Secondary data collection

In document The Island Image: A Means of Segmentation (Page 148-157)

Chapter 3: The Isles of Scilly-setting the context

4.2 Secondary data collection

The initial stage of data collection involved a search of secondary data sources, which served a number of purposes in this study. First, passenger movement data were sourced in order to inform the parameters of the study. Second, collection and examination of secondary information sources was necessary to meet research objective two:

“Undertake secondary data collection in order to identify the images currently used to promote the Isles of Scilly, and to compare these with images held by visitors to the islands”.

As such, online promotional material, published by the DMO was examined in order to establish the promotional image of the Isles of Scilly and travel blogs were collated and analysed in order to identify the perceived image of the Isles of Scilly. All secondary material contributed to the development of survey instruments, used in primary data collection.

In order to identify appropriate secondary data sources a critical appraisal tool was developed (Table 4.6). Critical appraisal tools are intended to provide a list of questions that can be asked of a source in order to determine its validity, applicability and appropriateness (Glynn, 2006;

Hannes, Lockwood and Pearson, 2010). The tool asked key questions the data sources in order to establish their suitability in informing this study.

Data source Key requirements for secondary data sources Management data Are these data the most recent and accurate data available?

Have these data been obtained through a reliable source?

DMO website content Is this material from the official DMO?

Does the material promote the islands rather than individual businesses?

Does the material build a representation of the islands?

Travel Blogs Does all blog content relate to a trip to the islands?

Has all blog material been written within written recently (2013-2014)?

Table 4.6 Critical appraisal tool to assess the suitability of secondary data sources


Three forms of secondary data were accessed within this study: Management data (section 4.2.1), DMO website content (section 4.2.2), and finally online blog content (section 4.2.3). The use of secondary sources within this research is presented in Table 4.7. Each of these sources will be discussed in turn, in order to identify their purpose within the investigation, the rationale for their use and finally the advantages and disadvantages of each source. This discussion will act as an overview rather than an analysis of the findings.

4.2.1 Management data

Secondary data were considered to be important in setting the parameters for quantitative data collection and determining the quotas to be filled by quantitative questionnaires and the temporal length of the investigation (detailed in section 4.3.2). To set these parameters, it was necessary to consult tourism statistics; however, in gaining access to tourism data on a local level, difficulties were encountered. National tourism surveys either failed to recognise the islands (Tourism Insights, 2010; Visit England, 2012) or amalgamated the visitor data of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (Office for National Statistics, 2011). On both a regional (South Secondary Data Use within investigation

Management data See Table 3.2

 Set parameters for primary research:

 Quotas for quantitative sample

 Timeframe for investigation

 Understand context of the tourism industry DMO website content

See Table 6.2

 Understand context of the tourism industry

 Identify promoted image of the destination

 Identify variables for primary research regarding product base, existing markets and destination image

Travel blogs See Table 6.2

 Understand context of the tourism industry

 Identify perceived image of the destination

 Identify variables for primary research regarding product base, existing markets and destination image

Table 4.7 Use of secondary data


West Tourism Alliance, 2008) and local level (Wilcox, 2004; Blue Sail, 2011) only limited and dated statistics relating to the islands were identifiable. Agarwal (1997, p. 68) has noted that statistics documenting the volume of tourism are “particularly prone to problems of errors, omissions and oversights that are frequently incorporated within the data” and that was reflected here.

To implement these necessary parameters, management data, in the form of transport data were utilised (Council of the Isles of Scilly Economic Development Office, 2013; Phillips, 2013), discussion of which is provided in Chapter 3. Transport data were able to indicate the volume of people travelling to the islands throughout the year. This enabled monthly quotas, relative to visitor arrivals, to be established. Management data were also analysed to determine the months during which the tourist season operates and to, consequently, identify the timeframe of the study. Despite wide use, within the social sciences, there is controversy surrounding official statistics, largely due to inconsistent methodologies and their tendency to “reflect the assumptions and interests of particular dominant groups” (Henn, Weinstein and Foard, 2009, p. 125). As an alternative to estimated visitor numbers, management data were sourced (Table 4.8).

Secondary Data Source Source

Airport Arrivals Council of the Isles of Scilly (Council of the Isles of Scilly Economic Development Office, 2013) Ferry Passengers

Ferry Day Passengers

Cruise Ship Arrivals Duchy of Cornwall Senior Pilot (Phillips, 2013) Cruise Ship Passengers

Table 4.8 Secondary data sources


The use of management data provides the benefit of a more reliable picture as visitor movement data are collected as a normal part of business operations (Kamins, 1993) and, consequently, are less likely to be manipulated to meet the agenda of other interest groups.

Despite the benefit of unbiased figures, data from such sources remains aggregated into either monthly or yearly visitor arrivals, limiting what can be achieved (Henn et al., 2009). Regardless of the data source, difficulties in differentiating between tourists and local residents, imposed by the nature of arrivals data, were encountered. Additionally, restrictions were imposed in the use of confidential, unpublished material.

