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Research methodology Document Transcript

  • 1. RESEARCHINTRODUCIONResearch is a part of any systematic knowledge. It has occupied the realm of humanunderstanding in some form or the other from times immemorial. The thirst for new areas ofknowledge and the human urge for solutions to the problems have developed a faculty for searchand research and re-research in him/her. Research has now become an integral part of all theareas of human activity.Broadly defined the purpose of research is to answer questions and acquire new knowledge. Thisprocess of asking and answering question which in turn assists us in acquiring new knowledge(or in simple terms the process of research) is often viewed as a pillar of scientific progress inany field. Research is a primary tool used in virtually all areas of science to expand the frontiersof knowledge. By conducting research, researchers attempt to reduce the complexity ofproblems, discover the relationship between seemingly unrelated events and ultimately improvethe way we live.The research can be used for the purpose of description, explanation, and prediction all of whichmake valuable and important contributions to the expansion of what we know and how we liveour lives.It is an endeavor to discover answers to problems (of intellectual and practical nature) throughthe application of scientific methods. Research, thus, is essentially a systematic inquiry seekingfacts (truths) through objective, verifiable methods in order to discover the relationship amongthem and to deduce from them broad conclusions. It is thus a method of critical thinking. It isimperative that any type of organization in the globalised environment needs systematic supplyof information coupled with tools of analysis for making sound decisions which involveminimum risk.1.9 SCOPE OF SOCIAL RESEARCHSocial work profession has a scientific base which consists of a special body of knowledge;tested knowledge, hypothetical knowledge and assumptive knowledge. Assumptive knowledgerequires transformation into hypothetical knowledge, which in turn needs transformation intotested knowledge. Social work research has significant role in transforming the hypothetical andassumptive knowledge to tested knowledge.Not all concepts or theories that are used by professional social workers have been tested andvalidated. Concerted efforts through social work research are very much required to conceptuallyarticulate and validate the concepts and theories, which will in turn strengthen the scientific baseof professional social work. Identification of social work needs and resources, evaluation ofprogrammes and services of social work agencies are some of the areas in which social workresearches are undertaken. Social work research may be conducted to know the problems faced
  • 2. by professional social workers in social work agencies and communities in its concern withsocial work functions. Thus, social work research embraces the entire gamut of social workprofession; concepts, theories, methods, programmes, services and the problems faced by socialworkers in their practice.The areas of social work research may be broadly categorized as follows:1) Studies to establish, identify and measure the need for service.2) To measure the services offered as they relate to needs.3) To test, gauge and evaluate results of social work intervention.4) To list the efficacy of specific techniques of offering services.5) Studies in methodology of social work.Social work is a diverse profession, possible broad research areas could be:i) Community Development and Scopeii) Community Health (Including Mental Health)iii) Child Welfareiv) Women Welfarev) Youth Welfarevi) Aged Welfarevii) Welfare of SC & ST Groupsviii) Poverty Alleviationix) Physical and Mental DisabilitiesX) Juvenile Delinquencyxi) Crime and Correction etc.xii) Management of Social Welfare Department and Organizationxiii) Disaster Managementxiv) Industrial Social Workxv) Issues concerning Advocacy and Networking
  • 3. The list is not exhaustive; its only an exemplary list which enlists broad areas which is veryfrequently studied by social workers. Again, within one or more problem areas research mightfocus on individuals, families, groups, community organizations or broad social systems.It might deal with characteristics of a larger population, and the services available to them.1.10 GOALS AND LIMITATIONS OF SOCIAL RESEARCHSocial research offers an opportunity for all social workers to make differences in their practice.There is no doubt about the fact that social worker will be more effective practitioner guided bythe findings of social work research. Thus, social research seeks to accomplish the same-humanistic goals, as does a social work method. Social work research deals with those methodsand issues, which are useful in evaluating social work programmes and practices. It explains themethodology of social research and illustrates its applications in social work settings.A substantive part of social work practice is concerned with the micro-level practice, such asworking with individuals, groups, or a community. Social work research has to take intoconsideration the limitations of micro level design of study and techniques.Social research is basically a practice based research in which mostly draws its inferencesthrough inductive reasoning. That is, inferring something about a whole group or a class ofobjects from the facts or knowledge of one or few members of that group/class. Thus, in practicebased research inductive reasoning carries us from observation to theory through intervention/assessment. Practitioners, for example, may observe that delinquents tend to come from familywith low socio-economic status. Based on the assumption that the parent-child bond is weaker inlow socio-economic families and that such parents, therefore, have less control over theirchildren, the practitioners may inductively conclude that a weak parent-child bond leads todelinquency.1.11 SIGNIFICANCE OF RESEARCH IN MANAGEMENTManagement Research can be broadly defined "as a form of systematic inquiry that contributesto knowledge in the field of management". It is also about searching systematically for solutionsto management problemsResearch is the process of systematic and in depth study or search for a solution to a problem oran answer to a question backed by collection, compilation, presentation, analysis andinterpretation of relevant details, data and information. It is also a systematic endeavor todiscover valuable facts or relationships. Research may involve careful enquiry orexperimentation and result in discovery or invention. There cannot be any research which doesnot increase knowledge which may be useful to different people in different ways.
  • 4. Let us see the need for research to business organizations and their managers and how it is usefulto them.i) Industrial and economic activities have assumed huge dimensions. The size of modernbusiness organizations indicates that managerial and administrative decisions can affect vastquantities of capital and a large number of people. Trial and error methods are not appreciated, asmistakes can be tremendously costly. Decisions must be quick but accurate and timely andshould be objective i.e. based on facts and realities. In this back drop business decisions nowdays are mostly influenced by research and research findings. Thus, research helps in quick andobjective decisions.ii) Research, being a fact-finding process, significantly influences business decisions. Thebusiness management is interested in choosing that course of action which is most effective inattaining the goals of the organization. Research not only provides facts and figures to supportbusiness decisions but also enables the business to choose one which is best.iii) A considerable number of business problems are now given quantitative treatment with somedegree of success with the help of operations research. Research into management problems mayresult in certain conclusions by means of logical analysis which the decision maker may use forhis action or solution.iv) Research plays a significant role in the identification of a new project, project feasibility andproject implementation.v) Research helps the management to discharge its managerial functions of planning, forecasting,coordinating, motivating, controlling and evaluation effectively.vi) Research facilitates the process of thinking, analyzing, evaluating and interpreting of thebusiness environment and of various business situations and business alternatives. So as to behelpful in the formulation of business policy and strategy.vii) Research and Development (R & D) helps discovery and invention. Developing newproducts or modifying the existing products, discovering new uses, new markets etc., is acontinuous process in business.viii) The role of research in functional areas like production, finance, human resourcemanagement, and marketing need not be over emphasized. Research not only establishesrelationships between different variables in each of these functional areas, but also between thesevarious functional areas.ix) Research is a must in the production area. Product development, new and better ways ofproducing goods, invention of new technologies, cost reduction, improving product quality, worksimplification, performance improvement, process improvement etc., are some of the prominentareas of research in the production area.x) The purchase/material department uses research to frame alternative suitable policiesregarding where to buy, when to buy, how much to buy, and at what price to buy.
  • 5. xi) Closely linked with production function is marketing function. Market research andmarketing research provide a major part of marketing information which influences the inventorylevel and production level. Marketing research studies include problems and opportunities in themarket, product preference, sales forecasting, advertising effectiveness, product distribution,after sales service etc.,xii) In the area of financial management, maintaining liquidity, profitability through proper fundsmanagement and assets management is essential. Optimum capital mix, matching of fundsinflows and outflows, cash flow forecasting, cost control, pricing etc., require some sort ofresearch and analysis. Financial institutions also (banking and non-banking) have found itessential to set up research division for the purpose of collecting and analyzing data both for theirinternal purpose and for making in depth studies on economic conditions of business and people.xiii) In the area of human resource management personnel policies have to be guided byresearch. An individual‟s motivation to work is associated with his needs and their satisfaction.An effective Human Resource Manager is one who can identify the needs of his work force andformulate personnel policies to satisfy the same so that they can be motivated to contribute theirbest to the attainment of organizational goals. Job design, job analysis, job assignment,scheduling work breaks etc., have to be based on investigation and analysis.xiv) Finally, research in business is a must to continuously update its attitudes, approaches,products goals, methods, and machinery in accordance with the changing environment in whichit operates.QUALITATIVE VS QUANTITATIVE1.1 INTRODUCTIONA starting point in trying to understand the collection of information for research purposes is thatthere are broadly two approaches: quantitative research and qualitative research. Early forms ofresearch originated in the natural sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, geology etc. andwere concerned with investigating things which we could observe and measure in some way.Such observations and measurements can be made objectively and repeated by other researchers.This process is referred to as “quantitative” research.Much later, along came researchers working in the social sciences: psychology, sociology,anthropology etc. They were interested in studying human behaviour and the social worldinhabited by human beings. They found increasing difficulty in trying to explain humanbehaviour in simply measurable terms. Measurements tell us how often or how many peoplebehave in a certain way but they do not adequately answer the question “why?” Research whichattempts to increase our understanding of why things are the way they are in our social world andwhy people act the ways they do is “qualitative” research.
