Exploratory research is involved in the research issue when there is no research is done on the same subject or quite few of them are there from which the information or knowledge of the problem being discussed can be extracted. It is considered to be a very helpful approach when the researcher wants to clarify his understanding of the problem (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). This approach helps the researchers to get any prior knowledge of the problem and this helps them to bring their own understanding of the research. The disadvantage of this approach any hypothesis which is developed is either very vague or not present at all. Adam and Schvaneveldt (1991) argue that the flexibility does not mean the objectives of the research cannot be obtained, it means that in the beginning the topic is very broad but it becomes more precise as the research progress.
Descriptive Research Approach
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According to Robson (1993), as cited in (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009), explained that descriptive approach describe actual information regarding the certain events, situations or even people and because of this phenomenon, descriptive approach is sometimes considered to be a part of the exploratory approach. The descriptive approach depends upon the pre-planned hypothesis which is sometimes confusing or speculative. The disadvantage of this approach is that the research has already been decided and the result is tentative in nature before they have been even extracted from research. This approach of research disallows any flexibility and even the researcher is not free to express his thoughts during the process.
Explanatory Research Approach:
Explanatory research approach is commonly known as analytical research. Cooper, Schindler, & Blumberg (2008) has also reffered it as correlational study. It is also considered to be an extension to the descriptive approach. As the descriptive approach was concerned about the information the explanatory approach takes it to next level. In this approach, the description is continued to the next stage of finding the reason behind the happenings. So the main objective of explanatory approach is to explain the relationships between the variables of the study (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). One of the disadvantage of the explanatory research approach is the pre-determined path of the research. However, through this approach the researcher is better able to have a better insight of the topic area.
Type of Researcher
Research is the person who takes the decision that what kind of research should be used. They are divided into three types of researchers i.e. positivists, the realists and the interpretivists. The positivists' takes pre defined hypothesis assuming the final results and works in a social observable social reality. This type of researcher is unaffected by the research subject (Remenyi et al, 1998). Gill and Johnson (2002) thinks that the positivist researcher would be using structured methodology so that he can support duplication in his work. These kinds of researchers works with the descriptive research which often includes a lot of quantitative data.
According to the reslistics who are more dependent on their senses belive what the senses show as reality is the truth. The realistics are further divided into direct and critical realistics. Directs realistics believe that the experiances through the senses portray the world accurately. They believe that there is a direct relationship between the researchers observations and experiances with the object in the world. On the other hand, critical relaistics believe that the experiance is not gained throuh the sensations but through the images of the things (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). Critcial reallists are of the view that subject of the research can only be understood when one gets the understanding of the social background of topic area. They believe upon two things - the object and what it expresses and the social context with which it has been understood. As (Dobson, 2002) explains that their understanding is according to the social conditions and it cannot be understood independently of the social actors involved in the knowledge derivation process.
The interpretivists believe if the complexity is reduced to law-like generalization then it is not possible to get insight into the complex world. They emphises that the researches has to differentiate between the social actors involved in the research (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). The interpretivism is derived from two different intellectial traditions phenomenology and symbolic interpretivism. The phenomenology refers to the sense making by the social actors and the symbolic is the continuous process of interpreting the social world (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). The research technique and the research stream used by the author in this study will be discussed in the concluding section of this chapter.
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The research process has been classified into two different methods, quantitative and qualitative research.
Qualitative research has been defined as the research whose outcomes are not gathered by the statistical, numerical or other procedures of quantification (Strauss & Corbin, 2008). It is also defined as a technique that is relatively amorphous to the measurement approach allowing a variety of possible consumer responses. The freedom by which the researchers and respondents of the research make qualitative research as the first steps in exploration (Keller, 1998). Qualitative research enable researcher to differentiate, realise and gain in-depth understanding of attitudes, feelings, opinions and actions of individuals or the group. Through the qualitative research gives the researcher the freedom to analyse the situations in their natural way which helps researcher to make sense of, or interpret, the trends in terms of meaning people bring to the data collected (Denzin & Lincoln, 2008). As Denzin and Lincoln (2008) continue to explain that the qualitative methods include the personal experiences, observation, interaction with other people, interviews, personal experiences etc. the data which is used for this research is usually consists of the descriptive moments, complications and meanings from individual's experiences. Qualitative research explains all these experiences or phenomenon in descriptive text formats.
