Tourism Research Philosophies and Principles Assessment

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[. . .] In addition, they employed the 'interpretative' paradigm's Quantitative Method by value-laden examination of the hotel guests in an attempt to understand the guests' behaviour and underlying reasons for reusing or failing to reuse guest towels. Through a carefully worded four-page questionnaire, careful selection of cooperative hotels, careful selection of appropriate guests, and well-placed rewards, Mair and Bergin-Seers were able to accumulate nearly more than one would want to know about hotel guests' reuse of towels.

They were able to amass the following demographic results:


Mair and Bergin-Seers also accumulated the following data on the impact of the towel reuse requests:


Mair and Bergin-Seers also divided impact according to which of the four requests each guest received:


Mair and Bergin-Seers were also able to examine the data and divide towel reuse according to the type of request received:


Mair and Bergin-Seers also collected data on all interventions made toward the guests regarding towel reuse:


Mair and Bergin-Seers also divided the guests according to their NEP groups. As Mair and Bergin-Seers explained, individuals are sorted according to a "New Ecological Paradigm…that allows the attitudes of a respondent to be characterized and placed on a continuum from less environmentally aware to more environmentally aware" (MAIR & BERGIN-SEERS, 2010). Separating the respondents according to their NEP groups, Mair and Bergin-Seers examined their data and produced the following Table:


Mair and Bergin-Seers also examined the data to determine the values behind the subjects' response to their requests:


In their questionnaire, Mair and Bergin-Seers also asked the guests who reused their towels to explain why they did so, and the following data was collected and examined:


Mair and Bergin-Seers also asked the guests what would encourage them to reuse their towels in the future and amassed the following data:


b. Re-Branding Alternative Tourism in the Caribbean: The Case for 'Slow Tourism' by D, Conway and B.F. Timms

This article develops the anti-mass-tourism theory of 'slow tourism" in the Caribbean due to "the unevenness of tourism-driven development in the Caribbean" (CONWAY & TIMMS, 2010). Conway and Timms concentrated on the "once-overlooked interiors and remoter inaccessible coastal zones" retaining "much of their authenticity, communal strengths and slower-paced ambience." Conway and Timms use the purest form of the "interpretative" paradigm's "Qualitative Method" in these four articles, concentrating on behavior and arguments about the social benefits of slow tourism in the Caribbean, while presenting research that is nearly completely devoid of numerical data. The study certainly would have benefited fro some Quantitative research specifically supporting Conway's and Timms' theories about "slow tourism." Unfortunately, the article lacks sufficient numerical data, so we are left with weakly supported arguments for "slow tourism."

c. The Characteristics of Small Island Tourist Economies by J.L. McElroy and C.E. Parry

This article examines 39 small islands to develop "three related empirical analyses" about their tourist economies. Employing a hybrid Quantitative-Qualitative approach by first contrasting Pacific Ocean vs. Indian Ocean patterns, then developing a "Tourism Penetration Index" of the most successful islands, then developing a "regression analysis" to explain the unevenness of global tourism on smaller islands. The first two analyses are Quantitative, being highly statistically oriented. The third analysis is Qualitative, suggesting "the importance of adequate infrastructure, a degree of modernization, favorable location, uncrowded ambience and dependent political status" (MCELROY & PARRY, 2010). Clearly, McElroy and Parry recognize the importance of both the "positivist/functional" Quantitative Method's number-laden statistics and the "interpretative" paradigm's value-laden Qualitative Method. McElroy's and Parry's study has some benefits of both Quantitative and Qualitative research. However, the study lacks the Australian study's direct feedback from tourists; therefore, McElroy and Parry tend to guess in their suggestions about qualitatively improving the chances of improving tourism on the small islands.

d. Advertising and Tourist Arrivals: Evidence from Jamaica by D.A. Williams and A. Spencer

This article examines the effects of the Jamaican government's intense advertising and other variable, such as exchange rate and inflation, on the sheer numbers of tourist arrivals in Jamaica. The article, which is the most Quantitatively-oriented of these four articles, used mathematical formulae and carefully counted statistical data to determine that the exchange rate was the most influential factor in churning out tourist arrivals (WILLIAMS & SPENCER, 2010). Unlike McElroy and Parry -- who highly regard the human meaning of their analysis -- Williams and Spencer are tunnel-visioned only on numbers and disregard possible qualitative causes and remedies for Jamaica's failing tourist industry. Williams' and Spencer's article seems very short-sighted and biased. By severely limiting their data to Quantitative data about exchange rates and interest, they limit their possible answers for Jamaica's lagging tourist trade. Qualitative value-laden data gathered from human beings might have resulted in a far different conclusion: using an extreme example for clearer illustration, perhaps by directly asking individuals about Jamaica, Williams and Spencer would have discovered that Jamaica's tourism is lagging because there is a widespread fear of being robbed, raped and murdered while touring Jamaica. By eliminating the human, value-laden aspect and focusing only on numbers, Williams and Spencer may have completely missed the mark about why Jamaica's tourism trade is suffering.


