Research methodology is mainly concerned with the systematic process or approaches to conduct a research. It provides a clear understanding of the strategies that can be used while conducting a study or research. According to Gills and Johnsons (2002), it is a sequence of the activities that enables researcher to understand the whole research procedure and also it assists to make a start of the research. In broad sense, Jonker and Pennink (2010) have defined it as various activities performed by researcher in order to complete research. In a technical point of view, research methodologyÂ deals with the theoretical analysis of the methods or strategies that is essential for a research. Also, it is the way to analyze any topic or subject and in order to gain knowledge about that particular subject. It provides the overall picture of research and way to get a result. Additionally, it explores about the functions such as, data collection method, method or technique of data analysis, length of the research and so on.
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However, there are many research methods or approaches that can be used while conducting research. Thus, this chapter provides discussion about various types of methods, strategies and approach. Furthermore, it also discusses about research design and the process of data collection that have been used in this research, which are provided below.Â
There are many styles to conduct research. There is not any specific rule to apply any particular one but selection of the styles depends on the area of the study, which simply means it can be differentiated based on the research subject and area of investigation, for instance, it can be found that different styles are applied in the case of the research under these subjects; sociology, finance, operations research (Knights and Willmot 1997). In the research styles various key factors are taken in the center to determine a particular approach. In this context, Saunders et al (2009) have proposed 'Onion model' that composes different layers as shown in the following figure;
Fig: 3.1 Saunder's onion model
Source: Saunders et al (2009)
3.2.1 Research Philosophy
Generally, research philosophies are depending on researcher's approach to get the knowledge since it is strongly concerned about the development of the knowledge. Thus, the implemented philosophy constitutes the assumption and experiences of the researcher about the way how they observed the world. It can be analyzed in various ways such as axiology, ontology and epistemology (Saunders et al 2009).
Epistemology represents qualitative research method; most of the researchers use this philosophy in the social sciences research. Epistemology consists; Positivism, realism, interpretivism and pragmatism. Positivism supports application of natural sciences, (Bryman and Bell, 2003). It emphasizes on structured methodology of the research (Gill and Johnson 1997) and the observation can be quantified, thus it can be statistically analyzed. This research philosophy is appropriate for the philosophical stance of the natural scientist (Remenyi et al, 1998). It is concerned with the specialization of the concept and is concerned with the nature of reality. There are two components of ontology; Objectivism and Subjectivism. Objectivism describes the existence of reality of organizations and human sciences in the real world. Whereas, subjectivism advocates about the social phenomena that are created by the thoughts and beliefs of the human, but they are beyond the human influence. Researcher's value and norms play vital role in research process which is symbolized as axiology. In other words, this philosophy believes that the reality exists somewhere in the practical world and that is independent from human behaviors, their value and norms cannot change the reality however there are numbers forces and procedures that affect human behaviors even without their notice, (Saunders et al 2003). Interpretivism is interested on details of the circumstances or context to explore the subjective meanings, it attempt to understand meaning of the reality in to the practical world. Thus, this method is recommended to those researchers who intend to perceive reality from a circumstance.
3.2.2 Research purpose
As suggested by (Cooper and Schindler, 2008) the research purpose can be categorized in two parts as descriptive and casual. When the study is intended to find the answer of; who, where and what and so on is called descriptive research whereas the study intended to find out the answer of 'why' and the relationship between two variables is considered as casual research method. Generally, descriptive studies are considered as formal types of study.
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3.2.3 Research Approach: Research approach depends up on the use of theory. Researcher's understandings of the theory plays significant role in research approach, (Gill and Johnson, 2002). However, the theory may or may not explain about the whole design of the research, although it generally entails explicitly about presentation and conclusions of the findings. There are two major approaches:
Deductive reasoning: This method starts from the development of a theoretical structure and move on its testing. In other words, it begins from general idea (at top) to the specific (down). Hence, it is also called top- down approach. Researchers select any theory of their own interest then they set hypothesis and move on to test the hypothesis and draw a conclusion.
Figure: Deductive reasoning,
Source: Based on Grill and Johnson (2002)
Inductive reasoning: Inductive reasoning starts the bottom of the research; observation of the real world in order to the construct theories. Thus, this approach is just opposite with deductive method. Sometimes this model is also call 'bottom up' approach, (Gill and Johnson, 2002). The past experiences and theories are very important to explain about past and make prediction about future.
Figure Inductive reasoning,
Source: Based on Grill and Johnson (2002)
However, Saunders et al (2009) have opined about the quantitative and qualitative approach: The investigation, innovation and inductive reasoning match with the qualitative approach of the research, this approach holds the specific information about a subject and moves forward various patterns such as a conceptual pattern, on the other hand quantitative approach specially deals with numbers, figures as well as facts.
In the context of this research, it will apply both approaches; qualitative and quantitative since data will be collected through the closed end questionnaires. On the other hand during interview researcher will collect other necessary information hence, it can be regarded as involving of both.
