MSc Air transport Management
Critical comparison of two research papers
8 November 2013
Research 1. Quantitative.
An investigation into traveller preferences and acceptance levels of Airline ancillary revenues
Research 2. Qualitative.
THE EMOTIONAL LIFE OF ADVENTURE GUIDES
University of the West of Scotland, Scotland
The need to investigate phenomenon has influenced man over the years to look for the best possible ways and methods of acquiring and investigating everyday occurrences, methods and designs are formulated to acquire outcomes needed. The goal of the research process is to produce new knowledge or deepen understanding of a topic or issue. OECD (2002) explains research as “an experimental development comprising of creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge” including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications. Quantitative research defined by Given, Lisa M. (2008) is a “systematic empirical investigation of social phenomena via statistical, mathematical or computational techniques.” Quantitative research tests objective theory by examining the relationship among variables, which can be measured, numbered and statistically analysed. This type of research focuses on generalizability and is easily replicated because of the huge numbers and samples involved. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and the reasons that govern such behaviour. Norman, Lincoln, (2005) say that “The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making, not just where, what, when. Hence, smaller but focused samples are more often used than large samples”. Patton (1990) explains that “qualitative methods permit the evaluator to study selected issues in depth and detail”. Basically qualitative methods focus on in-depth analysis of various social /phenomenon affecting human behaviour. These two form a core background of designs in social research methods where a lot of scholars have based their findings over the years with quantitative being widely accepted and qualitative a bit scrutinised and others advocating for a mixed research method. The evaluation and differences in these two research approaches, looks at the perspectives and paradigms used in two research papers one quantitative (research 1) another qualitative (research 2). Research 1 is an “investigation into traveller preferences and acceptance levels of airline ancillary revenues” by John F. O’Connell, David Warnock-Smith Department of Air Transport. It’s based on a quantitative method of research the main aim is to find out traveller’s preferences and acceptability of various airline ancillaries looking at the various ancillary revenues such a la carte, commission based and frequent flier programmes. The research tries to explain consumer behaviour in form of attitudes and acceptance levels towards these form of revenues, it’s mainly based on airline traveller’s behaviour in relation to pricing strategies of airline companies.
Research 1 is basically an explanatory form of research which involves testing a hypothesis and getting that hypothesis from available theories. The nature of such form of research uses positivism as research paradigm, according to kuhn (1962) and maykut and morehouse (1994) agree that paradigms are regarded as self-evident tools in times of normal science Positivism as a paradigm is defined by Rossman G.B and Rallis (2003) as dealing with quantitative research involves testing a hypothesis to achieve objective truth. Trying to predict what will happen in the future, as research 1 anticipates consumer behaviour basing the outcome of the research as a platform for airline companies to ancillary revenue. Quantitative methods and positivism begin with a hypothesis, this basically is a proposition about how something might work or behave. Jennings (2010). Research 1 tests the following hypothesis; travellers have accepted airline ancillary revenue but to what extent? This is very critical in understanding the research as there is an investigation in travellers preferences (which form of service is highly accepted which is not and to what level) the research basically outlines that the purpose of the study is to provide the reader with a more holistic understanding of the types of ancillary revenues available to airlines. The approach the research envisages is important in defining his hypothesis Research 1 used an on-line passenger survey to examine booking preferences as well as attitudes toward a selection of air and non-air travel components sold by the airlines. The survey results were combined with expert opinions collected from a recent international conference, along with secondary data. Surveys are an important part of quantitative research. Arlene Jacqueline (1998) explains that surveys are methods of collecting data from people about their ideas, feelings, health, plans, beliefs and social, educational and financial backgrounds. Type of questionnaires can vary from independent or assisted, in this case research 1 used survey to gain a range of results from the customers. The research had an on line booking survey where the examination of booking preferences was explored, as well as attitudes towards selection of air and non-air travel components sold by airlines. On line surveys have viable advantages of having a global reach, flexibility, speed, and time friendly. A complete understanding of human attitudes around the world would have involved a lot of samples, only a group of 268 attendants were issued questionnaires and only 171 were collected with only 159 fully completed. Basically the reach of the survey doesn’t allow the research to have a basic conclusion on consumer attitudes as limited samples can’t be used in generalising. Another core component of quantitative research is data being Generalizable and not biased, that’s the whole aim of having large samples. Patton, (1990) clarifies that the advantage of quantitative approach is that it’s possible to measure the reactions of a great many people to a limited set of questions, thus facilitating comparison and statistical aggregation of the data; this gives a broad, generalizable set of findings. Research 1 concludes that there are mixed emotions between customers in the acceptance of ancillary revenue services among airlines. With a sample of 170 people plus conference observations, the research doesn’t offer a core sense that this data will give good overviews of the whole customer attitude and behaviour. Generalisation is basically suggested to be influenced by issues like planned replication, sampling strategies, systematic reviews reflexivity, and higher order conceptualisation thick description, NCBI, resources (2013) In summary the research lacks a lot of features for it to generalise consumer behaviour the research needs a wide range of in-depth analysis based upon a lot of systematic review and revising the sampling strategies. Replicability is another characteristic that embodies quantitative research. Research 1 clearly stipulates one main importance as being the baseline to airline companies to formulate ancillary strategies. By outlining traveller preferences and acceptance levels of airline ancillary revenue, with already scrutinising the level of sampling and the various disadvantages of on line surveys like technological hindrances and computer illiteracy. Tim May, (1997) explains “there is replicability and it should be possible for other researchers to replicate the survey using same type of sampling, questionaires etc.” Therefore, a replication of a survey producing the same results with different groups at different time will increase confidence in the first findings. This research can’t be easily replicable as it focuses on a relatively small sample and therefore does not represent a wide enough audience. .
