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Research Methods for Business Students


This article compares two research papers based on the understanding of various criteria. The first paper is titled, “How do suppliers relationships contribute to success in conference and events management?” and is authored by Susan M. Ogden and Eileen McCorriston of the Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK. In our article, we shall refer to this research paper as Paper I.

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The second, titled “The impact of brand sponsorship of music festivals” is authored by Jennifer Rowley of the Department of Information and Communications in Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK, along with Catrin Williams of Bangor Business School, Bangor University in Bangor, UK. In our article, we shall refer to this research paper as Paper-II.

Research Method

A quantitative research design approach was adopted in Paper I. It employed a cross-sectional study by means of a conducted survey of venue managers in the United Kingdom from the conference and events sector of the hospitality industry. To eliminate geographical constraints, a few venues from Scotland and Northern Ireland were also taken into account. The categories of venues were classified into four different sub-sets: purpose-built, multi-purpose, educational, and unusual venues. A questionnaire was utilized to conduct the survey and was circulated amongst 1000 venues subsequent to a slight adjustment to the survey instrument in some cases. Of the total, 151 entirely completed responses were received which formed the basis of the statistics. (Ogden, 2007)

Paper-II also adopted a mixed research design approach by using a survey conducted on people attending music festivals held in the UK along with a few interviews with them. A questionnaire, the principal data-collection instrument, was strategically divided into four sections to scrutinize brand recollection, brand consciousness, brand use, approach towards the brand, and any apprehension concerning the latent adverse effects of alcohol sponsorship. A “snowballing” approach for questionnaire distribution was adopted to create the sample. Added qualitative data was also gathered to help in the understanding of the questionnaire outcomes. This was done by means of message board discourses and a few interviews. (Rowley, 2008)

Strengths and Weaknesses of used Methodology

The research design was chosen in Paper I to ensure the statistical representation of the attitude of the people the survey was conducted. In this case, the sample was intended to be comprised of venue managers. Examination of the profiles of 82 percent of respondents revealed that an educated view had been obtained with most of them working in authority-holding positions. The well-constructed questionnaire leads to the finding of key issues in supplier relationships with well-documented statistics to support the hypothesis of the research. However, the survey brings out a one-sided opinion, which makes it difficult to observe the actual phenomenon. (Ogden, 2007)

Paper-II, employing a mixed design approach scores over the use of purely a survey as a data-collection instrument. Although, it is true that the questionnaire for the survey was very carefully crafted and that deserves appreciation, the use of interviews and message board discourses augmented the interpretation of survey results. A drawback in this paper is the focus of research being on a number of issues, which becomes very demanding on the techniques used. Another issue in the survey phase of the data collection is the small sample size, which may be criticized in relation to the applicability of results as a whole. (Rowley, 2008)

Purpose of the Research and Content

The objective of Paper I was to provide an account of the results generated by a survey of UK conference and event managers, underlining the advantages that can ensue from proper supplier relations in the sector. The paper is well organized stating clearly the approach adopted and describing its findings in an apparent fashion. It brings out the advantages as well as disadvantages and the implications of upholding of congenial relationship with suppliers from the perspective of the hiring authority. It palpably states the limitations of the study after concluding its analysis of survey data to make the reader understand the scope of the research. (Ogden, 2007)

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The aim of Paper-II was to provide an account of investigative research into the impact of sponsorships in various UK music festivals. It elicits the attendee’s consciousness of, and mindset towards, brands that sponsor music festivals. It touches upon the significant role sponsorship plays as a vital revenue channel for music festivals and, conversely allows the sponsoring firms to understand the perceptions of the young target audiences. Besides, the research endeavors to analyze the impact of alcohol sponsorship and the stance the sampled population takes on the issue. It carefully lists its findings and demonstrates its analysis through the extensive use of tables to provide the reader with a clear understanding of the data. It provides a well-analyzed conclusion along with the limitations of the study. (Rowley, 2008)

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Research

In Paper I, the reliability of the outcome was largely dependent on the understanding of the respondent. Examination of the respondents’ profile divulged that an informed opinion was obtained by means of the survey conducted. However, the authors do not indicate any secondary analysis, which could completely confirm the reliability of the result. Conclusion validity and internal validity are apparent in the research as an evident causal relationship between maintaining an affable relationship with suppliers and mutual hirer-supplier benefits can be observed. The small sample size may raise the question of generalization. However, the response rates compare satisfactorily with other relevant studies. Further, the cross-sectional nature of the survey and inclusion of samples from Scotland and Northern Ireland eradicating sectored and geographical constraints evokes a moderately reasonable degree of generalization. (Ogden, 2007)

As for Paper II, a mixed approach was adopted in which in addition to a survey, interviews and message board discussions were carried out. This qualitative aspect of the researchers supplemented the quantitative analysis increasing the reliability of the outcome. Based on the quantitative data collected and comprehensive analysis the conclusion validity is apparent. However, a relatively small sample size and too many issues in focus surface as drawbacks when it comes to generalization. Enhanced measurement instruments could have increased both the reliability and validity of the research. (Rowley, 2008)

Referenced drawing on a variety of appropriate sources

Paper I draws on extensive references throughout the length of the text, which depicts the depth of the research work conducted by the authors in their study. Initially, it cites the works of various authors to bring out the several benefits of a congenial supplier relationship in any business. To support its argument, it refers to similar endeavors in different industries carried out previously. While constructing their database for selecting an organization to be included in the survey, it logically uses the internet as its source. It even brings out a comparison between the response rates of its own survey and relevant earlier surveys. Later in the article, while providing the implications of the survey, the authors mention various other significant studies in order to support their perceptions.

