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This chapter describes the researchers propose and the research methodology used to answer the research question, which described and justified. It provides a clear description of models and idea used for the analysis.
3.2 Research Philosophy
Research means a efficient and objective study to find out facts, which can be answer to questions and resolution to problems. The unsolved phenomenon is which have not been describeed by anyone are explained by research. Therefore, the research explains unsolved phenomena to explain all doubts and accurate misconceived facts. According to Solomon( 2006) The facts which are not uncovered to the world are exposed with the assist of research in the world for betterment. Research give details of many facts to the society, business organizations for their development .Research is essential for studying the behavior of the customer. Different country people have dissimilar behavior and this can be studied by doing the research.
3.3 Research Approach
Quantitative approach and qualitative approach are two most important approaches for data gathering. When data are quantified for analysis, quantitative approach is the best approach which consists of gathering of data for quantitative analysis. method like intensity interviews, focus-group-interviews and projective analysis are applied for data collection.
During this dissertation research description, I would first start off by gathering information pursued by the progressed of theory after the results are available. Also, the research will have a individual concern for the situation in which the procedures are taking place as we are actually interested to understand the context in which the procedures are taking place. This research is strive more to understand why some things are happening rather explaining what is occurrenceing . This justifies why this methodology will be inductive rather than deductive.
Research elements founded on two main approaches which are empirical & non empirical. For non-empirical approach we have three main areas need to see in which:
These three approaches can be distincted separately and each approach has its own way of description.
3.4 Purpose of Research
During the primary part of this research work, the purpose would be exploratory and explanatory as well as this research aims to explore consumer behavior, attitudes and characteristic which are having an impact on the process of consumer decision making in the UK fast-food market.
The second part of this research work is all about analyzing our selected case organizations potential responses for the changing environment and the developing consumer behavior. Once we get our needed understanding of the analysis of the fast food industry and consumer behavior we will be competent to provide an suitable marketing mix to produce a set of practical recommendations for MacDonald's business.
3.5 Research Strategy
The strategy that is applied in this dissertation research mainly involve the empirical examination of a present phenomena based on its actual live settings to operate multiple evidence sources. Considering these factors, the strategy that would be particular will be based on case study.
3.6 Non Empirical Research
Non Empirical research founded on a preexisting body of knowledge which is already subsists in a exacting field. This research also requisite the source of reference a work which is previously done or anyone given a theory about that research. According to Collins( 2000) ,This source of reference described the real work because we take rational thoughts or inspiration from his work then we need to reference his work . Some of the research based on research method and it needs detailed study of literature review and searching for a particular topic. When we are accomplished the Non Empirical research then we need to care of referencing the actual work and most significant the way we adopt the idea from another work. If research nature is historical than it doesn't need too much investigation. According to the Stake (2007), literature review included:
ï‚§ We need to incorporate critical academic theories about selected area.
ï‚§ You also need to ensure that your research is up to date and newly published papers are included.
ï‚§ It is also ensuring that your research relates to previous research done by the other peoples.
ï‚§ We need to consider that strength and weakness of the past study and we need to prove by arguments in favor and against.
ï‚§ justification of our research we need to give proper referencing and provide full information about the author.
ï‚§ It also is important that reference should be Harvard standard and information is available like page number from where you cite.
ï‚§ By completely adhering to the acknowledgement guidelines you can prevent yourself by plagiarism charge.
3.7 Qualitative/Quantitative Approach
Selection between qualitative or Quantitative approach is difficult for the new researcher. According to Myers (1997) distinguishes between these two approaches in this way: "Quantitative research method is developed for natural sciences for examining various scientific phenomena. The applications of Quantitative research methods seen in survey, laboratory experiments, mathematical modeling, formal method, numerical method and social sciences.
According to Myers(1997) Qualitative methods were intended to analyze in social science by accomplished research on phased of society and culture. Qualitative data is accomplished by observations or participant observation also called field work. This data is not in the form of a number but it's found on interviews and questionnaire, documentation and texts, arguments and conclusion written in the form of alphabets"
The qualitative data is collected in the context of social, cultural and people where they live. The qualitative approach also distinct by the Hussey (1997) as it is a subjective approach by reaching improved understanding human and society. He also defined the behavioral theory of people and using qualitative approach he analyzed the results.
