CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
Information system is defined as a set of interrelated components or elements which collect (input), manipulate (process), store and disseminate (output) data and information, and provide a corrective reaction (feedback mechanism) to meet an objective. The feedback mechanism is the component that helps organizations to achieve their goals, such as increasing profits or improving customer service (Ralph Stair and George Reynolds 2009, pp. 10-11). The following figure describes the feedback mechanism that helps the organization to achieve their goal, to increase the profit and to improve the customer service
An information system (IS) is a cooperating and an integrated set of software which is well directed towards information technologies to support the individual, groups and societal or organizational goals. (Watson, 2007)
According to (F. Land, 1985) Information system defined as "An information system is a social system, which has embedded in it information technology. The extent to which information technology plays a part is increasing rapidly. But this does not prevent the overall system from being a social system, and it is not possible to design a robust, effective information system, incorporating significant amounts of the technology without treating it as a social system".
According to (United Kingdom Academy for Information Systems, 1997)
"Information systems are the means by which organizations and people, utilizing information technologies, gather, process, store, and use and disseminate information."
"An information system is a system in the organization that delivers information and communication services needed by the organization." Or in other words The management system or information system of an organization consists of the information technology infrastructure, application systems, and personnel that employ information technology to deliver information and communication services for transaction processing/ operations and administration/ management of an organization. The system utilizes computer and communications hardware and software, manual procedures, and internal and external repositories of data. The systems apply a combination of automation coming human actions and user machine interaction (Davis, 2000).
According to (Symons, 1991) An information system is "a complex social object which results from the embedding of computer systems into an organization ... where it is not possible to separate the technical from the social factors given the variety of human judgments and actions, influenced by cultural values, political interests and participants' particular definitions of their situations intervening in the implementation of such a system."
And (Gray, 2006) stated IS as "An automated or manual collection of people, machines, and/or methods to gather, process, transmit, and disseminate data. Information systems are used to acquire, store, manipulate, manage, display, transmit, or receive data. It includes both hardware and software."
Definition of Information Technology
Information Technology is defined as the technology which is used to organize, store, acquire, and to process data, which can be used in some specific application and distribute the process data. Information is also known as processed data, which improves the knowledge and helps us to do our work better, and with the help of processed data, organization can take their decision (Rajaraman, 2003).
Information Technology Association of America defined information technology as the design, study, development, implementation, support and its management in any computer based systems. Information technology particularly relates to the computer software and its hardware, and it deals with the computer software to store, process, convert, retrieve, protect and to transmit any information with security. Term Information technology includes networking, software design, data management, engineering computer hardware, database design and its management and the system administration (Hill, 2008).
Importance of Information Technology for organizations:
Information technology helps the retails to respond to the emerging challenges in the retail industry. Retailers employ information technology to accelerate face to face interaction with the customers by using bar codes scanners which helps the in-store employees to check the prices for customers and they also use the information technology to modernize the core operations. Retailer might use the latest IBM Power Architecture for their high performance supply chain management, and uses the virtualization capabilities of IBM total storage products, and the IBM retailer solution will provide the real time inventory data.
- Strengthen the brand position by ensuring on shelf availability of well-liked products.
- Sustain competitiveness by integrating market intelligence with product planning.
- Optimize operations by linking strategic supplier and partners to respond in the real time to variations in the customer demand.
Figure 2 explains the importance of information technology that helps the retailers to respond the industry challenges. And the leftmost column indicates the business using the information technology, which mainly indicates the solution and solution infrastructure.
Retail solution from IBM helps the retailer's maximum utilization of assets, streamline operation and it helps to develop the market vision to create distinctive consumer experience. Mainly retail solution focuses on some specific processes, such as supply chain and in-store operations. Retail business solution will enhance the effectiveness of all retail operations, such as follows
- Supply chain/ merchandising:
- Integrated multi- channel retailing:
- Retail business intelligence solutions:
Supply chain or merchandising IT solutions helps the retailers to build a strong supply chain that respond in real time to the changes in the customer demand. IT solutions provides a real time inventory status across the complete supply chain, which help to ensure the availability of high demand products while reducing the shelf space for low demands products and products carrying cost. It increases the responsiveness of the supply chain to the demand of customer by increasing cooperation between the distributors, consumer, and suppliers. And it also enhances the reliability and accuracy of product information by maintaining the centralized information system that is integrated with supply chain and ERP applications.
