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This chapter will discuss the methodology of research including research design (e.g. research method, research approach, research philosophy, research strategy, research framework, hypothesis, measurement and experimental products), Data collection techniques (e.g. primary data, secondary data, and questionnaire design, sampling area), data analysis methods and ethical issues. An appropriate research method will be decided and employed in this chapter.
3.2 Research Design
3.2.1 Research Method
The theories and studies in country of origin have developed along with the market. Both past and present academic literatures and business empirical researches in the field of country of origin effects towards product evaluation were collected and reviewed in order to obtain a profound understanding of how the phenomenon has developed during the past decades. This dissertation also attempted to identify whether similar research has been done by other researchers in foreign countries and take it as reference for the research. This dissertation wanted to contribute to research by explaining how country of origin effects influence Malaysian Medicated liquor consumers' product evaluation.
The research method of this dissertation is based on former studies in the area of country of origin. This dissertation wanted to conduct a market survey for obtaining quantitative data for analysis. This dissertation is realized that most of the past researchers were based on former study of theories and research findings as well as attached with a market survey to obtain statistical data. Therefore, this dissertation believed that this method is suitable for the purpose of the dissertation to collect a large volume of quantitative data which could represent the Malaysian population.
3.2.2 Research Approach
They are two main approaches for research to conclude their reading of literature, which is deductive approach and inductive approach (Saunders et al., 2009). Inductive approach involving the development of a theory after a literature review while the deductive approach refer to testing of an existing theory through an experimental project exclusively designed for the testing (Saunders et al., 2009).
Given that deductive approach was the most proper one to use by researchers, thus the natural research approach of this dissertation is a deductive approach. The issue of country of origin upon product evaluation has been addressed from various perspectives during the last four decades. It is believed this area has been established as a well-documented field of knowledge. Large amount of literature are available for reference. This situation is in line with the purpose of this dissertation. Therefore, the dissertation started from study the theories of country of origin and past research findings were also taken into account in order to develop the hypotheses and test them on the Malaysian consumers. The tested hypotheses were analysed and lead to conclusions.
3.2.3 Research Philosophy
There are three common philosophies in the research process: positivism, realism and interpretivism (Saunders et al., 2009). Positivistic approach was applied in this dissertation. The positivistic view represented one works with an observable social reality. The final product of such a research can be law-like generalisations that are similar to those that are produced by natural and physical scientists (Saunder et al., 2009). Country of origin effects is a phenomenon that can be observed and credible and statistical data can be collected through quantitative survey. With the existing theories and past findings, this dissertation is able to observe the social reality based on the data generalised for the Malaysian population. The research also established, tested and confirmed the hypothesis based on the existing theories and empirical researches and articles. The dissertation has been executed as objectively as possible in order to get a result that reflects reality.
3.2.4 Research Strategy
There are three types of purpose for a research, which are exploratory study, descriptive study and explanatory study (Saunders et al., 2009). The object of exploratory study is to view the phenomena from a new angle and to access the phenomena in a new light. Descriptive study is a research to portray an accurate profile of persons, events and situation (Saunders et al., 2009). Explanatory study is a research that focuses on studying a situation or a problem in order to give explanation to the relationship between variables (Saunders et al., 2009). The research strategy adopted in this research was exploratory study due to this topic has not experimented by any individual or organization in Malaysia so far. It is very interesting to use existing empirical data of country of origin for the experimental of the unknown medicated liquor situation while view the phenomena from a new insight.
The hypothesis of the research is developed as follows:
Hypothesis 1: Country of origin is an important factor on Malaysian consumers when evaluating quality of medicated liquor for own consumption.
Hypothesis 2: Country of origin is an important factor on Malaysian consumers when evaluating quality of medicated liquor for gift giving.
Hypothesis 3: Malaysian consumers perceive that "country of origin" of medicated liquor is a good indicator of the quality of medicated liquor.
Hypothesis 4: Malaysian consumers perceive that the quality of medicated liquor is closely related to the state of economic development of a producer country.
Hypothesis 5: Malaysian consumers prefer to use country of origin as first piece of information for product evaluation when deciding which medicated liquor to buy.
