A Focus On Research Methodology Business Essay
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
The previous chapter discussed about the existing literature of how the innovation process and product life cycle works within a company. This chapter will focus on research methodology which is the set of method, providing a systematic technique to accomplish research aims and objectives and research questions. As per Kumar (2005), research methodology is the way to answer all the research questions. The researcher will clarify the types of research methods and also it will illustrate the correct process to meet the research aims and objectives, data collection process and evaluation of the data.
The centre point of any research is to data collection and the analysis. Saunders et al. (2009, p-106) described this centre point as a centre of an onion which has different layers that need to be peeled away to get into the centre point. This onion is known as a ‘research onion’, which is shown below:
Figure 3.1: Research Onion Source: Saunders et al. (2009)
3.2 Research philosophy:
According to Saunders et al. (2009) research philosophy is the term that develops the knowledge and there is a strong relation between the nature of that knowledge and the research. To support to select the research strategy method it is important to take the supposition of the research. As per Johnson and Clark (2006) stated in Saunders et al. (2009, p.108) the management and business researchers need to be aware of the philosophies that be chosen for research report. They also added the significance of the research need to understand by investigation.
In addition, there is been supportive statement by Saunders et al. (2009, p.108), “The important issue is not so much whether our research should be philosophically informed, but it is how well we are able to reflect upon our philosophical choices and defend them in relation to the alternatives we could have adopted.” According to ‘research onion’ from Saunders et al. (2009, p.108), there are four main areas which cover the research philosophy. These are as follows:
In research philosophy pragmatism is the most important determination that focuses on the research question. In this part it is also possible to argue within both positivist and interpretivist view. This is also applicable for practical approach. It helps to collect and analyze data by integrating different perspectives. (Saunders et al. (2009, p.109)
The term ‘interpretivism’ stands for, as a researcher it is required to be aware of the difference between humans in their role as social actors. According to Saunders et al. (2009, p.116),
“The difference between conducting research among people rather than objects such as trucks and computers. The term ‘social actors’ is quite significant here. In the same way we interpret our everyday social roles in accordance with the meaning we give to these roles. In addition, we interpret the social roles of others in accordance with our own set of meaning”.
Realism is another important point of research philosophy which focuses on scientific enquiry. In other word, the existence of autonomous reality of the human mind is the realism. As per Saunders et al. (2009, p.114), quoted that,
“The philosophy of realism is that there is a reality quite independent of the mind. In this sense, realism is opposed to idealism, the theory that only the mind and its contents exist. Realism is a branch of epistemology which is similar to positivism in that it assumes a scientific approach to the development of knowledge”.
Positivism is the epistemological view that promotes working with a clear social reality. As a researcher when reflects their research with positivism philosophy, then that research adopt the natural scientist philosophical stance. Saunders et al. (2009, p.113)
The research idea came from the business background of author which has driven to develop the knowledge of product life cycle and innovation process from the customer perception of Nokia mobile phone. To generate a research it is important to develop research hypothesis. According to Porte (2010), in order to focus the study, to give the flow of reading, researcher should able to meet the research question or hypothesis. As a researcher the following hypothesis can be identified:
H1: Rapid changes in the product attributes over last few years as customers taste changes with diversified culture.
H2: Technology facilitated more innovation and increasing rate of product obsolescence resulting changes in the product life cycle strategy.
H3: Growing trend of open market economy is the reason of innovation.
3.3 Research approaches:
The final outcome of the research is determined by the way the project is being designed. This is the first step to investigate the phenomenon and the type philosophy that will be guided to investigate the process. As Saunders et al. (2009, p.124) stated that
“The extent to which you are clear about the theory at the beginning of your research raises an important question concerning the design of tour research project. This is whether your research should use the deductive approach, in which you develop a theory and hypothesis (or hypotheses) and design a research strategy to test the hypothesis, or the inductive approach, in which you would collect data and develop theory as a result of your data analysis, insofar as is useful to attach these research approaches to the different research philosophies”.
There are two types of research approaches. These are as follow:
3.3.1 Deductive approach:
Deductive approach is the method of purely formed theories arises as a generalization from observable data that are going to be explained. This approach was first introduced by Sir Isaac Newton (1643- 1726) in the late 17th century. (Holzinger, 2010).
Research hypothesis and theory can be tested by collecting and analysis the data. According to Saunders et al. (2009, p.125), the theoretical plan of research approach needs to test by implementing the strategy which is particularly designed to test the hypothesis. Moreover Pathirage et al. (2008) added, deductive approach moves from theory to data.
3.3.2 Inductive approach:
This is an alternative approach to conduct the research. Drosg (2009) stated that, inductive research depends on the variation of data values, which is a set of data of statically analysis. This kind of research is directly involved with the management research, because it involve with data analysis, issues and problems. Afterwards the researchers develop the theory based on those investigations.
However, Crowther and Lancaster (2008) mentioned that inductive approach is flexible for sample size and data, because it does not require any established theory.
Gaining an understanding of the meanings humans attach to events.
Moving from theory to data
A close understanding of the research context
The need to explain casual relationship between variables.
The collection of qualitative data.
The collection of quantitative data.
A more flexible structure to permit changes of research emphasis as the research progresses.
The application of controls to ensure validity of data.
A realisation that the researcher is part of the research process.
The operationalisation of concepts to ensure clarity of definition.
Less concern with the need to generalise.
A highly structured approach.
Researcher independence of what is being researched.
The necessity to select samples of sufficient size in order to generalise conclusions.