  • 6. The unit begins with a general introduction into the nature of qualitative research andquantitative research. This includes identification of the strengths of qualitative research in abrief comparison with quantitative research.1.2 MEANING OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCHQuantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is applicable tophenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity. In quantitative research your aim is todetermine the relationship between one thing (an independent variable) and another (a dependentor outcome variable) in a population. Quantitative research designs are either descriptive(subjects usually measured once) or experimental (subjects measured before and after atreatment). A descriptive study establishes only associations between variables. An experimentestablishes causality.For an accurate estimate of the relationship between variables, a descriptive study usually needsa sample of hundreds or even thousands of subjects; an experiment, especially a crossover, mayneed only tens of subjects. The estimate of the relationship is less likely to be biased if you havea high participation rate in a sample selected randomly from a population.In all studies, subject characteristics can affect the relationship you are investigating. Limit theireffect either by using a less heterogeneous sample of subjects or preferably by measuring thecharacteristics and including them in the analysis. In an experiment, try to measure variables thatmight explain the mechanism of the treatment. In an unblended experiment, such variables canhelp define the magnitude of any placebo effect.1.3 DEFINITIONS OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH.Different researchers and educators give different definitions to “quantitative research.” Here aresome of them:Quantitative research is the numerical representation and manipulation of observations for thepurpose of describing and explaining the phenomena that those observations reflect. It is used ina wide variety of natural and social sciences, including physics, biology, psychology, sociologyand geology. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2005).In addition, according to Cohen (1980), quantitative research is defined as social research thatemploys empirical methods and empirical statements.. He states that an empirical statement isdefined as a descriptive statement about what “is” the case in the “real world” rather than what“ought” to be the case. Typically, empirical statements are expressed in numerical terms; anotherfactor in quantitative research is that empirical evaluations are applied. Empirical evaluations are
  • 7. defined as a form that seeks to determine the degree to which a specific program or policyempirically fulfils or does not fulfil a particular standard or norm.Moreover, Creswell (1994) has given a very concise definition of quantitative research as a typeof research that is `explaining phenomena by collecting numerical data that are analyzed usingmathematically based methods (in particular statistics).1.4 ELEMENTS OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCHThe first element is explaining phenomena. This is a key element of all research, be itquantitative or qualitative. When we set out to do some research, we are always looking toexplain something. In education this could be questions, for example, `Does constructivism workfor teaching English in a Thai context?, or `What factors influence student achievement inlearning English as a foreign language?The specificity of quantitative research lies in the next part of the definition. In quantitativeresearch we collect numerical data. This is closely connected to the final part of the definition:analysis using mathematically-based methods. In order to be able to use mathematically basedmethods our data have to be in numerical form. This is not the case for qualitative research.Qualitative data are not necessarily or usually numerical, and therefore cannot be analyzed usingstatistics.The last part of the definition refers to the use of mathematically based methods, in particularstatistics, to analyze the data. This is what people usually think about when they think ofquantitative research, and is often seen as the most important part of quantitative studies. This isa bit of a misconception. While it is important to use the right data analysis tools, it is even moreimportant to use the right research design and data collection instruments. However, the use ofstatistics to analyze the data is the element that puts a lot of people off doing quantitativeresearch, because the mathematics underlying the methods seem complicated and frightening.Therefore, because quantitative research is essentially about collecting numerical data to explaina particular phenomenon, particular questions seem immediately suited to being answered usingquantitative methods. For example, • How many students learning Experiential English I get A‟s in the first semester?
  • 8. • What percentage of the students learning Experiential English I has negative attitudes towards the course? • On average, is there any significant difference between the general English proficiency of the students learning Foundation English and Experiential English courses?These are all questions we can look at quantitatively, as the data we need to collect are alreadyavailable to us in numerical form. However, there are many phenomena we might want to lookat, but which dont seem to produce any quantitative data. In fact, relatively few phenomena ineducation actually occur in the form of `naturally quantitative data.Luckily, we are far less limited than what might appear above. Many data that do not naturallyappear in quantitative form can be collected in a quantitative way. We do this by designingresearch instruments aimed specifically at converting phenomena that dont naturally exist inquantitative form into quantitative data, which we can analyze statistically. Examples of this areattitudes and beliefs. We might want to collect data on students attitudes to their school and theirteachers. These attitudes obviously do not naturally exist in quantitative form. However, we candevelop a questionnaire that asks pupils to rate a number of statements (for example, `I thinkschool is boring) as either agree strongly, agree, disagree or disagree strongly, and give theanswers a number (e.g. 1 for disagree strongly, 4 for agree strongly). Now we have quantitativedata on pupil attitudes to school. In the same way, we can collect data on a wide number ofphenomena, and make them quantitative through data collection instruments like questionnairesor tests.In short, quantitative research generally focuses on measuring social reality. Quantitativeresearch and/or questions are searching for quantities in something and to establish researchnumerically. Quantitative researchers view the world as reality that can be objectivelydetermined so rigid guides in the process of data collection and analysis are very important.1.5 QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODSThe basic building blocks of quantitative research are variables. Variables (something that takeson different values or categories) are the opposite of constants (something that cannot vary, suchas a single value or category of a variable).