Integrated multi-channel retailing helps the retailer to integrate multiple discrete channels into a systematic fabric of customer contact points and the portfolio helps the retailer to implement a multi channel retailing strategy which include cross channel product management, multi channel gift registry, in-store online shopping, guided selling across channel and also multi-channel customer management.
Information technology helps the retailers to integrate system and also have the application to streamline store operations and to improve the in-store operations. It also helps the employee to access the information and also have the tool to serve the customer efficiently and also provide the customer convenient and consistent access to product information and in-store services. It helps to improve the service executions. The architecture developed for the retail industry is also known as store integration framework (SIF), this helps the retailers to respond the customer demand by giving them a adaptive and scalable framework to integrate the innovative devices and new applications like mobile communication devices, electronic shopping carts and in-store bandstand.
Retail business intelligence solutions help the retailers to develop accurate, timely and integrated analysis of employee's, customers and supply chain data. Retail business intelligence solutions enables retailers extract customer data into market insight, this insight helps the retailer to expect and respond to the changes in the market place.(Referencing to be done)
According to Neoko Cortwell, (2008), Information technology is very crucial and important in business. Form the past decade business is completely dependent on technology, and if we virtually try to take the technology away from the business, then approximately all the business operations around the world would come to a standstill. In the whole world, all the industries and business are using computers for the most basic problem to most complex problem.
Information Technology plays a very vital role in the growth of trade and commerce around the globe for every organization. These days business are completely dependent on technology and all the business process from research and development to its production and distribution are dependent on technology. Each and every business ranging from small to large scale are depend on computers for their business needs, like POS(Point Of Sale), information management and also capable to handle all type of information such as client and employee profile, accounting, tracking, automated system for the production of goods etc.
With the help of technology the idea of globalization is became a reality and now all the organizations have the potential to go abroad with the use of internet. Company website allows to sell their products with the single click. Technology gives the new way to do business and it helps to expand your business. Technology plays the very important role in every format of business and if we took the technology away then whole global economy will collapse and the world will come to stand still.
Technology is very important and it has become a very huge industry itself from computer hardware manufacturing, to software design and development, and robotics. Technology has become a billion dollar industry for a number of individuals.
According to Seven G.Atkinson, It doesn't matter whether the business is one that is highly visible to the public, such as retail establishment or a non profit venue, or one that is never seen by the public. One thing for certain, it is sure to use some type of technology.
There are many different forms of technology. It can be the telephone or the computer sitting on the desk. The cell phone or other hand held device, Common use equipment like the printer, copier or fax machine. There is invisible technology, such as low energy lighting, or timers for these lights, or the HVAC system.
In today's business environment, it is doubtful that any business doesn't have some piece of technology that it uses regularly. If not every day, some just use technology more than others.
When the question 'How important is technology to your business?' is asked, the answer is; 'It depends".
For a retail establishment technology may be little. The cash register, the telephone and an Internet Web site may be all they need.
For those who spend most of their business day on the telephone, making sales calls, or working at the computer, technology is critical part of their business.
The one thing to always remember about technology is it's just a tool to assist you in getting your work done. Having technology in your office or on your person is no different than a carpenter with his hammer. It's just a tool to do the job.
You may have the newest greatest piece of software or the new cell phone or the fastest computer. But it may not really matter. Having the wrong technology to do the job is just as bad as a carpenter trying to drive a nail with a screwdriver. It may be able to be done, but it takes a lot longer. The worst part is having the right tool and not knowing how to use it. Or believing you know how to use it and not using it correctly.
Here are a couple of things to consider when evaluating or purchasing any new technology.
Understand the need and the product enough to be able to make an informed decision. Having a slick salesperson tell you that the product will improve your business may not be enough information to make that decision. Sometimes it may pay to have an impartial expert come in to evaluate the needs and benefits.
