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Methodology Competition Policy or Strategies in the Pharmaceutical Industry


Research is described as an investigation of a topic, which is organised and structured. It is the method of studying and analysing sources and materials for establishing facts as well as establishing new conclusions. However, in a broader sense it is defined as the process of collecting data, information, and facts for the knowledge advancement. It is often referred to as a systematic investigation that is not based on just beliefs but logical relationship. The present study focuses on the competition strategies between big pharmaceuticals in the time horizon of the past decade within EuropeThis chapter is dedicated to the research methodology with the philosophical opinion of the researcher with the basis of selecting the specific methodologies. Get online  writing help by expert writers.

The focus of this chapter is to explain the reader about the methods used in this research to conduct the research. Methodology incorporates all the essential perspectives that are to be used in the study (David, 2014). For example, the exploration rationality, research methodologies, research reasons, and numerous others all are part of a general research methodology. This chapter discusses the research approaches, the data collection method, the method of data analysis and the design of the research. Below are few headings that integrate a detailed explanation of the method and development of the method that is used to elaborate the specific end goal to fulfil the thesis objectives (Boris, 2011).

3.2 Research Philosophy

Research is considered as the systematic and scientific search for collecting potential information, which is related to the particular topic and is preceded with the help of scientific investigation (Daugherty, 2011).

The research philosophy is the phenomenon in which the overall view regarding the research is decided. The values gathered by the researcher would definitely affect both the research that is already conducted and the methods that must be used to conduct the research. According to Saunders, research philosophy is classified into Interpretivism, realism, and positivism. Mostly, the two used research philosophies are Interpretivism and positivism (Colicchia, 2012).

3.2.1 Positivism

Positivists work believing that reality is constant and standard and is observed and described with a perception of objectivity. They believe that work is done without interference of subjective interpretations about the concept being studied. Positivists argue that concepts must be dealt in isolation and observations should be repeatable. Positivism is the part of epistemology that is known as the philosophy of knowing. Positivism includes manipulation and understanding of variables that include“factual” information and its understanding. The research findings in this approach are factual and can be quantified and observed.

3.2.2 Interpretivism

Interpretivism is a concept that is subjective in nature and ultimately shows results through subjective interpretation and intervention to understand the reality. This concept observes the subject in its natural habitat. Natural and original environment of the phenomena being studied is important to the interpretivists to bring together the understanding with believe that researchers do not have the ability of controlling the external affects on the notion being studied.

3.3 Research Design

Research design is an arrangement of a scientific activity as it provides direction, organisation, and systematic approach to the research. In order to conduct a study, it is important that there should be complete purpose and, for that, research studies turn around three different approaches, exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory (Robert, 2006).

3.3.1 Descriptive

Descriptive studies are not conducted with a structured hypothesis however; it includes one or more than one research questions. Random sampling of the probability sampling technique is usually used in this research design as they frequently explain the characteristics of the sample population used for data collection (Kumar, 2010). Descriptive designs use both quantitative and qualitative data.

Representation of quantitative data is restricted to the use of summary statistics and frequency distributions for example, average. Qualitative methods in this design are used by describing the participants about the subject of the study on their own conditions and in their own understanding. These methods include the description of views by sharing their experiences and elaborating the situations and events. A descriptive design is the one in which researcher do not manipulates anything and research the subject matter the way it is (Reis& Berscheid, 2000).

3.3.2 Exploratory

Exploratory research design is the method of formulating the research problem and clarifying the concepts by forming hypothesis. This design initiates with the search of literature, case studies or in some scenarios case studies. Random sample is not used in this research if a survey is conducted. The reason for this is the approach used to collect the sample for the research. The researcher makes sure to gather information by selecting participants that are already knowledgeable about the research (Kumar, 2010).

Development of hypothesis and their evaluation are the basis of exploratory research. Generally, qualitative nature studies are based on exploratory designs. It is used as a research design when a researcher intends to have a better understanding of the research question without trying to provide a conclusion. The topics selected for exploratory research are usually the ones which are either not extensively examined or are emerging and have not been studied. Qualitative methods are used in this design because of their flexible nature (Khan S& Ahmad, 2011).

