conceptualization, reflective observation & active experimentation. Gascó-Hernández et al. (2018), was of the opinion that a person understands a life lesson when he/she is facing an adverse situation & the philosophies of life are often guided by these events. So the first point of experience has been explained & then conceptualizing an event based on hearsay, news reports or physical presence completes the idea of a certain event based on which he/she anticipates future turn of events which might not always right. 

Reflective observation is an important source of knowledge where a person needs to evaluate a life event which might come suddenly like an accident on road & the ways people are reacting to it. These give comprehensive viewpoints about human psychology & the learning is all about ‘seeing is believing’ hence physical acts are comprehended as human gestures. As Tsolekile, Schneider, & Puoane (2018), puts it concretely active experimentation which is an extension of reflective learning provides the basic principles of society & its reactions to events which take place on a daily basis. Hence this theory has been accepted by most academic researchers & psychologist due to the broad areas of learning which it had covered. 

Adaptive & Generative Learning Theory

The adaptive theory was formulated by scholar Peter Senge, which said that three mental models are necessary to improve knowledge & learning abilities which includes deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations & images of how individual sees the world. In the words of Flood & Romm (2018), the most significant work has been to differentiate between adaptive & generative learning. The theory focused on adaptive learning as a process of modulating the previously gained knowledge with some new information. This can be explained as induction training into corporate or army unit where previously knowledge is used to upgrade the individual to a level where the organization will be able to utilize him/her. Compared to this Ongolo-Zogo et al. (2018), have clearly said that building new strategies & product lines can be said to be generative learning as these things keep occurring at regular intervals & the mind gets accustomed to take these decisions. So the importance of adaptive learning is important as it builds experiences which are genuine, changes the mindset of individual’s ad tackling difficult conditions become easier. Hence the learning theory has framed the ways through which human beings can impartially build a knowledge base without doubts & fear psychosis in mind. 

Assimilation Theory

The assimilation theory talks about cognitive theories & behavioral approaches to develop knowledge & indulge in a long term learning procedure. The three stages this theory have stressed on includes knowledge acquisition, knowledge sharing & knowledge utilization which improves the overall understanding of acquiring knowledge which can be built for dissemination of positive learning outcomes. As described by Sprinkle & Urick (2018), the development of knowledge can come from internal & external sources & the strength of transformative learning has been the sole purpose of his format. The significance of quick learning process & distributing it to individuals closer to that person helps in developing quality team work & hence is practiced in office environment. The best example can be a product launch where the PR, marketing, technical & operations team all work together to make the launch a successful & so that mistakes can be minimized & the launch can be made successful (Liu, 2018). Self –centered individuals do not follow the rule of sharing knowledge & hence has been found to be on the losing side of any group activity.

Literature Gap 

The analysis of the literature was done from peer reviewed journals & websites. However some of the journals gave repetitive ideas & was not productive enough to contribute additional details in the research. There could have been deeper analysis of the communication theories from professors & experts in that field which unfortunately did not happen. The conflicting opinions on some issues made the selection difficult & references had to be reorganized. Ethical practices were followed as no direct author quotations were picked up & the overall analysis has been kept subjective. This could have been a bit more objective with quantitative methods & proposals.  

Key Elements of Chosen Methodology

The key elements of the research methodology have been framed following the grounded theory which is a systematic methodology by inductive approach. Data is collected & it is then matched with codes or the main research topic to analyze whether the results are coming in the expected direction or not. In the words of Abdi et al. (2018), choosing research methodology needs to be based solely on the purpose & intent of the study. In this case as the public health NGOs were involved the focus was to understand the impact of organizational learning & knowledge management, hence qualitative method was observed through a questionnaire that was sent to the four managers as discussed above. 

The different policymaking decisions of healthcare like prescribing medicines, diagnosis of disease, operating procedures, hygiene, chronic disease handling & a host of other issues have been covered in the questionnaires. It was done to evaluate whether managers working in the health sector believes that there is a positive impact of knowledge & learning in improving the quality of service in these NGOs. So in terms of constructivist ideology which is formed through pragmatic behavior & relative epistemology, information collected by the researcher in the process is a data (Nieberding, Van Dyck & Chittka, 2018). Hence, in order to check the preparedness of the managers in public health NGOs the researcher went ahead in asking critical questions & based on the answers the conclusions & analogies have been drawn. It has improved the depth of understanding & the answers from the managers have given detailed information about the system of healthcare in the modern world.

Selection of participants 

The participants were selected based on experience & expertise on organizational culture, learning process & the effective implementation of knowledge management in daily operations. All the managers had post graduate qualifications in human resource management & were picked up from a probable list of 8-10 senior executives. The shortlisting was done based on their willingness to answer questions, cooperation, knowledge & expertise in dealing with public healthcare issues. Five questions were asked on the importance of knowledge & organizational learning & its impact on improving the performance of public healthcare systems. 

Personal Reflection 

I felt the need to explore the research on behalf of millions of people who are keen to take the help & service of public healthcare but being not sure of the quality prefers private healthcare even at the cost of going financially weak. The middle class population feels that untrained doctors, poor equipment & diagnosis skills along with outdated operating procedures have been the prime issues of people’s lack of confidence in public health NGOs. So learning at the organizational level & knowledge build up for improving service quality has been hailed by the managers as a positive step towards better service. I have conducted this research without any preconceived idea & so no amount of bias was present. So it has been an excellent learning scope for me which I will be able to utilize in the future for further analysis in this field. 


The research has thrown some light on the importance of organizational learning & knowledge management. The managers interviewed clearly said that learning during working process is a great booster for performing better. The research also opened up important issues which have been at the forefront of public concerns in healthcare NGOs & further research in this field would improve improved lessons for researchers.