3.8 Deductive/Inductive Approach
The selection of deductive or inductive approach is defined by the number of authors according to (Cavaye, 1997; Hussey and Hussey, 1997; Myers, 1997) , defined the deductive research approach as a deductive approach in which we build up an intangible and hypothetical framework and examined it using empirical observation, only particular points are deductive using common theory". The deductive method is used for the general idea for a particular idea where we look more precisely and in depth. The inductive approach is used for the developing theory in which, "It is a reversible method of deductive approach in which from the particular instance we induced general instances. In this approach we move from the selected point to general point and establish our hypothesis". According to Myers (1997) founded a point where no one agrees or no one disagrees from its point of view and using both inductive and deductive approaches he establish a hypothesis.
Another approach is accessible which informed about the researcher , if the researcher is subjective then need to assume what type of impact on the research and if the researcher used objective approach then it is self-sufficient and this type of approach is used in fieldwork where everyone give his observation and participants has an independent point of view. According to Collins (2000) clarify in his book that "researcher should conduct the research independent otherwise the validity of research will be questionable. Phenomenological paradigm is very natural and subjective. The paradigm naturally necessitates both real world scenario and researcher observation as well. The researcher needs to recognize the concept of an object or subjective approach and he need to choose which approach is suitable for himself. He also relay both real world and the outcome of his research for better and better results. In subject approach any type of pressure or observation which impact researcher effect or findings. The most significant understanding about phenomenological research that it is completely depends upon the individual approach.
3.10 Empirical Approach
According to Hussey and Hussey( 1997) In experimental Research it desires an evidence and it does not matter that what is the purpose of research but proof needed for conducting an experimental research). experiential evidence can be also be explained as a gathering of knowledge based on observational experience. The data base of inspection or experiences research only accomplished when the researcher does field work. In which he needs to perform the research according to the requirement and it should be associated to the topic and company requirement. In our case experimental data is not necessary because we are doing case study based research in which field work not necessary and we take the information from other peoples works. We compare the results and reach at any conclusion so it's better for us by saving a time and resources to do a case study research.
3.11 General Research Objective
The objective or the purposes any of research are as follows:
â€¢ Extending the understanding of human beings, environment, and natural phenomenon to others.
â€¢ Bringing the information which is not developed fully during the ordinary course of life
â€¢ Verifying existing facts and identifying the changes into these existing facts.
â€¢ Developing facts for crucial evaluation.
â€¢ Helping in planning and development.
3.12 Sample Selection
As evident from past researches that age group belonging to 17 to 25 years usually forms the major target market for fast-food businesses in the United Kingdom, the research sample was carefully selected to stay within this age group. I along with my 5 friends will distribute and record responses from 100 respondents in diverse areas of Greater London.
3.13 Data Collection
The data collection technique for this research work is based on Non Probability sampling technique as we will make groups of about 40 women and 60 men out of 100 and taking their interviews. So in our case we used a sub type of probability sampling is Quota sampling. The nature of data is qualitative in our research and some part of the data are qualitative too but as a whole we consider qualitative so due to data nature we selected the Non probability sampling techniques and this sampling technique give a broad view to analyze the consumer behaviors and most products are offered in a menu are written in text form.
GROUP INTERVIEWS - FOCUS GROUPS:
To get a better understanding of consumer behavior, the qualitative data collection technique was used in this dissertation research. To refer the questionnaire which was discussed during focus groups and the related information, readers are requested to refer Appendix A. Also, while the questions were designed for the focus groups, a special attention was paid to make sure that the questions focussed primarily on the following two aspects of the research:
ïƒ¼ Exploring consumers' attitudes towards fast food industry and its products.
ïƒ¼ Identifying the immediate impacts from various external environmental factors which might affect the consumer's decision-making process regarding fast food products.
Also, the consumer's knowledge about the fast food and various different perceptions will be examined. Furthermore, consumer attitude and belief towards different fast food providers will be examined as well. Finally, the influence of highly debated anti-obesity campaigns on consumer will be examined.
As the respondents to the questionnaire were not randomly selected for this study, we cannot generalize from the resulting responses. The research aim was clearly mentioned in the beginning of the questionnaire so as to clearly inform the respondents. The key highlighter issues or themes were identified from this focus group study and later on used as a basis to form the close ended questions. The important or the key themes such as fast food quality, cruelty towards nature/animals, Brand equity, and Media influence on consumer behavior formed the crux of the questionnaire. The reader can refer to the appendix B for gaining more information about the questionnaire.
