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How Perceived Value Influences Customer Adoption of Electric Vehicles in China

Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics

A research Proposal

1. Overview and Research Question (s)

Electric vehicles have been identified to be friendly to the environment due to their low level emission. People in different parts of the world have started to purchase the vehicle although their adoption is still low compared to the fuel using vehicles (Plötz et al., 2014). Different factors can be evaluated to note the reason influencing the adoption of the electric cars (Barbarossa, De Pelsmacker & Moons, 2017). Perceived value of the electric cars has been greatly considered by the customers in their adoption. The proposed research will assess the impact of perceived quality value, social value, emotional value and price value in determining the adoption of electric cars in China. The following are the research questions that will be used in the study and the reasons why they have been selected.

  1. How does perceived quality value influence customer adoption of electric vehicles?

The research question will help in analysing how the quality value of the electric cars such as performance and efficiency would influence people in China to purchase the vehicles.

  1. How does social value influence customer adoption of electric vehicles?

The question will help to address how the impact of the electric cars on the members of the society would influence their adoption and embracement of the vehicle.

  1. How does emotional value influence customer adoption of electric vehicles?

The above question is important in evaluating the mental and psychological impacts that the electric cars would have on the consumers. This would consequently determine the extent to which these elements would determine electric cars adoption.

  1. How does price value influence customer adoption of electric vehicles?

The question on price value of the electric cars will assist in understanding whether vehicle consumers in China appreciate the value for their money that is brought by the electric cars. It will assess the extent to which the cost of the car influences the decision to embrace the car.

2. Literature Searches

The literature search entails the process that will be used in obtaining pieces of literature that are related to the proposed study. The literature searched will create basis to the promoted study and help in the development of the hypothesis which the study will aim at conforming whether to be true or not. The proposed study will use the systematic literature search strategy where an organised method will be used in searching and identifying database and materials that would support the appropriate for the proposed study. The process involves a step-by-step method that would ensure that the appropriate materials are used in the literature review.

The systematic literature review begins with the development of the focused questions. These questions are general but are linked to the research questions that guide the research. They are developed from the research but are generalised to avoid focusing the specific area of study that the proposed research will address (Cocchia, 2014). In the proposed study the following can be used as the focus questions in the search of the literature review.

  1. How is customer adoption of electric vehicle?
  2. What is the perceived value (perceived quality value, social value, emotional value and price value) of the electric vehicles?
  3. What is the impact of perceived value on customer adoption of electric vehicles?

The above questions will help the researcher to look for material that would help to give answers and consequently develop the literature review. Developing the questions is advantageous since it offers a scope in which the literature would be searched. Referring to the questions would help to ensure that the literature materials searched assist in answering the research questions. The process of developing the focus questions is followed evaluating different sources that can be used in answering the questions. These may be books, journal or websites. It may be through physically accessing the library or using the available online libraries. In this case, online libraries will be greatly used due to increased internet accessibility. However, sometimes the literature may be available in very many places and thus gives takes the researcher a lot of time in selecting the source to use. Additionally, the process will involve the selection of the key words and concepts that will would make the search easy and fast (Turner et al., 2010). For example, the proposed study will need to use keywords such as perceived value, customer adoption of electric vehicles, perceived quality value, social value, emotional value and price value. Such words will help to obtain relevant scholarly materials from the search engines. Thereafter, the process requires the researcher to develop database that is likely to have the information that is needed. These include journals that are linked to the research topic and institutions that research on issues related to the research topic. Furthermore, the process involves the identifying synonyms that would be searched as an alternative to the keyword to enhance expansive availability of information (Wohlin, 2014). Lastly, the search is conducted and later the results are checked to eliminate any error and ensure that results match the research topic. This makes the literature selected using this technique to be accurate. Nevertheless, the process takes a lot of time to identify and select the literature to be used in the study.