3.3.3 Explanatory

This research design has the ability of developing a more conceptual and abstract model through continuous comparison of data with evolving concepts and phenomena (David, 2007). Explanatory studies focus on a research question or hypothesis that attempts to specify the direction of the relationships between variables or among them. The data in this research are mostly quantitative and always use a statistical analysis for establishing the validity of the results. Explanatory researches are quantitative in nature with systematic and gradual steps of one following the other. Qualitative methods in this research design leads to an interpretation of the phenomena being studied.

The type of sampling used in this type of research design is the probability sampling. The reason behind using probability sampling is the goal of generalising the results to a larger population from the sample population, which is usually restricted (Benz& Newman, 2008). By rotating among the data collection and data analysis, hypothesis can be evaluated with previous and new analysis of comparative cases. The key objective of an explanatory design is to analyse the basis that are behind a phenomena and the likelihood of their occurrence in future.

3.4 Research Approach

This study analyses and focuses on the competition strategies between big pharmaceuticals in the time horizon of the past decade within Europe. It also aims to find out the best strategy at the time of patent cliff as well as the reasons at the back of the decisions. To examine and gather information to satisfy the study, appropriate research strategies were utilised in order to guarantee a trustworthy outcome.

3.4.1 Quantitative Approach

Quantitative Data Analysis refers to the systematic empirical investigation of social phenomena with the help of mathematical, statistical, or numerical techniques. The quantitative approach is the approach of using statistical tools to analyse the data of the research.

This approach if used with accurate sampling techniques permits an analysis of numerous participants with set of questions through a survey or interview. Generally, quantitative approach use a survey questionnaire that is mostly close ended. With questions that have restricted set of answers the responses given are statistically analysed and are generalisable to a larger population. In other words, quantitative approach is the systematic and standardised approach of collecting data and responses from participants.

3.4.2 Qualitative Approach

The aim of qualitative analysis is to provide detailed and complete illustration of the data while uncertainties which are inherent in human behaviours, can be identified easily with the help of this analysis. Qualitative approach is the approach, which uses different techniques to analyse the results without any statistical tool. These methods help analyse the results in a detailed context for comprehensive understanding. This approach record participant’s responses in words and use their experiences to analyse the data. Qualitative approach provides an insight about the feelings and reasoning of the participants that motivate or boost people’s behaviour. As a whole, qualitative approach provides a comprehensive explanation of the data gathered from small amount of people. The findings of the qualitative analysis with the same level of certainty cannot be extended to the broader population that is provided by quantitative analysis to the acquired data (Barney, 2012). This is the key disadvantage of qualitative analysis. 

3.4.3 Inductive Approach

Inductive approach is the approach of conducting research that is known as a building theory. Reason behind this is that in this approach, the researcher makes as an assumption, theory or hypothesis after the data is collected. This approach is the approach that moves from specific to general. It is known as bottom-up approach informally.

3.4.4 Deductive Approach

Deductive approach is the approach of conducting research that is known as a testing theory. The reason behind this is the use of theory or hypothesis that is developed by the researcher. It constructs a strategy, which helps in analysing the formulated theory. Deductive reasoning is the approach that is more general to specific. It is also known as top-down approach informally.

3.5 Data collection

Generally, all research is conducted through two methods. The fundamental distinction in the middle of quantitative and qualitative approach is the technique used to gather the data (Ghauri& Grønhaug, 2005). Commonly, quantitative exploration is the method used as a type of controlled estimation, utilising measurable information gathered from a sample pool to create speculations. Qualitative exploration takes a more philosophical methodology through the method of conducting interviews. Data collection is simple, however assembling the right data, which suits the idea behind the study, is more complex.

3.5.1 Primary source

A primary source is a report made at the time of exploration, about the study subject. These reports are in a straight line associated with the occasions or individuals being studied. Primary sources are unique works. They can be direct records, made by members or researcher according to the study, or unique questionnaires that can be composed and visual. Primary data is the kind of data that has not been published and is more reliable, real, and objective (Whittemore& Knafl, 2005). Primary sources are used when

  • Researcher needs a precise record of a past occasion or new thought
  • Researcher requires a greater comprehension of the topic through thinking, disposition, and concerns of the individuals at the time of an research

3.5.2 Secondary Source

A secondary source is an archive made later than the original research being explored, by somebody who is usually not involved in the present research. These reports have no direct association with the research or participants being studied. Secondary sources are works books, articles, and so forth that translate, clarify, break down the research aspects, or work that are helpful for the current research. Some secondary sources incorporate quotes from essential sources. These sources can be academic or non-academic (Leibensperger, 2005). Secondary sources are used when

