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Research methodology in tourism report

Info: 3228 words (13 pages) Essay
Published: 23rd Mar 2021 in Tourism

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This chapter outlines the rationale for the research approach and methodology methods chosen and also explains the various processes involved in the research process itself. The methodology is a descriptive part of the research project which provides an evaluation of the methods, techniques and procedures used throughout the investigation. It is used to describe the scope and aims of the various research processes in detail. The subdivision will also briefly outline the meaning and differences between research methods and research methodology. The chapter will also momentarily framework adopting qualitative and quantitative processes. Finally, the research process itself will then be explained and justified and the process of raw data collection will be commented on.

3.2 Meaning of Research

It is known that ‘research in common parlance refers to a search for knowledge.’ [Kothari, 2004: 25]. There are various definitions of research, one of which suggests that ‘research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organising and evaluating data: making deductions and reaching conclusions: and at last carefully testing the conclusion to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis.’ [Kothari, 2004: 25]. However, Kumar [2010: 11] argues that research is the ‘pursuit of truth with the help of study, observation, comparison and experiment.’ Therefore, the purpose of research aims to determine answer or questions through the application of scientific procedures. Kothari [2004: 25] further illustrates that ‘the main aim of research is to find out the truth which is hidden and which has not been discovered yet.’

3.3 Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

A mixed method research can be defined in several definitions which have emerged over time incorporating various elements of methods, research processes, and philosophy and research design. Croswell and Clark [2008: 2] outline mixed methods as the combination of ‘qualitative and quantitative approach in the methodology of study.’ It is the type of research in which the researcher combines elements of qualitative and quantitative research approaches. Croswell and Clark [2008: 4] illustrate that mixed method approach is used ‘for the purpose if breadth and depth of understanding and corroboration.’

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Therefore a mixed method research approach combining both qualitative and quantitative research methods will be used throughout the research as it accounts for ‘the primary purpose of a study conducted with a mixed methods way of thinking it to better understand the complexity of the social phenomena being studied.’ [Greene, 2007: 20].

3.4 Qualitative Research

A Qualitative approach to the research is to be taken as it will provide an insight into the setting of the problem to generate ideas and/or hypotheses for later quantitative research. Qualitative research allows an individual to obtain information that is not necessarily all statistical if any at all by conducting interviews, producing questionnaires for numerous amounts of people or providing personal information. Qualitative research can also be best identified as a ‘natural setting where the researcher is an instrument of data collection, who gathers words or pictures, analyses them inductively, focuses on the meaning of participants, and describes a process that is expressive and persuasive language.’ [Creswell, 2008: 14].

Patton (2002) also suggests that the ‘thought of research design substitutes and method adoptions can identify directly to the relative strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative data, therefore the answer to particular questions is primarily a pragmatic one’.

Other definition of qualitative can be seen as:-

Qualitative research…. is based more on information expressed in words…This approach is common whenever people are the focus of the study.

(Walliman, 2006: 187)

Patton [2002: 14] identifies that qualitative method ‘require the use of standardised measure so that the varying perspectives and experiences of people can fit into a limited number of predetermined response categories to which are assigned.’ Furthering to this Patton [2002: 15] argues that qualitative methods characteristically produce a wealth of detailed information from a much smaller sample population that increases the ‘depth of understanding of the cases and studies but reduces generalizability’ [Merriam, 2014: 100], thus, the overall purposes of qualitative research is to achieve ‘understanding of how people make sense out of their lives, delineate the process of meaning-making, and describe how people interpret what they experience.’ [Merriam, 2014: 100]. Hennink, Hutter and Bailey (2011: 97) state that ‘qualitative research is a broad umbrella term that covers a wide range of techniques and philosophies.’ Subsequently, it is not to define as in broad terms qualitative research is an approach that allows a person to examine people’s experiences in details, by using a specific set of research methods.

3.4.1 Strengths of Qualitative Research

There are much strength in terms of qualitative research, in forms of personal experiences and a way to gather suitable data which might not have been investigated before. Tracey [2013: 97] states that ‘qualitative research is excellent for studying contexts you are personally curious about but have never had a ‘valid’ reason for entering’. In addition to personal interest or disciplined voyeurism, qualitative data provide insight into cultural activities that might not otherwise be missed in structured surveys or experiments.’ (Tracey, 2013: 97). As a result of these strengths the qualitative research method will be a good research approach as it will identify personal and emotional experiences data and not just statistical this will entail the researcher a better understanding of what emotional motivations people have when travelling, thus reflecting back to the aim is commonly known as quantitative research which compact data that is numerical form which is later evaluated using statistical methods to aid with finding of the outcome of the research obtained.

