Assessment 3: Research Proposal
This assessment is for these students only: Distance Education; Gold Coast; Singapore - MDIS; Sydney - Hotel School.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
18 Sep 2015 5:00 PM
Assignment 3: Final research proposal
Due: Friday of Week 13, by 5pm (Sydney time)
Length: 4000 words, exclusive of reference list.
The aim of Assignment 3 is to draw upon the concepts and processes you have learned about throughout the course of the unit, and devise a detailed research proposal. This assignment builds upon the research concept you submitted as Assignment 1 and also the methodological insights you gained through Assignment 2.
In some instances, students studying certain Masters programs at SCU may actually implement their proposal as a real-life research project in a subsequent, capstone unit. For those students, it is important to take this assignment very seriously as it is an opportunity for you to receive constructive feedback on your ideas and proposed methodology from your lecturer, before putting it to work in the field later on. For other students, this assignment will be an exercise in consolidating and crystallising the material learnt in BUS00913.
Your research proposal must address the following headings (using these items as section headings):
Clear title of project (15 word maximum). Try to capture the essence of your project.
- Introduction to the research proposal (approx. 400 words)
1.1 Background information: This section will include information regarded as important contextual background to the proposed study. This is where to place information about the economy, the local tourism industries, tourism trends, attractions, hotels studied etc. Only include information which you regard as important background for your project. Be sure to acknowledge your information sources by referencing them. You might find yourself referencing "applied literature" – news articles, websites etc. more often than academic literature in this section. This is perfectly acceptable here.
1.2 Research aim statement: As per Assignment 1, but refined according to the feedback provided by your lecturer.
1.3 Research objectives: As per Assignment 1, but refined according to the feedback provided by your lecturer. These should leave the reader in no doubt as to what exactly it is you are going to do. These can take the form of goals, or questions, or if a quantitative project, hypotheses. Choose one form and do not attempt all three formats. Present as numbered points. This is where you break down the research aim statement into answerable "bits".
1.4 Significance of the Research: In around one paragraph, explain why the research issue you propose is important/deserves to be investigated. Does it investigate an area that has only attracted limited scholarly attention before (a ‘gap’ in the literature)? Does it respond to previous authors’ calls for future research into a certain phenomenon? Will the research assist in solving some sort of applied (organisational) problem? Does your research apply a method or theory in a new context? Be explicit, and ideally support your argument with some supporting references.
1.5 Delimitations: Delimitations are boundaries put around a study that are controllable by the researcher. Here, a specific outline of the geographic and demographic delimitations is required (e.g., a study might be delimited to females aged 18–30 years residing in Singapore).
Literature review (approx. 1000 words)
Academic journal articles and textbooks should constitute the majority of your references. The review should follow an "inverted pyramid" structure, in which you start by addressing concepts broadly relating to your study, then gradually narrowing down to the specific concepts related to your study.
The literature review should be structured as follows:
Introduction: Provide a very brief introduction to your literature review by explaining how the literature review is structured. The structure outlined here should reflect the "inverted pyramid" structure.
Main body of the literature review: A literature review is structured similar to an essay – it has an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. The main body is where you provide your critical account of the literature you have read.
The main body should be sub-divided using appropriately labelled sub-headings, and the order of the sub-headings should follow the "inverted pyramid" style – working from the broad to the specific. At the beginning of each sub-section, you should briefly introduce the concepts being reviewed and give a brief rationale as to why this body of literature is being reviewed. This should be done by linking the concept(s) with your research objectives. At the end of each sub-section you should round that sub-section off with a very brief summary, and then link through to the next sub-section. That is, there should be good flow throughout the writing.
The literature reviewed should predominately be academic literature. This constitutes articles published in peer reviewed journals; scholarly textbooks; conference proceedings; and research theses. Websites, newspaper articles and other applied literature should be referred to only sparingly.
The hallmark of a good researcher is the ability to think critically. Therefore, you should look not only to summarise the literature you have read, but also critique it. Look for opportunities to make critical comments, e.g.:
- Was a non-random sample used?
- Is a study applicable to only one cultural context?
- Can you see any shortcomings in the theories you have read about?
- Do studies addressing a similar phenomenon agree or disagree with each other?
Do not make critical comments just for the sake of it though. Any critical comments made must be logically argued.
Because this is an account of a body of literature, most paragraphs in the main body will contain at least one reference. Most paragraphs will contain multiple references. Ensure that your in-text citations adhere to the prescribed style guide. Direct quotes must be contained within quotation marks and a page number given. This is a Masters level course. There is no excuse for poor referencing.
Conclusion: Provide a one-paragraph summary of the literature review. Re-emphasise the key points emerging from the literature review. Most importantly, explicitly state where there is a gap in the extant literature that your own study is likely to contribute towards filling.
Research paradigm and role of theory (approx. 400 words)
3.1 Research paradigm: Identify which paradigm your research will be informed by. If utilising mixed methods (a mix of quantitative and qualitative in the same study) then the research may be informed by more than one paradigm. You should discuss and justify your paradigm choice in light of your research aim and objectives, and refer specifically to the ontological and epistemological conditions surrounding your project. One to two paragraphs is sufficient.
3.2 Theoretical underpinning: A discernible difference between applied (consultancy) research and academic research is the application of theory in examining a phenomenon. Here you are required to declare whether your project seeks to test theory (deductive) or generate theory (inductive).
