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Discuss the appropriate target population for this study and how you might negotiate access to an appropriate sample. Discuss any safeguards to insure the reliability of your data.

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This coursework component is in two parts and contributes 50% to the overall module mark
Part one Entrepreneurial Intentions among Business Students
Factors influencing people to start their own business rather than chose to work for a wage have long been debated. Indeed, huge research is devoted to the question of why some people choose to be in self-employment. A number of conceptual models with factors that affect this process have been developed. Though not specifically developed for students, all these models point towards strong relationship between intentions and attitudes to entrepreneurship. Attitudes to entrepreneurship are found to be split between three components, Desirability, Feasibility and Propensity to act. This empirical study aims at assessing the relationship between entrepreneurship intention and entrepreneurship attitude of university students. The specific objective of the study is to measure the level of relationship between intention and the three components of entrepreneurial attitudes controlling for gender and the availability of entrepreneur role models among relatives.
Literature review
Intention to start a business
Entrepreneurial intention is considered to be the first step in new business and venture creation; (Lee & Wong, 2004). The intention for a business start-up (or entrepreneurial intention) is simply defined as the necessary commitment to start a physical business venture (Krueger Jr, Reilly, & Carsrud, 2000). According to Krueger et al. (2000), entrepreneurial activity can be predicted more accurately by studying the person’s intention rather than their personality traits, their demographic characteristics, or their situational factors. The “intention” variable is measured by a single item (what would say is the likelihood for you to open your own business at some point in your life?) on the likelihood scale (1=Very unlikely, 5=Very likely).
Perceived desirability This represents the degree of personal attraction to create one’s own company. The beliefs of desirability are split two ways. On the one hand they understand the beliefs relating to the consequences of the creation of a company and on the other hand the beliefs relating to social environment (Ajzen, 1991, Shapero and Sokol, 1982); the notion of desirability is equally interesting to the issue of resilience, because it perfectly articulates the ability to re-conquer self-esteem.
The concept desirability is operationalised using the statement “How attractive do you find the idea of starting your own business?”
BA5004: Business Research Methods
Year: 2018-19
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Perceived feasibility This reflects the degree of an individual’s belief that they are personally able and resourceful enough to create a company. According to the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1991), the resources and opportunities available to a person must to some extent dictate the likelihood of behavioural achievement. Shapero emphasised that perceived availability of financial support, and the perception of the availability of other supports such as advice, consultation and education that make the act of venture creation feasible to the potential entrepreneur (Shapero, 1982). Krueger presented evidence that perceived desirability to act explained well “over half” of the variance of the intentions toward entrepreneurship, with feasibility perceptions explaining the most (Krueger, 1993).The concept feasibility is operationalised using the statement. “How confident are you about your skills and abilities to start a business?”
Propensity to act Shapero conceives “propensity to act” as the personal disposition to act according to one’s own decisions. Conceptually, this propensity to act depends on perceptions of control of the consequences of the behaviour over the environment and context. This concept, which is at the heart of the intention, also seems to feed the “reconstruction” processes that are apparent among resilient entrepreneurs acquired through difficult situations and adversity. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, incarnates this concept perfectly.
Gender variable
Models based on demographics have generally been criticised because they provide little insight on how family background and social forces shape the individual’s decision process (Katz, 1992). However, convincing models have been put forward arguing that the variable “Gender” plays a significant role on entrepreneurial intentions. Indeed, a growing body of literature which analyses the relationship between gender and attitudes towards new venture creation (Delmar and Davidsson, 2000), have found that males have a higher preference for entrepreneurship behaviour than females. Kolvereid (1996), in its application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour to predict employment status choice, found that males have a significantly higher preference for self-employment than females. The author concluded that gender influences self-employment intentions indirectly through their effect on attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control.
The variable entrepreneurs among relatives
The literature on family background evidences a positive relationship between the presence of role models in the family and the emergence of entrepreneurs. Collins, Moore and Unwalla (1964) were the first authors to verify through an empirical research that the influences over a new venture idea go back to the childhood and the family circumstances of the entrepreneur (Veciana, 1988:14). Advocates of demographic models have suggested and found empirical support that family background is related to entrepreneurial intentions (Mathews and Moser, 1995).
Among the literature that focuses on intentions Scherer et al. (1989) as well as Krueger (1993), argue that role models affect entrepreneurial intentions, but only if they affect attitudes.
Kolvereid (1996), in its application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour to predict employment status choice, also studied the role of family background. The author found that the relationship between family background and intentions, though positive, was not statistically significant.
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You are supposed to have read the above literature review section regarding the topic and understood the key aspects and concepts highlighted by the review. For this part, you are asked to write down the methodology section for this study. In particular, you need to …
1. What are the arguments for the use of a positivist paradigm in this study.
[Max: 100 words]
2. Discuss the appropriate target population for this study and how you might negotiate access to an appropriate sample. Discuss any safeguards to insure the reliability of your data. [Max: 100 words]
3. Indicate the key concepts introduced in this study and state the appropriate research hypotheses. You should present a draft questionnaire with a maximum of ten questions based on this study (this questionnaire will not be part of the word count). [Max: 200 words]
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Part two Customer behaviour in shoe shopping Abstract
Online word of mouth (WOM) communication is certainly one of the most influential drivers of purchase decisions. However, little knowledge is available on the factors that influence the credibility of WOM communication. To address this research gap, this study aimed to assess whether the three independent variables (homophily, authority and reviewability) have a significant positive effect on WOM credibility. The context of the study was shoe shop retailing.
