Research Methodology Critical Analysis

Research Methodology – Introduction

In this Research Methodology Critical Analysis assignment the researcher is attempting to critically asses the research methodology of a empirical study and attempting to identify and analyze the weakness of the study. The objective of this exercise is to identify the areas where improvement can be made in the study and also understand the limitations of an empirical research study. The Research Methodology Critical Analysis report is also aiming to provide an explanation for the weaknesses which has been identified in the empirical study. In this report the emphasis of the researcher is not on judging the quality of the study but to highlight only those points which has a scope for improvement and changes. In this report we will be first briefly discuss what is a research methodology and its various aspects and then we will be highlighting different sections of the research which is reviewed with its weakness and its brief analysis (Gomm, R. 2004).

Research methodology

Research methodology is a data collection method carried out systematically. The data here generally involves comparisons between people, documents and in a few cases even comparing test scores (Brown & Rodgers, 2002). This data is collected through a description, an explanation and an understanding (Robson, 2000: p 9) of the research in question. The researcher hence uses certain methodologies to conduct the research. Research methodologies can be defined as the techniques that are used to gather and analyse the data. The techniques would include discourse analysis, interviews, statistical inference, and participant observation. What questions are being asked in the study is what determines the correct research method in a study. In order to formulate the methodology, it is imperative that research goals and motives are underlined. (Grix, 2001: p30).

Research Methodology Critical Analysis

Research approaches

Two broad categories or approaches are used in the researches. These are the inductive and deductive approaches. The choices of an appropriate methodology for the study and suitable questions to cover as much grounds as possible are two important factors. The two approaches, inductive and deductive, have been discussed in detail as follows.

Critical analysis and assesment of research methodology for empirical study

  1. Research purpose’ objective and research questions

Weakness and explanation:-

It has been observed from the research objective and aims of study section of the empirical study that there is a certain level of ambiguity associated with research questions paper and research objective paper. They are not fully linked with the aims of the study and one of the research objective and research questions is not addressing the research aim properly. This is misdirecting the entire study from its real objectives. As it is discussed in the introduction part of the assignment the research is aimed to study the relationship existing between the employee and the brand equity of the organization and its products which the organization is manufacturing. As one of the research objective stated by the researcher is “To assess the perception of the EQUATE employee commitment to the organization” it can be observed and argued that even if a employee is committed to the organization he has been working for it does not necessarily ensures that his attitude’ actions etc are representing the brad equity of the organization. A commitment level is slightly different from the knowledge and perception of brand equity. Even in research question part the researcher is attempting to address the questions like commitment level of employee and their knowledge of brand equity but as earlier described the researcher’s study is aimed to investigate the relationship between the employee and brand equity. The research ideally should be more qualitative in nature and the elements described in the research questions should be more towards analyzing the relationship development and its aspects rather than finding the causative factors of creations (Amaratunga, D., Baldry, D., Sarshar , M. and Newton, R. 2002).

Suggestion for improvement:-

Ghauri and Gronhaug (2005) are of the opinion that a collection of aims, objectives and goals in order to study a problem may be roughly termed as research, which includes determining the right methods of data collection, a close analysis of all available data and an elaborate discussion on it. Hence research is a better understanding of the problem by a close analysis of all available data (Brown, J. D. and Rodgers, T. 2002). What can be suggested here is to modify the research objective slightly so that they can be in resonance with the research purpose fully. For a study to be moved in right direction it is always prudent to go through the research objective’ research purpose and research questions and ensure that they are complementing each other. The same research objective can be rewritten as “to assess and investigate the perception and knowledge of brand equity in employees”. The purpose of a research objective is to answer the problem statement posed by the research study title and hypothesis and it should be developed as crisply and accurately as possible.

see more Research Paper on Marketing strategy Assignment

Research philosophy

Weakness and explanation

Research study and its philosophy can be explained as the development of knowledge based on data collection and careful observation may be said to be the main objective of any research is. ON the basis of what is known by virtue of what exists and field work investigation, knowledge developed here is a new one. Researchers “interpret the nature of reality in many different ways and work on methods based on which these possibilities may be made true” (Gomm, 2004). It has been observed in the study that some scope is still available to develop a stronger foundation of knowledge base. More literature review and data collection can be done in the field like perception and psychology of human behavior and its commitment towards an organization. This literature would have helped in developing a much stronger knowledge base and gain new insights on the subject matter. It is also observed that No identification or justification is specifically presented in the study.  It is important because it affects the methodological choices and makes explicit the assumptions with regard to ontology and epistemology of the research (Bryman, A., 2004).

