5.0 Research methods of the thesis
This study purpose is to examine the influence of higher education changing environment on students' decision-making (Gupta, 2008). Therefore, to evaluate the contribution of evolving theoretical and practical debates relating to students' decisions, this research must establish and explain the methodological approach. In the next part, the report will explainthe research philosophies value (Bryman and Bell, 2011).
5.1 Research philosophies
The study will include literature and secondary data associated with higher education, marketing,and consumer behaviour to gain the best possible knowledge-related fields of study. Therefore, the thesis will implement the research philosophy of epistemology (Saunders et al. 2009). Epistemology considers being as acceptable knowledge (McNeill, 2005),particularly in this field study (Figure 5.1), including the clusters of higher education, marketing and consumer behaviour (Cohen et al. 2007; Armstrong et al. 2012; Schiffman and Kanuk, 2009). Research philosophy includes important elements concerning how a study investigates a phenomenon (Saunders et al. 2012). Also, philosophy concepts will influence the way this study will develop depending on the theoretical and practical implications. However, there is an argument by authors whether one philosophy is better than the other (Bryman and Bell, 2011; Creswell, 2003; Maylor and Blackmon, 2005). According to Sekaran (2003), there is not such a case but each research philosophy has its characteristics,and he should examine the characteristics of his thesis to choose one or more philosophies to implement in his study.
The epistemological aspect that will be implemented in this study is interpretivism (Veal, 2011). The study will implement interpretivism because its purposes are: Referring to the investigation of the influence of marketing strategies on students' decision, regarding higher education undergraduate British degrees at overseas for-profit private higher education (PHEI) institutes. Secondly, exploring students' individual decision-making process relating to for-profit undergraduate British degrees at overseas private higher education institutes. The aims of this study indicate that it focuses on higher education students' decision to enroll in a PHEI and how much they are influenced by higher education marketing strategies. Students, in this case, are the focus of this study matches the concept of interpretivism, that is humans (Veal, 2011; Altinay, and Paraskevas, 2008).
According to Maylor and Blackmon (2005),interpretivism refers to the dissimilarities between human beings in the society. Interpretivism focuses mostly on humans because its purpose is to understand what people's action impact have on the society (Kumar, 2005). Humans have social roles in the society indicated by culture and attitude (Hoyer and Macinnis, 2010). Interpreting the way people behave in the society can explain the actual role the person plays in the society. In interpretivism, a study should look for how people understand different phenomena happening around them and explain how these phenomena influence the lives of people in the social network they live in. Hakim (2000) point out that phenomena explained lead to phenomenology, human perception about the world and symbolic interactionism. A constant explanation of what actions people take in parallel with others existing in the same place. Interpreting actions and reactions of different people might lead to certain results or alternate the decisions people take. The researcher normally has a sympathetic point of view for the part of the students' sample he investigates because he is a lecturer in higher education. Interpretivism matches with problems investigate business and marketing disciplines (Armstrong et al. 2012; Johnson and Clark 2006) because it gives the opportunity to explore unique situations including a unique sample of people within their study (Myers, 2009).
Furthermore, a part of this study focuses on marketing strategies of for-profit PHEIs and how much they influence the decisions of students' (Hammond, 2009). According to Maringe (2006), there should be an influence to students' decisions by marketing strategies (Baker, 2003; Centeno et al. 2008) and how immense the influence will be investigated and explained in the primary data analysis chapter. According to Maylor and Blackmon (2005), a part of the literature above referring to international education marketization is rather a contemporary phenomenon. The phenomenon that there are international students desire to enroll into a for-profit private higher education institute (PHEI) offering British undergraduatedegree creates a knowledge gap that could be closed up to a point by the findings of this thesis.
5.2 Research approaches and strategies
This study will investigate international students' desire to enroll into a for-profit private higher education institute offering British undergraduate degree and the influence of overseas private higher education institutes changing the environment on students' decision-making and its marketing implications. Therefore, consulting the theory is a crucial action to resolve a topic associating more than one discipline. The study will implement the abductive approach including a combination of deduction and induction. According to Veal (2006, p.207), research approach is the attempt of the researcher to justify how the hypotheses developed, processing from theory to data or from data to theory. As stated by Saunders et al. (2012), there are three types of approaches, that is, deductive, inductive and abductive. The purpose of conducting an abductive in-depth exploratory study on the influence of for-profit private higher education institutes changing the environment on students' decision-making and its marketing implications (Knowles et al. 2003) is because according to the literature, this topic has not investigated a lot concerning PHEIs.