  • 9. When we speak of measurement, the simplest classification is between categorical andquantitative variables. Quantitative variables vary in degree or amount (e.g., annual income) andcategorical variables vary in type or kind (e.g., gender).The other set of variables are the kinds of variables we talk about when explaining how theworld operates and when we design a quantitative research study. Independent variables(symbolized by "IV") are the presumed cause of another variable. Dependent variables(symbolized by "DV") are the presumed effect or outcome. Dependent variables are influencedby one or more independent variables. What are the IV and DV in the relationship betweensmoking and lung cancer? (Smoking is the IV and lung cancer is the DV.)Sometimes we want to understand the process or variables through which one variable affectsanother variable. This brings us to the idea of intervening variables (also called mediator ormediating variables). Intervening variables are variables that occur between two other variables.For example, tissue damage is an intervening variable in the smoking and lung cancerrelationship. We can use arrows (which mean causes or affects) and draw the relationship thatincludes an intervening variable like this:Smoking---->Tissue Damage---->Lung Cancer.Sometimes a relationship does not generalize to everyone; therefore, researchers often usemoderator variables to show how the relationship changes across the levels of an additionalvariable. For example, perhaps behavioral therapy works better for males and cognitive therapyworks better for females. In this case, gender is the moderator variable. The relationship be typeof therapy (behavioral versus cognitive) and psychological relief is moderated by gender.1.6 DIFFERENT TYPES OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH1.6.1 EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCHThe purpose of experimental research is to study cause and effect relationships. Its definingcharacteristic is active manipulation of an independent variable (i.e., it is only in experimentalresearch that “manipulation” is present). Also, random assignment (which creates "equivalent"groups) is used in the strongest experimental research designs.Here is an example of an experiment.Pretest Treatment Posttest
  • 10. O1 XE O2 O1 XC O2Where:• E stands for the experimental group (e.g., new teaching approach)• C stands for the control or comparison group (e.g., the old or standard teaching approach)Because the best way to make the two groups similar in the above research design is to randomlyassign the participants to the experimental and control groups, let‟s assume that we have aconvenience sample of 50 people and that we randomly assign them to the two groups in ourexperiment.Here is the logic of this experiment. First, we made our groups approximately the same at thestart of the study by using random assignment (i.e., the groups are “equated”). You pretest theparticipants to see how much they know. Next, you manipulate the independent variable by usingthe new teaching approach with the experimental group and using the old teaching approach forthe control group. Now (after the manipulation) you measure the participants‟ knowledge to seehow much they know after having participated in our experiment. Let‟s say that the people in theexperimental group show more knowledge improvement than those in the control group. Whatwould you conclude? In this case, we can conclude that there is a causal relationship between theIV, teaching method, and the DV, knowledge, and specifically we can conclude that the newteaching approach is better than the old teaching approach. Make sense?Now, let‟s say that in the above experiment we could not use random assignment to equate ourgroups. Let‟s say that, instead, we had our best teacher (Mrs. Smith) use the new teaching thapproach with her students in her 5 period class and we had a newer and less experienced thteacher (Mr. Turner) use the old teaching approach with his 5 period class. Let‟s again say thatthe experimental group did better than the control group. Do you see any problems with claimingthat the reason for the difference between the two groups is because of the teaching method? Theproblem is that there are alternative explanations. First, perhaps the difference is because Mrs.Smith is the better teacher. Second, perhaps Mrs. Smith had the smarter students (remember thestudents were not randomly assignment to the two groups; instead, we used two intactclassrooms). We have a name for the problems just mentioned. It is the problem of alternativeexplanations. In particular, it is very possible that the difference we saw between the two groupswas due to variables other than the IV. In particular, the difference might have been due to theteacher (Mrs. Smith vs Mr. Turner) or to the IQ levels of the groups (perhaps Mrs. Smith‟sstudents had higher IQs than Mr. Smith‟s students) We have a special name for these kinds ofvariables. They are called extraneous variable.It is important to remember the definition of an extraneous variable because they can destroy theintegrity of a research study that claims to show a cause and effect relationship. An extraneousvariable is a variable that may compete with the independent variable in explaining the outcome.Remember this, if you are ever interested in identifying cause and effect relationships you must
  • 11. always determine whether there are any extraneous variables you need to worry about. If anextraneous variable really is the reason for an outcome (rather than the IV) then we sometimeslike to call it a confounding variable because it has confused or confounded the relationship weare interested in.1.6.2 NONEXPERIMENTAL RESEARCHNon-experimental approach is represented by two methods, which are causal-comparativeresearch and correlational research. Both methods of non-experimental approach in quantitativeresearch use attribute variables, which cannot be manipulated. Such attribute variables include“gender, parenting style, learning style, ethnic group, college major, party identification, type ofschool, marital status of parents, retention in grade, type of disability, presence or absence of anillness, drug or tobacco use, and any personality trait that is operationalized as a categoricalvariable” (Johnson, 2001). It is necessary to underline the fact that non-experimental methods aremore widely used by the researchers because “many important variables of interest are notmanipulable”.In the "basic case" of causal-comparative research, there is one categorical Independent Variable(IV) and one quantitative dependent variable (DV). • Example: Gender (IV) and class performance (DV). • You would look for the relationship by comparing the male and female average performance levels.In the simple case of correlational research, there is one quantitative IV and one quantitative DV. • Example: Self-esteem (IV) and class performance (DV). • You would look for the relationship by calculating the correlation coefficient. • The correlation coefficient is a number that varies between –1 and +1, and 0 stands for no relationship. The farther the number is from 0, the stronger the relationship. • If the sign of the correlation coefficient is positive (e.g., +.65) then you have a positive correlation, which means the two variables move in the same direction (as one variable increases, so does the other variable). Education level and annual income are positively correlated (i.e., the higher the education, the higher the annual income). • If the sign of the correlation coefficient is negative (e.g., -.71) then you have a negative correlation, which means the two variables move in opposite directions (as one variable increases, the other decreases). Smoking and life expectancy are negatively correlated (i.e., the higher the smoking, the lower the life expectancy).
  • 12. 1.7 ADVANTAGES OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCHThere are several advantages of quantitative research. They are as follows: 1. Provides estimates of populations at large. 2. Indicates the extensiveness of attitudes held by people. 3. Provides results which can be condensed to statistics. 4. Allows for statistical comparison between various groups. 5. Has precision, is definitive and standardized. 6. Measures level of occurrence, actions, trends, etc. 7. Can answer such questions as "How many?" and "How often?"1.8 USE OF QUANTITATIVE METHODSThere are four main type of research question that quantitative research is particularly suited tofinding an answer to: 1. The first type of research question is that demanding a quantitative answer. Examples are‟ how many students choose to study education?‟Or How many math‟s teachers do we need and how many we got in our school district?‟ that we need to use quantitative research to answer this type of question. 2. Numerical changes likewise accurately be studied only be studied only by using quantitative methods. Are the numbers of students in our university re falling or rising? Is achievement going up or down? We need to do a quantitative study to find out. 3. As well as wanting to find out about the state of something or other, we often want to explain phenomena. What factors predict the recruitment of math‟s teacher? What factors related to change in student‟s achievement over time? 4. The final activity for which quantitative research is especially suited is the testing of hypotheses. We might want to explain something- for example, whether there is a relationship between pupil‟s achievement and their self esteem and social background. We could look at the theory and come up with the hypothesis that lower social class background leads to low self esteem, which would in turn be related to low achievement. Using quantitative research, we can try to test this model.
  • 13. 1.9 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH1.9.1 MEANING AND NATURE OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCHQualitative research has its roots in social science and is more concerned with understandingwhy people behave as they do: their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, fears, etc. (e.g., why dopatients prefer to be involved in decision-making about their treatment?).Qualitative research seeks out the „why‟, not the „how‟ of its topic through the analysis ofunstructured information – things like interview transcripts, open ended survey responses,emails, notes, feedback forms, photos and videos. It doesn‟t just rely on statistics or numbers,which are the domain of quantitative researchers.Qualitative research is used to gain insight into peoples attitudes, behaviors, value systems,concerns, motivations, aspirations, culture or lifestyles. It‟s used to inform business decisions,policy formation, communication and research. Focus groups, in-depth interviews, contentanalysis, ethnography, evaluation and semiotics are among the many formal approaches that areused, but qualitative research also involves the analysis of any unstructured material, includingcustomer feedback forms, reports or media clips.Collecting and analyzing this unstructured information can be messy and time consuming usingmanual methods. When faced with volumes of materials, finding themes and extracting meaningcan be a daunting task.Qualitative research is designed to reveal a target audience‟s range of behavior and theperceptions that drive it with reference to specific topics or issues. It uses in-depth studies ofsmall groups of people to guide and support the construction of hypotheses. The results ofqualitative research are descriptive rather than predictive.Qualitative research methods originated in the social and behavioral sciences: sociology,anthropology and psychology. Today, qualitative methods in the field of marketing researchinclude in-depth interviews with individuals, group discussions (from two to ten participants istypical); diary and journal exercises; and in-context observations. Sessions may be conducted inperson, by telephone, via videoconferencing and via the Internet.Several unique aspects of qualitative research contribute to rich, insightful results:Synergy among respondents, as they build on each other‟s comments and ideas.The dynamic nature of the interview or group discussion process, which engages respondentsmore actively than is possible in more structured survey.
