An Investigation of the Perceptions of, Attitudes towards, and the Use of Personal Protective Equipment by Stevedoring Personnel at Doha Port


The methodology section of a research project is crucial because it provides the information needed to ascertain the validity of the findings reported. Thus, it is imperative for researchers to provide a clear description of the methodology, including the rationale for choosing a particular method (Cozby, 2012).

The research methodology refers to the guidelines and tasks that help the researcher in developing reliable and valid findings. The methodology adopted by the researcher is determined by the nature of the study questions as well as the context of the research (Cozby, 2012). To this end, this chapter describes the research process adopted by the researcher to answer the research questions and the rationale for the selected methodological approaches. The research questions, limitations, objectives, variables, data sources, data collection, and data analysis are described.

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Research Question

Problem Statement

Cargo handling operations at sea ports present a potentially dangerous environment. The maritime sector prioritizes efficient and timely operations at the expense of safety. As a result, port workers operate at a highly hazardous environment, which increases the risk of injuries, respiratory illnesses, and sometimes can even cause death (Alderton, 2013). The risk for port workers is further aggravated by the high incidence of human errors, especially in stevedoring operations that involve complex maneuvers of huge machinery. One of the crucial human aspects worth exploring in the stevedoring environment relates to the utilization of PPE (personal protective equipment) among stevedoring personnel at the Port of Doha. Although PPE might help in minimizing of the number of accidents in stevedoring operations, the use of PPE is likely to be hindered by limitations such as causing extra strains and discomfort (Alderton, 2013). Therefore, it is imperative to explore the attitudes and perceptions that stevedores have towards the use of PPE.

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Research Questions

The main question that this research seeks to address is:
What are the perceptions of and attitudes towards the use of PPE by stevedores at Doha Port?

In order to answer these main questions, the following sub-questions will be answered:
Sub questions

  • What perceptions do stevedores at Doha Port have of PPE?
  • What perceptions do stevedores at Doha Port have of safety?
  • To what extent do stevedores at Doha Port use PPE for safety?
  • How do stevedores perceive the relation between using PPE and safety?


This research comprises of certain limitations. The first limitation encountered by the researcher during the research process involves the difficulty of recruiting participants. In this respect, convincing participants to participate in this research turned out to be problematic. Participants cited concerns such as the lack of time and confidentiality as well as other privacy concerns. As a result, the researcher was only able to collect data from few stevedoring personnel at the Port of Doha as it was not possible to conduct interviews at their workplace as this is a risk in itself. Only a few stevedores agreed to interviews outside of their work settings. Hence, there is the possibility that the researcher did not gather the adequate information concerning the topic under investigation.

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Another limitation in this research stems from the self-report aspect of the data collection instrument used in this study. As a result, it is not possible to guarantee the truthfulness of the information provided by participants. The researcher can only operate under the assumption that participants were honest during the data collection process. In order to enhance the level of honesty among participants, the researcher provided them with a guarantee of confidentiality and privacy. Self-reported data raises issues regarding the validity of the research.

Other limitations in this research are inherently associated with the applied methodological approach. In this regard, the first methodological limitation is the inability to generalize the findings of this study, which can be attributed to the qualitative nature of this study (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). In addition, the use of semi-structured interviews raises reliability issues because of the difficulty in replicating the methodology, since it is not standardized.


The aim of this research project was to conduct a detailed investigation on the attitudes and perceptions of stevedores at the Port of Doha towards the use of PPE. In order to achieve this objective, the study sought to explore the opinion of stevedores regarding the use of PPE in order to develop a theoretical understanding of the use of PPE among stevedoring personnel. The qualitative research method applied in this research helped in highlighting the practical implications that can be adopted with the aim of encouraging stevedores to use PPE. Thus, this study sought to provide recommendations that the Port of Doha can implement to enhance the workplace safety culture. When the perceptions and attitudes of stevedores towards PPE are understood, the management of the Port of Doha can adopt strategies aimed at encouraging its stevedoring personnel to use PPE.


The constructs outlined in the research question include stevedores’ perceptions’ of PPE; their perceptions of safety; as well as understanding of the relationship between PPE and safety; and the extent to which stevedores use PPE. The first three constructs place the emphasis on “perceptions.” In addition, since the qualitative approach was adopted for this research project, the researcher neither manipulated any variables nor imposed his/her operational definitions of the variables on respondents. Instead, the researcher allowed participants to develop their own meanings. According to Creswell (2011), assessing participants’ perceptions using qualitative interviewing needs the utilization of open-ended questions to ensure that participants offer their own opinions, experiences, and views with a little influence from the researcher (Silverman, 2013). Perception is a multi-dimensional construct comprising of behavioral elements and psychological aspects such as attitude and emotion. Perception is defined as a process, wherein people select, organize, and understand the information within their surrounding in order to devise a meaningful worldview.

Research Design

The research design refers to the plan that outlines the procedures needed to answer the research questions and achieve the study objectives (Vogt, Gardner, & Lynne, 2012). Therefore, the applied research design depends on the research questions posed and influences the type and source of data to be collected. As a result, the research design acts as a guide for the data collection process. There are three forms of research design that can be adopted in any form of the research inquiry, which include the qualitative design, quantitative, or a mixed methods design. The qualitative research design is typified by the collecting and analyzing the qualitative (textual) data, whereas the quantitative design concentrates on collecting and analyzing the numerical data using statistical tools and techniques (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010).