With all of its positive aspects, the qualitative research has few drawbacks. These drawbacks include the authenticity of the data collected, analysis of data and the time for the research. The authenticity of the data being collected is very important for any research. The data given by the people during the focus groups or semi structured interviews can vary because of their personal interests or due to the cultural implications. This kind of exchange of ideas can corrupt the study (Fisher, 2007) and in order to dissolve this situation the questions being asked to the sample has to be strategically constructed so that the respondents feel comfortable while answering those questions. Also, the analysis of the qualitative data can yield lots of different points which lead the study in a totally different way. Qualitative study also takes a lot of time to conduct but this depends upon the methodology of the study under consideration (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009).
Focus group is a group interview that focuses on the particular issue, product, service or any given situation and includes the interactive discussion among the participants of the focus group (Carson et al, 2001 and Fisher, 2007). These focus groups takes form of lossly structured steered conversations. Focus groups were first used in managemet researh and mostly in politics. Even now in UK they have been adopted by the political parties because the public representatives get a plateform to express their views and ideas and then people can choose from them. Inevitably, they have been adopted by the political parties all over the owrld.
In the focus, the individual responses are encouraged and the focus group is is closely controlled to maintain the focus of the group to the particular topic. During the focus group, the researcher plays the role of both initiator and fasilitator which is also known as the moderator. The purpose of the modrator is to keep ht e group within the boundries of the topic and tries to involve all the participants in the discussion without being biased (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). Through the focus groups, qualitative data is hju in the form of respondants opinions and which plays an important role in the analysis phase of the reseach. While setting up a focus group few issue have to kept in mind. First of all, researcher has to decide which themes and idea have to be discussed and have to inform the participants about the confidiatality of the information from the focus group. Other things include the size of the group, categories of people being called for focus group and time for the focus group (Fisher, 2007).
The second approach for the research process is quantitative methods. This method as compared to qualitative methods consists of quantified data which has measurable characteristics. In this methods, researchers use numerical values which are use to explain research being conducted and to solve the problems. As Curwin and Slater (2007) described that the importance of quantitative research would be given to the collection of numerical, statistical analysis, and the results of the data. The quantitative methods were first designed for natural sciences to study natural phenomena. The quantitative methods cannot be used efficiently when there are human emotions involved in the research. The quantitative research includes survey, formal and numerical methods such as mathematical modelling (Myers, 2004). One of the most important drawbacks of this method is that the human emotions are reduced to the point based system (Strauss & Corbin, 2008).
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Traditionally, there are many methods present for collecting the data but this depends upon the type of the research being under consideration. These include questionnaires, structured and semi structured interviews, observation, focus group etc. The researcher has the freedom to choose any of the data collection techniques either qualitative or quantitative, but this depends upon the type of the research undertaken and the researcher's nature. For the current research, an exploratory and qualitative research is being conducted to understand the topic area. This has been achieved by doing the focus group and questionnaires.
The questionnaire has been considered as one of the most important and useful method for collecting data for marketing research (Ranchod & Zhou, 2001). Questionnaire is most cost effective and trust worthy source of data collection and it has been used for both qualitative and quantitative data collection. Although, they would be seem as very simple to use and analyse but their design is not simple at all. A questionnaire which is prepared through considerate attention to design, proper testing and administration can provide very accurate and relevant data (McClelland, 1994). Over the past few years, email/online questionnaires have gained a lot of popularity in data collection for research because of their ease of use and worldwide accessibility. For this research, online questionnaire has been used. The reason to choose this data collection technique was the time constraints. Online questionnaires are cost effective and less time consuming as compared to other qualitative research methods like interviews or observations. A drawback of the online questionnaire is the restriction of number of questions being asked through the free questionnaires hosting websites and also high monthly fees in case of becoming a premium user to host restriction free questionnaires.
