CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 6200
Research methodology is the important part of the thesis or dissertation which provide the entire process used for the collection of information and analysis of the same. Generally research is considered as the system approach or process for completion of certain topic or study on the basis of set pattern. With the clear evidence of research methodology effective structure of the dissertation or study can provided in order to attain the stated aim and objectives. The application or selection of most suitable method would contribute towards bringing the appropriate outcome for the investigation (Sam and Daniel, 2011). The section of research methodology provides the better idea to researcher that which methodology or technique is more suitable to derive the valid outcome along with the presence of several alternatives. In this manner, research methodology can be considered as the pathway to ensure systematic completion of the study by keeping into account selected research problem.
This third chapter of the thesis entails different aspects such as research design, approach, data collection methods and techniques applied for the analysis of data. However, every research or study is based on certain pattern so that section of research methodology provide evidence and detail description of the same. Furthermore, research methodology provides general explanation of methodology and offer the justification of the selected one (Saunders and et. al., 2009). Apart from this, some specific methods which are not related or specific towards the study are also described along with the rationale that why are not being selected. In addition to this, drawbacks and positive aspect associated with each research method is explained or described in clearer manner so as to present the outcome of the thesis in a more precise manner. On the current study of impact of brand awareness on purchase intention, following methodology have been used.
3.2 Data collection methods
Data collection is the imperative part of research methodology in which researcher take decision to select the most suitable technique for collection of the information. Generally two types of information is collected such as primary and secondary. The primary data are collected first hand for the specific purpose of investigation whereas the secondary are collected from the existing material. The procedure of collection of primary data is time consuming as researcher need to arrange several thing to complete the same process (Marlow, 2010). There are several methods used for the collection of primary information such as questionnaire, interview, observation etc. Though, it is important to select the most suitable method for gathering the information in context of the current research aim. At this juncture, questionnaire and interview method both have been selected to meet the specific purpose of investigation. Apart from this, different sources such as journals, books and online articles are selected for the collection of information related to impact of brand awareness on purchase intention. It provides in-depth information related to the topic under investigation and assists researcher to meet the objective. Moreover, past research reports and other specific or relevant information has also been considered for the investigation (Singh, 2010).
Data collection holds much importance in the research proposal as that aids the researcher to grab appropriate data from the specific sources. With the help of data collection, researcher has enhanced the research procedure through focusing on diverse sources. In the present study, primary and secondary both the sources have been used in different contexts. In addition to the same, researcher is greatly focusing on primary sources because that allows use of accurate and relevant data. Use of primary and secondary sources both the sources seems to be helpful for the researcher in many ways. Under primary sources, researcher has ensured that appropriate participants are being involved in the research procedure to collect suitable data. On the other hand secondary sources are also used in the form of completing the section of literature review.
Secondary sources such as books, journals and articles are being used so that appropriateness of the content can be ascertained. Various previous literature are also used in the study for the purpose of finding out the concepts behind the subject matter. According to generalized context, secondary source includes data that is already published in books, newspapers, journals, magazines and online portals. Abundance of data is presented in such sources; hence that has been used in the research process. Hence, application of appropriate set of criteria is selected in the research study for the purpose of enhancing the levels of research validity and reliability. Further, these criteria are not limited to any specific credentials of the study; however it has chiefly contributed in developing the research area.
Moving on to primary sources, it can be said that researcher has conducted survey and questionnaire is being provided to the participants to collect suitable and valid data about the subject matter. Several questions are being included in the questionnaire and that is further given to 100 customers of event management industry. Apparently, customers are being selected as they have knowledge about exact aspects that changes their purchase decision. Regarding this, 5 mid-sized event management companies are being selected who are operating business in UK. Each entity is asked to collect data from 10 customers in terms of specific research procedure. Questionnaire has been distributed through e-mails; hence they are appropriately collected as well afterwards finishing the entire process.
Questionnaire includes both close ended and open ended questions as researcher aims to collect quantitative and qualitative data. At the same time, interview is also carried out for the purpose of collecting more information about the subject matter. Therefore, it can be said that in the present study, mixed methods have been used. Stating about interview, five structured interviews have been conducted with the marketing managers who are working in the mid-sized event based companies. Basically, the source has been used so as to identify the challenges that are faced by those companies at the time of developing effective sales strategies.
