Data Collection Methodology
Given the nature of the topic (financial reporting on the internet) the companies of publicly listed with the Trinidad and Tobago became the population for the study. This list was obtained from the financial section of the Friday 30 th January issue of the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. This list was used to facilitate a search to determine the existence of Website for these companies via the search engine GOOGLE.com. Upon completion of this search, a sample was chosen using the stratified random sampling method. This method was chosen to ensure representativeness of the overall population. Two strata were obtained: companies with and without Websites. Given the overall small size of the population those companies possessing Websites were used as the sample.
The main data collection instrument was questionnaire. Both closed and open ended questions were incorporated to ensure a high level of validity in the data obtained while facilitating the classification and quantification of the data. Further given the time and financial constraints under which the research was conducted questionnaires allowed for the collection of relatively large quantities of data in a relatively short period of time at the lowest possible cost.
To complement the effectiveness of the questionnaire semi-structure interview was also used. This also facilitated the exploration of the related issues in greater depth.
An Internet Reporting attribute Sheet was developed. This is checklist of possible financial data (Cash Flow Statement, Comparative Balance Sheet etc), which can be made available via a company's website. (See appendix I). This was use to facilitate the investigation of companies Websites to determine what they report and to supplement the data obtained via the questionnaire.