  • 14. The opportunity to probe ("Help me understand why you feel that way") enabling the researcherto reach beyond initial responses and rationales.The opportunity to observe, record and interpret non-verbal communication (i.e., body language,voice intonation) as part of a respondent‟s feedback, which is valuable during interviews ordiscussions, and during analysis.The opportunity to engage respondents in "play" such as projective techniques and exercises,overcoming the self-consciousness that can inhibit spontaneous reactions and comments.The strength of qualitative research is its ability to provide complex textual descriptions of howpeople experience a given research issue. It provides information about the “human” side of anissue – that is, the often contradictory behaviors, beliefs, opinions, emotions, and relationships ofindividuals. Qualitative methods are also effective in identifying intangible factors, such as socialnorms, socioeconomic status, gender roles, ethnicity, and religion, whose role in the researchissue may not be readily apparent. When used along with quantitative methods, qualitativeresearch can help us to interpret and better understand the complex reality of a given situationand the implications of quantitative data.Although findings from qualitative data can often be extended to people with characteristicssimilar to those in the study population, gaining a rich and complex understanding of a specificsocial context or phenomenon typically takes precedence over eliciting data that can begeneralized to other geographical areas or populations. In this sense, qualitative research differsslightly from scientific research in general.1.10 USES OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCHQualitative research is only widely used where small segments of the population (or groups ofpeople who have a common characteristic) are of specific interest to a researcher. Below is a listof some of the main reasons for carrying out qualitative research:• To evaluate a market, product or consumer where no information exists• To identify and explore concepts• To take researchers rapidly up the learning curve when they know very little about a group ofconsumers• To identify behaviour patterns, beliefs, attitudes, opinions and motives• To establish priorities amongst categories of behaviour, beliefs, opinions and attitudes• To identify problems in depth and develop models for further research• To put flesh on the bones of points arising from a pilot or major survey• To provide verbatim comments and anecdotes from participants – so that the research findingscan be brought alive for the client
  • 15. • To test how a questionnaire works by going through question by question asking about routing,signposting, understanding and ambiguity• Where direct questioning will not give us personal or hidden details about respondents.1.11 PROCESS OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCH1) Deciding who should participateIn addition to demographic, attitudinal, and experience criteria pertaining to the research topic(e.g., first-time mothers of toddlers, men who color their hair, dissatisfied small businesscustomers of a particular bank), experienced consultants may also consider the following issues –especially when recruiting for focus group participants:Select individuals from households or businesses that truly represent the target market.Seek out persons who are forthcoming about their own experiences and opinions; comfortableaccepting contrasting viewpoints from others in the group; sufficiently articulate to contribute tothe discussion.Discuss the issue of past participation with clients and recruiters, and set limits appropriate toyour topic and objectives.Exclude anyone suspected of not being truthful about his or her qualifications.2) Choosing the settingWeigh the relative advantages and limitations offered by each medium or venue.In person - Maximizes opportunities to observe and interpret non-verbal communication; easiestformat for using visual and/or tactile stimuli (e.g., storyboards, prototypes, packaging); preservesthe highest degree of control over who actually shows up and participates.Telephone - Lacks non-verbal component of face-to-face interaction (among respondents as wellas with the moderator); reduces or eliminates certain logistical barriers (e.g., respondents aregeographically dispersed or homebound); can elicit more candor from respondents if they feelsomewhat anonymous.Online – Offers access to respondents who would not or could not participate in person; offerspotential for more candid responses; opportunity for voice or visual contact will vary dependingon the method used; excludes respondents without Internet access.3) Deciding how much qualitative research is enough
  • 16. When deciding how many group discussions, interviews, or other types of qualitative research torecommend, experienced qualitative research consultants will often advise conducting at leasttwo group sessions and/or a minimum number of interviews with each key market segment(defined geographically or otherwise). Beyond that guideline, the appropriate amount of researchwill depend on the range of issues to be covered, and the number and nature of respondentsegments to be included.4) Executing the researchGenerally, a qualitative research project includes the following steps:Finalize the project design, schedule, and budgetArrange recruiting and reserve facilitiesDevelop screening questionnaire(s) and field instructionsMonitor recruiting progress and check respondent profilesDevelop discussion guide(s) and any stimuli to be used in the researchConduct the interviews, group discussions, observational sessions, etc.Debrief with client(s), possibly at intervals during the researchAnalyze results and prepare deliverables as previously agreed.1.12 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODSQualitative research methods are continually evolving, as patterns and styles of humaninteraction and communication change. Regardless of venue or medium, qualitative research isalways based on open-ended queries; it uses in-depth probing to uncover the thoughts andfeelings behind initial responses; and it applies insights and learning to the research process inreal time. Typical qualitative methods include:Participant observation is appropriate for collecting data on naturally occurring behaviors intheir usual contexts. One of the most common methods for qualitative data collection, participantobservation is also one of the most demanding. It requires that the researcher become aparticipant in the culture or context being observed. The literature on participant observationdiscusses how to enter the context, the role of the researcher as a participant, the collection andstorage of field notes, and the analysis of field data.Focus group – A moderator-led discussion among a group of individuals who share a need,habit, or life circumstance relevant to the research issue(s) at hand. Typically one to two hours inlength, a focus group discussion often includes from two to ten respondents. While focus groups
  • 17. have historically been held in person (face-to-face), they can also be conducted remotely byteleconferencing, by videoconferencing, or through the Internet using text chat, online bulletinboards, online collaboration tools, desktop video conferencing, or various forms of tele/webconferencing. Focus groups are effective in eliciting data on the cultural norms of a group and ingenerating broad overviews of issues of concern to the cultural groups or subgroups represented.In-depth interview (IDI, one-on-one) – Interview with a single individual, typically lastingfrom 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the subject matter and context. IDIs may be conducted inperson at a research facility, the respondent‟s home or workplace or a public location, or bytelephone. In-depth interviews are optimal for collecting data on individuals‟ personal histories,perspectives, and experiences, particularly when sensitive topics are being explored.Dyads, triads – In-depth interviews with two or three people who often represent members ofthe same family or business team, who use a product or service and/or make purchase decisionstogether.Paired interviews – Consecutive or interlocking interviews with two people who use and/ordecide to purchase a product or service together, e.g., husband and wife, parent and child. Giventhe objectives of a particular study, the qualitative consultant will advise the client in selectingthe most appropriate setting.Further methods used in qualitative research studiesDiary methods - The researcher or subject keeps a personal account of daily events, feelings,discussions, interactions etc.Role-play and simulation - Participants may be asked to play a role, or may be asked to observerole-play, after which they are asked to rate behaviour, report feelings, and predict further events.Case-study - This is an in-depth study of just one person, group or event. This technique issimply a description of individuals.Case studies are detailed investigations of individuals, groups, institutions or other social units.The researcher conducting a case study attempts to analyze the variables relevant to the subjectunder study (Polit and Hungler, 1983). The principle difference between case studies and otherresearch studies is that the focus of attention is the individual case and not the whole populationof cases. Most studies search for what is common and pervasive. However, in the case study, thefocus may not be on generalization but on understanding the particulars of that case in itscomplexity. A case study focuses on a bounded system, usually under natural conditions, so thatthe system can be understood in its own habitat (Stake, 1988).
  • 18. 1.13 ADVANTAGES OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCHOne advantage of qualitative methods in exploratory research is that use of open-ended questionsand probing gives participants the opportunity to respond in their own words, rather than forcingthem to choose from fixed responses, as quantitative methods do. Open-ended questions have theability to evoke responses that are:• Meaningful and culturally salient to the participant• Unanticipated by the researcher• Rich and explanatory in natureAnother advantage of qualitative methods is that they allow the researcher the flexibility to probeinitial participant responses – that is, to ask why or how. The researcher must listen carefully towhat participants say, engage with them according to their individual personalities and styles,and use “probes” to encourage them to elaborate on their answers.1.14 COMPARING QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE RESEARCHCriteria Qualitative Research Quantitative ResearchPurpose To understand & interpret To test hypotheses, look at social interactions. cause & effect, & make predictions.Group Studied Smaller & not randomly Larger & randomly selected. selected.Variables Study of the whole, not Specific variables studied variables.Type of Data Collected Words, images, or objects. Numbers and statistics.Form of Data Collected Qualitative data such as open- Quantitative data based on ended responses, interviews, precise measurements using participant observations, field structured & validated data- notes, & reflections. collection instruments.Type of Data Analysis Identify patterns, features, Identify statistical themes. relationships.