According to the interview method, Qualitative data have been generated through using statistical method and this is also useful for the purpose of arranging research aspects in appropriate manner. Interviews have been carried out at the office premises of each company during lunch time. This helped in saving time and other efforts as well; hence researcher ensured to use such method in suitable way. Therefore, on the basis of entire discussion it is clear that use of both the sources is quite useful in enhancing the validity and creditability of research procedure. Apparently, primary data collection method is divided into two groups such as Quantitative and Qualitative and in the subsequent study, both have been used together.
Quantitative is typically based on mathematical calculations in varied formats and it is typically used for the purpose of stating specific analysis and interpretation. Therefore, considering the same, correlation and regression, mean, mode and median are being calculated. On the contrary is Qualitative method which do not involve numbers or mathematical calculations as it is closely associated with other elements of the study which are non-quantifiable. Similarly, it also aims to ensure thorough understanding of the subject matter through focusing on interview and questionnaire with open-ended and close ended questions.
3.3 Research Philosophy
Research philosophy seems to be a specific aspect of the study in which scope, nature and development of knowledge is facilitated. The process appears to be thoughtful because it includes knowledge as a major dimension of completing the research study. This is also useful for the purpose of collecting valid and appropriate data regarding the subject matter. Including such thing will also aid the researcher to get answer of research question and at the same time, it also helps in creating new knowledge. Research philosophy section is based on several beliefs and assumptions and such things needs to be considered while formulating the research procedure. Research onion is developed which states that different tools and philosophies are being used to conduct the research procedure.
Each and every stage present in the research process is based on diverse assumptions about several sources which enhances the nature of knowledge. Therefore, considering the same it can be said that research philosophy is a vast subject that aids the investigator in using several aspects to reach towards the aim and objectives of the study. On general basis, it has many branches that are also related to varied concepts of discipline; therefore accordingly it contributes in amending the scope of the research study. The choice of a specific philosophy is impacted by practical implications and this also focuses on different facts and numbers which enhances the suitability and validity of the research procedure. The categories of research philosophy are Interpretivism, Positivism, Realism and Pragmatism.
Pragmatism research philosophy has many ways to interpret things and it is also useful in undertaking research aspects in suitable manner. Therefore, multiple realities can be applied in a single term of managing research contexts. According to this research philosophy, the most important dimension is research question which also aids in collecting data about the subject matter. It can also combine both positivist and interpretivism research philosophies within the scope of a single research. This also defines specific nature of the research question. It also seems to integrate many research approaches and research strategies within a single study.
On the other hand, next Positivism research philosophy is difficult to elaborate as there are varied different dimensions present between these settings. It is also based on the idea that the science is not the only way to learn about truth and numerous other ways can be used to evaluate truthful aspects. Therefore, according to general term, positivism adheres to emphasize only on factual knowledge that is gained through observation. In such studies, the role of researcher is limited to data collection; hence data interpretation is also managed through adopting objective approach. Henceforth, researcher can evaluate findings only through observing quantifiable data. Dependence on such thing also helps the researcher to conduct statistical analysis.
In addition to the same, Positivism is also related to empiricist view wherein knowledge is developed from human experience. It also has an ontological view which comprises of diverse observable elements that determines different aspects of the research study. Moreover, in positivism studies, researcher has the power to become independent as it hold promoting human interest into the study. On the basis of general overview, positivist studies adopt deductive approach wherein researcher is also required to concentrate on facts and real aspects. Therefore, summing up research philosophy, it can be articulated that there are no differences in the logic of inquiry that is held across sciences. Henceforth, researcher should aim to explain and predict through adopting such methods and it can also support research variables. At the same time, research should be empirically observable through human senses.
This also includes discussion about inductive reasoning that is specifically used to develop statement and at the same time it can also assist in testing research criteria during research process. Therefore, logical aspects should be used in this respect to judge the criteria of the research procedure. This also denotes a study that has direct relationship between diffusion of theoretical and conceptual aspects. According to generalized aspects, Positivism involves use of theoretical dimensions to develop hypothesis and that is further also tested while conducting the research process. It also relies on two distinct variables so as to showcase the interrelationship.
Realism is another category of research philosophy that relies on the idea of independence of reality that comes from human mind. It is also a branch of epistemology as it is based on the scientific approach assumption. At the same time, it leads to development of knowledge from several grounds; hence research validity can be specified accordingly.
