Inductive Approach Of Self Checkout Systems


This chapter examines inductive approach as it relates to self-service checkout system, considers a variety of plan methodology that could have been used for this research, identifies and justifies a propose method of choice, and discusses methods of information collection for the work. The research for this learning relates to collecting data and observation regarding customer satisfaction and customer retention. As a consequence the researcher completes an aware decision to move towards the theory from an inductive position, and the qualitative method will be used to shape the approach to the theory formation, and then the data analysis.

The main research problem of this research paper is to improve customer's satisfaction and investigate changes come into play by SSC (Self service checkout) System in relation to the customers shopping experience. Secondly, Customer satisfaction is defined as the result of a complex, emotional process. The customer compares his experience following the use of product or services, the actual performance, with his expectation, wishes, individual norms or other standards of comparison before using the product. If the expected performance is met, or even surpassed, the customer experiences satisfaction (Simon and Homburg, 1998). Research second major problem is to see the user-friendliness of these SSC (Self service checkout) systems in relation to the performance and customer's services support at self service checkout systems. In addition, I also like to check the Health and safety procedures, Policies, wheelchair access to these SSC (Self service checkout) systems and waiting time at these checkout systems. Lastly, I would like to use SSC (Self service checkout) system to analyze the directly relationship to the customer satisfaction and policies and procedures to retain customers.

Research Question

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Self Service Checkout system (SSC) in Supermarkets, Customer satisfaction & retention

Research Approaches

My research project will involve the use of inductive qualitative approach of using Questionnaires to collect data, although it will usually be made explicit in my presentation of the findings and conclusion. This is whether my research should use the inductive approach, in which I would gather the data and make theory as an effect of my data analyses. It will move from specific to general theory. On the other hand, Quantitative methods mainly involve of collecting data and change data into numerical form to present certain result of research findings and owes to positivism. But, Qualitative approach collect data in narrative way to analyse the trends and behaviour of concerned research problem. It involves vast amount of narrative data collection, analysis and presented in the customer behaviour trend or pattern, rather than in the numeric form in the case of quantitative approach. Qualitative approach suits more to above mentioned self service checkout system, customer satisfaction and customer retention that involve in depth data analysis of changing customer behaviour and trends. (Saunders, M. Lewis, P. and Thorn hill, A. 2007, 2009).


As defined earlier, deduction owes much to what we would think of as scientific research. As such, it is the dominant research approach in the natural science, where laws present the basis of explanation, allows the anticipation of phenomena, predict their occurrence and therefore permit them to be controlled (Collis and Hussey 2003).

Robson (2002) lists five sequential stages through which deductive research will progress:

Deductive a hypothesis a test able plan about the relationship between two or more concepts or changeable from the theory;

Expressing the hypothesis in complete terms (that is, as well as exactly how the concepts or variable are to be calculated), which suggest a relationship between two concepts or variable;

Taxing this operational hypothesis (this will engage one or more of the strategies;

Examining the exact outcome of the question (it will either be inclined to confirm the theory of indicate they require for its modification;

If essential, modifying the theory in the glow of the findings. Your research would use an extremely structured methodology to make easy replication (Gill and Johnson 2002).


An alternative approach to conducting research on supermarket store employees would be to go on to the shop floor and interview a sample of the employees and their supervisors about the experience of working at the store. Research using an inductive approach is likely to be chiefly worried with the context in which such actions were captivating place. The researcher in this tradition is more likely to work with qualitative data and to use a variety of methods to collect these data in order to establish different views of phenomena (Easterby-Smith el at, 2008).

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Easter by-Smith el at, (2008) argue that knowledge of the different research traditions enables you to adopt your research design to cater for constraints. These may be practical, involving, say, limited access to data, or they may arise from a lack of prior knowledge of the subject. It will help you to think about those research strategies and choices that will work for you and, crucially, those that will not. If you are particularly iterated in understanding why something is happening, rather than being able to describe what is happening, it may be more appropriate to undertake your research inductively rather than deductively.