3.2.6 Research Framework
Thus the research structure of this study was formulated in Figure 02 as follows:
Figure 02: Research Structure
Source: illustrated by the researcher.
The independent variables of this research are: purchase intention and select criteria. The dependent variable of the research is consumer's product evaluation and purchase decision. The research controlled for the influence of five variables to affect how consumers evaluate medicated liquor from different country of origins, there are gender, age, education, experiences with the product and income.
The measurements of the variables are presented as follows:
Dichotomous scale was applied in the first question for the purpose of use for qualifying. Second and third questions were designed to measure respondents' drinking habits and their used experiences. These two question offer respondents a list of responses, any of which they can pick based on their own opinion. Fourth to ninth questions are established to determine respondents' consumption behaviors. List questions were applied for Fourth to eight questions. However ninth question was designed for identify the ranking of the quality of experimental products. Ranking scale was applied here to understand what the respondent has considered Tenth to fourteenth questions were developed to evaluate the relationship between country of origin and product evaluation for profound understanding of consumers' perception towards country of origin image on medicated liquors. The variables of consumers' perception on country of origin shift from "strongly agree" to "strong disagree" using 5-point Likert type Scale as measurement. Fifteenth question was established to understand consumers' judgement on overall image of medicated liquor produced in different countries based on their own opinion. 7 point Likert type scale measurement was using here from "very good" to "very poor" to differentiate of like or unlike the product. Sixteenth question was designed for demographic statistics. This question also designed as list question to collect personal data of respondent.
3.2.8 Experimental Product
The experimental products are medicated from five countries, which are China, Japan, British, France and Malaysia. There are over 150 brands of medicated liquors available in the market. Four major brands of medicated liquors have been selected for experiment; there are Wincarnis (British), Bénédictine D.O.M. (France), Yomeishu (Japan) and Changyu Ling Zhi Chiew (China). (The technical sheets and visual of the experimental products are presented in Appendix 02).
Medicated liquor is very popular in amongst the Malaysia Chinese community6. Therefore, it is no difficult to find respondents with the appropriate background. Moreover, medicated liquor is a very suitable product to test for country of origin effect because there are speciality products which bottled and brewed in multinational country of origin, while most of medicated liquors available in Malaysia market are imported from overseas markets.
Given relevant data of medicated liquors of Malaysia are nor available, therefore sufficient data are needed to complete this research. The experimental unit is Chinese medicated liquor consumer entering Hai-O Chain Store outlets. Hai-O Chain Store was selected as the data collection panel due to its efficient distribution network. Hai-O Chain Store is a Malaysian herbs and healthcare products retailer. The company has been recognized as a famous household name offering a wide range of Chinese medicines, medicated liquor, wellness, beauty and healthcare products (<http://en.hai-o.com.my/new/about_company.asp>). Medicated liquor, imported from China and other countries (Japan, France, and England) is one of the key products of the company. This product is a significant contributor to the company's revenue and profits. Today, Hai-O Chain Store has 65 outlets located throughout Malaysia (The backgrounder of Hai-O Chain Store is presented in Appendix 03). To accomplish this, prevailing and relevant literature would be reviewed a research models was developed for application in the research. This will followed a field survey whereby an interview of suitable customers will follow to appreciate the feelings and perceptions of medicated liquor.
The researcher sought for help from 20 store managers to gather the needed information from customers. Each manager is asked to collect 15 questionnaires with customer selected on a random basis. It is envisaged 300 completed questionnaires can be collected for the research. This basis is considered large enough to present the Malaysia population. The questionnaire is designed using bilingual approach, which are English and Chinese languages. A pre-testing of questionnaire will be conducted and amendment made before the questionnaire is used. This research uses Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) statistics software system to process the basic collected from questionnaire survey. Demographic statistic analysis and single-samples t-test analysis method was applied to measure the data. Reliability and validity testing will also be conducted.
3.3 Data collection Techniques
Both primary and secondary data were used in the dissertation. This part explains how the data were collected and processed.
3.3.1 Secondary Data
Secondary data refers to data used other project that were originally collected for certain purpose (Saunders et al., 2009). There are two types of secondary data: qualitative and quantitative. The former is a non-numerical data and it collected in an explanatory way through semi-structured and unstructured interviews. The latter is numerical data that can be analysed statistically and it can be collected by a set of predetermined question (Saunders et al., 2003).
