Qualitative Research on the Gender Perception of E-Commerce

Research methodology

The research methodology that will be chosen for the research proposal will be phenomenology. It refers to the narration of experiences in the perspective of the first person. Phenomenology best reflects the research topic because it applies the aspect of first-person narration. To identify the relationship between the dependent and independent variables, primary data will be collected. In the research proposal, the issues affecting men and women in the field of e-commerce will be explored using phenomenology tools. This methodology helps direct the intentions of research into a certain subject.

As such, a certain object is discussed, to examine all aspects surrounding it and the content of the object is explored to identify the in-depth meaning. This ensures that all conditions surrounding an object are well explained to ensure that the reader understands the entire process. In this research, the aspect of gender differences on the perception of e-commerce has been explored. Phenomenology has been applied in research for a long period.

The use of phenomenology came into use in the 20th century, and it has to do with first-hand experiences of individuals who were part of the situation (Sion, A. (2003). Therefore, various theories about gender differences in e-commerce have been provided. It is the research that seeks to find out the real lived experiences of individuals and the essential truths that would rather be lost in translation within secondary sources (Munhall & Chenail, 2008).

Justification of the research approach

The phenomenological approach is particularly appropriate and effective in this research process. Since Phenomenology has to do with first-hand experiences of individuals, it will help identify the feelings of the respondents about the topic of e-commerce. It is particularly appropriate for the topic and the problem in question because the researcher will need to get the personal experience of both men and women with technology. The approach is also thorough, rigorous, and accurate. In addition, it will help create a proper link between the variables to be used in this research (Lewin & Somekh, 2005).

The researcher will uncover the real environment surrounding gender parity in e-commerce between male and female managers in organisations. Using this approach, prior assumptions that might have been created will be avoided. The researcher will capture the real feelings of the respondents involved from an extremely basic point of view, as opposed to second-hand information that might be modified and altered (Lewin & Somekh, 2005).

Why it is suitable for the research

This research will entail gathering information about the perception of e-commerce by both men and women managers in organisations. The phenomenological approach is the most suitable since it will assist in the gathering of direct first-hand information from the respondents. The approach will seek to describe, in a vivid way, lived experiences without any previous assumptions about these experiences. This means that the conclusions will be objective and not subjective in any way. The approach of research is descriptive and inductive and gathers information as it is (Drummond, 2002).

The phenomenological approach to research deals with getting down to the level of the involved stakeholders in a certain phenomenon. Going to the field to gain feedback first-hand from the individuals involved could also be used as an advertising tool. It can be used as a way of creating and spreading awareness about a certain phenomenon (Drummond, 2002). This includes trying to get the opinions of a certain individual about an organization and creating awareness of the existence of the organization. In this case, the individual becomes aware of things he or she did not know and creates some interest in the subject in question. Such an individual is sure to check out the phenomenon and know more about it. That is an advertisement in itself for the businesses involved. The phenomenological approach of research can thus be viewed as achieving two goals at the same time for the company; getting first-hand information from the stakeholders and promoting the company.

Ontological, epistemological, axiological, and rhetorical assumptions that led to the methodological assumptions

Goodin (2009) describes ontological assumptions as those that deal with the nature of individuals and the world in social contexts. These assumptions define the nature of social reality. These assumptions are independent of the surrounding environment. This means that various researchers can have different conclusions for the observations made on a certain phenomenon. In this research, ontology deals with the existence of the phenomenon in a social context while phenomenological assumptions seek to get the real feel of the situation. Real opinions about the use of technology in business must be collected from both male and female managers in this research (Parse & National League for Nursing, 2001).

In this research paper, there is an ontological assumption that men tend to be well acquainted with technological changes in management. On the other hand, women are passive in detecting technological changes in the management arena. Various researchers can develop different hypotheses from the research topic. This shows that the ontological assumptions are applicable in this research process.