Purpose of your research:

I think about my research project in terms of the questions that I wished to answers and your research objectives. We highlighted how the way in which you asked your research question would result in exploratory, descriptive and explanatory. So the classification of research purpose most often used in the research methods' literature is the threefold one of explanatory, descriptive and explanatory. However, in the same way as your research question can be both descriptive and explanatory. So your research project may have more than one purpose. Indeed, as Robson (2002) points out, the purpose of your enquiry may change over time.

Exploratory Studies

In this design of research, the researcher tries to sort out an unclear dilemma which needs more time to be solved. Exploratory research design is significant as it is proven successful. In this kind of research most of the times the researcher is utilizing the secondary research findings and literature reviews with qualitative approaches in informal way dialogues with consumers and managers. In this dissertation, the questionnaire has been simplified and the researcher's efforts have been focused to make the questions for the manager and customers as much easy and straightforward as possible. Though it is difficult to find someone responsive to the questionnaire in the marketplace, the researcher has highly tried to do his level best in the case of informal as well as formal interviews and discussion both with the customers and the manager. (Saunders et al 2006 p 310-400)

Descriptive Studies

In descriptive method the objective of researcher is to represent the particular reports of individuals, occasions and events. It is also called as follower of exploratory method of research. In this method it is extremely significant to have already a piece of research done by others which will help to make an efficient process of data gathering for the particular research. In this dissertation descriptive research method is used by which the researcher is trying to discover the figures for each segment of customers to make the progress of findings easier and precise. (Saunders et al 2007 p 130-155)

Explanatory Studies

In explanatory method which occurs following to descriptive research, the connection of unlike variables regarding the study or research is prepared. This method has a broad analytical and critical view to the collected data after the processes

Explanatory research as it is clear from the name of this method (explanatory); it describes and studies the posture and manner of events. E.g. solutions for lack of motivation in workplace, resolution for customer dissatisfaction, reducing the rate of absenteeism of the employees and etc. (Saunders et al 2006 p 130-155)

Design of the Research strategy

Purposes -

What the study is trying to achieve.

Why it is being done. Is it in response to an issue for which solutions are sought? Is the hope to change something as a result of the study?



- Self Service Checkout System in Supermarkets,

-Customer Satisfaction and Retention

Theory - What

Theory will guide

Or inform the study? How will the findings be understood? What conceptual framework links the phenomena being studied?

(CH. Changaiz 2010)

A conventional research design is a plan or detailed plan of how a research study is to be completed - operational chant variables so they can be deliberate, selecting a sample of attention to study, collecting data to be used as a foundation for testing and analyzing the result (Thyer, 1993). A research design is a diagram, structure and strategy of exploration so conceived to gain answers to research questions or problems. The sketch is the complete scheme or programme of the research. The functions of a research aim from the above definitions, research design has two main functions (Kumar, 2005): one relates to the classification and / or development of procedures and logistical actions required to undertake a study, and the other emphasizes the substance of quality in these procedures to certify their validity, objectivity and accuracy (Kerlinger, 1986) refers to this function as 'control of variance'. In this work, it will be second-hand to structure the research and display the connection between every one the mechanism of the work that address the focal research question. This chapter highlights the various options of research designs but focuses on the choice of designed adopted for this work.

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You can use a theory in a research in two customs.

You can expand a theory to apply to the exact circumstances in your research topic.

You can choose a journal, existing theory to your research subject.

Research design becomes vital once you have recognized what questions you require to ask and thus what in order you need to collect. At this phase, you will begin to believe which methods of collecting data are most fitting and how will use them. It is vital to be well-known with that there are two connected but fairly divide issue:

The overall aim of the research, and

The precise methods you will use to gather the information.

Research plan refers to the on the whole strategy of your information collection. There is several type of research design, the following being in the middle of the more widely used:

Experimental Research- Experiment in the pure sense is very unusual in the study of human beings, as it presents many practical and ethical difficulties. (Bryman, 2008),

Bryman further states that in order for a study to be a true experiment, it must control

(In other words, eliminate) the possible effects of rival explanations of a causal finding.

Experimental design researchers however criticize the absence of quantitative measurement, controls for threats to validity and direct replication; Stating that these are necessary for assuring reliability and validity some researchers using qualitative, flexible designs deny the relevance of the need for this degree of scientific enquiry (Denscombe, 2007).

