Dissertation Methodology

Dissertation methodology is one of the key aspects of your dissertation. However, many students confuse this part as the ‘methods’ used for the investigation which isn’t true. While writing a dissertation it is important to understand each and every aspect. Unless you have proper knowledge about various parts of the dissertation, you may end up attaining false results. So, let us understand what is dissertation methodology and what does it deal with.

What is Dissertation Methodology?

The dissertation methodology presents the broad philosophical groundwork of your chosen research method. This may include the reason why you are using qualitative, quantitative method or a mixture of both.

Therefore, while selecting the methodology you must be clear about your choice as answering the questions like ‘I was interested’ or ‘I thought’ isn’t enough. There should be good reasoning for the choice you make.

The dissertation methodology is usually linked with the literature in order to explain why certain methods have been opted for. In case you are submitting a single thesis, then you must ensure that your methodology part explains how you proceeded and progressed with your work. However, it is necessary to give clear academic justification of all the choices made by you and be properly linked back to the literature with all relevant details.

Importance of dissertation methodology

There are several research methodologies which can be included while researching scientific subjects. In this section you need to provide proper justification of your choice of methodology which you have chosen for your research. However, you don’t need to explain the methodological approaches that could have been used otherwise.

In this chapter you have to provide a clear explanation as to how you have arrived at your findings and justify why and how they are reliable. Further, this section must answer your research questions on which your investigation was based.

How to structure the dissertation methodology?

 It is important to initiate your section on methodology by setting a conceptual framework in which you plan to progress.

While drafting the methodology you must be clear about the strengths and limitations of your chosen approach. Also, you should have a strong plan on how you want to address them. It is also important to note down the upcoming issues after which you can move on and start discussing your research questions.

This is when you need to set your selected research methods which may include their theoretical basis and the literature supporting them.

Once you start writing you should make it clear whether the chosen method is ‘tried and tested’ or an experimental one. Also you must mention as to what kind of reliance the method would place on the final outcome.

Finally, you should conclude by summarizing the research methods and the limitations and challenges that you faced during your investigation.

Dissertation methodology requires in-depth understanding and reasoning about the techniques chosen by you. So, if you are facing problems in drafting this section, then taking help from methodology writing service experts is definitely a good idea.   

Sample: A STUDY ON THE IMPACT OF BRAND DESIGN ON CUSTOMER PURCHASING BEHAVIOUR: A CASE STUDY OF MARKS & SPENCER, UK

Chapter 3

Research methodology

3.0 Introduction

The present chapter introduces the research paradigms chosen by the researchers to conduct the data collection process with regards to the impact of brand design on customer purchasing behaviours in the UK retail market. The validations behind the chosen paradigms are explained in the specific chapters. The researchers would initially provide a glimpse of the research methods, and latter would explain the utility of the methods in detail. The project elaborates a background behind the selection of positivism, deductive and descriptive parameters.

3.1 Research Proposition

The research proposition would explain the chosen set of research parameters. In the present project, the researcher has chosen positivism philosophy, deductive research approach and descriptive research design to justify the essence of the research subject. The consideration of the selected parameters will facilitate the researcher in detailing the subject thoroughly. To conduct a free and fair data collection process, the researcher has chosen to conduct a simple random sampling process, where 70 customers of M&S have been surveyed to gather the quantitative data. On the other hand, to gather effective qualitative details, the researcher planned to interview five brand managers of M&S. However, the study includes both the primary and the secondary subjects. The secondary information is gathered from the relevant sources like books, journals, etc. Further, for the data authenticity purpose, the primary and secondary information is triangulated. For the sake of data security, certain ethical considerations are followed.

3.2 Research Philosophy

The popular forms of research philosophy are positivism, realism and interpretive. In the background of the similar statement, Lim and Ting (2013) determined that realism depends on the subjects that are derived from the human senses. On the other hand, interpretive philosophy is reliable more on human believes actions, attitudes, perceptions and point of view. Therefore, the chances of data validation are less with the above aspects. Therefore, the majority of the researchers prefer choosing the positivism philosophy due to its scientific nature (Hirsh, 2008).

Positivism often assists a researcher to understand the social aspects of customer demands, behaviour, motivation and decision-making approach. Therefore, it has been assessed that the present study is a social aspect, which has been easily satisfied with the effective scientific approach. Thus, positivism philosophy is perfect to understand how the purchasing behaviours of UK customers get influenced by brand design. According to Maistrenko (2015), the conclusion derived from realism philosophy is incorrect in nature as it is based human perceptions. Hence, the selection of positivism has supported the researcher in a systematic data collection process. This has effectively helped the researcher to understand how far M&S has managed to create a positive impact on the customers’ purchasing behaviour through its brand design. The positivism philosophy has directed the researcher to triangulate both the primary and secondary data and to derive a logical conclusion. Therefore, the researcher in this present study has adopted effective scientific techniques to understand how M&S managed to convince its UK customers to have positive purchasing decision towards its brand.

