Lecture 2 generating the research idea


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  • Capability: is the research feasible? Is the topic something with which you are really fascinated? Do you have, or can you develop within the project time frame, the necessary research skills to undertake the topic? Is the research topic achievable within the available time? Will the project still be current when you finish your project? Is the research topic achievable within the financial resources that are likely to be available? Are you reasonably certain of being able to gain access to data you are likely to require for this topic? Appropriateness: is the research worth while? Does the topic fit the specifications and meet the standards set by the examining institution? Does your research topic contain issues that have a clear link to theory? Are you able to state your research question(s) and objectives clearly? Will your proposed research be able to provide fresh insights into this topic? Does your research topic relate clearly to the idea you have been given (perhaps by an organisation)? Are the findings for this research topic likely to be symmetrical: i.e., of similar value whatever the results? Does the research topic match your career goals?
  • Research Question: What is the bank’s competitive position? Investigative Questions: What are the geographic patterns of bank xyz customers and their competitors? What demographic differences are revealed among bank xyz customers and those of the competition? What words or phrases does the public (customers and noncustomers) associate wit bank xyz? With bank xyz competitors? How aware is the public of the bank’s promotional efforts? What opinion does the public hold of the bank and its competitors? How does growth in the services compare among competing banks?
  • Objectives should pass the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely ) test.
  • Lecture 2 generating the research idea

    1. 1. GENERATING THE RESEARCH IDEA Lecture 2 ISD 554: Research Methods
    2. 2. LECTURE OUTLINE <ul><li>Formulating the research topic </li></ul><ul><li>Statement of research problems, </li></ul><ul><li>Research questions and research hypothesis, </li></ul><ul><li>Research objectives, </li></ul><ul><li>Writing Research proposal. </li></ul>
    4. 4. 1. CHOOSING A RESEARCH TOPIC <ul><li>Choosing a research topic is most exciting . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose something that will sustain your interest throughout. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You need to have at least some idea of what you want to do. (most difficult but important part of the research project). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formulating and clarifying the research topic is the starting point of your research project. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Being clear about this will ensure your ability to choose the most appropriate research strategy and data collection and analysis techniques. </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. ATTRIBUTES OF A GOOD RESEARCH TOPIC <ul><li>Attributes of a research topic do not vary a great deal between universities. </li></ul><ul><li>A good research topic is evaluated based on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Capability ( is it feasible?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appropriateness ( is it worth it?) </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. CAPABILITY AND APPROPRIATENESS <ul><li>Note the points which apply to you. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Am I genuinely interested in the topic? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do I already know a lot about a topic? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it a well-trodden area? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can I cope with the topic in terms of depth and breadth? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are the resources, e.g. time, facilities, money, equipment, etc. available? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Availability of information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the topic appropriate to my degree? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the topic relevant to my career needs? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does the topic agree with course regulations? </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. GENERATING AND REFINING RESEARCH IDEAS <ul><li>A range of techniques can be used to find and select a topic. More frequently used techniques are: </li></ul><ul><li>Rational thinking </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Examining your own strengths and interests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Looking at past project titles e.g. MBA theses. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Discussions: with friends and tutors are good sources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Searching the literature: journals, reports, books </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Creative thinking </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping a notebook of ideas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exploring personal preferences using past projects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relevance trees: Map of issues and questions under the area of interest. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Brainstorming: problem-solving: List issues, problems and questions from the broad area. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Using both techniques is recommended. </li></ul>
    8. 8. SOURCES FOR GENERATING RESEARCH IDEAS/ TOPICS <ul><li>The following sources may help in generating the initial idea. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reading business and management literature. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Journal articles, books, reports etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I had like to know more about that! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Topics and examples of interest in class </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current events and using the media e.g. TV, press, radio. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Business news on TV3 (Tuesdays); Business Advocacy on GBC (Thursdays); M’Asem on GBC (Wednesdays) etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work experience (part-time students or internships). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Companies expect students to produce consultancy reports . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Past research reports by students in your university </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. REFINING RESEARCH IDEAS <ul><li>A preliminary study to gain understanding and be able to refine ideas by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>initial critical review of the literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>informal discussion with experts. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>shadowing employees </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integrating ideas to have a clear direction and prevent a mismatch between objectives and the final project work by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jankowicz (2005): ‘ Working up and narrowing down ’. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Classify idea into its subject area (accounting), then its field (financial accounting methods), and focus precise aspect (activity-based costing) in which you are interested. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The process of generating and refining ideas is complete when you are able to say </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I had like to do some research on ……” </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. TURNING RESEARCH IDEAS INTO RESEARCH PROJECTS <ul><li>Research Problem statement </li></ul><ul><li>Research questions and hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>Research objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Writing the Research proposal </li></ul>