You should also identify the key theoretical concepts underpinning your research project. In quantitative research, this is often called a "conceptual framework" and may be presented as a conceptual diagram which defines the theoretical concepts employed in your study and showing the hypothesised relationships between those concepts which will be tested. If a diagram is presented, it is not sufficient to leave it to stand alone, some interpretation/explanation of the diagram must be provided. In particular, provide a definition of each concept, preferably from the scholarly literature.
For a qualitative project, conceptual diagrams are generally not applicable as these studies do not seek to test theory, but instead inductively generate it. What is needed is explanation/definition of the theoretical concepts that are embedded within the study. For example, if a study seeks to qualitatively explore the concept of organisational commitment in 5 star hotels, then explanation of "organisational commitment" as a theoretical concept is needed. Use the scholarly literature to guide your explanation/definition.
Research design (approx. 500 words)
4.1 Methodology: Explain and justify your choice of methodology. Have you chosen a quantitative approach or a qualitative approach? Or a combination of both (mixed methods)? Have you elected to collect primary data or secondary data? Explain your choices here, and justify them in light of your research aim and objectives. One paragraph is sufficient.
4.2 Nature of the research: Describe and justify the nature of your research. I.e., is it exploratory, descriptive, explanatory etc., or a combination? One paragraph is sufficient.
4.3 Research strategy: Explain and justify your research strategy. I.e., have you chosen an experiment, a survey, a case study, ethnography, or a combination? You should explain your strategy in reasonable detail – not merely identify a strategy. For example, if you have chosen a case study approach – what will be the context of the case study? How will you gain access to the organisation, and what will the procedures be? At least two paragraphs will be necessary, but depending on the complexity of individual studies, additional detail may be needed.
However, it is not necessary in this section to discuss specific data collection methods and their associated procedures; that comes in the next section. Section 4.3 is only concerned with the strategy for undertaking your research.
Data collection (approx. 500 words)
5.1 Data required: What sort of information do you require to provide the answer to fulfil your research objectives? Similar to Assignment 1, do you require quantitative data collected from hotel managers in Sydney? Do you require qualitative data from international flight attendants? What is the nature of the information you require?
Justify why you have identified this type of information in light of your research aim and objectives. You may revise what you submitted for this section in Assignment 1. One paragraph is sufficient. Be as specific as possible.
5.2 Data sources: Where, or with whom, is this data located?
5.3 Data collection methods and instrumentation: Explain and justify the method(s) you have chosen to collect your data. Be sure the method(s) you select are appropriate with the paradigm informing your research (e.g., in-depth interviews would be inappropriate for a positivistic study testing for relationships between variables).
The reader should know exactly how you intend to carry out the project. Give specific detail and be sure to justify your choices by supporting them with appropriate research methodology literature (i.e., references). At least a few paragraphs will be needed to adequately address this section. Quantitative studies inherently require more detail than qualitative studies because of the need to describe instrumentation design.
Quantitative studies: Describe how your data collection instrument (questionnaire) was designed. Explain and justify the types of questions and measurement scales utilised. If you have adapted scales to measure certain concepts, explain which previous study (or studies) these were adapted from. Explain how the questionnaire will be administered (street intercept, internet, telephone etc.)
A copy of the data collection instrument must be included as an appendix. You may also find it useful to cross-reference between parts of the questionnaire when describing/justifying your instrumentation.
Qualitative studies: Describe and justify the method(s) used to collect your data. For example, if in-depth interviews are to be conducted, will these be semi-structured or unstructured? Are the interviews to be conducted face-to-face, over the phone, or via email? What are the benefits and pitfalls of such approaches? Importantly, give a list of possible interview questions and discuss how these contribute to fulfilling the research objectives.
Studies collecting secondary data: Describe and justify where the secondary data will be obtained from. What will be your procedures for collecting and cataloguing that data?
Sampling (approx. 300 words)
Describe and justify your sampling procedures. There are three aspects that need consideration:
- Probability or non-probability sampling: Briefly explain and justify whether your study adopts probability or non-probability sampling. Be sure that the approach you adopt is consistent with your research paradigm. For example, probability sampling is generally not associated with qualitative research.
- Sampling strategy: Identify and justify the strategy (or strategies) you will use to select your sample; i.e., are you utilising stratified sampling, purposive sampling, or simple random sampling? Explain in a practical sense how this strategy will be put to work in the field.
- Sample size: Explain and justify how big you anticipate your sample will need to be.
For studies undertaking archival analysis or collecting secondary data, some of the above considerations may not be relevant. Instead, focus on explaining how you will select material for inclusion in your study. What criteria will you put in place to guide such decisions?
Data analysis methods (approx. 500 words)
Once you have collected your data, how will you organise and present it in order to be able to draw conclusions, and make recommendations? Describe and justify your data analysis strategy. The way you address data analysis will depend on whether your study takes a quantitative or qualitative approach.
Quantitative studies: Initially, describe how the data will be prepared for analysis (e.g., coding of variables and responses in preparation for entry into computer-based data analysis software). Then, give specific detail about the procedures and statistical techniques that will be used to fulfil the research objectives. For example, if you will be testing to see whether variable X is related to variable Y, will Pearson's correlation be used? You may find it useful to cross-reference between questions on your questionnaire and your description of the analysis procedures.
