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Business research


CHAPTER III - Research Methodology


This chapter details the processes and approaches which the researcher utilized in order to complete the research on identifying alternative motivational strategies that can supplement changes in contractual relationships in the hotel industry. It gives a detail of the research methods used along with the approach and various kinds of ways in which the information was gathered in order to make an analysis. Furthermore, this chapter also discusses the various issues related to reliability and validity and ethics.

Research Method

Research method can be described as a way of collecting information in order to do an analysis for the study according to (Bryman, 2003). It can involve a specific instrument, such as a self completion questionnaire or a structured/semi structured interview schedule, or participant observation whereby the researcher listens and watches others. In scientific method there are two different methods available, qualitative and quantitative method. In qualitative method, data is expressed in words where as in quantitative method large amounts of numbers are presented. According to (Smith et al., 1991), qualitative method is as “an array of interpretive techniques which seek to describe, decode, translate and otherwise come to terms with the meaning, not the frequency, of certain more or less naturally occurring phenomena in the social worlds”.

For the present study, quantitative method of data collection was utilized where the data is expressed in numbers rather than expressing in large number of words (Bryman, 2007); (Jacobsen, 2002). Since the researcher has no clear vision about the outcome of the study, the quantitative method methodology was adopted, where results from survey was collected by using a questionnaire to gain more knowledge about the subject, it is also possible to reformulate the questionnaire if needed (Jacobsen, 2002).

The current study also used quantitative methods in order to gain more insight into the views of the workers in the hotel industry. The researcher used a questionnaire based survey in order to gather more information which was then analyzed to form a conclusion.

Research Strategy

Research strategy can be defined as a process to provide the researcher a general plan on how to set questions which are based on the research hypothesis, for which research strategy would be helpful (Saunder et al., 2003). For the present study, as suggested by the (Feagin, 1991), interviews and a survey based approach will be used, since the researcher has little control over the events and this is also highlighted by the (Hitchcock, 1995). This approach will be more relevant to this particular research as the researcher wishes to gain rich understanding about the problem between the employees and the management (Saunders et al., 2003).

Research Philosophy

There are three different viewpoints given by many authors pertaining to Ontology, these are as follows: Positivism, Relativism, and Constructionism (Smith et al., 1991). Positivism means reality is independent and external to social actors, whereas relativism refers to the view that reality is external, and its meaning is constructed by social actors. Constructionism refers to the view that reality is not independent and is socially constructed. The researcher used a positivistic approach since it provides theories and has a natural viewpoint (Smith et al., 1991).

Type of Research

There are three specific types of approach explanatory, a casual and a descriptive approach out of which researcher must choose. The particular approach is undertaken as it is a purpose to explain a situation or phenomenon in order to develop unknown and new knowledge. In the present study, researcher aimed to study the changes that happened during economic recession, it was found that descriptive approach was more suitable. However, the researcher usually wants to describe a certain situation within certain period of time when using descriptive approach. However, better understanding and knowledge is essential too, about the area where the study is going to focus and describe the situation or for performing descriptive case study, researchers must develop descriptive theory before starting the project, while doing casual investigations; explanatory case studies are more useful. Since the researchers has no better understanding and knowledge about the present research area, for the present study, exploratory approach will be used.

Research approach

The study design is influenced by the research approach and gives opportunity to the researcher on how each approach would contribute to the present study (Creswell J. W., 2002). Under the research approach there are three different approaches that can be utilized by the researcher, the deductive or quantitative approach, the inductive or qualitative approach and the mixed approach. According to (Bryman, 2003), a research method is simply a method for collecting data. Data can be collected by using a self completion questionnaire or by a self structured/semi structured interviews or participant observation wherein the researcher just watches and listens. Research Approach refers to the approach or the methodology that has been adopted to conduct the research. It basically involves the selection of research questions, the conceptual framework that has to be adopted, the selection of appropriate research method such as primary research, secondary research etc. According to (Mark Saunders, 2006), the research approach indicates whether the use of theory is explicit within the research design. (Mason, 2002), describes the research approach as deciding what theory does for your arguments. Various research approaches have been used to study and understand all the specific problems. There are two types of approaches generally used. They are Inductive approach and Deductive approach.

