CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY
This chapter presents the research design and methods used, sampling design, research instrument, administering the instrument, and statistical treatment. These are essential in gathering information in order to attain the research goals and objectives, answer the questions raised in the first chapter and to come up with sound conclusions and recommendations for future research directions in the housing and real estate industry, for the marketing industry in Dubai, and for the students and researchers who are conducting studies on the impact of population in the housing market and related fields.
3.1 Research Design
This study uses qualitative and quantitative data in discussing and answering the research questions and in attaining its objectives regarding the impact of population on the expansion and development of housing market in Dubai. Specifically, it deploys applied research design. Applied research is conducted in either a laboratory or in the field (specific area or location that is appropriate for the study). It is done through observation or self-report. It can be either positivist (quantitative) or constructivist (qualitative). Applied research tends to be done in field or natural settings, often by using self-reports of the participants. Its primary goal is to solve a specific problem. This research design is intended to promote a broad vision of psychology, and more importantly for human factors. It is also applied to determine possible solutions to improve human condition.
Applied research is chosen for this study in order to solve the problem in the housing shortage in Dubai just like in many cities in the United Arab Emirates and in other parts of the Arabia due to population increase (Martin, 2003; Oman, 2004; Siddiqi, 2007). Applied research attempts to represent human behavior in its internal and external environment. Hoffman and Deffenbacher (1993) suggested that the more realistic the settings for the research are, the more effective is the outcome of the applied research process. Applied research attempts to answer specific questions based on the limited context in order to choose the most appropriate steps in and alternatives in conducting the study. This type of research is beneficial in the human-factors community since it allows designers, planners, and researchers to make decisions for problems that involve highly context-specific questions which cannot be answered by merely examining the existing sources in the literature (Rouse, 1985). There is no need to understand and determine which interface is better.
Applied research falls on the market-oriented end of the continuum but it is not at the end of that part of the continuum. Development serves as the pole of market-oriented activities (Vicente, 1994, p. 81). Using this method, the researcher would be able to describe and analyze quantitative information that leads to the development of qualitative information that contributes to the attainment of research aims and objectives. Thus, conclusions and recommendations as the outcome of this research would be provided as direction for future related studies and the improvement of the selected industry and organizations’ marketing strategies.
3.2 Research Approach
Along with applied research approach, this study employs descriptive type of research. Descriptive research does not involve experimentation but rather conducts a careful observation and description of an event or situation. The goal of descriptive research is to collect information about the current existing situation (Creswell, 2001). It aims to seek knowledge about the fundamental characteristics of a phenomenon being studied before theorizing about it (Birmingham & Wilkinson, 2003). Describing the nature of a phenomenon when static and in a static context, typically using data collection tools in standardized ways, is the purpose of descriptive research (Anastas, 1999).
However, descriptive research alone is not sufficient in the formulation of conclusions so there is a need to go further to draw conclusions (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003). Therefore, this study extended from being descriptive to being analytical, by analyzing and evaluating data and then synthesizing ideas since qualitative and quantitative data are equally important in this study. Therefore, the multi-method or mixed method approach (the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods) is used to interpret and analyze data. The rationale for this approach is explained in the succeeding paragraphs.
The mixed methods approach proposes that traditional scientific approaches (quantitative) and their alternatives (qualitative) have their place and should be valued. In fact, there is no single approach in conducting a research that fits a particular goal and attain its overall objective. It is important to consider that the methods to be used must be appropriate for the questions and specific goals of the study. All research approaches have particular advantages and disadvantages since no single research method is ultimately superior from any other approaches (Barker, Pistrang, & Elliott, 2002, p. p. 245). Instead of focusing on one approach or compromising the advantages of one approach from the other, it is better integrate the qualitative and quantitative research approaches with their different methods in order to produce positive results (Tebes & Kraemer, 1991).
Basically, the quantitative approach pursues facts and is employed when researchers desire to acquire statistical truth. It assumes that the social environment has objective reality that is relatively constant across time and settings (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003). According to Amaratunga et al., (2002) quantitative research design is used to determine the truth-value of something being examined for a particular purpose and to allow use appropriate treatment of data for comparing, quantitatively analyzing, verifying the reliability of data.
The dominant methodology in the quantitative approach is to describe and explain features of the objective reality by collecting numerical data on observable behaviors of samples and by subjecting these data to statistical analysis. Neutral and scientific language must be used in quantitative research to attain reliable facts (Smith, 1983). This means that the research itself must be expressed by universally acceptable digits. Objectivity of the research is emphasized by using neutral scientific language. The researcher, therefore, becomes an objective observer, or an outsider to the research (Carr & Kemmis, 1986).