In the present thesis, Interpretivism philosophy has been taken into account because it allows the researcher to interpret the elements of the study in suitable manner. It is also assumed that access to reality is acquired only through social constructions which also includes information about shared meanings and instruments. At the same time, it is also associated with philosophical position of idealism; hence it is used to group together different approaches that lie in the study. As per the philosophy, researcher can act as a social actor and that also allows in appreciating difference in people. Moreover, this is also been used in the present study because it usually focuses on meaning and it may also employ multiple methods. This is typically used for the purpose of reflecting different aspects of the research issue.
At the same time, it can be articulated that Interpretivist approach is based on naturalistic approach of data collection; hence for such purpose different primary and secondary methods are being considered in the research process. Secondary data is also used in the research study for the purpose of grabbing more data about the research process. In such studies, meanings are usually derived at the end of the research process; hence several variations are ought to be considered suitably. Researcher has used this philosophy because that is related to subjective nature of this approach. Primary data is also generated in this philosophy as that is heavily impacted by personal viewpoint and values. Hence, in such respect it is clear that reliability and representativeness of data is weakened in the research process up to a specific extent.
Therefore, in this context reliability and representativeness of data helps the researcher to collect valid and suitable information about the subject matter. It is also used since Interpretivism study is associated with high level of validity as data in such study is highly reliable and accurate. Up to maximum extent of the study, the philosophy can be used and this can also enhance creditability of the research procedure. While using the philosophy, researcher ensured that suitable sources are being used to get towards the depth of the study and this can also enhance the essence of research procedure. It has also allowed the researcher to make use of primary data so that accurate and suitable information can be applied in the research procedure. On generalized note, primary data enhances the validity of research process; hence that is also used in the research procedure. At the same time, it also allows researcher to do modifications in research procedure. Hence, in this facet researcher can enhance the creditability of the entire procedure.
3.4 Research approach
Research philosophy is the most important part of the scientific study which usually do not focuses on any specific research area. There are three major categories of research approach such as deductive, inductive and abductive and all the three categories have different aspects to consider. The basic criteria that differentiates all the three categories is the relevance of hypothesis. Stating about the difference between inductive and deductive, it can be contended that deductive approach test the validity of assumptions; however on the other hand inductive approach contributes to develop new theories through general processes. The present thesis has been following deductive approach because it is associated with development of hypothesis through existing theory. Afterwards, research strategy is being designed to test the hypothesis.
Deductive also means reasoning from specific to general; hence that allows the researcher to enhance the validity of research aspects. If a causal relationship occurs between any case and theory; then it might develop true aspects which are useful to reach towards the defined aim and objectives. Similarly, a deductive design is also useful in testing if there is any relationship between general circumstances. It is effectively explained through focusing on hypothesis which is chiefly derived through the propositions of the theory. In other words, deductive approach is also used since it is concerned with producing specific conclusion from value propositions. In the present thesis, deductive approach is being selected because it initiates with expected pattern that can further be tested against observations.
Deductive research approach also aids in exploring a known theory which proves to be valid in various circumstances. Researcher used this approach as it follows the path of logical values that is highly integrated with each other. Chiefly, this reasoning starts with a theory and after that it leads to development of new hypothesis. Afterwards, this hypothesis is put to test through considering it with observations which lead to confirmation or rejection of the selected hypothesis. Therefore, it can be said that researcher has used this technique as it starts from reasoning which moves from general to specific.
The other category is inductive approach which starts with observation and wherein theories are proposed at the end of the research process. This is also useful process since it involves search pattern that comes from observation. Hence, after that explanations are developed through focusing on theoretical aspects. Theories as well as hypothesis is not required to develop in inductive studies especially at the start of the study. Therefore, in this context it is crucial for the researcher to lay emphasis on theoretical grounds to reach towards research questions and objectives. Specifically, this approach aims to develop meanings from the collected data which also aids in identifying patterns and relationships to emerge new research aspects with a theory.
At the same time, inductive approach is not useful in preventing the researcher from existing theory to formulate the research question to be explored. It is also based on learning from experience; hence in different studies, it is used accordingly. Therefore, it can be said that patterns, resemblances and regularities are observed at the time of reaching towards the conclusion. It begins with detailed observation of the world; therefore it focuses on moving abstract generalizations and ideas. While using such approach, researcher always develop empirical generalizations so as to identify preliminary relationships while proceeding for the research study. This does not require formulation of hypothesis at the initial stage of the research as investigator has not idea about the type and nature of the research findings.