Qualitative studies: Explain and justify the procedure you will use to organise your data and draw conclusions from it. In qualitative research, data analysis almost universally involves adopting some sort of process to "code" data and draw meaning from it. You will need to consult the methodological literature and identify a coding procedure that best suits your application. Justify your selection of this procedure, and explain in a practical sense how it will be applied to the data you collect.
Studies collecting secondary data: Even though these studies will collect secondary as opposed to primary data, most will still adopt either a quantitative or qualitative approach. Therefore, look to address the elements described above, depending on whether your study takes a quantitative or qualitative approach.
Ethical considerations (approx. 300 words)
What are the main human ethics issues which will need to be considered in your project? Be sure to relate these to established principles of ethical research (e.g., freedom of participation, respect for participants, informed consent, data security etc.). Be sure to explain how you will address these issues in a practical sense (e.g., what will you do to ensure privacy and anonymity of participants is protected? How will you obtain informed consent from them?). If applicable, an information sheet addressing ethical aspects of the research should be included as an appendix.
Methodological limitations (approx. 200 words)
Consider issues that are beyond your control as the researcher that might affect your results. For example, size of sample or limited timeframe for data collection, etc. may come into play here.
All references cited in your text should appear in alphabetical order in Harvard UQ style. No references uncited in the text should appear. The majority of your reference list entries should be from academic journals.
In all sections, all work which is not your own work should be referenced in-text as author(s) and date (including internet references) which are then cited fully in your list of references. All pages except in the Results section, are likely to have at least a couple of references. Your Background, Proposed Research Methods sections and especially Literature Review will have many references. If you are using the exact words from a reference, they should be shown in quotation marks for quotes less than 40 words. For quotes longer than 40 words, the quote should be placed on a new line and indented from the left.
This is where additional information which might be useful to the reader, but which would disrupt the flow of your main text, is placed. Your data collection instrument (questionnaire) should appear here as an appendix, if a quantitative study. An information sheet addressing ethical aspects of the research would also be a useful inclusion, if applicable. Note, appendices are not counted in the word count for the assignment.
Marking criteria for Assignment 3
In addition to judging the quality of each component of your Research Proposal outlined above, the following will also be considered when your assignment is being marked:
- Clarity of expression– This refers to your ability to write grammatically correct sentences, develop logical paragraph structures and use the most appropriate words. Be concise – don’t take 20 words to say what could be said just as well in two!
- Accuracy– This refers to accurate spelling and the absence of typographical errors. Please proofread your work and use a dictionary or thesaurus where necessary.
- Correct referencing– All sources of information and ideas must be acknowledged in full. There are numerous publications which provide guidelines for correct referencing using the Harvard style (refer to the MySCU site).
- Logical sequencing– This refers to your ability to structure your assignment in the way that best develops your argument or makes your point. Always plan your writing so that what you want to say is tied together in a logical manner.
- Independent expression of ideas– The written assessment items for this unit give you plenty of scope for using your own background, education, research and other sources and to use the material presented in this unit in a resourceful and innovative way. Remember to always acknowledge and reference the ideas of others.
The following table summarises the weightings apportioned to each section of Assignment 3. Note that marks total to 100% and will be scaled back to a mark out of 60, commensurate with the weighting of this assignment.
1. Introduction to the research proposal
1.1 Background information
1.2 Research aim statement
1.3 Research objectives
1.4 Significance of the research
2. Literature review
3. Research paradigm and role of theory
3.1 Research paradigm
3.2 Theoretical underpinning
4. Research design
4.2 Nature of the research
4.3 Research strategy
5. Data collection
5.1 Data required
5.2 Data sources
5.3 Data collection methods and instrumentation
7. Data analysis methods
8. Ethical considerations
9. Methodological limitations
Compliance of in-text referencing with required referencing style
Compliance of reference list with required referencing style
Other general marking criteria
Clarity of expression
Independent expression of ideas
EVERYTHING SHOULD BE JUSTIFIED
THERE SHOULD BE CRITICAL REVIEW OF LITERATURE,ACADEMIC LITERATURE SHOULD BE USED.NOT INTERNET RESOURCES. ALL REFERENCES SHOULD BE WITHIN EASY APPROACH SO THAT OUR LECTURER SHOULD NOT BE DOUTFUL THAT I HAVE BOUGHT THIS ASSESSMENT FROM SOMEBODY. IN-TEXT REFERENCES SHOULD BE THERE BECOZ OUR UNI DOES NOT ACCEPT A LIST OF REFERENCES IF THESE ARE NOT MENTIONED IN THE BODY OF ASSESSMET,THEY PUT A CASE OF PLAGERISM FOR THAT. I WANT HD IN THIS ASSESSMENT. SO PLZ GIVE THIS ASSESSMENT TO ONE OF YOUR TOP WRITERS.
