1. Introduction to the Chapter
According to Kumar (2008), research methodology refers to a systematic way in which a research is conducted. It is the technique in which an experiment is conducted. Sociologists develop a method based on either qualitative or quantitative research methods such as questionnaires, interviews and secondary data. Through quantitative methods, researchers are able to develop statistic models that are very important in the testing of the hypothesis and explaining one's observations. Qualitative statistical methods are very useful in the provision of detailed accounts on explanations of the observations. Thus, most research experiments use the combination of the two research methods to that the hypotheses are developed and explained vividly in order to achieve the objectives of the experiment.
The methodology enables a writer to obtain and analyze the results of a study. It is very key in research as it forms the basis of credible and accurate results (Sutton and Austin 2015). Thus to ensure that the methodology utilized in a research is not questionable, it is important for the researcher to ensure that every step taken in conducting a study is justified with a written explanation so that the reader can validate whether the data was collected through the accepted practices. There is also a need for a large sample in order to learn of any disparity in the data collected. A good methodology also anticipates problems that may occur during the research and discusses how these problems can be handled to avoid affecting the results of the study.
There are two main types of research methodologies that are widely used in social sciences; empirical-analytical method and interpretive method (Yin 2013). In the empirical-analytical method, the researcher approaches the social science in a similar manner natural science is approached and focusses on the objective, research questions that can be adequately answered with a yes or a no and definition of variables that can be measured. The researchers in this method utilize deductive reasoning and existing theories to formulate hypotheses that are to be tested (Yin 2013). With this approach, researchers tend to focus on explanations of phenomena. The interpretive method aims to comprehend the research phenomenon in a comprehensive method by focusing on the analysis of the mean-making practices of their human subjects and then demonstrating how these practices can be analyzed to provide observable outcomes (Yin 2013). This method allows the researchers to comprehend their connection with the phenomenon under investigation and focuses on subjective knowledge.
Thus, a methodology that will be used to conduct our experiment will be discussed in details and enough information on the participants, data collection method, data analysis and the validity of the study will be discussed. The interpretive research method will be utilized as the research focusses on the practice and impressions of the human subjects. This will enable the researcher to focus on the subjective knowledge on services offered for pets in the hospitality industry.
2. Research process
The research process explains the order of events in which a researcher needs to follow in order to ensure that a research is carried out successfully. In order to ensure that the study was successful, it is important to follow the seven steps in a research process (Engle 2012). The first step involves the identification and the development of the topic of study. The researcher then needs to find the appropriate background information that is necessary for the topic through searching for the keywords. Then the research has to find additional information from catalogue, indexes and additional internet sources. The researcher then needs to evaluate the information and the final step involves citing all the sources of the information.
In this dissertation, we choose to study whether the hospitality industry was offering sufficient services to cater for clients who possess pets. The researcher was motivated by the facts that he had had to shun hotels because they lacked services for pets. The objectives and the hypotheses were formulated after the review of the appropriate literature on the subject. These hypotheses and objectives will provide guidance on the data to be collected and the method of collection. After the data collection, it will be analyzed and conclusions will be made whether the hypotheses were correct or not.
3. Research Philosophy
The research philosophy is pragmatic, due to the ambiguity of the nature of the research topic, combining positivism and interpretive point of view. Since the beginning with the inductive approach of the pet lovers customers perceptions about pets, suggest a broad interpretation which suggested a pragmatic philosophy for the research. The companion animals are extremely important for some people, but not so important for others. The same evidence can be observed following the next stage of the interviewed pet-loving customers, especially when they are asked to make suggestions about hotel services, the same factor which is very meaningful for ones could be irrelevant for others.
In a pragmatic philosophy, the most important determinant is the research question (Li 2016). In this philosophy, Underwood and Isikdag (2009) compare the researchers to architects which use different materials or methods in order to finish the building, in the same way, the pragmatic researcher uses different combinations of methods to find answers to the questions of the research.
What Pet-Lovers customers consider important, and what services are the hotels providing to satisfy this segment of the hospitality industry to lead pet-loving customers to repeat visits or to be loyal to hotels?