Table 3.1: Major differences between deductive and inductive approaches to research. Source: Saunders et al. (2009, p.127)
This research is to design to investigate the impact and influence of product life cycle and customer perceptions on business innovation strategy. As per above discussion, this research will conduct through deductive approach. This will apply the related theory of product life cycle and innovation process; it will also find out the effectiveness of these theories with Nokia mobile company.
3.4 Research design:
Research design reflects on research questions. This is to be contingent with research objectives which are obtained from research questions. Saunders et al. (2009, p.137) stated that, researcher need valid reason for research design and the justification of research rely on research questions, objectives and research philosophy. According to Heppner et al. (2008) research design is the centre component of scientific inquiry and the most difficult part is selecting a research design whose strengths and weaknesses help the researcher to examine research questions.
3.5 Research Strategy:
Research strategy is the general plan to answer the research questions. As per Saunders et al. (2009, p.141) no research strategy is inherently superior; this is not important which label is attached with strategy, but this is most important whether this strategy will allow the researcher to answer the research questions. The following research strategy can be identified (Saunders et al.,2009, p.141):
Experiment: This type of research is based on natural science research. However, social science and specially psychology types of research are fall into this category. This involves with a link of two variables.
Survey: This is a deductive research. The main area of this research is business and management research. As a result, it more likely exercised for exploratory and descriptive research.
Case study: Robson (2002, p.178) cited in Saunders et al. (2009, p.145) “a strategy for doing research which involves an empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple of evidence”. Case study mainly concentrates to gain and understand the knowledge of a specific area.
Action research: This research is concerned about the change management and collaboration with practitioner and researcher. This is a management research.
Grounded theory: This is an inductive research. Here theory is developed and data is generated by further observation.
Ethnography: The strategy that focus on the description and interpretation of the social world from the first hand side. This type of research is very time consuming.
Archival research: This final strategy considers the administrative records and documents for its principle source of data.
From above discussion, it has been decided by the author, this research topic will go along with ‘case study’ strategy. This research is based on theory of product life cycle and innovation strategy, which is fall into deductive approach and supported by this strategy. This research will build the knowledge of product life cycle and innovation process by collecting the information from Nokia Research Centre and will compare with the most up to date theory.
3.6 Data collection method:
There are two kinds of data collection process for research project (Saunders et al. (2009). These are as follow:
Primary data and
3.6.1 Primary data:
The data gathered solely for research purposes to meet the research question is known as primary data. Saunders et al. (2009, p.598) quoted, “data collected specially for the research project being undertaken”. The primary data can be collected through interviews, surveys, questionnaires and discussions. This reflects on the real scenario of the project and there is presence of validation by the secondary data.
3.6.2 Secondary data:
The data that have already been published and reanalysing for some other reason is called secondary data. According to Saunders et al. (2009, p.256-258) secondary data contains both raw and published data. These data can be both quantitative and qualitative and can be used in both descriptive and explanatory research. Secondary data can be collected through documentary, multiple source and survey.
Advantages and disadvantages of primary and secondary data:
Specifically addresses the research question
Collecting and analysing data can be expensive
Reliability, credibility and accuracy are known
Researcher must have the necessary skills to conduct primary research
Can address almost any research question
Primary research is time consuming
Can be very cost effective
Reliability, credibility and accuracy may not be known
Can usually be gathered quickly
Units of measurement may not be appropriate
Does not require the same expert skills as primary data collection
Data may not be presented in a usable format
Interpretation and analysis skills are still required
Data may be untimely or out of date
Source or sponsor of the research may not be known
Table 3.2: Advantages and disadvantages of primary and secondary data Source: Morgan and Summers (2005)
This research will conduct by collecting both primary and secondary data to attain the aims and objectives. Secondary data will be collected from journals, newspapers, internet (online publications) and specially Nokia Research Centre (NRC). The primary data will be collected by conducting questionnaire design on 200 customers to get the outcome of the customer perception of Nokia mobile phone.
3.7 Quantitative vs. Qualitative:
Saunders et al. (2009, p. 151) quoted that,
“Quantitative is predominantly used as a synonym for any data collection techniques (such as questionnaire) or data analysis procedure (such as graphs or statistics) that generates or uses numerical data. In contrast, qualitative is used predominantly as a synonym for any data collection techniques (such as an interview) or data analysis procedure (such as categorising data) that generates or uses non- numerical data”.
The researcher will use both quantitative and qualitative data for this research. However, this research is mostly based on qualitative data; as this research will consider with the modern theory of product life cycle and innovation process. The quantitative data will also be considered to calculate the customer perceptions.
3.8 Evaluation techniques:
Evaluation techniques depend on the types of research and how the data will be analysed. The researcher will analyse both quantitative and qualitative data. There are some specific ways to measure these kinds of data. UWE (n.d.) stated that, the quantitative data analysis often consider descriptive and inferential statistics. Qualitative data analysis may do by considering analysis of visual data and analysis of narrative data.
To evaluate the both primary and secondary data, the researcher will represent them with graphical, tabular and chart context. The researcher will also investigate the Nokia Research Centre (NRC) website for their product life cycle and innovation strategy to compare with the most recent situation.
This research project has certain limitation in context of the entire study. However, this limitation can be taken as a scope for further research. The first limitation of this study is not taking any primary data direct from Nokia head office, which is situated in Europe and this research is conducting from London.
This study will collect the data from secondary sources and designing questionnaires for the customers. This methodology of the task can be a number of procedures that have followed to prepare a meaningful report. The findings and analysis will be discussed in the following chaper.
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