ASSIGNMENT HELP | Collaborative Research in Sociology, Research Paper Example

Executive summary

This document contains a proposal to conduct a research concerning Apple as a business entity. The main object is to sensitize the public which is thwe target population regarding the technologies Apple has adopted with the twenty first century and how beneficial this has been to the human population internationally.

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Background and Problem identification

Apple is recognized as a computer business, which has gained momentum with the last century. While there are many Apple customers are many within the millions. However, many of them have no real idea of how the business emerged or its significance within the industry. Apple products have become brand name items and a status symbol. They are highly competitive in the computer technology industry.

The history of Apple dates back to 1977 when its products first entered the market.   As a business entity Apple is also referred to, as Apple, Inc. Certainly with regards to the personal computer industry revolution Apple is a major force as a leader in technology during the 1970s and 80s. When customers understand the Apple history they can more appreciate the impact of this industry upon the world market of computers currently. It brings one intocontact with the social psychology surrounding the Apple computers’ preferences as well as ipohone gravitation, or  theipad he/she is so attached to as a very important device in  life.

Importantly, knowledge about Apple history and industry will definitely influence more customers’selection of their products above similar ones manufactured in other companies. Knowledge is power. Therefore, sensitizing customers regarding the value of Apple and its competing visions for future development is powerful. It is exciting to know, especially,  duringthe decision making process  when designing these highly technological devices. Essentially, exposure to the Computer History Museum offers customers two signioficant pieces of   information beginning from the time of personal computing to the realization of Apple as a distinguished business entity. This preliminary background set the tone for more intense research into finding out how much Apple customers know about its history, decision making processes and whether these features have a  impact on customer preferences for their products.

Hence, this research is considered a consumer relationship  opinion poll identifying the distinct features of a business that predicts their success. These elements will be identified through evaluating customers’ knowledge about the business and reasons for selecting their products above others in the same market.

In developing the background to this study further reference is made  to Gaby OdekerkenSchröder,Kristof De Wulf and  Patrick Schumacher (2003) in their account ofStrengthening outcomes of retailer–consumer relationships: The dual impact of relationship marketing tactics and consumer personality.’ The researchers offered evidence proving that there is a strong relationship between marketing tactics and outcomes ( Odekerken, De Wulf&Schumacher, 2003).They also successfully proved that consumer personality has a great impact upon successful business outcomes. Certainly, Apple is an exceptionally successful business entity.

These researchers adopted a face to face interview methodology using a sample of 246 respondents visiting a German shopping mall. The sample reported their experiences with beauty product retailers. Three conclusions were derived from this research. First, the marketing relationship strategy varies from one consumer group to the other. However, consumer retention orientation largely depends on how much is known about the retailer/business (Odekerken et.al, 2003).

A second very important feature is product category involvement meaning the way customers relate to the product from a personal point of view influences relationships with retailers. This in itself produces a personality trait attachment to the product, meaning that the customer develops an intrinsic affiliation to the commodity. This attitude the researchers identified as consumer relationship proneness. The third and final finding relates to  a combination of customer retention orientation strategies along with relationship proneness ((Odekerken et.al, 2003).

In summarizing this background to the proposed study of Apple as abusiness entity and how consumers’ know of its history enhances business outcomes, it is my desire as a researcher to apply resea4rch strategies as those cited in the reference used above to evaluate the factors that impact consumer relationships with Apple products and Apple as a busines

Target market (study population)

Selecting the most appropriate study population for any study is very important towards successful research outcomeas well as minimizing reliability and validity issues of the study. In this study the target population is persons who use apple devices. For example, external validity relates the extent to which a study can be generalized to similar or other populations and is challenged mostly through sample selection – and whether it is representative of the population of interest. Response rate is very important. While there is no guarantee of a high response rate, researcher strategies to enhance response rate  bysending out weekly reminders and distributing more surveys if the response rate is below the expectation, is important  (Polit & Beck, 2008).

Research objective (research questions)

The research objective is identifying consumer relationships with Apple as an industry.

  • What do consumers of Apple products know about the history of the industry?
  • Does knowledge about the history and decision making process influence a preference for Apple products?
  • To what extent does knowledge concerning Apple history and decision making processs influence selection of their products?

Research methodology

A mixed method would be adapted for convenience in this study. It employs both qualitative and quantitative research strategies. Mixed methods allow the researcher to apply explanatory/exploratory tetchiness to results as well as a minimum of statistical data.

Quantitative research methodology encompasses collecting numerical data to analyse a phenomenon. It also involves interpreting findings through statistical applications. The foundations of quantitative research design/methods emerge from the philosophical premises of realism; subjectivism and paradigm wars. From a sociological, perspective quantitative research methods focus on a systemic empirical approach in its investigation of social issues (Hunter &Leahey, 2008).