The literature search above will also be supported by using four major stages that will assist in the identification of the right literature materials. The stages to be used include; scoping, refining, selection and resource organisation. Scoping entails the assessment of the areas where literature can be obtained. It mainly focuses on broad platforms where content can be acquired and help in the study (Colquhoun et al., 2014). For instance, the current study will acquire literature regarding electric car adoption from platforms such the university library, websites dealing with innovation, environmental journals. Also, the scoping stage will entail selecting the date range within which the literature materials will be selected. In this case, only recent materials beginning from 2015 will be used since they contain recent data associated with electric cars. The refining stage will entail the development, revision and increasing of the key words to ensure that a broad scope is obtained. For instance, in the proposed study, the researcher will use terms such as the “perceived cost” to replace “perceived price” with the aim of increase the pieces of literature available for use. Other keywords to be used include perceived value, customer adoption of electric vehicles, perceived quality value, social value, emotional value and price value. The refining stage ensures that the researcher will have easy time in searching the required materials from the platforms identified in the scoping stage. The resource selection stage will entail using the key terms identified and searching them in the selected platforms (Colquhoun et al., 2014). In this stage, the research will selected literature materials that seem to contain most of the keywords. Also, the researcher will select materials that have been recently published. Literature that is older than five years would not be used because its content cannot match the electric car adoption in the world in the current days. Finally, research organisation will entail arranging the identified materials based on the extent to which they match the concepts in the research questions. The researcher will have a list of the literature materials to ensure that they are retrieved easily during the process of writing the literature review.

3. The Overall Research Strategy

The research will be quantitative and thus statistical research strategies will be applied. The data collected will be represented using number and this makes questionnaires to be appropriate for the data collection process. Quantitative data will be appropriate since it would help in the involvement of a large sample size and also enable statistical analysis due to the numerical data involved (Goertzen, 2017). The large sample size reduces the chances of bias since different opinions can be obtained from the participants. Also, the research strategy is accurate because of the high different opinions obtained from various participants. The method avoid generalisation to enable numerical coding and this enables the researcher to only collect data that may be relevant in the study (Dimitrov, 2008). Furthermore, the answers required are brief and this ensures that the study has few variables that can be investigated into details.

However, quantitative research does not embrace the emotional and detailed explanations that may be obtained from the participants based on their experienced. The adoption of emotional explanation is only done in the qualitative research processes (Smeyers, 2008). Therefore, this may make quantitative research to miss out some of the information that would be crucial in obtaining a reliable conclusion. Moreover, it may be very hard to use numerical representation for aspects that were only presented by a few participants (Savela, 2018). This ends up making some of the unpopular opinions presented by the participants to be left out.

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The research will use the positivism philosophy. It entails the use scientific methods in evaluating and understanding a phenomenon. The philosophy creates a platform where data is collected and experimented using scientific methods with the aim of obtaining a reliable conclusion (Crossan, 2003). Positivism philosophy helps to ensure that the data collected and analysed is reliable (Mkansi & Acheampong, 2012). It eliminates errors that would be obtained due to data collected based on the experiences and emotions of the participants which at times may be wrong. Interpretivism philosophy cannot be applied in the proposed study because the current study is quantitative which makes it makes it does not support the use emotions (Ryan, 2018). The epistemological viewpoint to be applied in the study will be a positivism one. It will entail the believe that universal truth will prevail in the study where participant are likely to give common answers based on a situation depending on how it affects them (Aliyu et al., 2014). For instance, a question regarding why a participant would choose to use an electric car should obtain answers that demonstrate the universal truth. Additionally, the research will adopt an objective ontological viewpoint. The viewpoint embraces the fact that social entities do not have any impact on reality. Science is the main determinant of reality rather than social entities (Lombardi & Labarca, 2005). Therefore, the objective ontological viewpoint is appropriate for the study since it uses quantitative research methods and social views used in qualitative research are not applicable.

The research will aim at testing the following hypothesis

  1. Perceived quality value has positive impact on customer adoption of electric vehicles in China.
  2. Social value has positive impact on customer adoption of electric vehicles in China.
  3. Emotional value has positive impact on customer adoption of electric vehicles in China.
  4. Price value has positive impact on customer adoption of electric vehicles in China.

The above strategy will help in evaluating the relationship between the customer adoption and the perceived value elements. It will assess whether the relationship is poor or strong. It will assess the level to which perceived quality, social value, emotional value, and price value may impact customers’ adoption of electric cars in China. Some of these elements may have a higher influence on customer adoption of the cars and this would help the researcher to understand the elements that need to be highly improved. On the other hand, elements that seem to have less influence on the adoption of the electric cars in China should be given less focus.

