Methodology is an important part of a research process which acts like a mastermind to a research. Runes (1983) (cited in Ethridge (2004)) suggested that "the systematic analyses and organization of the rational an experimental principles and processes which must guide a scientific enquiry. Also called scientific method. Thus, methodology is a generic term exemplified in the specific method of each science". It is identified as "a way, technique, or process of or for doing something" by webster's (1977) (cited in Ethridge (2004)). Referring to the definition given by Runes (1983), Ethridge (2004), explains methodology as being the 'study of general approach to inquiry in a given field'.
The methodology used for the purpose of this work is a blend of secondary and primary researches.
Secondary research is defined by Malhotra and Birks (2007) as the data and information already existent as a result of another research carried out either in same or related field. Supporting this idea McGivern (2006) suggests that this research method incorporates finding sources of information already available in any form and analysing the data in the form that is best suited for one's research reasons. He also suggests that it can also be termed as 'desk research' as it can be carried out from one's desk without getting involved into a lengthy process. The 'desk research' uses pre published resources which may be in the form of academic journals, research papers, books, newspaper articles and other such online or internet sources. In addition to the concept of McGivern (2006) on the 'desk research', Veal (2006) also states that this method of using the pre published information proves to be less time consuming, easily accessible, cheap way of laying hands on the data. According to Veal (2006) this data can be used at a broader extent for one's own purpose and it can help impart knowledge about certain points that the individual is not aware of or is not fully educated on thus opening new boundaries of performing research.
Secondary Research Design
The Author has used secondary research methodology in order to attain better understanding of aviation industry and to addresses the issues faced by the India's national carrier Air-Indian in the current scenario of global aviation. The researcher also got an opportunity to carry out its own search considering other authors as the basis. Through secondary research the author got help to find out ways to do a step-by-step research. Patzer (1995) suggested that the accessibility of secondary data can help reducing time and money in the research and it also helps in conducting more resourceful research through evaluating different authors, reports and data available. The author has considered using secondary research as a base for this research and used pre-published articles, reports and information in the related field as a major source of information. The author has used publications which was pre-existing and dealt with the aviation segment therefore to understand the origin and past of the Indian aviation industry and in particular of Air-India, to realize what possible roles, demand, supply, market position, aspects like privatization and government undertaking and other such factors played in the success or failure in the carrier graph of Air India till present situation. The author identified that it was crucial to evaluate other authors' work to identify what best acknowledges and addresses the present research topic, thus justified the use of secondary research methodology for the purpose of this work. Malhotra and Birks (2007) suggest that secondary data can help the researcher to make an appropriate approach towards solving problems, therefore secondary resource has been evaluated and considered for its information it has keeping different aspects and limitations of the aviation industry.
Secondary research has been chosen over primary research because of the author's non-possibility of visiting India and conducting interviews with the Air-India and Government officials. Moreover there was no reliable source known to the author, whose support would have helped in getting the information from official source on a personal note. Whereas these information are easily available on the company website through internet or through company's annual report, therefore secondary resources has been considered during the research of the Air-India and the aviation industry. Acknowledging Malhotra and Birks (2007), author knows the limitations of the secondary research, that it is not always true that the other authors may not be always perfect in addressing the issues. These secondary resources can mislead the research and researcher and they put false reputation of the company and the industry. Therefore the researcher has evaluated the articles and identified the information it has in the relevance of the research. The researcher has also considered the authors and there importance in the field of the aviation industry. Research has given importance to the articles written by the authors, who has played a vital role in the aviation industry. Data's has been collected by the organizing bodies of the aviation industry and from the companies official reports so that the dependable of the sources can be non-questionable. Malhotra and Birks (2007) have suggested that the major disadvantage of the secondary research is the time gap between the two articles. It is more likely that the original article has been written long time back and author might use it in the current scenario. The author has tried to maintain that time gap between the researches and tried to compare the literature with contemporary aviation industry. Stacks (2002) has also contributed to the time factor in secondary research by mentioning that the time keeps changing and the study in one research may still worked in a different study with only key amendments established by a distinctive situation. Newspaper articles have played a vital role in providing the industries and Air-India's current situation. The articles has been chosen on the bases of the contents of the articles, its relevance to the industry, whether the issues of the industry has been addressed, what were the gapes left in the articles which the writer has left unintentionally or because there was no pre published work on the area. There were many more questions looked at before choosing any particular report on industry, so that the research can take a right path. A comparison between the airlines and there situations has been looked at through different resources, so that a clear image of the industry and a justifiable recommendation for the Air-India can be made.