A deductive approach refers to the design of research hypotheses consulting the theory first, develop the hypotheses, then proceed with observation and test and at the end, confirm or reject the hypotheses (Figure 5.2). The whole process moves from theory to data. Therefore, theory is extremely important for deduction (figure 3.2). Nonetheless, deductive approaches are suitable for descriptive and explanatory studies (Easterby-Smith et al. 2002).
Induction approach follows the opposite way of deduction. Induction does not develop hypotheses but depends on the development of research questions, aims and objectives (Hussey and Hussey, 1997). The confirmation of aims and objectives are justified throughout the process of the study. According to Myers (2009), inductive studies refer to experienced researchers required to develop theories. The process starts with observations and tests of the chosen topic; the design and it ends up in theory development. Inductive studies apply to explanatory studies that require in-depth analysis (Silverman, 2000). Abductive approach is the combination of deduction and induction, processing from theory to data or from data to theory, and the challengingresearch has when facing surprises in the data collected (Saunders et al. 2012; Gall et al. 2006; Fisher, 2007).
The two types of research chosen for this study among others are descriptive and explanatory research (Saunders et al. 2009). According to Tashakkori and Teddlie (1998), a research strategy refers to a plan focusing on answering the research questions. Research strategies have to be clear and concise to answer the research questions and achieve its objectives. The description of primary data will help this thesis to start its critical analysis primary findings. Descriptive data will establish the primary data framework to develop a standard base of primary data statistics to start a primary analysis based on the high-order database. According to Saunders et al. (2009, p. 596), descriptive research refers to "research for which the purpose is to produce an accurate representation of persons, events or situations."
Explanatory investigates the relationship that occurs between variables (Veal, 2011). Usually, there is a situation that calls for and involves different variables, and the relationship of these variables defines the solution to the problems typically. This thesis, therefore, will use explanatory study with the purpose of investigating different variables within consumer behavior of students, marketing strategies for-profit private higher education institutes and how these factors influence student's choice to enroll into specific higher education institutes (Mok, 2003). Tight (2012) noted that an analytical study in itself investigates the relationships that exist between variables leading to an explanation of phenomena. The detailed and comprehensive analysis of a problem or a situation is seen as one of the ways that can elucidate the hidden details that are related to what caused the problem and the nature of the effect (Kumar, 2005; Robson, 2002).
This thesis will use the survey research as a strategy to achieve the target of completing its outcomes (Kings and Horrocks, 2010; Jankowicz, 2005; Denscombe, 2007). A survey strategy tends to collect structure and quantify data from a sample of a population. According to Sapford (1999) and Czaja and Blair (1996), surveys doe s collects data through the use of structured questionnaires in which case, interviews can also play a part since it is also considered as a survey technique. This thesis will collect highly structured questionnaires and or interviews with students and employees associated with higher education (Brennan and Williams, 2004). The studies that include survey strategy mostly refer to a deductive approach. As have been mentioned above, this research will employ a combination of deductive and inductive methods. Surveys are generally used in research because they are popular within business disciplines and they are also characterized by the fact that they are a collection of a large population in a short period (Sekaran, 2003).
This study will attempt to create a unique theoretical model which associates higher education, consumer behavior of students and marketing implications. According to Yin (2003) and Orna and Stevens (1995), triangulation will be used in this thesis survey (Blumberg et al. 2011). Diverse data collection practices will assist in this thesis to meet the required analytical results. Also, the structured questionnaires, as well as semi-structured interviews, can be applied in triangulation concept (Ritchie and Goeldner, 1994; Kerlinger and Lee, 2000; Steward and Cash, 1988). The next part of this report will explain research design and data collection techniques.
5.3 Research Design and Data Collection
As it was mentioned in the previous parts of the research design, this thesis will include descriptive and explanatory research (Saunders et al. 2012; Veal, 2011; Veal, 2006, p.207; figure 5.3). The synopsis of the research philosophies, approaches and strategy demonstrations both qualitative and quantitative data, and mixed model research will be collected to achieve the target of explanatory study (Easterby-Smith et al. 2008; Curwin and Slater, 2008). To accomplish this goal, this thesis will collect quantitative data and support the quantization while also collecting qualitative data and qualities it. However, during this, mix model research should enable triangulation to achieve investigation of changing the environment on student's decision making as well as its marketing implications (Solomon, 2015). Circular model of the research process in quantitative and quali...
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