Generally, research strategies are considered as a plan of a researcher to find out the answers of the preset research questions. Mainly, it provides the idea about how a researcher will go about to answering the research question. The major features of the research strategy are; it consists of; clear objectives, research questions, and data source and limitations of the researchers, and clarification about the use of the specific methods. Research strategy incorporates various types of strategies which includes experiment, survey, case study, grounded theory, ethnography, action research (Saunders et al 2003).
Experiments: This is a traditional strategy which keeps in the center of the points for natural sciences and other researches whose features are similar with social science, for an example psychology research can be considered. This strategy begins from setting a hypothesis, and then move on to define the sample, the size of population and so on.
Survey: In the survey strategy, huge quantity of data collected often collected by using different tools such as questionnaire. Generally, it is accepted that it provides fresh and updated results for the readers. As an example, most of the media houses are using survey strategy to report the results of a new survey. It is a time consuming strategy than others. However it is also considered as an economical way to collect large amount of data.
Case study: case study strategy carries out an investigative research that intended to find out the meaning of a particular phenomenon by utilizing various sources of evidence in to the real life context, (Robson, 2002). It develops an understanding of the research context as well as the processes which have been used, Morris and Wood (1991). In this strategy researcher can use various tools such as interview, observations, and questionnaires and so on.
Grounded theory: As mentioned by (Glaser and Strauss, 1967), it is a good example of inductive approach. But, (Saunders, et al, 2003), have noted that this strategy use both inductive and deductive approach, since it develops a theory by considering both approaches in combination. As an example, it begins research from theoretical framework, and then move on for observation to collect the data with the predetermined framework and then those data will be analyzed to develop the theory.
Ethnography: The ethnography approach aims to interpret world based on the social perceptions. Hence, it matches inductive approach of study. This strategy is also considered as time consuming since study takes into account of long period of time. As the result of that, researcher should have characters such as flexible as well as responsive; since this strategy may frequently requires developing new structure about what is being observed.
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Action research: It is found that academics have interpreted action research in various ways. However, they have common emphasis; this strategy is suitable for the study of change management (Cuningham, 1995). In the action research the researchers can be participant themselves, (Edden and Huxham, 1996). It is also emphasized that the outcome of the research should give clear signals to other situations as well.
Time factor plays the key role in determining the style of the research. The length of the time in the research affects the research process and the result. Generally, there are two extents in research from time point of view; cross-sectional and longitudinal. If the research is going to cover just one particular point of time then, cross sectional strategy will be appropriate. Otherwise, longitudinal approach is recommended. It covers a long period of time that focus to analyze trend.
Cross sectional: If the researcher is interested on certain phenomenon at a particular point of time then cross sectional approach is suggested. It generally fits with survey strategy (Robson,, 2002). Describing an incident or a particular phenomenon or making a comparative study of the factors in different organizations, for example profit level, cost of the product and so forth, cross sectional approach is appropriate. In some cases, this strategy prefers to use qualitative approach.
Longitudinal: The longitudinal approach is appropriate for the research that is going to cover long period of time involving an observation of events for a long period of time. In this strategy, researchers are capable to apply measures to hold control over variables that is being studied. In this approach researcher generally use secondary data. The main feature of the longitudinal research is, it is intended to find out the new developments or changes of the phenomenon over a long period of time, (Bouma and Atkinson,, 1995).
Data Collection methods
Data and information collected from the concern parties play important role to find out the result of the research. The findings of the study heavily depend on the outcome of the data. Thus, appropriate method and techniques are essential while obtaining the data in order to fulfill research objectives. Generally, there are two types of data primary and secondary, researches can use any of them but validity and reliability of data are very important. The types of the data depend on the source and it can be divided in to two types; primary and secondary source. In the primary source researchers collect data themselves by applying various methods such as; survey, interview and so on and as a secondary source they use already published results or data such as published reports, books.
Primary data refers those data collected by the researcher to achieve research objectives. The primary data is also called first hand data collected through the tools such as questionnaire, schedules, personal interview and so on. It is considered very important since there are always concerns about the validity and reliability of the secondary data (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2005). Primary data are highly preferred since it is considered as reliable and updated which have high influence to draw a conclusion the reason behind this in most of the cases the data collected by the researcher or in some case they can assign representatives. As a result of that the researcher gains the depth knowledge about the data, its procedures and so on. However it is not free from limitations. These types of data involves of high cost, time consuming and skilled human resource requirement.
Generally, it is called second hand data since it is received from the already published sources. That might be used for other purposes but very easy to collect. The major sources of secondary data include the books, journals and articles, libraries, different websites and so on. Because of easy availability it can be found that many researches are conducted based on secondary source. Low cost, less time consuming and not necessarily required skilled human resources are major advantages of secondary data.
3.2.7 Reliability and Validity
Reliability and validity both are very important factors in the research. The study is considered as reliable if it is found that two different researchers are using same procedures that can produce similar or same result (Sekaran, 2003). Basically, researchers follow certain code of behavior, procedures in order to maintain validity of the research. Thus, they use widely accepted tools and techniques to verify the contents used in the research, (Saunders et al, 2009).
3.2.8 Data Processing
Once data collected then it has to pass through different stages to make sense or meaning. Different tools and techniques such as statistical tools, graphical demonstrations can be applied to get result from the collected data. However it depends on the methods that have been used to collect the data and its types. Then, interpretations of the result are very essential in the next step.
