This chapter examines the research methodology adopted in this study. The research onion serves as the framework of the method used in this thesis. It initially outlines the interpretivist philosophy that underpins in carrying out research. The subsequent sections discuss the research approach and research design. It then provides an overview on the selection of participants, the choice of sampling techniques, and the data collection method along with the technique in analyzing the data. The chapter wraps up with the discussions on trustworthiness of qualitative research and the ethical considerations.
The research onion introduced by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) serve as a route map in carrying out the methodology of the empirical study. It has six layers starting from research philosophy until the data collection and analysis (see Figure 6)
They stress that researchers should have a clear understanding of the four research philosophies since the chosen philosophy will influence the choice of research design. With this, the research philosophy and approach will be explained in the succeeding sections.
The research philosophy adopted consists of important assumptions on the way the world is viewed which will underpin the research strategy and the methods chosen as part of the strategy (Saunders et al. 2009). This gave directions on the researcher on the implementation of the study. Moreover, by being aware of the philosophy used, the authors were guided on the conduct of the research and more specifically in selecting strategies such as collection of data.
As presented in the research onion, there are four distinct research philosophies, namely: positivism, realism, pragmatism and interpretivism. The choice of philosophy relies on the research question(s) that the researcher is seeking to answer (Saunders et al., 2009). In positivism, highly structured methods are utilized to facilitate replication of which the outcome will be law-like generalizations similar to those produced by physical and natural scientists. In this philosophy, the researcher will be working with observable social reality and existing theory will used to formulate hypotheses. These hypotheses will be tested and confirmed, or refuted which will lead to more development of theory which may be tested by future research (Saunders et al., 2009). It relates to scientific inquiry.
Conversely, realism is based that the truth is what the human senses show as reality. It emphasizes that objects exist independently of the human mind. It has two types which are the direct realism and critical realism. Direct realists believe that what the person see is what he gets. In contrast with critical realists who argue that what the person experience are sensations, the images of the things in the real world, not the things directly. Just like positivism, realism relates to scientific inquiry.
The third research philosophy is pragmatism which stresses that research question(s) and objectives are the vital determinants on the choice of research philosophy to be adopted by the researcher. Pragmatist argues that it is possible to use mixed methods like qualitative and quantitative within a research study.
The fourth philosophy in the research onion is the interpretivism wherein it necessitates to understand the differences between humans in their role as social actors. It points out that a detailed examination of a small number of cases will be needed and the data gathered are analyzed through an explicit interpretation of the meanings and functions of consumer. The interpretivist researcher will delve into the nature and interrelationships of marketing phenomena (Malhotra & Birks, 2007). It is significant for the research to adopt empathic stance in this philosophy (Saunders et al., 2009). They argue that this perspective is highly applicable in business and management research, particularly in the fields of organizational behavior, marketing and human resource management.
In this paper, the authors adopted the interpretivist paradigm as they seek to understand the perception and feelings of the consumers on music, the non-verbal responses and their elicited behavior in the retail environment setting.
After choosing the research philosophy, the next decision made by the researchers was the research approach and research design. For full understanding, these will be discussed in the subsequent sections.
As presented in the research onion, the research approach can either be deductive or inductive. According to Saunders et al. (2009), deductive research approach involves formation of theory which undergoes rigorous test (top down). This is commonly used in natural sciences. It elucidates causal relationships between variables. In contrast with deduction, induction is a bottom up approach wherein researcher collects data and based on the result of the analysis a theory will be developed. This approach requires the need to understand the meanings humans attach to events. Further, in induction, data collection is through qualitative method and with less concern with the need to generalize. It is underscored that a small sample of subjects are more appropriate for the research as it is more concerned with the context in which an event takes place. Malhotra, Birks and Will(2012) state that in this approach observation, probing and in-depth questioning are employed to explain in detail the nature of the broad themes for discussion.