Epistemological assumptions are concerned with how information is attained (Goodin, 2009). These assumptions are concerned with the nature of the data being acquired and how it is validated. Since the phenomenological approach is in use, epistemology ensures that knowledge is gathered and validated first-hand by the male and female entrepreneurs using technology in their businesses. This means that data to be used will be acquired directly from the men and women who own businesses that use technology in their operations and not just existing scientific facts. The findings are, therefore, likely to be subjective and not existing scientific facts (Valsiner, 2009).

In axiological assumptions, there is the exclusion of values. Axiology views values as a cause to the clouding of the researcher’s view of reality (Mertens, 2009). This places a considerable emphasis on the social nature of qualitative research that does not depend on existing facts but seeks to dig deeper to find the real aspects of the phenomenon in question. This research depends entirely on the feedback received from the male and female respondents who have had their experiences with technology in E-commerce. This assumption seeks to overlook the aspects of science, logic, reason, evidence and methods and concentrate more on opinion, persuasion, rhetoric and ornamentation. It is the total separation of rhetoric from logic (Goodin, 2009). The rhetorical assumptions in this survey provide that there is a difference in the perception of both men and women on the e-commerce processes applied.

The ontological, epistemological, axiological and rhetorical assumptions all have one thing in common; they seek to find out the real feelings of the respondents and present them as findings. These findings will then be analysed and they are used to affirm or deny the already formed hypothesis of the study. The main hypothesis provides that men and women perceive e-commerce differently. Several assumptions will be developed to support the objectives of the study.

The methodological assumptions deal with the methods used in the collection of data during research. In this research, questionnaires will be applied in collecting data. In addition, interviews and observations will be used in collecting data from the men and women who will be sampled to participate in the research process. Methodological assumptions will be determined by different aspects including the nature of the research, whether it is scientific or social. Therefore, all the other assumptions will contribute to the selection of the suitable methodological assumptions to be used in the research.

Comparing the approach chosen with others

The best qualitative methodology to use in the case of the sampled organizations would be the interview and questionnaires. Where possible, interviews will be conducted where the conversations will be recorded for later analysis. Questionnaires are appropriate since the male and female respondents are busy business managers and probably will not have time for the interviews. Questionnaires will be appropriate in collecting primary data because phenomenology requires that data relate to first person narration. The respondents will be required to provide first-hand information about their experiences with e-commerce.

This information will help develop the analysis about the gender differences in the use of e-commerce. Therefore, questionnaires can be said to be important tools in phenomenology because they help collect first-hand information.

The questionnaires will be distributed, and the respondents will be given time to fill them. The filled questionnaires will then be collected later and the data analysed. The questionnaires will capture quantitative and qualitative data. The qualitative data will have to be converted into quantitative data by the use of scales. A comparison of questionnaires and interviews shows that interviews will collect a lot of information because they will apply face-to-face communication with the respondents. However, the interviews will take a lot of time to conduct compared to questionnaires and the potential respondents might be too busy to hold interviews.

This shows that the interviews will have to be minimised to reduce the time spent to collect data. On the other hand, questionnaires cannot capture all the information required in the analysis of the variables found in this research. Hence, where possible, interviews should be the preferred data collection method (Babbie, 2010).

Another probable methodology that can be used is participative observation. This is where the researcher participates in the everyday lives of the target group she/he wishes to get information from and make conclusions about the areas under research. The researcher can watch the male and female respondents in their places of work and draw his conclusions by observation. The observation that the researcher makes will be compared with the answers provided by the respondents during interviews and in the questionnaires and conclusions will be drawn. Observations might, however, not be remarkably accurate as the observer may be biased due to prior beliefs and stereotypes that he has already formed. One cannot also learn the feelings and opinions of others just by observing. In comparison, an interview allows the interviewees to express exactly how they feel (Jorgensen, 1996).