3.14 Applied Research Model
A) Consumer Decision Making Process:
According to Baines, Pomael and Joel( 2009) Most of the theories of consumer behavior were based on the theory of economy stating that the individuals are truly realistic for maximizing their satisfaction or benefits while making purchases of a good or service. Further researches demonstrated that individual consumers are more likely to make a purchase decision which is impulsive in nature and this decision is not only influenced the consumers' friends, families and advertisement exercises but also by the emotional quotient, mood and situation during purchase. Each of these attributes finally combines to offer a formation of exhaustive consumer behavior model reflecting both the emotional and cognitive aspects of the consumer decision making process This model of consumer behavior is further simplified and illustrated in figure 1.4, combining all together social, psychological and cultural theories of consumer behavior in a more lucid framework.
Figure 1.4: Simplified model of Consumer decision making process
The above illustration would offer the reader and researcher alike, the critical information about the factors which have deeper impact on the process of consumer decision making. As we have seen in our literature review that most of these models are insufficient under current complex consumer behavior, we are still using these models to understand the basic understanding of this process.
Hierarchy of Effects Concept:
When it is evident that all the 3 components of an attitude are significant, their associated significance would vary as per the motivation level of consumer with respect to the attitude object. This is the reason why the hierarchy of effects concept was evolved and developed so as to offer explanations about the respective influence of these 3 components. According to Abraham( 2009) Researchers analyzing the attitude aspect fundamentally assumed that the attitudes were prearranged sequence, having beginning of the beliefs formation (cognitions) with respect to the attitude object, which was followed by an analysis of that object (affect) and finally ending with certain action (behavior). However, it is also proven that depending over the level of involvement of a consumer and the circumstances, attitudes could result from different or other hierarchies of effects Therefore, in this research work it is proven that the attitude object is nothing but a purely fast food product, which is also deemed to be a low involvement product, and hence a hierarchy of low involvement can be illustrated as in the figure 1.5.
Figure 1.5: The low-involvement hierarchy (Source: Abraham (2009)
According to (Gilmour, 2009) As apparent from the above illustration, in this series, the consumer generally do not show any primary strong preference towards a single brand in evaluation to another, but in its place actions on the foundation of imperfect information and then later form an analysis/evaluation only after s/he has completed the purchase of the product or used it. Therefore, taking into consideration the above circumstances, it can be said that the consumer is prejudiced primarily by the behavioral learning principles
Therefore, in this dissertation research work the author has supposed that the fast food consumer would form approaches through the idea of hierarchy of effects (low involvement) and in the end this concept would be taken in this research to offer recommendation to the case study i.e. McDonald's. PESTLE Framework:
According to Knowles and McMillan( 2009) External environment persuadeing the research case study would be analyzed during the application of PESTLE framework, which presents a division of external environmental factors across four different categories such as Political, Economic, Socio, Technological, Legal and Environmental .The environmental influences which are affecting McDonald's are observed using this framework. This framework is very useful when the influences of these factors are studied in current and future perspective as a replacement for of providing a generic list of influences.
In this PESTLE analysis, the main main concern is given to recognize key drivers of change so that we can learn about the main issues which fast food industry is facing and how it might influence it in the future. However, not all the factors are significant considering our dissertation research, consequently, economic and technological factors will be taken off from our analysis. The significant factors would be Political and Socio-Cultural as they straight influence the fast food industry.
Figure 1.6: PESTLE Framework Source: Solomon et al. (2006)
3.15 Research Limitations
Like all practical research studies, this research also has certain limitations and amenities.
The main limitations, which the author has faced, comprise difficulty in gathering the latest year references and statistics, also limitations in terms of time available during for accomplish the survey and the time which was given to the respondents for replying the survey analysis.
in addition, the research sample size is limited to 108, which offered a very limited reply validation, and therefore there is a high possibility that the conclusions and the results of this research would have been dissimilar in case the sample size would have been larger and more diverse. Also, this research was accomplished in the city of London which is a multinational city and therefore concern should be utilized before generalizing the finishing due to the fact that the consumer perception are hugely different in other lesser multinational cities.