Of the two approaches, the authors used the inductive research approach wherein it used the research question to narrow the area of the study. The previously studied phenomenon music used in the service and retail environment is considered and research is conducted in a new setting which is the fashion retail store in Sweden. It seeks to understand the perception of fifteen (15) consumers and their resulting behavior on their shopping experience through interviews.
Since inductive research was chosen, data collected were analyzed qualitatively. Qualitative research is an unstructured exploratory design using small samples designed to provide insight and understanding Malhotra & Birks (2007). Further, it is sensitive to capture distinctions of consumer attitudes, motives and behavior and these are covered in their own terms and context. Collected data that are unquantifiable can be presented in detailed descriptions in qualitative research. It is in this method that deeper emotional drives of the participants can be put into words. Malhotra and Birks (2007) describe that qualitative research has a holistic dimension of a comprehensive and complete picture of the whole context of phenomena of interest. Through the qualitative research, a holistic view can be built up by the researcher by understanding the interrelationship of the consumption context by conducting qualitative observation and interview.
Research design is the master plan or layout for conducting a research project and indicates the details of the process needed for collecting information to structure or solve research questions (Malhotra & Birks, 2007). They further point out that a good research design will assure that study is conducted effectively and efficiently. It serves as an important guide for the researcher in laying the foundation for conducting the study. Research designs can be classified into explanatory, descriptive or exploratory, Saunders et al. (2009) underscores that answers to research questions can either be of the three research design classifications depending on the way the research question is formulat.
Descriptive research is done to depict an accurate profile of persons, events or situations (Saunders et al. 2009). They stress that it requires a vivid picture of the phenomena on which the researcher intends to collect data before the start of data collection. It describes what is common with respect to the problem under study is the main purpose of descriptive research (Kumar, 2011).
The exploratory research, on the other hand, seeks to establish the causal relationships between variables (Saunders et al., 2009). It attempts to explain the why and how between two aspects of a situation or phenomenon.
The third classification is exploratory research which give insights and shed light of nature marketing phenomena (Malhotra & Birks, 2007). Moreover, it is used in situations wherein the study to be conducted is cannot be measured in quantitative manner that realistically represent qualities or to understand meaning of a certain subject. It requires small sample size and the research process is flexible and unstructured. The three principal ways of conducting exploratory research are through a literature search, conducting interview of experts in the subject and focus group interviews (Saunders et al., 2009).
Among the three, the exploratory research best answered the research question of this study as it seeks to explore the perception of consumers on music. Qualitative interviews were conducted in order to get deeper insights from the consumers’ perspective coupled with searches of literature for prior studies conducted.
After choosing the appropriate research design, the next step is the selection of participants for the study and the sampling technique to be employed which will be discussed in details in the succeeding section.
Participant Selection and Sampling Technique
Saunders and Lewis (2012) state that researchers gather data from a sample of the whole population as it is not attainable to collect data from the whole population. Likewise, they emphasize collecting data from the whole population would not mean better than from a sample.
As mentioned, the authors used the inductive research approach which entails qualitative data collection with a small sample size. Researchers can either choose probability or nonprobability sampling techniques (Saunders & Lewis, 2012). Probability sampling is choosing samples at random from a complete list of population, while non-probability sampling is choosing samples not at random from an incomplete list of population. In this case, it would be impossible to answer research questions which requires statistical inferences about the characteristics of the population (Saunders et al., 2009) Non-probability sampling has five different techniques, namely: quota sampling, purposive sampling, snowball sampling, self-selection sampling and convenience sampling (Saunders & Lewis, 2012).
In this study, the consumers in fashion retail stores represent a large number of population. So it is impossible to identify and have a complete list of them. The authors decided to use the non-probability sampling in selecting the population of consumers from Sweden. Among the five types of nonprobability sampling, the authors decided to use the purposive sampling because it requires a small size of sample in qualitative data collection and they are vital in dealing with the research goal and purpose (Saunders & Lewis, 2012). Bui (2013) explains that in purposive sampling, the respondents are selected because they meet certain criteria for the research. Respondents in this research are young both male and female who are currently living in said areas for several months already. In addition, the authors chose those who have visited the fashion retail stores in Sweden and had multiple shopping experiences which they could share for the research conducted.
