Kothari, C puts it, the research methodology refers to the methods which are used to study the research problem. Through the methods applied we investigate into the research objectives. To conduct the research on the impact of internet technology on the relevant market share of Tesco, we would employ both qualitative as well as quantitative method of research. Research methodology is a way in which we solve the research problem systematically by implementing different steps for conducting the research. The data thus collected using these techniques is both primary and secondary.
There are two main types of research approach which are applied in a study, they are deductive and inductive research approaches (Kothari, C). Deductive is a research approach in which the researcher develops a theory and hypothesis and designs a research strategy to test the hypothesis. The Deductive approach takes from a more general perspective to a more specific one. On other hand, the inductive approach works from the specific observation to broader generalizations and theories. The study of inductive approach is generally carried out within the field and is known as critical thinking. This research paper concentrates on the impact of internet on the increasing market share of Tesco in the food retail; therefore the approach applied in this case will be inductive. The inductive research approach will benefit this project because of its beginning with a specific area and then moving to more generalized view.
A number of research strategies have been used to collect data on the impact of IT, internet on the increasing market share of Tesco. Melville, S (2007) says research strategy can be conducted on the basis of experiment, case study, survey, action research and many other ways can be employed to carry out the research. In this paper, case study as a research strategy is employed to carry out the research. Based on the research topic, case study design is selected and applied for a deeper understanding of the research topic. This research strategy has been selected as it helps in gaining a rich understanding of the research topic and the processes being used. Along with the case study, the research is accompanied by interviews of senior management. The case study approach is very popular and is believed to be especially good in complex situations and involve a number of different issues. The main advantage of the case study approach as a research strategy is that, it generates empirical data and information which would not be solely dependent on the already published work. And also the case study approach can be carried out by a single researcher and this method is relatively cheap.
Blaxter (2006) found following advantages of choosing case study method:
- Case study is the method of data collection whereby the data is collected through the real experience and practice of people, because of this feature, this data is strongly near to reality.
- Case study allows for generalisations from definite example to more general issues.
- The quality of a case is that it provides grounds for the further research.
- One of the advantages of case study is that it is built on actual practice and experience of a person that is why these can be connected to actions and practice which can change the practice of the established thinking or belief.
- Because the data collected through case studies is very close to the experiences of the people that is why, it can be more accessible and influential.
Keeping in mind the advantages of the case study, this method has been chosen for this specific case as it is found to be the most apt.
In qualitative research methodology, the use of figures and numbers is pretty less as this type of research methodology throws light on the facts about the research topic. The data collected is purely descriptive and explains the research topic is a detailed and descriptive manner. In order to collect the data in qualitative research methodology, the employees as well as the top management will be questioned on the impact of IT on company's performance; in acquiring new customers, expanding the existing customer base and also how this process has been able to increase the market share of Tesco. This would require data on the cost incurred and the profits made by the company in the past few years.
To collect qualitative data, interview method will be used. The information will be collected by interviewing the management from IT and financial department. In order to do that; the time and place of interview will be decided by the interviewee. There are many reasons for conducting personal interviews instead of asking questions via email or chat. This is because in the physical interviews, there is one on one interaction between the interviewer and interviewee. The one on one interaction will provide opportunities to ask questions that are not part of the protocol (Adam, M. and Schvanevldt, P., 1991).
Also, this kind of interview method will provide a kind of intimacy between the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewee will get a chance to express his or her views freely as how IT implementation took place and how beautifully it has contributed to the Tescos performance in the share market. This way the researcher can get more insights into the personality of the interviewee than just asking predefined questions. Another important thin is that in case of one on one interview method, if the interviewee turns out to be friendly and communicative persons, then the interview may revolve around matters that are beyond the scope of this research and this will help the researcher in better understanding of the topic and will gather good and effective information for making analysis. It would be kind of informal conversation. In fact such informal conversations help the interviewer get more realistic and honest responses from the interviewee.
However, initial informal conversation between the two could ease the interviewee to a greater extent and the interview might project to the real reason as how the internet development has drastically increased the market share of Tesco. This information can be of utmost importance. How Tesco has been able to coordinate and perform so well in the e-commerce business. Thus a deeper interaction would help the interviewer to extract the real information and can get a fairly accurate picture of the situation.
