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Abstract

This study examines methodological issues related to studying American college students’ online travel planning behavior. A mixed method approach, which integrated think-aloud protocol combined with the process tracing method, log analysis and survey techniques, was evaluated in this paper. In previous studies, this methodological approach has been subject to issues of reliability and validity that were addressed in the design of the current study. Specifically, questions were related to whether the experiment used in this study would yield results comparable to the decision-making and search processes respondents would engage upon on their real-life trip planning. The purpose of this paper was to discuss how this study has evolved from previous work in this area in order to increase reliability and validity. Issues regarding the artificiality of the environment are addressed in this paper. Overall it was found that the qualitative- based, mixed-method approach used in this study was deemed appropriate and has resulted in delivering insights into the phenomena of online travel planning.

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TIPS AND TRAPS: METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES RELATED TO CONDUCTING AN ONLINE TRIP PLANNING STUD

This study examines methodological issues related to studying American college students’ online travel planning behavior. A mixed method approach, which integrated think-aloud protocol combined with the process tracing method, log analysis and survey techniques, was evaluated in this paper. In previous studies, this methodological approach has been subject to issues of reliability and validity that were addressed in the design of the current study. Specifically, questions were related to whether the experiment used in this study would yield results comparable to the decision-making and search processes respondents would engage upon on their real-life trip planning. The purpose of this paper was to discuss how this study has evolved from previous work in this area in order to increase reliability and validity. Issues regarding the artificiality of the environment are addressed in this paper. Overall it was found that the qualitative- based, mixed-method approach used in this study was deemed appropriate and has resulted in delivering insights into the phenomena of online travel planning.