All researchers are aimed at confirming or exploring some important aspects that are associated with topics of interest. Confirmatory or exploratory strategies are based on research approaches, which are characterized by different methods of data collection and analysis (Creswell, 2013; Leedy & Ormrod, 2013). Thus, when a researcher thinks about a research topic, he or she needs to focus on the big picture of a study that would be accommodated by research approaches (Leedy & Ormrod, 2013).
This paper aims at developing hypothetical research approaches. Specifically, they would be qualitative, quantitative and mixed method study designs. In addition, it will focus on describing how each approach would be applied to the purpose and problem statements of a proposed study. Finally, it will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each study design.
When studies are being conducted, research teams or individuals are interested in addressing specific issues, which are described in a problem statement (Punch, 2013). The problem to be addressed in this paper revolves around understanding the effects of bad customer service with regard to sales of digital products, such as mobile phones and television sets, by various firms. It is widely held that excellent customer service is important to sales of products.
However, it would be important to know the effects of ineffective customer service that is exhibited to customers of high quality digital goods. In this context, the problem would be found in organizations that would be involved in selling products to consumers. The scope of such a study would be limited in time, finances, technological applications, and resources (Creswell, 2013; Leedy & Ormrod, 2013). The study results would have important implications for companies that concentrate on selling digital products to customers across the world. In fact, the findings would enable them to apply strategic customer service approaches with the aim of improving the performance outcomes.
Purpose statement of the proposed study
The proposed study will concentrate on achieving two goals. First, it will identify the issues that are associated with bad customer service in business establishments. Second, it will focus on proposing ways of improving relationships of customers with customers.
Quantitative research approach
Using this approach, the proposed study would collect and convert data into the form of numbers, which can be analyzed using statistical tools (Leedy & Ormrod, 2013). Statistical analyses are important because they enable scientists to infer about the population. The design would utilize the formulated hypothesis that would either be supported or disputed by analysis (Maxwell, 2012). The strategy would hypothesize that customers are impacted negatively by low quality customer service that is offered by firms selling digital products. The assumption would act as a question that would be addressed in order to assess the relationships between variables (Maxwell, 2012).
In this context, there would be dependent and independent variables. The dependent variable would be sales, which directly correlate with customer response with regard to service from representatives of digital firms. On the other hand, the independent variable would be customer service, which would impact the sales of products. Due to the challenge that would be encountered when dealing with customer service that would not be in the form of numbers, it would be important to code the quality relationship from 1 to 5, which would correspond to improving quality of service.
A researcher would apply statistical analysis to discover complex correlations that exist between the identified variables and establish the extent to which one variable impacts the other variable (Maxwell, 2012). However, it would be important to note that results would be termed as being important if they would be within the requirements of the statistical P-value, which would be set at less than 0.05 (P>0.05). Thus, the approach would be used to identify the factors that affect customer service and results would be utilized to suggest ways of improving the relationships.
Qualitative research approach
This approach is based on the social constructivist platform that argues that reality is constructed on social aspects (Leedy & Ormrod, 2013; Punch, 2013). It does not involve the analysis of data in the form of numbers. In this context, a researcher would record, analyze and describe various factors that would be used to understand the deeper meaning and importance of customer service. In fact, the description would be done on the platform of customer behaviors, experiences, beliefs and emotions. Using the study design, it would be practical to obtain a rich understanding of consumers’ experiences with regard to digital goods.
Research has demonstrated that the qualitative research approach is deductive, which implies that qualitative researchers focus on developing a theory or theories that are based on the collected data. Thus, the strategy involves the use of a bottom-up approach that emphasizes on moving from the specific aspects to the general aspects of a study. This is important because qualitative researchers do not concentrate on the use of hypotheses that are pre-determined. That notwithstanding, the approach would be essential in identifying customer service issues and explore the issues on the platform of a conceptual framework that would be essential for a scientific investigation. Due to the high degree of labor intensity that is associated with the study design, the proposed study will use a relatively small number of study participants.
Pragmatic approach to research
The approach is characterized by the utilization of mixed methods that appear to be appropriate with regard to the research question (Leedy & Ormrod, 2013). The strategy enables researchers to avoid being hindered by the philosophical debates that focus on assessing the best approaches of conducting studies (Creswell, 2012).
In this context, the proposed study would employ both qualitative and quantitative research designs. However, when choosing the study designs, it would be important to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the approaches. It would be advisable for researchers in the proposed study to the qualitative approach before using the quantitative approach. Thus, it would involve the use of face-to-face interviews, which would focus on a certain number of study respondents. The findings from such interviews would be the platforms of constructing questionnaires to assess the attitudes and beliefs of customers in a relatively large sample.
The assessment would focus on conducting statistical analysis that would be impractical with the use of interviews. Customer service is a complex issue in any business establishment and it would require the use of different triangulation methods to obtain accurate results. Examples of triangulation approaches would be data, investigator, theory, and methodological triangulation. In fact, the incorporation of triangulation methods is an important strategy that would improve the flexibility of the proposed study (Creswell, 2012). Thus, the approach would enable a research to stick to the purpose statement of the study, which would concentrate on identifying customer related issues and suggest ways of improving customer service, which would correlate with improved sales of digital products.
Comparisons and contrasts of the three research approaches
In order for researchers to choose a research approach, they focus on identifying and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each study design (Patton, 2005). The analysis helps them to align the purpose of a study with an approach. The three approaches have two strengths in common. First, they allow researchers to conduct scientific investigations with the aim of inferring about the population. Second, the approaches are important in enabling researchers to make adjustments at any stage of a study to suit emerging issues (Leedy & Ormrod, 2013; Patton, 2005). On the other hand, the three strategies have differences that can be viewed in the context of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
Advantages of quantitative research approach
- Produces quantifiable data
- Supports research hypotheses
- Yields reliable data
- Supports relatively large samples
Disadvantages of quantitative research approach
- It decontextualizes human attitudes
- Lacks rich data
- Not detailed
Advantages of qualitative research approach
- A high degree of flexibility
- A high extent of understanding research issues
- Relatively cheap
Disadvantages of qualitative research approach
- Not ideal for statistical descriptions
- Low rate of reliability
- Low level of objectivity
Advantages of mixed methods approach
- Important in helping to help findings
- Offers a platform of supporting more instruments
- Relatively comprehensive results
- It offers strengths that compensate the weaknesses of the other two approaches
Disadvantages of mixed methods approach
- A high level of complexity
- Requires relatively more time and resources
- Difficult to execute one approach on the grounds of the findings of another approach
- Difficult to resolve discrepancies
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Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Leedy, P. D., & Ormrod, J. E. (2013). Practical research: Planning and design. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
Maxwell, J. A. (2012). Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach: An Interactive Approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Patton, M. Q. (2005). Qualitative research. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Punch, K. F. (2013). Introduction to social research: Quantitative and qualitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.