Development And Nature Of Knowledge Education Essay

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The term methodology refers to the overall approaches & perspectives to the research process as a whole (Collis & Hussey, 2003,) Another definition of methodology is the explanation of how data is collected/generated, a explanation of how data is analyzed, an explanation of methodological problems and the solutions or effects. The purpose of the methodology is to demonstrate to the reader how the research will be carried out and how the results were obtained.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the research design implemented by the researcher to test the theoretical frame work of Angostura marketing strategy as stated in the previous chapter.

The chapter details the research process adopted and continues with an explanation of the data collection and analysis methods employed by the researcher which also includes justifying the approach methods and the sampling methods used by the researcher is discussed and the chapter continues with a discussion of the study design

Research Philosophy

There are several of research philosophies available to the researcher and these are illustrated in the diagram below.

In this part of the chapter research philosophy is argued. This overarching term relates to the development of knowledge and the nature of that knowledge (Saunders et al. 2007).

The research philosophy chosen by the researcher for this research was the positivism research philosophy. Positivistic approaches to research are based on research methodologies commonly used in science. They are characterised by a detached approach to research that seeks out the facts or causes of any social phenomena in a systematic way. Positivistic approaches are founded on a belief that the study of human behaviour should be conducted in the same way as studies conducted in the natural sciences (Collis & Hussey, 2003, p.52). Positivistic approaches seek to identify measure and evaluate any phenomena and to provide rational explanation for it. This explanation will attempt to establish causal links and relationships between the different elements (or variables) of the subject and relate them to a particular theory or practice. Positivistic approach will be used to seek, identify, measure and evaluate any issues and to provide rational explanation for it. This explanation will be used to establish the relationships between the different elements found in the research and relate them to a particular theory and practice. The approach allows the researcher to test and quantify what is being done with what it should be or desired. It allows getting close to the target audience and respondents to get a true understanding of their needs and desires.

The advantages of adopting this approach are

  1. It is Suitable for research projects that require a structured and qualitative approach
  2. Good for research projects like the one being executed in this paper as it identifies and quantifies the element parts of any phenomena.
  3. Standardisation makes collation and codifying of gathered data easier
  4. Research methods are easier to reproduce and for other researchers to test your conclusions

Research Approach

There are two types of research approaches that can be used by the researcher which are the deductive and the inductive approaches. Deductive research moves from general ideas and theories to specific particular & situations: the particular is deduced from the general, e.g. broad theories. Inductive research moves from particular situations to make or infer broad general ideas or theories.

However based on the topic and nature of the research the researcher adopted the deductive approach in this paper. The emphasis of deductive research is on collecting and analysing numerical data; it concentrates on measuring the scale, frequency or range. This type of research, although harder to design initially, is usually highly detailed and structured and results can be easily collated and presented statistically.

Research Strategy

The strategy adopted to for this paper will consist of a combination of elements. There are several research approaches that can be utilised to achieve the strategy of answering the research question proposed in chapter 1.

One research method is the causal research which seeks to find cause and effect relationships between variables. It achieves this goal through laboratory and field experiments. The exploratory research is undertaken when few or no previous studies exist. The aim is to look for patterns, hypotheses or ideas that can be tested and will form the basis for further research. Typical research techniques would include case studies, observation and reviews of previous related studies and data. Another method is the descriptive research which can be used to identify and classify the elements or characteristics of the subject.

In an effort to answer the questions asked in chapter 1 the descriptive approach as this will be used to explain the information collected on Angostura Limited as its the most appropriate method. Also in this strategy the Surveys, interviews, and cross sectional studies will be used to achieve the overall objective.

In collecting the data quantitative techniques will be used because they are often used to collect, analyse and summarise data. Qualitative research is more subjective in nature than Quantitative research and involves examining and reflecting on the less tangible aspects of a research subject, e.g. values, attitudes, perceptions. Although this type of research can be easier to start, it can be often difficult to interpret and present the findings; the findings can also be challenged more easily.

Research Process

The research process will use the following procedures. Surveys will be uses as it involves selecting a representative and unbiased sample of subjects drawn from the group you wish to study. The main methods of asking questions are by face-to-face or telephone interviews, by using questionnaires or a mixture of the two.