3.5 Quantitative Research

The second research approach will be quantitative research. Quantitative research is scientific investigation that includes both experiments and other systematic methods that emphasize control and quantified measures of performance (Proctor & Capaldi, 2006 cited in Hoy, 2009: 1]. Quantitative research is essentially about collecting numerical data to explain a particular phenomenon, particularly questions seem immediately suited to being answered using qualitative methods.’ [Muijs, 2011: 1]

‘Quantitative analysis deals with numbers and uses mathematical operations to investigate the properties of data.’ [Walliman, 2012: 179]. The main characteristic of quantitative data is that it consists of information that is, in some way or other, quantifiably [Rasinger, 2012: 10]. Therefore quantitative data can be implemented into numbers, figures and graphs, and processes it using statistical procedures.

3.6 Research Methods

After identifying the types of research approaches that will be used, the next fragment looks at what methods will be most appropriate to this research project. Identifying appropriate research methods are important as Rugg, Gordon, Pete and Marian [2007:2] identifies ‘research determines the overall structure of your research’.

3.6.1 Qualitative Research Methods

3.6.2 Interviews

Interviews will be the only qualitative research method used within the research. The purpose of in depth interviewing is not to test hypotheses, and not to ‘evaluate’ as the term that is normally used.’ [Seidman 2013: 9]. Interviews are inherently more flexible, whatever the level of structure, ranging as they do from ‘listening in’ and asking questions in a real-life setting to the standardized recording schedules used by market researchers.’ [Gilham, 2005: 3].

Dougherty [2014: 94] state that ‘different types of interviews produce different types of responses from different people.’ The researcher will identify the most appropriate form of interview to be implemented during qualitative research. There are three common types of interviews; unstructured, structured and open-ended, and structure and fixed response.

3.6.3 Unstructured interviews, Structured and Open-ended, Structured Fix Response Interview

Unstructured interviews are characterised by a minimal direction of their content by the interviewer and allow for adapting the questions depending on the respondent [Dougherty, 2014: 94], whereas, structured and open-ended interviews consist of a set of preselected questions that the consultant asks the interviewee. Dougherty [2014: 94] illustrates that ‘this type of interview is considered more flexible than procedures such as surveys and checklists.’ The final type of interview is structured and fixed response. Structured and fix response interviews provide both predetermined questions and responses from which to choose. They allow for standardization and tend to have a high level of reliability. [Beaver and Busse, 2000]

3.6.4 Semi-structured interviews

The researcher will therefore use the Semi-structured interview technique used during qualitative research as stated previously ‘unstructured interviews are characterised by a minimal direction of their content by the interviewer [Dougherty, 2014: 94]. By using semi-structured interviews the researcher can seek both clarification and elaboration on the answer given and record qualitative information regarding the topic [Fisher, 2007]. Schensul [1999: 149] best defines semi-structured interviews as a:-

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‘predetermined questions related to domains of interest, administrated to a representative sample of respondents to confirms study domains, and identify factors, variables, and items or attributes of variables for analysis or use in a survey’.

Semi-structured interviews combine the flexibility of the unstructured, open-ended interview with the directionality and agenda of the survey instrument to produce focused, qualitative, textual data at the factor level’ [Schensul,1999:149].

Semi- structured interviews will therefore accomplish the following objectives, firstly to further clarify the central domains and factors in the study, secondly to operationalize factors variables, thirdly to develop preliminary hypotheses and finally, develop a qualitative base for the construction of an ethnographic survey if required one [Schensul, 1999: 150]. The characteristics of semi-structured interviews are that although there is a question framework to ensure consistency, answers are open-ended and will allow the respondents to communicate their ideas freely.

Similar the structured interview, the semi-structured interviews are constructed around a core of standard questions as illustrated in appendix one which identifies the check list the researcher will use to ensure all appropriate questions are asked. The researcher may probe the participant and obtain further classification or detail on a certain topic. As Oppenheim [1998: 81] states ‘the respondent are allowed to say what they think and to do so with greater richness and spontaneity’.

3.6.5 Letter’s to organisations

The semi-structured interviews were agreed by the referral of letter as seen in appendix two. The researcher obtained conformation by requesting the arrangement to interview the individual by letter. The letter provided all relevant information regarding the main objectives of the letter and areas of interest, necessary information regarding what the research was about and the need for investigation for the research. The researcher will also request each individual to fill in a consent form, as seen in appendix three.

3.6.5 Who will the interviews by with?

The researchers chose three tourism related individuals who all had some kind of relation to the tourism industry within New Quay to conduct interviews with. These particular individuals were chosen as they would be the most appropriate candidate to provide relevant information in regards to the research project.