Once you've made the decision to purchase, make sure that the user, whether it's you or your office staff, has the training to use the product to its best benefits. You don't have to have each member of your staffed trained by the expert trainer. You can always train the trainer. That is trains the person on your staff who will be using it the most then have that person train the rest.
If you always remember that technology is a tool and that you need to know how to use it, for it to be productive, the money that you spend will never appear to be wasted. (Atkinson, 2008)
Define Technological Innovations
Technological innovation plays a very vital and important role for the organizations as they struggle to accomplish and maintain the competitive advantage from their competitor. Also, there are various trends which give importance to the technological innovations like globalization, huge competition, fast product life cycle, technology fusion and product commoditization etc (Cardinal, 2001).
According to (Subrahmanya, 2005) innovation is the economic application of the new idea and a process which transforms the new idea to commerce is known as technological innovation. Technological innovation used to indicate the process through which the technological advances are produced and technological innovation is consider as a process which generates information form the information and the knowledge reverts directly to the innovator (Neito , 2004). In the modern business firms technological innovations is normally focused on the development of the new product and its process (Loveridge, Pitt, 1996).
According to (copper, 1998), Innovation is a multi dimensional model which includes, incremental- radical, administrative- technological and product - process innovations. According to (Cobbenhagen, 2000) today, technology is a necessary activity for the long term survival of organization.
Scholars from various fields were frequently used the term technology and innovation vice versa to indicate the same idea and instead of using innovation process they may use technical development, technical process and technical change etc (Nieto, 2004). And according to (Gaynor, 1996) there are four types of innovation i.e.
- Radical component innovations
- Radical system innovations
- Incremental innovations for the existing technologies
Next generation technology innovations
According to (Janszen, 2000), Innovation can be viewed as an event or the introduction of something new to the business as well as a process. Technological innovation can be seen as a taking place a broader innovation process or "meta system" of an organization (Karagozoglu, 1989).
According to (Schilling, 2005) Technological innovations are often classified into different types. Different types of innovations need different kinds of underlying knowledge and have different impact on the organizations competitor and customer.
For any successful technological innovation to happen, the innovation process needs to be carefully handled and managed. And the technological innovation process is complex in nature.
Impact of Technological Innovation on the Retail Industry
In words of Cooke and Fang Lee (2005), "PEST (political/legal, economic, social, and technological) is a broad framework that is used to analyze the business environment of an organization with the aim of formulating or revising its strategy". In which Political and legal factors include government stability, monopolies legislation, foreign trade regulations and employment law. Key economic influences refer to stages in the business cycle, unemployment, inflation and interest rate. Social factors include demographic and population change, income distribution, education and training, attitudes to work and leisure. (Cooke & Lee F., 2005).
In addition according to Norburn & David (2005), "a number of major variables lie well outside the control of the organization. PEST analysis is a broad-brush instrument that can be used in attempts to define and measure their effects". PEST is the external elements which are having influence on industry profitability. Pest analysis is generally used with Porter's five forces model. It has become a powerful tool for reducing the parameters of risk. (Norburn & David, 2005)
What political factors might affect organizations marketing plan? Think of the regulations you have to meet, pending legislations, tax issues, government stability.
What's going on in the economy at large? Where are interest rates heading? Inflation? The stock market? Disposable income? The economic factors are signing of WTO, member of economic block, buying power of consumer.
The social factors include cultural influences, social influence on the buying behavior, preferences, food habits etc.
Technological change cannot be ignored. What will affect your business? The technological factors keep an organization ahead of the competitors. Take example of Amazon.com which revolutionized the book market by using computers to continuously communicate with customers and keep them aware of new books, tapes, DVDs and by sending e-mail alerts. (Bangs, 2002)
Strengths of PEST analysis:
PEST analysis helps in gaining competitive advantage. It helps in identify external opportunities and threats. There are some opportunities in the organizations business environment which provide scope for growth and for gaining a competitive advantage. These opportunities are availability of new customers, growing market for existing or potential/planned products, ability to diversify into related products/services, failure of competition. It also helps in finding out external threats like technological invention of a new substitute product, slowdown in market growth, incompetent supplier base, change in taste and habits of consumers, introduction of costly new regulatory requirements etc (Mukherjee, 2007).