THANX A LOT
Recreation and nature-based tourism is now a popular and constantly growing phenomenon in the world. In the Australian context, nature-base tourism is an integral aspect of the tourism sector and is arguably largely dependent on national parks and other protected areas like marine parks and World Heritage areas. In as much as recreation and tourism are of benefit to the protected areas, visitation exerts pressure on some of them, elevating the need to control visitors as one way of protecting these places. In this respect, marketing gains relevance as an effective tool of managing visitor demand with the ultimate aim of protecting these areas. A number of authors/researchers have put forth many strategies of attaining this objective. For instance, demarketing has been presented as one successful strategy in this regard. Its proponents present that it can help address the issue of excess visitor demand, which imperatively aids in reducing the pressure on these areas, thus boosting protection/conservation efforts. However, there has been limited research on the subject of demarketing as a management strategy in this regard. The case is not any different with other strategies and options available to managers of these protected sites. In consideration of the existence of this gap, need arises for a comprehensive research that could explore these strategies and their effectiveness in efforts of protecting national parks and other protected areas in Australia.
Taking into consideration the management of protected areas everywhere, including Australia, the dual purpose of conserving and protecting the natural environment, while creating opportunities for recreation and nature-based tourism is significant. This dual objective is manifest in several management objectives as laid down by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). As it were, balancing the various functions of national parks presents a recreation/conservation conflict for managers of protected areas (Burtchat et al., 2012). On one side, and as justified in economic terms, recreation and tourism are considered one raison d’être in the context of national parks. On the other hand, these national parks are under ever-increasing pressure from recreation and tourism. In the Australian stage, Pickering and Hill (2007) present that national parks and other protected areas are grappling with carrying capacity and crowding problems, and the pressure calls for more effective conservation/protection strategies. However, it is not all national parks in Australia that experience this pressure partly due to low visitor awareness and other factors (Pickering and Hill, 2007) They assert that ‘icon parks’ face pressure in terms of over-crowding besides environmental impacts, but smaller parks do not experience these problems. Considering that conservation is a cardinal objective of recreation and tourism, which also depend on the condition/quality of the cultural and natural resources in this context, it is particularly imperative that effective strategies be employed to check visitor demand, a development that could make it possible to proactively manage and prevent the negative impacts of tourism in national parks and other protected areas.
As one of the leading countries in the world in terms of ancient origins and biodiversity, Australia is indeed a favorite destination for local and international tourists who yearn for recreation and nature-based tourism. The country’s national parks and protected areas are not only home to stunning flora, iconic landscape as well as other natural attractions loved by tourist, but they are also significant in the protection of wildlife, natural vegetation, and a wide range of aboriginal heritage. The Australian tourism sector is experiencing pressure in terms of the high number of tourists visiting national parks and other protected sites. In as much as the high visitation numbers and rates is a positive phenomenon in terms of income besides other economic gains, little research has been conducted to uncover the pressure and damage this trend is causing to the parks and other protected areas. It is not disputable that a wide range of tourism activities cause damage to indigenous flora, yet these impacts are oftentimes overlooked yet they are usually severe, long lasting, and sometimes irreplaceable, covering vast areas. This scenario calls for effective strategies for sustainable tourism, more specifically those that would help check or prevent the damage caused on national parks and other protected areas by tourist activities. It is against this background that this research seeks to explore the strategies that can be adopted so as to protect Australia’s most valuable flora in the protected areas including parks, from suffering from increased pressure of tourists into these stunning yet fragile destinations.
The research shall be seeking to investigate the strategies that can be employed in achieving sustainable tourism by protecting Australia’s national parks and other protected areas while still highlighting the value and contribution of these sites. From empirical analyses and theoretical discussions, the protected areas face excess visitor demand and subsequent visitation, which if checked could help protect these places (Pickering, 2010). To manage various aspects of visitor demand calls for a deeper understanding of visitor type, use levels, behavior, as well as expectations. To achieve the aim stated here, the research shall focus on the objectives outlined in the following sub-section.
The objectives of the research shall be to:
- Review as well as discuss existing literature relating to how visitor demand/visitation can be managed, influenced, distributed or reduced in order to minimize or reduce pressure on national parks and other protected sites
- Investigate the extent to which increased number of tourists in the protected sites and parks damage the sites’ flora.
- Identify how tourism endangers and threatens the nature in the natural parks and other protected areas.
- Identify factors contributing to high visitor demand in Australia’s national parks
- Come up with a set of inferences and recommendations as regards the strategies for protecting national parks and other protected areas.
It is appreciated that little research has been conducted concerning the effects of tourist activities on national parks and other protected areas, and the strategies that can be employed in this regard to ultimately attain sustainable tourism. Therefore, there is a knowledge gap that calls for a comprehensive study that would fill it. This research is particularly important as it will help managers of these sites and other stakeholders in the tourism industry with insight on how to protect these areas and make strides towards sustainable tourism.
This research shall employ a single case study of a protected site, more precisely an Australian national park to investigate various strategies of minimizing negative impacts of tourist activities on the site. The decision to focus only on a single case study shall ensure that the project is manageable temporally, financially, and practically. It shall also ensure that in opposition to examining many cases superficially, only one case shall be examined in depth. Notably, if multiple case studies are to be examined, this will present an opportunity to contrast and compare findings emanating from several parks, a scenario that might generate further issues that must be interpreted, hence complicating the study. In as much as various stakeholders take part in the management and protection of the areas under focus (national parks and other protected areas), this research shall focus only on players in park management and tourists. By so doing, an obvious limitation shall be that other stakeholders shall be locked out, while it is still appreciated that their participation would give further insights concerning the phenomenon under investigation.
