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Adam Spinos N0748187 - BUSI49007/HRMN 46481

Business Research Methods &


Data Analysis
BUSI49007/HRMN 46481

Business Research & data analysis


for BRP BUSI49008

Document: HRMN 46481 - N0748187

Student ID: N0748187

Dated: February 2019


Word Count: 2569
Adam Spinos N0748187 - BUSI49007/HRMN 46481

“This submission is the result of our own work. Primary and secondary sources of
information and any contributions to the work by third parties, other than my tutors, have
been fully and properly attributed. Should this statement prove to be untrue, I recognise the
right and duty of the Board of Examiners to take appropriate action in line with the
university’s regulations on assessment’.

Name: Adam Spinos Signed ………… …………… Dated 16/02/2019


Adam Spinos N0748187 - BUSI49007/HRMN 46481

Contents

Introduction ............................................................................................................................................... 4
The journey ................................................................................................................................................ 4
Study Objectives reflections ...................................................................................................................... 5
Research questions .................................................................................................................................... 5
Reflections on project Propositions ........................................................................................................... 6
Literature Review ....................................................................................................................................... 7
A bit of Theory ........................................................................................................................................... 9
Data, Analysis and Methods .................................................................................................................... 11
Ethics and Legality.................................................................................................................................... 13
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................ 13
Adam Spinos N0748187 - BUSI49007/HRMN 46481

Introduction

The research report that I chose for my MBA Business Research Project (BRP) is titled
“Business Research Project PopUp Retailing Viability and Business Plan Preparation”
(Spinos, 2019) and is based on my experience in retail temporality and in particular its
manifestation as Pop-up stores. My expertise and past events as well as observations
were used in the report as data to be analysed.

Not having researched before it was a steep learning curve and with the help of my
supervisor I realised that the type of research I was doing was a case study research (Gill
and Johnson, 2010).

In this reflective report I will present how I went t from not knowing how to do business
research to writing a research report. A research report that as a piece of literature brings
cohesion to my actions and guides me to an entrepreneurial business direction with
confidence after having compiled it.

The journey

At the beginning it was an overwhelming process. Despite having identified the research
questions at the proposal state and I was very clear what I wanted to achieve I did not
know how to conduct the research and analyse the data.

My initial idea was to do what I know best and run a Pop-up shop for Christmas 2018 for
2-6 weeks. During that time, I was planning to collect primary data directly from
consumers, visitors and participants using questionnaires and continue filling the already
existing guest book from previous projects.
Also I was planning to run workshops and events where the participants expressed
opinions regarding pop-ups. The idea was to observe their discussions and behaviour.

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Having realised that the pop-up shop will not happen I decided to work on purely past
events and my experiences and observations.
I also realised that research on Pop-ups is “thin” so I decided to have an extensive
literature review and find as many peer-reviewed papers and articles as possible.
Using only Nottingham Trent Library, Science Direct, EBSCO, BRAD, MINTEL and Google
scholar, I managed to compile a strong literature anthology that helped me validate my
observations as well as explore further the pop-up industry.

Study Objectives reflections

The objective of my BRP study was to pass all my knowledge, experiences as well as events
and observations through an “MBA filter” and look at it objectively using peered reviewed
literature as well as be informed to the latest trends, observations and industry insights.

By using these experiences and observations I wanted to identify how viable the Pop-up
shop concept and how I consolidate my expertise to create cohesive business directions.

These objectives were derived after I carefully considered the work I have done so far with
pop-ups from 2010 until 2018 and observing the current pop-up industry. Thus,
identifying a gap in the market. Having identified that gap I formed my objectives.

Research questions

Based on my experience digital creative industries and pop-up entrepreneurship go


hand in hand. Having observed the decline of bricks and mortar retail and the rate of
empty spaces I believe there is a business opportunity. At the same time the pop-up
industry from my observations requires standardised platforms, regulations and
contracts so that can be a viable long-term business. Hence my research questions are
as follows:

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Adam Spinos N0748187 - BUSI49007/HRMN 46481

a) Can PopUp shops offer a platform of engagement to the retail sector and boost
the digital creative industries?
b) What type of platforms can be standardised (application forms, procedures
contracts, landlords, local councils and estate agents)?

Reflections on project Propositions

Having read (Saunders, 2015) almost from cover to cover I decided to generate four
hypothesis and one null hypothesis. The reason was that I thought I had to prove them
and question my results with the null hypothesis. Although this is a valid way to do
research I realised that to work with hypotheses I usually should be doing quantitative
research and my research was qualitative as I will explain below.

Hence, I formed the propositions below instead and the null hypothesis is not required
as my data do not test a hypothesis. The data is only analysed to reaffirm my business
ideas regarding pop-up shops and their role on the high street.

