The experience of writing a dissertation
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you have to come up with a topic and prepare the questions before the interview can be done
The Experience of Writing a Dissertation
Data Production and Method
Interviews are significant in getting the story or the reason behind the experiences of the respondent. As such, interviewers can manage to use interviews in pursuing in-depth information on a given topic. Interviews may be vital as follow-ups to certain participants to questionnaires such as further investigation of the respondents’ responses. In order to gain adequate information on a given topic, interviews should ensure that they use open-ended questions as opposed to closed or rigid ones (Mason, 2002). Open-ended questions are vital as they provide the respondent with a suitable platform on which he or she can give various opinions on the questions asked. Interviewers should ensure that they are articulate their problem of research clearly prior to the designing of the interview process and questions. This step is significant in ensuring that the interviewer keeps a clear focus on the purpose of each question. My interview involved one of my course-mates as the interviewee. I chose this person because being that we were doing the same course and I had selected a research topic within my course, this interviewee could be in a suitable position of providing me with relevant answers. In the process of conducting my interview, I had to follow several steps, which enabled me to perform a successful interview. The first step involved the selection of a suitable setting that had minimal distraction. This setting was significant in ensuring that the interviewee was comfortable during the interview (Nuttall, 2011). I then proceeded to explain the purpose of the interview to the interviewee followed by addressing the terms of confidentiality. In relation to this, I pointed out the parties that will have access to the answers provided by the interviewee and how such answers could be addressed. This step was vital in ensuring that the interviewee was made comfortable in responding to the questions asked without fear. In addition, I illustrated the format of the interview to the interviewee and indicated its duration. Consequently, I informed the interviewee on how I could be contacted after the interview in case it was necessary. Prior to the interview, I asked the interviewee if there was any question to be asked and asked for the permission to record the interview. As an ethical guideline, seeking the permission of the interviewee prior to the recording of the conversation was aimed at ensuring that the aspect of the interviewee’s consent was addressed (Saunders et al, 2006). As such, the recording process could not hinder the interviewee from issuing appropriate answers. The process of recording was conducted using a mobile phone, as it was convenient to use at that time.
In this study, semi-structured interview was employed. Semi-structured interviews are often conducted with an open model that allows for a focused two-way communication, which is conversational. Such interviews can be used to give and receive information between the interviewer and interviewee (Quesenberry et al, 2012). Unlike the questionnaire model, where detailed or in-depth questions are formulated ahead of the interview time, semi-structured interviews often begin with more general topics or questions. Once the topic has been identified, the relationship existing between these topic and issues like expense, availability, and effectiveness become the basis for more specific questions that do not require advance preparation. It is vital to note that in semis-structured interviews not all questions are designed and phrased before the time of interview (Silverman, 2001). As such, many of the questions are developed during the process of interview, thereby allowing the interviewer and interviewee the flexibility of probing for more details or discussing issues. Semi structure interviews are always aimed at obtaining certain qualitative and quantitative information from the sample of the population to be studies. Besides, such interviews are focused on obtaining general information that is relevant to certain issues under study. Consequently, semi-structured interviews are significant in ensuring that the researcher obtains a series of insight on certain issues. Semi-structured interviews are less intrusive to individuals being interviewed as they encourage two-way communication. Semi-structured interview allows for the interviewees to ask questions of interviewers. As such, this form of interview can be employed as an extension tool. Furthermore, semi-structured interviews serve to confirm what is known apart from providing an opportunity for learning. In many cases, the information obtained from semi-structure interviews provide answers and reasons for such answers. As such, these interviews provide a suitable platform on which an in-depth understanding of the issue under investigation can be achieved. When people are interviewed using such form of interviews, they often find it easy to discuss or deliberate on sensitive issues. It is significant to note that interviewing outsiders using semi-structured interviews is often appropriate as such respondents are considered objective. In the use of this tool, the first step involved the designing of the interview model in which the questions to be asked were included. This step was followed by the establishment of the sample size in which one respondent was selected. The selected respondent happened to be my course-mate. The interview was then conducted followed by the recording of the responses obtained from the interviewee.
The data obtained from the interview was then analyzed qualitatively. Qualitative data analysis aims at uncovering or creating an understanding of the big picture by using the data to illustrate the phenomenon and what this implies (Silverman, 2001). Just like in the case of quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis involves coding and labeling of all the gathered data so that differences and similarities can be identified. In relation to this, responses from unstructured qualitative interviews as in the case of the data obtained from this study can be entered into the computer and processed. Since qualitative researcher lacks a pre-coding system, a mechanism of labeling and identifying or coding data should be developed. Such a mechanism is known as content analysis. Content analysis involves the categorization of behavioral or verbal data for the purpose of research. This process takes into consideration the aspect of coding and grouping data, also known as categorizing and indexing. The principle objective of content analysis is to create sense out of the gathered data and highlight the significant messages, findings and features. In relation to this, the data obtained from the study was analyzed using two methods that included the latent level and basic level. In the latent level, data was analyzed in relation to the responses obtained and what was implied or inferred by the interviewee. On the other side, basic level evaluation involved the descriptive or illustrative account of the gathered data. It focused on the analysis of what was said by the interviewee but not supported by theory.