Quick Response (QR)
Introduction to Quick Response code
In 1994 Japanese corporation Denso Wave created the QR code, it is one of the major Toyota group and in June 2000 it is approved as an ISO certified (ISO/ICE18004). QR code is a matrix code or two dimensional bar code and these two dimensional symbol was used for the production of the automobile parts and it was intended to decode at high speed. Due to the following reasons QR code can be used and seen everywhere in Japan (TAN JIN SOON).
- Several characteristics are better than line bar code, having much higher data density and also support Chinese/kanji characters.
- As Denso has released the patent into public domain, so it can be used by anybody free of charge.
- Data structure standard is not a pre conditioned for current usage.
- Maximum numbers of phones in Japan are with cameras, so that it enables the reading of the QR code which will automatically access the internet bu reading the URL encoded in the QR code.
QR code contains alphanumeric symbols and usually it contains the URL which directs the user to the website where they can learn about the product or this is also known as mobile tagging. Decoding software tools like mobile camera understand the codes and these QR code contains more information than 1D code of similar size. These QR code can be found is various places like billboards, building and product labels, with the help of mobile phones people can encode the information. Codes can provide various information like product tracking, routing mailing label or any contact information on a business card. These QR codes are very small in size, can be integrated or hidden in to esthetically attractive image in magazines, newspapers and clothing.(7 things ABOUT QR REFERENCING)
Background of the QR Code
QR code has been anticipated as important technology to gain a competitive advantage. QR code is a collection of technologies such as electronic point of scale (POS) systems, data interchange (EDI) and various types of inter-organizational systems. Quick response (QR) strategy in retail industry is similar to just in time. QR technology is used by manufacturer, mill, retailer, bank and transporter. Adoption of QR results in better in-stock position, fewer mark downs, higher inventory turns, and higher profitability. Quick response has the opportunity to outsource much of decision making, fixtures assortments and sales associate training.
In 1993, survey was done by Kurt Salmon & associate has identified the four stages of Quick response. First stage is having automatic price look up, automated point of sale (POS), electronic data interchange (EDI) and bar coding Universal Product Code (UPC) for the inventory management and order entry. Second stage is having automatic replacement by forecasting, electronic invoicing and suppliers. Electronic data interchange (EDI) at the second level includes invoicing, advance shipment notices and order status. Stage three includes the information from the previous two stages for pre- season and post- season planning and for the arrangement and marking of the shipment containers. In the last stage, supplier takeover the inventory management functions and it also includes space management and offseason retaining.
Quick response technology gives potential to gain the number of competitive advantage. Quick response technology is emphasizing on all the operations in the retail industry, all these implementations reduce the response time for the product form its manufacturing to stocking in retail shelf to sales and service and also to increase the overall efficiency.
Quick response systems almost cover the full channel, which involve order to vendor, manufacturer, supplier and delivery of products. Electronic data interchange EDI allows quick order tracking and processing. Supplier and retailer are using the bar coding scanner and other automated devices to capture the data, these devices are handheld devices and retailing employees are using it for the inventory and ordering management and it is very useful for the final distribution of the stock keeping unit i.e. SKU. The implementation of the quick response system is on electronic inventory management, dynamic stock piping, delivery mechanism and online order replenishment. Implementation is the transaction efficiency involve ordering, electronic invoicing, automatic replenishment, electronic inventory, support for cross docking and private labeling, for this technology involves electronic data interchange (EDI), satellite linkage and point of sale. For all this technological implementation, it requires the electronic data interchange (EDI) compatibility between vendors, distributors and manufactures centers. (Khosrowpour, 1994)
Application of Quick Response code
In 2000, QR code is used by the Toyota group for the production of the automobile parts. Electronic components labeling standard (IEC 62090) was established in year 2002, adopted the QR code, PDF147 and dot matrix, but the data matrix and QR code was frequently used. ISO 22742 was established in 2005 for all the electronic products and components. And in 2006, QR code is used in the space industrial and aircraft data product identification and traceability standard was established. Dot matrix and QR code are adopted for the direct marketing and label specification. And QR codes are also used for the identification of the transportation units.
