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This chapter provides a direction to conduct the research and helps to understand the certainty of the research project with the common drawbacks. This chapter includes research design pattern, different approaches used during the research and methodology and methods used during the research. These all elements are used to conduct the research and there is no single method to conduct the best research. Researchers adopt most informed approach to conduct the research and use most relevant methods and techniques for the project that justifies the selection of the approaches used. This will show what choices researcher has used during the research and what impact they made on the research (Saunders et al, 2007).
4.2 Research Design and Methodology
Business research is based on many logical customs that create a shape of social sciences. It does not exist in the space. It forms different shapes and direction on the basis of current trends in the business world (Bryman and Bell, 2007).
This chapter includes the logical traditions on the basis of theoretical framework, which has impact on the way research is being conducted and distinguish the nature of the business. Chapter is based on these issues and author deals with them on the basis of the theory.
According to Saunders et al (2007), Every researcher has different approach to think about a single problem. The approach a research used for the improvement of the knowledge leads to research philosophy. To certain extent it seems deep and researcher will not concentrate on it a lot. So the approach used by the researcher to seek the knowledge about the research effects the way of doing research. Research process is based on the three views interpretivism, positivism and realism. If these views are not exclusive but are different from each other. All of these three considered important elements of the research.
The theoretical position of the natural sciences is based on the principals of positivism. Researchers prefer to work on the measurable social veracity, so the result of the research could not be challenged, and if it is being challenged they can prove it true on the basis of logical methods used conducting research. They can produce results of the social research same as physical and natural research bu adopting this technique (Chambers and Smith, 1991). In this kind of research, data is collected in the value free manner and makes separate interpretation of the collected data and replication is avoided by using highly organized methodology (Weisberg et al, 1996) on the other hand scientific observations are used for statistical analysis. It is assumed that the research subject does not effect the approach of research being independent (Chambers and Smith, 1991).
According to Saunders et al. (2007) many researchers do not prefer to follow interpretivism because if it is used in a research the depth of the complexity is lost and becomes a law-like generalisation. However, interpretivist argue that generalisation is not of a vital importance. We hear it frequently that business world is changing. If we are agree on this point then then today's business circumatances may not apply in the next six months, so generalisation may lose some of its value. On the other hand if we are agree that all organisations are different from each other, it also leads to the understanding that generalisation is less valuable. Remenyi et al. (1998) refers to the strong argument mounted by the interpretivists, the need to learn the detailed view of the particular situation to establish what is truth or reality behind that situation. Interpretivism is commonly referred to the terms social constructionism.
Saunders et al (2007) describes that people like to share their ideas and elucidation of their social surroundings and it is recognised by the social constructionism. That leads to reiteration of a shared understanding of the commonly shared spur. In a particular situation of environment this spur can or can not be unambiguously evident. These spur will however apply an control on the way in which those affected socially build their environment.
Realism is a philosophy based on this belief that there is something real subsists around us that has no effect on it by the human beliefs and opinion. This research is focused on the fact in large scale that there are social powers those influence on people without knowing them that these powers exists, so everyone's perception of the world is different from others regardless of the awareness of these powers or not (Saunders et al, 2007).
Philosophy of research is based on more then one philosophical sphere that builts a framework of the research. There is a combination between positivist and interpretivist, possibly reflecting the bearing of realism.
In this research, it dicusses about realism as the affect of the credit crunch and subprime mortgage has not only affected the mortgage market but in turn it has appeared as global downturn and pulled down the whole international market. This credit crunch is not only for a long period but also tender to all business.
In this section difference and implication of two research approaches is discussed and it would be established that which one is best to conduct the research or both should be used. Design of the research is an important factor to conduct a successful research and which theories should be used in what extent (Saunders et. al, 2007). Researcher could use a deductive approach, which start from the development of the theory and researcher tests the hypothesis on the basis of research design. Inductive approach could be used that starts from the collection of the data and then theories could be developed on the basis of the results collected from the data analysis. There both approaches needed to be attached to different research philosophies, inductive is more closer to interpretivisn and deductive is more to do with positivism. Although its not a universal rule that which one is suitable for which approach and such labelling some time misleads as inductive approach deals with understanding the connotation of human connected to the events. It includes the collection of qualitative data that permit changes allow alteration to research stress as the research develops (Ritchie and Lewis, 2003).
It is established that research has low apprehension to generalise as he is part of the research.
Research stagey is a set of directions that is a planning of how the research will answer the research question or questions. It is based on the set objectives, imitative on the basis of research question that also focus on the data collection sources and consideration of the limitation that researcher could face while collecting data such as money, location and ethics. It also justifies the choice of particular strategy for the research (Saunders et al, 2007).
This section explains the research strategies used. Some deals with deductive approaches and others with inductive. However, it is excessively naive by assigning strategies from one tradition to another. It does not matter what is a particular strategy used but it should be in accordance with the research objective and question (Saunders, et al, 2007).
Exploratory, descriptive and explanatory studies
Investigation of the research is classified in reference to purpose of the research and the used strategy. The classification is divided into three parts descriptive, explanatory and exploratory. Author has used more then one strategy in this research (Cohen et al, 2000).