One criticism of the quantitative research approach is that the researcher’s perspective is not considered in the explanation of the research. Clearly, there are limitations in a numerical presentation in the complexity of human behavior. The quantitative research approach often has difficulties in expressing the problems particularly if the researcher deals with the psychological dimensions in human beings. Moreover, even though the quantitative research approach seeks objective value, the complexity of the society, changes over time, and cultural differences make it impossible for all research to be value neutral (Gall, Gall & Borg, 2003).
On the other hand, the qualitative approach aims to discover meanings and interpretations by studying cases intensively in natural settings and by subjecting the resulting data to analytic induction. Qualitative approach recognizes the focal importance of the researchers’ viewpoint and is used when researchers want to observe in detail their own research viewpoint. Qualitative research assumes that individuals construct reality in the form of meanings and interpretations, and that these constructions tend to be transitory and situational (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003).
In fact, it is debated whether neutral value research exists at all in a complex modern society. While the quantitative research approach provides generalizability, it is difficult in the qualitative research approach to generalize to other research settings mainly because it is limited by the researcher’s unique viewpoint. In other words, theoretical model developed for one research project is difficult to generalize to other research projects.
Considering the strengths and weakness of quantitative and qualitative approaches, the current research employed the principles of both quantitative and qualitative research approaches. Central to the discussion of the rationale behind the mixed methods strategy is the fact that knowledge is accumulated from a variety of sources in a variety of ways, thus, methodological diversity (Fiske & Shweder, 1986) is needed.
3.3 Research Questions
This study seeks to answer the following research questions:
1) What is the annual population of Dubai? Does it constantly increase?
2) How much population increase is recorded in Dubai in terms of percentage?
3) What is the impact of population increase in Dubai’s real estate and housing market?
4) Are there current problems in Dubai’s housing industry when it comes to price, space, and appropriateness to consumers? What can be done to solve these problems?
5) What are the most appealing and in demand type of housing projects In Dubai at present and in the next ten years?
3.4 Research Methods
Since this study aimed to examine a particular group of individuals, direct-data survey are employed to provide additional information from the results of the literature review in order to answer the research questions.
3.4.1 Case Study
The study will be using a case study method to carry out its objectives. A case study research method provides a systematic and organized way of collecting data, analyzing information, reporting the results, looking at events, and detecting patterns of behavior in their natural setting (Feagin, Orum, & Sjoberg, 1991; Benett & George, 1997; Merriam, 1998). The case study will be realized in this current research through surveys.
In gathering primary data, researchers need to consider the most appropriate and practical tools. For this study, primary data were collected through survey. Survey is a common and popular strategy in marketing research because it enables researchers to collect a massive amount of data and information from a sizeable population in a very economical way. In a survey research, data are obtained through reference materials, survey questionnaires and interviews (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003). Surveys include both the associational and comparative approaches. Most studies also have some descriptive questions, so it is common for published studies to use three approaches or even more (Gliner & Morgan, 2000). According to Brubaker & Thomas (2000) survey methods involve gathering information about a topic from a variety of sources, then reporting a summary of the findings. Two types of survey will be conducted such as direct-data type of research and desk research or literature-review survey type.
184.108.40.206 Questionnaire Survey
Conducting a questionnaire survey allows the researcher to reduce cost and minimize time. Compared to the traditional mail survey and ambush survey, online survey is more practical. The researcher will design a questionnaire survey that aims to: answer the research questions; identify housing trends and demands in Dubai; determine the problems encountered in the housing industry; and identify marketing opportunities in the real estate and housing industry in Dubai. The self-administered survey will be comprised of a set of attitude statements that seek to determine the level of agreement or disagreement using a five-point Likert scale with numerical value ranging from one to five with corresponding interpretation (Table 1). The Likert Scale technique allows the researcher to gather data in terms of the respondent’s agreement and disagreement (Anderson, 1998). The questionnaire will also include multiple choice questions and ranking items which are more appropriate for specific information.
Semi-structured interview will be used to provide a qualitative dimension. It is the primary tool for supporting, clarifying and verifying the result of the survey conducted. Unlike structured interviews which are standardised, disabling the interviewer to deviate from the interview questions, semi-structured interviews do not limit the response of the participants (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003). Open-ended questions ill also be asked to help the researcher explore and investigate the topic more fully. All interviews will be carried out through a face-to-face interaction.
220.127.116.11 Desk Research
There are a plethora of primary and secondary data sources from the literature. Primary data will be taken from the fist-hand account of research findings or references whose authors originally wrote the data source. Secondary data, on the other hand, is said to be obtained through desk research which includes citations for previous studies (Ruskin-Brown 1999). Desk research method provides researchers enormous economic benefits. One important advantage of desk research over other research strategies is that it is practical. It is a faster and more economical means of gathering information and is more uncomplicated to carry out compared with field research.
