QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH IN INDUSTRIAL STUDIES 9
ROLEOF QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH IN INDUSTRIAL STUDIES OFTOURISM
TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2
1.0 INTRODUCTION 3
1.1 Scope 4
1.2 Method 4
2.0 DISCUSSION 4
2.1 Possibility of merging qualitative and quantitative methodologies 4
2.2 Researchers shift from qualitative to quantitative methodology 5
2.3 Difference of opinion on pre-eminence between the qualitative and quantitative methods 6
2.4 Basis of selection of methodologies 7
2.5 Frameworks provided for application of the quantitative versus qualitative research 7
3.0 RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION 10
4.0 References 11
Thepurpose of this report is to analyze two articles written about theuse of research methods in tourism. The title of the first documentis “The Role of Quantitative and Qualitative Research in IndustrialStudies of Tourism” by Brian Davies. Alf H. Walle has written thesecond article that is called “Quantitative Versus QualitativeTourism Research”. Substantial attention focused on what the twoarticles propose regarding the importance of conducting research intourism. Further, special focus aims to identify the methodsadvocated by each article and the reasons behind the variousdecisions made. Criticism on the reasons provided purporting for thesuperiority of one method than the other. It goes on to identify theadvantages and disadvantages behind the methods and possiblesolutions. The critique advances to examine the existingpossibilities of merging the two methodologies including that ofdeveloping a new methodology that will borrow from the advantages ofqualitative and quantitative methodologies and designed to countertheir disadvantages.
Theanalysis observes and concludes that there are two majormethodologies applied in conducting research in the tourism industry.They include the qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.The two methodologies differ substantially in terms of evolution,processes and applicability.
Interms of development, the qualitative research was the firstmethodology used in conducting research. However, its use seems to bediminishing since the World War II due to claims that it is moretheoretical than scientific. The use of qualitative research has beenreplaced by quantitative research mainly because of its scientificapproach, which produces testable information. Currently, thequalitative method sets hypotheses, which are later tested by thequantitative methodology
Thepurpose of this report was to provide critique to the variousexisting literature on research methodologies. The primary attentionfocused on establishing the eligibility of the methods in conductingresearch, especially, in the tourism industry. Special focus aims toidentify the methods recommended by each text, and the reasons behindthe various decisions made. In addition, the research aimed atidentifying the advantages and disadvantages attributed to theresearch methods.
Similarly,the study aimed at evaluating potential solutions that can help tosolve some of the weakness associated with the research methods. Theresearchers aimed at solving the problem through evaluatingpossibility of integrating the presently known strengths ofqualitative and quantitative research approaches to come up with anew research technique. The new research approach will be moreeffective in addressing the weaknesses of the current researchtechniques because it combines the strengths of both qualitative andquantitative methods.
Theinformation in this research was from two major documentson the use and role of both qualitative and quantitative research inthe tourism industry. They include the role of quantitative andqualitative research in industrial studies of tourism by Brian Daviesand quantitative versus qualitative tourism research by Alf H. Walle. To enhance the validity of information, the scope of the critiquewill be supported with wider readings based on peer-reviewedliterature. The readings are drawn from studies conducted acrossdiverse populations, and by varied professionals in the industry toreduce findings inaccuracy.
Theconclusion in this research is based on deductive thinking afterconsulting from a wide range of similar research conducted in thereasonable past. Besides, further knowledge concerning the majorrelationships between research and tourism was borrowed from existingliterature on the tourism industry. The critique was developed fromthe comparison between the current status quo and the expectedadvancement in technology that enhances the efficiency of researchand its application in the tourism industry.
Possibility of merging qualitative and quantitative methodologies
Thefield of tourism needs to adapt to a general recognition of thelegitimacy of a variety of research tools (McIntyre 2008, p.67). Theneed for an effective research method according to (Brian 2003, p.15)is due to the observed growth in tourism research within the past twodecades. Further, Brian contends the continual use of qualitative orquantitative studies.
Thereis the need to merge the two methods within an integrated frameworkthat considers the business environment of tourism operations.According to (Walle 1996, p.5), the two methods are regarded asuseful and legitimate although the role of qualitative research hasgradually been reduced to formulating hypotheses to be tested byquantitative research. I am of the position that there is need for abroader methodology for the tourism sector. The methodology does nothave to integrate the quantitative and qualitative methods.Integration will be a carry forward of the disadvantages withboth methods (Creswell 2003, p.13). I am of the opinion for thedevelopment of a new methodology. The methods design should totake into consideration the existing advantages and to counter theirdisadvantages (Neumann 1997, p.11). It will hence be the universallyaccepted methodology for research. This will solve the confusion onwhich method should suit where and why hence, ending theconflict between the advocates of both the qualitative orquantitative methods (Porte 2002, p.44).
