Business School for a Masters of Business Administration

Business School for a Masters of Business Administration Order Instructions: Please see below feedback on my outlined proposal to allow me to continue the second half of my proposal.

SUPERVISOR’S FEEDBACK: This has the potential to become a very useful piece of research. The research ought to have been expanded to include:

Business School for a Masters of Business Administration
Business School for a Masters of Business Administration

1 To conduct an external environmental scan to determine the competitive situation [PESTEL and Porter’s diamond or similar]

2 To analyze relevant Governmental policies to determine their impact on the sector.

3. To analyze relevant literature

4. To conduct research and analyze findings

5. To make recommendations etc.

When considering the marketing of services it is recommended that you expand upon the 4Ps to include:

5. People ~ Much of how customers rate the service experience hinges on the person delivering it. Professionalism and courtesy go a long way in any service business. Other attributes become critical depending on what services are being offered — discretion in a psychiatric practice or tact in funeral services, for instance.

6. Process ~ this is the standard operating procedure in delivering the service. Depending upon the situation and location, luxury hotels may require employees to smile, nod, bow, shake hands or otherwise greet guests.

7. Positioning ~ Where the company wants to fit in its industry will determine its marketing positioning strategy. This is determined in large part by which generic business strategy the firm employs. It may determine low costs will be its path to profitability. Or it may decide to pursue differentiation, embedding distinctive benefits into its service. Cost leadership strategies are evident in the company’s promotional materials, physical environment and price.

8. Performance ~ Sometimes called productivity, performance examines how well a company’s services compete in the marketplace. This may include how consistent the service is and how well its features translate into benefits as it is being delivered. A carpet cleaning service may employ state-of-the-art equipment but have trouble attracting repeat customers. The performance also considers how to measure the company’s financial goals and whether they are being achieved.

Your research methodology was basically sound however it is hoped that you will critique the alternative methods available.

Ethical considerations require expansion to include the use of questionnaires and issues pertaining to anonymity or the right of respondents not to participate.


Business School for a Masters of Business Administration Sample Answer

A Dissertation Proposal Presented to the Business School for a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Sales and Marketing


October 2016

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction. 4

1.1 Research Aim: 5

1.2 Research Objectives: 5

1.3 Research Questions: 5

2.0 Literature Review.. 6

2.1 Four PCs. 6

2.2 Internet Marketing. 8

2.3 Mobile Commerce. 9

2.4 Social Media…………………………………………………………………………………9

2.5 An external environmental scan to determine the competitive situation of the retail sector….10

2.5.1 PESTLE Analysis of retail store…………………………………………………………10 Political factors…………………………………………………………………………10 Economic factors………………………………………………………………………10 Social factors…………………………………………………………………………..10 Technological factors………………………………………………………………….11 Environmental factors…………………………………………………………………11 Legal factors……………………………………………………………………………12

2.5.2 Porter’s Five Forces………………………………………………………………………12

2.6 Impact of Government policy on retail sector 13

3.0 Methodology. 15

3.1 Research Philosophy. 15

3.2 Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches…………………………………………………15

3.3 Methods of Data Collection……………………………………………………………….16

3.3.1 Secondary Data………………………………………………………………………………………….. 16

3.3.2 Primary Data……………………………………………………………………….16 Questionnaires……………………………………………………………16 Pros and Cons of Questionnaires………………………………17

3.4 Sampling…………………………………………………………………………………..17

3.5 Reliability and Validity……………………………………………………………………18

3.6 Ethical issues. 18

4.0 To Conduct Research and Analyze Findings…………………………………………………19

5.0 Recommendations……………………………………………………………………………20

6.0 Research Plan…………………………………………………………………………………21

7.0 References……………………………………………………………………………………23

1.0 Introduction

Retailing marketing is the practice of promoting awareness and attention of goods and services to make sales from their clientage. If you are operating a retail business, you need to hold on to customers and follow religiously the four Ps. This is because the principle of 4 Ps helps business owners to know the main foundation of a successful business, with an emphasis of the four Ps that stand for product, price, place, promotion (Ahmed, 2014). Moreover, apart from the imperative role played by the 4 Ps aforementioned above in the strategic positioning of business, when considering the marketing of services, the recommended expansion of the primary 4 Ps should include: people, process, positioning, and performance. Furthermore, notice that customer is the most important person in your business. He holds the key to every successful retail business. Therefore, the business should revolve around the customer (Longfield et al., 2016).

