The current chapter describes the methodology of the research including explanation about research designs, research approach, sample selection, data collection, instrumentation, and analysis of the collected data. At the end of the methodology part, validity and reliability of the study will be discussed .
3.2. Research Designs
In general, there are three types of research design such as descriptive, explanatory and exploratory that can be summarized as following:
Descriptive: To describe a specific person, situation, event or profile
Explanatory: To study a situation or a problem to explain the relationship between the existing variables.
Exploratory: This type of study is attempting to find out "what is happening" and to explore the new ideas and theories about a certain phenomenon.
As stated before, the main purpose of this study is understanding the factor(s) and dimension(s) that affect and influence significantly the satisfaction level and repurchase behavior of AirAsia Iranian passengers. In addition, this research is trying to find out how customers` satisfaction can affect and influence the passengers` repurchase intentions. It is also aimed to find out how word-of-mouth communication can be influenced by the customer satisfaction and their repurchase intention.
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In general, this study in focusing on the relationship between the different formulated variables and is considered as an explanatory study. In this study, the passengers' perceptions of AirAsia service quality are used to identify the service dimensions and their relationships with satisfaction and repurchase intention. This study is using the AIRQUAL model, which was improved by Ekiz et al. (2006), to measure and evaluate the service quality dimensions and passengers` satisfaction.
3.2.1 Research Approach
Researchers have identified two ways to conduct a study, quantitative and qualititative. There are some important differences between these two ways of approach. The main difference between quantitative and qualitative research can be seen in the context of the research designs. In other words, qualitative research is attempting to explore the behavior, attitudes and experience of a group. It seeks to understand the participants` points of view about a particular experience. This type of approach is mostly used for small sample. At the other hand, quantitative research is used mostly for big sample applying methods such as structured interviews or questionnaires in order to quantify data by applying some forms of statistical analysis.
Since the main objective of this study is to understand the factors influencing the Iranians` satisfaction with AirAsia service quality, and is focusing on the passengers` point of view, quantitative research is found to be more appropriate.
3.3. Sample Selection
Sampling is considered as one of the most significant procedures of a study because researchers would come into conclusions about the whole population. So it is essential to consider some of the important elements in a population when selecting a sample. Cooper & Schindler (2003), indicated that researchers need to consider the essential elements such as greater accuracy of results, availability of population, lower cost, greater speed of data collection in choosing their proper sample.
3.3.1. Selecting The Sampling Method
There are some factors that influence in selecting the sampling method of a study. Some factors such as the main purposes of the study, the nature of the study and available budget and time need to be considered in selecting the sampling method.
Since the main purpose of this study is to evaluate the AirAsia service quality from the Iranian passengers` point on view based their experience they had with AirAsia, this study is applying the random judgment type sampling.
The random judgment type sampling method is used in this research. In order to select sample element, researcher`s judgment is used and it involves for a specific purpose. A group of people who have knowledge about a specific issue can be chosen as sample element. This type of sampling is also referred as a "purposive sample" since it is used for a specific purpose. Judgment sampling is considered to be low cost and convenient (Haire et. Al.20). Judgmental sampling was defined by Judd et al. (1991) as "picking" sample, which means the population is typical and the interested people are selected. The implicated survey instrument was chosen based on what Karatepe and Ekiz (2004), and Ekiz et al. (2006) applied in their studies, with some changes.
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The main focus is that the Iranian passengers must had flown on AirAsia at least one time for Iran-Malaysia route, so that a qualified respondent can be achieved in this explanatory study.
The selected sample was based on the prior experience and knowledge of Iranian fliers of AirAsia. The sample that was consisted of 200 people who were selected from the Iranian passengers arrived from Tehran to Kualalumpour, using AirAsia in different dates and also the students in Malaysia who travel frequently.
As mentioned before in research approach, there are two ways to collect the data and information about a person, phenomenon, situation or a person. Sometimes, there is no need to gather the information because they are already available through different sources such as census, government, personal records or publications. This type of data is called secondary data, which are already available and there is no need to gather them, they just need to be extracted. But sometimes there is a need to collect the data through interviews, questionnaires and observations. This type of data, which needs to be collected, is called primary data.