Observation is not sufficient to collect the required data since it is difficult to tell emotions and opinions just by merely observing. It is also time-consuming to rely on observation. It is easy to get information on someone’s opinion directly from the individuals concerned. Collecting data via observation can also be misleading. A researcher can misinterpret an individual’s actions and behaviour, unlike in questionnaires where the data is analysed through answers provided by the interviewee.

Questionnaires Interviews Observation
Data collection is direct The data is collected directly from the respondents Data has to be collected via the researcher’s eyes. This shows that the data collected is direct
Easy and fast to administer It takes time to interview with all the respondents Slow to undertake and time-consuming.
Follow up is required to collect filled questionnaires. No, follow up is done because the information is collected on the spot. The interviews are recorded, and there is no need No, follow up needed after the collection of data.
Easy to interpret collected data. Data can be difficult to interpret since it may be biased.
Creates awareness about the company. Rarely creates awareness of the company.

Comparing all possible research methodologies and justifying the uniqueness of the methodology chosen for the study

Other methodologies that can also be used are case studies, where the researcher keenly studies his targets over time and makes conclusions about their behaviour. A case study involves analysing a certain organization, or individual to identify the environment surrounding the organization or individual. Even though case studies are remarkably efficient in data collection, they tend to take up a lot of time. The sampled organizations need to make progress and capture the market. It has no time waiting for studies to be made. It needs a fast research methodology that will serve the same purpose, only faster. Therefore, questionnaires are the best option when it comes to collecting data for sampled organizations.

Phenomenology is the best methodology to apply in this case because it allows the use of first person narration when explaining the relationship of variables. In this research, the author seeks to establish the behaviour patterns of men and women about their perception of the use of e-0commerce. This research requires collecting data from the respondents by the use of first person narration. This aspect is only applicable when combined with phenomenological tools. All other research tools cannot create an appropriate reporting mode except phenomenology. In this research, there is a need to understand individuals’ consciousness in real situations and their collective experiences that constitute a rare event. Therefore, phenomenology is the best tool to apply in this research process.

How this methodology will be conducted in the research process

Primary data will be collected to explore phenomenological aspects identified from the field. The primary data will be collected from the respondents to determine the relationship between the variables of the survey. The primary data will be collected by the use of questionnaires and interview sessions. Observation will also be applied in collecting primary data. As such, the researchers will observe the behaviour differences between men and women in regards to the use of e-commerce. The questionnaires will be distributed to the sampled men and women in UAE. The respondents will be given time to answer the questionnaires. The research assistants will then collect the questionnaires after two weeks. Interviews will be conducted in cases where it will not be possible to use the questionnaires.

Primary and secondary data source

Primary data source refers to information that is raw and has not been processed. This is the first-hand information provided by observers or participants during a research process. Testimonies about certain events are reported in primary sources. The facts provided in primary sources are direct evidence from observers or individuals involved in a certain event. Examples of primary data sources include letters, emails, and autobiographies among others.

Primary sources are essential when information concerning a certain topic is not available. In some cases, some topics may have not been researched in the past, and this creates the need to develop information from the scratch. As such, research is supposed to develop primary research to collect data that can be useful. It becomes easier to test the hypothesis of any research when primary data is collected (Kuiper, 2009).

A secondary source is defined as information that has already been collected and processed by other people. This information is used to identify the ideas of another researcher on a certain research topic. They provide a guide to the researcher when developing their research designs. Information from secondary sources is noteworthy because it provides a guide and helps in processing primary data. Information presented in secondary sources is usually presented somewhere else. This shows that the use of a secondary source should provide adequate reference to the author of the source. The author of a secondary source should be given enough credit by referencing all external information used in a research document. Examples of primary sources are books, journals and articles from newspapers, encyclopaedia, websites and others (Stephenson & Thurman, 2007).

Why are these sources considered?

Primary and secondary sources are both exceptionally crucial in the collection of data for the organizations’ research process. Primary sources are significant because they give the researcher the real feelings and opinions of his source of information. Primary sources are an excellent source as they provide the data in its raw nature. In this case, it is easy to get a real sense of the phenomenon in question without getting it from a secondary source.