The business needs to know the customer and focus on the customer, to grow your business. Thus, businesses should concentrate on customer service from the first day and keep and take care of that tradition as the business grows. To do this, people need to work together as a team and develop a customer caring culture to do success. A business has to also notice that retail is detail. They should find areas that they need to perfect in detail and focus on improving through a proper understanding of their customers. As a result, in order to achieve this fete, businesses should embark on harnessing the potential inherent in social media marketing that has been attributed to tremendous technological advancements in areas of internet marketing, mobile commerce, and social media. Embracing these digital marketing strategies in collaboration with sales and marketing principles and concepts including appropriate marketing or promotional planning and strategic positioning to achieve a competitive edge in the marketplace can significantly increase sales (Kotler, 2012). This means that optimal marketing potential can be achieved by retail stores in the Caribbean through a balanced mix of sales and marketing models including 4 Ps, Porter’s Five Forces, and PESTEL Analysis in order to succinctly understand the market and competitively deliver products and services to already existing and potential customers. The paper seeks to understand how social media marketing can enhance sales in retail stores in the Caribbean.

1.1  Research Aim

The aim of this study is to investigate how social media marketing can enhance sales in retail stores in the Caribbean.

1.2  Research Objectives

  1. To evaluate the effect of social media on increasing sales in retail stores in the
  2. To determine whether or not social media is the best approach for enhancing sales in the retail business in the
  3. To assess the attitudes and perceptions of customers towards social media marketing by retail stores in the Caribbean.
  4. To identify factors that influence the number of customers reached by owners of retail stores in the Caribbean through social media marketing.

1.3  Research Questions

  1. How effective is social media in modern marketing?
  2. Is social media the best strategy for increasing sales in the retail business in the Caribbean?
  3. What are the attitudes and perceptions of customers towards social media marketing by retail stores in the Caribbean?
  4. What are the factors that influence the number of customers reached by owners of retail stores in the Caribbean through social media marketing?

2.0 Literature Review Business School for a Masters of Business Administration


Customer focus is a crucial part of any thriving business. That focus has to be part of any business. Successful businesses have grown their businesses through defined customer-focused culture. Direct bank and Virgin Atlantic are greater examples of businesses that have done that and they have immensely succeeded (Ahmed, 2014). They are both known for delivering defined and distinct customer experience. Therefore, businesses should concentrate on customer service from the first day and keep and take care of that tradition as the business grows.

To do this, people need to work together as a team and develop a customer caring culture to do success. A business has to also notice that retail is detail. They should find areas that they need to perfect in detail and focus on improving through a proper understanding of their customers. They should focus on those details and aspire to make the details right, learn from mistakes and do not repeat those mistakes, mistakes are okay, but too many mistakes will turn the customers away, understanding those mistakes is key to mastering retail business (Kotler, 2012).

2.1 Four PCs

Businesses should also understand the 4 Ps. This principle helps business owners to know the main foundation of a successful business; the four Ps: product, price, place, promotion (Ahmed, 2014). Moreover, apart from the core 4 Ps aforementioned above that play a fundamental role in the strategic positioning of goods and services during marketing or promotion planning. As a result, when considering the marketing of services, the recommended expansion of the primary 4 Ps should include people, process, positioning, and performance (Kotler, 2012).