3.3 Research Approach

The research approach has identified two paradigms, namely inductive and deductive. In the framework of the present statement, Maistrenko (2015) asserted that the inductive research approach is required when a researcher has the intention of establishing new theories. Since inductive research approach deals with developing fresh theories. On the other hand, Thomas (2015) stated that the deductive approach is considered by the majority of the researchers, since, it is used to test the existing theories. In the similar instance, Lim and Ting (2013) stated that due to the specific nature of the deductive approach, it is considered as a waterfall model. In the present study, the subject demands an approach that helps to understand the feasibility of the past literature and theories. Therefore, the researcher has considered the deductive approach over inductive. It has been inferred that the selection of the specific approach has been effective for the researcher to find out and test the suitable theory that mitigates the present context of the research. 

As per the consideration of Maistrenko (2015), the inductive approach is inappropriate methods as it developed new theories without conducting any proper observation. On the other hand, the deductive approach tends to observe the framed objectives and questions, based on which the secondary analysis is performed. Therefore, the chosen approach leads to test the research objectives and questions based on which effective information are gathered to figure out how the brand design in UK retail market manage to influenced customers’ purchasing behaviour. The brand design policies adopted by M&S to drawn the attention level of its customers have been evaluated with the help of present approach.

3.4 Research Design

The research design involves two key aspects, which are descriptive, exploratory and explanatory. In the similar subject, Sekaran and Bougie (2013) determined that each of the designs carry individual importance, which serve to be useful for different purposes. In the similar circumstance, Thomas (2015) mentioned that both the explanatory and exploratory are used to collect background information to describe the theoretical terms, developing research objectives, examining the problems and hypothesis testing. As per Lim and Ting (2013), the above characteristics of the designs are effective to derive research findings but are not sufficient to conduct the critical analysis. On the other hand, the descriptive research design derives findings after determining the aspects like who, what, when, how, why and where (Hirsh, 2008). To include the above characteristics in the present study, the researcher has selected the descriptive design to understand the concept how brands design in the UK market has created a positive or negative impact on the customers’ purchasing behaviours.

The consideration of the descriptive research design has supported the researcher to collect background information related to the research. This information include designing process of UK retails brands, characteristics followed while designing the brand, customers persuasion strategies through brand designs and ease for the UK retails brands to retain its potential prospects through effective brand identity and designs. The overall background information has helped the researcher to examine the policies undertaken by Marks and Spencer in the UK market to derive better customers’ experiences. This evaluation has automatically helped the researcher to derive an understanding that the customers are attracted towards the brand designs and its recognition. This specific attitude has also facilitated M&S to retain its customer’s trust and loyalty. Thus, with the help of descriptive research design, the researcher has identified the techniques used by M&S to design its brand to retain its customers’ purchasing designs in the UK market.

3.5 Research Strategy

Experiment, survey and case study are the primary components of research strategy (Sekaran and Bougie, 2013). Considering the nature of the present topic, the researcher has chosen the survey methods to justify the essence of the topic. Herein, M&S’ customer base have been considered under the quantitative sample size. Therefore, the researcher has demeanour survey session with the respondent to gather a precise set of primary data by forwarding a set of the questionnaire in the personal mail ids. The gathered findings have assisted the researcher in gathering primary data in the figurative format, which resulted in timely data collection process. The survey strategy has helped the researcher to find out the reactions of M&S’ potential customers with respect to its service and brand design. The research strategy even partially follows the case study approach, since, the findings are also derived through secondary analysis besides primary. The corporate information is gathered and evaluated to justify the case study approach and the research essence.

3.6 Data Type

Waite (2011) asserted that data types are of two different types, primary and secondary. The primary data in this present study is collected via two formats, quantitative and qualitative. In the context of the present statement, Sekaran and Bougie (2013) mentioned that the primary data are raw in nature, as it is collected from direct sources. Therefore, the researchers often take the help of primary data in order to gather information through the figurative format. The data collected through quantitative method can be illustrated through tables and graphs. This helps the researcher to derive some partial findings. On the other hand, the researcher also follows the qualitative data to find out detail industry scenario. According to Lim and Ting (2013), the industry experts are often included in the methods to gather detail corporate information. Therefore, the researcher in this study has strategized to collect the qualitative details from the brand managers of Marks and Spencer of UK branch. In the similar instance, Sekaran and Bougie (2013) determined that primary subject are not proven facts. Therefore, the findings derived explicitly from primary data are inapt in nature. 