Interviewer: Hello, how are you doing?
Interviewee: I am doing fine, what about you?
Interviewer: I am doing fine too. I would like to interview you on the effectiveness of integrated marketing communication in organizations. Before we start I would like to ask if you are comfortable with the interview.
Interviewee: no problem, I am fine with it. We can proceed.
Interviewer: Okay, first I want to let you know that the information that you will give will be kept private and confidential. Besides, in the process of conducting this interview, your name will remain concealed from any third party. The only person that will have access to the information provided will be me. However, my supervisor can have access to the data that you have provided but your name will be kept confidential so you will not be identified by anybody. So you do not have to worry about the issue of privacy. Is that okay with you?
Interviewee: Yes, I am okay with that. I think we should begin
Interviewer: Well, prior to that, do I have your permission to record the conversation that we will have?
Interviewee: Sure, you are free to do that
Interviewer: Well, what do you know about integrated marketing communication?
Interviewee: Yes, this is a marketing strategy that incorporates other elements of marketing such as direct marketing, advertising, public relations, advertising and sales promotion into a single marketing plan.
Interviewer: how effective is this marketing strategy?
Interviewee: it enables various elements of marketing to be brought together, which is vital in ensuring that the brand message is sent to buyers in an effective manner.
Interviewer: What can you say about the cost of this marketing strategy?
Interviewee: it is cheaper than other strategies as it involves all marketing promotion methods being conducted jointly at the same time. Conducting each of these promotions separately is expensive as opposed to conducting them jointly.
Interviewer: What can you say about the reliability of this marketing strategy?
Interviewee: it is reliable as various capabilities of different promotion methods are exploited. As such, organizations must benefit from the impact of any of those methods.
Interviewer: How can companies enhance the effectiveness of this strategy?
Interviewee: Firms should channel adequate resource into this marketing strategy and conduct proper trainings to the promotional teams.
Interviewer: What are some of the weaknesses of this marketing strategy?
Interviewee: It demands many resources and time in its planning and execution. It is also complex and requires high technical skills for the realization of its benefit.
Interviewer: What can you say about the efficacy of this marketing strategy?
Interviewee: it is efficient as it provides a suitable platform on which organizations can exploit the potentials of different promotional elements at short time and reduced cost
Interviewer: Can you mention some of the marketing strategies that can be used as substitutes to this one?
Interviewee: No, I do not see any marketing strategy that can be employed as a substitute to this marketing strategy as it integrates several promotional elements, which is not the case in other marketing strategies
Interviewer: How can firms adopt this marketing strategy and benefit from it?
Interviewee: Organizations that are not using this marketing strategy need to restructure their marketing plans so as to provide room for this marketing strategy. Besides, once the firms have adopted this approach, they need to conduct frequent reviews on this marketing strategy in order to determine areas of weaknesses. Necessary measures such as investment of adequate resources into such areas should be adopted.
Reflection on Research Process and Findings
Without appropriate research consumer group would be unable to take firms to courts, advise the public on the best products to purchase or call for legislation changes in a credible manner. Besides, without effective research solutions to many issues that are significant in human lives could not have been established (Callegaro, 2013. As such, effective research should take into consideration four stages that include preparation, selection of the research method, collection of information and data, and evaluation of the research findings alongside putting them into good use.
In the preparation stage, the researcher should focus on conducting a preparatory study. Once the problem of study has been identified, the researcher should embark on organizing suitable means and mechanisms of executing the research (Bryman & Bell, 2007). In case the researcher lacks adequate knowledge on the area of study, he or she should focus on conducting a further research on the selected topic. This goal can be accomplished by means of consulting experts in the chosen field or going to libraries for books that focus on the subject, issue, or topic to be investigated. At this stage, the researcher should ensure that he or she makes crucial decisions on issues such as the study’s objectives, scope of the study, research methods to be employed in the study, timetable for the research activities and costs involved in the execution of the research. It is vital to note that the implementation and preparations for the research should be linked strongly to the purpose of the study (Weijters, 2012). I remember incorporating most of these approaches in the early stage of my preparation for the study. The first step that I undertook prior to commencing the study was conducting an in-depth research on the research topic that I had selected. I read various books and scholarly articles that addressed the research topic so as to have adequate knowledge on the study I was to undertake. At this stage, I focused on addressing the scope of my research and the resources that I could need during the process of its execution or implementation. I also prepared a timetable that could provide a guideline for the execution of the various operations involved in the research. Besides, I read about the suitable methods that can be employed in executing a successful interview, as my study had to involve an interview. This undertaking was significant in ensuring that my interview was a success. I managed to select a suitable site for the interview alongside following other guidelines that are necessary for the execution of a successful interview. As a result, the interviewee managed to corporate effectively during the interviewing process, which enabled me to obtain adequate information on the topic of study. The effective corporation on the part of the interviewee resulted from the fact that he was assured of the privacy or confidentiality of the information that he had to provide. Thus, the interviewee answered the questions asked without fear or bias.