In qualitative research, every case being studied is unique. Though there might similarities with a situation in the past, the uniqueness of every case is what qualitative research seeks to get. Primary resources provide data that are unique to the situation in question. The primary sources, which can be used in gathering data for the sampled organizations, include the testimonies by the individuals that will be interviewed by the researcher (Gobo, Gubrium & Seale, 2004).

On the other hand, secondary sources should not be overlooked altogether. They also provide particularly valuable information that might be useful to the sampled organizations. Information contained in books can be used to form sound conclusions and explain the results that will be got from the research. Gobo, Gubrium and Seale (2004) say that secondary sources can be used as guidelines while gathering data from primary sources. Therefore, this means that both primary and secondary sources are crucial in the research of the sampled organizations.

How the sources will be accessed

The primary sources are easy to access because the researcher will just have to go directly to the stakeholders of the sample companies and get the data he needs from them. The researcher will seek permission from the management of the sample companies. This will give the researcher the mandate to research the premises of the companies and also book appointments with extremely busy entrepreneurs. This will help distribute the questionnaires easily. The responses obtained will be used to conduct the study. The data collected from respondents will be used for research purposes only. This assurance will be given to respondents to avoid the fear that may be a result of the respondents fearing that the information they give might be used in other activities.

Secondary sources will be accessed from libraries and bookstores. Information that has been written about other companies similar to the sample companies can prove to be immensely useful in data collection for the research. The internet will be the most reliable source of secondary information because it contains up-to-date information. The researcher will conduct Google research to identify various books, journals and other online materials to get the information required in this research. Other online sources such as website information will also be obtained to provide a guide in the research. A comparison of various theories about the research topic will be compared to ensure that adequate literature has been collected to support the research.

My role as a researcher in this process

My role as a researcher will be to gather data from the necessary sources, analyse it, process the data and present the processed information as the findings. In addition, I will coordinate the entire process of collecting primary data. This will be conducted by collaborating with other participants in the research process. In addition, I will sample the companies and individuals to the participant as respondents. I will also communicate with both the male and female business owners to plan for interviews and the presentation of questionnaires in their places of business in a bid to collect the required primary data. I might come across some ethical issues.

Ethics in this research process will involve conducting the exercise in the correct way possible without compromising professional requirements. For one, I might be faced with challenges during the writing stage since I will also be using secondary sources. The issues I might face are paraphrasing, plagiarism and quotation. These are issues that cause problems both to the researcher and the sampled organizations. So the researcher has to ensure that these issues do not interfere with the research. Rules and regulations of writing should be followed, and policies adhered to to ensure everything is done right and nothing sabotages the research.

Data gathering

Data gathering in this research study will be done through an interview with the owners of businesses that make use of technology to run the daily business operations and the filling of questionnaires. The researcher will try as much as possible to get face-to-face interviews with these people and where it is not possible; questionnaires will be left behind for them to fill. The respondents will be required to fill in questionnaires that will be both physical and online and then the filled questionnaires will be collected by the researcher.

What might be the procedure involved: What might be the timeline planned?

For the questionnaires, physical ones can be handed to both male and female managers in their places of business. Some can also be sent online to these respondents where distance is an issue. In this way, the researcher will get feedback from the respondents and use it.

Data analysis

As for the interviews, the researcher has to ensure he is getting genuine information. During the interview, the researcher will ask additional questions to the individuals being interviewed. This is aimed at ensuring that they are telling the truth as most likely people tend to lie to paint themselves in a positive picture. All narrative data in the form of interviews, testimonials and observations by the researcher should be recorded. The recorded information will then be processed to create the resulting information. Data from the questionnaires will be processed, sorted and compiled to come up with conclusions on various issues that are critical in the research procedure (Bernard & Ryan, 2010).

