Summary of Project Purpose
The main purpose of this research is to undertake a literature review of what is known about the piracy of clothes in China, and its consequence on the legitimate international trade in branded clothing products. Both primary and secondary methods of data collection shall be employed.
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In addition a data collection sheet in the form of a structured questionnaire shall also be prepared for purposes of this research. The compiled and analyzed results of the statistical analysis are expected to provide the findings of the study, and these shall assist in arriving at the answers to the research question.
Research methodology has been defined as “the application of science-based procedures with a view to acquiring solutions to a number of research questions (Crocker & Algina 1986). A research methodology supplies the necessary tools to aid in the carrying out of a research, whose goal is to obtain the needed information.
A research methodology entails the whole conceptualization process, an observation of the problems that need to be studied, research questions formulation, the collection of data, data analysis, and the eventual generation of the research findings. Nevertheless, there are a number of authors who have come up with alternative methods of research (Creswell 2008).
The availability of literature as regards the methods of research assists in the process of classifying the suitable and appropriate methods necessary to conduct a specific kind of research. Moreover, Healy & Perry (2000) opines that the method often selected for use in a certain given research study is determined by the objectives and problems that such a research presents.
Furthermore, selecting a desirable method of research is determined by the context of the potential research. In addition, the availability of adequate literature material to warrant such a study shall also determine the research method that is adopted for a given research study, so that the relevant topics can be adequately assessed. In a situation whereby this does not happen, then there is a need for the conduction of further studies so as to fill in the remaining gap.
According to Creswell (2008), a research design is a framework for collecting and utilizing sets of data that aims to produce logical and appropriate findings with great accuracy, and that seeks to adequately and reasonably rest a research hypothesis, especially in a case whereby a quantitative study is being undertaken.
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This research study employed a quantitative research design, in which the scholarly primary sources and the international statistics on piracy of clothes by the Department of Trade and Commerce of the United Kingdom were reviewed. Furthermore, use was made of the available quantitative data from the evaluation of international trade statistics on branded clothing products and pirated clothing from China.
This study utilized a descriptive research approach to accurately describe the variables that were under examination, and determine the degree to which the variables could be related. According to Creswell (2008), exploratory research is undertaken when a researcher is seeking insights into the broad nature of the problem, the possible substitutes, and the appropriate variables that need to be evaluated.
Casual research is undertaken when the objectives of the research are to understand the causal–effect variables and their effects on a phenomenon. Causal research also involves determining the nature of the association between causative agents and the effects of a phenomenon (Denzin 1978). This study is basically a descriptive study since it is aimed at evaluating impact that the piracy of clothes in China has had on the legitimate international trade in branded clothing products.
The data collected for this study was limited to the piracy of clothes in China, and its impact on the legitimate international trade in branded clothing products. Furthermore, the information obtained from the data collection sheets and which were filled in the various respondents had to be verified and cleaned up before further data analysis could be undertaken.
Moreover, the sales and trade figures that this study relied on were only obtained from valid and reputable sources, such as those from the Department of Trade and Commerce of the United Kingdom.
According to Creswell (2008), the best method to minimise the measurement error is to “use a good [research] instrument” (p. 394). Therefore, one of the research instruments used in both qualitative and quantitative research studies is a questionnaire. A questionnaire could either be open-ended, or closed. The use of open ended questions enables individuals to express their views freely without having any limitations (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison 2002) based on their “cultural and social experiences” (Creswell 2008, p. 399).
Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2002 p. 255) furthermore states that “closed and open ended questions can catch the authenticity, richness, depth of response, honesty and candour which is […] the hallmarks of quantitative data”. Questionnaires could either be self-administered, or conducted by a researcher.
According to Creswell (2008), personal administration has the obvious advantage of making the respondent understand the questions and concepts involved. Personal administration also gives a respondent the opportunity to ask for clarifications. Personal administration also yields the lowest refusal rate among respondents. It also allows for detailed, longer, and more complicated interviews to be undertaken (Charles 1995).
This researcher deemed it appropriate to generate additional quantitative data through the examination of sales and trade figures from the manufacturers of branded clothing, and who were willing to participate in the study. To these, a semi-structured questionnaire was administered to facilitate in the collection of the relevant information.
Both the qualitative and quantitative methods of research design may utilize a developed questionnaire as an instrument for facilitating in the collection of the necessary data to facilitate the study at hand. Such a questionnaire then could be structured, or even semi-structured, depending of course on the kind of data that need to be obtained, and also based on the research design that has been adopted by the study; either qualitative, or quantitative.
