3.1 Research methodology

3.1.1 Briefing of aim and objectives


This study aims to evaluate the competitive strategy of UK retail companies during the pandemic through the case study of ASDA.


  • To evaluate the influential factors that help in making competitive strategy in the retail industry
  • To identify the challenges in terms of competition faced by ASDA during the pandemic
  • To determine the ways for implementing competitive strategies in ASDA
  • To evaluate both positive and negative impacts of current competitive strategies on the business performance of ASDA

3.1.2 Research philosophy

Research philosophy accounts for assumption, nature along with knowledge used in research (Research methodology, 2022).


Figure 3.1: Research onion

(Source: Alturki, 2021)

The above figure shows a research onion, the outermost layer of which contains four types of philosophies: “Positivism, realism, interpretivism and pragmatism”. Positivism philosophy is required for implementation of pure data in research and helps in covering a wide range of situations in a short period. This research is based on information regarding competitive strategy used by the retail brand in a pandemic, this research required specific data which must be pure. Third objective of the research is based on determining the ways of implementing the competitive advantage of ASDA, for this reason, a wide range of situations is required to be analysed (Alharahsheh and Pius, 2020). This is the reason positivist philosophy has been selected in the research.

Interpretivism philosophy has been not selected since the data is impacted by personal viewpoints and cannot be generalised, topic competitive strategy required generalised data more than personal viewpoints. Realism philosophy helps in implementing a gloomy view of humans which is derived by assuming, however, assumption does not provide suitable information regarding strategies for competitive advantage for this reason realism philosophy has been rejected. Time taken is longer than usual for using pragmatism philosophy in research, however, in this research, a wide variety of strategies used by ASDA needs to be analysed in a short period for this reason pragmatism philosophy has been also rejected.

3.1.3 Research approach

Research approach highlights the best technique required for the suitable process of literature review required for analysing research phenomena. According to research onion, there are two types of approaches deductive along with inductive (Alturki, 2021). Deductive approach is applicable to scientifically co-relate with effective research procedures (Casula et al., 2021). This approach is significant for explaining concepts along with variable relations with one another causes as well as effects. In this research, a competitive strategy of retail company ASDA during pandemic is analysed and this topic includes variables of a retail company and pandemic and concept including competitive strategy. Thus, linkage of the variable and concept helps in achieving objectives of the research. For this reason deductive approach has been selected in the research since in this approach variables and concepts are interlinked to derive cause and effects in the research.

Inductive approach leads to improper conclusions due to influence of incomplete knowledge as well as limitation of evidence. Conclusion of research may change since this approach requires supporting data for any claim, thus new research can emerge which can change the overall results. Research has to spend much time and effort analysing each piece of evidence, this topic is based on analysing the competitive strategy of retail organisation ASDA, thus, the conclusion needs to be specific for this research. For this reason, the inductive approach has been rejected in this particular research.

3.1.4 Research design

Research design is considered as the selection between quantitative as well as qualitative research methods (Research Methodology, 2022). It can be also considered as analysing specific methods required for data collection as well as data analysis. There are three types of research design: “Qualitative, quantitative as well as mixed”.  Qualitative methods allow researchers to ask questions which are not put into numbers based on understanding human experience (Cleland, 2017). Qualitative methods are fast, scientific as well as specific focus oriented, speed and efficiency of the method are the main motive for selecting this method of the research. Qualitative methods provide more viable and useful information which can be practically imposed. This saves a lot of money since a smaller sample can provide future products.  This research is based on the specific focus of competitive strategy adaptation in ASDA during the pandemic period and for achieving objectives, a qualitative method has been selected in the research.

Quantitative approach has not been selected in this research since in this method data are in the form of numerical format thus researchers get slightly less insight into motivation, drivers etc. For analysing competitive strategy for a specific company information on driver group is required. Mixed methods required expertise to carry out, procedure is much more complex and inclusion of different methods required extra resources such as time and money.

3.1.5 Research Strategy

Research strategy is relevant in providing direction to specific research, this includes the process which is required for carrying out the research. There are several types of research strategies such as case studies, narrative research, action research, survey, etc (Lavarda and Bellucci, 2022). A case study strategy has been selected in the research since this allows data collection from several means. Collection of data from various sources allows the researcher to build relationships between context, a phenomenon as well as people. For analysing information regarding different types of competitive strategies selected by ASDA information needs to be collected from several sources. Narrative research has been also selected as the strategy since this is an easy method of data collection from people. This procedure helps in an in-depth understanding of the situation adoption of strategy (Ntinda, 2019). Analysing the reason for adopting a competitive strategy in ASDA can be analysed by in-depth information from the people present in the situation.

Survey strategy has not been selected in the research since respondents may not feel encouraged or motivated to answer each question perfectly and there is a chance that respondents may not feel comfortable in providing critical answers. However, the effectiveness of competitive strategy in ASDA cannot be analysed properly without accurate information. Action research has been rejected in the research since problem-solving is based on public discussion however, this method of problem-solving does not apply to the research.

3.1.6 Time horizon

Time horizon shows the time required for completing the research, there are two types of time horizon cross-sectional study as well as longitudinal study. In this research cross-sectional study has been implemented since the period for completion of research has been priorly estimated by the researcher. Using cross-section studies in the research is inexpensive as well as easy to conduct (Wang and Cheng, 2020). This procedure is required for establishing preliminary evidence as well as planning for future studies. For analysing the competitive strategy of ASDA during the pandemic period, preliminary planning for future projects is required. Longitudinal study includes large research samples and a long-time is required for the research since no prior planning is present. As this is an education project, a long time in research can create some extra costs for this reason longitudinal study has been rejected in the research. Unpredictable factor is always present in an adaptation of this study which can create problems while analysing competitive strategy.


Data Analysis and Findings