Or the same customer can consider the same amenity or service more or less important in the same situation" Pragmatics recognize that there are many different ways to interpreting the world, and undertake research, that is no single point of view can ever give the entire picture, and maybe can have multiple realities". Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill (2012)
The pragmatic philosophy of this research also suggests an objective and subjectivist point of view (axiology), because in this case, the meanings of the Pet-lovers perceptions are more important than it selves. The idea of what is important is created from the perception for each pet-lover customer. As the philosophy of the research is pragmatic, will be used two main different approaches to the theory.
Whereas the theory of the Pet-Lovers customers is formulated with three different variables:
1. Customer satisfaction
2. Hotel services
3. Customer loyalty
Starting from the premise of understanding the pet-loving customers' perceptions about their pets, the theoretical approach in the first instance can be considered inductive. This approach's objective is to generate meanings from the primary and secondary data collection in order to identify patterns and relationships, to build the theory.
In this case, before starting the investigation of what, pet lovers consider important when traveling with their pets, was considered important first, analyze what pets or companion animal really mean for their owners. As this research has also the aim, to find out if, the hospitality industry pet-friendly services, are satisfactory for their guests, have acknowledged of what people feel related to their pets, is indispensable to provide the experience who guests nowadays are looking for. Both premises can be considered inductive because the theory is still unknown. The inductive reasoning has its foundations on learning from experience. In this reasoning, the researcher aims to develop a new theory from the analysis of the available data. Patterns are observed and followed in order to generate theories or reach the conclusions (Li 2016).
The first patterns in this inductive approach are the customers' perceptions about their pets, in the other hand in the second stage, where is analyzed which services pet lovers consider important when traveling with their pets, the approach can be considered abductive. The data collection in this approach is used to explore a phenomenon, identifying themes and patterns.
until this moment is still unknown which are the pet-friendly services that pet lovers consider important when traveling with their pets, that's means that this phenomenon still has to be studied to identify the patterns and themes, therefore, can be constructed the hypothesis, to be tested through data collection. Therefore, generate a theory or modifying the existing theory about pet lover's customers' satisfaction in the hospitality industry.
The third stage of the research is focused on testing if one or more of the pet-friendly services of the hotels could result in repeated visits or loyalty to the pet-loving customers. In this stage the approach is deductive. A deductive approach is concerned with "developing a hypothesis based on existing theory, and then designing a research strategy to test the hypothesis", In other words, the deductive approach is concerned with deducting conclusions from premises or propositions (Li 2016).
The deductive approach of this study follows the stages mentioned above:
a) Theory: Pet-friendly services in the hospitality industry could lead to a repeat visit and increased loyalty by pet lovers.
Hypothesis 1: Lower pet-friendly rate could lead pet-loving customers to loyalty.
Hypothesis 2: Accessibility for the pets to most of the hotel areas could lead pet-loving customers to loyalty.
Hypothesis 3: Good attention for pet loving customers and their pets could lead to loyalty.
Hypothesis 4: Pet-friendly amenities, such as bowls, toys, bed and blanked could lead pet lovers customers to loyalty.
Another characteristic that justifies this approach as deductive in the third stage is that there are plenty of sources collected with the primary and secondary data
C) Observation: Through primary data collection.
d) Examination or testing the results of primary data collected: Confirmation or rejection of the theory.
e) Modifying theory in instances when the hypothesis is not confirmed.
4. Research Design
To start the research has been selected a target population of pet lover's customers between ages from 18 until 70 years. The group was composed of Latin American men and women who occasionally or frequently use to holidays in hotels in Panama. The interview was designed with questions to understand how important the pets are for their owners and understand how owners expect to be treated in pet-friendly hotels and if the services provided by the hotels are satisfactory or not to these pet owners.
The interview was conducted in public places such as Parque Omar, Ave. Balboa where families and tourists visit to relax or exercise, on weekends in their pet walking time, to avoid superficial answers due to the rush. The group of interviewed people is living in Panama, and all answers were based on Panamanian pet-friendly hotels experiences. The number of the participants was 30, with interviews lasting approximately 15 minutes with everyone.
Respondents were asked first if they have been with their pets in a pet-friendly hotel before if the answer was affirmative, the interview followed the next step. The people who had not visited pet-friendly hotel were disqualified for the next part of the interview. However, those who did not qualified to the interview, due to pet- friendly inexperience, were counted to have an idea of the percentage of pet owners who use the pet-friendly services of the hotels, in Panama and the percentage of pet lovers who would like to use the service in the future....
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