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Main Topic: De Lai Scooter Store

Hosts: James Stanworth, Clyde Warden

Case studies come in different forms.  There are two basic directions: teaching or research cases.  Teaching cases are descriptive, based on sound facts and written in a style that is light and easy to read.  Research cases are often more exploratory and explanatory and draw on more rigorous data collection methods.  They aim to make a theoretical point.

The De Lai Scooter store is very much a teaching case.  In this show James and Clyde talk about the details of creating this type of case study.  We cover issues from sampling through to analysis.

This show is an extension of the De Lai scooter shop case study. In Show 55 Clyde and James covers the basics of this case study.

Since James works in Changhua he keeps a scooter by the station to move around the city.  When he needed service the bright attractive front of De Lai attracted his attention.  The service processes were surprising different from other scooter stores.  They quickly greeted the customer, diagnosed needs and smoothly performed the service work. When the work was done they saw the customers off as if they were old friends leaving.  This was a stark contrast to most stores where customers drag their bikes to the road and then leave with little staff contact.  James' reaction was to send students to see if the service was routinely offered this way.  Observation confirmed it was.  So this raised two research questions: (1) What benefit was a small firm getting from organizing their business this way? (2) How was De Lai managed to deliver this kind of service? Graduate students were briefed and quickly able to gain a deep level of access to this family firm, its employees and customers.  This helped to create an accurate picture of the store and gather data to answer the two broad directions set by the questions.

In this show we discuss the data collection process in more detail.  We focus on practical and effective ideas for collecting data based on our experience. After the discussion, Clyde and James kept recording their talk about an ongoing research project requiring some statistical analysis. Hang in there after the closing titles to hear that.

Download: Case Study

Teaching notes are available.  Please contact us directly to discuss.

Observation helps your research get grounded.

The Show:

Length: 48 minutes. Download MP3 23.17MB (Right click->Save As).



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Bottom Line:

  • Research topics often start with an personal experience, such as James' stop at the De Lai Schooter Shop.
  • Finding the right time to ask customers questions is important.
  • Using local students makes data collection in these service settings, much smoother and faster. An in depth study would be different.
  • This localized, thick, observation can be very helpful in understand the specific realities consumers live in.
  • Starting out a research with a strong grounding is important.
  • This kind of grounded research is much like the traditional of Cinéma vérité--showing the reality of the day to day business within the context of the local community.

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