  • 19. Objectivity and Subjectivity Subjectivity is expected. Objectivity is critical.Role of Researcher Researcher & their biases may Researcher & their biases are be known to participants in the not known to participants in study, & participant the study, & participant characteristics may be known characteristics are deliberately to the researcher. hidden from the researcher (double blind studies).Results Particular or specialized Generalizable findings that findings that is less can be applied to other generalizable. populations.Scientific Method Exploratory or bottom–up: the Confirmatory or top-down: the researcher generates a new researcher tests the hypothesis hypothesis and theory from and theory with the data. the data collected.View of Human Behavior Dynamic, situational, social, Regular & predictable. & personal.Most Common Research Explore, discover, & construct Describe, explain, & predict.ObjectivesFocus Wide-angle lens; examines the Narrow-angle lens; tests a breadth & depth of specific hypotheses phenomenaNature of Observation Study behavior in a natural Study behavior under environment. controlled conditions; isolate causal effectsNature of Reality Multiple realities; subjective Single reality; objectiveFinal Reportr Narrative report with Statistical report with contextual correlations, description & direct comparisons of means, & quotations from research statistical significance of participants findingsThe key difference between quantitative and qualitative methods is their flexibility. Generally,quantitative methods are fairly inflexible. With quantitative methods such as surveys andquestionnaires, for example, researchers ask all participants identical questions in the same order.The response categories from which participants may choose are “closed-ended” or fixed. Theadvantage of this inflexibility is that it allows for meaningful comparison of responses across
  • 20. participants and study sites. However, it requires a thorough understanding of the importantquestions to ask, the best way to ask them, and the range of possible responses.Qualitative methods are typically more flexible – that is, they allow greater spontaneity andadaptation of the interaction between the researcher and the study participant. For example,qualitative methods ask mostly “open-ended” questions that are not necessarily worded inexactly the same way with each participant. With open-ended questions, participants are free torespond in their own words, and these responses tend to be more complex than simply “yes” or“no.”In addition, with qualitative methods, the relationship between the researcher and the participantis often less formal than in quantitative research. Participants have the opportunity to respondmore elaborately and in greater detail than is typically the case with quantitative methods. Inturn, researchers have the opportunity to respond immediately to what participants say bytailoring subsequent questions to information the participant has provided. It is important to note,however, that there is a range of flexibility among methods used in both quantitative andqualitative research and that flexibility is not an indication of how scientifically rigorous amethod is. Rather, the degree of flexibility reflects the kind of understanding of the problem thatis being pursued using the method.Both these qualitative and the quantitative approaches to the research can be divergent,contrasting and complimentary. Both of these two types or researches seek to describe andexplain phenomena, but have differing epistemological positions.Therefore, it is necessary for a researcher to consider whether a qualitative or quantitativeapproach would be more appropriate whilst devising a research plan.1.15 SUMMARYQualitative research is often depicted as a research strategy whose emphasis on a relatively open-ended approach to the research process frequently produces surprises, changes of direction andnew insights. However, quantitative research is by no means a mechanical application of neutraltools that results in no new insights. In quantitative data analysis, the imaginative application oftechniques can result in new understandings. Quantitative research generally focuses onmeasuring social reality. Quantitative research and/or questions are searching for quantities insomething and to establish research numerically. Quantitative researchers view the world asreality that can be objectively determined so rigid guides in the process of data collection andanalysis are very important.
  • 21. 1.16 SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE1) What do you mean by quantitative research? Explain its significance.2) Explain the two types of quantitative research with the help of examples.3) Write short notes on: (A) Advantages of quantitative research and qualitative research; (B) Elements of quantitative research; (C) Uses of qualitative research;4) Differentiate quantitative and qualitative research.METHODS AND TOOLS OF COLLECTING DATA1.1 INTRODUCTIONThe increasingly complex nature of business and government has focused attention on the usesof research methodology in solving managerial problems. The credibility of the results derivedfrom the application of such methodology is dependent upon the up to date information about thevarious pertinent characters included in the analysis. To illustrate, the demand of disc records hasdropped dramatically after cassettes have entered into the market commercially. This informationmust be taken into consideration for formulating marketing strategy by a dealer selling musicalproducts. Information expressed in appropriate quantitative form is known as data. The necessityand usefulness of information gathering or data collection cannot be overemphasised ingovernment policies. The government must be aware of the actual scenario of the acceptance offamily planning before it can formulate any policy in this matter. The components of thisscenario are provided by appropriate data to be collected from various families. In industrialdisputes regarding wages, cost of living index, a data based indicator of inflation is oftenaccepted as a guideline for arbitration.In short, neither a business decision nor a governmental decision can be made in a casual mannerin the highly involved environment prevailing in this age. It is through appropriate data and theiranalysis that the decision maker becomes equipped with proper tools of decision making.1.2 MEANING AND NEED FOR DATAData is required to make a decision in any business situation. The researcher is faced with one ofthe most difficult problems of obtaining suitable, accurate and adequate data. Utmost care must
  • 22. be exercised while collecting data because the quality of the research results depends upon thereliability of the data. Suppose, you are the Director of your company. Your Board of Directorshas asked you to find out why the profit of the company has decreased since the last two years.Your Board wants you to present facts and figures. What are you going to do?The first and foremost task is to collect the relevant information to make an analysis for theabove mentioned problem. It is, therefore, the information collected from various sources, whichcan be expressed in quantitative form, for a specific purpose, which is called data. The rationaldecision maker seeks to evaluate information in order to select the course of action thatmaximizes objectives. For decision making, the input data must be appropriate. This depends onthe appropriateness of the method chosen for data collection. The application of a statisticaltechnique is possible when the questions are answerable in quantitative nature, for instance; thecost of production and profit of the company measured in rupees, age of the workers in thecompany measured in years. Therefore, the first step in statistical activities is to gather data. Thedata may be classified as primary and secondary data. Let us now discuss these two kinds of datain detail.1.3 PRIMARY AND SECONDARY DATA The primary data are those which are collected afresh and for the first time, and thus happen tobe original in character. Such data are published by authorities who themselves are responsiblefor their collection.The Secondary data on the other hand, are those which have already been collected by someother agency and which have already been processed. Secondary data may be available in theform of published or unpublished sources. For instance, population census data collected by theGovernment in a country is primary data for that Government. But the same data becomessecondary for those researchers who use it later. In case you have decided to collect primary datafor your investigation, you have to identify the sources from where you can collect that data. Forexample, if you wish to study the problems of the workers of X Company Ltd., then the workerswho are working in that company are the source. On the other hand, if you have decided to usesecondary data, you have to identify the secondary sources that have already collected the relateddata for their study purpose.1.4 METHODS OF COLLECTING PRIMARY DATAThe collection of primary data for business research is of paramount importance to assistmanagement in making decisions. Generally, information regarding a large number ofcharacteristics is necessary to analyse any problem pertaining to management. For instance, astudy relating to employment in rural areas requires data on income, wages, types of crops and