It is imperative to have the research be informed by a good literature base which shall gain relevance when it comes to checking whether or not the findings emanating from the study are in agreement with the presentations of other researchers. This is particularly important in light of the positivist approach adopted in this study. This literature review kicks off by examining the concepts widely applied in the tourism sector and then moves to examine the importance of conserved areas. The negative effects of tourism on protected areas are examined as well as strategies that can be employed to achieve sustainable tourism by protecting these areas/sites.
In as much as the tourism industry stands out as one of the fastest growing on the global stage, and remains a strategic factor in the context of regional and local development, it has not been possible to come up with a unanimous definition for it. The very notion of tourism is very difficult to accurately formulate and clearly describe especially because its definition largely implies the tourism industry. Consequently, the broader its definition, the more sectors have to be included in the industry. For this reason, academic research has attempted to define the concept of tourism through various interpretive approaches namely: the economic, the holistic, the technical one and many more. An economic approach defines tourism as the art, business, and science of attracting and transporting interested visitors while graciously accommodating them and attending to their wants and needs. From a holistic perspective, it is said to be the study of man when he is away from his regular habitat, and the (study of) industry taking care of his needs, as well as the effects that both he and the said industry have on the physical, economic, and social-cultural environments. A supply perspective defines it (tourism) as the aggregate of retail businesses promoting commodities and services for the traveller irrespective of his motivation or personal characteristics.
In spite of the appreciation given for all the above perspectives, it is imperative to have a general description of the concept of tourism as can be applied to both domestic and international contexts, so that it is eventually easier to measure its impact and size. To this effect, the World Trade Organization has adopted a standard definition of tourism which is said to be the activities of people travelling and staying away from their usual environments for purposes of business, leisure and others, and their stay does not exceed a period of one year (WTO, 2006). Relying on this definition, Buckley (2009) argues that tourism involves the interaction of two main factors. On one hand there are tourists out to seek new experiences and in the process there must be support services and facilities (for their satisfaction). On the other hand is a pool of resources that provide these experiences, services, and facilities. It goes without saying that supply and demand in the context of tourism are dictated by these two factors. The demand aspect is sensitive to personality, lifestyle, as well as motivational framework. This is what has led to the emergence of different forms of tourism such as rural tourism, sports tourism, and business tourism. According to Choi and Sirakaya (2006), the differentiated forms of tourism are meant to satisfy the varied needs of tourists.
Another concept of interest in this study is that of sustainable tourism. Emerging in the 1980s, it has gained elevation and is now of great interest to scholars and societies the world over. Eagles et al. (2002) present that for success in the sustainable development agenda, there is need to adapt to dynamics in in the tourism industry in terms of interaction among tourists, host communities and the environment.
2.2.0 National Parks and other Protected Areas
National parks (and other protected areas) have been central features of landscapes utilization patterns for a long time, although particular purpose may differ from one region to another. Oftentimes, the management of these places differs depending on the kind of the emphasis placed upon conservation or the provision of recreational facilities. National parks are of great natural beauty and are considered national icons representing a nation’s cultural and natural assets. Besides this ‘representative purpose’, the driving forces behind the establishment of national parks aimed to make them places where people can go and enjoy themselves while carrying out an array of recreational activities (Eagles et al., 2002). Naughton-Treves and colleagues (2005) present that for some people these places may not be of much value due to factors like dispossession of traditional rights and expulsion from their land for the object of establishing the national parks or protected areas. In conservation strategies it is important to consider the participation of all stakeholders, such people included.
A continuum of management priorities and objects arises in this context, with particular emphasis on recreational activities in a largely dynamic environment, at least in the socio-economic perspective (McLeeny, 2005). Management objectives include the protection of natural, cultural, and scenic areas besides the maintenance of ecological functioning, minimize natural resource exploitation, take into account the needs of local communities, and allow visitor access while still minimizing the effects of activities in this breath.
According to Wyman and colleagues (2011), the multiplicity of management oftentimes leads to conflicts among user/interested groups, where extremes tend to lean towards preservationist philosophies as opposed to utilitarian ones. There is a general agreement that national parks are indeed crucial to the continued efforts aimed at preserving global diversity (Watson et al, 2010). In the same context, an argument is put forth by Butchart at al. (2012) that just conserving these areas is not enough to check the worrying decline of natural resources. With growing human population, the parks face more and more threats with time. The result is a scenario where there is political pressure on national parks to justify their very existence, more so in developing countries where issues like education, health, and the provision of other essential services have more weight than conservation. The case is not any different in developed nations where conservation efforts have lesser allocations of the total national budget as compared to education, defense, and health. For instance, in the Australian 2012 national budget, only 1.1 % of the total budget was allocated to environmental conservation. On a global scale, the benefits derived from protected areas far outweigh the budgetary allocations for the protection of the same areas (Buckley, 2009). Protected areas face restricted budgetary allocations and arguments that they should be self-sufficient. Here lies both threat and opportunity, since such areas can support a wide range of land uses besides biodiversity conservation. A significant option of land use is tourism in its many forms like ecotourism, mass tourism, and nature-based tourism.
As an industry, tourism supports the global economy and is one of the crucial activities taking place within nation parks. The ecotourism sub-sector is indeed increasing demand in a majority of destinations in the world. In as much as the recreational value of national parks and other protected areas continues to go up, their relative contribution to conservation of biodiversity have continued to escalade as a result of degradation and loss of surrounding landscapes. Arguably, tourism could have greater impacts on these areas, more today than the case was in the past.
