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Business Research Methods: Research

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  1. Introduction
  2. The research philosophy - positivism and interpretivism
  3. Positivist research
  4. Interpretive research
  5. Conclusion

This assignment presents the structure of two different research projects, which investigate the same topic. Both of these projects are designed to explore the brand management in small firms. A positivist approach is taken to design the first research and the second one is designed from interpretivist position. The assignment also provides a comparison between positivism and interpretivism and identifies the extreme differences between these two philosophies.

One of the main differences between positivism and interpretivism might be found in their perception of the world. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (1991), for positivists the world is external and objective, while interpretivists regard it as socially constructive and subjective. They also state that the positivist researcher is independent from what is being observed and on the contrary when taking an interpretivism approach for research, the observer interacts with subject being observed. Furthermore, positivists focus on facts and aim to identify causal explanations and fundamental laws, while interpretivists concentrate on meanings and try to understand what is happening.

[...] The research should go through the stages of the following structure: 1. Defining the purpose of the research. With respect to the brand management in small firms, it is very interesting to investigate if all of the small enterprises adopt the same strategy or some of them pay more attention and therefore invest more resources in brand management than others. So, this research will be undertaken to answer the question: Why do some small companies make greater investments in brand management than others? [...]

[...] Both of them aim to explore the brand management in small firms, but from different perspectives - positivist and interpretivist. The projects clearly distinguish from each other in terms of the researcher's involvement and interaction, their focus, the methods and techniques which they use and the sample size which they observe. This assignment also shows the different limitations which these two approaches face. References: Aruba Chamber of Commerce [online]. Available at: [Accessed 15.12 .2012]. Central Bureau of Statistics of Aruba [online]. [...]

[...] "'Member checks' are crucial in establishing the credibility of qualitative research" (Pedigo&Marshall, 2009). The application of this method consists of sending the data and the researcher's interpretations back to the participants to confirm them. This mitigates the risk of misunderstanding and wrong interpretation of the information and therefore reduces the errors. With respect to ensuring the auditability of the research, a journal can be created to keep records about the entire research process, including the data collection. This gives an opportunity to third parties to check, track and explore the data at any time if it is necessary and appropriately. [...]

[...] After all the interviews are done and respectively all the data is gathered and before the researcher starts analyzing, the information has to be filtered and the valuable material to be converted into useful units. This process is called coding. "It involves identifying themes, dividing the research material into chunks or units . and allocating the units to the themes." (Fisher, 2010: 199). This process might be executed by using different software. When the coding is finished, all the units are going to be analyzed by applying the content analysis method. [...]

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