  • 23. land holdings. The collection of primary data thus requires a great deal of deliberation andexpertise. Depending upon the nature of information necessary the following methods ofcollecting primary data are available.1) Observation MethodThe Concise Oxford Dictionary defines observation as, „accurate watching and noting ofphenomena as they occur in nature with regard to cause and effect or mutual relations‟. Thusobservation is not only a systematic watching but it also involves listening and reading, coupledwith consideration of the seen phenomena. It involves three processes. They are: sensation,attention or concentration and perception.Under this method, the researcher collects information directly through observation rather thanthrough the reports of others. It is a process of recording relevant information without askinganyone specific questions and in some cases, even without the knowledge of the respondents.This method of collection is highly effective in behavioural surveys. For instance, a study onbehaviour of visitors in trade fairs, observing the attitude of workers on the job, bargainingstrategies of customers etc. Observation can be participant observation or non-participantobservation. In Participant Observation Method, the researcher joins in the daily life ofinformants or organisations, and observes how they behave. In the Non-participantObservation Method, the researcher will not join the informants or organisations but will watchfrom outside.Merits1) This is the most suitable method when the informants are unable or reluctant to provideinformation.2) This method provides deeper insights into the problem and generally the data is accurate andquicker to process. Therefore, this is useful for intensive study rather than extensive study.LimitationsDespite of the above merits, this method suffers from the following limitations:1) In many situations, the researcher cannot predict when the events will occur. So when anevent occurs there may not be a ready observer to observe the event.2) Participants may be aware of the observer and as a result may alter their behaviour.3) Observer, because of personal biases and lack of training, may not record specifically whathe/she observes.4) This method cannot be used extensively if the inquiry is large and spread over a wide area.2) Questionnaire Method
  • 24. A popular and common method of collection of primary data is by personally interviewingindividuals, recording their answers in a structured questionnaire. The complete enumeration ofIndian decennial census is performed by this method. The enumerators visit the dwellings ofindividuals and put questions to them which elicit the relevant information about the subject ofenquiry. This information is recorded in the questionnaire. Occasionally a part of thequestionnaire is unstructured so that the interviewee can feel free to share information aboutintimate matters with the interviewer. As the data are collected by the field staff personally it isalso known as personal interview method.Much of the accuracy of the collected data, however, depends on the ability and tactfulness ofinvestigators, who should be subjected to special training as to how they should elicit the correctinformation through friendly discussions.If the questionnaire is posted to informants, it is called a Mail Questionnaire. Sometimesquestionnaires may also be sent through E-mail depending upon the nature of study andavailability of time and resources. After receiving the questionnaires the informants read thequestions and record their responses in the space meant for the purpose on the questionnaire. It isdesirable to send the questionnaire with self-addressed envelopes for quick and high rate ofresponse.Merits1) You can use this method in cases where informants are spread over a vast geographical area.2) Respondents can take their own time to answer the questions. So the researcher can obtainoriginal data by this method.3) This is a cheap method because its mailing cost is less than the cost of personal visits.4) This method is free from bias of the investigator as the information is given by therespondents themselves.5) Large samples can be covered and thus the results can be more reliable and dependable.Limitations1) Respondents may not return filled in questionnaires, or they can delay in replying to thequestionnaires.2) This method is useful only when the respondents are educated and co-operative.3) Once the questionnaire has been despatched, the investigator cannot modify the questionnaire.4) It cannot be ensured whether the respondents are truly representative.Main aspects of a questionnaire: Quite often questionnaire is considered as the heart of asurvey operation. Hence it should be very carefully constructed. If it is not properly set up, thenthe survey is bound to fail. This fact requires us to study the main aspects of a questionnaire viz.,the general form, question sequence and question formulation and wording. Researcher shouldnote the following with regard to these three main aspects of a questionnaire:
  • 25. a) The General FormThe form of a questionnaire will depend partly on the type of data being sought and partly on thedata collection method to be used. The choice lies between two extremes. On the one hand, thereis the highly structured questionnaire in which all questions and answers are specified andcontinents in the respondents own words are held to a minimum. At the other end is theunstructured questionnaire in which the interviewer is provided with a general brief on the sort ofinformation to be obtained but the exact question is largely his own responsibility.The unstructured questionnaires are useful in carrying out in depth interviews where the aim isto probe for attitudes and reasons. They may also be effectively employed in pretesting, theresult of which can be used as a basis for constructing a structured questionnaire at a later stage.Thus, in order to ascertain the expectation of the television viewers about a programmeinterviews may be conducted with unstructured questionnaires. The resulting range of answersmay then be used to prepare a structured questionnaire for use in the main part of the study.The main disadvantage with any unstructured questionnaire is that it requires personal interview.It cannot be used in the mailed questionnaire method of data collection.A structured questionnaire usually has fixed alternative answers to each question. They aresimple to administer and relatively inexpensive to analyse. The questionnaires have, however,their limitations. It is not possible to record the responses made by the respondent in their ownwords. They are considered inappropriate in investigations where the aim happens to be to probefor attitudes and feelings.b) The Question SequenceThe introduction to the questionnaire should be as short and simple as possible. The introductoryletter accompanying the mailed questionnaire should also be made very brief. The introductionlays the foundation for establishing the rapport with the respondent in addition to making theinterview possible.Once the rapport is established the questions will generally seek substantive information of value to the study. As a general rule, questions that put too great a strain on the memory or theintellect should be reserved till later. Likewise, questions relating to personal wealth andpersonal character should be avoided in the beginning.Following the opening phase should come the questions that are really vital to the interview.Even here, substantive questions should be surrounded by more interesting ones in order that theattention does not slip. Awkward questions, which create the risk that the respondent maydiscontinue the interview, are usually relegated toward the end. By the time the interview hasbeen terminated, some information is already available with the interviewer.
  • 26. Ideally, the question sequence should conform to the respondents way of thinking, and this iswhere unstructured interviews are highly advantageous. The interviewer can rearrange the orderof the questions to fit the discussion in each particular case. With structured questionnaire thebest that can be done is to determine with pretesting the question sequence which is likely toproduce good rapport with most people.c) The Question WordingIt has been stated that the question wording and formulation are more of an art than a science.Science does enter, however, in testing the stability and the adequacy of replies for business andmanagement decisions. The wording of the questions should be impartial so as not to give abiased picture of the true state of affairs. Colourful adjectives and undue descriptive phrasesshould be avoided. In general the questions should be worded such that (a) they are easilyunderstood (b) they are simple (c) they are concrete and conform to respondents way ofthinking.3) Interview MethodInterview is one of the most powerful tools and most widely used method for primary datacollection in business research. In our daily routine we see interviews on T.V. channels onvarious topics related to social, business, sports, budget etc. In the words of C. William Emory,„personal interviewing is a two way purposeful conversation initiated by an interviewer to obtaininformation that is relevant to some research purpose‟. Thus an interview is basically, a meetingbetween two persons to obtain the information related to the proposed study. The person who isinterviewing is named as interviewer and the person who is being interviewed is named asinformant. It is to be noted that, the research data/information collect through this method is not asimple conversation between the investigator and the informant, but also the glances, gestures,facial expressions, level of speech etc., are all part of the process.Through this method, the researcher can collect varied types of data intensively and extensively.Interviews can be classified as direct personal interviews and indirect personal interviews. Underthe techniques of direct personal interview, the investigator meets the informants (who comeunder the study) personally, asks them questions pertaining to enquiry and collects the desiredinformation. Thus if a researcher intends to collect the data on spending habits of DelhiUniversity (DU) students, he/ she would go to the DU, contact the students, interview them andcollect the required information.Indirect personal interview is another technique of interview method where it is not possible tocollect data directly from the informants who come under the study. Under this method, the