Thereis increasing superiority of the quantitative over qualitativemethods in research and specifically in tourism research (Muijs 2004,p. 33). The objective of research is a requirement for validity inthe natural sciences and those social science domains that pursue thepositivistic model. Interpretative approaches tend to be banished asmerely “subjective” (Jamal & Hollins 2001, p.11) Brian agreesto the diminishing popularity of qualitative model and uses thecontributions to build up his paper towards the complimentarily ofthe two models. There should be roles for qualitative andquantitative data within multiple methods of mixing (Jamal &Hollinshead 2001, p.17).
Researchers shift from qualitative to quantitative methodology
Qualitativedata was considered to shape the study entity usingpersonal experiences and interviews. This facilitates the drawing ofcoping boundaries in an uncertain world. Quantitative data was toallow identification of partial regularities like stylized facts suchas high degree of mix in the study variables (Gratton 1997, p.31). In support of the above contribution, Walles states:
“Socialresearchers are familiar with the concepts of qualitative versusquantitative research both methods are useful and legitimate.Nonetheless, since World War II, scientific (or quantitative) methodshave dominated. As a result, the main role of qualitative researchhas typically been reduced to helping create and poses hypotheses,which can then be tested and refined using scientific and/orStatistical research methods and models (Wales 1996, p.32).”
Iagree with the fact that researchers have shifted towardsquantitative data. The reason behind this is to derive descriptivestatistics. Further, quantitative analysis uses methods that test toprovide proof since it is a scientific method. This is the essence ofresearch. To generate knowledge that tests as a universal truth(Flick, U.1998, p.44). .
Difference of opinion on pre-eminence between the qualitative and quantitative methods
Accordingto Walle (1996, p.8), qualitative research lacks rigor compared tothe quantitative method. This is in contrast to Brian who suggeststhat rigor could mean less accurate. He further argues that thequalitative model is based on the positivism methodology. This makesit accurate enough to enable the generation of a positivismstatement, which is a statement of the absolute truth and rationalbehavior subject to constraints. Brian explains that positivismrelies on the deductions of objective science, which renders themodels derived from this approach empirical and accurate (Flick 1998,p.88).
Accordingto Granton and Richards (1997, p.22), the positivism model has beenextensively used to provide tests of prediction that acts as coveringlaws. The model provides insights to identify structures andmechanisms without having to make claims about the absolute truth. Inmy view, the qualitative model is not appropriate for the ideal worldalthough it is recognized as a scientific research method. Instead,it is classified as an ideal state because positivism assumes aconstant state. The structures of ideal state do not change orevolve hence, it gives the impression of a perfect world. However,structures are in constant movement in the real world. For example,in the tourism world, a variety of information will be required tounderstand and predict a firm’s ability to compete. I agree thatthe qualitative model can serve various purposes such asunderstanding the known demand, but it cannot offer predictions onconstantly changing variables (Aydelotte W. (1972, p.66). In thetourism industry, many products and services such as new resorts,airport bookings and hotel accommodation require consideration duringdecision-making. These products undergo a constant change at everytime thus, making qualitative research method unsuitable foranalyzing touring industry (Neuman,W. 1997, p.55).
2.4Basis of selection of methodologies
Accordingto Walles (1996, p. 6), the choice for Scientific or nonscientificmethods involve a trade-off. The trade-off implies that allowing onemethod leads to abandoning the other alternative. As the tourismindustry develops as a scholarly discipline, it should establishsituations where scientific and subjective methods should apply byexploring the variety of tools available. Brian contradicts with thenotion of extreme tradeoff between qualitative and quantitativeresearch. He dismissed it as debatable since the trade-off is notnecessary (Rugg & Petre 2007, p. 77). However, he agrees thatthere are situations where tradeoff will be the most appropriateapproach to research. Qualitative research is very effective however,it creates a “forbidden zone” in practical and time datedresearch due to the dominance of positivism (Jamal & Hollinshead2001, p.31). I agree that each method has specific qualities thatrender it suitable to certain situations and not others. This impliesthere are situations where the two methods fail depending on thesubject of research. Further, a complete tradeoff is only requiredwhen one of the methods is completely disregarded by thecircumstances in the research project. However, complete disregardsare rare to come by and there will always be aspects of bothqualitative and quantitative methodologies required to accomplishresearch goals (Neuman,W. 1997, p.55). .