  • Product: the products required should be those that customers need to buy, in a good range, satisfy needs and desires of customers and deliver profits to the business.
  • Price: the price should be steady, and meet all necessities of the business. The price should be reasonable to enable your customers to buy your products and help them get the value from your products.
  • Place: you have to offer somewhere where your customers will buy your goods either online or a physical store.
  • Promotion: this involves informing the customers to know that you and your products exist and are obtainable for them to buy. This is very imperative, especially for the Caribbean retail stores where there is high competition since customers will tend to go to retail stores that combine high-quality goods and services with aggressive promotion (Yadav, Joshi & Rahman, 2015).
  • People: this entails the degree at which clients rate service experience, which is often based on the person of people delivering it. Professionalism and courtesy are very important in any business delivering services. In addition, other business attributes become imperative depending on the services provided, and the sensitivity of the business (O’Cass, Heirat & Ngo, 2014).
  • Process denotes the standard followed in providing services, and it involves the standardized procedures of operations that should be adhered to when delivering the services mainly depending upon the situation and location.
  • Positioning; this is a fundamental marketing strategy where a company has to define its positioning approach in order to effectively fit in its industry. According to Hosea (2011), to a significant extent, this is determined by the generic business strategy employed by the firm employs, and in most cases, it depends on the standard business approach used by an organization. A company can either use low prices to remain profitable or differentiation to integrate unique elements in its operations. Alternatively, Kaplan (2012) asserts that cost leadership strategies can play a significant role in ensuring that the products and services offered by Caribbean retail stores remain competitive in the market, especially when appropriately combined with an effective physical location or environment.
  • Performance; this is at times referred to as productivity, and plays an important role in determining how a firm’s products or services compete in the marketplace. It involves the consistency of service delivery as well as efficiency of the translation of inherent features into customer benefits.

To give the best customer service, understanding and knowing your customer is paramount. Then learning to deliver more than what the customer expect by going an extra mile, each delivering a little more than what they expect (Kotler, 2012). Doing this each time will win them and make them loyal for a long period. The location is critical to any business success and it has an important impact on your success. The right place impacts your brand and product strategies.

2.2 Internet Marketing Business School for a Masters of Business Administration

The internet is opening up the world of non-geographic retail especially with the coming mobile commerce. To boost sales the business should focus on the following. With analytics and data metrics, a business can easily track initiated marketing campaigns; set goals and mechanisms to track those goals and do a repeat marketing. Research shows that repeat marketing sells. Do customers follow-up and develop a reward program. This encourages repeat customers. Become a resource by engaging with customers and helping them. Training staff to make sales is also an important reason for success. This helps keep customers loyal since staff are knowledgeable about products and offer the right information required by customers. Develop a target customer and build customer relationship through personal interaction in a bid to develop a long-lasting relationship.

2.3 Mobile Commerce Business School for a Masters of Business Administration

Research shows that information technology plays a pivotal role when it comes to increasing business sales.  With a website that is also mobile friendly, consumers can easily have access not just to the latest brands and designs, but also product reviews that enable them to make critical decisions. According to Longfield et al. (2016), IPhone APPs have changed the way shopping is conducted. Mobile computing presents an edge to the company because, apart from communication, consumers can make purchases through mobile phones.

2.4 Social Media Business School for a Masters of Business Administration

According to Longfield et al. (2016), the prompt development and adoption of social media marketing through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram among others have enabled companies to capture a certain niche of clients. However, companies are also expected to have a glimpse of what is happening on social media platforms to devise the best tactics of marketing their wares. In particular, business should project a good name.

2.5 An external environmental scan to determine the competitive situation of retail sector

2.5.1 PESTLE analysis of rthe etail sector     

Pestle analysis is important when it comes to understanding opportunities. Political factors

Government imposes different regulations for conducting any business venture. Political landscape in any given nation can influence operations and sales in the market. In addition, there are certain trends in retail industry that rely on various national programs that the government integrates in its political activities. Government policies on retailing business, such as environmental laws, interest rates, foreign exchange, and political stability affect the operations of retail industry.