  • 27. investigator contacts third parties or witnesses, who are closely associated with thepersons/situations under study and are capable of providing necessary information. For example,an investigation regarding bribery pattern in an office. In such a case it is inevitable to get thedesired information indirectly from other people who may be knowing them. Similarly, cluesabout the crimes are gathered by the CBI. Utmost care must be exercised that these persons whoare being questioned are fully aware of the facts of the problem under study, and are notmotivated to give a twist to the facts.Another technique for data collection through this method can be structured and unstructuredinterviewing. In the Structured interview set questions are asked and the responses are recordedin a standardised form. This is useful in large scale interviews where a number of investigatorsare assigned the job of interviewing. The researcher can minimise the bias of the interviewer.This technique is also named as formal interview. In Un-structured interview, the investigatormay not have a set of questions but have only a number of key points around which to build theinterview. Normally, such type of interview is conducted in the case of an explorative surveywhere the researcher is not completely sure about the type of data he/ she collects. It is alsonamed as informal interview. Generally, this method is used as a supplementary method of datacollection in conducting research in business areas.Now-a-days, telephone or cell phone interviews are widely used to obtain the desiredinformation for small surveys. For instance, interviewing credit card holders by banks about thelevel of services they are receiving. This technique is used in industrial surveys especially indeveloped regions.MeritsThe major merits of this method are as follows:1) People are more willing to supply information if approached directly. Therefore, personalinterviews tend to yield high response rates.2) This method enables the interviewer to clarify any doubt that the interviewee might havewhile asking him/her questions. Therefore, interviews are helpful in getting reliable and validresponses.3) The informant‟s reactions to questions can be properly studied.4) The researcher can use the language of communication according to the standard of theinformation, so as to obtain personal information of informants which are helpful in interpretingthe results.LimitationsThe limitations of this method are as follows:
  • 28. 1) The chance of the subjective factors or the views of the investigator may come in eitherconsciously or unconsciously.2) The interviewers must be properly trained; otherwise the entire work may be spoiled.3) It is a relatively expensive and time-consuming method of data collection especially when thenumber of persons to be interviewed is large and they are spread over a wide area.4) It cannot be used when the field of enquiry is large (large sample).4) Through Local Reporters and CorrespondentsUnder this method, local investigators/agents or correspondents are appointed in different partsof the area under investigation. This method is generally adopted by government departments inthose cases where regular information is to be collected. This method is also useful fornewspapers, magazines, radio and TV news channels. This method has been used when regularinformation is required and a high degree of accuracy is not of much importance.Merits1) This method is cheap and economical for extensive investigations.2) It gives results easily and promptly.3) It can cover a wide area under investigation.Limitations1) The data obtained may not be reliable.2) It gives approximate and rough results.3) It is unsuited where a high degree of accuracy is desired.4) As the agent/reporter or correspondent uses his own judgement, his personal bias may affectthe accuracy of the information sent.1.5 SOURCES OF ERROR IN PRIMARY DATA COLLECTIONYou are familiar with the sources or error associated with secondary data. The primary datacollection methods are also subject to three important types of errors. These are sampling error,non-response error and response error.Sampling error as the name implies is inherent in the procedure of sample chosen and results inthe sample becoming non-representative of the population. For example, in order to study thepatterns of cigarette consumption among Indian males if you chose a. sample of college student
  • 29. in a metropolitan city, this sample would not representative of the population of males in India.The study that you conduct on this sample, no matter which tool of data collection you use,would not be valid because it suffers from sampling error. The range of sampling error howevercan be controlled by changing the characteristics of sample drawn. Moreover, the extent of thesampling error can be measured if we take a. probability sample. More about sampling error hasbeen discussed in the next unit on sampling.A non-response error occurs when a. unit (unit here may be an individual, a family or anestablishment) included in the sample, cannot or has not been reached. For example, in a sampleof housewives from a particular city area, if a number of them happen to be away everytime theinterviewer chooses to come, non-response is likely to occur. Incidence of non-response error asalready noted is very high in mail interviews as respondents simply ignore the questionnairereceived by them.In most direct structured interviews i.e. surveys involving use of questionnaires, non-responsebias is a sizeable error. It may affect completeness as well as objectivity in data collection asfamilies who cannot be reached after certain attempts during the day may be significantlydifferent from those which can be easily contacted. The non-response error is a serious matterbecause the direction of the error is generally unknown. One can assume that the non responserespondents would each have responded in a given way and therefore can determine themaximum error due to non-response but it is difficult to measure the magnitude of the error. Onesimple way of minimising this error would be to fix up an appointment before the interview butespecially in a country like ours where a large number of respondents do not have access to thetelephone, this may not be very practicable.Response error occurs when the value of the reported variable differs from the actual value ofthat variable. We world here include errors of both communication and observation. We havealready talked about two reasons for response error i.e. inability of the respondent to giveaccurate information or their unwillingness to give accurate information because of time factor,prestige factor and invasion of primary factor. Let us now discuss the sources of response errorrelated to the investigator and the tools used by him.a) Inaccurate information due to the investigatorThe most common cause of this type of inaccuracy is cheating by the interviewer. There are anumber of way in which interviewers deliberately obtain inaccurate information and supply it. Ifthe questionnaire happens to contain a question that the investigator finds embarrassing to ask,he may decide to supply his own answer or supply an inference on what the respondents answerwould have been. In extreme cases reports of interviewees without ever having contacted the
  • 30. interviews have been discovered to be submitted. Another in between situation that is found toexist is that interviewers get their own friends and associates to fill in the questionnaire orrespond to a direct interview amid list the responses in the names of the people listed in thesample, thus vitiating the entire sampling exercise.Experienced marketing research agencies feel that like other petty forms of cheating, interviewercheating can only be controlled to lower its incidence, it can never be eliminated completely.Care in selection, training and supervision of interviewers can and does help in controlling theincidence of cheating. In addition, certain control procedures like cross checking of smallsamples of respondents and use to cheater question which disclose the fabricated answers with afairly high success rate are employed to minimise the incidence of interviewer generatedinaccuracy.b) AmbiguityAmbiguity which is defined as errors made in interpreting behaviour or words spoken or writtenis source of error which occurs in both, communication and observation methods of datacollection. All languages are capable of being ambiguous as the person transmitting informationand the person receiving them are two different people and the interpretation of thequestion/behaviour may differ from one person to another.1.6 COLLECTION OF SECONDARY DATASometimes, it is not possible to collect primary data due to time, cost and human resourceconstraints. Therefore, researchers have to take the help of secondary data. Now let us discuss,(a) various sources from where, one can get secondary data, (b) precautions while usingsecondary data, its merits and demerits and some documentary and electronic sources of data inIndia.1) Documentary Sources of DataThis category of secondary data source may also be termed as Paper Source. The main sourcesof documentary data can be broadly classified into two categories:a) Published sources, andb) Unpublished sources.Let us discuss these two categories in detail.
  • 31. a) Published SourcesThere are various national and international institutions, semi-official reports of variouscommittees and commissions and private publications which collect and publish statistical datarelating to industry, trade, commerce, health etc. These publications of various organisations areuseful sources of secondary data.These are as follows:1) Government Publications: Central and State Governments publish current information alongwith statistical data on various subjects, quarterly and annually. For example, Monthly StatisticalAbstract, National Income Statistics, Economic Survey, Reports of National Council of AppliedEconomic Research (NCEAR), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry(FICCI), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Central Statistical Organisation(CSO), etc.2) International Publications: The United Nations Organisation (UNO), International LabourOrganisation (ILO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Asian Development Bank(ADB) etc., also publish relevant data and reports.3) Semi-official Publications: Semi-official organisations like Corporations, District Boards,Panchayat etc. publish reports.4) Committees and Commissions: Several committees and commissions appointed by State andCentral Governments provide useful secondary data. For example, the report of the 10thFinancial Commission or Fifth Pay Commissions etc.5) Private Publications: Newspapers and journals publish the data on different fields ofEconomics, Commerce and Trade. For example, Economic Times, Financial Express etc. andJournals like Economist, Economic and Political Weekly, Indian Journal of Commerce, Journalof Industry and Trade, Business Today etc. Some of the research and financial institutions alsopublish their reports annually like Indian Institute of Finance. In addition to this, reports preparedby research scholars, universities etc. also provide secondary source of information.b) Unpublished SourcesIt is not necessary that all the information/data maintained by the institutions or individuals areavailable in published form. Certain research institutions, trade associations, universities,research scholars, private firms, business institutions etc., do collect data but they normally donot publish it. We can get this information from their registers, files etc.
