This part of the dissertation shall discuss the research methods available for the study and what is applicable for it to use. Likewise, the paper shall present how the research will be implemented and how to come up with pertinent findings. This paper will determine the competitive advantage of London College of Accountancy as perceived by its owner and staff.
Method of Research Used
For this study, the descriptive research method will be utilised. In this method, it is possible that the study would be cheap and quick. It could also suggest unanticipated hypotheses. Nonetheless, it would be very hard to rule out alternative explanations and especially infer causations. Thus, this study used use the descriptive approach. This descriptive type of research utilises observations in the study. To illustrate the descriptive type of research, Creswell (1994) guided the researcher when he stated: Descriptive method of research is to gather information about the present existing condition.
The purpose of employing this method is to describe the nature of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study and to explore the cause/s of particular phenomena (Guilford, J.P. and B. Fruchter 1973). The researcher opted to use this kind of research considering the desire of the researcher to obtain first hand data from the respondents so as to formulate rational and sound conclusions and recommendations for the study.
To come up with pertinent findings and to provide credible recommendations, this study utilised two sources of research: primary and secondary. Primary research data will be obtained through this new research study. In-depth interview will be conducted. On the other hand, the secondary research data will be obtained from previous studies on the same topic.
The primary sources of data came from the conducted by the researcher. The secondary sources of data will be based on published articles from organisational competitive advantage and management, books and related studies on the organisational management and strategies.
The researcher utilised random sampling in choosing subjects or respondents for the topic at hand, is usually thought of to have the power over who the respondents of the study will be. Such a task would have been easier, except a researcher cannot simply choose out of whim; the subjects must be selected carefully with the intention of having subjects who each posses characteristics that, when put together, will represent a community. It is not only themselves, whom these subjects will represent, but the bigger whole or the whole population. The characteristics which the researcher has chosen them for will determine which part of the community they belong and what part of the community they are representing. Thus, the choice of the subjects must be based on their characteristics.
For this study, it is necessary to collect information from the owner and staff of London College of Accountancy. To attain the reliability and validity of the research, twenty (20) respondents will be considered as the population for the study. The random sampling technique will be imposed in the study to pick up these respondents, mainly because the availability of the respondents will be considered. Basically, the 20 respondents are chosen in order to determine the effect and validity of the study. In addition, the 20 samples will be chosen with the help of Slovin's formula. Thus, the sample size of the population in this paper will be determined by Slovin's formula. The formula of Slovin illustrated in the paper of
n = a sample size
N= population size
e= desired margin of error (percent allowance for non-precision because of the use of the sample instead of the population).
This part of the study is important because the most important data needed to fulfill the objectives of this study will only be supplied by the respondents from these associations.
For the face-to-face interview part, open-ended questions will be used to obtain as much information as possible about how the interviewees feel about the research topic. The researcher will interview 20 purposively selected individuals in the London College of Accountancy. The researcher will design a semi-structured interview. Using this type of interview enables the researcher/interviewer probe deeper on the issues of competitive advantage of the college. Unlike structured interviews which are standardised and do not allow the interviewer to deviate from the questions (Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill, 2003), this type of interview does not limit response of the interviewees.
Open questioning, in addition, will help me explore the topic and produce a fuller account. In this case, interviewees are encouraged to clarify vague statements and to further elaborate on brief comments. The researcher will not also share her own beliefs and opinions so as not to influence the answer of the interviewee. Importantly, the researcher will avoid leading questions and showing personal bias as these may result to interviewee or response bias (Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill, 2003).
In this interview, the distribution and collation methods that will be used to manage the process will ensure anonymity. A cover letter will explain to them what the research is all about and how the researcher intends to regard the survey with high confidentiality. The results from the interview will be given in question and answer format; while the results of questionnaire survey would be presented in the tabular form with a few graphical representations. The questionnaire will be given at the appendix. Content analysis will be drawn from the interviews to identify the competitive advantage of the college.
As previously stated, open-ended questions will be used to obtain as much information as possible about how the interviewee feels about the research topic. Interviews took between one and two hours. The questions being used during the interview have been based on the research questions for this project, they have been reviewed, refined and approved by the project supervisor. The researcher designed a semi-structured interview. Here, the researcher encouraged the interviewee to clarify vague statements and to further elaborate on brief comments. The interviewer did not share his/her own beliefs and opinions.
Validation and Administration of the Instrument
For validation purposes, the researcher initially submitted a sample of the set of interview questionnaires and after approval; the initial interview will be conducted to the two staff of the college. After the questions were answered, the researcher asked the respondents for any suggestions or any necessary corrections to ensure further improvement and validity of the instrument. Basically, this dissertation aims to determine the competitive advance of the organisation. Afterwards, the researcher again examined the content of the interview questions to find out the reliability of the instrument. The researchers then excluded irrelevant questions and changed words that would be deemed difficult by the respondents, to much simpler terms. The researcher excluded the two respondents who will be initially used for the validation of the instrument. The researcher also noted and recorded all the responses in the provided interview questions.