The threats of tourism on national parks and other protected areas have been the subject of much public scrutiny and scientific research. A greater portion of this work explored the impacts of tourists/visitors and the wider tourism on the natural environment (Monz et al., 2010). Besides this, there is work investigating various aspects including user conflicts, overcrowding, enjoyment, and others. Coghlan (2012) argue that in the assessment of the impacts of tourism, factors like global trends of tourism, values, and changing politics should be considered. It is also argued that park management agencies more often than not lack control over user group value and park value as a result of these protected places being directed by higher decision-making levels (for example the government).
A crucial factor affecting the extent to which tourism may affect upon the natural fabric of national parks and other protected areas is the type/nature of tourism activity taking place. Visitor use distribution as well as management and monitoring of visitor impacts also gain relevance (Castley et al., 2009). A series of draft principles meant to guide tourism in protected areas have been previously presented by Buckley (2002). It emerges tourism activities need to be taken into consideration in the context of park management and conservation objectives. Equally important in the same regard is the relative significance of aspects like biodiversity values, and the intrinsic value of the wilderness and landscape.
For many parks, extensive infrastructure networks and nodes of tourism infrastructure as well as zonation and prohibition of high impact activities can help minimize the negative impacts of tourism. For instance, in the USA, 95% of the Yosemite National Park has been zoned as the wilderness and a greater percentage of all tourism activities take place in the central valley. It must be noted that irrespective of the attraction in focus, one it has decided that visitors will be allowed in there will always be visitor impacts.
Development of tourism infrastructure is directly related to the threats posed by tourism activities. This is an issue that should be considered in park management. It is sufficiently appreciated within Australian tourism networks where it is a central area of concern. However, it is uncommon in other parts of the world like the United States and South Africa.
Wyman et al. (2011) inform that park management agencies have sought strategies like awarding concession contracts to entrepreneurs who offer an array of tourism services. Such range from hospitality services (like souvenir shops, restaurants) to alternative accommodation. Imperatively, the impacts linked to such concession developments can be easily mitigated and managed through strict contractual agreements where concession operators have to adhere to strict standards. In opposition to focusing only on the aspect of financial returns, the standards should also address social development, social impact, and most importantly in this context environmental impacts (Pfueller at al., 2011). Any developments arising in that regard should not be in conflict with the fundamental objectives and values of park management. Since it is very likely that contractual agreements can be different in both context and detail, each should be evaluated independently to ensure the said standards (environmental and socio-economic) are adhered to.
In as much as the contribution of tourism to the economy at the national and global stages is big, budgetary allocation toward their protection is insufficient. There is a greater dependence on tourism by developing nations than developed nations. This scenario also makes these nations highly vulnerable to fluctuations (in the global tourism arena). Most of the funds generated by national parks is directed to the local or central government, which do not re-channel back enough of same for conservation related activities within the parks .Such activities include habitat rehabilitation, expansion of protected area, and anti-poaching among others. Greater success could be achieved if effective strategies focused on these.
In conclusion, this literature review gives a glimpse of the importance of national parks and other protected areas as well as the opportunities and threats presented by tourism. A point of greatest interest is that irrespective of the nature of tourist activity, there will always be impacts of tourism. The role of tourism in sustaining conservation is also clear. As regards the strategies that cab be employed in protecting conserved areas with the objective of achieving sustainable tourism, it is important to note they may not be clear cut. It is important that detailed assessment of such effects be carried out to determine the best strategy that can apply to each.
A positivist paradigm shall be adopted in this research. It is pegged upon the beliefs put forth by Descarte, and as can be traced back to Galileo. They are concerned with the nature of reality and knowing. A realist ontology assumption of this paradigm is that apart from the human knower, real world objects exist. This is to say that there exists an objective reality. From a representational epistemology point of view, an assumption is made that the objective reality can be accurately described by human beings through symbols. In this study, the researcher shall embark on positing a reality different/separate from available/known knowledge (separation of object and subject), making it possible to compare various presentations with the reality to be uncovered. That way, the truth shall be easily ascertained. Though the literature available on the negative effects of tourism on conserved/protected sites, as well as the strategies that can be employed in the same context to protect such sites and ultimately achieve sustainable tourism, the researcher shall compare that which shall be uncovered with that which is already known. However, the positivist paradigm dictates that a clear demarcation be enforced here to avoid the risk of bias since the researcher may be tempted to seek only selected information, as opposed to anticipating and incorporating all aspects of what might be uncovered. In a word, this methodological shall be strictly followed, making it possible to achieve the research objectives.
The research shall to a great extent link the notion of corporate social responsibility to the sustainability agenda. It shall explore the strategic base of tourism enterprises in protecting conserved/protected places. In this regard, theoretical underpinnings present that hospitality and tourism industries are constantly witnessing changing/shifting attitudes in consumer and enterprise attitudes. Such cannot be ignored in the sustainability agenda, especially as regards the protection of national parks and other protected places. It is believed that shared value and synaptic approaches that are uncomplicated and relatively straightforward are imperative in the same respect. It goes without saying that such notions are quite easily taken up by tourism and hospitality players as well as academicians. The existence of continuous discourse in many fora and colloquia regarding sustainable tourism and other related subjects like responsible behavior is acknowledge here. Concepts that emerge in theories discussing active participation in the tourism industry are important. Some of them are defined below:
Tourism: Refers to the movement of people to places/destinations located outside their usual places of residence or work, the activities they undertake during such visits, as well as the facilities created for their use.