4.2.2 DMO website content

The fourth secondary source, consulted within this investigation, was online promotional material in the form of DMO website content. Initially DMO website material (Table 4.9), was utilised to understand the context of tourism on the Isles of Scilly, however, deeper analysis was also undertaken. Through content analysis, written information, such as guidebooks and travel brochures, can be used to understand the images projected by a tourism destination (O’Leary and Deegan, 2005; Choi, Lehto and Morrison, 2007a). Consequently, direct tourism marketing material was analysed to ascertain the promoted image of the Isles of Scilly.

Content analysis was applied to selected material from the DMO website in order to identify the broad range of images associated with the islands (analysis of which is documented in Chapter 5). In past studies content analysis has been used successfully to identify destination images from a range of online information sources (Choi et al., 2007a). In addition to the promotional image, analysis of online marketing material was able to provide a broad understanding of the destinations target market and product base, essential to set variables within subsequent primary research. Perhaps the most significant benefit, in using online


material as a resource, is its availability within the public domain. As web based content is protected by copyright, there are considerations, however, in the use of online material.

4.2.3 Travel blogs

The final form of secondary data, collated within this study, was user generated content (UGC) in the form of travel blogs. Travel blogs are increasingly being considered as a new source of information in research (Schmallegger and Carson, 2008; Banyai and Glover, 2012) and have proven to be particularly valuable in destination image studies (Law and Cheung, 2010; Son, 2011; Çakmak and Isaac, 2012; Sun et al., 2015). Table 4.10 identifies the range of blogs utilised within this study and the search terms employed in order to access the material.

Secondary Data Source Source (Visit Isles of Scilly, 2015g)

Table 4.9 DMO website source


Blogs are considered to be a useful, accessible and authentic source of secondary data, as UGC facilitates the upload of unstructured and unmoderated content (Schmallegger and Carson, 2008). Notably Pan, MacLaurin and Crotts (2007) identified how, through travel blogs, tourists document a wide range of experiences, presenting kaleidoscopic perceptions of destinations, that cover all aspects of a trip from anticipation to overall impression. As such, collating travel blog material, pertaining to visits to the Isles of Scilly, provides allows the researcher to access

Source Google Search Terms Blog title

Holiday Blog

 Travel blog Isles of Scilly

 Holiday blog Isles of Scilly

 Food blog Isles of Scilly

Diane Heart-shaped: Phase 3 Scilly Isles Grows on you: isles of Scilly back there again Marks veg plot: Isles of Scilly

Sally’s chateau: Karma St Martins Isles of Scilly Greedy gourmet: Isles of Scilly

Everyone loves a Scilly family

The Pocahontas files: Where to eat in Isles of Scilly A lady in London: Isles of Scilly

Luxlife blog: Isles of Scilly holiday destination Tresco Isles of Scilly honeymoon hideaway Sluttery travels hell bay hotel

Hell Bay hotel Bryher Isles of Scilly An arty holiday on Isles of Scilly

Photography Blogs

 Travel blog Isles of Scilly

 Food blog Isles of Scilly

 Wildlife blog Isles of Scilly

Nordic pics blog: Isles of Scilly landscape photography Ed Marshall photo blog: The Isles of Scilly

Rook Photo: Isles of Scilly

Wildlife Blogs

 Wordpress Isles of Scilly

 Blogspot Isles of Scilly

 Wildlife blog Isles of Scilly

 Nature blog Isles of Scilly

Talk on the wild side: Scilly tales

Zac’s wildlife blog: Isles of Scilly summer holiday Sutton Bingham: Isles of Scilly 16 May

Sophie eco Sussex: Scilly days

Wild south UK: Photo special Isles of Scilly

Stuarts wildlife diary: Isles of Scilly day trip September 15th Grahams birding blog

Activity blogs  Wordpress Isles of Scilly

 Blogspot Isles of Scilly

 Sailing blog Isles of Scilly

Sailing yacht Amalia: Learning to fish and the Isles of Scilly Adventuress sailing: Isles of Scilly

Maninalora: Sanchez sails to Scilly man still not Fighting for fishing: Scilly Isles

Table 4.10 Travel blog sources


uncensored perceptions of the destination. Analysis of blogs was deemed suitable, for this study, as questions asked of blog data should focus on a particular concern, such as destination image (Carson, 2008). It has also been suggested that blog analysis has more effective results when searching for narrow destinations or a distinct market (Carson, 2008). This is particularly useful for island destinations as they have clear geographical boundaries, consequently, as an island destination, the Isles of Scilly can particularly benefit from travel blog research.