  • Economic factors

A stable economic state of a nation implies the stability of retail sectors. This is becausethe retail industry significantly relies on   efficient supply chain. With proper policies on retail commodities, the economic system of a country will significantly influence not only the supply but also the demand of retail commodities. The integration of political will and stable economic state are vital for effective supply of retail commodities. The economic condition has a huge effect on retail sector. Retail stores are greatly impacted by economic stability, inflation, purchasing behavior and fluctuation in foreign exchange. Social factors on Business School for a Masters of Business Administration

Social changes have contributed to different patterns in purchasing for retail commodities. Currently, customers have varying demands as well as preferences. Moreover, customers are more aware of the varying conditions of retail sector. Clients also prefer branded commodities and want subsidized costs. At the moment, retail products are packaged, an aspect that is regarded as safe and health for use.  Nevertheless, there are various factors including income, demography, age, which directly affect this sector. Following the increased growth of knowledgeable customers, social understanding, and attitude have led to many transformations while shifting their purchasing patterns. As such, retail industry has transformed and currently retail items are accessible not just in strong but also excellent packaging that has elongated their shelf life. Technological factors

The remarkable development of technology has transformed the way in which business activities are conducted. Integration of technology in retail sector has increased. Current technology is used in retail sector to make orders through online platforms.  Technology has also helped retail sector to package items while ensuring safety and health of clients. Furthermore, technology has been instrumental in connecting buyers to retail stores, something that has increased their presence and outreach. Environment factors

In retail sector different sources of energy are used while ensuring that they are friendly to the environment.  Items offered in retail stores are designed and manufactured in environments, which are influenced by climatic changes. Different governments have imposed regulations against the use of certain chemicals to preserve goods. This is because they are believed to lead to different sicknesses or conditions to the environment and the public. Retail sector must adhere to environmental laws in order to ensure the safety of consumers and workers. Legal factors

A number of legal elements have influenced the operations of the retail sector in the Caribbean. For instance, governments have introduced different laws to monitor unlawful trafficking of commodities. However, this move can lead to scarcity of certain items leading price increase. Other factors that influence retail industry include consumer laws, and employees, environmental law among others.

2.5.2 Porter’s five forces

New entrants; ten years ago, the number of independent retailers has been declining.  A number of retail stores operate as chain. Much as the threat of venturing in retail business is low, establishing effective suppliers, competitiveness and leases is challenging. Since chain stores are vertically based and centralize purchasing system presents them competitiveness in comparison to independent retail owners. New entrant in any given industry largely relies on the structure. For instance, in the retail sector competition is intense; companies are not willing to give space to untested commodities this challenge significantly prevents new entrants. However, this threat can be minimized through regulations, intricate to penetrate as a result of established organizations and client loyalty.

Supplier bargaining power; this force is moderate due to concentration and size of major retailers. To minimize this bargaining power of suppliers and retain clients, they differentiate their items to develop strong ones. Private clients have rather low bargaining power with big retail chains, but have more power with small retailers and not organized. In this sector, regardless of substitute items different manufacturing firms have their retail outlets. In addition, they have supply chains, which make supplier bargaining power low.

Buyers bargaining power; clients have low bargaining influence with retailers. For an individual customer is rather intricate to bargain the cost of products. Nonetheless, as a group, if clients demand for quality and subsidized rates it is important in ensuring retailers are trustworthy. Some of the main features that determine buyers’ power include; purchase volume, substitute commodities and quality. In the retail sector, buyer bargaining power is considerably high because the other substitutes, less product loyalty, volume o purchase and price sensitivity.

Threat of substitute; retailers do not offer one product rather they specialize in a variety of items as well as services. In other words, what a store specializes in can be found in another store. Retail stores offering unique items can be competitive in the market. Changing price and clients’ ability to compare price and quality can affect threat of substitutes. In retail sector, substitute elements such as online buying, different payment channels, affordable items, and home deliveries can enhance threat of substitutes.

Threat of rivalry; competition is increased while the influence of major retail stores to enhance their market share. This is to say, that retailers face intense competition. The retail industry grows slowly; therefore, retail stores have to fight for the market share. Currently, the sector has been attempting to minimize cutthroat price rivalry by providing special services including membership cards, flier points so as to gain clients’ loyalty.

