The results of any research project depend on the quality of the data collected. Quality data can only be collected when the approach used for the research approach and philosophical underpinnings are right. There are many different approaches to case study methodology. However, they are all based on the constructivist philosophical underpinnings (Baxter & Jack, 2008). The constructivist idea is that the truth is relative, and basically depends on ones perspective or point of view. The constructivist philosophy strikes the perfect balance between a subjective and objective approach in terms of the observation of phenomena (Baxter & Jack, 2008). It identifies the importance of the subjective human point of view in the creation of meaning, while at the same time not completely discarding the idea of objectivity (Baxter & Jack, 2008). This point of view encourages a close relationship between the researcher and subject, while still giving them enough space to tell their stories (Baxter & Jack, 2008). The participants are then able to describe their views of reality, in effect helping the researcher understand their actions.
The importance of this should be looked at from the perspective of the research gap identified in the literature review section above. while social media marketing of events is essentially a must have in the modern world, a lot of it, both by design and by virtue of the fact that there is not much in the way of research material, is still very subjective in nature. There is the very real possibility that marketing of different events through different channels has or continues to produce different results. Further, there is the important place of the customer, which is difficult to understand or predict without the actual interaction with the customer or people close to them in the marketing channel. Their actions are influenced by much more than the content and design of the message. It is for this reason that the case study approach fits perfectly as the research methodology of choice.
Away from the philosophical underpinnings, there are more reasons why case study methodology can be considered effective in this scenario. According to Yin (2003), there are four important elements in a situation when using the case study approach; (Yin, 2003). First, the case study is useful when the focus of the study is to answer the how and why questions. The focus of this study fits with this requirement, because it looks into the usefulness of social media for the marketing of events; how it is used and why various channels might be useful for various types of events. Secondly, the case study approach is useful when one cannot manipulate the behaviors of the people in the field. In this scenario, the aim of the study is simply to observe the use of social media at the company chosen for the case study. The researcher cannot in any way manipulate the activities of the participants. Third, case study methodology is useful when one wants to cover contextual conditions because they believe they are relevant to the situation. In this scenario, the basic structure of social media is such that information exists and is influenced by contextual situations. The success of a marketing message will not only depend on the quality of the message itself, but how people receive and react to it. In the case of the event marketing through social media, this happens before, during and after the event itself. The investigation of the contextual factors here is, therefore, extremely important. The final situation where a case study would be appropriate is when it is difficult to separate the phenomenon and the context. In this case, it is impossible to separate social media marketing, and the effect thereof, from the context in which it is used (Baxter & Jack, 2008). Further, studying the effect of social media marketing of events cannot be considered without the context that is the company organizing the event or the event itself.
The unit of analysis
The consideration of the research question in a situation where the case study methodology will be used must also involve the determination of the case or unit of analysis. It seems simple, but can be challenging and problematic is not done well (Baxter & Jack, 2008). The case study or the unit of analysis is basically a phenomenon that occurs in a bounded context. The determination of the case or the unit of study depends on answers to questions about what to study; the individual or the program, whether it will be a comparison between organizations or not and so on. In the determination of the case and the research question/topic, the researcher chose to study the UKTogether Company, looking into the experiences of both its employees in marketing events using social media, and its clients in how social media messages reached them.
Binding the case
After the determination of the case study or the unit of analysis, it is important to bind the case. Binding the case involves setting the boundaries regarding what the case will address. Without careful consideration, one can very easily find themselves with a research question that are too wide in scope that they cannot be effectively read or measured that results in too many objectives (Baxter & Jack, 2008). Binding the case recognizes the fact that defining what the case study is addressing is just as important as defining what the case study will not address (Baxter & Jack, 2008). Yin (2003) outlines several ways that this can be done. The case can be bound by time and place, by time and activity as well as by definition and context (Yin, 2003). This study is bound by context, elements of time and activity. An investigation into digital marketing would have been too wide in scope; the same would go for an investigation of the merits of event marketing. Still, narrowing it down to the use of social media for event marketing means the case remains reasonable in scope (Baxter & Jack, 2008).