Telling the story

The stories collected from the field will be told through writing a formal report. The report will be presented in the form of chapters. These chapters will be the introduction, review of literature from other theories, methodology, findings and conclusion. Recommendations will also be provided. After analysing the data, there will coding to prepare the processed information for presentation. Thematic coding will be used in this research. This is where the research is captured according to the major themes within the work.

Metaphorical analysis

The metaphorical analysis will be in play here. This is because it is the easiest way to solve any problems that may arise. This involves creating a situation in the abstract, which symbolizes the situation in the real world, then solving problems in the abstract that will reflect in the real world.

Analytical method

The most consistent analytical method to be used here would be the narrative inquiry since a metaphorical analysis is also in play. The importance of narratives in transferring knowledge is immense, and thus it is a reasonable option. This is because the one listening is bound to memory. Apart from capturing the memory, narrative inquiry is also suitable because it can portray and capture feelings and emotions. The situation is not just passive but active. The research is a qualitative one seeking to portray the perceptions and feelings of the stakeholders of the sampled organizations concerning various issues. It has been observed that the narrative provides the inclusion of actions, the ones who acted and the effects that came as a result of these actions. Therefore, the narrative inquiry will bring out these findings to the maximum (Boje, 2001).

The use of probit and logit models in qualitative analysis

To analyse the qualitative aspects of the research, probit and logit models will be applied. These models will help develop the mean observations recorded by the respondents. In addition, the variations from mean and standard deviations will be developed to identify deviations from the standard behaviour. These models will be applicable in this research because it involves the collection and analysis of qualitative data.

The qualitative data will be developed and converted into quantitative data. This will make it possible to analyse the data. The results obtained from the questionnaires and interviews will be fed into the software and run to collect the results (Punch, 2005). The probit and logit models will help determine the relationship in behaviour between men and women as regards the use of e-commerce. Behaviour patterns that will lie far away from the average behaviour shall be rejected. The average behaviour will be determined by the hypothesis to be developed in the research (Field, 2010).

The use of phenomenology will ensure that the study gets the personal touch it requires. Research of this nature cannot be based on scientific facts and evidence. This methodology will give the research and its findings the touch of a social nature that it needs.

The use of questionnaires for the male and female entrepreneurs of Organizations that have adopted the use of technology is the most suitable methodology. This is because such people are usually exceptionally busy running the organisation and also because getting the information from them would be most reliable. Therefore, the questionnaires come in handy as users can fill them online and the researcher can access the data on the website.

This saves on the problem of expenses and time. Conducting the collection of data would be a cumbersome process for the research. This is also an expensive process. Questionnaires also tend to be direct. This means that male and female managers will not have a problem understanding them and providing short, precise answers that will not trouble the researcher trying to make out the meaning. The use of questionnaires can also be applied in the promotion of the company.

Conclusion

Phenomenology will be applied in conducting the research. This is a research method that requires the application of first person narration when reporting the findings of a research. The research methodology describes the research process. Data will be collected by the use of questionnaires and interviews. The analysis section of the data will involve the use of SPSS software. The findings will be analysed and presented in the form of a report. The research questions are an extremely significant part of the whole research process. They guide a researcher and help him not to stray out of the goal of the research. These questions reflect in the whole research process.

The questions also appear in the methodology part of the research. Since the research is supposed to use questionnaires and interviewing as the methodology process, the research questions reflect there too. These questions feature in the questionnaire that respondents are expected to fill and also the interview questions that they will be asked. At the end of the research, the analysis should be conducted to make sure that every research question was answered fully and that a sound and viable conclusion was made. This research methodology provides avenues for future research in that there is a need to identify the behaviour of various research methodologies about phenomenology.

In the field of research, there are various tools of methodology. For example, the application of qualitative and quantitative research in establishing the relationship between the variables identified in this research. The behaviour of the variables applied in the research can be expanded by applying diversified methods. The changes in gender behaviour in the perception of e-commerce can be analysed by the use of many tools.

References

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