Secondary data adopted in this research will refer to the three major sources as important references, which are written materials (e.g. journal, text books, industry report, government statistics, and annual report), electronic materials (e.g. internet resources, organization website, e-journal and e-news), and organization database for the research purposes. Given that the field of country of origin research is very broad, thus this dissertation limited it focus in country of origin effects and product evaluation. A special concern was given to alcohol beverage. Although some articles found were not direct related to the main theme of this dissertation, however these articles were taken as a reference as long as it had a connection to the country of origin effects.
3.3.2 Primary data
Primary data are considered as raw data collected for certain research which are new and never been applied by any research (Saunders et al., 2009) Given that the secondary data is unable to fulfil the purpose of this dissertation. Thus, this dissertation is adopted quantitative survey to gather needed information for the purpose of research. A survey is a study that uses questionnaires or interviews to discover descriptive characteristic of phenomenon (Reinard, 2001). The selected methodology here is a self-administered questionnaire survey.
3.3.3 Questionnaire Design
Questionnaire survey method will be adopted as research strategy in this research as much quantitative data is needed for analysis. According to Saunders et al. (2009), questionnaire can be divided into two categories: self administered (internet and intranet mediated, postal, delivery and collect) and interviewer-administered (telephone and structured interviews). This research is designed as a quantitative research approach, thus it is using self-administered questionnaire as survey techniques to collect primary data from the respondents. The questionnaire usually completed by respondent and delivered by hand to each respondent and collected later.
For the literature review discussed in the previous section, a questionnaire encloses 16 questions was constructed for the measuring of the following five sections (The questionnaire-country of origin study is presented in Appendix 04):
Section 1: Qualified question
Section 2: Behaviour questions
Section 3: Country of origin and product evaluation
Section 4: Ranking of brands and country
Section 5: Personal Particular
In section one, three questions were established to identify whether the respondents are quality for the questionnaire. Second and third questions were developed to identify whether they are heavy or light users. Respondents will be questioned by the data collector in polite way and they will proceed to the second questions automatically if they are qualified, which means they are medicated liquor consumers, no matter heavy or light users. If they are disqualified, they will be rejected for the survey politely. In section two, respondents will be questioned on their consume behaviour about medicated liquor. Six questions were established in order to understand how consumers consume and access medicated liquor. In the third section, which is the core section of questionnaire, respondents were required to answer five questions regarding how they evaluate medicated liquor and does the country of origin influence their perception towards product quality on medicated liquors. Fourth section is established to test respondents' perception on quality of designated brands and countries. There is only one question is developed. In the fifth section, respondents were asked to deliver their personal particular of gender, age, education, occupation and income. The questionnaire used in this research was developed in English first then translated into Chinese. Back translation was also carried out to check any inconsistencies as well as possible translation errors.
The draft questionnaire was pre-tested with 20 respondents, who are asked to comment on any ambiguities and suggest changes to improve the content validity. As a result of this test, no questions were re-worded and re-structured and no questions were deleted.
3.3.4 Sampling Area
This research was carried out in the form of a survey administered through a structured questionnaire. Data was collected in Hai-O Chain Store in different location at different times of the day. This research chooses the Klang Valley area as a sampling area. The sampling target is Malaysian Chinese medicated liquor consumers aged 18 to 55 that are to represent the Malaysian consumer. Klang Valley are includes Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, and Selangor state, which is comprises the city of neighbouring suburbs of Kajang, Petaling Jaya, USJ, Sungai Long, Puchong, Serdang, Sri Petaling and Klang. The region was chosen due to its proximity and high density of population.
This area can be considered as the heart of Malaysia as it is a home to over five million people and comprises major business and commercial activities. Especially a lot of Chinese residents living in this are and most of they have experience of taking medicated liquor while the people here are affordable for imported product. Moreover, it is also convenient for researcher on obtaining information as this area has more opportunities to interact with medicated liquor consumption. Thus this region is widely considered as representative of Malaysia and the best are for generalizing the findings.