3.2.9 Ethical Issues
Every research has to pay high considerations over the ethical issues. More importantly, the major ethical issues involves as; if the research is using primary data then the details supplied by the participants should be handled very carefully. The researcher should ensure that those collected data not be misused. Each participant's role should be voluntary and they should be aware about the purpose of the data collection or research and so on.
The purpose of the research design is to target answering the research questions, by specifying time of collection and the methods to be used to collect data it analysis techniques, (Lamb et al, (2008). This study is intended to examine the affects of the advertising on consumers buying behavior, the sales motivation and so on. Thus, it is it's an explanatory research Saunders et al (2009). It tries to identify underlying relationship between research variables. Consumer behavior needs to be studied in systematic way.
Having considered different styles of research methodology, this study has been in such a way that incorporates following elements;
This research is intended to answer the following research question;
"Does advertising affect consumers' buying behavior?
3.2.2. The research method chosen
It is generally accepted that selection of single strategy cannot be best for all the research. However, in the case of this study the research method and strategy that is applied to find out the result are discussed and provided below as;
The research will follow positivism philosophy. The role of the researcher in this research will be detached from the phenomenon. This study begins from data collection in order to find out result and that will be generalized; mainly inductive reasoning will be adapted. This study will be applied a case study strategy. Similarly, on the base of the time horizon, this research will be cross sectional because this research will simply observe particular phenomenon in a particular period of time. Furthermore, this research will heavily depend on primary source of data in order to explore the affect of the advertising on consumers buying behavior, thus, qualitative approach will be adapted. The result of this research will be narrative; huge descriptions. The data for this study will be collected directly through employees' interview. Thus, questionnaires will be developed before conducting interviews. Analysis and graphical demonstrations will be applied to present those data. Further discussion in detail provided below as;
This study is considered as a case study. Generally, case study is a very crucial strategy that helps researcher to understand in dept and find the solution by applying qualitative and quantitative approach. Thus, this study represents as a case study of women consumers shampoo buying decision. This study is focused on the observation and analysis along with the theories available regarding consumer behavior, advertising for that reason it uses deductive analysis. It helps to make concrete solution to the problem stated.
Based on the data, this research is mainly qualitative since heavily depending on primary data. Survey will be conducted with the structured and semi structured questionnaires focusing on women consumers. However, researcher also uses quantitative techniques. In other words, this study will try to find out the affects of the advertising, quantitative data as well as qualitative information will be collected through the questionnaires and interview.
In the context of the data analysis, this study adapted the inductive approach since, observations and the analysis of the data has a significant role to drive the researcher result obtaining. The outcomes of the questionnaire represent the views of the women consumers that explore their perception, influencing factors in buying decisions, these are essential to be analyzed in qualitative basis. The quantitative data received from the questionnaire will be analyzed on each question basis. Bar diagram and pie chart will be used to demonstrate the information collected from the questionnaires and will be analyzed in accordance with research objective.
The researcher needs clear information regarding marketing variables such as advertising, price, quality of the product, brand, packaging, colors and so on and those factors importance, cause and effect in the marketing functions. Thus, exploratory study is chosen. Due to short span of time and widely considered as appropriate for academic researches this study also be cross sectional.
This study takes in to accounts of the reasonable sample of the consumers and produces the data then that will be generalized in the context of huge numbers of consumers. The researcher is highly conscious about the consistency in the data collection and processing to make the research reliable. The researcher has chosen appropriate method and approaches for this study, that creates the validity of the study.
Methods of analysis
This researcher has considered various types of analysis and graphical exhibitions in order to achieve the research objective. All the data collected from the consumers as well as the discovered results will be presented into various types of tables and charts along with the interpretations.
In this research has utilized both primary and secondary data as needed by the study. Moreover, this research has used secondary source and data to establish the relationship with the primary data in order to produce a suitable output. In the context of the primary data collection tools which are in used described as below;
Questionnaire: This study has set structured and semi structured questionnaires to collect the information from the women consumers. 40 questionnaires have been distributed to the participants. The questionnaire has tried to cover the consumers perception, influencing factors in buying decision, are those factors influencing them to buy more quantities and so on. However 30 replies have got back.
Interview: During the survey time, the researcher has conducted interview with the semi structured questionnaires; that have been provided in the appendix as well, to acquire further information to draw a conclusion. The interview helps the researcher to avoid the chances of missing the information for better findings.
The researcher has given high consideration for the ethical issues. Especially, research dealing with primary data need to pay high attention for the participants privacy and confidentiality thus this research also has paid high attention on those aspects. Data and information supplied by participants are protected to preventing from the misuse by other parties. During the survey and interview participants were made aware about the purpose of information collection, researcher has also ensured that the participation as voluntary involvement. The information used in the research were completely based on the views of the participants, there were no any mandatory requirements. If the participants are interested to incorporate additional opinions they are considered at the end of the questionnaire. The ultimate reason of this is to obtain the extra information which may get high considerations of the consumers. The purpose of the survey is clearly mentioned, and involvements are made voluntarily in order to create appropriate participations from the consumers.