The first interviewee was the General Manager of Quay West. The researcher chose to undertake one of three semi-structured interviews with as Quay West was one of Haven’s Britain’s favourite seaside holiday resort which labelled themselves as ‘Britain’s largest provider of domestic holidays.’ [Haven, 2014]. The researcher could then ask significant tourism related questions that provide interesting findings.

The second interviewee was a customer service advisor within the tourist information centre in New Quay. The researcher decided to arrange a semi-structure interview with the tourism information centre as the interviwer can question and obtain an inside knowledge of what types of tourist visit, what motivates tourism to New Quay and their opinion in terms of the reliance of tourism within New Quay.

Finally, the researcher requested an interview with a member of the New Quay council. The research choose a member of the New Quay Council with the hope that they can obtain relevant information, first hand experiences with tourism within the town and finally a personal opinion on their thoughts and feeling in terms of tourism within New Quay.

3.7 Strategy of Researcher In Doing Mixed Method Approach

The strategy of the researcher in doing the mixed method approach of both qualitative and quantitative research methods was to undertake semi-structured interviews to provide relevant questions reflecting back on the answers that were given to create pilot questionnaires and questionnaires to gather quantitative research.

3.8 Quantitative Research Methods

3.8.1 Pilot Questionnaires and Questionnaires

Cargan [2007: 116] defines that ‘a pretest or pilot study is a means of checking whether the survey can be administered and provide accurate data.’ The advantages of questionnaires over interview, for instance, are; it tends to be more reliable, it encourages age’s greater honesty because it is anonymous, its more economical then the interview in terms of time and money and there is the possibility that it may be mailed [Cohen, Manion, Morriosn, 2011: 209]. The researcher will aim to efficiently organize questionnaires as Gillham [2000:6] notes that ‘response to even large-scale questionnaires can be pulled within a matter of weeks’, ensuring questionnaires are returned as prompt as possible. This is why the combined mix methods approach of qualitative and quantitative was used to accomplish more of an accurate research within this dissertation. Consequently, a research instrument like a questionnaire to collect data will be used as the quantitative research methods for its known validity and reliability this can be seen in appendix four.

Baring in mind the researcher will also take into consideration the disadvantages of a questionnaire. Which are; there is often too low a percentage of return, if only closed items are used, the questionnaire may lack coverage or authenticity and as Gillham [2000: 2] states ‘they seek to get answers just by asking questions.’ ‘Therefore, Cohen et al [2011: 209] state that ‘there is a need, therefore, to pilot questionnaires and refine their contents, wording and length, etc. as appropriate for the sample is being targeted.’

3.7 Role of the researchers

The first element of the researcher’s role was to contact and arrange interviews via email, the second was to create and distribute questionnaires from answers implemented from the previous interviews. Contacting the interviewee’s was done via sending consent letters to conduct an interview via email as seen in appendix one. Many of the interviews were held during mid-week, Wednesday and Thursday. This was because this was the most convenient time for all interviewee’s and the researcher. The questionnaires were the second element of the researcher’s role. The researcher firstly created a pilot questionnaire as identified in appendix five. This was to ensure all questions asked were appropriate to the research and to ensure the format was correct. Once done the researcher then finalized and distributed the questionnaires on Saturday afternoon during half term in New Quay town. The distribution of questionnaires was 10am to 4pm, providing with enough time to collect effective data from passing tourists. After the distribution of questionnaires the researcher then collected and analysed.

3.8 Validity, Reliability and Research Ethics

The techniques of research selected within the methodology were for the reason that they were convenient, relevant and effective. Alternative motives were that the researcher was able to travel to interviews arranged and collect questionnaires that were distributed. The researcher already had an idea of the area and therefore could co-ordinate her time efficiently during the distribution of questionnaires to the busy areas of the town.

To ensure the research was reliable the researcher firstly conducted interviews, from the interviewee’s responses the researcher was than able to create a pilot questionnaire and requested one participant to fill it in as seen in appendix five. Ensuring the pilot questionnaire with all the relevant questions asked was important, once this was clarified the researcher was then able to finalize and distribute the questionnaires, this can also been seen in appendix four.

The researcher furthermore had to require ethical approval before data collection commences as ethics is a primary responsibility of conduct of the ethical research which lies with the researcher. This ensured that the data collected during the research process was ethical and did not contravene any of Cardiff Metropolitan University’s ethical regulations.

Ethical approval can also be known as a safeguard to the researcher when conducting the research. the research the researcher also considered that occasionally there can be Ethical issues in Research, this includes researchers can be exposed to moral and ethical dilemmas and issues such as two dominant ethical principles in research with human subjects; informed consent and the protection of subject harm.


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