In general research 1 conforms a quantitative design but the methods used are more of a mixed method research as observation a tool in qualitative methodology is used in combination with the online survey, the research mentions observations from lectures of airline executives and based itself on a lot of secondary data to back his findings. Simo, (2013) stipulates that if consistency between researchers is achieved more faith is placed in the truth findings.
Research 2, the emotional life of adventure guides
Research 2 is based on qualitative research method as a design and exploratory research based on concept, people or situation that the research didn’t know about, Patton (1990) states that in new fields of study where little work has been done, few definitive hypothesis exist and little is known about the nature of phenomenon hence qualitative research is necessary. The research encompasses a new field, trying to assess adventure guides their lives and emotional setting, little research has been done before. Research 2 embodies two distinct paradigms an interpretive paradigm and the participatory paradigm, interpretive paradigm emphasises that people are different from natural science and must be studied differently; adventure guides are people and basically differ from science which allows them to be studied separately. The participatory paradigm is basically participation in experiences and interactions with the participants; Patton (1990) explains that participatory paradigm has been used with great success as part of international and community development efforts by a number of non-government organisations. Where researchers and participants interacting for a common cause. One of the basic concrete understanding of qualitative research is the participant natural settings , the research tries to find the emotional behaviour of adventure guides plus their relationship with their clients, the research choose an interesting sample kayak and white water rafting guides in Queensland New Zealand . In order to understand human behaviour you have to be in the participant place of work in this case the research was based in Queensland New Zealand researchers become members of a culture or setting and acquire roles to blend in with the setting hence gaining a closer insight into their cultural practices, motivations and emotions. In research terms ethnography, Maykut & Morehouse (1994) stipulate that famous cultural anthropologists like Margaret mead and Ruth benedict have sought to understand the lives of people in their own terms by spending extended time with them in their natural setting. Research 2 used in-depth interviews and participant observation to better explore the emotional management of adventure guides. The research envisaged 50 days of participant observation and 22 in-depth interviews with white-water rafting and kayaking guides in Queenstown (New Zealand) open ended interviews were used in the research, Patton (1990) explains open ended interviews as “the exact wording and sequence of questions determined in advance to the interviewee” basically all participants are asked the same basic questions in the same order. But this might cause little flexibility in relating the interview to particular individuals and circumstances, the wording might constrain and limit naturalness and relevance of questions and answers in turn affecting the research. The method of interviews used is very useful in the research as important questions were answered hence the objectives of the research fulfilled. Accompanied with interviews audio tapping was used Patton (1990:279) and Maykut & Morehouse (1994) agree upon audio tapping, the importance of tape recording whenever allowable to obtain the best possible record of the participant words. Another important form of qualitative research used in research 2 was observation, clearly the research was based on immense observation of the guides through there daily routines during work, home and around clients, McCall &Simmons (1990) explain the importance of observation as it enables the researcher to secure data within the mediums, symbols and experiential worlds which have meanings to respondents. Its intent is to prevent imposing alien meanings upon actions of the subjects; Patton (1990) goes on to say that the data from observations consist of detailed descriptions of people’s behavior, action, and a full range of interpersonal interactions.
Research 2 clearly shows in-depth interpretation of data collected and as positivism incurs to more reflexive the research involved a series of approaches which included ethnographic research of understanding a particular set of culture and its people in our case the sample population, Maykut & Morehouse (1994) stipulate that famous cultural anthropologists like Margaret mead and Ruth benedict have sought to understand the lives of people in their Own terms by spending extended time with them in their natural setting.
The scrutiny in this form of research and how it was used basically is related to the inadequate secondary data and literature in the field to clearly define the hypothesis and achieve the objectives of the research literature , the research acknowledges that further research is needed in this particular field to derive a full conclusion, that Further research concerning the consequences of emotional management in activities where the division between work and non-work is blurred is needed to better understand the relationships between the components of the Emotional Life framework. Finally, future research could better explore the interaction of the Emotional Life elements given that this study conceptualized them without being able to fully explore the interrelationships between them
Overall research methodologies and design gravelly depend on a number of things of which the following are important. Understanding a problem, ideas and feeling about the problem, perspectives between people, motivations and factors influencing. It is difficult to advocate or scrutinise a particular methodology but to careful understand the validity of each.
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4. Tim May (1997) Social Research Issues, methods and process 2nd edition open university press.
5. Denzin, Norman K. & Lincoln, Yvonna S. (Eds.). (2005). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN 0-7619-2757-3
6. Pamela Maykut, Richard Morehouse (1994) beginning qualitative research a philosophic and practical guide. Flamers press. pg. 98 pg. 10 pg. 69
7. Mccall, simmons (1970) issues in participant observation new york. pg77