4. Research Design Features

The proposed research will adopt a survey research design. It entails collection of data from a large population people to obtain their responses concerning an issue (Owens, 2002). The survey design is majorly applied in instances where a large number of participants would be needed to obtain a reliable conclusion concerning the research topic. The survey research design has several advantages that make it appropriate as a platform in the data collection process. Firstly, it enables the involvement of a significant size of participants since the process aims at acquiring responses from as many respondents as possible. Thus, there is limited risk of bias as different people involved in the study would have different opinions. This makes the conclusion obtained from the participants to be highly reliable (Flynn, Pagell & Fugate, 2018). Also, it support quantitative research where a high number of participants need to be involved to enable numeric representation of the opinions obtained from the participants. Consequently, this will promote the application of statistical data analysis that works for quantitative data. Additionally, survey’s involvement of a large number of participants will promote the inclusion of people from different social classes, education levels, religion and races among other unique characteristics (Nardi, 2015). Nevertheless, the survey research design would take a significant amount of time in the reaching all the participants and acquiring their responses regarding the issues being studied.

The proposed study will use online questionnaires to collect data regarding the impact of perceived value on customer adoption of the electric cars in China. The researcher will prepare 17 questions and make them available online where the participants can fill them through a link sent to them within two weeks. The process will made achievable through the use of the Wenjuanxing website where the online questionnaire will be available. Online questionnaires are advantageous since they reduce the need of the researcher to travel to meet the potential participants. It thus saves on money since the data is collected with researcher not meeting the respondents (Regmi et al., 2016). The questionnaires also give the participants adequate time to fill in their responses as opposed to other methods such as interviews where time is limited. The participants may be given even up to two weeks so that they can respond to the questions asked. This enables in the collection of well thought responses with minimum errors.

Additionally, questionnaires enable the researcher to collect data from a large number of participants at the same time without much involvement. For instance, all the participants may fill the questionnaires at the same time since the researchers’ presence is not required for them to give their responses (Järvi et al., 2018). Nevertheless, the use of questionnaires in the data collection has several disadvantages. The method does not allow the detailed explanations from the participants. Only short responses are allowed and this is likely to limit the extent of the data collected (Hunter, 2012). Emotional explanations based on experiences are not embraced in the questionnaire method. Also, the method limits the observation of facial expressions and body language which may be crucial in understanding the truthfulness of the information provided by the respondent.

The research will have questionnaires that are divided into 3 major parts. These are; warmup questions, demographic information and the topic questions. Warmup questions will contain questions that are aimed at understanding whether the participant has basic knowledge regarding the adoption of electric cars in China. For example, “Are you aware of the presence of electric cars in China?” The questions will aim at understanding whether the participants are aware of electric cars and also evaluate whether some of them have had the interest to try the cars. The warm questions plays a major part in ensuring that the participants are ready for the main questions that would be asked later in the questionnaire. Additionally, demographic questions will aim at understanding some details concerning the participants. For instance, the questions may focus on the age, gender, income per month and occupation of the participants. The questions will help to understand how interest towards the adoption of electric cars in China may be influenced by the demographic characteristics of the involved participants. For instance, “What is your current age?” Finally, the questionnaires will have the main topic questions that will focus on the perceive value of the electric cars that determine their adoption among the Chinese consumers. The questions will focus on the perceived value elements involved in the study which include; perceived quality value, social value, emotional value and price value. An example of a question that may be used in this category is, “How does the price of electric cars influence you decision to adopt them?”

5. Sampling

Sampling helps in selecting a representative part of the whole population to take part in a study with the assumption that the ideas of the selected population will match with the overall opinion of the larger group (Acharya et al., 2013). The proposed study will use random sampling technique where the potential participant will be selected unsystematically. The process involves a non-probability sampling method where a long list of potential participants is available but the researcher opts to randomly select those that would be involved in the study. No regular intervals are applied from one participant to another. In the proposed study, the participants will be selected from the official records of individual who have driving licences in China. The researcher will request the government department in charge of the issuance of the driving license to provide access to the database from where approximately 200 potential participants will be selected. The sampling technique used will ensure that all the people have equal chances to take part in the study (Nowak et al., 2015). No class, religion, education level or social status will be given priority in the participants’ selection process. Also, it makes the work of the researcher easy since no probability methods are applied. Thus, the selection of the participants takes a very short period. However, it may be faced with bias as the participants are not distributed across different ages, social classes and education levels (Fuller, 2011). The researcher may have a problem of unknowing selecting driving license holders where the majority are from the same geographical location or are within the same age group. This will negatively affect obtaining the correct data since the opinions of some of the people in the society may not be well represented in the study.