Attractions: These are excursion destinations that have been permanently established with the primary purpose of facilitating/allowing public access for self –interest, entertainment, and education as opposed to just serve principally as retail outlets or venues for theatrical/film performances and sporting. Such destinations have to be open to the public all the time without need for prior booking (for published periods every year) and should be appealing to tourists/day visitors and local residents.
Research design refers to the means by which a researcher plans the collection of data with the primary aim of attaining the research objectives. One can choose between causal, explanatory, and descriptive designs (Zikmund, 2003). Descriptive design is employed in describing the characteristics of a given phenomenon or population, and is most commonly utilized in quantitative studies .As for causal design, it is concerned with the manner in which a given variable affects another variable, or is responsible for it. Considering that the aim of this study was to get a deeper understanding of the phenomenon under investigation by focusing on one case study, this design shall not be the best. On the other hand, an explorative research design explores an area and sheds more light on a subject that the researcher has little or no knowledge about in the beginning. It is mostly employed in qualitative studies (Creswell, 2003). In this research, a mixture of qualitative and explorative research designs shall be used to procure information that will be imperative in understanding how sustainable tourism can be achieved in Australia by protecting national parks and other protected areas through suitable strategies.
Jacobsen (2002) presents that a qualitative approach provides an opportunity to explore a given phenomenon in details and get a deeper understanding and general picture of the situation. This approach is characterized by a greater degree of flexibility as well as closeness to the object under examination. An opposite to this method is the quantitative approach whose fundamental starting point is the notion that it is possible to measure the society through methods that yield information in terms of numbers. Considering that the study shall require a deeper insight on the strategies that can be employed in protecting national parks and other protected areas, a qualitative approach shall be most suitable as it shall also yield several probable nuances on the matter being investigated.
Having acknowledged the knowledge gap on the matter under investigation, it is imperative to emphasize that indeed there is need to employ the best approach to uncover as much information as possible. Therefore, besides being descriptive (refer previous sub-heading), it shall also be explorative in nature. It shall be exploring the strategies that can be employed in protecting parks and other protected places with the cardinal aim of achieving sustainable tourism in Australia.
The strategy in this study shall be to move from theory to empiricism. Through a deductive navigation, the researcher shall first collect all relevant theory (from secondary sources) on the matter under investigation. By collecting relevant empirical information on protected areas and what can be done to conserve/protect them, the researcher shall be able to get the views of interview objects on already cleared defined and understood theories. In consideration of the fact that this has the risk of giving only information that may seem to support the researcher’s expectations and thus lead to relevant and important information being ignored, the study shall be conducted in a more exploratory nature. An adductive strategy shall give room for new information to be compared with what is presented in written material.
By settling on a single case study (more specifically Kakandu National Park), it is believed information shall be obtained whose generalizability shall apply across Australia and even beyond. By obtaining information from individuals who have been exposed to and witnessed the negative impacts of tourism on national parks and other protected areas, it is believed insight shall be gained as regards the overall picture of what is being investigated. The park’s management team as well as visiting tourists shall be interviewed
For this study, qualitative data shall be needed. By interviewing the management team of Kakandu National Park besides the tourists who shall be present at the time of the research, information shall be obtained on the negative impacts of tourism on the park, as well as the strategies that can be employed to prevent or manage these effects. Based on its generalizability and applicability to the broader Australian context and beyond, this data will be imperative in informing on how to achieve sustainable tourism by protecting conserved areas (from the effects of excessive tourism activity).
As already implied above, the data shall be sought from the tourists and managers at Kakandu National Park. In addition, data from secondary sources such as books, journal articles, publications, and other web sources. Data from these sources shall be combined and/or compared/contrasted with primary data to compliment the study.
Imperatively, the research shall consist of both primary and secondary data. As implied earlier, a first step shall be to review secondary data with the aim of gaining deeper comprehension of the subject under investigation and as such have a good foundation upon which to build when collecting primary data.
As for the use of secondary sources, researchers are more often than not forced to establish a valuation on the extent to which the sources are believable. A point of interest in this context is to answer the question whether or not the source’s author might have had personal interest when writing the piece. If the answer to this is in the affirmative, then caution should be taken when interpreting such a source (Jacobsen, 2002).
In the course of examining and fetching secondary data, the researcher’s aim shall be to use information that is relevant and updated as possible. Nevertheless, some sources on the subject might not be as recent as one would wish, having been written during the early years of this century. For this reason, it shall be important to scrutinize them thoroughly so as to assess the content and confirm that it is indeed relevant even today (Salkind, 2000). Consequently, it shall be paramount throughout the process of collecting primary data to find out if or not such an assessment is correct. It is also to be noted that web sources may not necessarily hold the same degree of accuracy or credibility as journal articles and books. For this reason, the use of the former shall be minimized. Arguably, more neutral institutions are usually more reliable due to their lack of subjective interest in bringing out a certain picture of the phenomenon under study. Such shall be used more.