This is the reason, inductive is being used as a phenomenon that describes the exact pattern of the research work. Therefore, it can be said that several patterns are required to be searched as researcher has to reach towards valid conclusion. Researcher has used this approach because inductive reasoning is based on learning from experience; hence varied new dimensions are being researched in the subsequent study. Similarly, patterns, resemblances and regularities in experience are being observed for the purpose of reaching towards valid conclusion. Researcher also defined that inductive reasoning starts with detailed observation of the world which moves from specific ideologies to generalized concepts. At the time of following inductive approach, researcher focused on empirical generalizations and according to that preliminary relationships are also identified through conducting progressive research.
In the study, hypothesis is not developed at the initial stage of the research as researcher was not sure about the type of the study. Thus, while carrying out the entire research work, focus is being laid on close observation for the purpose of building abstraction. This is also useful in terms of depicting suitable picture of research phenomenon. Inductive is also based on grounded theory; however it can be applied with both Qualitative and Quantitative research study. Selection of inductive approach has helped the researcher to comprehend the dynamics, robustness and resilience focus on individual behaviour. This is also useful in constructing alternative dimension for the study.
3.5 Data analysis
This is referred to be yet another most important consideration of a surveyor to generate liable information by analyzing the collected set of data. It is however referred to be a procedural method that uses some step-wise measures to analyze the collected information by the undertaken measures (Analysis, 2006). This involves inspection, improvement, transmutation and modeling of the gathered information to ultimately result into the disclosure of helpful data that suggests some refined conclusions at the end by together supporting the surveyor to undertake justified decisions at the end. This will in turn supports in the overall achievement of the study aims and objectives.
It is hereby referred to be an important consideration for the data collected from various resources that involves both refined and unprocessed information. On whose basis, the investigator is required to complete the entire research work and at last generate effective consequences. It together reflects to be an elementary consideration of the surveyor with some prior stages of social research in an effective manner. This involves some ambitious yet essential steps like definition of research problems, development and implementation of an illustrated plan. This is done by together conceptualizing the undertaken methods as a way of testing them to lastly create a functional plan.
After the completion of all these procedures, there exists the tactic of data analysis to evaluate the assembled data accumulated from distinct sources. Once after the successful completion of the aforementioned phases to reach the tact of data analysis, it seems to be an effortless task for the researcher (Dudovskiy, 2016). However, the topic reflecting the tact of social research work usually splits the method of data analysis into three leading steps namely preparation of data by together describing the statistics and testing the same at the end of the analytical process. The first stage namely data preparation is usually done to arrange the collected set of information in an orderly manner.
This leads to the refinement of applicable data to be used for the continuation of the survey. Another tact called descriptive statistics means to description of the information that will be analyzed by the investigator to further proceed towards the last measure of inferential statistics. This is the stage where the researcher is almost done with the analysis of the information which is now ready to conclude effective results of evaluation. It is referred to be one of the most efficient method for the appraisal of the data collected from primary resources so as to judge the thoughts of the undertaken sample for the study.
Commonly, there exists two customary methods for the process of data analysis that involves qualitative and quantitative analysis. Both of these methods are referred to use district measures for the purpose of analyzing the collected set of data (Analysing Qualitative Research Data, 2017). It however depends upon the nature and type of the study where a qualitative research is apparent to supported by some methods called focused group interviews and experiments, etc., to analyze its amassed information where each one of them are based on some common practices. Whereas, to analyses the information concentrated in a quantitative study includes critical evaluation of the interpreted statistical data.
It holds more importance in the research study because it aids in analyzing the collected data and findings through suitable methods and this can also aid the researcher to specify which valid aspects are being considered in the research study. Moreover, in this context focus is also laid on adopting appropriate method so that suitable findings can be depicted accordingly. Data analysis is the most vital aspect of the study and use of Qualitative method ensures to depict all study facets. It also allows researcher to focus on all such materials that can enhance the validity and reliability of research procedure and findings can be suitably denoted through meeting all research dimensions.
Hence, specific set of techniques is being selected in the present work so as to ascertain the common themes associated with the patterns of sample group members in relation to the codes of research procedure. It also includes other non-quantifiable elements such as events, behaviour and activities which are suitably coded in the research procedure.
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