The type of case studyThe choice of case study type is another important element of the quantitative case study methodology. There are several types of case study that researchers typically have to choose from. This particular case study, however, incorporates the strengths of various case study types and approaches. This study incorporates elements of the following;
The explanatory case study: this case study approach is used when looking to answer a question that explains the causal links between real life interventions and their outcomes in situations where they are too complex for the experimental or survey strategies. Explanatory studies typically link program implementation with effects (Yin, 2003).
Exploratory study: this is useful when the intervention that is under study has no set of clear outcomes (Yin, 2003).
Descriptive case study: this is used to describe certain phenomena and the contexts or situations in which they exist (Yin, 2003).
The sampling strategy used for any particular research process depends on the type of research being conducted. There are two basic types of sampling techniques; probability sampling and non-probability sampling. This dissertation uses the non-probability sampling method, where the elements that make up the sample are chosen through non-random methods, based on the subjective judgment of the researcher (Laerd Dissertation, 2012). In quantitative research, the representativeness of the sample is the most important thing. This is why random sampling is considered the most appropriate. In this case, the research approach taken is a quantitative one, which means the most appropriate was a non-probability sampling technique. Non-probability sampling does not need to produce a statistically representative sample or draw statistical inferences.
Data collection refers to the empirical evidence gathering in order to answer the questions under the study. The research will use self-administered questionnaires as the instrument for data collection through online platforms including sending and receiving of emails. In this method, the participants themselves fill in answers for the provided questions through their emails and the researcher receive questionnaires upon completion through the email address provided. The questionnaire will be deigned to answer the entire objective presented in the study. A self-administered questionnaire is a way to collect information on perceptions, beliefs and attitudes of the population without biasness. Questionnaires are preferred because no matter the research problem, the participants are free to give their honest opinions. Secondary data will be obtained from a review of publications and articles done by other authors on a similar topic. The dissertation collected information from 30 respondents who live in UK.
Ethics are defined as the norm of conduct that differentiates between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable when conducting a scientific investigation. Ethics are considered in any study to ensure the data collected is of high quality and the rights of the research are adhered to. Matters of privacy and confidentiality of the information provided from participants are highly respected and only used for the purposes of the research. In case of any benefits obtained from the study, the entire target population will benefit and not just individuals who will participate in the study. Informed consent will be sought from respondents without coercing or enticing them to participate. It will be purely on voluntary basis and not punishment will be rendered on those who will not wish to participate in the study. Direct feedback will be given to the participants upon coming up with the findings. This is to value their participation and acknowledgement of their efforts put in the success of the study. Before the study is conducted, the necessary approvals will be sought from the university and department in question and from the approved ethical committees.
Data analysis looks at the processes of inspecting; cleaning and transforming data into a form that meaning can be obtained for decision making purposes. The questionnaires will be checked for completeness and consistency before processing of the data is done. Descriptive analysis will be done and the computer software SPSS be used to generate arrays to be used for the analysis. SPSS has features of descriptive statistics that will allow for variable comparison and give the frequencies of the responses from the participants. Descriptive statistics will give a summary of the data in form of tables, charts, frequency distribution tables among others for easy understanding of the results. Mean, mode and median of the data will be obtained as well.
Arcodia, C. and Barker, T., 2003. A review of web-based job advertisements for Australian event management positions. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 1(4), pp.1-18.Beer, D., 2008. Social Network(ing) Sites ... Revisiting the Story So Far: A Response to Danah Boyd and Nicole Ellison. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(2), pp. 516-529.
Belk, R. W., 2013. Extended Self in a Digital World. Journal of Consumer Research, pp. 477- 500.Brown, J.S. and Duguid, P., 2017. The Social Life of Information: Updated, with a New Preface. Harvard Business Review Press.
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