Thus, for the purpose of data feasibility, the researcher has also conducted the secondary data collection techniques in order to understand the past proven literature. In the opinion of Lim and Ting (2013), the secondary information is past proven literature that are theoretically and academically proved by the experts. The information is frequently gathered from reliable sources like journals, books, magazines, corporate sites, etc. The combination of both the primary and the secondary data has helped the researcher to find out the impact of the brand design of UK retailers on its customers’ purchasing behaviours.

3.7 Data Collection

Based on the ease of data accessibility, the researcher has conducted the data collection method. Waite (2011) denoted that data collection method shall be undertaken as per the time frame. In the present study, the data has been collected in both primary and secondary format.

The primary data are collected in the form of quantitative and qualitative format. To collect the quantitative data, the researcher has framed a set of the questionnaire as per the research objectives and forwarded the questionnaire to the personal mail ids of the quantitative respondents. The respondents have been provided with a specific period to fill the questionnaire as per individual perceptions and return it in time. On the other hand, the qualitative data are collected via interview format. The researcher has set an appointment with the brand managers of M&S to find out the brand design techniques followed by the brand to create positive purchasing behaviour in the UK market. The managers are convinced to find out a convenient time for a personal interview session. This has helped the researcher to find out the essence of the study through detail corporate information.

The secondary information is gathered through various secondary sources like books, journals, magazines, e-library, internet articles and corporate websites. Considering the statement of Waite (2011), the journal has been considered to be the dependable sources, as several other scholars review its content. However, in the present study, the researcher has not derived much utility from the past journals, as the information is considerably backdated, which failed to justify the subject of the present research title. The similar has been with the case of books and magazines. However, matter received from e-library are latest but failed to highlight the strategies used by the UK retail brands in its brand design purposes. Finally, the internet served to be a potent source, which helped the researcher to receive update information relating to the brand design policies followed by M&S and the other retail marketers to influence better customer purchasing decision in the market.

 3.8 Data analysis plan

The data analysis method has been planned by considering the nature of data type. In the framework of the existing subject, Waite (2011) stated that it is comparatively easier to measure the quantitative subjects than the qualitative detail. As he qualitative details are descriptive in nature, therefore, the subjects cannot be quantified. The feedbacks gathered from the customers for the quantitative analysis has been maintained in the MS Excel and calculated in the similar sheet. Each of the respondents has been allotted with percentage based on which the tables and graphs have been framed. The illustration has helped the researcher to derive partial findings. Thus, te researcher has also included the qualitative data collection method to strengthen the foundation of the research work.  Since the qualitative details are descriptive in format; hence, it has been kept in an elaborative manner. The qualitative detailed has been analysed following the descriptive format, and for data authentication, the findings are interlinked with the past literature. For the data accuracy, the researcher has followed a data triangulation effort, where the primary data have been linked with the secondary information of literature review.

3.9 Type of investigation

The investigation method has been followed by considering both the quantitative and qualitative subjects. The existing project is a social research, therefore, the findings can be easily derived with the support of the quantitative evaluation techniques. In the context of the present statement, Sekaran and Bougie (2013) asserted that quantitative method is feasible to justify any of the social contexts. Therefore, the researcher in the present study has considered the quantitative data analysis format to justify the subject matter of the research context.  Moreover, the researcher has managed to include the survey process, where the questionnaire would be distributed amongst wider ranges of respondents. The intention behind the above purpose was to collect indifferent opinions of the wider population in order to judge both the positive and negative side of the research context. Aligned to the research objectives, the researcher has formulated a set of questionnaire and forwarded the questionnaire in the personal mail ids of the respondents. The respondents have been provided with a specific period to fill the questionnaire and return with proper answers. In the present project, the use of quantified data has supported the researcher to gather substantial response that signifies how far the brand design in UK retail market influence the purchasing decision of the customers. The questions set in the questionnaire were restricted to M&S. Thus, the answers of the respondents were limited to M&S. This helped the researcher to explicitly focus on how far M&S has managed to influence its customers’ purchasing decisions with its brand design policies.  