Kotler at al. (2005) define primary data as that consisting of information collected primarily and specifically for a given purpose at hand. It is information being collected by the researcher for the first time. Emanating from the primary source, it is tailored for the particular issue at hand. It can be collected through observations, surveys, or interviews (Zikmund, 2003). For this research, primary data shall be collected through self-administered questionnaires which shall be very pivotal in the entire aspect of data collection. These instruments of data shall consist of both close and open-ended questions to ensure that respondents express themselves exhaustively on the subject under investigation. So that more insight might be gained, face to face interviews with top management shall also be used. This shall ensure there is a deeper comprehension on what the negative effects of tourism on the conserved areas are as well as the strategies that can be employed to manage or prevent them, ultimately attaining sustainable tourism.
The Likert format shall be used in structuring the questions on the questionnaires to be presented to respondents (see Appendix II). As it were, they shall be open and close-ended. Notably, the design of the questionnaires shall be in such a way as to enable the researcher to easily get a glimpse of how tourism negatively affects conserved sites/protected places and the strategies that can be employed in protecting them. The design shall also make it possible to cover a bigger sample in shorter period of time with no extra manpower. Besides, it is the researcher’s opinion that this instrument of data collection will avoid bias since in the stated design as that is what characterizes most research interviews.
As it were, sampling is the final process is research just before data collection. It is concerned with suitably identifying the objects for the collection of primary data. In this research, non-probability sampling shall be employed. In this, units are chosen based on personal convenience and judgment in the manner such may be suitable for the study.
Considering that respondents shall include the park management team and tourists, the success of the study shall greatly depend on the sampling strategy. An assumption shall be made that there will be no homogeneity across persons as regards the effects of tourism activities on national parks and other protected areas, as well as the strategies that can be employed to check the same. Imperatively, stratified random sampling will be utilized, more especially because it combines aspects of random and purposive sampling (Sarantakos, 2008). The process of stratification shall simply entail grouping the population into two categories/strata. The strata shall be management stratum and tourist stratum.
Due to resource and time limitations, the study shall use a sample of 200 management personnel and tourists in total. It is the researcher’s view that such a sample size will be manageable.
7.0 DATA ANALYSIS METHODS
Data analysis shall begin with checking collected data to ensure it is accurate and complete. It must be admitted that owing to the methods to be used in data collection, data to be generated will most likely take both qualitative and quantitative forms. For this reason, descriptive statistics shall be convenient for analyzing and evaluating data. In addition, other techniques of analyzing variables like bivariate, univariate, and multivariate analyses shall be taken into consideration at this stage of the study. Whereas univariate analysis is used to evaluate a single variable, bivariate analysis focuses on analyzing the relationship between variables (Sarantakos, 2008). Quite different from these two, multivariate analysis assesses the relationship among various variables. Since it shall be imperative to know how various negative effects of tourism can be checked (reduced or countered) and by what strategies, multivariate analysis shall be used in this study (to explore how they relate).
It is the researcher’s belief that this kind of research is convenient for employment of discourse analysis. This is mainly because this kind of analysis yields a ‘strong social constructivist view of the world’. It will aid understand how the negative effects of tourism (on conserved areas) have been received by the wider society, much the same way how probable strategies can be developed, received, and used to protect the sites under focus. The analysis shall give a precise interpretation of the respondents’ and interviewees’ contexts while taking into account factors like manner of conversation and other aspects of communication.
Where senior managers shall be interviewed, an effective qualitative strategy shall be to carry out detailed interview transcripts since wordings, phrases, and technical terminologies emerge as being very crucial in a study of this kind. After drafting transcripts following every interview, they shall be thoroughly read and re-reread to ensure that whatever the researcher writes down correlates with the participants’ views/opinions/presentations.
Since the study shall be pegged on the participation of human participants, it shall be noble to makes sure that relevant ethics are adhered to. In appreciation of possible ethical issues arising, various aspects of the same shall be considered by the researcher. For instance, the privacy and confidentiality of participants shall be upheld. In that breath, they shall be given an assurance (prior to their participation) that any information they might give will be kept confidential. Miles and Huberman (2004) present that the very act of informing a participant on their right of confidentiality is ethical. For optimal outcomes as regards ethics, the researcher shall be deeply involved in the process of making relevant/suitable explanation to potential respondents before the fill the questionnaires or answer any of the questions presented to them. Details of the research such as its aim and significance shall be clearly laid out to the participants. Explaining such details might be hectic but it shall be a crucial milestone in ensuring an explicit comprehension of the significance of their participation.
Participation is the study shall be by informed consent. In this respect, participants shall remain at liberty to withdraw their participation anytime without having to give reasons. The researcher shall promise them that the information they give shall not be given to any third party and shall as such be used for academic purposes only. For confidentiality, they shall not be required to write their names anywhere on the research instruments, neither would they be required to mention any private information in the course of the research.
Considering the scope and context of this research, it should be noted that some factors might come into play, which nevertheless will out of the researcher’s control. For instance, embarking on questioning respondents (either through interviews or questionnaires), it is assumed that they shall be knowledgeable on the information being sought. However, it may be possible that a respondent who has consented to participate is not in a position to provide the information being sought. In the same breath, the random sampling technique employed may leave out people who are very well-informed on the matter being investigated. Hope to counter this limitation is pegged on the assumption that the sample size is representative enough of the target population (s).
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