Propositions:

a) Research is minimal and additional literature with my experience on the pop-up


subject will add in the academic and business knowledge pool

b) Pop-up shops can help revive the high street offering a disruptive way that can
maximise empty shops occupancy via the use of creative and digital technologies
— a proposition for new business as well as a consultancy service.

c) Planforms and legislation can adapt though further research may be required so
landlords, politicians and local authorities can adapt. The legislation does not

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cater for pop-up operations and the proposition here is a future consultancy
project.

d) All about Pop-up retailing is a fad. The traditional retail sector is correct. A
proposition to look into actually if the business sounding pop-ups is not viable.

Literature Review

I was going to dive in and start reading all the literature that I accumulated before I even
understood what research methods are. Fortunately, I decided to extensively study
research methods and used (Saunders, 2015) as a core textbook and guide. That book
gave me better-structured thinking and suggested to write reflective notes each time I
learn a new fact or rejected an article as irrelevant.

Although it felt I was wasting my time reading some articles, I hardly rejected any
literature. Taking into account the scarcity of literature directly related to pop-ups I
made sure no article or paper was wasted. There was one instance that the paper was
irrelevant yet while reading it one sentence was strong enough that helped me form a
dialogue and continue my argument.

More specifically while reading the literature I adopted the Wallace (2016) five critical
questions to employ in critical reading. These are:

1) Why am I reading this? (focus on the research questions and do not get side-
tracked too much by the author’s agenda.)
2) What is the author trying to do in writing this? (how valuable the writing may be
for my BRP.)
3) What is the writer saying that is relevant to what I want to find out?

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4) How convincing is what the author is saying? (In particular, is the argument based
on a conclusion which is justified by the evidence?)
5) What use can I make of the reading?

Finally, the literature was categorised in sections thus creating the themes in the BRB.
The themes are:

a) The Value created by a Pop-up


b) Pop-up Innovations
c) Pop-up fad or not
d) Legal, Landlords and local authorities

Those thematic sections of the literature were used to expand with my analysis of my
personal experiences and events that happened during my two main case studies I
chose for the BRB.

There was a systematic review of the literature (Saunders, 2015) where I used a
thematic strategy to locate high-quality manly peer-reviewed literature and after
evaluation of each paper’s decide how it contributed to my BRP. I analysed and
synthesised my findings and reported the evidence that triangulated with empirical
observations, thus forming my conclusions.

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A bit of Theory

Having established the research questions at a very early stage of the BRB I then looked
how I will deliver the research.

I followed and used the “Research Onion” as described by Saunders (2015).

Figure 1- Research Onion

Positivism is external, objective and independent of social actors (Saunders, 2015). Also,
this philosophy is based on objective views and relies on extensive data collection mainly
quantitative. Quantitative research was not how I wanted to approach the subject and
conduct my research.

Although my data was pronominally subjective i.e. personal experiences and


observations of events, I wanted to be at the same time objective and detach myself
from my views as a social actor.

The philosophical model I mainly focused on was Interpretivism, where my views of the
pop-ups were socially constructed, multiple and subjective. As a researcher I was part of
what I was researching and could not easily detach myself from the study. Knowing that

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I also wanted to be objective and having an engineering background I understand the


value of being objective when delivering a result that needs to have practical
applications. Therefore, I engaged elements from Pragmatism where I combined
multiple views from an extensive literature, thus enabling me to answer my research
questions in a way that led me to a practical applicable business plan and career
conclusions and recommendations as well as instigating further actions.

There was also a hint of realism in my thinking in a sense that I had a good
understanding of the fact that despite real events used as data they have created
sensations which via social conditioning were open to misinterpretations. Hence I had to
employ a bit of critical realism (Saunders, 2015) in my views and observations. The
reason I needed to employ critical realism is that I had to make sure that despite my
beliefs regarding pop-ups, I wanted to have objective research that can be used at
perusing a business or a career that is viable and sustainable rather than just prove I am
right.

The approach of my BRP was to use existing literature and triangulate it with personal
performed and observed events thus fill the gap between my observations and my pre-
BRB conclusions regarding the viability of pop-ups. Hence my approach was based on
abductive reasoning.

Since I did not have any numerical data my methodology was qualitative. Qualitative
research means that the research is derived from words rather than numbers (Saunders,
2015). Through my research I did not have words derived from primary data such as
interviews or questionnaires, the words were derived from my personal experiences.
The reason being mainly I did not manage to run a pop-up STORE51 for Christmas 2018
as well as I had a plethora of detailed experience running pop-ups.

My original methodology was to examine contemporary phenomena within a real-life


setting, drawing on secondary data, direct observation of the event and on interviews
workshops and questioners with people involved. It was quite an ambitious plan to mix
experimental, case study and action research. Understanding the limitations and not
being able to run a pop-up shop, I concluded that a case study based on personal facts
and events was the best way to progress.