Longitudinal Studies- This is where a group of individual group are studied over an extended period of time. It is more likely to be approved out by a government corpse or a well-known university research centre, just because it takes years, and in some luggage decades. In addition to which, it can suffer conditioning effect (Kumar, 2005). In its full personification, then, it is improbable to be suitable approach for your dissertation. However, an act research design may engage a degree of scrutiny of change over time. Furthermore the nature and type of measure needs to be appropriate for use on several occasions with the same participant, and must also take into account changes that might occur as a result of practice, change in attitude and experience gained by participants on (Sanders et al 2009).

Survey designs- There are two forms of survey design:

Census- you assemble data from every member of the administration or unit being studied.

Sample- you describe a method of identifying just a subset of the whole population under study and collect information just from them. Typically this is randomly identified, and is treated as agent of the whole. A great deal of figures is devoted to the use of samples and representative results (Rowlingson, 2002).

Case studies- this is where events moving one or small number of organisation are studied as a whole. Information is collected over a period of time relating to a variety of different elements, and then is analysed and accessible as an interpretative narrative. Robson (2002:178) defines case study as 'a strategy for doing research which involves and empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple source of evidence; Yin (2003) also highlights the important of context, adding that, within a case study; the boundaries between the phenomenon being studied and the context within which it is being studied are not clearly evident. The case study strategy will be of exacting interest to you if you desire to gain a rich understanding of context of the research and the process being enacted (Morris and wood 1991).


This refers to the employing of several or different perspectives in the study of a subject. This will usually involve the use of several sorts of data against the background of the theoretical perspectives that are applied to the data (Flick et al, 2007). Over the years triangulation has attracted most attention with the conceptualization by Denzin (1970, 1989), who generally saw it as 'the combination of methodologies in the study of the same phenomenon' (1970).

He further states that 'triangulation is a valuable and widely used strategy for reducing the threat to the validity of qualitative research. It involves the make use of many sources to improve the rigour of the research. "Triangulation is a method of finding out where something is by getting a 'fix' on it from two or more places" (1988). The major aim of triangulation, according to Denzin (1970), is 'to raise sociologists above the personality biases that stem from a single methodology'.

Action Research- "Action research is simply a form of self-reflective enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations in order to improve the rationality and justice of their own practices, their understanding of these practices, and the situations in which the practices are carried out "

(Carr and Kemmis 1986: 162)

Action research process consists of taking measures and actions to improve performance or correct research problem. People inside the organisation take action to eradicate or improve the concerned problem. Self service checkout system project can be taken as action research project as it would improve the customer satisfaction and customer retention of the supermarket. As I am working in Sainsbury Supermarket can help the supermarket to improve customer satisfaction and customer retention by using action research approach.

Grounded Theory- "The researcher goes by feel and intuition, aiming to produce common or contradictory themes and pattern from the data which can be used as a basic for interpretation"

(Easter-Smith et al 1991)

Ground theory moves from specific to more general. It is a complex way of doing research and it is very similar to action research. In this process, data of corpus need to be used to reach some common ground. It is an inductive way of doing research. It involves the process of comparison of rich textual data sources, interviews databases and going through memos and historical data. Ground theory is a complex process to conduct a research but it gives definite theory for one specific data set of the whole database.

Secondary Data Analysis, on some occasions it is not necessary to collect any fresh data but simply is to examine existing data. On this approach the originality and innovation often defamation in the option of data analysis instrument. Market analysis repeatedly employs involved statistical methods to pit information from huge existing datasets.

Participant Research- Based on the self-governing view that all research into human performance should treat the participants as lively members of the enterprise, this move towards tries to break downwards the imbalances between research and researched by linking the 'subject' of the research and attainment them to help define the project, set objectives, behaviour their own research, and add to the analysis of the findings, foremost to full possession of the end results. (Becker and Howard S. 1993) It is a long and sometime politically burdened process which is often a sign of how important the results of such labour are to the main stakeholders of the course.