The deductive and inductive approach

Inductive approach is usually described as moving from the specific observations to broader theories and generalizations. Informally, it is called as a ‘bottom up’ approach. In inductive approach, empirical data are collected and basis of the data concepts and theories are formulated. The conclusion is likely based on premises and it involves a certain degree of uncertainty. Whereas deductive reasoning works from the more general theories and observations to a more specific confirmation.

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    Testing of theories is described as deductive approach as defined by (A., 1998). Theories are developed first and then hypotheses are formulated based on the theories. This is informally called as a ‘top down’ approach. Here the conclusion follows a logically from premises or available facts. Arguments based on laws, rules and accepted principles are generally used for deductive reasoning. A deductive approach is used by the researcher in this study because a specific outcome could be reached after careful analysis of all the facts and observations.

    In the present study, researcher felt that a deductive approach would be more appropriate because the main aim is to identify the motivational strategies that is used by the human resources management to supplement the changes that may occur due to contractual changes.

    Population and Sample

    In research terms a sample is a group of people, objects, or items that are taken from a larger population for measurement. The sample should be representative of the population to ensure that we can generalize the findings from the research sample to the population as a whole. The need of having a sample is very important because it would be impracticable to survey the whole population. In addition, the budget constraints prevent from surveying the entire population using a systematic type of sampling method. Finally, the researcher has to collect the results quickly because of time constraints.

    The selection of samples are decided, based on factors such as nature of study, size of the universe, size of sample, degree of precision derived and availability of resources (Miller, 1989). According to the (Kvale, 1997), purpose of the study forms the basis for the considering the target number of interviewees. Since the main objective of this study is to identify the factors that leads to balance between psychological job satisfaction and contractual agreements within an organization and to identify the motivational factors that is utilized by organizations to improve job satisfaction among its employees, the researcher chose a sample of 75 employees who were working in a hotel. The size of the sample for the quantitative study was determined when saturation was reached for theory and information, and anything new being added. (Walker, 1985), suggested 200-250 people be administered for the survey in order to do a quantitative research but with respect to this case 75 are sufficient due to detailed questionnaire format.

    The sampling used for the present study was purposive sampling method.

    Pilot Study

    Before designing the interview guide, pilot study was conducted to assess the feasibility of the study, to design a proper structured questionnaire (flow of content), face and content validity was done. This was done by distributing the final questionnaire for a preview check with two executive managers in order to identify the faults, if there were any, and to rectify them. It was also done in order to ensure that the questions were all easily understandable.

    Data collection procedures (Sources of data):

    To fulfill the study objectives, for the present study, primary and secondary data will be used for the research analysis.

    1. The use of secondary data will explore different strategies adopted by the hotel management to cope with present economic recession.

    2. Primary data collection will be based on the interview with the firm owner, HR managers to get deeper insight about the current strategies adopted. (Names and details will be provided in appendix).

    3. Secondary & Primary data will illuminate the different strategies adopted by the hotel industry.

    Primary Data Collection

    Primary data was collected using the questionnaire method. Questionnaire one of the most widely used research techniques can be defined as collecting data through written questions (Susan B. Neuman, 2000). There are a number of different ways in which questionnaires can be administered; for example: posted to the intended respondents or administered over the telephone or face-to-face. A questionnaire design provides a quantitative description of trends, attitudes, or opinions of a population by studying a sample of that population. From sample results, the researcher generalises or makes claims about a population (Creswell J. W., 2002). In the present study questionnaire was designed in such a way it can be self-administered.

    Additionally, questionnaires are one of the most widely used research techniques and can be defined as collecting data through written questions (Susan B. Neuman, 2000). There are a number of different ways in which questionnaires can be administered; for example: posted to the intended respondents or administered over the telephone or face-to-face. A questionnaire design provides a quantitative description of trends, attitudes, or opinions of a population by studying a sample of that population. From sample results, the researcher generalises or makes claims about a population (Creswell, 2002). In the present study questionnaire was designed in such a way it can be self-administered.

