Research in the field of tourism has not been very important until the early nineteen seventies; it has begun to spread only since that time. Marketing research is a broad concept including various techniques, but a main distinction should be done between quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative techniques describe variables by assigning a number representing an attitude, opinion or motivation- which can be statistically analyzed. In contrast, qualitative research focuses on attitudes, opinions and motivations in the words of each respondent, but without quantifying it. Quantitative methods have always dominated in tourism, as it often appears as more reliable, since it is based on facts that can be observed, and then analysed. However, qualitative techniques have become to be more and more used for the last decade. Each technique has obviously specific advantages and drawbacks; that is why it is necessary to examine both in different contexts, especially in tourism research. As Alf H. Walle reported in his report called Quantitative versus Qualitative Research in Tourism, plurality of equally valid research strategies exist within tourism. Choice must be thus determined according to the situation in which the research takes place.
[...] The names differ, but the idea here is always the same: depending on the research needs, qualitative and quantitative techniques must, to prove useful, be used in combination and can't be considered as isolated methods. As Walle reported in his “Quantitative versus qualitative tourism research” report, the purpose of qualitative research is provide information for developing further quantitative research”. Qualitative techniques should therefore be used to frame or enrich quantitative data, or to test hypotheses, concepts and theories. The study edited by M. [...]
[...] In this case, both qualitative and quantitative techniques have played a specific role, and this research couldn't have been carried out otherwise due to the complementarity of both methods. Another study where qualitative research has been used as a frame before the quantitative analysis can be cited as an example. N. Rao's Tourism in South Asia” report used qualitative techniques to understand who sex tourists are, and why they behave so. The results showed they were in most cases ethno-centric, chauvinistic, male-determined and patriarchal. [...]
[...] Another example of quantitative research in tourism is the report called Evaluation of Models of Human Decision Making for predicting Leisure Choice Behaviour” which has been written by BL Driver USDA, Edwin E. Krumpe and Wej Paradice. The purpose here was to increase predictability about leisure choices, by focusing on six generics models of decision making, which are the followings: the basic-multiple-attribute model, the Fishbein- Ajzen model, the conjoint model, the discrete choice model, the Lens model and finally the lexicographic model. [...]
[...] Fourthly, factor analysis and cluster analysis are two other important quantitative techniques that can be useful for tourism research method. Factor analysis's goal is to identify the underlying dimension in a data and to reduce the number of variables by eliminating redundancy. Factor loadings, scores and variance thus explain percentages. However, subjectivity is a problem when it comes to interpret the number of factors. To face this limitation, cluster analysis can be a good research tool: it consists in grouping objects or people into clusters, with an eventual additional information such as the distance of each object to the centre of its cluster, or to the centre of the next closest cluster. [...]
[...] Walle describes in his report called “Quantitative versus Qualitative Research in Tourism” as degree to which the investigator allows and encourage a connectedness with the subject or entity” is a very important concept. The data gathering techniques are also a determinant issue as well as the overall role of the investigator in the research. Another main issue in marketing concerns the nature of research itself: it can indeed be exploratory, descriptive or causal. Exploratory research seeks insights with little or no prior knowledge, it “explores”. [...]
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