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According to Yin (2012) case study is an empirical enquiry of a contemporary


phenomenon set within a real context. In many cases the phenomenon and the context
boundaries are not evident. Thus, a case study can offer a range of features studying
complex and contextual diverse events, conditions and phenomena.

Pop-ups are, as I found in my BRP report, an understudied contemporary phenomenon.


Pop us also have diverse contextual topics ranging from retail, city regeneration, creative
industries, marketing, building refurbishment, technology, legal and political.

The study on pop-ups goes beyond a range of isolated variables that can be derived via
experiments, surveys and exploratory models (Yin, 2012).

Case study research triangulates different sources of evidence such as participant


observations and literature (Gill and Johnson, 2010). Participant observations are the
primary source of data for my BRP report - participant (being me).

Case study research has some ambiguity and done poorly can result in a lack of trust and
credibility (Yin, 2012). The reason is that the researcher is also the social actor and that
can affect the conclusions as it is subjectively driven. I knew that I had some
preconceptions regarding certain events and their results, thus I made an extensive
effort to view the literature and events presented in the cases objectively.

Case study research is very flexible and can be used inductively or deductively (Gill and
Johnson, 2010) hence helped me bring together the cases and literature review by
maximising the real-life richness of information I had available by me running two large
and very successful pop-ups in Nottingham. Also, my cases were supported by actual
interactions with landlords and local authorities as well as running smaller shop within
shop conception events.

Data, Analysis and Methods

The original idea was to run the STORE51 pop-up department store for two weeks to up
to two months running up to Christmas 2018. The proposal was conceptualised in June
2018.

I was proposing during the period of running the pop-up to have lectures, presentations
Q&As, observations and workshops. This proposal did not materialise, so I changed this

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study to reflective qualitative research using my experience and events as well as the
events to lead to the popup not happening.

In brief, judging from the scarcity of studies regarding pop-ups and the fact that this report
is stepping stone to a business plan and consultancy, I wanted to use as much existing
literature as possible to analyse and reflect on my experiences since 2010 as well as reflect
on the latest attempt to set up a pop-up. Hence giving business structure to my knowledge
and offering my extensive practical knowledge validity.

As I mentioned above, I concluded that case study research was the best way to achieve
my research objectives. The two case studies were based on Dezigne Pop-up and
STORE51 pop-ups (Spinos, 2019) as well as imputing data from experience during shop
within the shop and my attests to run STORE51.v2

My research data is diverse in context and rich in-depth personal experiences. It mainly
is derived from past events and interactions including though not limited to:

3 councils, combined 12 different councillors from various parties and with different
portfolios

2 creative collectives

1 public organisation

4 landlords

2 estate agents

2 of my previous studies, one on Dezigne business and one for shopping centres

Being a concessionaire of 10 Shop within shop including 3 restaurant nights 1 café and 2
take overs

The contract for Dezigne shop and popup

Observing the Intellectual capital looking it through the filters of the literature review.

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Empirical analysis
Social media observations

Real life set up and management of pop-up stores.

Ethics and Legality.

There was a concern that some events being local to Nottingham, may affect local
perceptions, nevertheless facts were presented professionally so I could deliver my
conclusions objectively.

There were no issues of data protection as no personal data were collected.

There was a small concern regarding non-discourse as my research is leading towards a


business plan. However, I believe in an open flow of knowledge and the way I wrote the
BRP it offers additional knowledge to the community without exposing insights to how a
future business plan can be formed.

Conclusion

My research contributes to the existing literature as well as giving my hands-on scattered


yet extensive experience and knowledge, a business structure. Also reaffirming some
observations and conclusions in the literature. My BRB report helps in adding to the
existing literature by providing practical explanations and recommendations.

My original methodology was to examine contemporary phenomena within a real-life


setting, drawing on secondary data, direct observation of the event and on interviews
workshops and questioners with people involved. It was an ambitious plan to mix
experimental, case study and action research. Reflecting on that idea it was a
considerable task and beyond the scope of my MBA BRP.

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The purpose of my BRP was not to develop any theory but rather to triangulate personal
experiences and events with extensive high-quality literature. Hence a case study
research delivered my objectives and offered me the confidence to pursue further
actions to either develop a consultancy and form a sustainable business based on pop-
ups

I believe my case study research was a “Critical Case” (Gill and Johnson, 2010) hence
delivering objective conclusions from subjective data.

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References

Gill, J. & Johnson, P. 2010. Research methods for managers, Los Angeles, Calif.

Saunders, M. 2015. Research methods for business students, New York, Pearson Education.
Spinos, A. 2019. Business Research Project 201718 BUSI49008. Nottingham Trent University.
Wallace, M. 2016. Critical reading and writing for postgraduates, Los Angeles, SAGE.
Yin, R. K. 2012. Applications of case study research, Los Angeles, [Calif.]

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