Exploratory study deals with finding out "what is phenomenon; to search new depth, asking questions and assessment of the phenomena in a new way. Exploratory research is most suitable for this research project as author focus on the UK mortgage market and its connection with the changes of the interest rate and to find out the global credit crunch (Cohen et al, 2000).
The three key elements of this way of conduction exploratory research are
Interviews with experts in the subject;
Focus group interviews
Exploratory research is flexible and easily adopts the changes that is its biggest advantage. Adam and Schvaneveldt (1991) supports this point and argues that flexibility in this type of research does not mean the lack of the direction to the enquiry. It means that in the beginning of the research researcher focuses on the broad view that gradually becomes narrow with the progress of the research.
4.3 Time horizon
The snap shot approach is used to conduct the research as it focus on the credit crunch and recession period. It is also called cross sectional approach (Saunders et al, 2007). Author focus on the fact that time standpoint of research design is independent that leads to the research strategy.
It is understood that this research is cross sectional that focus on the UK mortgage market decline and recession period. Study is based on a phenomena at a particular time. There is also time limit for the research that needs to be submitted in a given time. This type of study involves surveys as a data collection tool those could be used to seek the information related to occurrence of a phenomenon. In this study author used interviews as a tool to gather the qualitative data over a short period of time (Malhotra and Birks, 2006).
4.4 Data Collection
A discussion between two or more people is often referred as interview. To collect data related to the objective of research and find out the answer of the research question or question, interview is a toll commonly used. Interview or interviews also helps interviewer to design its research design and question if he has not set its objective for the research. There are many types of interview and research interview is a general type to refer to the interview and researcher selects they type that is best suitable for a particular kind of research. The type of interview should be relevant to the objective of the study, research question, purpose of the study and strategy used for the study. Interview could be based on informal conversation, unstructured questions or standardised questions (Saunders et al, 2007).
To seek new dimensions and find out what's happening, in-depth or detailed interviews are useful for an exploratory study. Open questions could be used to get the detailed and in-depth view on a particular subject. In this study author has used this tool to find out the current situation of the UK mortgage market and the credit crunch. Open question were asked to encourage interviewees to provide their detailed view on the situation (Ghauri, and Gronhaug, 2002).
Study is based on the following three questions:-
What is the relationship between the UK mortgage market and interest rate fluctuation?
How does the credit crisis affect the UK mortgage market and specially your organisation?
Why did the organisation introduce subprime mortgage?
Semi-structured Interviews were conducted with four senior managers in addition to three non-managers and three managers from the UK mortgage market related organisations. Demographically two senior managers of male and two female. Among rest of 24 interviewees, 10 were male and 14 were female. Some of the interviewees were in the industry for long time and some for short time. It is important fact to be mentioned that interviewees were not volunteers but been selected randomly. Interview was conducted with all selectees except one member who was on the sick leave.
Interview with all senior managers were conducted in person but with middle managers and subject matter experts (SMEs) were conducted using phone. Average time of interview was 30 minutes to an hour. Interviews conducted with senior managers were confidential and it was agreed that ful texts of the interview would not be published. The interview guide is in appendix 2.
Data is collected not only by interviews but by using other sources such as newsletters, articles, journals, email and internet.
4.5 Research Limitations
Focus of this section is on the issues linked with the research and types and level of access. Access to a particular data is some time difficult for the researcher due to different reasons. So researcher consider the access aspect during the designing of the research so they don't get stuck in an uncertain situation during the study. Author has considered physical entry and initial access to an organisation and level of access is increased with the progress of the study. In cognitive access research need cooperation to conduct a successful research. Some limitations are give below.
If respondents are not confident that their information would be confidential there provided information could be based on their perception and attitudes, they may give the social demanded answers rather then telling truth and bias can be arise (Ferber et al. 1980). Moreover, different people describe same event differently. Answers of the respondents can be vary from one to another on the basis of their perception, belief, personal experience, recent experience, interest, values and their mood at the time of the interview or survey that all leads to the different answers for the same situation and researcher needs to balance the findings (Bailey, 1982).
A limitation of the study is that author has measured the perception of their attitudes not the actual behaviour and managerial commitments that shows their commitment or lack in the subject that specifies relationship. Another limitation is the multiple deterioration examination does not reveals causality. Three phased approach is used to minimise the limitations: survey of the employees at four sites was conducted where response was 79%; semi structured interview with 4 senior managers and 24 managers and non managers from different organisations (Patton, 2001).
In qualitative research, interviews are helpful to collect detailed and required data, while, researcher need to built an adequate level of competencies to conduct these and to be able to gain required data. For qualitative data collection more then one type of interviews could be used to gather the data. Semi-structured and in-depth interviews are used to conduct the qualitative research. While used these qualitative research author considered level of competencies and coherent and resource matters (Leedy and Ormrod, 2001).
Researcher could also consider on the group interviews that did not happen in theis research because of difficulties in organisation as compared to one to one interviews.