The research strategy for this dissertation was established by adopting a way which the research objectives can be answered. There are two main types of research strategies: quantitative and qualitative.
When deciding upon which research strategy to adopt one would have to identify the purpose of the study and the type and availability of the information that is required (Naoum, 1998). Both research methods are interconnected and have been considered by scholars to complement each other.
Quantitative research is generally “objective” in nature although some may argue that it can be “subjective” as well. Creswell, (1994) defines quantitative research as an enquiry into social or human problem based on testing a hypothesis or a theory composed of variables, measured with numbers, and analysed with statistical procedures in order to determine whether the hypothesis or the theory holds true. Quantitative data therefore involves measurements of tangible, countable, sensate features of the world. (Bouman & Atkinson, 1995). A limitation of this research approach is that it depends on available or readily statistical data that can be analysed; therefore it is not suitable for testing new subjects/concepts with limited available data.
Qualitative research on the other hand is “subjective” in nature and mainly concentrates on opinions and perceptions rather than hard measurable data. Types of qualitative research methods include, but are not limited to, literature review, questionnaires etc.
This dissertation was mainly researched using this type of research strategy because of its flexibility in acquiring data for subjects with limited publications. It has been noted to be divisible into two types;
- Exploratory research which is used where the researcher does not have extensive or has limited knowledge of the research area. The interview technique is often used as the primary method of data collection under this strategy.
- Attitudinal research is a “subjective method” that evaluates people` s opinions or views about a subject. Specific questions are formulated along with a set range of answers of varying degrees from which the respondent chooses a response.
From a review of both quantitative and qualitative research approaches, it was determined that the quantitative research strategy would be used in conjunction with qualitative research, but not to a larger extent than at first envisaged because of limited access to numerical and statistical data from industrial property agents as they deemed the information confidential.
Interviews were utilised to gather data which can be used to determine the attitude of professionals within the industrial property market. From the information gathered within the interviews the results can be analysed to establish how industrial speculative developments play a role in the property market during periods of economic instability.
It was decided that the interview questions would be sent to surveyors and industrial property agents and specialists based in areas where warehousing / distribution centres are predominant, particularly the East and West Midlands.
Time was the limiting factor which could not allow for face to face interviews. The interview questions were directed to the individual responsible for answering the questions. In addition to emails sent to industrial property agents, telephone interviews were conducted. Admittedly, there is no way of knowing whether the individual or other senior member of staff actually completed the questions. The targeted interviewees were:
- Industrial property agents and surveyors around Nottingham and Birmingham.
- Industrial agents and developers ProLogis, who specialise in large industrial portfolios, including the case study for this research, ‘The Golden Triangle’.
The questions that formed the basis of the interviews can be found in Appendix 1. The answers and comments acquired from the interviews have undoubtedly led to additional questions and a greater level of understanding.
A case study has been used with a view of providing an in-depth account of events, relationships, experiences or processes occurring in that particular instance (Denscombe, 1998).
A case study of ‘The Golden Triangle’ was carried out with a view that it would provide an in-depth analysis on how speculative developments in the industrial property market impact on the economy of the local area and how subsequently speculative developments impact on the economy in general.
When deciding upon the case study which would prove suitable for the purpose of the research, three types of case study designs were considered;
- Descriptive case study – considered to be similar to concept of the descriptive survey (i.e. counting).
- Analytical case study – similar to the concept of the analytical survey (i.e. counting, association and relationship) except its applied on detailed cases).
- Explanatory case study – theoretical approach to the problem.
Source: Naoum, 1998.
The theoretical way of selection (explanatory) was chosen for this research as it presented three ways of approaching the study:
- A typical case – the findings can be generalised.
- An extreme case – a contrast with the normal situation and least likely case.
- A particular case as test – carried out for theory purposes to ascertain relevance of the case for previous theory.
Limitations of Research:
The population used for the interviews was small and therefore there is a likelihood that the information provided by the respondents is limited to the experiences of the respondents which may not accurately depict the state of the subject matter. Due to time constraints, the assessment focused only on the surveyor and developers side. It would have been ideal to interview industrialists/occupiers as well so as to uncover any issues that are particular to them and may have been missed by the surveyors and developers.
Interviews were carried out as they enable face to face interactions which enabled further questions to be raised during the interview session but as already mentioned; interviews were conducted via email except for a few face to face sessions. Telephone interviews were also carried out but it was viewed that this has the potential to lead to some bias developing that may mislead respondents. However, this approach was the most appropriate/practical given the time constraints of the respondent concerned.