For this research, questionnaire was conducted with open ended questions. There are two different types of questions used in a questionnaire, open ended or close ended questions. The strength of using the close ended questions is that they can be easily answered and analysed. The disadvantage of these types of questions could be that data obtained may be very shallow. With open ended questions, the researcher can ask deeper questions and can anticipate obtaining interesting perspective of the issue but the weakness could be that analysis and completion will be time consuming (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Lowe, 2002).
The questionnaires are considered to be very handy for collecting first hand primary data. The questionnaires also help the researcher to gather the information which the researcher is looking for and which is relevant to the research. This avoids the danger of data being overload. Also, due to the formalised nature of the questionnaires, it facilitates information in a consistent manner. This also helps to analyse the data and put it across in a standardised way. Questionnaires also helps to facilities information is a proper way and the researcher will only get that information which is essential for the research.
During the quantitative data analysis, many researchers apply an external structure on the data which makes it far simpler. On the other hand, while analysing the qualitative data analysis, a structure has to be derived first from the data which makes it easily for the researcher to make his way through to the theory by analysing the pattern, relationships and situations in the data. This kind of analysis is called the Grounded Analysis and it was first introduced by Glaser and Strauss in 1967, in their work "The Discovery of Grounded Theory" (Locke, 2003). The main objective of this qualitative analysis is to give freedom to the researchers to be more imaginative and creative to develop theory for their studies but also telling them the way to do it. Over the years, this theory has undergone lots of changes by originators of approach and their respective students (Glaser 1992; Locke, 1997; Stern, 1994; Strauss and Corbin, 1990).
This approach was used while analysing the data during his study. This research started with some simple ideas of cooperation and competition and while doing the focus group some more bits were added as described by the original students. During this process, data started to take shape and a questionnaire was derived from themes, relationships and situations take came out of the analysis of focus group.
In order to make the above procedure more understandable, we used the analysis method used by the Mark Easterby-Smith which is explained in seven simple step. These steps will be explained in more detail in analysis section. The method used by the Mark Easterby-Smith starts with analysing the transcripts of the interviews/focus group and and then after rigourious analysis some relationships are extracted which are then used to derive a loical framework for the study.
The large part of dissertation consists of secondary data is collected from mainly journals, articles, and books. Previous researches from various authors were found from databases that include Emerald, Business Source Premier, Mintel, other authentic electronic article, books and few authentic web pages etc. Such data has helped to a great extent in the analysis of cooperation and competition among multicultural students, the issues involved and also helps researcher to have a look on other issues relating to the subject matter which other might lose. Care has been taken to evaluate the secondary data. Also, it has been ensured that all information that has been collected as part of secondary data is from updated resources so that any mistakes in interpretation can be avoided. The reliability of the data can assured because most of the information has been taken from authenticated sources like academic books and online databases provided by the university.
1.7 Research aims and research methods applied
The goal of this research is to analyse the idea of cooperation and competition among multicultural post graduate students. This project is basically based on the qualitative data researched. This research involves the clear understanding of the notions of cooperation and competition among the post graduate student in teams and how this effect their decision of working together and will try to analyse the motives of the multicultural students that make them to come together for team assessments. Secondary data will also be the part of actual study and this would help to better understand and explore the topic area. Taking all the factors into consideration, quantitative research based on a positivist approach would not be suitable for this research due to the nature of the project. Also, to explore the cultural influence on students and cooperation and competition among multicultural students cannot be just easily understood by surveyed data. To analyse these issues and factors, a qualitative research methods are best suited to understand the topic area and answer the research question. The research analysis method chosen and nature of the topic requires researcher to be critical realistic. Hence, this research will be exploratory in nature depending on qualitative data obtained and analysed from a critical realistic point of view. INSERT THE PICTURE FROM BOOK AND TALK ABOUT DIFFERENT STUFF