Qualitative Research Methods in Hospitality Sector

Qualitative research stands out as the ultimate nexus of continuity in the research continuum by virtue of the continuous nature of its theoretical constructs. To this end, I do agree with Denzin & Lincoln’s (1994) assertion that “qualitative research is primarily driven by a series of essential tensions, contradictions, and hesitations that work back and forth among competing definitions and conceptions of the field” (p. 139).

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It serves as the platform for multidimensional approaches to the inquiry of theoretical constructs, such as critical theory and constructivism (Punch, 1998). My thoughts about qualitative research have changed since learning more about it because I have come to appreciate its diversity in terms of its theoretical constructs with respect to paradigms, data approaches, and data analyses. This is because qualitative research fundamentally involves summarizing of meaning, categorizing of meaning, and structuring of meaning using narratives (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009).

These thoughts do relate to my worldviews on critical theory and constructivism as the basic platforms that define theoretical constructs. As such, I would employ strategies such as incisive review of existing and emerging literature as well as the expanded use of computer-aided qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) to expand my knowledge and understanding of qualitative research.

It is important for research to have an understanding of other methodologies because different methodologies prescribe different and definitive approaches to research. For example, there are numerous fundamental differences between qualitative research and quantitative research methodologies with respect to the diversity of research constructs (Punch, 1994). Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill (2009) indicated that qualitative research is primarily dependent on conceptualization and postulates multiple paradigm positions that generate the basis for the research inquiry, debate, and discussion.

Quantitative research, on the other hand, articulates a positivistic stand through the use of outright numerical results (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). In this example, the quantitative research methodology tends to impose imperative limitations rather than opening up debates in the construction of concepts and measurement of variables. Therefore, an understanding of these methodologies enables a researcher to observe the definitive prescriptions of each methodology, both when using one methodology or combined methods.

Rapid expansions in the hospitality industry in the 2000s decade have led to increased competition. This has prompted many business establishments in the industry to embrace competitive advantage strategies such as customer loyalty programs with the objective of pursuing and retaining industry leadership (Petersen et al., 2008; Thomson & Gamble, 2008). This research evaluates the impact of customer loyalty programs in retaining and expanding the market share of hotel operators. The research methodology will involve a critical literature review followed by data collection and sampling. A group focus study will be conducted on two groups of customers (Denzil & Lincoln, 1994).

The first group will comprise customers who have subscribed to hotel customer loyalty programs, while the second group will comprise customers that are yet to subscribe to the loyalty programs. The two groups will be composed of a minimum of 50 participants of either sex per group and a total of 100 participants for two groups. The subject of the research will be validated by redefining the important functional aspects of customer relationship management with reference to information databases, including books, journal publications, and websites, in addition to appraising indispensable data sources.

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Determination of significant differences between the two main focus groups will be attained by applying a design that will allow the drawing of repeated measures to track variations. Data will be collected through questionnaires and literature review with the objective of enhancing quality reprisal (Denzil & Lincoln, 1994). The direct approach will be supplemented by other data collection techniques with particular emphasis on the Delphi survey technique so as to access expert opinions.

List of References

Barsky, J. (2012). “Hotel loyalty programs offered by chains and independents are growing in popularity.” Web.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln Y. S. (eds.). (1994). Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Petersen, J. K., Handfield, R.B., Lawson, B., & Cousins, P. D. (2008). Buyer dependency and regional capital formation: The mediating effects of socialisation process and supplier integration. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 44(4): 53-65.

Punch, K. F. (1998). Introduction to social research: Quantitative and qualitative research approaches. CA: Sage.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2009). Research methods for business students, (5th ed.). Essex, England: Prentice Hall.

Thomson, A. A. & Gamble J. E. (2008). Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases (16th ed.). London: Rutledge.

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