ROLE OF QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH IN INDUSTRIAL STUDIES OF TOURISM
ROLEOF QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH IN INDUSTRIAL STUDIES OFTOURISM
TABLEOF CONTENTS PAGE
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY i
1.0 INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Scope 1
1.2 Method 1
2.0 DISCUSSION 2
2.1 Possibility of merging qualitative and quantitative methodologies 2
2.2 Researchers shift from qualitative to quantitative methodology 3
2.3 Superiority between the qualitative and quantitative methods 3
2.4 Basis of selection of methodologies 4
2.5 Frameworks provided for application of the quantitative versus qualitative research 5
3.0 RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION 7
4.0 Refferrences 8
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 while the title of the secondarticle is quantitative versus qualitative tourism research by Alf H.Walle.
Substantialattention focused on what the two articles propose regarding theimportance of conducting research in tourism. Further, special focusaims to identify the methods advocated by each article and thereasons behind the various decisions made. Criticism on the reasonsprovided purporting for the superiority of one method than the other.It goes on to identify the advantages and disadvantages behind themethods and possible solutions (Sharma& Kain, 2014, p. 40). Thecritique advances to examine the existing possibilities of mergingthe two methodologies including that of developing a new methodologythat will borrow from the advantages of qualitative and quantitativemethodologies and designed to counter their disadvantages.
Thecritique observes and concludes there are two major methodologiesapplied in conducting research in the tourism industry. They includethe qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. The twomethodologies differ substantially in terms of evolution, processesand applicability.
Interms of development, the qualitative research was the firstmethodology used in conducting research. However, its use indicatesto be diminishing since the World War II due to claims that it ismore theoretical than scientific. The use of qualitative research isreplaced by quantitative research mainly because of its scientificapproach, which produces testable information. Currently, thequalitative method sets hypotheses, which are later tested by thequantitative methodology (Sharma& Kain, 2014, p. 43).
Thepurpose of this report was to provide critique to the variousexisting text on research methodologies. The major attention was onestablishing their legibility for application in conducting researchespecially in the tourism industry.
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.
Thedeductions in this research were from deductive thinking,after consulting from a wide range of similar research conducted inthe reasonable past.
1.2Possibility of mergingqualitative 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 and 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 (JamalHollinshead 2001, p.77).
1.2Researchers shift fromqualitative 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.
1.2Superiority between thequalitative 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 interpret to mean less accurate. He further arguesthat the qualitative model basis on the positivism methodology. Thismakes it 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. Due to objectivescience, it renders the models derived from this approach empiricaland accurate.
Theylead to empiricism. According to (Granton & Richards 1997,p.22),the positivism model has been extensively used to provide tests ofprediction as covering laws. The model provides insights to identifystructures and mechanisms without having to make claims about theabsolute truth. In my view, the qualitative model though consideredbeing scientific, it is not appropriate for the ideal world but anideal state. This is because positivism assumes a constant state. Thestructures do not change or evolve. It hence gives the impression ofa perfect world. However, in the real world, structures are inconstant movement. For example, in the tourism world, a variety ofinformation will be required to understand and predict the firm’sability to compete. I agree that the qualitative model can serve forpurposes such as to understand the known demand but it cannot offerpredictions on constantly changing variables. In the tourismindustry, there are many products and services. They include newresorts, airport bookings and hotel accommodation that needconsideration during decision-making. These products undergo aconstant change at any moment in time.
1.2Basis of selection ofmethodologies
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. However, he agrees that there are situations wheretradeoff will be the most appropriate approach to research.Qualitative research is very effective however, it creates a“forbidden zone” in practical and time dated research due to thedominance of positivism (Jamal & Hollinshead 2001, p.31). Iagree that each method has specific qualities that render it suitableto certain situations and not others. This implies there aresituations where the two methods fail depending on the subject ofresearch. Further, a complete tradeoff is only required when one ofthe methods is completely disregarded by the circumstances in theresearch project. However, complete disregards are rare to come byand there will always be aspects of both qualitative and quantitativemethodologies required to accomplish research goals.
1.2Frameworks provided forapplication 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. He advocates that in developing the alternative, logicwill have to move away from the equilibrium perspective that assumesthat the environment is both static and exogenous to one that assumesdynamics and endogeneity. Further, he describes the integratingframework as a necessary condition but is not in itself a sufficientone. There has to be an interrelationship between the measures. I nmy opinion, I agree with the idea as it considers both the internaland external environments. It stipulates the need to take count ofendogeneity, which is the inside of the tourism industry, as well asbusiness dynamics that is the ability of the business to change inrelation to the environment. I conclude that Brian has taken theoverall aspects of the business in formulating the methodology.Walles poor documentation may bring forth difficulties duringimplementation.
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.
Briansmodel 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. Further, Brian outlines that once this work isdeveloped, it may present opportunities for the management torecognize organizational boundaries and to select appropriatestrategies. For example, the organizational boundary of the touroperator/ travel agency industry may suggest network developmentbetween firms rather than myopic behavior. This helps in shaping partof the strategic fit. It involves matching activities to theenvironment. 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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