In the second stage of a successful research process, the researcher should focus on selecting the appropriate research methods that can be employed in executing the study. In order to ensure that the data gathered are significant or meaningful for the objectives of the study, the researcher should decide on the appropriate method of conducting the study (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008). My study was not complex in relation to the selection of the sample population as I had to select only one respondent that happened to my course-mate. In selecting this respondent, I had to inquire from some of friends about somebody who could participate effectively in an interview. As a result, one of my friends referred me to the respondent that I had selected. In addition, my research employed a semi-structured interview as a method of data collection. I selected this method as it associated with several benefits. The use of the semi-structured interview enabled me to develop flexibility in probing for extra details on the topic of study from the respondent. It also helped me in obtaining specific qualitative data on the issue under study, and general information that was relevant to the issue that was under investigation. Furthermore, the use of this form of interview enabled me to obtain a sequence of insight on certain matters that related to the topic of study (Gummesson, 1991). Taking into consideration the fact that semi-structured interviews are less intrusive to persons being interviewed, this form of interview ensured that there was a two-way communication between the interviewee and I. As a result, the interviewee was also put an advantage of asking me questions on the areas that were not clear. Moreover, my research was an explanatory one as opposed to being a correlative research. A correlative research aims at establishing whether there is a correlation or link between two or more variables in the research. On the other hand, an explanatory research seeks to establish why a given a variable causes the impacts or effects highlighted alongside measuring this variable against others.
The third stage of a successful research process involves the collection of the data. Methods that researchers use in the collection of data are determined by the relations and variables of the research (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005). Data types are categorized into two groups that include secondary data and primary data. Primary data is gathered and targeted specifically for the project of the research. On the other side, primary data takes into consideration extra data that is gathered for other reason but with some application in the study. In addition, data collection can be grouped into various forms such as cross-sectional research, longitudinal research, non-participant observation, participant observation and oral among others. Cross-sectional research occurs when data is gathered simultaneously with the happening of events of the study, and thus is relatively easy to gather or collect. Longitudinal research is the collection of data over time to enable researchers to prove that there is a predictable end. Non-participant observation occurs when the researcher is involved in the recording of actions, behaviors, and events as an outsider. Participant observation occurs when the researcher conceals the real reason of his or her presence as a participant (Marschan-Piekarit & Welch, 2005). An example of this form of data collection is mystery shopping. Oral data collection method is often conducted using personal interviews and group discussions, and is mostly employed in the gathering of qualitative data as in the case of my research. In relation to this, my study employed the oral method of data collection in gathering information from the respondent. During the data collection process, the oral communication between the interviewee and I was recorded using a mobile phone for further analysis and safe storage of data. I also remember obtaining some information that I had forgotten from the recorded version of the interview. As such, recording of data plays a significant role in ensuring that all the relevant data is gathered and stored safely. The last stage of a successful research involves data analysis.
My research focused on the investigation of the use of integrated marketing communication in organizations. As such, the findings of the research focused on the areas of cost, efficacy, reliability, alternatives, effectiveness, and weakness of the integrated marketing communication approach. In relation to the findings of the study, integrated marketing communication strategy was noted to be efficient and cost-effective as it incorporates various promotional elements such as advertising, personal selling, and public relations among others. As such, marketers can manage to execute different marketing activities within a single marketing concept at the shortest time possible (Chen, 2011). Consequently, this marketing strategy was noted to be reliable as organizations could benefit from certain promotional elements in case of failure of others. Some of the disadvantages that were associated with this marketing approach were high levels of skills and resources that are required for its successful implementation (Spiller, 2013). In addition, the study identified that integrated marketing communication approach lacked suitable alternatives as it incorporates several strategies that are working towards a common marketing objective.
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Appendix: Semi-Structured Interview Questions
- What do you know about integrated marketing communication strategy?
- How effective is the integrated marketing communication strategy marketing?
- What can you say about the cost of the integrated marketing communication strategy?
- What can you say about the reliability of the integrated marketing communication strategy marketing strategy?
- How can companies enhance the effectiveness of the integrated marketing communication strategy?
- What are some of the weaknesses of the integrated marketing communication strategy?
- What can you say about the efficacy of the integrated marketing communication strategy marketing?
- Can you mention some of the marketing strategies that can be used as substitutes to the integrated marketing communication strategy?
- How can firms adopt the integrated marketing communication strategy and benefit from it?
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