Primary research is based on the first hand information collected by the researcher. The three main ways of collecting primary information are interviews, observations and using questionnaires (Kumar, R. 2005). According to Malhotra and Birks (2007) the primary data is taken by the author itself and it is research specific so that the researcher can address the particular issue with its appropriate data. Malhotra and Birks (2007) has also suggested that primary data collection can involve high cost and usually takes long time to analyse and assemble the data then the secondary data, which is easily available through many sources.
Observation as Primary Research
As been discussed earlier, observation is a type of primary research and this is a way to look at the events first hand by the researcher itself. As Kumar (2005) has mention that observation is a methodical, decisive and discriminating method of recording or observing any interface of incident as it takes place, right at first time. Further on Kumar (2005) has classified observation in two types. One being participant observation, where researcher itself take part in the activity and examine the incidence or carefully observe the incidence without been noticed by other participants. Second type of observation is a non-participant observation in which the researcher being passive observer and do not take part in any form of activity or incidence and just watch and listen while making conclusion out of it. One has to be really careful while doing observations as if individual or a group became aware of the fact that they are being observed they might change their activities or manner, which could be positive or negative. The risk of observer being bias cannot be avoided, and also there is a opportunity of the examination being incomplete (Kumar, 2005). Malhotra and Birks (2007) have a different approach towards observation and he considers it as 'marketing intelligence'. According to him 'marketing intelligence' is observing an incident and developments considering the current market, with skilfulness. This shows that observation is also a credible method of getting the data first hand.
The author had an opportunity to fly with Air-India and experience the services of the India's flag carrier the 'Maharaja' in the year 2008. During the check-in, the author faces the first glimpse of the Air-India's airline management skills as out of 8 check-in counters, only one was operating. Thus, the long queue was inevitable giving an unpleasant feel to the customers, however there was no apology from the staff. The aircraft was beautifully painted and looked good and attractive from outside as well as from inside. Despite of the beautiful aircraft, the quality and services Air-India crew provided was not at the par. During the flight, most of the time the crew were unapproachable and looked stunned and did not seem cordial. The crew was serving the water on request only and that to in a glass but not been served by bottle. While asking about the bottle, the crew justifies it as one of the methods of cost cutting, which was not appropriate for the international long distance flights. The food and its quality were fine. In flight entertainment systems were installed but had limited choice, on most of the seats it wasn't working. Crew were not courteous and friendly to the passengers which make the journey worst. They were busy talking to each despite knowing that passengers were looking for them for some services, which was not professional. Most of the passengers onboard had travelled with other private airlines in India and it was easy for them to do a differentiation between the other International airlines in India with national carrier of India, Air-India.
Most of the passengers are unhappy with the services Air-India is providing and these can be easily seem in the customer review section of the Skytrax website, which is the quality certificates to most of the world's airlines. The review shows the same dissatisfaction among the passengers regarding Air-India which forces them to go for other airlines except the national carrier of the India. Common problems like delayed flights, poor luggage handling skills, bad management, inappropriate customer handling skills combines to make Air-India a 3 star airlines in the list of Skytrax. The author had also experienced the services of other private airlines from India, and experienced the difference. The Air-India's flight experience had left a negative impact on the passengers, despite of the latest aircrafts they have in their fleet the one thing they can't buy is the customer service skill which is the key factor in today's competitive world. This research indicates the key element of the airlines success is service and employees. The findings from the research on Air-India by the author has been shown in the next chapter which will be followed by analysis on the national carrier of the India and then conclusion.
Gordon L. Patzer- using secondary data in marketing research, United States and worldwide
Kumar, Ranjit. 2005, Research Methodology a step by step guide for beginners, saga publication, London, [i.p. ]
Stacks, Don W., (2002), Primer of Public Relations Research, Guildford Publications, Inc. New York, [i.p ]
This research has adopted secondary research as the methodology to draw out conclusions.
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- McGivern, Yvonne (2006), The Practice of Market and Social Research An Introduction, Second edition, Prentice Hall, Pearson Education Limited, England [i.p.]
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