Approach to sampling
If we start a research we cannot cover the whole population of the country since the resources are limited. In this case, we choose a proportion of the population to carry on the study. This amount or specific share is called the sample. Samples are used to generalize the situation of the case in all. To conduct this kind of research, five medium to large size organization would be chosen as a sample. Ten senior officials from each of the companies would be chosen for study or research on the topic. The human resource department of those companies would be contacted in advance for taking permission from them to conduct the research of their senior officials provided the employees are willing to participate in the survey. The list of officials would be procured from the human resource department of the companies. The officials would be contacted via an email to seek their permission in conducting the interview and if they are interested then to seek the date, time and venue of the interview. A time period of 15-30 minutes for each of the interview would be set, depending upon the interviewee's time availability.
A questionnaire would be prepared to act as a reference during the interview. As mentioned earlier the questionnaire would be drafted just as a reference. This will help in collecting data. The interviews would be recorded with the help of a dictating machine. The candidates would be told prior to the interview that it would be recorded. This way we will gather the information on the research topic and will help in making the analysis on the research topic of IT implementation and its contribution to the increase in the market share of Tesco.
In the qualitative research methodology the use of figures in pretty less and the data used is gathered from the company's senior officials and also from the academic sources that have been used. The author of these academic sources have been used revolve round the theories and devised definitions on the topic.
In order to conduct quantitative research, the senior management from the selected offices would be contacted. A sample of 100 officials would be taken from the company's database. The selected managers list would be compared with the list of personal interview survey list and duplications would be taken out. The selected officials would be contacted over the phone and their permission for a telephonic interview would be taken after explaining to them the purpose of the interview. If the candidates are ready for a round of interview, then a date and time of their choice would be fixed to conduct an actual telephonic interview. If some of the selected candidates are not interested to participate then the list would be replenished by the entries from the database until the candidates count touches hundred. A set of pre defined questions would be asked during the telephonic interview and the time allotted for each telephonic interview would not be more than tem minutes. The questionnaire would be used to conduct the interview. Unlike personal interview, the interview does not rely much on building up informal relationship or so. Instead, predefined questions are asked and the answers would be recorded with the help of recording facilities in the telephone. The interviewees would be informed that the telephonic conversations would be recorded. The main purpose of the telephonic interview is to get yes or no kind of answers or single word answers. The telephonic interviews are not better than the personal round of interview or gathering information from the academic sources as they collect data based on predefined questions.
Besides interview and the questionnaire approach, the data was also gathered from other sources like academic journals, e-books and articles. A deep rooted study on the topic from the journals and academic sources was helpful to extract the real information and can get a fairly accurate picture of the situation (Adam, M. and Schvanevldt, P., 1991).
The information thus collected using different research methods revolved round as how internet marketing is an important tool to drive the sales and increase company's profits. For our rich understanding case study approach was used to test the impact of internet in increasing the Tesco share in the market. The analysis of the data collected was done with caution to ensure that the data generated is free from any bias. However, there was some bias in the data collected by way of interview. Some of the statistical tools would be used to extrapolate the data to get a generic idea on how has internet has impacted on the market share of Tesco. The relevant tools and techniques of statistics and mathematics were used to conduct the overall research. It was easy to analyze data in case of quantitative research because of the presence of numbers and figures. The data interpretation was particularly easy and also free from any bias as they were associated t-values. Qualitative derivations are arrived at from the personal interview, which would be used to form a base for the understanding of overall implications of the research outcomes. However, in short span of time, not much information could have been collected. Infact some of the private sites which could have been useful could not be accessed. The accessibility of data on some private sites was a limitation. The research also suffers from the constraint of time and money. However, in short time span we could only study the information which was collected from the journals, academic sources, articles and questioning the senior officials of the company. The data collected and analyzed reflects on a healthy explanation on the research topic.
- Adam, M. and Schvanevldt, P (1991), Understanding of Research Methods. 2nd edition. Longman Publishers. New York.
- Blaxter, A. et al., (2006). How To Research. 3rd edition. Open University press- McGraw Hill education Ltd. UK.
- Kothari, C. Research Methodology. India
- Melville, S., & Goddard, W., (2007). Research Methodology: An Introduction. Lansdowne.