- 2002, IEC 62090 (IEC TC91), Product package labels for the electronic components by using bar code and two dimensional symbols.
- 2005, ISO 22742 (ISO TC122), Linear bar code and two dimensional symbols for product packaging.
- 2006, ISO 21849 (ISO TC20), Space industrial and aircraft data product identification and traceability.
- 2008, ISO/IEC TR24720 (ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 31), Data capture and automatic identification techniques for direct and part marketing.
- 2009, ISO 15394 rev. (ISO TC122), Bar code packaging and two dimensional symbols for transport, shipping and receiving labels.
- ISO 28219 (ISO TC122), Labeling packaging and direct marketing with linear bar code and two dimensional symbols.
Examples of Quick Response Code Applications
Following are the examples of the Quick response code application in China, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Korea and Hong Kong:
- Quick Response code used for the stationary order system.
- Quick Response code used for bus commuters passes issuing system.
- Quick Response code used for sushi freshness control system.
- Quick Response code used for betting ticket management.
- Quick Response code used for passenger management.
- Quick Response code used for patient identification in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
- Quick Response code used for blood test management system in Australia.
- Quick Response code used for LPG cylinder bottle management in Australia.
- Quick Response code used for tracking of livestock with ID numbers in Australia.
- Quick Response code used for Jewellery certification in China.
- Quick Response code application in a Jewellery shop in France.
- Quick Response code application in agriculture in Taiwan.
- Quick Response code application in Telecom Company as a basis of e Business in Taiwan.
- Quick Response code application in payment slips management in Taiwan.
WHAT IS RESEARCH?
The encyclopedic Oxford dictionary (as cited by Walliman, 2006) defines Research as "the systematic investigation into the study of materials, sources etc. in order to establish facts and to reach new conclusions; an endeavour to discover new or collate old facts etc. by the scientific study of a subject or by a course of critical investigation". A research is said to be systematic because it always follows a sequence of steps guided to achieve something remarkable.
Neuman (2007) describe research as "the process in which people combine a set of principles, outlooks, and ideas (i.e., methodology) with a collection of specific practices, techniques, and strategies (i.e., a method of inquiry) to produce knowledge. It is an exciting process of discovery, but it requires persistence, personal integrity, tolerance for ambiguity, interaction with others, and pride in doing quality work". The researchers aiming to find answers to their research questions should be consistent in their quest to find suitable answers. Selection of appropriate methods is another daunting task which if not given enough importance may have an adverse effect on the research.
Leedy (1989 as cited by Walliman, 2006) states research in a more utilitarian point of view: "Research is a procedure by which we attempt to find systematically, and with the support of demonstrable fact, the answer to a question or the resolution of a problem". A notable point in this definition is the fact that research should be verify a particular theory that supports or negates the arguments.
Adams, et al., (2007) define research as "a diligent search, studious inquiry, investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery of new facts and findings; or, broadly, it may relate to any subject of inquiry with regard to collection of information, interpretation of facts, and revision of existing theories or laws in the light of new facts or evidence". Research is thus an intelligent effort towards finding out the answers to questions based on the theories and facts relating to a subject. A research may lead to findings that need not be in accordance to theories and principles already stated.
A research is a sequence of steps each leading to other, thereby making it a process. The first stage of the research process is to 'select a topic'. The selected subject may be too broad and thus needs to be narrowed down. Hence the next stage is to form the 'research questions'. In this stage the past researches may be analyzed or a suitable theory or hypothesis formed. The next step is to 'design the study'. In this a detailed plan of action is prepared by the researcher as to what needs to be done and deals with practical details of the study. 'Data collection' is the next important step that follows. Thereafter the collected data is 'analyzed' to get meaningful facts out of the information. 'Interpretation' of data is the next stage wherein the analysis is interpreted in the form of real world theories. The next aim of the researcher is to 'inform others'. This is usually done by writing a report that describes the complete study. This model of research process is a very simplified one and the real researches are all the more very complex as they use all of these steps not individually as whole but together with others in iteration so that efficiency is achieved. (Neuman, 2007)
Kalof, et al., (2008) "Research methods are the tools we use to juxtapose theories with data. We hope theories offer insights into the world, but we have to check the theories against data to ensure that they really do describe the world. This is what is called 'Scientific Method'- we test assertions about the world with data, dismissing assertions that don't match the data, or modifying them so they are better descriptions". The research methods aim to examine the fundamental theories and models with regard to the real world so that any modifications or changes for the better may take place. The research methods should be chosen in such a manner so that it revolves around the core problem and finds a substantial result.The theme of the research problem must be carefully addressed so that the outcome of study is in accordance to the expected outcome. The tools that are used by researchers to undertake a particular research are known as the research methods and are critical for the research itself.