This study is applying the quantitative survey for data collection method. Since the main objective of this study is determining the factor(s) related service quality influencing satisfaction of AirAsia` Passengers in Iranian market, the main focus thus is customer. A questionnaire was prepared to collect the primary data about the passengers` perceptions of AirAsia service quality. The questionnaire was included of two parts. Part one was focusing on passengers` demographic situations such as gender, age, job/profession, education as well as passengers` frequency of traveling with AirAsia, purpose of traveling and the way they got known with the airline. Part two is focusing on dimensions of service quality and their influence on customers` satisfaction, their repurchase intention and word of mouth communication. Five quality dimensions (Airline Tangibles, Terminal Tangibles, Personnel, Empathy and Image) as well as Customer Satisfaction have been taken from Ekiz et al. (2006), (same have been done in case of North Cyprus by Nadiri, Hussein, Ekiz and Erdogan in 2008), and all are composed of 38 items as following:
Safety and cleanness of the aircrafts
Quality of served catering
Cleanness of the aircraft restrooms
Cleanness of the aircraft seats
Comfortableness of the aircraft seats
Availability of up-to-date newspaper, magazines and video films during flight
Speed of passengers` check-in
Convenience of passengers` check-in
Availability of enough counters for check-in
Size of airport for holding all passengers
Availability of enough air-conditioning in the airport
Availability of enough staff at the airport to serve the passengers
Availability of adequate sign systems in the airport
Availability of enough trolleys in the airport
Accuracy of the systems used to control security in the airport
Availability of enough screen to announce the flight schedules in the airport
Comfortableness of waiting hall of the airport
Good attitude of the flight crew
The airline personnel` willing to give exact and correct answers to passengers` questions
Providing sufficient flight information by crew during flight
Equally care from personnel to everyone
Effective knowledge of employees
Sympathy devoted by the airline staffs to passengers
Personnel understanding their responsibilities
Mistake-free transactions of booking and ticketing made by staffs
On-time flight departure
On-time flight arrival
Providing loyalty program to frequent flyer
Enough care to the luggage of the passengers
Providing medical care during flight
Convenience of online flight booking
Availability of convenient flight schedules and enough frequencies
Offering reasonable fare ticket
Appropriateness of the flight cost with the offered services
Level of customers` satisfaction with AirAsia service quality
Customers` impression with AirAsia
Customers` attitude towards the airline company
Repurchase and Word Of Mouth intentions are taken from Karatepe and Ekiz (2004), which consist of the following items:
Customers` consideration of AirAsia as their first choice
Customers` consideration of AirAsia as one of their options for air traveling in future
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Word Of Mouth
Saying positive things about AirAsia to other people
Recommending AirAsia to other people
Encouraging friends and relatives to fly with AirAsia
In order to collect the data, a five-point Likert scale (Likert, 1932) was applied while "1" being "strongly disagree" and "5" being "strongly agree". Total 239 questionnaires were answered by the passengers, of which 39 were not useful. 114 questionnaires were answered by passengers arrived from Tehran to Kuala Lumpur airport in five different dates. The Iranian students using AirAsia frequently answered
48 questionnaires. Iranian completed 51 questionnaires in facebook. And non-Iranian passengers answered 26 questionnaires that were not applicable.
This study is using the AIRQUAL model (Ekiz et al., 2006) to measure and evaluate the service quality in AirAsia. The dimensions of airline service quality offered by Ekiz, Hussain and Bavik (2006) are as follow:
Airline Tangibles (ATANG)
Terminal Tangibles (TTANG)
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Repurchase Intention (RI)
Word Of Mouth (WOM)
So this study is following the model and dimensions used by Nadiri, Hussein, Ekiz and Erdogan in 2008 for the case of North Cyprus, to measure and identify the customers' perceptions of AirAisa in Iran.
Figure 3-1, shows the theoretical model of the study and the identified null hypotheses to apply to the model.
