The frame of the research philosophy for this paper will be carried out in an interpretivist way. The idea behind the use of this facet of research philosophy, is to understand and analyse the own reality of different social actors (female of generation Y and Z), and deeper explore the field investigated. According to Hurworth (2017), interpretivism relates to the beliefs of a reality built upon meanings and interpretations. Within interpretivism, different variations appear such as phenomenology. Phenomenology is known as the tradition which tends to understand the world through direct experiences related to the phenomenon (Dudovskiy, 2016). While investigating the field of social media, the authors are directly concerned about it, due to the constant exposure to social medias. This is one of the reason why, having focus groups will bring accuracy and modernity to the purpose of the paper. This paper is aiming to understand some of the impacts of influencers through Instagram on the decision-making process for Swedish female consumers of generation Y and Z when purchasing fast fashion.
According to Anderson (2005), abductive reasoning starts with an incomplete set of observations and throughout the process, will develop the likeliest possible explanation to the decision. In this study, the use of abductive reasoning is providing to the authors another way to understand the female decision-making through influencers when purchasing. It is brought up, to help the understanding of the human reasoning in regard to certain actions taken. The conclusion resulting from this kind of reasoning is adding value to the research paper and to the qualitative method, it is based on the evidences which have been provided through the data collection (ibid).
The intention of an exploratory research is not to provide a final answer, but rather to examine a research question which have not yet been explored in depth, in order to provide a better understanding of the problem being researched and up to date data (Saunders et al.2015). As previously mentioned in the thesis, there is a lack of research covering this topic. The term social media is often mentioned in research papers, but the authors aims to explore this area by adding some actors (social media influencers) in order to bring specificity to it.
Therefore, the purpose of the thesis is to investigate the following research questions:
In what ways do social media influencers play a role in the decision-making process for generation Y and Z female consumers, while purchasing fast fashion in Sweden?
How do influencers impact the different outcomes that stem from the purchasing stage, within the decision-making model, for consumers in the fast fashion industry?
Hence, in accordance to this paper, an exploratory research will best correspond to the content of this paper.
According to Johannesson and Perjons (2014), research strategy is the path which is implemented in order to carry a research study. Research strategy is strongly linked with the research method as it gives a plan on how to collect data, conduct interviews and many other strategies. It is necessary for the authors, in order to achieve the tasks required, to fulfil the purpose expressed in the paper and to answer the research questions previously stated in the paper (ibid). Within this paper, the authors case studies will be the main focus for the research strategy, as it will allow the researchers to get a better understanding of the gap found in the literature and the opportunity to bring knowledge to it. The strategy to obtain data in this research paper will mostly be conducted via focus groups, as explained in the following section.
Methods for Data collection – Focus Groups
The primary data collected for this thesis is based on the results of the focus groups. It will bring support and help to construct the analysis expressed in the purpose of this paper.
According to Eriksson and Kovalainen (2008), a focus group is a group of individuals who have been selected to take part in a topic discussion based on their personal experiences, with interaction with others but also with the researchers. The main results will be extracted from the interactions among the participant within the focus groups. Thus, it is important for the moderator to let the individuals freely exchange their own experiences and thoughts, in order to strengthen the quality of the data collected (Eriksson et al., 2008). With an increasing use of focus groups, in order to collect data in the field of media research, it seems to have become a trustworthy method for researchers. It can be used as a method on its own or used in combination with other methods.
A focus group should be composed of five to eight people and a moderator who has the role to lead the conversation within the group, on a particular topic. The moderator has to ask questions, to manage the flow of talk between the participants and to collect the information (Scott, 2014). A key feature of focus groups is the interaction among the participants, the group dynamic is necessary to stimulate data for the researchers. At the end of the focus group session, the moderator may hand out a questionnaire in order to collect demographic data on the participants to analyse the results and to compare the collected data between the different focus groups conducted (ibid).
Even though, the use of focus group for qualitative data research becomes more and more common, some risks are present as no method is perfect. According to Krueger and Casey (2014), it exists three main risks of conducting focus groups.
The first risk expressed is the tendency for participants to intellectualize. This means, that they may want to be rational and reflect too much during the interaction whereas they are asked to be spontaneous in answering and interacting with others. It will then have an impact on the collected data and could change the trustworthiness of the answers.
The second risk for using data collected from focus groups is that the participants may have a limited or no experience in the discussed topic. Therefore, they can feel embarrassed and instead of just saying “I don’t know”, they may, make up answers and this
The third risk is the dominance of individuals; which is one of the most common risk that appears in focus groups. It is the role of the moderator to control, if one of more participants tend to be dominant in the group, by constantly talking, cutting others answer. It is important to be careful as it could lead to an unhealthy focus group, participants not willing to pursue etc. All methods used to gain knowledge and data for research matter contain risks, it is about how to manage them, and minimize them to obtain the best possible outcome (ibid).
1.2 Problem Discussion
1.4 Research Questions
2. Frame of Reference
2.1 Fast Fashion and Social Media
2.4 Consumer Behaviour
2.5 State of literature and suggested framework
3.1 Research Philosophy
3.2 Abductive Reasoning
3.3 Research Purpose
3.4 Research Strategy
3.5 Methods for Data collection – Focus Groups
3.6 Focus Group Technique
3.7 Transcription Style
3.8 Secondary data
3.9 Data Analysis
3.10 Trustworthiness of Research
3.11 Time Horizon
3.12 Summary of Methods
4. Empirical Findings
4.1 Questionnaire findings
4.2 Findings from discussion: Generation Y
4.3 Findings from discussion: Generation Z
4.4 Summary of empirical findings
5.1 Fast Fashion and Social Media
5.2 Social Media influencers
5.3 Decision-Making Model
7.2 Suggestions for further research
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Influencers impact on decisionmaking among generation Y and Z Swedish females when purchasing fast fashion.