This is a solution of Methodology Assignment part 1 in which we discuss this study aimed at investigating how window displays, income level and credit card offers influence the level of impulse buying in the Chinese retail market.

Introduction

As postulated by Coleman & Ringrose (2013), it is essential for the researcher to select an appropriate methodology when conducting research to ensure validity and reliability of the research findings. Further, Coleman & Ringrose (2013), argue that the appropriateness of the selected methodology greatly depends on the research topic and its main objectives. This study aimed at investigating how window displays, income level and credit card offers influence the level of impulse buying in the Chinese retail market. This chapter, therefore, presents a detailed methodology selected by the researcher in achieving the research objectives. The first section provides the introduction and the structure of this chapter. The formulation of the research hypotheses is discussed in the second section. The research questions are also formulated in the third section. Similarly, other sections provide detailed information concerning the selected philosophy, research approach, research strategy, research design and methods of data collection. The chapter as well presents the method of data analysis used. The last section provides a comprehensive summary of the entire chapter.

Methodology Assignment part 1The Formulation of Research Hypotheses

As defined by Bryman & Bell (2015), research hypotheses are statements created by a researcher aimed at speculating the possible research outcomes, experiments or analysis. Additionally, as noted by Bryman & Bell (2015), the research hypotheses are formulated from the existing literature to test the research objectives. Hair et al. (2015) further note that research without hypotheses is aimless because there will be no clear guideline on what is to be tested, supported or disputed. There are four key reasons why the researcher of this study formulated hypotheses. Firstly, the hypotheses formulated helped the research in determining research direction and focus. Therefore, since the researcher knew what he wanted to achieve, it was easier for him to dedicate his effort towards achieving the research objectives. Secondly, the development of the hypotheses helped the researcher to state precisely the purpose of the case study and the activities involved in this research. Thirdly, hypotheses formulated provided clarity to this research because the researcher was clear on what was anticipated. Fourthly, hypotheses formulation equipped the researcher with the knowledge required to fill the existing gaps.

As noted earlier, hypotheses are formulated after a critical review of the current and existing literature to identify the areas of weakness. After identifying limitations in the existing literature, the researcher develops, new knowledge on such gaps should be filled (Wilson, 2014). This study aimed at investigating how income level, window displays and the credit card offers influence the level of impulse buying in the Chinese retail industry. The researcher explored and critically analysed the existing literature on the impulse buying in the retail industry. After the extensive review of the existing literature, the researcher established that consumers are influenced to engage in impulse buying by the window displays. Merchandising plays a significant role in attracting the consumers’ attentions in the retail industry. People are convinced to make purchasing decisions from what they see on the window displays. The existing literature also indicated that the level of income categorises people into social classes. Therefore, other individuals unconsciously participate in impulse buying to maintain their social status. Similarly, various past researchers agree that the usage of credit card offers stimulates impulse buying because customers tend to make an extra purchase. Based on the existing literature establishments, the researcher was able to formulate three hypotheses as mentioned below:
Hypothesis 1: The window displays have a significant influence on increasing the level of impulse buying in the Chinese retail industry.
Hypothesis 2: The Income level increases the level of impulse buying in the Chinese retail industry.
Hypothesis 3: The usage of credit card offers increases the level of impulse buying in the Chinese retail industry.

Research Questions

As expounded by Myers (2013), research questions guide the researcher on how the research objectives can be achieved. However, Myers (2013) notes that the research questions used must be precise and focused for the researcher to achieve the set objectives. Based on the objectives of this study, the researcher was able to formulate three research questions:
1. How does the window displays influence the level of impulse buying in the Chinese retail industry?
2. How does the level of income influence the level of impulse buying in the Chinese retail industry?
3. How does the usage of credit card offers influence the level of impulse buying in the Chinese retail industry?

Research Philosophy

According to Bozeman & Melkers (2013), understanding the research philosophies and approaches is critical in helping the researcher to determine the methods of data collection and analysis. Further, as indicated by Creswell (2013), a research paradigm has three characteristics namely ontology, epistemology and axiology. In ontology, researchers see nature from the reality point of view taking into considerations the assumptions explaining how the world works. On the other hand, in epistemology, a researcher views what entails the acceptable knowledge based on his understanding of nature (Creswell, 2013). A researcher in this category also studies the relationship between what he already knows and the assumptions constituting the acceptable knowledge (Creswell, 2013). The research onion in Figure 2 provides a comprehensive overview on how the understanding of various philosophical approaches guides the researcher in selecting the appropriate methods of collecting data and analysis.

Differences in Philosophical Approaches

PositivismRealismInterpretivismPragmatism
OntologyObjective, independent from social actors and externalObjective, independent of Human thoughts, critical realistSocially constructed, subjective, my change and multipleMultiple and external
EpistemologyObservable phenomenon provides credible data and facts. Focuses on causalityObservable, credible data, open to misinterpretation and focus on explaining contextsSubjective meanings, social phenomena, focus on situation,Observable phenomena and subjective
AxiologyValue freeway, the researcher is independent of data and maintains objectivityValue-laden, biased by world views,Value-bound, researcher is part of what is being researched, highly subjective.Value based, both objective and subjective view are incorporated
Data Collection Method and the Techniques AdoptedUse of highly structured large samples, quantitative measurements and use of Statistical MethodsSmall samples, can be qualitative or quantitativeSmall samples, qualitative investigationMixed or multiples methods and can be either qualitative or quantitative.

The research philosophy is chosen based on the research motives (Punch, 2013). Based on this research, the researcher aimed at investigating the influence of window displays, income level and credit card offers on the level of impulse buying in the Chinese retail industry. The observable variables that were objectively measured by the researcher included window displays, credit card offers and the level of income. The observable facts were measured using the ordinal numbers that were scored on the five Likert scale. The scores were analysed descriptively using the SPSS software in which the measure of dispersion (mean) was used. The researcher similarly used a large sample of customers from the Chinese retail industry to ensure that the results obtained were free from bias. Additionally, research findings in this study were purely tested empirically. Based on the requirements of this research, the researcher adopted the positivist philosophy. There are various reasons why the researcher preferred positivism as opposed to other philosophical approaches. Firstly, positivism philosophy helped the researcher to test the research findings empirically. Secondly, the positivism philosophy allowed the researcher to collect a large sample using online survey questionnaires to ensure the reliability of the research findings. Thirdly, by using positivism philosophy, the researcher was able to establish the causal and effect relationships between the observable facts and the impulse buying in the Chinese retail industry. Fourthly, since this research required a highly structured methodology, positivism philosophy was the best as opposed to realism, interpretivism and pragmatism that do not require a strict methodology. Similarly, unlike interpretivism, realism and pragmatism, the positivism philosophy allowed the researcher to analyse the data descriptively using the SPSS software. Interpretivism was not adopted because it emphasises on qualitative analysis. As indicated in Table 2, interpretivism is highly subjective and that might have compromised the reliability of the research findings. Table 2 also indicates that interpretivism, realism and pragmatism do not allow the use of large samples, thus making them unsuitable for this study (Myers, 2013). Therefore, based on the requirements of this study, the positivist philosophy was the most appropriate as opposed to interpretivism, realism and pragmatism.

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