Methodology Research Data

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According to Walliman (2001), a methodology explains the theory behind the research methods or approaches. This chapter highlights the theories behind the methodology employed and examines the research methods that are most appropriate for this research which help to better understand the topic under investigation. This research undertakes an analytical review of customer retention techniques of Indian banks, using Citibank as a case study. This chapter outlines how this analysis is undertaken and describes the rationale behind the choice of research design and the construction of the method.

Research Method Construction

Much of the research undertaken in social sciences is primary. This is based on the collection of primary data, that is, data originated by the researcher for the purpose of the investigation at hand (Stewart and Kamins, 1993). Primary analysis is the original analysis of data in a research study. It is what one typically imagines as the application of statistical methods. However, not every study or research undertaking must begin with the collection of primary data. In some cases, the information required is already available from published sources. This is called secondary research – the summation, collation, and/or synthesis of existing research. Secondary information consists of sources of information collected by others and archived in some form. These sources include reports, industry studies, as well as books and journals. The collection, generation, and dissemination of information is growing. This means that there exists a tremendous amount of secondary data that is relevant to today’s decision-making problems. Knowledge accumulation increasingly relies on the integration of previous studies and findings. Glass (1976) argues that when the literature on a topic grows and knowledge lies untapped in completed research studies, “this endeavour (of research synthesis) deserves higher priority … than adding a new experiment or survey to the pile” (Glass, 1976, p. 4). One of the main reasons to value secondary data comes from the ease of collection for research use (Houston, 2004). This information can be of considerable importance for two reasons.

  • Time savings – typically, the time involved in searching secondary sources is much less than that needed to complete primary data collection.
  • Cost effectiveness – similarly, secondary data collection in general is less costly than primary data collection. For the same level of research budget a thorough examination of secondary sources can yield a great deal more information than can be had through a primary data collection exercise.

Another, and perhaps more important, benefit to researchers from employing secondary data is that alternative types of data can provide multi-method triangulation to other research findings (Houston, 2004). This is because the knowledge bases regarding many constructs, such as retention and loyalty, have been built heavily through survey research approaches. All things being equal, secondary data should be used if it helps researchers to solve the research problem (Saunders et al., 2006). If there exists data that solves or lends insight into the research problem,

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