    11. 11. RESEARCH QUESTIONS (1) <ul><li>Management question(s) concern what ought to be done in a particular situation. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., what should we do about X? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ What should be done to make Bank XYZ more competitive?’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How can we achieve our 5-year goal of doubled sales? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why does our department incur the highest cost? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Management questions are not research questions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Management questions can’t be answered by doing research. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They can only be answered by an act of judgement and will. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They concern the future – what should be done? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In writing your research questions, you can identify a broad “what should be done about X?” management type of question that responds to managerial or organisational issues and concerns. </li></ul>
    12. 12. RESEARCH QUESTIONS (2) <ul><li>Research question: A specific question that guides the research process. It is the hypothesis of choice that best states the objectives of the research study. It is a more specific management question that must be answered. </li></ul><ul><li>Research question(s) are those to which it is possible, in theory at least, to go out and find answers. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Should BankChoice position itself as a modern, progressive bank or maintain its image as the oldest, most reliable bank in town? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research questions can be answered by doing research. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your conclusions are drawn from data collected. Good data depends on the clarity of the research question. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The research process that answers the research question provides the manager with the information necessary for decision making. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    13. 13. RESEARCH QUESTIONS (3) <ul><li>The research question should be sufficiently involving to satisfy the required standards </li></ul><ul><li>Research questions should not be too easy . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., ‘What is the proportion of graduates entering the civil service who attended public universities?’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Far easier to answer and may not be theory-based. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Research questions should not be too difficult . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., ‘Why are graduate from public universities more likely to enter the civil service than graduates from private universities?’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May be very broad or difficult to gain sufficient access. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Frame your question in simple plain English language. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not use jargons at this stage. It’s a reflection of your lack of understanding. E,g., </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I am addressing the issues relevant to leveraging human resource competency to produce turnaround to world-class status and to diagonally integrate professional functionalities.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 14. INVESTIGATIVE QUESTIONS (1) <ul><li>Investigative questions are questions the researcher must answer to satisfactorily arrive at a conclusion about the research questions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is a further breakdown of a general research question into more specific questions about which to gather data. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It should be included in your research proposal, for they guide the development of he research design (foundation for creating data collection instrument). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example : The lack of deposit growth in bank xyz. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>RQ: What is the public’s position regarding financial services and their use in Ghana? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IQs: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What specific financial services are used by the public? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How attractive are the various services in Ghana? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What bank-specific and environmental factors influence a person’s use of a particular service in Ghana? </li></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 15. INVESTIGATIVE QUESTIONS (2) <ul><li>Research Question (RQ): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the bank’s competitive position? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Investigative Questions (IQs): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the geographic patterns of bank xyz customers and their competitors? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What demographic differences are revealed among bank xyz customers and those of the competition? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What words or phrases does the public (customers and non-customers) associate wit bank xyz? With bank xyz competitors? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How aware is the public of the bank’s promotional efforts? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What opinion does the public hold of the bank and its competitors? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does growth in the services compare among competing banks? </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. EXAMPLES: RESEARCH IDEAS AND THEIR DERIVED FOCUS RESEARCH QUESTIONS Research idea General focus research questions Advertising and share pricing How does the running of TV advertising campaign designed to boost the image of a company affect its share price? Job recruitment via the internet How effective is recruiting for new staff via the internet in comparison with traditional methods? The use of aromas as a marketing device In what ways does the use of specific aromas in supermarkets affect buyer behaviour? The use of internet banking What effect has the growth of Internet Banking has upon the uses customers make of branch facilities?