There are two main types of survey: a descriptive survey: concerned with identifying & counting the frequency of a particular response among the survey group, or an analytical survey: to analyse the relationship between different elements (variables) in a sample group.

Structured Interviews

Structured interviews involve the use of questionnaires based on a predetermined and identical set of questions. The questions are usually read out by a researcher in a neutral tone of voice to avoid influencing or prompting a particular response from a participant. (see also the section on questionnaires)

Semi-Structured Interviews

The interviewer will have a list of themes and areas to be covered and there may be some standardised questions, but the interviewer may omit or add to some of these questions or areas, depending on the situation and the flow of the conversation.

Unstructured Interviews

These are informal discussions where the interviewer wants to explore indepth a particular topic with another person in a spontaneous way.However, even in unstructured interviews it is likely that the researcher would have a pre-decided range of topics to cover in the discussion

CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDIES

This is a study involving different organisations or groups of people to look at similarities or differences between them at any one particular time, Cross-sectional studies are done when time or resources for more extended research, e.g. longitudinal studies, are limited. It involves a close analysis of a situation at one particular point in time to give a ‘snap-shot' result.

The research was conducted via semi structured interviews. Research interviews is one example of qualitative research methods , others being questionnaires and observations which were also used. The research interview was used to interview management and staff to acquire more information on the company and their new strategy. Questionnaires were developed to generate feedback on specific topics from the specified target audience. This was done in the form of a closed ended questionnaires with responses based on a likert system. Observations were also conducted at the locations where the target audience would be located. Informal interviews were also done with bar owners an bar tenders as to get a better insight as to what was happening within the locations where the product is being distributed .

The research interview was selected because it allows the researcher to get as close as possible to the world of managers and enables the researcher to interpret this world and its problems from the inside as they are seen and felt at various points and levels (Schwartszman 1993)

There are different types of research interview ranging from the formal to the informal with a number of variations in between and each approach has it strengths and weakness. The structured approach is useful for soliciting information about large number of people whilst the informal interview utilising an open structure is preferable when complex or sensitive issues are being probed (Hannabuss 1993)

The informal interview approach was selected because it allowed the respondents to feel relaxed. The research interviews were designed to be open to enable the researcher to respond to opportunities and emerging themes as the interviews progressed as to be able to add additional questions to the interview. Eisenhardt (1989) encourages such an approach because inductive research is built on understanding rather than statistical comparisons between data collected through standardised procedures.

Primary Research

Contact was made with the Marketing Manager at Angostura ltd to set up a meeting to discuss the present and new marketing strategy of the company. This contact was made via emails and a date was confirmed

The researcher then conducted face to face and online surveys of 100 respondents to gather additional information based on the desired topic stated. These interviews we carried out over a two week period .The informal interviews with the bar owners and bar tenders were done over a month because of availability and time constraints . These questions used were both open and closed ended questions design to initiate a discussion with the research participant

One-to-one interviews with key informants in an organisation

A questionnaire survey of consumers, customers can be done using printed or electronic questionnaires. However, other approaches can be used too, e.g. autobiography, diary methods, Internet etc. It is also possible to engage in problem solving research by an analysis of secondary data relevant to the chosen topic, but you will need to discuss this acceptability of this approach with your tutor

Key areas covered during the primary research interviews included

  • The main forms of promoting the product
  • Influences in to consuming the products
  • Communications strategy
  • Usage of the product
  • Competitor to the brand

Data collection

The researcher used both primary and secondary data collection methods to acquire the relevant information for this research .Secondary research will consist of articles, text books, journals and reports and primary research will be gathered using surveys and interviews.

The researcher will conduct interviews with managers, directors or any other personnel that can provide information to execute this research. These interviews will be semi structured in format and they will be conducted face to face. These questions were open ended because it enable the researcher to get below the surface, explore and probe and it allows and encourages the respondents to give honest opinions when conducting face to face .

Surveys were utilized by the researcher to gather information from the population about the company and their products . When choosing a sample size, we must consider the following issues:

  • What population parameters we want to estimate
  • Cost of sampling (importance of information)
  • Spread of the population
  • Practicality: how hard is it to collect data
  • How precise we want the final estimates to be

Based on the criteria the researcher decided to administer the questionnaire online via various networks. The design will consist of no more than twenty (20) questions and mainly consists of closed ended questionnaires. The advantages of using closed ended questions are

  • Often easier for respondents to answer
  • Easier to collate than open questions
  • The questionnaire can be easily reproduced by other researchers who wanted to test your findings

It is imperative that the data collection process is accurate and thorough as it may create some bias and offset the results and give an inaccurate analysis and defeat the purpose of the paper.