Suggestion for improvement

The researcher can widen the scope of study and knowledge base by collecting more data from the literature review and also expand the parameters and aspects of study. That way more data will be available after and sorting of data for analysis part. The knowledge base creation can also be enhanced by going through more number of previous studies and researches on similar subjects and specially look into their limitations and try to avoid them. The development of knowledge based on data collection and careful observation may be said to be the main objective of any research is and on the basis of what is known by virtue of what exists and field work investigation, knowledge developed here is a new one. Researchers “interpret the nature of reality in many different ways and work on methods based on which these possibilities may be made true” (Gomm, 2004). Research philosophies examine the nature of knowledge and reality and with it logical manners of development of these theories.  The most important schools of thought in philosophy are ontology, axiology and epistemology (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007). In this particular study, the research epistemology with an emphasis on positivism and Interpretive Science is going to be discussed.  The assumptions which were taken in the study can also be minimized by providing justifications for each ambiguity. The justification can also be obtained from literature available on the subject matter.  By choosing all these parameters better methodological choices can be made in context of ontology and epistemology of the research.

Research design

Weakness and explanation

Two major functions of research methods are:

1) A way of gaining insight into an issue is obtained that in turn helps the researcher in accumulating the required information.

2) The methods enacted become a precedent for the researchers in line, so that the endeavors may be re-enacted but differently (Grix, 2001).

The research design here is reasonably sound in nature with proper frameworks in place for conducting a proper research. A research design can be explained as a disciplined inquiry approach to the study of the problems. The research has a quantitative approach and it can be stated that a mixed approach might have opened some new horizons of the subject which are still untouched.  The tool for data collection is questionnaire which has its limitations while conducting a data collection and it cannot record the subtle messages like body language or expressions which can be collected in a interview of any type. The framework used by the researcher the employee brand equity model is sufficient for a quantitative study but for a mixed study usage of another model is suggested which also incorporates the subjective parameters in it (Burns, R. B. 2000).

Suggestion for improvement

As it has been stated this study has a quantitative outlook and for that aspect a single legal framework is sufficient but for a better study we need to use a mixed approach and more number of models with broader horizons. The data collection tools can also be improvised by using semi structured and structured interviews of the employee. The sample selection technique can be revaluated and with a non probability sampling technique a few selected samples can be interviewed so that subjective answers can also be added into the data before going for a data analysis and providing a conclusion and recommendations (Creswell, J. 2003).

Research strategy

Weakness and explanation

The research strategy which has been used by the researcher in this study is both observational and co relational in nature.  The researcher has attempted to observe the responses of the sample and record them using a questionnaire and then correlate various elements like motivation and being valued’ the internalization of branding and the brand equity. The research strategy is developed as per the various hypothesis developed by the researcher but as discussed earlier the hypothesis has neglected the part where the perception of human behavior and commitment towards organization. This results an existing gap between the research strategy which is employed and the research strategy which can be used. The survey method of data collection is also critically analyzed and it has been observed that along with this another data collection method like interview of the employees would have optimized the research study and provided better results (Cohen, L., Manion, L.and Morrison, K. 2003).

Suggestion for improvement

The researcher should first analyze what all strategies which can be applied for a research study and then among them he should choose the best applicable and most optimal solutions should be used for strategy. In my suggestion usage of a co relational approach along with internal and external validity of the research is a possible strategy for the study (Denscombe, 2002).

Sampling procedure and techniques

Weakness and explanation

The sampling here in this study is done on a simple random selection technique. All employees were considered as one large population and 1000 samples size was selected randomly from it. All though temporary workers were excluded from the selection but no barring or differentiation was done on the basis of the number of years they have employed in the organization or their position in the organization hierarchy. There is no justification provided for the 250 sample size and neither any explanation is provided for keeping no differentiating parameters. Since this is a quantitative study a valid argument could be that it should included criteria like confidence level in the study and percentage of probable error in the responses (FHI, 2011).

Suggestion for improvement

The research study can be improvised by providing a reasonable explanation for the sample size and sample selection criteria. We can also incorporate analysis and obtain figures like confidence level and goodness of fit to provide a more focused sampling approach. It can also be added in the sampling criteria that number of years a person is employed in an organization to differentiate because development of organizational commitment and brand equity is a slow continuous procedure which takes years to built in a human being.

