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Research Philosophy

Title: A critical analysis of brand image, value and perception and their affect on consumer loyalty within the context of the Chinese luxury fashion sector

This methodology section provides justification on use of methodology by the researcher in order to achieve research objectives as mentioned in the introduction chapter (VanPatten & Williams, 2014). In this section, research philosophy is explained that includes both ontological and epistemological. Justification is even given after this section on which is the best research philosophy that should be adopted by the researcher in this given research study and that aligns with the research topic. The present segment explains research approaches and suggests the best approaches that can be used by the researcher for the current research study (Tuohy et al., 2013).

It is essential to consider the fact that underlying epistemological assumptions particularly have critical implication on any of the selected research philosophies. In addition, research philosophy help in guiding the researcher to look at the world around them in various ways and help them to decide the most suitable research strategy and method that need to be adopted by the researcher. Here, researcher plays an important role and need to pay attention to the given epistemological assumptions and it had been marked positive impact on what they do and their perceptions of what had been examined as well (Taylor, Bogdan & DeVault, 2015).

Ontology is the science or learning of human beings as it particularly deals with the life of realism. In addition, ontology is a scheme of conviction that portrays an understanding of a personality on what constitutes a fact (Tarone, Gass & Cohen, 2013). Furthermore, ontology is connected with a particular question of whether societal entities required to be explained as subjective or objective. Therefore, objectivism as well as subjectivism can be treated as two major characteristic of ontology. Ontology mainly moves around with epistemology that informs the theoretical perspective as far as possible. In that case, the main purpose or aim of social science is to highlight the social reality. It is because every people are unique and think differently to a specific situation. It is how people look situation and then demonstrate how their views shape the action that is undertaken within that reality. It is therefore necessary to investigate the ontological distinctions during the research process as it help researcher for uncovering the facts on how the perceptions of human nature impact on the approach that adopts to reveal social truths.

Ontology

Here, objectivism means portraying the place where social entities exist in actuality that is external to social actors and connected with their existence. In addition, objectivism is an ontological place that extends societal phenomenon as well as the meaning have an survival that is self-governing of social actors (Roberts, 2013).

On the contrary, Subjectivism deals with societal occurrence that is created from awareness as well as resulting actions of those societal actors that are concerned with their existence. In addition, constructivism can be explained as ontological location that explains societal phenomenon as well as meaning that had been accomplished by social actors (Blumberg, Cooper & Schindler, 2014).

Research Philosophy

Ontology- The view of researcher regarding the nature of reality or human being

Pragmatism

Multiple

Selected view that answers the research question

External

Positivism

Objective

External

self-determining of societal actors

Realism

Exists separately of human thoughts as well as attitude or information of their survival or realist but it is actually interpreted through social training or decisive realist (Blumberg, Cooper & Schindler, 2014).

Epistemology is a branch of beliefs that is concerned with the sources of information. In addition, epistemology deals with potential, sources, nature as well as restrictions of information in particular field of study. Furthermore, epistemology is the study of the criteria whereby the researcher categorizes what constitute proper knowledge sources (Reynolds et al., 2014).

There are various sources of knowledge that relates particularly with business research and divided into further categories and these are as follows:

  • Intuitive Knowledge- This source of knowledge is based on faith, belief and intuition. Here, human feelings actually plays important role in this source of knowledge as compared to reliance upon facts and information (Neuman & Robson, 2014)
  • Authoritarian knowledge- This source of knowledge is based on information that had been collected from valid and reliable sources such as peer-reviewed journal articles, academic books and authentic websites (Blumberg, Cooper & Schindler, 2014).
  • Logical knowledge- This source of knowledge is based on creation of getting access to new knowledge by applying logical reasoning (Gast & Ledford, 2014).
  • Empirical knowledge- This source of knowledge is based on objective facts that had been properly established as well as demonstrated at the same time (Matthews & Ross, 2014)

Epistemology takes into account historical perspective, idealism, constructivism, empiricism as well as essentialism and progressivism. To that, empiricism as well as rationalism can be again categorized under the field of epistemological learning that connects directly to trade studies. In addition, empiricism mainly recognizes personal experiences that get connected with feelings, scrutiny and applicable source of information. On the other hand, rationalism mainly deals with empirical findings that are measured through valid as well as reliable tool as a source of knowledge (Mackey & Gass, 2015).