Figure 3-1: Theoretical model of the study
As stated before, the questionnaire is designed based on the perceptions of Iranian customers from AirAsia` service quality. There are 43 items to analyze the relationships between formulated variables: six items for airline tangibles (ATANG), eleven items for terminal tangibles (TTANG), eight items for personnel (PER), seven items for empathy (EMP), three items for image (IMG), three items for customer satisfaction (CSAT), two items for repurchase intention (RI) and three items for word-of-mouth communication (WOM).
Considering AIRQUAL model (Ekiz et al., 2006) as the theoretical model of the study for analyzing the factors influencing the customer satisfaction for AirAsia, following null hypotheses are developed:
H01a. There is no significant relationship between perceived airline tangibles related quality and customer satisfaction.
H01b. There is no significant relationship between perceived airline tangibles related quality and repurchase intention.
H02a. There is no significant relationship between perceived terminal tangibles related quality and customer satisfaction.
H02b. There is no significant relationship between perceived terminal tangibles related quality and repurchase intention.
H03a. There is no significant relationship between perceived personnel related quality and customer satisfaction.
H03b. There is no significant relationship between perceived personnel related quality and repurchase intention.
H04a. There is no significant relationship between perceived empathy and customer satisfaction.
H04b. There is no significant relationship between perceived empathy and repurchase intention.
H05a. There is no significant relationship between perceived airline image and customer satisfaction.
H05b. There is no significant relationship between perceived airline image and repurchase intention.
H06. There is no significant relationship between customer satisfaction and repurchase intention.
H07. There is no significant relationship between customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth communication.
H08. There is no significant relationship between repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication.
In order to examine research hypotheses and analyzing the quantitative data, the path analysis were employed using SPSS 16 and SPSS AMOS 16. Different indexes such as Chi Square, CMIN, Normed Fit Index (NFI), Comparative Fit Index (CFI) and Root Mean Square Error of Approximation"(RMSEA) were applied to examine how the data can fit well with the designed model. Cronbach's Alpha has been applied in order to examine the reliability of the questionnaire. The statistics results were provided in graphical form and detailed descriptions.
According to Saunders et. al., (2003), validity of a research means if the findings are actually about what has been studies. In other words, validity refers to the degree to which a test examines accurately what was intended to measure. There are two significant forms of validity: internal and external validity. Internal validity means whether the research instrument is able to measure what is intending to measure. And the external validity of research findings means if the data can be generalized across times, settings and persons.
In order to confirm the validity of the study the following steps have been taken:
- Enough care has been paid in collecting the data and just Iranian passengers using AirAsia completed the questionnaires
- The Survey question was improved based on the formulated variables to achieve the objectives of the study
- The online questionnaires published in facebook have been pre-tested
- Enough time of three weeks has been granted for collecting the data to ensure the validity and accuracy of the data
Saunders et. al.( 2003), indicated that reliability refers to the extend to which the method of data collection will provide the consistent results. In the other words, other researchers will reach to the same observations and conclusions.
For the current study, different steps have been taken in order to confirm the reliability:
- The questionnaire was categorized in an order to create more concentration for each question
- The formulated dimensions were selected based on the objectives of the study
- The selected items for each dimension were selected relatively
- The questionnaire was made based on the previous studies, so that if the other researchers follow the same questionnaire, they would reach to the same conclusion
- The Cronbach`s Alpha was employed to measure the reliability of the questionnaire. Alpha for the questionnaire equals to 0.81, which is strong and acceptable.
3.9. Summary of the Chapter
In this chapter, the procedures and guidelines applying for this study have been discussed. The chapter also provided the important aspects of the study related to the research methodology including the research design and approach, sample selection and sampling method, data collection processes and techniques used for data analysis. Since the main objective of this research is understanding the most significant dimensions of AirAsia service quality from the Iranian passengers` point of view, quantitative research was found to be suitable. In addition, a survey method has been applied by using a questionnaire. The questionnaire was improved based on the previous studies and researches. The sample was selected from Iranian passengers using AirAsia. The study applied AIRQUAL model to measure the service quality dimensions. In order to examine research hypotheses and analyzing the quantitative data, the path analysis were employed using SPSS 16 and SPSS AMOS 16. Different steps have been taken in order to confirm the validity and reliability.