The participants will be recruited through sending links to their phone numbers or emails that will be obtained from the state department in charge of the issuance of the driving license. The researcher will randomly select 200 potential participants who would be issued the consent form regarding the purpose of the study and why their participation is required. Once the selected participants have consented to the study, they will click on the link that lead to the Wenjuanxing website where the researchers’ interest questions will be filled.

6. Limitations

The study will have various limitations that may affect successful data collection. The study is only limited to people who have driving licenses. Thus, people who are not registered in the driving licence department may not have a chance to take part in the study. Additionally, some of the people selected to take part in the study may have limited knowledge concerning electric vehicles and thus unable to give appropriate responses (Schuitema et al., 2013). Thus, in such cases, the selected participants would be unable to fill in the questionnaires or fill in wrong information based on his or her understanding of the research questions.

Also, the researcher would be unable to predict whether the driving license department would provide contact information for a number of driving license holders. Some of the officers may feel that providing personal information of the driving license holders is exposing their privacy and this hesitant in providing the information.

Furthermore, some of the selected participants may fail to fill in the questionnaires while other may provide false information. Some of the participants may ignore the message sent to them requesting them to fill in the online questionnaire. A number of the potential participants may take the message as a spam and thus take no time in filling it. Such a reaction would make it hard for the research to acquire the targeted number of participants which is approximated to be around 200. On the same, some of the participants may provide false information regarding the research questions and this would lead to false and unreliable conclusions.

Some of the selected participant may have challenges in filling online questionnaires (van Rooij & Zirkle, 2016). Some of the individuals may have the willingness to take part in the study but their inability to manoeuvre through the Wenjuanxing website would make it impossible for them to provide their responses. Additionally, the researcher may be unable tosome of them may have unreliable internet connectivity which would make it hard to participate in the study. Moreover, people change their contacts from time to time and this may make it hard to reach some of the selected participants.

7. Data management, Ethics and Safety

Data management and privacy will be of great concern in the research. The data collected will not be exposed to everyone or anyone who is not part of the study. Only authorised people will be given a chance to see the collected data (Langanke et al., 2011). All the data collected will be stored in a laptop whose password will be kept by the researcher. This will ensure that the data is not accessed by unauthorised people. Furthermore, collecting the data using the online questionnaires will promote data privacy since no physical papers will need to be stored. Having the data stored online will increase the safety and privacy of the collected information.

The researcher will also seek permission to ensure that there is no conflicts exist in the research process (Oliver, 2010). This will begin by seeking permission from the University of York’s management where the department would be informed the intended study and where it would be conducted. The institution will give a go ahead to the researcher with an accompaniment of a written document to show the third parties that the study has been approved by the learning institution. Furthermore, the researcher will seek permission from the driving license department where they would approve the use of its data base in selected the target respondents. The permission will be relied in obtaining the participants to take part in the study.

The research will also be keen in enhancing the confidentiality of the participants who take part in the study. The process will aim at ensuring that personal information of the participants is not exposed to the members of the public (Petrova, Dewing & Camilleri, 2016). The researcher will not require the participants to fill in their names, identification numbers, their location, working area or any other information that would disclose the identity of the participants. Also, the researcher will not ensure that no personal information is collected from the drivers’ license data base to reduce the risk of having the information exposed to the public. Also, consent for the research will be embraced where participants will be informed the purpose of the study. They will be given a consent form that would indicate why the data was being collected and where it would be used (Sheehan, 2011). The consent will also inform the potential participants why there responses would be crucial in the data collection process. Additionally, the potential participants will be made aware that taking part in the study will be voluntary where no one would be questioned for declining to take part. Similarly, the participants will have the right to quit the study or answer only the questions that they are comfortable with. Moreover, the data collected will be used for the proposed study only since that is what the participants will have consented to. It will not be used for other studies no matter how similar they may be compared to the current one. Therefore, in case the researcher will need to carry a related research, he or she will have to collect a fresh data where a fresh consent for the study will be provided to the potential participants.

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