  • Researcher needs an examination of an essential source, or an evaluation that analyses a few essential sources (meta analysis)
  • Researcher needs a detailed analysis of essential sources that could possibly be valuable for the research topic and the information referred in the secondary source can act as an incredible asset for research

3.6 Methodology Used

Data analysis is a procedure of understanding what has been observed (Suen& Ary, 2014). Data analysis is the process of analysing data and using logical and sound reasoning to examine each constituent of the data that is provided. This type of analysis is one of the many steps that are used to complete a research. From various sources, data is gathered, analysed and reviewed to understand and find the conclusion. It is viable that the researcher finds the right method for data analysis of the study. Usually quantitative data is summarised and clarified according to the analysis presented by statistical tools.

 To analyse and present results of the financial statement of three famous Pharma companies in UK, qualitative analysis was used by figuring out the case studies of the company that helped in outlining the overall results. The companies used for the analysis of research questions are famous pharmaceutical firms Pfizer, Bristol Meyers Squibb, and Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK). These companies were selected because they had been hit by patent cliff in the year 2011 and then used the merger and acquisition as a competitive strategy.

The nature of the research was qualitative research in which the researchers with the help of case studies of companies are gathered. This is the evaluation of secondary sources of qualitative data collection method. The secondary data collection method is used through available online journal articles, literatures, books, etc. This research involved collection and analysis of the financial data. Secondary data helped in analysis of the existing literature and research on the subject, which supported the validity of the results.

Detailed review of academic literature, reference books, journal articles, and company website were analysed to observe and evaluate the findings of the previous researches and present research on the effective strategies being used in pharmaceuticals. The primary research will involve quantitative data collection, which will enable the researcher to present the findings into tables.

The research philosophy used by the researcher in this thesis is Positivism method. As the study use the quantitative data collection method, therefore this research philosophy would be best for conducting the research as it would definitely help the researcher to fulfil the purpose of its research study and answer the research questions (Fiala, 2005). Positivism is the research philosophy, which is considered as the best for conducting research using the quantitative method (Khan& Burnes, 2007). The research design used for this study is explanation as this design helped understand the reason behind using the strategies after patent cliff.

3.7 Ethics     

As an idea, ethics is defined as a complex arrangement of qualities, methods and institutional plans that help constitute and direct scientific action. Practically speaking, research ethics is the codification of morals of science. In other words, it is taking into considerations the general aspects of science and the guidelines of research method.

Truth: Research was directed in such a way, to the point that the trustworthiness of the exploration of research was kept up, and negative delayed consequences that may reduce the potential for future examination were avoided.

Freedom: The researcher serves the objectives of examination, in view of an important rule of flexibility in exploration, which is a standout amongst the most noticeable ethics of these popular frameworks.

Responsibility: Responsibility in ethical consideration is to ensure and advance the human privileges of members and to sharpen and insist researchers and associations to regard the rights and needs of information. The researcher considered the impacts of his/her work, including the outcome or consequences, both for the people and groups, among whom they did their work, and for their partners and for the more extensive society.

Integrity: All research is accounted broadly for objectivity and honesty. Obligation regarding all techniques and moral issues identified with the task rests with the vital researcher. The researcher made sure that data presented in this study is with honesty, certainty and without biasness.

Professionalism: The researcher performed all the tasks in their experimental interest in a complete proficient way, making absolute utilisation of uncommon information, specific to their region of skill.

3.8 Limitations

Limitations are generally the possible weaknesses of the study that are out of researcher’s control. Limitations are found in almost everything done (Simon, 2011). Limitations of the present study start with permission issues for visiting and covering the entire Europe industry. It was impossible for the researcher to meet and gather data from all the Pharmaceuticals of Europe, which resulted in a restricted approach for the research. Another inconvenience was the likelihood of getting financial data of the companies. The researcher could not study the entire Financials of the company and was restricted to use 10 years of data due to limitation of time.

The companies selected for this research are three famous companies of UK and analysis was generalised through these three companies on the entire industry of UK. Due to restricted time duration, the researcher was restricted to use data of only three companies. This research required long time for completion that is the biggest hurdle faced by the researcher while conducting this study. It was a difficult task to analyse 10 years of data of three big pharma companies within the restricted time durations (Hair& Tatham, 2006).


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