Provide feedback on the      qualitative research design your classmate selected.
Provide suggestions to your      classmate for an alternative qualitative design they might want to      consider, appropriate for their proposed topic and research question.

Public pension reform in South Carolina 
The problem to be addressed is that the South Carolina public pension system has a shortfall of between twenty and forty billion dollars.  This shortfall or unfunded liability is determined by the value of the current assets in the pension fund at any time compared to the amount of money actuarial studies determine is needed to provide future benefits to those current and former state employees that are covered by the system.   If at any time the amount of assets controlled by the program is equal to or greater than the amount required based on the actuarial study then the plan is considered fully funded.   If the amount of assets controlled by the plan is less than necessary then the plan has a shortfall or what is called an unfunded liability.  This amount is a liability because it represents future obligations that the state is legally bound to provide to current and future retirees.  If this liability becomes too large then the plan may be considered insolvent.  
At any time money is coming into the plan from contributions from both current employees and their employers such as school districts, cities, counties etc.    This money is placed into the fund and invested for their future benefit.   Money is removed from the fund by benefits that are paid to retirees.  If at any time the fund does not have the assets necessary to meet its obligations then the taxpayers of the state are legally obligated to make up the difference.  Billions of dollars, which could go to schools, roads or healthcare, would have to be placed into the retirement system to restore it to solvency.
Many stakeholders have different goals for the future of the system and many different concerns about the systems risks.  There have been many possible short term and long term solutions proposed but no single solution has been determined.
Research Question
What is the most effective way to eliminate the shortfall (unfunded liability) in the South Carolina public pension program?
Qualitative Research Method
This project will use case study.  The South Carolina pension plan will be the primary case, and a complete history of the plan and its results will be included.  Then multiple cases of similar plans will be compared and contrasted as benchmarks to determine positive and negative changes that may be made to the plan to improve its performance in both the short and long-term.  These recommendations can be presented to stakeholders in an effort to build consensus among all involved.
There are several potential problems with using case study research, but two seem to be the most important.  First, Creswell and Poth (2018) state that a major problem can be identifying the case.  The case may be too broad or too small.  The researcher must determine the boundaries to use while recognizing that there may be several to choose from.  It is very possible that this will be an issue in this research. 
The second problem for researchers is rigor (Creswell & Poth, 2018). Case study research has grown in popularity the last few decades and researchers must seek and learn from illustrative examples to eliminate poor quality case study research (Creswell & Poth, 2018).  One way to reduce this issue in this project is with and extensive literature review.
Creswell, J. W. & Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative inquiry & research design: choosing among
five approaches. (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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