For data collection, questionnaire distribution mass survey method is adopted. This research chooses 26 Hai-O Chain Store outlets in Klang Valley area as a sampling location. The distribution and collection of questionnaire was completed by 26 Hai-O Chain Store Managers. They are trained for 30 minutes prior to the data collection activity. To choose the sample for this research, probability random sampling was used. At the data collection point, every respondent entering Hai-O outlets are considered as potential respondents and will be approached by store manager randomly. Sampling period is from June 23, 2010 to July 5, 2010. The sampling time was from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm, including weekdays and holidays. Consumer who was chosen by store manager will be taken maximum five minutes to answer the questionnaire.
In this research, respondent received the questionnaire and asked to evaluate the product quality and willingness to buy when the experimental product are sourced different price level, brand and multinational country of origin. The questionnaire will be collected by store manager once consumer was completed. The questionnaire will be delivered to Hai-O Raya Berhad by post or by hand. The respondents were real medicated liquor consumers. They were approached by the store manager verbally to report their medicated consumption experience and drinking frequency in order to identify their status before they proceed to the questionnaire section. While total of 300 questionnaires was issue, 205 useful returns were obtained in total, representing a response rate of 68.33 percent.
3.4 Data Analysis Methods
The SPSS 17.0 is applied for data analysis and comparison. As soon as the collection of questionnaire is done, the basic date will be keyed in into SPSS 17.0. A descriptive analysis of demographic statistics data was conducted in order to understand data distribution. Analysis methods including reliability analysis, descriptive statistics, multiple responses, crosstab analysis and one simple T-test were applied in this research. The research used Cronbach's coefficient alpha value to test if the measure of variables in this research meets the requirements of consistency. A value of 0.70 was applied to examine structure reliability and using one sample test method to test hypothesis. If the Alpha value is bigger than 0.70, which means the reliability of measurement is fairly high.
3.5 Ethical Issues
3.5.1 The Stage of Formulating and Clarifying Research Topic
The experimental organization are unable to do a market research on medicated liquor for years and they keen to have a complete and in-depth market survey to get closer to the consumers and understand their minds and analysis their behaviours. Thus the gatekeeper of the organization is given fully support to the researcher as this topic can be expected as a quality and useful research for the organization. A side benefit of this research would be it will help in the researcher career development and advancement in the company. The researcher is allowed to work freely. No coercion issue is occurred into the research topic.
3.5.2 The Stage of Designing Research and Gaining Access
The researcher is allowed to design the research structure without any coercion from the employing organization. A letter of research approval is requested by Hai-O Raya Berhad's General Manager before conducting the research (The letter of research approval is presented in Appendix 05). There is no inducements is offered in the study. Participants have right to withdraw from the research at anytime and they have been informed prior participate into the research. Fortunately the management has given full support to the research except financial aid. With the support from the employing organization and the participants, a quality and useful research can be done.
3.5.3 The Stage of Colleting Data
The researcher works freely in term of design questionnaire and data collection methods and no coercion is occurred. The participants have not been coerced during taking pert into the research. Participants have right to consent the questionnaire and data collection methods. Participants have right to change the time and place of the briefing of sampling training towards the date collection assistant due to needs of planning in advance. Participants have right to withdraw any time and to informed consent. Indeed, given that the researcher was unable to prepare the questionnaire for the first brand managers training in March 2010, the management suggested to conducts the survey in the second training activities in June 21, 2010. No harm to participants and the researcher during the data collecting period. Participants have rights to confidentiality or anonymity. A quality research could be proceeding.
3.5.4 The Stage of Processing Research
Permission to conduct the survey using the store managers will be obtained from the General Manager. Given that the project has the support of management, this would not be a problem. In fact getting the branch managers to cooperate would not be a problem. However, participants have right as an individual to process and to store their personal detail.
3.5.5 The Stage of Analyze Data and Report Findings
The researcher processes the data and report findings freely without any coercion from the employing organization. The participants insisted that the outcome of the research should be treated as confidential and exclusively for academic aggregate level only. A quality research can be expected.
This dissertation was designed as an exploratory study with deductive approach in order to reach the research purpose. The philosophy of this research was confirmed as a positivistic approach. The research strategy was determined as: to review existing theories in the field of country of origin, as well as related aspects and developing hypotheses for empirical test. The needed information which is not available in extant literatures should be collected through a questionnaire survey.