Sampling

Sampling is that part of statistical practice concerned with the selection of a subset of individuals from within a population to yield some knowledge about the whole population, especially for the purpose of making predictions based on statistical inference.

Researchers rarely survey the entire population for two reasons (Adèr, Mellenbergh, & Hand, 2008): the cost is too high, and the population is dynamic in that the individuals making up the population may change over time. The three main advantages of sampling are that the cost is lower, data collection is faster, and since the data set is smaller it is possible to ensure homogeneity and to improve the accuracy and quality of the data.

A probability sampling scheme is one in which every unit in the population has a chance (greater than zero) of being selected in the sample, and this probability can be accurately determined. The combination of these traits makes it possible to produce unbiased estimates of population totals, by weighting sampled units according to their probability of selection. Probability sampling includes: Simple Random Sampling, Systematic Sampling, Stratified Sampling, Probability Proportional to Size Sampling, and Cluster or Multistage Sampling. These various ways of probability sampling have two things in common.

Non probability sampling is any sampling method where some elements of the population have no chance of selection or where the probability of selection can't be accurately determined. It involves the selection of elements based on assumptions regarding the population of interest, which forms the criteria for selection. Hence, because the selection of elements is nonrandom, nonprobability sampling does not allow the estimation of sampling errors. These conditions give rise to exclusion bias, placing limits on how much information a sample can provide about the population. Information about the relationship between sample and population is limited, making it difficult to extrapolate from the sample to the population.

Therefore, answering research questions and achieving research objectives that require statistical inference is possible with probability sampling from the population (Saunders et al. 2007). Consequently, Probability sampling is often associated with survey-based research strategies where making inferences from sample about a population to answer research questions or to meet research objectives is needed (Saunders et al. 2007).

Simple random sampling

In a simple random sample of a given size, all such subsets of the frame are given an equal probability. Each element of the frame thus has an equal probability of selection: the frame is not subdivided or partitioned. This minimises bias and simplifies analysis of results. In particular, the variance between individual results within the sample is a good indicator of variance in the overall population, which makes it relatively easy to estimate the accuracy of results.

However, SRS can be vulnerable to sampling error because the randomness of the selection may result in a sample that doesn't reflect the makeup of the population. Systematic and stratified techniques, discussed below, attempt to overcome this problem by using information about the population to choose a more representative sample.

SRS may also be cumbersome and tedious when sampling from an unusually large target population. In some cases, investigators are interested in research questions specific to subgroups of the population. For example, researchers might be interested in examining whether cognitive ability as a predictor of job performance is equally applicable across racial groups. SRS cannot accommodate the needs of researchers in this situation because it does not provide subsamples of the population. Stratified sampling, which is discussed below, addresses this weakness of SRS.

Systematic sampling relies on arranging the target population according to some ordering scheme and then selecting elements at regular intervals through that ordered list. Systematic sampling involves a random start and then proceeds with the selection of every element from then onwards. It is important that the starting point is not automatically the first in the list, but is instead randomly chosen from within the first onwards to the last element in the list.

Multistage sampling Multistage sampling is a complex form of cluster sampling in which two or more levels of units are embedded one in the other. The first stage consists of constructing the clusters that will be used to sample from. In the second stage, a sample of primary units is randomly selected from each cluster (rather than using all units contained in all selected clusters). In following stages, in each of those selected clusters, additional samples of units are selected, and so on. All ultimate units (individuals, for instance) selected at the last step of this procedure are then surveyed.

This technique, thus, is essentially the process of taking random samples of preceding random samples. It is not as effective as true random sampling, but it probably solves more of the problems inherent to random sampling. Moreover, it is an effective strategy because it banks on multiple randomizations. As such, it is extremely useful.

Multistage sampling is used frequently when a complete list of all members of the population does not exist and is inappropriate.