During its relatively short history, Tourism Research has adopted both the Quantitative and Qualitative Methods of research from social science. One or both methods can be readily identified when reading peer review articles on tourism. As the four peer-reviewed articles in this assignment show, tourism researchers can widely vary in the quality and care of their data collection, as well as their examination of the collected data. One study in particular -- the Australian towel reuse study - was extremely thorough and thoughtful, using a hybrid of Quantitative and Qualitative research methods to amass and carefully examine the data. The remaining articles used varying philosophies and degrees of care in collecting and examining their data. In at least one case -- the study of Jamaican tourism -- narrow-sighted examination of Jamaica's lagging tourism may have led to a completely incorrect conclusion.

In addition to care in the collection and examination of data, increasing complexity and world-wide importance of tourism have made tourism research an independently important discipline. Along with that increased significance have come demands for an independent ethical system that will safeguard the honesty and usefulness of tourism research. While tourism researchers can rely somewhat on the ethical codes of other disciplines, the industry would be better served with an ethical code that is carefully tailored to our unique needs.


BOWEN, D., 2002. Research on Tourist Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction: Overcoming the Limitations of a Positive and Quantitative Approach. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 7(1), pp. 31-40.

CONWAY, D. & TIMMS, B.F., 2010. Re-Branding Alternative Tourism in the Caribbean: The Case for 'Slow Tourism'. Tourism and Hospitality Research, Volume 10, pp. 329-344.

FLICK, U., 2006. An Introduction to Qualitative Research. 3rd ed. London: Sage.

GIVEN, L.M.E., 2008. The Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods, Volume 2. London: Sage Publications, Inc..

JAFARI, J., 2000. Encyclopedia of Tourism. Oxon: Routledge.

KRAUSS, S.E., 2005. Research Paradigms and Meaning Making: A Primer. The Qualitative Report, 4 December, 10(4), pp. 758-770.

MAIR, J. & BERGIN-SEERS, S., 2010. The effect of Interventions on the Environmental Behaviour of Australian Motel Guests. Tourism and Hospitality Research, Volume 10, pp. 255-268.

MCELROY, J.L. & PARRY, C.E., 2010. The Characteristics of Small Island Tourist Economies. Tourism and Hospitality Research, Volume 10, pp. 315-328.

MCKERCHER, B., 2002. Towards a Classification of Cultural Tourists. The International Journal of Tourism Research, 4(1), pp. 29-38.

MCKERCHER, B., 2007. Proceedings of the 5th DeHaan Tourism Management Conference: Culture, Tourism and the Media. Nottingham, Nottingham University Business School.

MEHMETOGLU, M., 2004. Quantitative or Qualitative? A Content Analysis of Nordic Research in Tourism and Hospitality. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 4(3), pp. 176-190.

MOSCARDO, G., 2010. Tourism Research Ethics: Current Considerations and Future Options. In D.G. PEARCE & R.W. BUTLER, eds. Tourism Research: A 20-20 Vision. Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers, pp. 203-214.

PANSIRI, J., 2005. Pragmatism: A Methodological Approach to Research Strategic Alliances in Tourism. Tourism and Hospitality Planning & Development, 2(3), pp. 191-206.

PHILLIMORE, J. & GOODSON, L., 2004. Qualitative Research in Tourism: Ontologies, Epistemologies and Methodologies. 1st ed. London: Routledge.

RYAN, C., 2005. Ethics in Tourism Research: Objectivities and Personal Perspectives. In B.W. RITCHIE, P. BURNS & C. PALMER, eds. Tourism Research Methods: Integrating Theory with Practice. Oxfordshire: CABI Publishing, pp. 9-20.

SCHUTT, R.K., 2009. Investigating the Social World: The Process… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Tourism Research Philosophies and Principles.  (2012, January 9).  Retrieved February 20, 2019, from

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"Tourism Research Philosophies and Principles."  January 9, 2012.  Accessed February 20, 2019.