TOURISM PETER ROBINSON MICHAEL LCK STEPHEN L. J. SMITH 17 Tourism Research Learning Objectives
To appreciate fundamental approaches to doing research on tourism To understand key concepts relevant to doing research
To describe the nature of research questions To understand different styles of research To discuss the nature of theory in tourism research Nature of Tourism Research
Tourism planning, development and marketing depend on good data and analysis Decisions should be based on evidence May be either empirical (numerical or independently verifiable) or subjective (not independently verifiable) Fundamentally: research is about asking and answering questions Research Versus
Management Questions Management questions Usually multifaceted and complex May involve personalities, institutional or regulatory challenges, or politics Often evolves as a result of trying to solve it May not be solvable through research Solution may depend on budgets, tact, courage, ability/diplomacy of manager, compromise Research Versus
Management Questions Research questions Must be answerable not philosophical or political ruminations Tend to be more focused than management questions Answer is evidence-based Answers based on data and analysis not personality of researcher General Approaches to Research
Management research: improve management activities such as marketing or operations Often undertaken or commissioned by a business Planning research: future-oriented, acquiring information to develop some project Done by both public and private sectors General Approaches to
Research Policy research: supports the development of tourism policy and government priorities Potential scope of public policy research is quite wide Social science research: a search for deeper understanding of some phenomenon Typically undertaken by a academics Examines tourism from a wide range of perspectives, such as a form of human
behaviour or as a social phenomenon Paradigms Set of assumptions about the nature of reality and how individuals perceive reality Epistemology: how we know what we know The relationship between the researcher and the subject Ontology: the nature of being or reality of the phenomenon studied Methodology: the methods or tools used to
answer a research question Empirical Subjective Empirical Research Usually based on numbers for coding and typically some form of statistical analysis Logic is explicit and can be replicated Often involves hypothesis-testing The articulation of a possible relationship among variables
Statistical tests are then used to assess whether the hypothesis appears valid Subjective Research Usually based on words, thoughts, or images Assumes people interpret experiences in highly personal terms Also includes content analysis researcher interpreting documents, photographs, other records
Cannot be independently verified Types of Tourism Research Pure research: done solely to increase knowledge Applied or action research: done to solve a practical problem; initiated by researcher Consultancy research: commissioned by a client to solve his/her problem Types of Tourism Research
Workplace research: form of action research done internally by an employee(s) of a firm Delay research: a management tactic using need for research to delay making a decision Functions of Research Description: provides information on what exists Explanation: generates insights into cause-and-effect relationships
Prediction: forecasts likely outcome of a course of action (or inaction) The Nature of Theory A familiar word used many different ways Types of theory Theory of the first type: traditional, natural science-type theory; only one theory accepted as valid; produces testable hypotheses Theory of the second type: similar to first
type, but competing theories may exist; common in social sciences The Nature of Theory More types of theory Theory of the third type: label applied to results of statistical testing Theory of the fourth type: untested/untestable verbal or graphic model Theory of the fifth type: epistemology presented as theory
Theory of the sixth type: grounded theory Theory of the seventh type: theory used without any special meaning Phases of a Research Project Set goals Review related literature Develop research design (data collection and analysis methods) Analysis Articulate conclusions Publish/report findings
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