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( A study of Enugu Electricity Distributive Company EEDC)


This chapter looks at how data of the research were gathered, the research method employed in the study, the data collection techniques used and the target population, the sample size and sampling technique as well as the data analysis method employed. It finally looks at the procedures and the limitations faced in gathering these evidence.


The study used a descriptive research design because of the nature of the variables that were at hand, to produce data, required for quantitative analysis and to allow simultaneous description of views, perceptions and beliefs at any single point in time (White, 2000).
To achieve the proposed research objectives of highlighting the specific challenges inhibiting SMEs in their quest for growth and expansion in Nsukka, a quantitative research method was adopted which is often the most efficient and cost-effective research method (Gerhardt, 2004).
Many researchers have looked at the issues facing SMEs in their quest for growth in Nigeria. In view of this, the case study approach was adopted, which focused on SMEs in Nsukka in Enugu state.


The data for this study were gathered through the use of primary and secondary data sources.


The primary data sources for this study involved the use of questionnaire. Copies of the structured questionnaire were distributed to SME operators and/or owners for the first hand information for processing towards answering the research questions. The questionnaire was divided into three sections. Section A, which concentrated on the respondents firms such as: Age of the firm
Form of ownership Nature of the firm
Average monthly turnover of the firm

These helped us in identifying the type of SME that we were dealing with, whether or not they were Micro, Small or Medium enterprises as per the definition given in (Aryeetey et al., 1994) research work.
Section B of the questionnaire consisted of various questions geared towards answering the objective of the study. These questions looked at the effect of erratic power supply on SMEs profitability.
The final section also looked at how SMEs plan to overcome the excessive cost of production that is making them uncompetitive against their competitors who are not facing the erratic power supply and what they are doing to overcome these challenges to attain growth and expansion to other areas.


The secondary data were obtained from reviewing journals and literature relevant to the subject matter of this research. Newspaper source and official policy documents of government of Nigeria with relevance to the subject were also consulted. The electronic search site: was employed extensively for up-to-date materials on the topic.

The primary data formed the crux of this study because it afforded the opportunity in obtaining at first hand and relevant responses.


The sampling frame for the study included all the SMEs in Nsukka numbering 2000. The sampling size of the research was 80 which represented both SMEs that suffer from the erratic power supply those that did not because of their backup supply. This helped the researchers to track the effect of the profitability and its effect on growth of SMEs. Eighty
(80) questionnaires were distributed to these SMEs out of which we received responses from

65 respondents, representing about 81% of the response rate which we deemed to be impressive for this study.
The study used a simple random sampling technique which is a probability sampling method which draws a portion of a population so that each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. In other words, in a random sampling all possible samples of fixed size have the same probability of being selected as a result the simple random sample provides us with a sample that is highly representative of the population being studied. A sample drawn at random is unbiased in the sense that no member of the population has any more chance of being selected than any other member. Since the units selected for inclusion in the sample are chosen using probabilistic methods, simple random sampling allows us to make generalizations (i.e., statistical inferences) from the sample to the population.


The instrument employed for this study was a semi-structured questionnaire. Copies of the questionnaire were administered by the researcher to the owners of SMEs in Nsukka to ascertain whether the constant access to alternative sources of energy could lead to the profitability and growth of SMEs.
The questionnaires were both close and open ended questions. The open ended questions gave the respondents freedom to decide the detail and the length of his/her answer. It enabled
the respondents to give a more adequate presentation of their particular case and convey flexibility in their choice. The closed ended questions, however, were designed to keep the questionnaire to a reasonable length and this encouraged response and validity in terms of the responsiveness of the return. It also minimizes the risk of misinterpretation unlike the open ended questions. Lastly, it permitted easier tabulation and interpretation by the researcher.
The question on whether to use either of the questionnaires can be resolved on the basis of validity and reliability. This study employs the use of both open and closed ended questions.


A descriptive statistics was found to be an ideal analysis technique and subsequently used in ascertaining the challenges that SMEs faced in this era of erratic power supply in other to grow and expand. Aided by the tabulation of data extracted from a close-ended questions surveyed, it was easier to understand the issues identified by the respondents.
Also to help answer the question whether or not SMEs in the Nsukka Business District have challenges in coping with the effect of erratic power supply on their businesses to aid their growth as contained in the objectives in chapter one.


After deciding on the target population, a list of SMEs was received from the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI). After contacts have been made to seek the consent of some of these SMEs to be part of this research, the numbers of 80 SMEs were therefore arrived at. The various SMEs that agreed to be part were subsequently contacted and given a brief background about what the study sort to achieve through the means of telephone. After getting the required number for the study, the questionnaires were then dispatched. The
respondents were then given a week to complete the questionnaires, as this gave them ample time in giving out the right responses. The data gathered were then analyzed through the means of relative frequencies and graphs; tables and charts after the data were edited for completeness.


Validity is the extent to which the instruments used during the study measure the issues they are intended to measure (Amin, 2005). To ensure validity of instruments, the instruments were developed under close guidance of the supervisor. After the questions are designed, they were pre-tested with five SMEs at Nsukka. This helped to identify ambiguous questions in the instruments and be able to re-align them to the objectives


Reliability is the “extent to which the measuring instruments will produce consistent scores when the same groups of individuals are repeatedly measured under the same conditions” (Amin, 2005). The study administered one kind of questionnaire to SMEs and using Cronbach reliability test, Alpha values of 0.753 were gotten indicating that the tool was suitable for assessing the challenges inhibiting SMEs in empowering them to drive economic growth of the Nigerian economy.


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