Qualitative research method investigates the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of a phenomenon without utilizing any mathematical tools. In this sense it is considered the inversion of quantitative research method. Data collection is often through surveys; interviews and participantobservation techniques. Qualitative applicationswith reference tothis methodologyencompassdata exploration aligning findings to existing theories. This method also produces theories explaining phenomena investigated (Savin-Baden & Major, 2013).

Surveys require that the researcher administers questionnaires to a sampled population and analyzed data retrieved. Questionnaires must be pretested for reliability and validity discrepancies. Interviews involve interactions between and interviewer and interviewee whereby the interviewer designs a schedule of questions to ask the interviewee. Both nonverbal and verbal responses are observed and recorded on the schedule (Savin-Baden &Majo, 2013).

The philosophical justifications for qualitative research methods emerged from researchers’ rejection of positivism. Claims used that are supportive of this change centered on the theoretical assumption that data retrieved during any project offers an objective world view of the phenomenon. Further, data is verified through empirical validation. Also, passive observation was rejected being replaced by participatory observation. Even though this technique initiated much criticism pertaining to subjectivity the philosophical justification that the method is more appropriate in explaining social phenomenon gained acceptance because scientists have acknowledged that despite obvious subjectivity issues the process offers more profound validity and eliminates reliability concerns (Savin-Baden &Majo, 2013).

Significantly, another validation for adapting qualitative methods in  businessresearch practice was confirmed through applications of grounded theory designs, ethnography, naratology, action research, storytelling and shadowing, which cannot be represented when quantitative methods are utilized (Savin-Baden &Majo, 2013).


A purposive sample of persons utilizing Apple products will be selected from the population. Purposive sampling is a type of non-probability technique in which the researcher targets a specific population meeting the characteristics needed to be researched. For example, itbis research it is a deliberate selection of person who use Apple products either computers, ipads, or iphones(Marshall, 2008).

Significantly, a major advantage of this sampling method is that it saves times and is less costly than probability methods when researchers have to calculate the sample size before selection. Another major advantage is that they are very useful for in-depth qualitative studies as this one pertaining to Apple consumers’ knowledge about the company and their purchase preferences (Marshall, 2008).

Data collection process/ time to collect data)

Data collection is through administered questionnaires. The specific technique of distributing the instrument would be through monkey online survey. Since this survey concerns Apple products it is assumed that the sample would have access to the internet and can view the questionnaires sent to their email online.SurveyMonkey is an online device used to collect data. There are 12 steps in completing the process. First the researcher visits the Survey Monkey website and opens an account; then click on sign in; enter the username and password associated with the account; click on create survey; enter the title; select and use a survey template; click and select modify; click on the collect responses tab; click and select a method for collecting data; click next step; copy url and paste on distribution avenues e.g email, newsletters etc. and design the survey to be completed  (SurveyMonkey Help Center, 2013). Data was also be retrieved from documents containing nurse retention rates information.

Data Analysis

SurveyMonkey has a data analysis feature, which will be accessed to formulate concepts and categorize them in preparation for creating the hypothesis and subsequent theoretical assumptions. Data will be collected and stored electronically. The time frame will be set for 3 weeks in which participants must reply. After the first week an inquiry will be conducted to see how many surveys were completed online. If they were non-responsive within the that projected time frame an alert was sent as aninvitation email reminding them of the importance in completing the questionnaire (SurveyMonkey Help Center, 2013).

However, both internal and external validity issues were first addressed.  Internal validity is a scientific research property, reflecting consistency of a casual conclusion drawn in relation to the study design adapted for conducting the research. validity errors can occur, especially, when questionnaires are utilized in a survey. They must be pretested to address ambiguities and differences in cultural interpretations (Polit & Beck, 2008).

Therefore, pretesting identifies interpretationdiscrepancies in the items posted on a questionnaire. Internal validity irregularities regarding conclusions will surface if these interpretation differences are not corrected. Also, variables must be appropriately defined and this must be reflected in questionnaires for internal validity of the instrument to be established (Polit & Beck, 2008).

Study limitations

Obvious study limitations relate to the sample and time available to conduct this study.

Conclusions and recommendations

These would be tendered after the satudyis completed.


Hunter, L., &Leahey, E. (2008)..Collaborative Research in Sociology: Trends and Contributing Factors.The American Sociologist 39 (4); 2008; 290. Print

Marshall, Martin N. (2008).Sampling for Qualitative Research. Family Practice 13: 522–526.

OdekerkenSchröder, G., De Wulf , K., &Schumacher, P (2003) Strengthening outcomes of Retailer–consumer relationships. Journal of Business Research.56(3); 177-190

Polit, D., & Beck, C. (2011). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice. (9 ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Savin-Baden, M. & Major, C (2013) Qualitative Research: The Essential Guide to Theory and Practice. London: Routledge

SurveyMonkey Help Center (2013). How to analyze results. Retrieved on  3rd March, 2014 From http://help.surveymonkey.com/articles/en_US/kb/How-to-analyze-results

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