Research Philosophy

Epistemology- The view of the researcher on matters relating to what constitutes acceptable knowledge

Pragmatism

Focus mainly on practical applied research that integrates with various perspectives that help to interpret the data (Leary, 2016).

Either or both of the observable phenomena as well as subjective meanings help in providing acceptable knowledge that is dependent upon the research questions (Blumberg, Cooper & Schindler, 2014)

Positivism

Mainly focus on causality as well as law-like generalizations that reduces the level of phenomenon to the simplest elements (Gast & Ledford, 2014)

Concerned with only observable phenomena as it help in providing credible and reliable data facts and information (Humphries, 2017).

Realism

Mainly focus on explaining aspects within context or contexts

It deals with observable phenomenon that help in providing reliable data and facts

It deals with creation of sensations that are open to misinterpretation or critical realism (Blumberg, Cooper & Schindler, 2014)

Insufficient data that refers to inaccuracy in sensation or direct realism through alternative means (Glesne, 2015)

From the above explanation on research philosophy, it is now important for the researcher to decide upon which philosophy methods need to be selected for current research study on “A critical analysis of brand image, value and perception and their affect on consumer loyalty within the context of the Chinese luxury fashion sector”. The researcher had adopted Positivism Research Philosophy (Gast & Ledford, 2014). The reason for selecting Positivism by the researcher was the factual knowledge gained through observation that includes measurement that is trustworthy at the same time. To that, positivism mainly depends upon quantifiable observations that lead to statistical analysis. Here, researcher had collected primary data so Positivism research philosophy is the only way to get access to statistical data collection information from the respondents. Positivist approach had been selected by the researcher and as it is the belief that the researcher is independent to conduct the research as per own and that can be purely objective by nature. Here, independent purely means a situation where the researcher maintains minimum interaction with the research participants or respondents at the time of carrying out the research activity. As per Positivist Paradigm, it is purely based in facts as well as considers that the world is external and objective. There are mainly five principles of positivism philosophy that need to be illustrated to make the selection more feasible and apt. The first standard is that there are no differences in the reason of question in the field of science. The second principle of positivism philosophy is that the research should aim to explain as well as predict relating to some specific topic. The third principle is research should be empirically observable such as human senses (Blumberg, Cooper & Schindler, 2014). The fourth principle is science is not the same as common sense where common sense should not be allowable to bias thinking in the research findings. The fifth principle is science must be value-free as well as judged only based on logic.

Epistemology

There are three types of research approach that need to be evaluated at the time of conducting the research study. The three types of research approach are deductive research approach and inductive research approach.

To explain in detail, it actually means significance of hypothesis to the study that is the main difference between the deductive and inductive approaches. Here, deductive approach means testing the legality of hypothesis or theories or hypothesis (Gall, Gall & Borg, 2014). On the other hand, inductive approach refers to an approach that contributes to the emergence of new theories as well as generalization.

There is lot of difference present among these three research approaches and it is properly illustrated below with proper justification:

Deductive

Inductive

Logic

Deductive approach is used when premises are true and then the conclusions also must be true

Inductive approach is used when the known premises are used and generate untested conclusions

Generalizability

General to public

Specific to general

Theory

Theory falsification or verification

Theory generation as well as building

Use of data

Data collection is properly used for evaluating proposition or hypothesis that is related to an existing theory

Data collection is properly used for exploring a given phenomenon, theme identification as well as patterns and creation of conceptual framework

Deductive approach means developing a hypothesis that is based on existing theory and then designing a research strategy for testing the hypothesis. Deductive approach refers to reasoning from specific to general. This approach might be tested to look if the relationship or link obtains on more general situations. This approach can be explained by means of hypothesis that can be easily derived from the propositions of the theory. In addition, the deductive approach deals with deducting conclusions from premises or propositions. In case of deductive approach, the main focus is on causality that begins with hypothesis.

