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Case Study, Data Collection methods and Research Design Implemented of MBA Case Study

October 2, 2012

Research Design Implemented

The research design includes the conceptual framework of the research process which involves the data collection process and the sampling techniques employed for the conduct of the research. It is the blueprint of the procedure which contains the tools employed for data collection process and data analysis. The research design encompasses the kind of research strategy employed for the conduct of research upon which the data collection methods and the sample size and techniques are based. The research design in this particular dissertation involves the use of case study research strategy where the data is collected from the participants belonging to Sainsbury which includes the customers, employees and the managers of Sainsbury. The data is collected using semi-structured interviews. The interviews are useful as they allow probing questions for further information.

Case Study

A case study is an in-depth empirical investigation of a situation to understand and answer the how and why questions pertaining to a particular phenomenon. It refers to gathering information about a particular individual or a group in order to gain a holistic view about the subject of study .A case study approach is a holistic approach to observe the situation and gather valuable insights from the participants in the situation to explore phenomena.

A case study approach does not attempt at proving a generalised truth nor does it attempt at establishing a cause effect relationship but it attempts at empirical investigation of a phenomena.  A case study approach is particularly chosen when there does not exist much prevalent theory about the situation. It is used to explore a phenomenon based on the real life context. A case study employs the use of qualitative analysis in gathering the data.

A case study analysis proceeds on the lines of studying the situation to pose further questions for the research. In the statistical methods, the study is focussed on the distribution of variables while in the case study, it attempts in defining a variety of variables related to the subject of study. A case study is a consideration of the characteristics of participants, the cultural norms, the demographic analysis and the nature of the context which serve as useful inputs for answering the research problem to come up with plausible conclusions.

            The research design in the case study includes the collection of data and analysing it to meet the research objectives through concerned data collection methods and techniques. The research design takes the following aspects in consideration: to devise the relevant questions upon which the study proceeds, to identify what data is relevant, to have a clear idea of what data is  to be collected and finally to analyse the given data according the research problem. (CR, 2004)

Data Collection methods

The practice of data collection proceeds in the lines of the identified research questions whose answers can potentially solve the research problem. The data collection process revolves around these research questions taking the case of Sainsbury in this study. In general, primary or secondary data pertaining to these research questions can be used as a mode of data collection process.


Primary source of Information

The information gathered directly from the respondents is considered as a primary source of information. In most qualitative analysis, primary information is gathered mostly in the form of in depth interviews or semi-structured interviews.  Semi structured questionnaires include open ended questions and call for a subjective information while structured questionnaires tend to be close ended and seek for objective responses based on, for example, Likert scale measures. However, in this case-study, primary information is gathered through semi-structured interviews to gather in-depth insights about the issues relevant to the research objectives.

The open ended questions are designed in such a way that additional questions may arise depending upon the responses of the participants. The interviews with the managers generally include questions related to improving the style of communication of the part-time international students while the interviews with the customers contain questions about the satisfaction levels of customers and their problems with regard to the communication style of part-time international students. The interviews with the international students generally contain their demographic data, background, their approach and style of communication.

        The semi-structured interviews are conducted with three managers, three customers and three part-time international service employees in order to collect the required information so as to present them as findings. The interview is preceded by a note of confidentiality and is conducted on a one to one basis for the three managers, three part-time international service employees and three customers. Every interview lasted for about 45 minutes. The interviews was conducted on 27th and28th  August during the afternoon. 

Secondary source of information

The secondary source of information aims at gathering information which, although relevant,  is not directly related to the topic of the research. It takes information from survey reports, annual company reports and documents useful to the case. Secondary sources of information are less time consuming to access, however the choice of such sources depends on their relevance to the research questions.

Research Sample

The data collection method starts with the activity of sampling. The sampling is based on non-probability sampling techniques. In this research, interviews are carried out with three managers, three local customers and four employees, representing small convenience samples of each category, which allows the researcher to gain in depth information about the topic. The data gathered from the interviews is interpreted and collated to answer the research questions. 

Sampling technique

The sampling technique enables to choose the sample type for the intended data collection process. Sampling is about selecting a small set of respondents who represent the entire population. There are two types of sampling strategies namely probability sampling and non-probability sampling. The participants may represent a cross section of population or may be a set of target groups which are chosen by researcher according to his/her discretion. Non probabilistic sampling is that type of sampling where the researcher has minimal control of whom being selected for the research. The sampling technique used here is non-probabilistic purposive sampling. 


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