Cluster sampling is a sampling technique used when "natural" groupings are evident in a statistical population. It is often used in marketing research. In this technique, the total population is divided into these groups (or clusters) and a sample of the groups is selected

This can reduce travel and other administrative costs. It also means that one does not need a sampling frame listing all elements in the target population. Instead, clusters can be chosen from a cluster-level frame, with an element-level frame created only for the selected clusters. Cluster sampling generally increases the variability of sample estimates above that of simple random sampling, depending on how the clusters differ between themselves, as compared with the within-cluster variation.

Nevertheless, some of the disadvantages of cluster sampling are the reliance of sample estimate precision on the actual clusters chosen. If clusters chosen are biased in a certain way, inferences drawn about population parameters from these sample estimates will be far off from being accurate

Data Analysis

Presentation of Data

The data will be illustrated in the final research in tables and charts. These presentation methods will be used as it can be easily understood and followed and are important factors in showing comparisons Below are the various ways in which the data collected will be presented in the report;

  1. Pie charts: A pie chart represents the data as a proportion of a 360 degree circle. A pie chart is useful for small amounts of data but not very good for representing a large number of variables.
  2. Bar charts: A bar chart represents the data as a bar - the height of the bar representing the size of the value
  3. Tables : Tables will be used to present data based on a trend to allow easy understanding.

Limitations in the Research

The usefulness of market research data depends on its accuracy and reliability. This in turn depends on the methods used to collect the data. . Measures will be developed to minimized the risk of the research being bias or becoming flawed, because if the information is incorrect it will give a misleading picture and create a bias or misleading report.

Another limitation that could affect the research is the lack of co-operation of the organization or the relevant persons to provide the relevant information for the research. This can happen due to unavailability of the information or the person or accessibility of confidential information by outsiders of the company.

Time Horizon

According to Saunders et al. (2007), a study of a particular phenomenon at a particular time is a cross-sectional study. Cross-sectional studies often employ the survey strategy (Robson, 2002).

In contrast to cross-sectional study, longitudinal study takes place over time. The main strength of longitudinal study is the capacity that it has to study change and development (Saunders et al. 2007).

Investigation of Angostura success in the context of their marketing strategy is conducted in a limited period of time; therefore this research has adopted a cross-sectional approach .

Ethical Considerations in the research

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN RESEARCH

Ethical concerns may emerge at all stages of research.

Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2003, p. 131) summarise the main issues to consider, although the ethical issues surrounding these items are not always clear-cut:

  • The rights of privacy of individuals
  • Voluntary nature of participation - and the rights of individuals to withdraw partially or completely from the process
  • Consent and possible deception of participants
  • Maintenance of the confidentiality of data provided by individuals or identifiable participants and their anonymity
  • Reactions of participants to the ways in which researchers seek to collect data
  • Effects on participants of the way in which data is analysed and reported
  • Behaviour and objectivity of the researcher

These may emerge at all stages of research which are not always clear-cut and could be avoided. Issues such as

  • The rights of privacy of individuals
  • Voluntary nature of participation - and the rights of individuals to withdraw partially or completely from the process
  • Consent and possible deception of participants
  • Maintenance of the confidentiality of data provided by individuals or identifiable participants and their anonymity
  • Reactions of participants to the ways in which researchers seek to collect data
  • Effects on participants of the way in which data is analyzed and reported
  • Behaviour and objectivity of the researcher

The researcher has maintained high levels of ethics at all time while conducting the research to avoid presenting any bias in the report.

This methodology will be used as the guide for the collection of all data needed for the paper .The researcher will be adopting a mixture of the positivist and phenomenological philosophy utilizing both primary and secondary research to collect the data with the relevant data collection methods. High ethical values will be maintained throughout this research to avoid any bias that may affect the results of the outcome of the paper.

Summary and Conclusions

Each of the subsequent segments of this chapter dealt with part of the research design process outlined in chapter 1 . In this chapter the overall research design, and the underlying research philosophy, the research approach and the research strategy have been discussed as summarized in Figure 8. The study has characteristics of an posivistic research philosophy, and can probably best be classified following a deductive research approach. The research purpose is classified as quantitative, descriptive. The appropriate research strategy for investigating Angostura strategy success in a practical context is found to be a survey with a cross-sectional time horizon and mono method of data collection and data analysis.

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