Figure: Deductive Process

(Source: Flick, 2015) 

In case of inductive approach, it does not take into account any formulation of hypothesis. This approach starts from research questions as well as aims and objectives that need to be achieved at the research process stages (Gast & Ledford, 2014). Inductive approach is concerned with qualitative research where there is no set of rules as well as the studies may have deductive orientation as well. In case of inductive approach, it concerns with generalizing new theory that emerges from the data. In this approach, researcher uses research questions for narrowing down the scope of the study.

Figure: Inductive Process

(Source: Flick, 2015)

Deductive approach

Inductive approach

Availability of time

Relatively short-time for completing the research study

No time limit to complete the research study

Wealth of literature sources

Abundance of sources

Scarcity of sources

Risk

Risk avoidance

No specific theories emerges together so risk is accepted

After evaluating all the three discussed research approaches, the researcher had selected deductive research approach at the time of conducting the research study. The researcher had collected primary data and interpreted the data by using correlation and regression analysis (Blumberg, Cooper & Schindler, 2014). It is for this reason the researcher uses deductive approach as it starts from general to particular. By using this method, researcher can come up with derived new conclusions from basic assumptions or from truth that is established from other methods. It takes into account reasoning process that starts from certain laws and principles that are assumed to be true for analyzing certain facts on the research topic. The researcher had used deductive approach because it is simple as it is analytical by nature. The data generated from deductive approach is exact as there is use of statistical tools such as regression and correlation that help in bringing exactness and clarity in the overall research study (Gast & Ledford, 2014). This research approach help in drawing inferences that has universal validity as they are based on general principles

Reference List

Blumberg, B. F., Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2014). Business research methods. McGraw-hill education.

Flick, U. (2015). Introducing research methodology: A beginner's guide to doing a research project. Sage.

Gall, M. D., Gall, J. P., & Borg, W. R. (2014). Applying educational research: How to read, do, and use research to solve problems of practice. Pearson Higher Ed.

Gast, D. L., & Ledford, J. R. (Eds.). (2014). Single case research methodology: Applications in special education and behavioral sciences. Routledge.

Glesne, C. (2015). Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction. Pearson.

Humphries, B. (2017). Re-thinking social research: anti-discriminatory approaches in research methodology. Taylor & Francis.

Leary, M. R. (2016). Introduction to behavioral research methods. Pearson.

Mackey, A., & Gass, S. M. (2015). Second language research: Methodology and design. Routledge.

Matthews, B., & Ross, L. (2014). Research methods. Pearson Higher Ed.

Neuman, W. L., & Robson, K. (2014). Basics of social research. Pearson Canada.

Reynolds, D., Creemers, B., Nesselrodt, P. S., Shaffer, E. C., Stringfield, S., & Teddlie, C. (Eds.). (2014). Advances in school effectiveness research and practice. Elsevier.

Roberts, T. (2013). Understanding the research methodology of interpretative phenomenological analysis. British Journal of Midwifery, 21(3).

Tarone, E. E., Gass, S. M., & Cohen, A. D. (Eds.). (2013). Research methodology in second-language acquisition. Routledge.

Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R., & DeVault, M. (2015). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.

Tuohy, D., Cooney, A., Dowling, M., Murphy, K., & Sixsmith, J. (2013). An overview of interpretive phenomenology as a research methodology. Nurse Researcher, 20(6), 17-20.

VanPatten, B., & Williams, J. (Eds.). (2014). Theories in second language acquisition: An introduction. Routledge.

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