Documentary Analysis- "Documents such as newspapers, books, magazines and government minutes can be read and preserved so that they are available for analysis by the social researcher"

(Bryman, 2004)

Documentary analysis is a suitable research approach for socio-contextual historical problem. In this method, you analyse and go through historical data and information of concerned research company. It is very useful tool to find out about the events happened in the past. It is also very good practice to find out more detailed company information and historical information of the proposed research company. It is really a historical method, and lends itself to reason of events that happened in the past. It is sometimes encountered in relationship with inquires into management failures. It would help us to understand about the introduction of self service checkout system in the past, its gradual evolvement to present stage of self service checkout system.

Methodologies of Data Collection

Basically, the procedure of gathering and collection of data in both formal and informal ways which ends to their study and analysis is called data collection or anthology. In this procedure the researcher utilises various methods and tricks. They are include questioning targeted interviewers, asking different members on a particular networks such as social networks on internet, making phone calls or sending mails to ask people about your queries, etc. the biggest issue after collection of data is their examination and analysis. The data gathering of this dissertation has been done via interviews, emails and social networks on internet such as as well as phone calls. (Saunders et al 2006 p 406-500)

Primary Data

In this stage of data gathering the researcher will collect the primary data. In the primary data collection the researcher should collect the data him/herself through various methods such as interviews, questionnaires, observation, semi structured, in depth and group interviews. It is significant that the gathered data which is exclusive to the respective research project shouldn't be used by third person or body as secondary data unless they have the right to do so. As it was mentioned before the researcher in this study had used methods such as interviews and questionnaire to collect the needed primary data and the researcher exceptionally had part in other interviews as part of comparison survey about the selected firm. The following methods used to collect the primary data in this study; questionnaire, interviews, group interviews and observation (Saunders et al 2006 p 282-402).

Secondary Data

As the name secondary data suggests, in this method the researcher uses the ready and prepared data available from other studies which had already done by third party and the researcher is allowed to use it as secondary data again. Books, journals, newspapers and business web pages have been used as secondary data sources for this dissertation which have been very helpful and valuable. Their usage helps the researcher to get access to the findings and experiences of other researcher individuals and bodies in order to reach to the new tricks and ways of engagement with the involved parties. (Saunders et al, 2006 p 246-277)

Qualitative Data

Through this type of data, researchers search for the consumers' reaction toward products and services of the respective firm and business. E.g. do they like the products and services or how they grade the products and services regarding to the quality and usefulness. Therefore, qualitative data is utilized to show facts and figures related to quality rather than quantity. This approach was used in this dissertation while interviewing different customers from two major super markets in the UK such as ASDA and TESCO. (Saunders et al 2006 p 470-472)

Quantitative data

Numerical data or quantitative data is utilized to gage and compute the scale of needed information. Quantitative data collection is extremely important which stands as main requirement for any kind of analysis of data during the respective research or study. In order to find out the average number of consumers or customers of the selected retailers in the UK marketplace, this sort of data (quantitative) was used in this dissertation (Saunders et al, 2006 page 470-472).

Customer Survey

Competitors are always looking for an opportunity of any size to attack and snatch the customers in different ways, big companies go and seek for greater and better strategies to catch the attention of the customers as different customers have different attitude towards the brand, the time has gone that customers prefer the lower price now they want lots of other incentives besides especially they need good services with no time delay and that is all because of the higher competition in the market place. The retail market is in boom as new technologies provide greater support and flexibility to retailers. Retailers need accurate information.

After the in-depth data analysis and surveys, retailers introduce Self Service Checkout systems for the benefit of their store customers. Self Service Checkout system is a new technology in order to sustain in a B2C (Business-to-Customer) environment.

The Research Methodology:

The main tool which I will use in this research methodology is questionnaires. However, I shall also observe service provision in different supermarkets. A questionnaire is a series of predetermined questions that can be either self administrated, observed or asked by interviews.

I would like to distribute the questionnaires to selected supermarkets in my residential area in London Like as ASDA and TESCO etc. I would like to observe the self service checkout systems and ask questionnaires to staff and customers at ASDA Walthamstow, London and TESCO Bakers arms, London.