2.6 Impact of government policies on retail sector

Retail sector comprises of various subsectors such as clothing, food, furniture among others.  Each of these subsectors experience distinct policy challenges, but all retail stores’ owners are influenced by national regulations such as overtime and wage laws. Colombo, Cunningham & Garcia, (2015) allege that like other industries, government policies increase compliance expenses and other legal liabilities to retail industry.  Previous studies show that taxes are technically regarded as regulations; however, it is believed that retail owners pay significant tax rates across US (Inman, Winer & Ferraro, 2009).  This is due to the fact that retail store owners lack recognizable tax ambiguities as well as discrete promoting interests.

While government taxes have been seen as the main factors putting strain on the retail sector, the imposed tax on business-to-business has been tremendously tough. The Caribbean government also introduced tax reforms and implemented value-added tax model to ensure transparency, attain a significant compliance and secure more income (Costa, 2016). This change also imposed a 10.5 per cent of business-to-business tax.  This move has considerably affected the retail industry as a number of them had to adjust to deal with revenue losses and sales while increasing operational expenses.

For instance, majority has to change their operational techniques, from cutting the number of workers towards changing their supply chain. Furthermore, in US many brick-and-mortar retail businesses pay sales taxes and online retailers do not. This is a huge benefit to firms like Amazon and considerable expenses to Wal-Mart (Caldwell et al., 2013). Other experts demonstrate that the retail sector, particularly brick-and-mortar are affected by labor regulations with their workers. This is associated with minimum wages for workers, working hours, however, different governments have imposed labor certification procedure make it somewhat easier to arrest retailers who violate the law (Goetz, Hoelter & Krafft, 2013).

3.0 Methodology

3.1 Research philosophy

In any given study, clarity considerably depends on the type of research design (Bentahar & Cameron, 2015).  In that view, a study can be deductive, inductive or a combination.  Inductive philosophy entails developing the hypothesis through observation. Besides, it focuses on previous literature useful to the aspect being investigated. Generally, this design is employed as foundation to assess previous studies as well as examining the prose (De Vaus, 2014). Past studies are relevant to this study in terms of demonstrating variations. When it comes to deductive design entails examining the theory via excel or SPSS software. This study purposes to investigate the use of digital marketing to increase sales in the Caribbean retail sector, deductive and inductive research philosophies will be used.

3.2 Qualitative and Quantitative approaches

The study will embrace not just a qualitative but also a quantitative method of research (Bazeley, 2015). The qualitative method will utilize previous studies on digital marketing, consumer behavior in the modern age, videos, periodicals, and books from libraries. On the other hand, the quantitative approach will gather facts from five different retail stores in the Caribbean using questionnaires.

3.3 Methods of data collection

3.3.1 Secondary data

According to Maxwell, (2013) secondary information plays a crucial role since it presents detailed facts to respond to the topic under investigation.  This study will use secondary information useful to how digital marketing can increase sales in the retail sector. Various studies relevant to this topic will be used.  While books present comprehensive information, they will be used in this study to enhance validity. On the other hand, to maximize the likelihood of relevant data the researcher will use the school library and authentic online sources, including journals and articles

3.3.2 Primary Data

The study will use questionnaire to gather primary data. This is due to the fact that questionnaires will collect detailed on the effect of social media in increasing sales in retail stores in the Caribbean. In addition, questionnaires will provide data regarding the effectiveness of social media in for enhancing sales in retail business in the Caribbean. It is of great importance to integrate primary data in this study because it will present  a meticulous understanding of the  use of digital marketing to increase sales in Caribbean retail sector. Consequently, this is essential when it comes to assisiting the researcher why retail businesses are adopting digital marketing. Besides primary information will provide useful insights. Questionnaires          

The questionnaire is suitable for this study since they will be used to gather data on the use of digital marketing to increase sales in the Caribbean retail sector. Hence, the questionnaire will be designed in a way that they will research questions. In comparison to other methods, questionnaires are rigid (Heyvaert, Maes & Onghena, 2013).  In this regards, the scholar will leave spaces for them to be performed through the email. Also, the development of the questionnaire will take into considerations the subjects to provide their opinions.  In addition, the researcher will introduce himself while demonstrating the objectives of the project. Questions will be categorized into themes, clear, and easy to comprehend. Scientific jargons will not be used as some are likely to misinterpret thus, affect the validity of the study. Pilot questionnaire will be carried out with assessment of any technical issues. Pros and cons of Questionnaires

