Nyakundi and Mnjama -Part 4
A case study research method was employed to conduct research at the Kenya Industrial Property Office. Since the research project was based on the management of patent information at KIPO) the population for this study comprised of 86 members of KIPO staff who are responsible for storage, retrieval, publicity and dissemination of patent records (information) in Kenya. These included the Director, the Deputy Directors, Public Relations Officer, Patent Examiners, Librarians, and Clerical officers. The population was identified by use of the staff establishment register. The reason for selecting the staff of Kenya Industrial Property Office is because it was the only government agency charged with the management of patent information in Kenya. Questionnaires were distributed to 20 clerical officers working in the patent registry and interviews were carried out with two Librarians, 30 Patent Examiners and four Directors working in the department, making the percentage rate to be 65 percent of the overall population. Two sets of interview–guides were designed and distributed. The first set was used to interview the Public Relation Officer. The focus here was to collect information related to training of staff, preservation of patent records and disaster preparedness at KIPO for the interview schedule with the Public Relations Officer.
The second set of interview guides was used to interview librarians and the focus here was to collect data related to type of literature housed at KIPO library, sources of the documents, users of patent information in Kenya, problems encountered in disseminating patent information, tools used to retrieve patent information and channels for dissemination of patent information, problems encountered and their remedies. The interview instrument was employed because of uniformity and it allowed the researcher to clarify ambiguous questions, thus improving accuracy of both questions and responses. It also provided higher quality information that was freer from bias than any other instrument and it allowed greater interviewer–interviewee interaction.
The researchers also reviewed relevant documentary sources. This included journals, books, reports, bulletins, brochures, manuals and other published literature. These sources were useful in giving data on historical background and on ideal situation and practices of patent information management. The following information was searched through document analysis:
- origin of Kenya Industrial Property Office;
- the functions of the Kenya Industrial Property Office;
- job descriptions of employees dealing with patent information in Kenya;
- problems related to the creation, storage and dissemination of patent records;
- titles and names of key inventors or creators of patent information in Kenya;
- the kind of database used for patent records storage, rules for processing data, principles by which the organization operates that must been enforced by the information system;
- the use of International Patent Classification in classifying patent applications; and,
- the value of patent in economic development.
The researchers also used on-spot observations. The areas observed were the registries, the Library and the Patent Information and Documentation Center. The researchers used this methodology because it consumed less time, was easier to use and it took place in a natural setting. The researcher was keen to observe the arrangement of patent and non-patent literature (documents held in the library and the registry), storage conditions, reading environment and retrieval tools available. This method gave evidence of the management practices and provided back up for personal interviews.