In designing the questionnaire, I differentiate between questions of fact and questions of opinion. Biographical details such as age group and ethnic origin are reasonably factual: respondent may choose to give wrong answer, but there still exists, in most cases, a correct answer. With questions of opinion, there can be no assumption about underlying right answers: indeed they are useful because people to respond to them in different ways.

It is very important to note the differences between open and closed end questions. Easterby smith, Thorpe and Lowe (1993) state that the strength of closed end questions is that they are quick to complete and analyse; the weakness is that the data obtained may be very superficial. Open end questions allow the possibility of asking deeper questions and obtaining unanticipated perspectives on an issue, but the corresponding weakness is that completion and analysis can be time consuming. I have designed a questionnaire that consists of around 20 questions and 4 sections.

I would observe the whole self service checkout procedure and process that involve one customer doing shopping using this self service checkout system. I would like to observe the customer shopping experience if he/she faces any difficulty or obstacles during his/her shopping process and write down important points of improvement and getting valuable feedback by customers and attending store staff.

In phrasing the questions for the questionnaires, I took into consideration the following questions as outlined by Gill and Johnson (1991).

Are the purposes of the research exposed to the participants in a way that will enhance the probability of their co-operation without biasing succeeding responses?

Can the questions be understood; are they free from complication, mysterious terminology, unsuitable assumptions and uncertainty?

Are any instructions to respondents clear and understandable?

Are the participants likely to have the required information and facts to answer to questions?

Is it possible that the participants might find the wording of questions unacceptable and uncomfortable?

Might the phrasing of the questions lead to bias through leading the participant to specific answers?

In order to ensure that the questionnaires are filled in, I shall give them to the staff at the supermarket and the customers. I would like to ask the customers if they would like to fill it in the questionnaires form to give feedback about their experience using self service checkout system. I would like to give questionnaires to customers to answers them as if they wish to do so. Questionnaire has some advantages and disadvantages as well such as:

Advantages of Questionnaires:

Low cost, Cheap to administer, Process and analyze.

The size of the survey can be increased at little cost.

Administration can be standardized.

Respondents can give more thought to questions, consult documents.

Disadvantages of Questionnaires:

Lack of control.

Response rate might be low.

Complex questions or instructions cannot be used.

Probing is impossible- regarding unclear responses.


Observation can be defined as perceiving or assessing the behaviour sciences involving objects, peoples and places etc. Self observation can be very useful tool in any research project requiring customer responses and behaviour towards certain object or problem.

Observation uses qualitative approach to collect sample of customer behaviour at supermarket. Observation can be very useful tool for analysing and assessing the customer behaviour towards self service checkout systems usage by customers.


There are major three reasons to utilise sampling procedures when conducting the survey of large populations

The survey can be done for less expense

The survey can be done in less time

The sample quality will be better

Asseal and Keon found that more than 90 percent of the total survey error in one study from non sampling sources and only 10 percent or less was from random sampling error.

Sampling procedures fall into 2 categories

Non probability sampling

Probability sampling

Chosen Research Strategy:

After going through those above mentioned research strategies, I would prefer to use the Exploratory research strategy for my research design as it is suitable for the case when concern problem is not clearly defined and will need to explore it further by analysing, interviewing and observing the retail customer at self service checkout system. Self service checkout system will involve different procedures and strategies of research findings such as using open and closed end questions to customers and working store staffs. As guided by my supervisor and personal experience, those questionnaires might not get the desired results as anticipated by us. Therefore, we need to explore other instruments as well as using the questionnaires; we would concentrate our research on observation instrument by the self service checkout system. We could generate observation forms to analyse the customer behaviour and reactions to judge the required customer satisfaction. It would help to get the required expected performance by self service checkout system and eliminate difficulties and obstacles during shopping and checkout system shopping experience. We could ask customer some simple questions to find-out about their shopping experience at supermarket. We can conduct interviews to the staffs that are aware of the customers' problems and difficulties as they face on every other circumstance. Questionnaires would involve using the qualitative method to adopt to investigate further deep down by using exploratory method. Inductive approach can be adopted to analyse and investigate the concern problem or research question to reach to solution or proposed theory. In conclusion, by using questionnaires, Interviews and self observation, we could reach to possible outcomes or solution to the proposed problem.