The collection and analysis of travel blog data will serve two purposes in this study. It is recognised that material found within blogs is able to demonstrate differences between tourists and destination marketing organisations’ perceptions of place (Carson, 2008; Çakmak and Isaac, 2012). As such travel blogs will first be used to gain access to the perceived

destination image, of visitors to the Isles of Scilly, so that comparison can be drawn between the promoted and perceived destination image. Travel blog content will then be drawn upon to inform the formation of image variables ensuring that the elements measured are

representative of visitor perceptions.

Suggestions have been made that blogs are more representative, than other forms of

qualitative data collection, of traveller attitudes towards a destination (Pan et al., 2007), which particularly supports their use within destination marketing research. Anonymity of the blogger could provide more honest data where “anonymity of the online context means that bloggers may be relatively unselfconscious about what they write since they remain hidden from view” (Hookway, 2008, p. 96). Blogs not only provided access to more open and honest perceptions but also to a wider audience where multiple commentators have discussed the use of blogs in gaining access to different audiences. This notion, that analysing blogs allows researchers to assess images, perceptions and insights of markets that might otherwise be unavailable, is well documented (Carson, 2008; Schmallegger and Carson, 2008). Mann and Stewart (2000) also comment how, as with most online research strategies, blogs allow access to populations who may be at a social or geographical distance.


An additional benefit of blogs as a data source was the availability and quality of the organic material. Hookway (2008) identifies the potential of blogs to be a rich source of qualitative data. Furthermore, Hookway (2008) has argued that, in terms of research, blogs offer broader opportunities than those offered by the qualitative research diary. These opportunities are accessible to the researcher primarily due to the public availability of blogs, where, “the practice [of blogging] fundamentally involves placing private content in the public domain”

(Hookway, 2008, p. 96). Blogs provide benefit to the researcher not only in terms of access but also in facilitating analysis. Liamputtong and Ezzy (2005, p. 232) comment that “blogs are naturalistic data in textual form, allowing for the creation of immediate text without the resource intensiveness of tape recorders and transcription”

Despite the aforementioned benefits of blogs as a data source, there are still limitations and considerations in their use. Although blogs are a form of naturally occurring text, rather than written for the purpose of research, they have been written for an implicit audience. This may, questionably, influence the validity of data that can be collected from blogs (Hookway, 2008).

It must also be noted that data, unprovoked by a researcher is often treated with suspicion, where many researchers believe that to be authentic, research must be conducted in an interview environment (Silverman, 2001). Although this is in itself debateable, data collected within a constructed research environment, are able to address the research question in depth. As written material tends to be descriptive, the usable material found within blogs is often shallow (Carson, 2008); this may create limitations in the quality of the data, where the blogger fails to go beneath surface impressions. Furthermore, researchers may find difficulties in accessing blogs (Carson, 2008). Hookway (2008, p. 107) argues how “entering the

blogosphere, with its endless maze of blogs and blog voices, can be a disorientating, time-consuming and overwhelming experience that only reluctantly yields relevant data” where there are often difficulties in identifying blogs relevant to research aims. Moreover, Carson


(2008, p. 117) identified how it was “not always easy to identify all the blog entries” as specific details needed to be entered within search criteria. Additionally, tourists who have published blog entries, referring to their holiday on the Isles of Scilly, are not necessarily representative of every tourist who visits the islands. It can be ascertained that “bloggers’ viewpoints may not be fully representative of the travelling public due to the very open nature of blog sites”

(Choi et al., 2007a, p. 128). Furthermore, it must be noted that “there has been no published research on what type of traveller is likely to author blogs, or what types of trips to what types of destinations are more likely to generate blog content” (Carson, 2008, p. 113).

It is also important to note that the use of online sources such as blogs presents a different array of ethical dilemmas including issues of privacy, copyright and ownership (Walther, 2002;

Bowker and Tuffin, 2004; Hookway, 2008). It is firstly necessary to assess whether the content of a blog is public or private material. While some researchers will argue that owing to the public availability of blog content, consent from authors is unnecessary (Walther, 2002), others claim material has been written with “an expectation of privacy” (Hookway, 2008, p. 105) which should, consequently, be given (Elgesem, 2002). As “blogs are public not only in the sense of being publicly accessible…but also in how they are defined by users” (Hookway, 2008, p. 105) it is argued in this case that obtaining consent is superfluous. Copyright is integral to ethical issues surrounding the use of blogs as research data. As all online material is

automatically copyrighted in the UK (UK Intellectual Property Office, 2013a), authors of online blogs have rights over the reproduction of their material. Limited use or ‘fair dealing’ of copyright material is, however, allowed for the purpose of non-commercial research (UK Intellectual Property Office, 2013b). Whether to preserve author anonymity or acknowledge blog ownership is, however, another ethical consideration (Hookway, 2008). In this research consent was not sought from travel blog owners, as limited content was to be reproduced.

However, in line with the Plymouth University Research Ethics Policy (Plymouth University, 2015), the researcher will ensure confidentiality of the data in both the analysis and reporting of the research and anonymity of the blog owner.


In document The Island Image: A Means of Segmentation (Page 148-157)