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Research is a rigorous and meaningful search for knowledge and understanding of social and physical phenomena. It is an academic activity which is undertaken to set up a theory, a fact, an application or a principle. Hair et al. (2007) define research as "a discerning pursuit of the truth". In very simple words a research can be define "something that people undertake in order to find out things in a systematic way, thereby increasing their knowledge (Saunders et al., 2003). Well two words are very important 'to find out things' and 'systematic way'. Because the word 'systematic' describe that the research is not just a belief it's built on logical relationships.
According to this part, the research will be consist of different explanations like which methodology is used to collect the data, are the results carrying significant weight and are there any limitations related to the research. 'To find out things' express that there are different possible reasons to do the research and that could be criticising, describing, explaining something or analysing. Though, it is suggested that researchers must have clear idea what they have to find out (Ghauri and Grønhaug, 2002).
In business research, there are three basic elements for assessment of research, reliability, replication and validity (Bryman, 2004).
Reliability: The reliability is concern with the question that the results of research are repeatable.
Replication: A study must be replicable because most of the times researches replicate the findings of other studies.
Validity: Validity concerned that the conclusions and findings those are generated from studies must be factual.
3.2 Research Designs:
A research design provides a direction to carry out the study or research. The researcher should choose a design that would provide most relevant information on the research question and complete the work done most efficiently. It's a plan of investigation to find the answers of researcher's questions. Jankowicz (2005) define research design as, "Arrangement of conditions for analysis and collection of data in a manner that aims to combine relevance to the research purpose with economy of procedure". Any work without a proper knowledge and design always create more problems rather getting answers of the questions. Designing of a research also differ that what kind of data is going to be analysed.
3.2.1 Types of Research Design:
Hair et al. (2007) state that there are many types of research for business research and could be used one of them but three basic are commonly used by researcher are;
126.96.36.199 Exploratory Research:
The exploratory research is designed when there is not much information available for researchers. In very simple words, this design is most appropriate when researcher knows a little about the problem. According to Ghauri and Grønhaug (2002) "this is designed to discover new relationships, patterns, themes, ideas and so on. Thus, it is not intended to test specific research hypotheses". Highly innovative Industries are mostly use exploratory research design to discover new ideas and new technologies for their business. It is an important research design especially in product innovation. As Malhotra & Birks (2003) states that with the use of exploratory research, researchers can find out consumer's perception and their needs. It helps companies to make new and successful products according to their customers need. This greater understanding of their customers leads the company to make effective decisions and recognise the market trend and they can compete in the market by producing high quality innovative products which can lead the company unexpected profit.
Exploratory research design mostly uses qualitative research approach rather than quantitative, though it is also possible to use it with quantitative approach.
188.8.131.52 Descriptive Research:
Descriptive research design is usually structured and it is used to assess the different characteristics of the research question. This is the part of conclusive research and its main objective is the description of something. This research is more useful, especially when tracking the seasonal trends of the markets. In this research, data collection engage a different kind of structured process, it could be interviews those ask structured questions or observations of data.
According to Hair et al. (2007), descriptive studies can be classified into categories, cross-sectional and longitudinal.
184.108.40.206.1 Cross-Sectional Design:
If the research is about a particular event and it is at particular time, then it's probably a cross-sectional research design. It is been seen that most of the academic research projects are time constrained and fall in this category. Data is collected at a certain point and analysed statistically. For example, data is collected in European Union to examine different attitude and behaviour of different individuals form member countries to obtaining a university degree. And data could be examined through different variables like residence country, gender, age and city versus rural. This is just one-time or cross-sectional research study to get an idea about a university degree. Most of the surveys, which involve population element, fall in this category (Hair et al. 2007).
220.127.116.11.2 Longitudinal Research Design:
This design also describes business activities, but rather than at a single point in time it repeats the events over time. In very simple words, a fixed sample of population is measured again and again or same public is studied over time. For example, employee's performance is studied over time which enables higher management to evaluate the employee's performance.
18.104.22.168 Casual Research:
It is that type of research in which researchers test one event would occur or cause of another event. Malhotra and & Birks (2003) describe casual research "where main objective is obtain evidence regarding cause and effect relationship". More clearly, this research explores the effect of one variable to another variable. It is also called experimental research design because this is the type of research used in experimental labs. For example, a company produce blue denim jeans, with casual research Design Company can measure the impact of changing design of the product blue to white. According to Hair et al. (2007), companies always get help with known cause and effect relationship. It allows them to predict the future of their products if they implement changes into their product line and this causality concept is very powerful. Though, its execution is very precise but it could be complex, time taking and very expensive for researchers from planning to execution.