Unlike other data collection tools, questionnaires can collect a significant amount of data not only fast but also cost-effectively (Bentahar & Cameron, 2015).  Information collected by the questionnaire is quicker and easier to analyze using excel or SPSS software.  In comparison to interviews, questionnaires can be measured in an objective manner (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2013). Again, questionnaires are important in the development of theories and hypothesis testing. Nonetheless, it can be challenging for the researcher to understand certain data such as feelings of subjects and gathers views with inadequate explanations. Since questionnaires use codes, this can lead to subjectivity (De Vaus, 2014).

3.4 Sampling

Sampling plays an important role in performing a study. Therefore, the study will use non-probability sampling technique to select the respondents. This technique is important when it comes to saving time. Furthermore, this technique is useful in this study since 5 retail stores in Caribbean will be selected based on their accessibility. Therefore, non-probability sampling method will help the researcher to randomly choose the subjects. Non-probability sampling will give the researcher the opportunity to gather participants’ opinion regarding on the effect of social media in increasing sales in retail stores in the Caribbean. In addition, questionnaires will provide data regarding the effectiveness of social media in for enhancing sales in retail business in the Caribbean.

3.5 Reliability and Validity

Reliability is the level of data used to present reliable findings while ensuring consistent views (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2013).  Therefore, secondary information related to how retail stores can use digital marketing to increase sales will be used.  On the contrary, validity presents the connection between veracity and findings (Irwin & Supplee, 2012). In this respect, the researcher will carefully focus on research questions to ensure that they are mirrored in the literature review. To decrease errors associated with sampling, non-probability sampling approach will be used to randomly choose subjects. In any study errors materialize due to poor choice of sampling method. Thus, non-probability sampling technique will be employed to select subjects to give their views about the effect of social media in increasing sales in retail stores in the Caribbean. In addition, questionnaires will provide data regarding the effectiveness of social media in for enhancing sales in retail business in the Caribbean.

3.6 Ethical issues

The scholar will take into consideration ethical issues stipulated by IRB so as to protect the human subjects involved in the study. Some of the ethical aspects the research will take into account include;

  • Getting an informed consent from respondents therefore, the scholar will make sure that subjects fully understand the pros and cons of the project. Moreover, the scholar will ensure that respondents voluntarily provide the consent while safeguarding their privacy.
  • Confidentiality another important element the researcher has to put into consideration. In this case, the research team will ensure participants’ confidentiality. Owing to the fact that confidentiality entail protecting the subjects with respect to their principles and beliefs, the research team will use alternative identities to report the results; information will be gathered anonymously.
  • The IRB stipulates that researchers provide genuine data so as to prevent use of false data irrespective of the scenario. As such, the research team will use correct data. This is to say, the study will not use fictional subjects to meet the deadline. Equally, the study will not use false data to fulfill its aims.
  • Another form of falsifying data is non-publication. This is common when certain data is omitted because it’s not necessary or fails to address the objectives of the study. Thus, the study will not integrate outliers with a remarkable margin in primary data collection. Again, the research team will not ignore irrelevant findings.
  • Wrong data gathering tools is also a violation of research ethics. For that reason, questionnaires will be used to collect retail business owners and employees regarding the use of digital marketing to increase sales in Caribbean retail sector.

4.0 To conduct research and analyze findings  

This study will concentrate on the use of digital marketing to increase sales in Caribbean retail sector. In addition, it will revolve around the effect of social media in increasing sales in retail stores in the Caribbean. Furthermore, research participants will provide data regarding the effectiveness of social media in enhancing improvement of sales in retail business in the Caribbean. For that reason, the analysis of findings will mainly describe each of the research questions. In this case, managers and employees of 5 retail stores in the Caribbean will be interviewed to provide their views about the use of digital marketing to increase sales. In addition, analysis will also focus on discussing the research questions based literature review.