DATA COLLECTION TECHNIQUES
Different researches collect data using specific techniques suited to their research. There are variety of data collection techniques based on the purpose of its use and also depending on various other factors like time, resources, availability etc. However all these techniques fall into one of the three broad categories based on whether the data being collected is Quantitative, Qualitative or Mixed.
According to Creswell (2009) "Qualitative research is a means for exploring and understanding the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem. The process of research involves emerging questions and procedures, data building from particulars to general themes, and the researcher making interpretations of the meaning of the data. The final written report has a flexible structure. Those who engage in this form of inquiry support a way of looking at research that honors an inductive style, a focus on individual meaning, and the importance of rendering the complexity of a situation".
The qualitative research aims at studying the interpretative perspective of human behaviour. The basic idea is not to test the theories on human behaviour but to study the underlying reasons that force them to act in certain ways. In other words, qualitative research tries to examine the perceptions of people about any particular subject or idea. (Neuman, 2007).
Aliaga and Gunderson, 2002 (as cited by Muijs, 2004) describe this type of research as- "Quantitative Research is explaining phenomenon by collecting numerical data that are analyzed using mathematically based methods". Thus quantitative research aims at proving certain theories and principles on the basis of quantifiable variables which are measurable. The variables are collected, analyzed and compared to reach to a particular conclusion.
In agreement with Creswell (2009) "Quantitative research is a means for testing objective theories by examining the relationship among variables. These variables, in turn, can be measured, typically on instruments, so that numbered data can be analyzed using statistical procedures. The final written report has a set structure consisting of introduction, literature and theory, methods, results, and discussion. Like qualitative researchers, those who engage in this form of inquiry have assumptions about testing theories deductively, building in protections against bias, controlling for alternative explanations, and being able to generalize and replicate the findings".
MIXED METHODS RESEARCH
The Qualitative method deals with abstract values and perceptions whereas the quantitative methods rely on quantifiable variables for finding the answers to research questions. Another method which is a combination of the two methods is known to be more effective than any one method alone. (Neuman, 2007) recognized that "Surveyors and sailors measure distances between objects by making observations from multiple positions. By observing something from different angles or viewpoints, they get a fix on its true location. This process is called triangulation".
In conformity with Creswell (2009) " Mixed methods research is an approach to inquiry that combines or associates both qualitative and quantitative forms. It involves philosophical assumptions, the use of qualitative and quantitative approaches, and the mixing of both approaches in study. Thus it is more than simply collecting and analyzing both kinds of data; it also involves the use of both approaches in tandem so that the overall strength of a study is greater than either qualitative or quantitative research".
STRATEGIES FOR QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
Some of the ways of conducting qualitative research include- Ethnography, Grounded theory, Case studies, Phenomenological research, narrative research etc.
Ethnography: In accordance with Angrosino, (2007) "Ethnography is a method of research that seeks to define predictable patterns of group behaviour. It is field based, personalized, multi-factorial, long term, inductive, dialogic, and holistic in nature. Ethnographic research is often conducted by scholars who are both subjective participants in the community under study and objective observers thereof".
Phenomenological Research: According Moustakas, (as cited by Creswell, 2009)-"Phenomenological research is a strategy of inquiry in which the researcher identifies the essence of human experiences about a phenomenon as described by participants".