Frameworks provided for application of the quantitative versus qualitative research
Walles(1996, p. 6), provides a guideline for the tourism industry playersto develop their research framework. In contrast, Brian provides areadymade framework and guides the tourism sector stakeholders on howto use it. Wales (1996, p. 6) advocates for the tourism industry tostrive in developing an adequate framework that they can use todetermine which and why specific strategies are useful in certainsituations. In my opinion, the two frameworks are equally good.However, in a business scenario, there is no such thing as one casesuits all. Brian’s framework may sound rigid to some firms since itis difficult to define the boundaries of any given sector and inspecific, the tourism industry. Further, his deep understanding anddescription is good enough to guide a stakeholder into designingtheir research model. Brians model maybe the best framework fororganizations in slowly changing environment. In addition, Wales’sframework is open to any research therefore, it can enhancecustomization of various stakeholders in the tourism industry. Theorganizations will take into consideration their businesscircumstances in the design nevertheless, they may lack aprofessional in research to guide them through the framework.
Wales(1996, p. 6) emphasizes on the awareness of the “tradeoffs”involved in adopting a particular research model. He advocates forthe steps to be included in the framework. This includes adopting theemic/etic terminology. The variables are into the three of the morerelevant implications of the science/ art dichotomy. In contrast,Brian contends for the integration of the two methods to form analternative logic of inference that will encompass the changingnature of the business environment with linking and bridgingmechanisms (Veal 2006, p. 41). He advocates that in developing thealternative, logic will have to move away from the equilibriumperspective that assumes that the environment is both static andexogenous to one that assumes dynamics and endogeneity. Further, hedescribes the integrating framework as a necessary condition but isnot in itself a sufficient one. There has to be an interrelationshipbetween the measures. I n my opinion, I agree with the idea as itconsiders both the internal and external environments. It stipulatesthe need to take count of endogeneity, which is the inside of thetourism industry, as well as business dynamics that is the ability ofthe business to change in relation to the environment. I concludethat Brian has taken the overall aspects of the business informulating the methodology. Walles poor documentation may bringforth difficulties during implementation.
Wales(1996, p. 6) methodology calls for the tourism industry to use bothqualitative and quantitative methods on a tradeoff basis. This is bythe mere reason that each method depicted to possess specificcharacteristics and is useful for specific purposes only. He explainsalthough the scientific method provides a powerful methodology itlimits the investigation of topics which are not easily attacked byits tactics. Similarly, Walles (1996, p. 5) points out that thescience machine tends to "grind" slowly in situations wheretime is of essence. As a result, he calls for the use of eithermethod depending on the nature of the research. In contrast,(Brian1996, p. 45) advocates for the merge of the two methods into asingle methodology. An integrating framework is a necessarycondition. According to (Pearce 2001, p.66) the framework is a broadresearch design with diverse methodologies, multiple data sourcesthat combined in innovative ways with interpretation through a“variety of lenses.” Similarly, Oppermann (1955, p.87) sees theneed to have interrelated measures and not just a multimethodological approach that has limited cross-validation of results.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION
Wallesexpresses the need for the tourism sector to embrace the legitimacyof the various available research tools. He calls for the sector toarticulate both the general and universal ways that it is a broad anddistinct field that embraces a variety of appropriate researchmodels. Further, the choice of emics/art or etics/ science must be intandem with the situation which research undertakes and not guided bythe need to be rigor for its own sake.
Brian’smodel integrates the recent changes in the nature of tourismbusiness. It further gives directions on how the nature of businessgrows to create a dynamic environment. It states the triangulationsthat model the current developments, which are: first, the growth oflarge firm entry into previously considered small operator’s nichemarkets. Second, is the development of horizontal integration in thetour operator / travel agency business, development by theacquisition of overseas operators and vice versa. Third, the changesin ownership of many sectors of tourism and within the hotel industryand finally, the moves to e-commerce by for example, Thomson toursoperators and the formation of companies such as online travelcorporation (Veal 2006, p. 49). Further, Brian outlines that oncethis work is developed, it may present opportunities for themanagement to recognize organizational boundaries and to selectappropriate strategies. For example, the organizational boundary ofthe tour operator/ travel agency industry may suggest networkdevelopment between firms rather than myopic behavior. This helps inshaping part of the strategic fit. It involves matching activities tothe environment. Brian further stipulates that such quantitativediscoveries should lead to a reflection in the qualitative decisiontaking and a better understanding of the ideas in the heads ofeconomic actors and the models they use.
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