Literature Review
The rise and proliferation of social media platforms such as consumer review sites and blogs, social networks, content blogs and microblogging sites (Twitter) has dramatically changed the global media and communications landscape. It has altered the reach and speed of online WOM communication. WOM is essentially ‘any positive/negative statement made by former customers about a product and made available to a multitude of people and institutions via the Internet’. Consumers currently rely more on the advice and information obtained on social media from their networks of friends and other consumers than on advertising messages from companies (Cakim 2010, 3–4).
Consequently, given the importance of online communication, researchers have shifted their focus from traditional WOM to online WOM, to gain more insight into this new phenomenon. For example, Li and Wang (2013, 1351) identified a number of studies concerned with how online WOM impacts the decision-making of consumers in various product categories.
The WOM credibility concept
The dependent variable of the study is online word of mouth (WOM) credibility, which is defined as the degree to which customers believe that information about products, reviews and recommendations is correct and based on factual information. Credibility in the context of online WOM relates to both the online message itself and the communicator of the information. Several studies have proved that WOM credibility can directly affect the purchase intention (Lis 2013).
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Conceptual framework
The conceptual framework investigated in this study is presented in Figure 1.
For the purpose of this study, homophily refers to the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with
other people with the same attributes and characteristics. According to Adams (2012), people connect and interact with and befriend individuals with whom they are similar. Thus, homophily is more likely to influence the persuasive aspect of online WOM communication. it can therefore be assumed that social homophily is also significant for the credibility rating of online recommendations.
This refers to authority of the source and determines the degree to which consumers will believe the online WOM to bring about a change in the customer’s reasons for purchase. Martin and Lueg (2011) further note that although the construct of source authority seems to be related to source expertise, it depends on actual product/ service usage, with reviewers’ comments or ratings being based on first-hand consumption-related experiences. Within virtual communities, evaluating “source authority” has been made easier by the availability of social media. Consumers can now easily check positive or negative ratings generated by a review or recommendation.
This construct relates to the ability of important and highly rated reviews by others to draw and grab the attention of WOM seekers. When a message appeals to consumers, they become a willing and receptive audience for the content, making them more willing and likely to distribute the message content. It seems “reviewability” is of primary importance and can influence the acceptance and pass-on intentions.
Research objectives Objective 1: To examine the demographic profile and purchase intention aspects of the shoes consumers Objective 2: To compare and contrast consumers’ perceptions on the online word of mouth Objective 3: To explore any association between homophily, source authority and reviewability
Objective 4: To investigate the relationship between online WOM, homophily, authority, reviewability and purchase intention
WOM credibility
Figure 1
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A cross-sectional study was conducted in Canterbury in 2016. A quantitative research design was adopted to address the research objectives for the study. The target population included consumers born between 1980 and early 90s who visit the market leaders in shoe shopping. Canterbury was chosen because it is a university town and has one of the largest populations born during that period and this population is easily accessible and lives within close proximity to the town centre.
The sampling units were identified to include all branches of the three leading shoe brands in Canterbury, namely Sports Direct, Clarks and Primark as these are the three retailers that came top in terms of destination for footwear purchase (Mintel, 2016). A total of 600 structured self-administered questionnaires were distributed and a sample of 176 of them was collected by four trained researchers.
The questionnaire that was used as the research instrument included two sections (See next page). The first section collected key demographic data about the consumers and the second section included scales on the four concepts measured in this study. The scale items used were adapted and were designed specifically to measure responses within the context of the study. The scale items for the homophily construct were developed from the studies conducted by McGuire (1985). The scale items for the authority construct were informed by Lis (2013). The reviewability construct scale items are based on a study conducted by Adams (2012). Lastly, the scale items for the online WOM credibility construct were developed from studies conducted by Cheung et al. (2009). The scales were measured on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from ‘strongly disagree’ (score 1) to ‘strongly agree’ (score 5). A face validity was conducted by having the different scales verified by two experts in the field of marketing. Previous studies using these scales have returned appropriate levels of reliability as measured by Cronbach alpha values, although similar checks needed to be made on the data collected for this study.
From the total of 176 participants collected 23 were discarded as they were deemed unsuitable for data analysis due to responses that were incomplete or exhibited biased and extreme rating patterns (easy ticking).
The data was collated and recorded as an SPSS file (WOM credibility.sav) and can be found on WebLearn. It is to be noted though that a few customers have left some blanks on some of the responses and these could be coded as 999 and should be treated as “missing” in the analysis.