    17. 17. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES <ul><li>Use your general focus question as a base from which you write a set of research objectives . </li></ul><ul><li>Research objectives address the purpose of the research. It states what is being planned by the researcher. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It flows from the research question, giving specific, concrete, and achievable goals. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Objectives are evidence of researchers’ clear sense of purpose and direction. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is best to list the objectives from general to specific terms. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Verify the consistency of your research by checking to see that each objective is discussed in the research design, data analysis, and results sections of your research report. </li></ul>
    18. 18. PHRASING RESEARCH QUESTIONS AS RESEARCH OBJECTIVES (ASSESSING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TEAM BRIEFING IN ORGANISATIONS) Research question Research objective <ul><li>Why have organisations introduced team briefing? </li></ul><ul><li>To identify organisations’ objectives for team briefing schemes. </li></ul><ul><li>How can the effectiveness of team briefing schemes be measured? </li></ul><ul><li>To establish suitable effectiveness criteria for team briefing schemes. </li></ul><ul><li>Has team briefing been effective? </li></ul><ul><li>To describe the extent to which the effectiveness criteria for team briefing have been met. </li></ul><ul><li>How can the effectiveness of team briefing be explained? </li></ul><ul><li>a ) To determine the factors associated with the effectiveness criteria for team briefing being met. </li></ul><ul><li>b ) To estimate whether some of those factors are more influential than others </li></ul><ul><li>Can the explanation be generalised? </li></ul><ul><li>To develop an explanatory theory that associates certain factors with the effectiveness of team briefing schemes. </li></ul>
    19. 19. THE IMPORTANCE OF THEORY IN WRITING RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIVES Figure 2.1 Grand, middle range and substantive theories
    20. 20. 3. WRITING YOUR RESEARCH PROPOSAL <ul><li>Writing a research proposal helps you to organise your ideas, and can be thought of as a contract between you and the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>The content of the research proposal should tell the reader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>what the research is intended to do, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>why it is necessary to do it, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>what it is trying to achieve and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how the proposed research will achieve it. </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. THE PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL <ul><li>Organising your ideas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Through writing. It clarifies your thoughts. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Convincing your audience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Amend your initial idea and convince your tutor that the proposed research is achievable. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contracting with your ‘client’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approval implies that your proposal is satisfactory and that you have an appropriate destination and journey plan. </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. THE CONTENT OF THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL <ul><li>Title </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It should mirror the content of the proposal. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><ul><li>States why you think the research is worth the effort. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May be expressed in the form of a problem that needs solving. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrate knowledge of the relevant literature. Where does your work fit into the debate in the literature. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show clear links between previous works and your proposal. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide an overview of key literature source which you intend to use. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Research questions and objectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is it that your research seeks to achieve? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Precisely written and lead to observable results. (see Table 2.3) </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. THE CONTENT OF THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL <ul><li>Method of the study </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It details precisely how you intend to go about achieving your objectives. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Justify your choice of method in line with the objectives. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research design section : method chosen and reasons for the choice. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explain where you intend to carry the research </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Coverage, e.g., organisations, sectors of the economy, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identity of research population (e.g., managers, or TUC officials) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why you selected that population? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explain the general way in which you will undertake the research. E.g., questionnaires, interviews, examination of secondary data etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data collection section : detail about how specifically data are collected. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., specify survey population and sample size; How you will distribute questionnaires etc.; How many interviews will be conducted and duration; Statement of Ethical guidelines </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not necessary to include details of questionnaires questions in the proposal. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    24. 24. THE CONTENT OF THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL <ul><li>Timescale : use a Gantt chart. See figure 2.2 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Divide your research plan into stages. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help to decide viability of your research project. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Literature on subject area (journals, books, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IT, software and skills (access to SPSS and NVivo for data analysis) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to data (written approval from host organisations) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Key literature sources to which you have referred to in the background section and which relate directly to your work. </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Figure 2.2 Gantt chart for a research project
    26. 26. CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING RESEARCH PROPOSALS <ul><li>The extent to which the components of the proposal fit together. </li></ul><ul><li>The viability of the proposal. </li></ul><ul><li>The absence of preconceived ideas (bias). </li></ul>
    27. 27. SELF-CHECK QUESTIONS <ul><li>What two criteria are used to evaluate the attribute of a good research topic? </li></ul><ul><li>Enumerate the likely sources you can use to generate research ideas and topics. What techniques are frequently involved? Discuss them. </li></ul><ul><li>You have decided to search the literature to ‘try to come up with some research ideas in your area of specialisation’. How will you go about this? </li></ul><ul><li>What is a research question? How different or similar is it from hypothesis and research objectives? Discuss. </li></ul><ul><li>What is a research proposal? Is it beneficial in thesis writing? Give an annotated outline of the content of a research proposal. </li></ul><ul><li>How would you demonstrate the influence of relevant theory on your research proposal? </li></ul>
    28. 28. ASSIGNMENT: WRITING YOUR RESEARCH QUESTION <ul><li>Identify a topic for your research project by working through the techniques recommended above. Within the general topic chosen, identify: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a broad “what should be done about X?” strategic type of question that responds to managerial or organisational issues and concerns and; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>one or more research questions that say what you want to find out; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>and frame them in simple language understandable to an interested lay person who has asked about your research. </li></ul>
    29. 29. END OF LECTURE 2 Next: Literature Review