The questionnaire developed for this research was a self completed research tool. Most of the questions included were closed-ended, implying that the questionnaire was highly structured. Only several open-ended questions were used in the whole questionnaire. According to Crocker & Algina (1986), factual data is best collected using questionnaires and thus appropriate questionnaire design is crucial in making sure research questions elicits valid responses.
The questionnaire developed for this research mainly recorded the data pertinent to this research, namely, the piracy of clothes in China and its impact on the legitimate international trade in branded clothing products. According to Creswell (2008), putting the variables understudy in a category scale is very effective in measuring the attitudes and behaviours of people towards that variable. By utilizing the Likert scale of agreement or disagreement, critical information on a variable under study can be revealed. The categories mostly utilized in measuring attitudes are the strongly disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree.
Data analysis process
Secondary data for this research was obtained from the department of trade and commerce of the United Kingdom. In addition, other data for the study was also via an evaluation of international trade statistics on branded clothing products and pirated clothing from China. In order that the research study may generate additional quantitative data, this researcher deemed it prudent to examine sales and trade figures from the manufacturers of branded clothing.
In this regard, the willing manufacturers were incorporated into the study. This research study limited the group of manufacturers respondents to 10 to facilitate the gathering of information from them, data collection sheets in, the form of a structured questionnaires were administered to the identified manufacturers. The aim of targeting the manufacturers of the branded clothing products was with a view to obtaining a much clearer picture of the impact that the piracy of clothes from China has had on the sales of branded clothing in the United Kingdom.
Reliability and validity in the collection of data
If we are to substantiate our research findings, it is important that their validity and reliability be safeguarded too (Charles 1995). Reliability has been defined as the ability to measure, from one dimension, certain variable with the least amount of errors (Denzin 1978). In other words, it is the degree of consistency of measurements.
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Repetitive measurements ought to produce matching results. On the other hand, validity legitimizes that which is being measured. Though a measurement may prove to be reliable, this does not however imply that it is valid also (Crocker & Algina 1986). Through the application of a variety of statistical procedures, it is however possible to validate statistical results.
From the perspective of a quantitative research, reliability is often interpreted to imply consistency. In this regard, a certain construct gets captured reliably when a wide range of measurements of that same construct gives similar results.
Based on these reliability notions, a reader is often provided with an assurance that the results findings of a research study being undertaken are not just another one of the several artifacts of the research design, of the survey being undertaken for that matter.
The message relayed is that these findings are in fact reproducible. Charles (1995) has argued that the social facts that we possess are as a result of attitudes and perceptions that we hold, conditions that tend to change very fast as time goes (Charles 1995).
All the 10 questionnaires administered, in addition to the data obtained from scholarly primary sources and the international statistics was edited to ensure that the data received was of the highest quality. This is a general prerequisite for any research undertaking.
Once data was collected, data for the study was analyzed using various statistical packages namely SPSS and Excel to generate frequencies and percentages needed to answer the research objectives. Analysis would be carried on the piracy of clothes and goods in China, and the impact this has had on the legitimate international trade in branded clothing products.
According to Creswell (2008), data analysis is the technique of gathering, transforming, and modeling data with the purpose of suggesting conclusions, highlighting useful information, and supporting decision making. Data analysis has manifold approaches and facets, encompassing varied techniques under a variety of names in different social science, science, and business domains.
The phenomenon under investigation by this study is very extensive and therefore limitations were experienced in not only arriving at the scholarly primary sources of data, but also with regard to the questions to address in the questionnaire to the study; in this case the data collection sheet.
Other study limitations include traveling costs, inadequate budgetary allocation, and a small sample size. The researcher however could not extend the size of the sample to be used in the study due to budgetary challenges. A more comprehensive study would have facilitated in more conclusive findings to the research questions.
Charles, C. M, 1995, Introduction to educational research (2nd ed.). San Diego, Longman.
Creswell, J.W 2008. Educational Research: Planning, Conducting and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research. (3rded). New Jersey, Prentice hall.
Cohen, J.P., Manion, C.W., & Morrison, P.M, 2002. Handbook of Qualitative Research. London, International Educational and professional Publisher.
Crocker, L., & Algina, J, 1986, Introduction to classical and modern test theory. Toronto: Holt, RineHart, and Winston, Inc.
Denzin, N. K, 1978, The research act: A theoretical introduction to sociological methods. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Eisner, E. W, 1991, The enlightened eye: qualitative inquiry and the enhancement of educational practice. New York: Macmillan publishing company.
Healy, M., & Perry, C. Comprehensive criteria to judge validity and reliability of qualitative research within the realism paradigm. Qualitative Market Research, Vol3, No.3 (2000):118-126.