Since the qualitative details could not be measured; therefore, the researcher has focused effectively on its quality. The researcher has fixed an appointment with the brand managers of M&S to conduct a personal interview session to derive effective knowledge relating the research subject. It had been relatively tough for the researcher find out quality time from the managers. However, persistent follow-ups have finally helped the researcher to find out some free times. The feedbacks of the managers were descriptive but elaborative in nature. According to Thomas (2015), the brand managers are the industry experts. Thus, the nature of information would be much in-depth. Therefore, feedbacks of the managers have helped the researcher to gain some internal information, which automatically uplifted the quality of research work. Thus, the researcher has enabled to derive genuine findings regarding the how the brand design policies of M&S has influenced its customers’ purchasing behaviours.

3.10 Sample Size

The sample size is considered keeping in mind the time frame. As per the statement of Thomas (2015), substantial sample size consumes excessive time. However, sample size below 35 can raise an ethical issue. Therefore, the researcher has wanted to consider the entire customer base of M&S under the population size; however, only 85 customers have been interested in participating in the survey session.  Out of which, only 70 customers were convinced to fill the questionnaire and return in time. Therefore, the quantitative sample size for the project is 70.

Total seven brand managers were approached for the interview process. Conversely, the managers were too busy with the professional schedules, therefore, only five managers had managed to find out some free times for the face to face interview session. Moreover, the detail opinions of 5 managers were sufficient to satisfy the research subject. Therefore, the qualitative sample for the study was 5.

3.11 Sampling Technique

Probability and non-probability are the primary types of the sampling technique. According to Popping (2012), probability sampling provides equal chances to all respondents. However, the non-probability sampling considers few. In the present study, both the probability and non-probability sampling techniques are selected. The simple random sampling process is selected for the quantitative data collection purpose. It has not been possible for the researcher to individually interview all 70 respondents. Thus, the customers were selected randomly. Parajuli (2008) stated that random selection is a bias free process, as the customers are chosen randomly, hence, there is a high possibility that the gathered data are valid and genuine. 

On the other hand, M&S’ managers were selected purposefully, thus, the non-probability technique is followed in this process. The managers had detailed knowledge of the organisation, therefore, discussion with few had helped the researcher to gain detail insight of the context.

3.12 Accessibility Issues:

The accessibility issue often enhances the complexities for the researcher in the data collection process (McGee, 2007).  It has been substantially difficult for the researcher to convince the managers to find out some free time for the personal interview session. The brand managers were explicitly busy with the hectic schedules; therefore, the researcher has to wait for a considerable period to find out time from the managers. The deadline for the project was too short, thus, in the qualitative data collection process; the researcher has wasted considerable time, which has hampered the followed remaining process. Moreover, it was difficult to interview each of the M&S’ customers, therefore, the researcher has chosen the survey method to manage the time wasted in the interview process. However, the customers found the questionnaire to be too lengthy to return it within time. However, present follow-ups have somewhat helped the researcher to receive the answered questionnaire and managed the accessibility issue.

3.13 Ethical Considerations:

In the background of the present context, McGee (2007) mentioned that ethical consideration often limits the likelihood of data manipulation and misinterpretations. Henceforth, the overall quality of the research work can be maintained effectively. The ethical policy creates a distinction between the acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, which helps the researchers to understand the principles to be followed while conducting the research work. Therefore, in the present work, the researcher has not manipulated any of the gathered data. The internal information received from the managers is not disclosed to any of the third parties. Moreover, the corporate details have been maintained with all confidential measures, thus, not leaked in any public forum. Moreover, the questionnaire has been set as per the sentiment of the society. The personal details of the customers were kept confidential. Both the qualitative and quantitative details are collected exclusively for the research purpose and have been destroyed soon after its completion. Finally, every customer has been provided with a common platform to share the individual views in a free manner. 

3.14 Limitations:

The collection of latest secondary details has been the major limitation of the project. The information received from reliable sources was all backdates, therefore, the secondary data collection process was relatively time to consume. Furthermore, the research title centres on the impact of M&S’ brand on its customers’ purchasing behaviours. However, it was much difficult to find precise and updated information related to M&S’ brand design and its customers’ reaction towards its effort. However, finally, the internet articles have helped the researcher to receive some updated information to justify the subject matter. Moreover, the responses of the managers were based on biases, since, the managers have not spoken any negative side of the brand. Thus, data triangulation has been effective to overcome the limitation.

3.15 Timeframe

Every activity has been assigned to a single week for completion. In the 1st, the title has been selected. The researcher has framed research objectives in the 2nd weed, based on which secondary details are gathered in the similar week. Research parameters were set in the 3rd week. Depending on which, the quantitative and qualitative responses are collected in the 4th and 5th weeks. In the final week, the conclusion is derived, and suitable alternatives are recommended based on the identified gaps. 

 

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