Narrative Research: As asserted by Clandinin & Connelly, (as cited by Creswell, 2009)-"narrative research is a strategy of inquiry in which the researcher studies the lives of individuals and asks one or more individuals to provide stories about their lives. This information is then often retold or restoried by the researcher into a narrative chronology".
Grounded theory: Atkinson, et al, (as cited by Charmaz, 2006 ) simply state that "grounded theory method consists of symmetric, yet flexible guidelines for collecting and analyzing qualitative data to construct theories 'grounded' in the data themselves. The guidelines offer a set of general principles and heuristic devices rather than formulaic rules".
Case Studies: Stake, (as cited by Creswell, 2009) is of the view that "case studies are a strategy of enquiry in which the researcher explores in depth a program, event, activity, process, or one or more individuals. Cases are bound by time and activity, and researchers collect detailed information using a variety of data collection procedures over a sustained period of time".
STRATEGIES FOR QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
Some of the techniques of quantitative research include - Surveys, Experimental Research, and Content Analysis.
Survey Research: In agreement with Babbie, (as cited by Creswell, 2009)"Survey research provides a quantitative or numeric description of trends, attitudes, or opinions of a population by studying a sample of that population. It includes cross-sectional and longitudinal studies using questionnaires or structured interviews for data collection, with the intent of generalizing from a sample to a population".
Content Analysis: Babbie, (2009) points out "Content analysis is a social research method appropriate for studying human communications through social artifacts. Researchers can use it to study not only communication processes but other aspects of social behaviour as well. It involves coding- transforming raw data into categories based on some conceptual scheme".
Experimental Research: According to Keppel, (as cited by Creswell, 2009)-"Experimental research seeks to determine if a specific treatment influences an outcome. This impact is assessed by providing a specific treatment to one group and withholding it from another and then determining how both groups scored on an outcome. Experiments include true experiments, with random assignment of subjects to treatment conditions, and quasi-experiments that use nonrandomized designs".
PRIMARY DATA COLLECTION
- PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION
- INDEPTH INTERVIEWING
- FOCUS GROUPS
- LIFE HISTORIES/NARRATIVE INQUIRY
- HISTORICAL ANALYSIS
- FILMS, VIDEOS, PHOTOGRAPHY
- INTERACTIVE ANALYSIS
- UNOBTRUSIVE MEASURES
- QUESTIONNAIRES & SURVEYS
- PROJECTIVE TECHNIQUES & PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING
- DILEMMA ANALYSIS
- USING COMPUTER & INTERNET TECHNOLOGIES
According to Bryman (2008) sample is defined as "the segment of the population that is selected for investigation. It is a subset of the population". It is therefore very important to choose an appropriate sample segment because the research truly relies on this.
Glaser & Strauss, (as cited by Flick, 2009) describe the sampling strategy as follows- "Theoretical sampling is the process of data collection for generating theory whereby the analyst jointly collects, codes and analyses his data and decides what data to collect next and where to find them, in order to develop his theory as it emerges". This description of sampling makes it very clear that the sampling is not only important for the ongoing research but has a deep impact on the future data needs.
Another important question that comes up next is the decision of sample size. The answer to this question is not a simple procedure but depends on a number of considerations that the research is based on. Factors like time, cost, accuracy, etc, affect the sample size. As the sampling size becomes large, the sampling error becomes low. This makes it necessary to choose an appropriate sample size depending on the level of curacy required by the researcher. (Bryman, 2008)
The research aim is to cover a minimum of 50 customers (Tesco club card customers).
Ragin, (as cited by Flick, 2009) comprehensively define research design as:- "Research design is a plan for collecting and analyzing evidence that will make it possible for the investigator to answer whatever questions he or she has posed. The design of an investigation touches almost all aspects of the research, from the minute details of data collection to the selection of techniques of data analysis". Research design is thus like making a prototype or a blueprint of how the research is actually going to be conducted and the sequence of operations. Planning the research is a very crucial stage of the research process itself.
Schwab (2005) describe questionnaires as "Questionnaires are measuring instruments that ask research participants to respond to questions. Questionnaires may ask for self-reports, in which respondents provide information about themselves. They are also used to ask observers to describe or evaluate some externally visible characteristic (e.g., behaviour) of individuals or organizations".