Even in Paper II, a similar approach is adopted. To reveal the purpose of the study, the paper cites a few previously conducted studies to bring out the current standings of the sponsorships of music festivals. It provides references to a number of literary works to explain the meaning of sponsorship and its significance in terms of marketing. Even in its conclusion, it makes extensive referrals to numerous other works to discuss various issues arising from the findings of the research. (Paulraj, 2008)

Significance and Context

To evaluate, the impacts of supplier management of the conference and events sector of the hospitality industry the authors of Paper I venture out to explore an emerging but much under-researched area. Amongst the tourism, hospitality, and leisure management literature, there has been very little effort made to find the extent to which associations with suppliers are valued in organizational policies, excluding that on food supply chain management. Although this paper provides a one-sided account, it provides a head start in the documentation of research findings on this subject.

Paper-II concentrates on a research aspect on which there has been very little focus. It deals with the effect of sponsorship at music festivals. This study inquires about the effect of sponsorship at music festivals with an outlook of contributing to the writings on sponsorship in the field of arts and more particularly providing music event advertisers a better understanding of the audience’s take on sponsorship. Because there exists an extremely small amount of research documentation on the issue of sponsorships in music events, partial experimental investigations on “entertainment marketing”, and insufficient argument on brands in the art marketing this paper provides a vital contribution to all areas. (Paulraj, 2008)

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Comparison with Other Journal Articles

Although there are, only a few other articles on the subject with which Paper I deals, a comparison may be drawn with some of them. In the case of evaluating the low response rate for the survey, it can be said that it scores over the study conducted by Beaumont and Sohal’s (2004) on outsourcing in 2000 Australian organizations. The study recorded a response rate of 8%, whereas the survey conducted in Paper, I reported a response rate of almost 16%. The findings of this study align well with the results of other sources such as researches conducted by O’Toole and Donaldson (2002), Dean and Terziovski (2001), and Emiliani (2003).

Similarly, in Paper-II only a few comparable articles exist. However, the conclusions drawn from the collected data are based on the analysis as well as supported by works by other authors such as Roy and Cornwell (2003), Oakes (2003) Hackley and Tiwsakul (2006), and Moore (2003).

Relationship between the Practical Context of the Research and the Research Philosophy

Paper I demonstrates a strong bonding with the approach adopted to conduct the research and the motive of the research. In order to find out the impact of good supplier management on the business dealings in the conference and events sector within the UK, a survey was conducted on the venue managers of various types of venues utilized for holding such events. An appropriate questionnaire was used as the data collection instrument. However, as the survey was carried out only on venue managers the research fails to put up a complete picture of the happenings. The views of the suppliers have not been taken into consideration and thus the reader gets only a partial understanding of the phenomenon. (Paulraj, 2008)

In Paper II, the intention was to obtain and analyze the perspective of the young audiences attending music festivals in the UK on issues such as brand recall, awareness, use, and impact of alcohol sponsorship. A carefully crafted questionnaire was designed which inquired about the respondents’ most recent music festival experience. This enabled the researchers to analyze the brand recall of the respondent properly. The questionnaire also provided information on the demographic profile, and the stance taken by the respondent concerning various sponsorship-related issues in music festivals. This specifically designed approach served the purpose of efficiently gathering data required to analyze the phenomenon and thus exhibits a strong correlation between the research approach and research philosophy. (Thomsen, 2009)

Depth of critical analysis

Paper I provides an in-depth analysis of the data obtained from the survey. It lists the implication of maintaining viable associations with suppliers and sums up the non-financial benefits of the same. However, it also provides an account for some of the disadvantages of continued supplier relationships experienced by some managers demonstrating a comprehensive approach towards the issue. In addition, it provides a number of suggestions for the managers based on its findings. In conclusion, it demonstrates the positive influences of long-term relationships in supplier management and analyzes the quality aspect of the issue.

Paper-II carries out extensive and complex analysis on the collected data and successfully derives its conclusions from the examination. It brings out information on the attitude demonstrated by the audiences of music festivals towards sponsorships. It carefully analyses the brand recollection, awareness, and use, and the opinion of the respondents on the issue of alcohol sponsorship. In its conclusion, it effectively touches on other aspects of sponsoring such as ingraining the brand name in the festival name and corporate relationship between the brands and the festivals to analyze the impact of sponsorship. Overall, it emerges as a thoroughly examined research paper. (Woodside, 2004)


Ogden, Susan M & Eileen McCorriston; 2007; Research in Brief: How do supplier relationships contribute to success in conference and events management?; International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality; Management; Vol. 19 No. 4, 2007; pp. 319-327; Emerald Group Publishing Limited; Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK.

Paulraj, Antony; 2008; Environmental motivations: a classification scheme and its impact on environmental strategies and practices; Business Strategy and the Environment; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment; Department of Management, Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, USA.

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Rowley, Jennifer & Catrin Williams; The impact of brand sponsorship of music festivals; Marketing Intelligence & Planning; Vol. 26 No. 7, 2008; pp. 781-792; Emerald Group Publishing Limited; Department of Information and Communications, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK.

Thomsen, Thyra Uth & Torben Hansen; 2009; The application of Memory-Work in consumer research; Journal of Consumer Behaviour; 8, 1, 26-39; Department of Marketing, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark.

Woodside, Arch G; 2004; Advancing from subjective to confirmatory personal introspection in consumer research; Psychology and Marketing; 21, 12, 987-1010; Wiley Periodicals, Inc; Boston College.

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