For the current research, the secondary sources of data were collected from articles in marketing, government and international statistics, and housing and real estate journals, magazines, current events news, and books.
3.5 Research Philosophy
There are numerous reasons why an understanding of the research philosophy is important. Clarifying philosophical assumptions related to personal values is seen as useful when planning a research study. In other words, stating researchers own philosophical stance. Easterby-Smith et al. (1997) identify three reasons why the exploration of research philosophy may be significant with particular reference to research methodology. Firstly, this can help the researcher to refine and specify the research methods to be used in a study, that is, to clarify the overall research strategy to be used. This would include the type of evidence gathered and its origin, the way in which such evidence is interpreted, and how it helps to answer the research questions posed. Secondly, knowledge of research philosophy will enable and assist the researcher to evaluate different methodologies and methods and avoid inappropriate use and unnecessary work by identifying the limitations of particular approaches at an early stage. Thirdly, it may help the researcher to be creative and innovative in either selection or adaptation of methods that were previously outside the researcher’s experience.
The research philosophy used in this study is positivism, which emphasizes the observable social reality (Remenyi et al., 1998). Like any other research philosophies, the methods used in a positivist research are not that flexible and they are artificial, ineffective in making the processes or their importance clear, limited in generating theories since these methods focus on the existing information or phenomenon instead of looking beyond and thinking of the changes and actions that can be done for the future. Despite the weaknesses, positivism allows the researcher an array of strategies in dealing with situations. Conducting research through a positivist paradigm makes is parsimonious and time-saving. Despite the wide range of samples required for statistical treatment, this philosophy brings considerable relevance in for standards and criteria in decision-making (Amaratunga et al., 2002, p. 20).
In a positivist philosophy, the researcher becomes an objective analyst, providing detached interpretations about those data that have been collected in an apparently value-free manner (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003). In addition, the emphasis is on a highly structured methodology to facilitate replication (Gill and Johnson, 1997) and on quantifiable observations that lend themselves to statistical analysis (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003). Here, the assumption is that the researcher is independent of, and neither affects nor is affected by the subject of the research (Remenyi et al., 1998).
3.6 Research Sample
For this study, 200 real estate brokers and clients in Dubai will be approached to answer the questionnaires through e-mails. The researcher will explain to the respondents the nature of the study. In the survey, the respondents will be asked to respond to questions regarding housing trends and preferences of most residents when it comes to housing based on their lifestyle, income, economic status, availability, location, etc.
Seventy-five percent of the questionnaires, which will be randomly chosen, will be considered for the analysis since some respondents would not be able to submit on time and fail to or intend not to answer all the questions. For the interview, five individuals from government officials, marketing executives, and investors will be recruited to be personally interviewed.
3.8 Administration of the Research Tools
Upon approval of the final copy of questionnaires, the author will distribute them to the respondents identified in the research sample section. They will be given u to three weeks to answer the questionnaire in order to ensure quality. After the collection the completed questionnaires, the responses will be tallied and computed for interpretation and analysis.
3.9 Statistical Treatment of Data
The respondents’ answers will have corresponding numerical equivalent which will be used for the computation in order to determine their general perceptions about a particular item. The total numerical values will be calculated through percentage and weighted mean.
Table 1. The Likert Scale
4.01 – 5.00
3.01 – 4.00
2.01 – 3.00
1.01 – 2.00
0.01 – 1.00
Percentage is used as descriptive statistics, which is relating a part to the whole while the weighted mean (Fig. 2) is used to approximate the general response of the survey samples for their agree or disagreement. The weighted mean is computed through the various quantities assigned various weights (Rider, 2003, p.13).
Fig 2. Computing for the Weighted Mean
Where: w i – weight given to each response
X i – number of responses
Σ w i – total number of responses
This study primarily aims to examine the impact of population on housing industry in Dubai. In this chapter, the research design and methods to be used for the attainment of its goals and objectives are identified, described and justified. Qualitative and quantitative approaches are seen to be more appropriate than the use of a single research approach since the topic for this study needs both quantitative and qualitative analyses of data to come up with desirable outcomes. Using appropriate research methods like surveys and case study, the researcher will be able to gather information which will answer the questions and will then be analyzed. The findings of this study is deemed significant for the people and economy of Dubai because the availability of accurate data, critical analysis of the current situation of the real estate and housing industry, and intelligent predictions would provide community developers and policy makers to control and mitigate the current as well as possible risks in the future.
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