Findings from this project will present new information and also assist retail stores’ owners with modern marketing strategies to increase their volume of sales. Moreover, this research will examine suitable strategies on which retail owners can use to gauge their sales volume. In the long run, the study will help Caribbean retail sector to determine suitable techniques to remain competitive as well as profitable. While there is inadequate studies on this issue, findings will provide additional knowledge and also the basis for investors to venture in retail businesses. This research will be the platform for providing relevant information for policy makers to control the operations of retail business in Caribbean.

5.0 Recommendations

Through the findings obtained in the research conducted in the development of this proposal, it is evident that several recommendations ought to be suggested including:

  • Owing to the fact that this sector is faced with intense competition, there is need to implement certain strategies such as flier points and mentorship cards to retain existing customers and gain their loyalty.
  • Retail sectors should collaborate with policy makers to help reduce the growing rate of acquisition and mergers.
  • Technology is developing rapidly; therefore, retail sector should use digital marketing channels such as social media platforms, the internet to increase sales. Using analytics and data metrics, retail stores can monitor sales, set targets and strategies to track the targets.
  • Retail industry should also understand the 4 Ps model in its expanded form including factors such as price, product, place, promotion, people, positioning, process and performance. These factors are important when it comes to understanding the primary foundations of the successful businesses.
  • Retailers should create not only mobile friendly, but also user-friendly websites for consumers to access the latest brands, product reviews and designs to help them make informed purchasing decisions.

6.0 Research Plan

The research plan for the proposed study will be presented inform of a Gantt chart outlining all the activities to be involved in the study as well as the timelines for the beginning and completion of each activity.

Sep – Oct 2016 Nov 2016 Dec 2016 Jan – Feb 2017 Mar – Apr 2017 Apr – May 2017 Jun- Aug 2017 Sep- Oct 2017 Nov –Dec  2017 Jan – Feb 2018
1.Project proposal write-up
2.Proposal defence
3.Literature Review
4.Develop conceptual framework
6.Pretesting Instruments                  
7.Collection of the study data                  
8.Processing and cleaning-up of the collected study data                
9.Results Analysis and Interpretation                
10.Final Report Write Up and presentation



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Qualitative Research Designs

Traditionally, the constructs of validity and reliability have been tied to the quantitative approach to research inquiry. However, there has been a long running debate among qualitative researchers about whether these constructs are applicable to the qualitative approach (see Chenail, 2010; Merriam, 1995).

For example, some researchers (e.g., see Smith, 1984) have argued that the constructs of validity and reliability should be abandoned in qualitative research because the philosophical assumptions at the core of qualitative and quantitative research are incompatible. Other researchers (e.g., see Maxwell, 1992), however, have identified types of validity that they argue are applicable to qualitative research.

This week, you will have an opportunity to weigh in on the discussion about the criteria for evaluating the quality of qualitative research designs. You will also consider the relationship between quality criteria, philosophical orientations, and discipline standards. You will also consider ethical issues in qualitative research, the implications these issues have on design decisions, and the strategies used to address them. You will also annotate a qualitative journal article on a research topic of your interest.

Discussion: Designing Qualitative Research

As you recall from earlier weeks, various philosophical orientations hold unique epistemological and ontological assumptions. These assumptions return to the forefront of attention when considering how to evaluate the rigor or quality of various qualitative research designs.

Typically, when speaking of validity, qualitative researchers are referring to research that is credible and trustworthy, i.e., the extent to which one can have confidence in the study’s findings (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Generalizability, a marker of reliability, is typically not a main purpose of qualitative research because the researcher rarely selects a random sample with a goal to generalize to a population or to other settings and groups. Rather, a qualitative researcher’s goal is often to understand a unique event or a purposively selected group of individuals. Therefore, when speaking of reliability, qualitative researchers are typically referring to research that is consistent or dependable (Lincoln & Guba, 1985), i.e., the extent to which the findings of the study are consistent with the data that was collected.