The authors gathered primary data and also used secondary sources which is taken up in the next discussion.
Primary Data Collection
In the research philosophy section, this study adopted the interpretivist stance and inductive research approach of which requires qualitative data collection. It is felt that qualitative research provides depth and assortment of data needed to understand the phenomena of this study. Understanding the richness, depth and complexity of consumers can be achieved through qualitative research (Malhotra & Birks, 2007). They point out that small sample size is needed to provide insight and understanding for the intended study.Collecting data under the qualitative research can be done either through focus groups, interviews or observations. According to Malhotra and Birks (2007), conducting interviews will help in gathering valid and reliable data which are vital to the research questions and objectives of the study. The authors decided to conduct face-to-face interviews to collect primary data to get deeper insights and detailed description of the emotions of the consumers which cannot be captured through questionnaires. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fifteen (15) participants. Bryman and Bell (2007) explain that a semi-structured interview consists of series of questions in general form of an interview schedule but is able to vary the order of the questions. The interviewer has some leeway to ask additional queries in response to those deemed as vital replies. They further state that researchers will put much greater interest in the respondent’s point of view in qualitative interview.
The authors prepared a list of questions (in the Appendix 1) which served as guide for discussions in case, the respondents fail to mention significant topics as they elaborate their responses. Questions are divided into four categories, namely: introductory questions/ ice-breaking session, in-store music, behavior/ mood, and concluding questions. Introductory questions were purposely to set a tone of relax atmosphere with the interviewees. In-store music and behavior/mood questions were structured to get in-depth data needed for the analysis.
After the questions were finalized, the conduct of the interview will follow and its process will come next in the following section.
After determining the sample and the preparation of the interview questions, the authors proceeded to the next step which was the conduct of the semi-structured interviews. An appointment was set for each respondent to make sure he/she was available for a one-hour interview to provide sufficient input on each question asked.
The authors conducted the interview with the list of questions as guide. As explained by Bryman and Bell (2007) researchers can ask follow-up questions that are not included in the guide to pick up on replies by the respondents. Depending on the flow of the conversation, the order of questions varied and additional questions were asked. Each interview was recorded by a digital audio recording equipment for easy transcription. The venue of interview was in a comfortable private place to ensure silence and no interruptions to encourage the respondent express himself and freely answer the questions and fully discuss without hesitations. Each interview was immediately transcribed after the interview. Data analysis was done after interviews were conducted.
Aside from primary data, the authors used secondary sources in this study which will be described in the following section.
1.2 Statement of the Problem/Purpose of the Research
1.3 Research Question
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Limitations of the Study
1.7 Definition of Terms
2. Literature Review
2.1 Consumer Behavior
2.2 Retail Atmospherics
2.3 Effects of Music
3.1 Research Philosophy
3.2 Research Approach
3.3 Research Design
3.4 Participant Selection and Sampling Technique=
3.5 Primary Data Collection
3.6 Secondary Sources
3.7 Data Analysis
3.8 Trustworthiness of Qualitative Research
3.9 Research Ethics
4. Empirical Findings
4.1 Music noticeable to consumer
4.2 Volume level, tempo and pitch
4.3 Original artist’s music which have lyrics or Instrumental music
4.4 Consumer Perception on music
4.5 Behavior of consumer
5.1 Perception of Music
5.2 Sensory Experience
5.3 Consumer behavior for music in fashion retail store
5.4 Consumer mood
5.5 Music as an atmospheric variable
6.1 Managerial Implications
6.2 Future Research
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Music in Fashion Retail Stores in Sweden