The research design of this paper is grounded in quantitative research given the exploratory nature of the research question, which is to explore the behavior of a nation through a cross sectional study (Mark et al., 2012). This is also in accordance with the scientific approach and the adopted theory of science stance already discussed. A survey consisting of a questionnaire was developed to answer the research question and hypotheses. The aim of the questionnaire was to investigate the knowledge, habit, cognitive capabilities and other resources of young Swedish consumers, all in entailed in the MOAB model. The survey was built using the findings of previous research in the field of sustainable consumption behavior and consumer behavior, as the salient beliefs and motives of the target population were not known. The development of this questionnaire was therefore carried out using already developed, tested and validated instruments as it’s foundation. These instruments will be discussed in further detail in the sections beneath.
Figure 4: Research onion adapted for this paper. Inspired by Research methods for business students (Mark et al., 2012).
The research for this paper was carried out in conjunction with that of a larger study on sustainable fashion consumption and behavior, which was carried out for the Mistra Future Fashion by Copenhagen Business School. This means that the scales used to gather the data for this paper only made up a small portion of a much larger 2-‐part questionnaire used for the overall study.
3.4.1 Population & Sampling
The population selection for the questionnaire has been based on the findings of the literature review presented earlier in this paper, in order to investigate only the most relevant individuals. According to previous research there is evidence to suggest that consumers who are prone to exhibit environmental consciousness and behavior in the
“USA were (relatively) young, well educated, and politically liberal” (Ölander &
Thøgersen, 1995, p. 12). Butler & Francis (1997) also found that younger consumers as a segment are more likely to be pro-‐environmental. The same authors also found this same segment to be more likely to be pro government regulations on the area. It should also be mentioned that Morgan & Birtwistle (2009) point to a correlation between consumers’ interest in sustainable consumption and age. They, however, found that younger consumers tend to display less interest, if at all, towards the implications of fast fashion consumption on the environment, which goes against what the other studies found. Nevertheless, this paper will focus on young consumers (age 16-‐30 years) based on the above and the assumption that this age group’s possibility of becoming the influencers of the generations to come, which is in part due to the fact that most fashion influencers are of relatively young age (Butler & Francis, 1997; Niinimäki, 2010). Even though the research that Ölander & Thøgersen (1995) refer to, in the above, suggests that those prone to pro-‐environmental behavior are well educated, it only covers the U.S.A. and it has not been confirmed by any other data that the author has come across during the research for this paper. Therefore the sample should include respondents from all educational levels of the Swedish population.
As for gender, there has been previous research into sustainable fashion that has been conducted using samples of only female respondents. The argument for doing so has been that female consumers represent the largest and most relevant group of fashion consumers (Morgan & Birtwistle, 2009). However, there has been no evidence to
indicate that female consumers are also the most influential or even the largest group when it comes to sustainable fashion consumption. Therefore, the aim of this investigation will be to get an even distribution between male and female respondents for the questionnaire. Based on these findings, the population will be composed of a representative sample of Swedish fashion consumers, aged 16 to 30 years. The collaboration with the Swedish marketing research institute, GfK Sweden, yielded a total sample size of 1,175 respondents (Mistra future fashion field report.2012), as the aim of the paper was to get a sample of at least 1,000 respondents in order ensure a representative sample of the whole nation (Proctor, 2003) of Sweden.
GfK Sweden carried out the actual non-‐probability sampling by means of their consumer panels. This was done based on demographic variables including sex, age, education and region and thus yielded a representative sample of the younger consumers in Sweden at the time of the survey. Non-‐probability sampling is a valid way of sampling if carried out correctly (Jensen & Knudsen, 2009; Proctor, 2003). GfK Sweden has both the means and experience to ensure the validity of the sampling carried out.
3.4.2 Survey Design
As previously mentioned, the questionnaire for this paper was a part of a larger investigation regarding sustainable fashion consumption and behavior. There will therefore be parts of the following section that do not only pertain to the aim of this paper but also to that of the rest of the survey. However, it is not within the aim of this paper to go into detail with the overall investigation of the questionnaire and the parts of it that lay outside the scope of this paper will therefore not be dealt with in detail.
Once the instruments and scales for the questionnaire had been decided upon and pre-‐
tested, they were handed over to GfK Sweden, who then created the online survey from the text and scales provided to them. The survey was then carried out on consumer panels available to GfK Sweden. GfK Sweden provided the Copenhagen Business School with all the data in the form of a SPSS file once all answers required in the sample were collected.
3.4.3 Data Collection
The data collection for the survey was carried out online. When making use of online
surveys, it is important to be aware of the hazards and implication connected with online data collection. One of the more severe hazards is that it is very hard to select a representative sample due to the difficulty of delimitation of the population in the chosen sample (Andersen & Hansen, 2009). Another issue is that there is a higher risk of participants opting out or quitting before they are done. This is because it is much easier to opt out or quit midways when on a computer than when the respondent is faced with another person interviewing him or her. However, there are also great benefits to the use of online surveys, including the quality of the data collected. As oppose to traditional data collection by use of an interviewer, online data collection eliminates the possible translation errors, bias and interference of the interviewer (Andersen & Hansen, 2009;
Proctor, 2003). Another issue is the bias of some socio-‐demographic segments towards not participating or even have the possibility to participate in online surveys (Proctor, 2003). Andersen & Hansen (2009), point out that some surveys carried out in Denmark point to young males of higher education being more prone to participate in online survey than older uneducated females. This, however, does not seem to represent a problem in the data that has been gathered for this paper.
The actual data collection was carried out as a part of a larger investigation regarding sustainable fashion consumption and behavior in Sweden, which was comprised of a split 2-‐part questionnaire. The first part of the questionnaire concerned general fashion related behavior, lifestyle information, psychographics and demographic information.
The second part was concerned with sustainability and sustainable fashion information on everything from attitude and knowledge to purchase, use and disposal of fashion products. Each part of the questionnaire took approximately 20-‐30 minutes to complete and the questionnaires were administered between March 19th and April 13th of 2012.
Respondents were given the two parts of the survey on two different occasions starting with part one.