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Criteria for Evaluating Qualitative Studies

The most effective criteria for evaluating qualitative research is one that acknowledges the conceptual background underlying the research. These criteria vary by the methods used. The two main criteria for judging qualitative studies as put forward are validity and relevance. Though it has conflicted over several times, validity remains a valid determinant of the quality of a certain research. It determines the credibility, dependability, and confirmability of the qualitative studies. To ensure the effectiveness of validity, it can be assessed through three consecutive steps. Lewis (2015), recommends asking whether the results are reasonable enough, whether the researchers judgment of the research is accurate regarding the nature of the circumstances, the phenomena at hand and the researchers attributes; finally, if the credibility of the results cannot be asserted, the validity’s evidence should be examined.

Regarding criterion number two, relevance, Lewis (2015), suggests the application of relevance rules as outlined in Abt’s book on the costs and benefits of applied social research. These rules require one to be very evenhanded and emphasize the focus on effects that are most policy-oriented. The rules also advise that in the case of a dilemma where you are required to choose between the direct and most intricate expression of ideas, you should choose the former (Lewis, 2015). The other rule states that sorting out and analysis of descriptions should be done carefully, weighing in your opinions. Apart from that, one should be ready to get their hands dirty by working in between the concepts as well as being interdisciplinary. Lewis (2015), has also described the techniques that should be employed to assert the quality of the study. According to him, prolonged engagement followed by persistent observations and triangulation are the first steps. This should then be followed by peer debriefing and audit trial.

As Lewis (2015), suggests, the ontological and epistemological conventions of qualitative study are not the only approaches that differ when it comes to these two criteria. Sometimes these criteria are based on conflicting and unrelated assumptions. From a psychological perspective, validity criteria can be seen as a conflicted art interacting with an imaginary world and therefore, requires cracking of unconscious and unsaid dilemmas (Lewis, 2015). Therefore, the analysis is based on talk and it is not ethical to try to deduce hidden meanings. Indeed a diversity of research queries, the number of people involved and the of analysis methods that are employed. Therefore, judging qualitative study based on validity requires standardized selectivity (Lewis, 2015). As such it crucial for qualitative researchers to show coherence and make their conclusions clear for easier evaluation. Additionally, to this, the field of qualitative study is wide, and there is not one single method that can be termed as the sole criteria (Lewis, 2015). Each study differs from the other, and therefore, researchers should be open to application of other criteria of evaluation. The researchers require a profound understanding of theoretical approach using the most applicable evaluative method (Lewis, 2015).

Researcher-participant interactions are inevitable in qualitative studies, but the progression of such a relationship to intimacy becomes an ethical issue.  As a result, it brings about a range of ethical concerns that can affect the design of decision making for both the researcher and the participant. For such cases, arguments and disagreement among the different shareholders in the research emerge and this results in conflicts (Chenail, 2010). More so this can significantly affect major aspects of the research such as anonymity, discretion, and informed consent. Also, when a funding body questions the integrity and discipline of the researcher they might decide to terminate their aid which is not noble for the researcher (Chenail, 2010). They should, therefore, be very careful when carrying out their research and put this issues into considerations. They should also minimize the activities that can lead them to intrude their participant’s lives unnecessarily. They should also not coerce unwilling participants to talk or give information that they consider private. The results lead to incorrect data as the participants may feel the need to lie (Chenail, 2010).

When you say that a research topic is amenable to scientific study, it means that both the qualitative and the quantitative studies are complementary. They can, therefore, be used together to give out improved results.  Scientific research involves quantitative analysis while the qualitative analysis applies to cultural and social situations (Chenail, 2015). The two can, however, be integrated to give more accurate and efficient results. Also, qualitative investigations can occur for example the quality of existence can be conducted by utilizing quantitative research analysis.  Furthermore, it can be done by using questioners that are numerical based (Chenail, 2015). However, if the researcher is interested in more detailed aspects of an individual’s life, the qualitative analysis is more appropriate. As stated by Lewis (2015), these two methods were used by Danish Health and Technology Assessment Council to evaluate the essence of follow-up for cancer patients. The combination of the two yielded better results than when one them was used.









Chenail, R. J. (2010). Getting Specific about Qualitative Research Generalizability. Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research, 5(1), 1-11.

Lewis, S. (2015). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Health promotion practice, 1524839915580941.







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