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The questionnaire Demographic profile Q.1: Are you: 1. Male? 2. Female? 3. Prefer not to say Q.2: Age: 1. Less than 30 2. 30 to 34 3. 35 and over Q.3: Occupational status: 1. Student 2. Employed 3. Unemployed Q.4: Marital status: 1. Single 2. Married/In relationship 3. Divorced/Separated Q.5: Buying frequency (pairs/year) 1. One 2. Two-Three 3. Four or more Purchasing behaviour Q.5: Please state the level of agreement towards these aspects of the self-checkout counters: Please rate as: 1 = Strongly disagree to 5 = Strongly agree
WOM Credibility
I identify strongly with shoe bloggers and virtual communities[W1]
Online shoe reviews on social media are reliable [W2]
Online shoe reviews on social media are generally made by credible consumers [W3]
Online shoe reviews are generally made by experienced customers [W4]
I feel I belong when browsing through shoe virtual communities/blogs [H1]
Virtual shoe communities represent people with similar interest to me [H2]
Online shoe review sites on social media are representative [H3]
I prefer to communicate on social media with people with the same ideas [H4]
I get persuaded to choose a shoe shop because of a well-known blogger [A1]
I am motivated to try a different shoe shop because of knowledgeable blogger [A2]
Reviews by authoritative bloggers have influence on intentions to purchase [A3]
I am influenced to use a different shoe shop by a well-known blogger [A4]
I am more likely to use shoe shops which have received positive reviews [R1]
I prefer to read shoe reviews which have generated a large number of likes [R2]
I am attracted to shoe reviews which have a large number of views [R3]
Good ratings influence my choice of which shoe shop to use [R4] Purchase intention Q.6: During today’s visit to this shoe shop, please indicate if you intend to buy. 1. No 2. Yes
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Before you start any analysis, you are required to carry out basic data management to the file “Word of Mouth”. The data in this file was coded as per the questionnaire and therefore basic labelling of categories, the identification of missing data etc… need to be undertaken prior to analysing the data. Note: All hypothesis tests conducted for this investigation are carried out using the 5% level of significance. Assumptions of the tests should be checked where appropriate. Objective 1: To examine the demographic profile and purchase intention aspects of the shoe consumers. Required:  Produce a basic descriptive analysis on the demographic characteristics of the consumers as well as their purchase intention.  Test that the proportion of customers who intended to buy once at the shop is greater than 50%.  Report your findings using classical research style reporting. [Max: 100 words] The SPSS output for this objective should be placed immediately below the text for this question and called ‘Report 1’. It should consist of all the appropriate descriptive statistics and the output for the hypothesis test. All unnecessary tables should be deleted. Objective 2: To compare and contrast consumers’ perceptions on the online word of mouth Required:  Check the internal reliability for the factor WOM credibility.  Create factor scores for the factor WOM credibility and calculate the descriptive statistics.  Test if the average of overall scores for WOM credibility is significantly different to the benchmark of 12.  Test if there is a significant difference in the average overall score of WOM credibility based on gender.  Test if there is a significant difference in the average score for WOM credibility based on buying frequency.  Report your findings using the classic research style reporting. [Max: 150 words] Note: Overall scores for WOM credibility are obtained by adding the scores of items corresponding to the construct. The test against gender should be conducted based on declared male and female and ignore other categories. The SPSS output for this objective should be placed immediately below the text for this question and should be called ‘Report 2’. It should consist the output for internal reliability, the appropriate descriptive statistics and the output for the hypothesis tests. All unnecessary tables should be deleted.
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Objective 3: To further explore each item of the factor Homophily, For this objective, a researcher wanted to test the following hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: Homophily is associated with each of the demographic characteristics (Gender, Age, Marital status and Occupation). Hypothesis 2: Homophily is associated with buying frequency. Required:  Conduct appropriate tests for the above two hypotheses.  Report on only the significant findings using the usual classical research style reporting. Show your SPSS output in appendix 3. [Max: 200 words] Note: You need to treat each item of the construct separately. Students are asked to decide and justify on the appropriate variables to be used and the appropriate test(s) The SPSS output for this objective should be placed immediately below the text for this question and should be called ‘Report 3’. It should consist of the various tables and p-values to make the necessary conclusions. All unnecessary tables should be deleted. Objective 4: To investigate the relationship between overall scores of online WOM credibility, homophily, authority, reviewability and purchase intention. For this last objective, a researcher wanted to check the following predictive relationships: Relationship 1: WOM credibility scores against all of homophily, authority and reviewability overall scores. Relationship 2: WOM credibility scores against all of homophily, authority, reviewability overall scores and gender (as dummy variable). Required:  Conduct appropriate routines to check the above relationships.  Report on the significance of your findings using the classical reporting style. The SPSS output for this objective should be placed immediately below the text for this question and should be called ‘Report 4’. [Max: 300 words] Note: Overall scores for Homophily, Authority and Reviewability are obtained by adding the scores of items corresponding to the construct. The test against gender should be conducted based on declared male and female and should ignore any other categories. About this coursework This is a Turnitin assessment and therefore students should upload their work using the link available for Coursework 3 to be found inside the “ONLINE ASSESSMENT” folder on WebLearn. The deadline for this coursework is Friday 17 May, 2019 by 3pm. The maximum number of pages for this assessment is 20.

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