The research method chosen for any study depends on the underlying nature of the investigation. A research can be explorative, descriptive, analytical, or predictive (Babbie, 2010). In this regard, the qualitative research design was chosen in order to conduct an in-depth investigation. Moreover, the qualitative research design was the most suitable, since it facilitates a comprehensive understanding of using the investigated – stevedores’ perceptions regarding the use of PPE. Another rationale for the choice of the qualitative design stems from the fact that this study is predominantly explorative. Cozby (2012) recommends the use of qualitative designs for the explorative research and quantitative designs for confirmatory, descriptive, and predictive studies. This study did not entail testing of a predetermined set of hypothesis; thus, there was no need to utilize quantitative approaches. On the contrary, the emphasis of this research was on utilizing open and flexible methods that enabled the researcher to perform an in-depth exploration of the phenomenon being investigated. This study can be described as explorative, because it sought to develop a fresh ad novel insight in terms of the stevedoring personnel’s perception of the PPE’s use; as such, the researcher had to rely significantly on how participants described their experiences using words.

The particular qualitative design that was applied in this study is phenomenology, which is characterized by allowing participants to provide a description of their lived experience concerning the issue that is being investigated (Cozby, 2012). In this regard, the aim of the phenomenological inquiry will be to allow stevedoring personnel to describe their experiences and attitudes when using PPE in their work environment. Silverman (2013) recommends the use of phenomenology design, when the researcher is seeking to develop a clear, accurate, and comprehensive understanding of a particular human experience. A strength of the phenomenology design is that it produces a rich and compete explanation of human experiences and meanings regarding the issue being investigated (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). This can be attributed to the researcher allowing the findings to emerge on their own rather than imposing one’s preset assumptions during the analysis of data. Additionally, this design ensures that participants provide faithful depictions from the raw experiential information, since the researcher is encouraged to desist from distorting the original meanings highlighted by participants (Creswell, 2011). Furthermore, in phenomenology, the researcher attempts to shield presumptions and bias during all phases of the research with the aim of minimizing his/her influences; hence, a higher level of objectivity is achieved.

The qualitative phenomenological design used in this research was helpful in exploring the trends and themes in regard to the data. The qualitative design was appropriate for this study, since it helped the researcher to explore the essential topic through engaging participants. Participants provided in-depth accounts that comprised of subjective interpretations of safety incidents as well as their perceptions regarding the relationship between the PPE’s use and safety.

Data Sources

There are two types of data, namely primary and secondary data. Primary data refers to that which the researcher gathers firsthand by him/herself, whereas secondary data refers to that which has been collected and documented by other researchers or scholars (Creswell, 2011). Primary data is often gathered through the researcher interacting with participants. Primary data has been described as an effective method of conducting any research, since the researcher gathers raw information that is devoid of manipulation, which subsequently contributes to accurate research findings. Additionally, primary data can be compared with secondary data sources through data triangulation (Creswell, 2011). In this study, data was collected from primary sources, which means that the researcher had to develop procedures for selecting and recruiting participants to provide raw information.
The population, from which the sample for this research was selected, comprised of stevedoring personnel at the Port of Doha. Before embarking on the research, the researcher sought for the permission of the Port of Doha administration to use it as the context of this research. After the permission was granted, the convenience sampling was used for selecting participants, which is a sampling process in terms of which participants are selected based on the ease with which they can be accessed as well as their availability. A convenient sample of 18 stevedores participated in this research. According to Silverman (2013), this amount is sufficient to guarantee the saturation of data, which refers to a point whereby no new information emerges from respondents.

Data Collection and Analysis

The collection of data is a crucial aspect of any research, since it plays an essential role in influencing the outcomes of the research. Thus, it determines the degree to which valid and reliable results are reported. The collection of data was facilitated using the survey strategy, which was characterized by administering questions to respondents using semi-structured interviews as the research tool. The semi-structured interview entails using a set of predetermined questions to guide discussions with respondents (Cozby, 2012). Semi-structured interviews have been found to be effective when conducting in-depth investigations. In addition, they are more flexible, especially when compared with other research instruments like structured questionnaires or interviews, which are rigid (Creswell, 2011); hence, they are inappropriate for explorative research studies. Semi-structured interviews with the participating stevedoring personnel were administered via telephone or face-to-face based on the participants’ preference. Moreover, the semi-structured interviews captured various themes, including stevedores’ perceptions and use of PPE; their thoughts on safety as well as the safety culture; and perceptions regarding the relationship between the use of PPE and safety. The information collected from the interviews was recorded using a digital Dictaphone and later transcribed verbatim using Escribe, which is a software for transcription.

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The analysis of the data was performed using the content analysis in order to facilitate the identification of the dominant themes expressed by participants. An inductive approach was adopted during the analysis of data, which is characterized by the lack of a preset framework for analyzing the data (Creswell, 2011). The content analysis focused on identifying of patterns and relationships between the themes identified in the data. When analyzing the data, the researcher looked at the manner, in which participants responded to an issue, after which responses from various participants regarding the issue were compared. This was achieved using coding that entailed identifying comprehensible data categories.


This research had the objective of conducting a detailed investigation on the perceptions of stevedores at the Port of Doha regarding the use of PPE. The constructs explored included stevedores’ perceptions’ of PPE; safety; and the relationship between PPE and safety; and the extent to which stevedores use PPE. In order to achieve this objective, the qualitative phenomenological inquiry was applied, wherein data was collected from primary sources using semi-structured interviews administered to a convenient sample of 18 stevedores. The data analysis was performed using the content analysis to help in identifying of the dominant themes in the obtained data. A number of limitations were encountered during the research process, which include the difficulty of recruiting participants, lack of guarantee that the self-reported information is truthful, inability to generalize the findings, and reliability issues stemming from the lack of standardization in regard to the data collection instrument.

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