This issue has four papers of which two papers analyse the application of two types of quantitative methods (Finite Mixture Models and Likert scales), one paper gives an excellent review of the application grounded theory methods in IS research and the fourth paper introduces a less well known or used technique that of photo elicitation.
Recently, Andrews, Brusco and Currim (2010) noted that some of the hesitancy on the part of practitioners to adopt model‑based (MB) methods in market segmentation (MS) may stem from an insufficient awareness of their performance relative to their non‑model‑based (NMB) counterparts. Comparisons of MB and NMB methods should provide business researchers with information as to precise conditions in which the former should be preferred. Moreover, finite mixture models (FMMs) have grown in their use since 2000 and, as there is no recent survey‑based empirical literature examining their application, a comprehensive review of their usage in segmentation research seems to be of use. This article discusses some of the critical issues involved when using FMMs to segment markets, takes a closer look at comparison simulation studies in order to highlight conditions under which a business analyst might consider the application of an FMM approach, discusses model selection as well as validation issues and provides suggestions for best practices and potential improvements. Furthermore, it presents an empirical survey that seeks to provide an up‑to‑date assessment of FMM application in MS.
Equidistance of Likert‑Type Scales and Validation of Inferential Methods Using Experiments and Simulations pp16‑28
Likert‑type data are often assumed to be equidistant by applied researchers so that they can use parametric methods to analyse the data. Since the equidistance assumption rarely is tested, the validity of parametric analyses of Likert‑type data is often unclear. This paper consists of two parts where we deal with this validity problem in two different respects. In the first part, we use an experimental design to show that the perceived distance between scale points on a regular five‑point Likert‑type scale depends on how the verbal anchors are used. Anchors only at the end points create a relatively larger perceived distance between points near the ends of the scale than in the middle (end‑of‑scale effect), while anchors at all points create a larger perceived distance between points in the middle of the scale (middle‑of‑scale effect). Hence, Likert‑type scales are generally not perceived as equidistant by subjects. In the second part of the paper, we use Monte Carlo simulations to explore how parametric methods commonly used to compare means between several groups perform in terms of actual significance and power when data are assumed to be equidistant even though they are not. The results show that the preferred statistical method to analyse Likert‑type data depends on the nature of their nonequidistance as well as their skewness. Under middle‑of‑scale effect, the omnibus one‑way ANOVA works best when data are relatively symmetric. However, the Kruskal‑Wallis test works better when data are skewed except when sample sizes are unequal, in which case the Brown‑Forsythe test is better. Under end‑of‑scale effect, on the other hand, the Kruskal‑Wallis test should be preferred in most cases when data are at most moderately skewed. When data are heavily skewed, ANOVA works best unless when sample sizes are unequal, in which case the Brown‑Forsythe test should be preferred.
Keywords: Likert-type scale; equidistance; Monte Carlo simulation; ANOVA; Kruskal-Wallis test; Brown-Forsythe test; Welch test
The use of Grounded Theory Technique as a Practical Tool for Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis pp29‑40
When encountering qualitative research for the first time, one is confronted with both the number of methods and the difficulty of collecting, analysing and presenting large amounts of data. In quantitative research, it is possible to make a clear distinction between gathering and analysing data. However, this distinction is not clear‑cut in qualitative research. The objective of this paper is to provide insight for the novice researcher and the experienced researcher coming to grounded theory for the first time. For those who already have experience in the use of the method the paper provides further much needed discussion arising out of the method’s adoption in the IS field. In this paper the authors present a practical application and illustrate how grounded theory method was applied to an interpretive case study research. The paper discusses grounded theory method and provides guidance for the use of the method in interpretive studies.
Keywords: grounded theory, interpretive, case study, data collection, data analysis, qualitative, quantitative
People are often attracted to unique natural environments, but what makes them continually return to these locations, especially when considerable time and effort are required to get there? This paper discusses the methods and findings of a research project aimed at identifying and exploring how visitors develop an attachment to the remote Ningaloo Marine Park in north‑western Australia. This Marine Park attracts a high percentage of repeat visitors (55%) and in order to determine the complex aspects contributing to this attachment, photo‑elicitation was employed. Photo‑elicitation is a qualitative technique where participants are asked to take photographs relating to the concept under study, and these are then used as triggers for underlying memories and feelings during a subsequent interview. For this study, participants were provided with digital cameras to take photographs of why they like visiting the Ningaloo Reef and what it was that made them return. Given this remote location and the inability to get photographs developed in reasonable timeframes, digital cameras were used instead of the disposable cameras more commonly used in this type of study. After a few days, the cameras were returned, and photographs uploaded on the researcher’s laptop computer with interviews conducted while viewing the photographs. Over a period of four weeks, during the peak visitor period, 30 participants took over 200 photographs and provided over 15 hours of interview recordings. Key aspects contributing to place attachment included the beauty of the physical environment, reef and marine based activities, social bonding with family and friends and enjoying a challenging though rewarding experience. By using a technique familiar to people on holidays, i.e. taking photographs, a method was invoked that people could engage with easily without the research impinging on their holiday experience.