The methodology chapter presents the research philosophy and the purpose of the research, laying the foundation for this section. Following this, research approach and strategy are presented, as well as the sampling process. The process of collecting and analyzing data is discussed and the chapter ends with the trustworthiness of the research and a short summary.
The term research philosophy relates to the development and nature of knowledge (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2015). It characterizes the source of the knowledge, and how it will be extracted (Creswell, 2012). Research philosophy can be broken down into developing knowledge in a certain field of studies, leading to significant differences between the different philosophies (Dudovskiy, 2016). Selecting the appropriate research philosophy for one’s research purpose refines all data collection, helps avoid unnecessary and unrelated facts, as well as it helps the author/researcher to correctly analyze the collected data (Saunders, et al., 2015). Positivism, realism, interpretivism, and pragmatism are examples of research philosophies that all approach research questions in different manners (ibid).
However, a more applicable research philosophy for this paper is the interpretivist framework. This paper is aiming to understand some of the influential factors in the decision-making process, meaning that the authors will have to dig deep into understanding the target group’s social constructionism (Bryman & Bell, 2015; Dudovskiy, 2016). Researchers using the philosophy interpretivism uses a subjective approach, meaning that the researchers will interpret the study, the data and the results (ibid). A researcher using an interpretive research philosophy believes that the world exists on constructed subjectivity by individuals, taking human interest into consideration (Dudovskiy, 2016). This paper will investigate the research purpose using focus groups, where this research philosophy fits well. Interpretivism acknowledges that new knowledge and theories are created through observations and interpretation of social phenomena, encouraging the authors to appreciate the differences among a group of people (ibid). An aim when using this philosophy is to create an understanding and relatedness to the participants that also can be useful for the authors.
The strongest downfall of using an interpretivist research philosophy is that it is difficult to generalize the results, since they are so heavily formed by personal opinions and values (Dudovskiy, 2016). Given this, the results could be subject of a lower level of reliability since the data collected only shows certain individuals’ perceptions and attitudes towards the subject researched (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2015). On the other hand, when the studies are done in great depth, the results are honest and valuable (Dudovskiy, 2016).
This paper is conducting a form of general research, since the findings are relevant to a business area and it is the outcome of the research that is in focus (Collis & Hussey, 2014). The next step is determining if the research about to be conducted is deductive, inductive or abductive. For this research paper, the abductive approach is chosen, which has some similar traits as both inductive and deductive (Eriksson & Lindström, 1997). It is important to note that this does not mean that the abductive approach is a combination of the other two, but that it merely shares characteristics with the other approaches (ibid). Abductive research presents data deductively through logical consequences and inductively through empirical reasoning (ibid). The aim is then to recognize patterns and, simultaneously, comprehend a complex situation (Raholm, 2010). The abductive approach is beneficial for this paper because it is possible that not all answers will be found in existing literature. Furthermore, human behavior cannot only be explained by patterns, which the inductive approach explains (ibid). So, the use of an abductive research approach will allow the authors to alternatively use interpretation and explanation, and not only existing theories to explain the findings. The authors will also be the researchers, and will play an important role in conducting the focus groups, which will make them a part of the inductive research process, as they will be observing human behavior (Collis & Hussey, 2014). In practice, moving back and forth between existing literature and empirically collected data, allows the abductive approach to be fully used in this research paper. It will assist the authors when conducting the focus groups and analyzing the findings.
Deductive research is developed to test a hypothesis; the researchers develop a theory/hypothesis that they are willing to test, which is why it is not applicable for this research paper (Saunders, et al., 2015). Inductive research is conducted when the researchers want to collect data, analyze it and then develop a fitting theory (ibid). However, the inductive approach is less interested in the need to generalize, which is a weakness of the approach, and thus not applicable for this research paper (Saunders, et al., 2015).
This paper and its research question would best benefit from a qualitative study. Qualitative studies focus more on “how” and “why” questions, rather than more directly addressed questions, such as “how many” (Pratt, 2009). This is agreed upon by Black, Hashimzade and Myles (2013) and Creswell (2014), who state that qualitative data characterizes and describes a phenomenon, but does not measure it. Seeing as qualitative data will be collected through focus groups, the authors’ aim is to understand the human intention behind an action intent, which also fits well with the abductive approach.
For this research paper, exploratory and descriptive can be used. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the influence of (1) an author’s brand and (2) recommendations and reviews for generation Y, in Sweden, when selecting a book. Due to this, an exploratory study has been chosen for this thesis, with an element of descriptive orientation. An exploratory study is valuable since it seeks to find new insights, ask questions and understand what is happening in a situation (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2015). In the frame of reference, one can see that the chosen topic has not been thoroughly researched, which makes an exploratory purpose a suitable choice. When using an exploratory research, it is vital to be flexible and adaptive to change. An exploratory purpose gives the authors an opportunity to create insight and build platforms that will encourage and give support for further research (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2015; Smith & Osborn, 2003).
1.2 Problem Discussion
2. Frame of Reference
2.1 Generational Theory
2.3 Recommendations and Reviews
2.5 Decision Making Models
2.6 Frame of Reference Summary
2.7 Research Question
3.1 Research Philosophy
3.2 Research Approach
3.3 Research Purpose
3.4 Research Strategy
3.5 Data collection via Focus groups
3.6 Focus Groups using Vignette Technique.
3.7 Secondary data
3.8 Data Analysis
3.9 Trustworthiness of Research
3.10 Time Horizon
3.11 Summary of Methods
4. Empirical Findings
4.1 Questionnaire Findings from Vignette
4.2 Findings from Vignette Discussion
4.3 Links Between Different Aspects
5.1 Generation Y and an Author’s Brand
5.2 Generation Y and Recommendations and Reviews
5.3 Gender Differences
5.4 AISAS Model
7.3 Suggestions for Further Research
8. Reference list
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Books, Brands & BuzzThe influence of the author’s brand and recommendations and reviews when generation Y, in Sweden, selects a book