Data collection (techniques and methodology)

Weaknesses and explanation

There are four methods which are primarily used for the process of data assimilation. As described by Kothari (2005), the research method can be classified as;

  •   Analytical vs. Descriptive
  •   Fundamental vs. Applied
  •   Quantitative vs. Qualitative
  •   Empirical vs. Conceptual

The research uses the quantitative method of data collection, as it uses questionnaires to collect the data. The data collection technique which is employed in this research is questionnaire. The questionnaires were developed and handed over to the sample of 250. There is no employment of any alternative or complementary data collection techniques like interviews or observational recordings. The quantitative nature of the study has made it possible for the researcher to collect data from only one tool. However the questionnaire itself has its limitation and drawbacks. The single most problem with questionnaire is people tend to give a biased answer in a questionnaire as they have time to rethink their immediate response and secondly the non verbal communication cannot be recorded with the questionnaire as a data collection tool (Grix, J. 2001)

Suggestion for improvement

The data collection technique should again be identified and justified with a reasonable explanation for their selection n a primary research study. The data collection tool should be in resonance with research question and the sample of the study. To gain a better and contrasting study results the questionnaire should have questions of alternate nature in it which can act as both control and research questions. The interviews can be added in the study to collect subjective data. The topic which is selected for the study is not entirely objective in nature while the questionnaire does not record the answers to the subjective questions in a objective way. The qualitative questions can be answered through interviews and the researcher can objectify the data collected as per the pre decided parameters and incorporate them in the data analysis part to get a wholesome result in the study.

Questionnaire development:-

Weakness and explanation

The questionnaire has been developed keeping each element of the brand equity in mind. The eight sections of the questionnaire consist of a total 46 questions which needs to be answered on a likert scale. The questionnaires developed here have one weakness of not being able to answer both open and close ended questions. In a subjective topic like relationship between brand equity and employee commitment level the questionnaire has to have both open and close ended question to justify the research question correctly. All though the questionnaire has provided 7 levels of responses using a likert scale for the statements a lot of respondents might have been forced to answer a question on those levels only while they originally wanted to go for a response like not sure or have no knowledge about the statement. These options of answering were not present in the questionnaire (Ghauri, P. and Gronhaug, K. 2005).

Suggestion for improvement

The questionnaire should be developed in a bottom up approach. The researcher should first visualize that exactly “what is the data which he wants to collect from a respondent after providing a questionnaire” and then based on that he should visualize the possible answers and make provisions for each of them. While developing a questionnaire the language should be kept more simple and easy to understand for an average respondent specially when we are getting responses from a population which belongs to different strata of society and different educational level.

Statistical tools and test

Weakness and explanation

Various statistical tests have been employed for the study like regression analysis’ co relational tests and factor analysis. The regression and the factor analysis have been done to test the individual concepts in the study while hypothesis of the study has been tested by the co relational test that has been done. The test are reasonably sufficient for the data analysis part however the data collected for the analysis can be tested for goodness of fit and confidence level and errors to get more accurate results

The software which is used for analytical part of the study is SPSS. This software is a standard product for the data analysis of the study however usage of MS EXCEL software would have reduced the time consumed in calculation (Gray, D. E. 2009).

Suggestion for imrpovement

Sorting of data before analysis for the error ratio and confidence level along with the usage of MS excel sheet to develop a more accurate and less time consuming data sheet is recommended.

Chapter 4


Sample descriptions

Weakness and explanation

Sample is described but no interpretation and implication of the numbers are provided. The purpose of the data is slightly ambiguous in nature and it has not been ensured in the study that what do the findings suggest in the conclusion. It is also observed in study that no differentiation is done on the basis of sex’ age or any other demographic features (Hesse-Biber, S.N. and Leavy, P. 2010). The study might un intentionally incorporate some biases in it because the sample selected might not be able to provide a very objective opinion.

Suggestions for improvement

The sample should be selected and described on the basis of sound logics and supporting theories. The justification needs to be provided for selecting a particular sample along with the number of males or females in it. There are many inherent attributes in a study where females tend to respond differently than males and these deviations needs to be corrected in a study. . For example the study may be biased in their responses if the study is about shopping consumer behavior considering that females more often than men do the shopping.


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