3.3 Data Collection:
Data collection is very important and integral aspect of the study because it depends on data that how well the research turns up. Data collection is a strategy to collect information to deal with critical research questions. But the need is to adopt an appropriate data collection method.
There are many methods available to collect the data like fact to face interviews, telephonic interviews, through emails and lots of others motivational techniques as projective test (Saunders et al., 2003).
3.3.1 Data Collection Methods:
There are two methods for collecting data;
22.214.171.124 Primary Data:
Primary data is that kind of data which researchers collect their self by interviewing individuals personally and questionnaires. This is very unique method to collect the data because it is new information and no one has access to it until you publish it. Primary data can be collected in different sources like interviews, questionnaires, portfolios, observation, case studies, focus groups interviews and also diaries.
However primary research would not be applicable for my study.
126.96.36.199 Secondary Data:
Saunders et al. (2003) states secondary data as, while considering the question, that how to find the answers of the research questions. Researchers and students first of all consider reanalysing that information and data which is already available and collected by others researchers for some other research questions or purposes. That kind of data is called secondary data. According to Hair et al. (2007), "data used for research that was not gathered directly and purposefully for the project under consideration are termed secondary data". Secondary data will play an important role throughout the dissertation to answer the research questions. Secondary data include quantitative and qualitative approaches, and they can take any explanatory or descriptive research design and data could be raw and published summaries. Secondary data can be categories in two major sources, internal source and external source.
Internal Source: If the secondary data is collected and obtained within the company, it's called internal source.
External Source: if the secondary data is acquired from outside of the company then it's called external source.
But whatever the source and type of secondary data is obtained, it would not be in a format which is instantly useful. There are number of advantages and disadvantages with secondary data collection method. However, secondary data is suitable for my research design.
188.8.131.52.1 Advantages of Secondary Data:
The biggest advantage of secondary data is that it saves cost, time and human capital. During research, a lot of data is collected but this method has made it a lot easier than to try the required research themselves because it is very easily available from different sources. Another most important thing is that its saves lot of time which helps researchers to plan and execute the research in a very short time because time and personal requirement are very important to design and complete the study. Secondary data can be assessed before using in the study either it's suitable for research project (Hair et al., 2007).
184.108.40.206.2 Disadvantages of Secondary Data:
Everything has its pros and cons so secondary data. There are some possibilities, that there is a little information available for the research topic and some time it is difficult to find the reliability of the sources. The researchers should be very careful while collected the data because quality concerns with the secondary data.
3.3.2 Data Collection Approaches:
While doing research it happens sometimes that theory is explained well and leads to a formal conceptual framework even hypotheses is tested. But some other times, theory is limited or may do not exist. The researchers simply rely on combination of both approaches, qualitative and quantitative to conduct the research. For example, if the topic is new and its theories are not established yet, then researchers would most likely to depend on qualitative approach (Hair et al., (2007).
220.127.116.11 Quantitative Approach:
Business research is associated with statistics, graphs, numbers and calculations. The statistics are used with quantitative data collected from sales reports, company's financial accounts and questionnaires. The numbers are used directly to characterise something to measure in quantitative data. They are in a structure that lends itself to statistical analysis, since they are directly recorded with numbers (Saunders et al., 2003).
18.104.22.168 Qualitative Approach:
Qualitative data are mostly describe things that are made without dispense numbers directly. According to Hair et al. (2007) qualitative data is generally a collection of some type of unstructured interviews, recording words, pictures or some time observation, rather than collecting information by assigning numbers. The theories are developed less frequently with qualitative research but the concern is that if hypotheses are constructed then they will influence the direction and conclusions of the findings.
However quantitative and qualitative both approaches are used to answer my research questions in this report.
Sampling is the process of selecting adequate elements from the population and it is used particularly in qualitative research (Sekaran, 2000). Preferably, researchers would like to gather information from whole population but in most of the cases this approach is not possible, as a result they draw a sample population.
3.4.1 Sample Frame:
The sample frame provides the exact list of samples which from which samples are drawn. .