Questionnaires usually take two forms: interviews where an interviewer asks verbal questions to the interviewees or they make be used in the written form filled by the participants.
TYPES OF QUESTIONS
There are many ways of framing questions for the research questionnaire. Care has to be taken that the questions should have enough variety so that the participant does not get bored and also because it should cover aspects of the research problem well.
OPEN QUESTIONS: As the name suggests open questions are those questions that do not give the respondent any options to choose from and so he/she has to decide the appropriate answer. Generally such type of questions tend to be short and the expected answers are long. The main advantage of the open questions are that the answers from these questions are more likely to be the participant's own and rich. However they demand more time and effort on the part of the participant and also sometimes the analysis of such answers becomes a time consuming process. (Denscombe, 2007)
CLOSED QUESTIONS: These types of questions are structured in the way that they provide the participant with limited options to answer from. The options can be as from the range of two to a number of complex lists of alternatives. The main advantage of this type of questions is that the researcher gets a uniform length of answers which can be easily analyzed. (Denscombe, 2007)
ADVANTAGES OF QUESTIONNAIRES OVER OTHER METHODS
- CHEAPER TO IMPLEMENT:
- MORE QUICKER:
- ABSENCE OF INTERVIEWER BIAS:
- CONVENIENCE FOR RESPONDENTS:
- STRUCTURED FORMAT:
Questionnaires enjoy the cost advantage over other methods. These take less time and money to be administered than others like interviews which can be expensive and costly.
Questionnaires can be sent via e-mails, by post or can be distributed in huge numbers at the same time. Other methods may take time according to the method chosen.
The absence of the interviewer in questionnaires eliminates the chances of any type of biases based on gender, ethnicity, language, age, social background, etc.
Questionnaires are a more convenient for the respondents sometimes because it is fairly simple and they feel free to fill them at their own time and speed.
Questionnaires have a structured format and are designed to assist the respondent to get accurate information. (Bryman, 2008)
LIMITATION OF USING QUESTIONNAIRE
- LIMITED RANGE AND SCOPE:
- LOW RESPONSE RATES:
- CANNOT PROBE:
- DO NOT KNOW WHO ANSWERS:
- NO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
The questions are structures in a simple layout and sometimes this may limit the scope and range of the research.
One of the most damaging limitations of questionnaires is the low response rates than other method of data collection. People rarely reply a questionnaire by e-mail and the postal questionnaires.
If the respondent faces any difficulty in answering questions there is no one to clarify it out to get a true and clear picture.
It is not possible to ascertain that the intended person is always responding to the questionnaire.
They are not as popular as other methods because not everyone is able to complete questionnaires.
Questionnaires cannot be too long otherwise the respondent becomes bored and hence only a limited set of queries are answered. (Walliman, 2006)
RESEARCH METHOD USED
The method that will be used in this research will be a qualitative method. The reason for choosing this method over other methods is because it helps in examining questions that are very difficult to answer by using quantitative method. Thus this method covers both the perceptual aspects and do not limit the research to defined variables. Moreover this method suits the research in performing data collection from both the consumers as well as the employees of store. Thus by using this method there is a clearer picture than by using any other method.
JUSTIFICATION FOR CHOSEN METHOD
The research method chosen for the research is a qualitative one. The reasons for this are that it does not restrict itself to some statistical numbers or figures to get a clear picture of the undertaking research. The qualitative method is most suited to studies where a particular program is under study which is the case in this research. Qualitative methods keep in consideration the time limitation that are involved and also helps the researcher to take part in the overall research process without creating an element of bias in it. This method of research enables researchers to carry out an in-depth analysis of the data that is collected and does not narrow down the scope of the research.
The reason for choosing questionnaires over other methods is because they are cost-effective and is less time consuming. People are familiar with questionnaires and are more interested in filling a questionnaire than giving an interview. Questionnaires are easier to analyze because of the even structure throughout and also makes it easy for data entry and tabulation. They are not time bound and give respondent the freedom of completing them according to their convenience.