    There are several advantages in using the questionnaire method such as inexpensive, it has a moderately high measurement validity (i.e., high reliability and validity) for well constructed and validated questionnaires, it can provide exact information needed by researcher using closed-ended items, it can provide detailed information in respondents’ own words using open-ended items, it is unproblematic to analyse data for closed-ended items, and it is useful for exploration as well as confirmation. Limitations of the questionnaire includes usually must be kept short, reactive effects may occur (i.e., interviewees may try to show only what is socially desirable), non response to selective items, people filling out questionnaires may not recall important information and may lack self-awareness, response rate may be low for mail and email questionnaires, open-ended items may reflect differences in verbal ability; obscuring the issues of interest, data analysis can be time consuming for open-ended items, and measures need validation (Creswell, 2002).

    Research questions formulation

    Questions formulation needs skills in questioning techniques which relates to what type of questions to be asked, how long should it be, how to keep the language simple and how to keep the questions as short and straightforward as possible in a way to achieve the research objectives. This research questionnaire were designed by trying to follow the hints and techniques recommended by different authors (Abeysekera, 2007). The questionnaire that the researcher prepared had a total of 25 questions. The questionnaire consists of two parts. The first part deals with the questions that were developed just to gather some background information on the people who took part in the surveys. This information would prove to be useful to gather more insight and would also help in comparing the figuring out patterns in the different demographic categories.

    The second part of the questionnaire contains the questions that were designed to be part of a self administered survey. There was a total of 20 questions which were all based on a likert scale to measure the employees opinions on the HR practices that were being used in that specific hotel. The five point likert scale used the following degrees to measure the responses:

    1. Strongly disagree

    2. Disagree

    3. Neutral

    4. Agree

    5. Strongly agree

    The survey questions were designed based on the literature collected (Luthans, 2002); (Anonymous, 2003)

    Secondary Data Collection

    Researcher use desk based research for the secondary data collection. As discussed by (Jackson, 1994), the value of research is associated with its data collection methods, although primary and secondary data collection has been included in it. This method is an unobtrusive, as it depends on the previously published academic literatures, theories and also the location of pertinent literature. In order to make sure, the collected literature are verifiable and reliable, the researchers should be able to critically evaluate those literatures by comparing with other different authenticated sources (Creswell, 2003). Hence, for the present study, considering this background, the data will be collected through previous reports, case-studies, news papers, documents and academic journals.

    Secondary data was collected from different website, annual reports, books, journals and articles, websites, newspapers, magazines, case studies. The aim of this data collection is to find out the various factors that affect the relationships between the workers and the management of an organization. The data thus obtained will be an essential part of the dissertation topic.


    The purpose of the validity is to measure, what it intended to measure and this was related to the source of data collected (Jacobsen, 2002). Hence for the present study, the sample chosen is familiar with the area which is studied and the respondents are suitable persons whose answer will be more reliable as in this case. Thus, validity of the research was taken care through this method. This increases the validity of a research according to (Bryman, 2007).


    To measure the trustworthy of the results obtained through the present research, reliability was used (Jacobsen, 2000). For this research both the respondents and literature were picked carefully. Any secret information the interviewees provided in response to certain questions were compared with the secondary data. There is no reason to think that they were dishonest when the data provided by them was carefully analyzed. In addition, the data are also coded and final data, which answered by the interviewee will be sent back for a check to make sure that everything was understood in the right way.

    Ethical considerations

    Confidentiality will be maintained through our computer based data coding system. Results obtained from individual participants will be analyzed, reported and discussed in reference to the participant’s code. Consent forms to get their willingness to participate in the survey were issued prior to the survey. To ask questions related to the survey they were given ample opportunities. Meanwhile, researcher will also explain the purpose of the study and their importance in part of this research.


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