  • 32. 2) Electronic SourcesThe secondary data is also available through electronic media (through Internet). You candownload data from such sources by entering web sites like google.com; yahoo.com; msn.com;etc., and typing your subject for which the information is needed.1.7 MERITS AND LIMITATIONS OF SECONDARY DATAMerits1) Secondary data is much more economical and quicker to collect than primary data, as we neednot spend time and money on designing and printing data collection forms(questionnaire/schedule), appointing enumerators, editing and tabulating data etc.2) It is impossible to individual or small institutions to collect primary data with regard to somesubjects such as population census, imports and exports of different countries, national incomedata etc. but can obtain from secondary data.Limitations1) Secondary data is very risky because it may not be suitable, reliable, adequate and alsodifficult to find which exactly fit the need of the present investigation.2) It is difficult to judge whether the secondary data is sufficiently accurate or not for ourinvestigation.3) Secondary data may not be available for some investigations. For example, bargainingstrategies in live products marketing, impact of T.V. advertisements on viewers, opinion polls ona specific subject, etc. In such situations we have to collect primary data.1.8 SELECTION OF APPROPRIATE METHOD FOR DATACOLLECTION
  • 33. Thus, there are various methods of data collection. As such the researcher must judiciously selectthe method/methods for his own study, keeping in view the following factors:1. Nature, scope and object of enquiry: This constitutes the most important factoraffecting the choice of a particular method. The method selected should be such that it suits thetype of enquiry that is to be conducted by the researcher. This factor is also important in decidingwhether the data already available (secondary data) are to be used or the data not yet available(primary data) are to be collected.2. Availability of funds: Availability of funds for the research project determines to a largeextent the method to be used for the collection of data. When funds at the disposal of theresearcher are very limited, he will have to select a comparatively cheaper method which maynot be as efficient and effective as some other costly method. Finance, in fact, is a big constraintin practice and the researcher has to act within this limitation.3. Time factor: Availability of time has also to be taken into account in deciding a particularmethod of data collection. Some methods take relatively more time, whereas with others the datacan be collected in a comparatively shorter duration. The time at the disposal of the researcher,thus, affects the selection of the method by which the data are to be collected.4. Precision required: Precision required is yet another important factor to be considered atthe time of selecting the method of collection of data.1.9 SUMMARYThe pattern of business and industry in the present day environment has become quite complexand involved due to a variety of reasons. Any meaningful decision to be made in this contextmust be objective and fact based in nature. This is achieved by collecting and analysingappropriate data. Data may broadly be divided into two categories, namely primary data andsecondary data. The primary data are those which are collected for the first time by theorganisation which is using them. The secondary data, on the other hand, are those which, havealready been collected by some other agency but also can be used by the organisation underconsideration. Primary data maybe collected by observation, oral investigation, andquestionnaire method or by telephone interviews. Questionnaires may be used for datacollection by interviewers. They may also be mailed to prospective respondents. The draftingof a good questionnaire requires utmost skill. The process of interviewing also requires a greatdeal of tact, patience and, competence to establish rapport with the respondent. Secondary dataare available in various published and unpublished documents. The suitability, reliability,adequacy and accuracy of the secondary data should, however, be ensured before they are usedfor research problems.1.10 SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE
  • 34. 1) Discuss the main sources of primary and secondary data.2) What are the limitations associated with the use of secondary data?3) Examine the merits and limitations of the observation method in collecting data. Illustrate your answer with suitable examples.4) What are the guiding considerations in the construction of questionnaire? Explain.5) Examine the merits and limitations of the observation method in collecting material. Illustrateyour answer with suitable examples.6) Discuss interview as a technique of data collection7) Construct a suitable questionnaire containing not more than twenty five questions pertainingto the sales promotion of your company‟s product.8) Explain the various methods of collecting primary data pointing out their merits and demerits?1.11 REFERENCES AND FURTHER READINGS Festinger L.and Katn D. (1953). Research Methods in Behaviuoral Science, Holt, Rillehart and Winston Inc., New York. Gupta, C.B., & Vijay Gupta. An Introduction to Statistical Methods, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. Kothari, C.R.(2004) Research Methodology Methods and Techniques, New Age International (P) Ltd., New Delhi. Kumar, R. (1999). Research Methodology: A Step- By- Step Guide for Beginners. Delhi: Sage. Levin, R.I. and D.S. Rubin. (1999) Statistics for Management, Prentice-Hall of India, New Delhi Mustafi, C.K.(1981) Statistical Methods in Managerial Decisions, Macmillan, New Delhi
  • 35. Rao K.V. 1993. Research Methodology in Commerce and Management, Sterling Publishers Private Limited : New Delhi. Sadhu, A.N. and A. Singh, 1980. Research Methodology in Social Sciences, Sterling Publishers Private Limited : New Delhi.1.5 MEASUREMENT SCALESThe most widely used classification of measurement scales are: (a) nominal scale; (b) ordinalscale; (c) interval scale; and (d) ratio scale.(a) Nominal scale: Nominal scale is simply a system of assigning number symbols to eventsin order to label them. The usual example of this is the assignment of numbers of basketballplayers in order to identify them. Such numbers cannot be considered to be associated with anordered scale for their order is of no consequence; the numbers are just convenient labels for theparticular class of events and as such have no quantitative value. Nominal scales provideconvenient ways of keeping track of people, objects and events. One cannot do much with thenumbers involved. For example, one cannot usefully average the numbers on the back of a groupof football players and come up with a meaningful value. Neither can one usefully compare thenumbers assigned to one group with the numbers assigned to another. The counting of membersin each group is the only possible arithmetic operation when a nominal scale is employed.Accordingly, we are restricted to use mode as the measure of central tendency. There is nogenerally used measure of dispersion for nominal scales.Chi-square test is the most common test of statistical significance that can be utilized, and for themeasures of correlation, the contingency coefficient can be worked out.Nominal scale is the least powerful level of measurement. It indicates no order or distancerelationship and has no arithmetic origin. A nominal scale simply describes differences betweenthings by assigning them to categories. Nominal data are, thus, counted data. The scale wastesany information that we may have about varying degrees of attitude, skills, understandings, etc.In spite of all this, nominal scales are still very useful and are widely used in surveys and otherex-post-facto research when data are being classified by major sub-groups of the population.(b) Ordinal scale: The lowest level of the ordered scale that is commonly used is the ordinalscale. The ordinal scale places events in order, but there is no attempt to make the intervals of thescale equal in terms of some rule. Rank orders represent ordinal scales and are frequently used inresearch relating to qualitative phenomena. A student‟s rank in his graduation class involves theuse of an ordinal scale. One has to be very careful in making statement about scores based onordinal scales.
  • 36. For instance, if Ram‟s position in his class is 10 and Mohan‟s position is 40, it cannot be saidthat Ram‟s position is four times as good as that of Mohan. The statement would make no senseat all. Ordinal scales only permit the ranking of items from highest to lowest. Ordinal measureshave no absolute values, and the real differences between adjacent ranks may not be equal. Allthat can be said is that one person is higher or lower on the scale than another, but more precisecomparisons cannot be made.Thus, the use of an ordinal scale implies a statement of „greater than‟ or „less than‟ (an equalitystatement is also acceptable) without our being able to state how much greater or less. The realdifference between ranks 1 and 2 may be more or less than the difference between ranks 5 and 6.Since the numbers of this scale have only a rank meaning, the appropriate measure of centraltendency is the median. A percentile or quartile measure is used for measuring dispersion.Correlations are restricted to various rank order methods. Measures of statistical significance arerestricted to the non-parametric methods.(c) Interval scale: In the case of interval scale, the intervals are adjusted in terms of somerule that has been established as a basis for making the units equal. The units are equal only in sofar as one accepts the assumptions on which the rule is based. Interval scales can have anarbitrary zero, but it is not possible to determine for them what may be called an absolute zero orthe unique origin. The primary limitation of the interval scale is the lack of a true zero; it doesnot have the capacity to measure the complete absence of a trait or characteristic. The Fahrenheitscale is an example of an interval scale and shows similarities in what one can and cannot dowith it. One can say that an increase in temperature from 30° to 40° involves the same increase intemperature as an increase from 60° to 70°, but one cannot say that the temperature of 60° istwice as warm as the temperature of 30° because both numbers are dependent on the fact that thezero on the scale is set arbitrarily at the temperature of the freezing point of water. The ratio ofthe two temperatures, 30° and 60°, means nothing because zero is an arbitrary point.Interval scales provide more powerful measurement than ordinal scales for interval scale alsoincorporates the concept of equality of interval. As such more powerful statistical measures canbe used with interval scales. Mean is the appropriate measure of central tendency, while standarddeviation is the most widely used measure of dispersion. Product moment correlation techniquesare appropriate and the generally used tests for statistical significance are the „t‟ test and „F‟ test.(d) Ratio scale: Ratio scales have an absolute or true zero of measurement. The term„absolute zero‟ is not as precise as it was once believed to be. We can conceive of an absolutezero of length and similarly we can conceive of an absolute zero of time. For example, the zeropoint on a centimetre scale indicates the complete absence of length or height. But an absolutezero of temperature is theoretically unobtainable and it remains a concept existing only in thescientist‟s mind. The number of minor traffic-rule violations and the number of incorrect lettersin a page of type script represent scores on ratio scales. Both these scales have absolute zeros andas such all minor traffic violations and all typing errors can be assumed to be equal in
  • 37. significance. With ratio scales involved one can make statements like “Jyoti‟s” typingperformance was twice as good as that of “Reetu.” The ratio involved does have significance andfacilitates a kind of comparison which is not possible in case of an interval scale.Ratio scale represents the actual amounts of variables. Measures of physical dimensions such asweight, height, distance, etc. are examples. Generally, all statistical techniques are usable withratio scales and all manipulations that one can carry out with real numbers can also be carried outwith ratio scale values. Multiplication and division can be used with this scale but not with otherscales mentioned above. Geometric and harmonic means can be used as measures of centraltendency and coefficients of variation may also be calculated.Thus, proceeding from the nominal scale (the least precise type of scale) to ratio scale (the mostprecise), relevant information is obtained increasingly. If the nature of the variables permits, theresearcher should use the scale that provides the most precise description. Researchers inphysical sciences have the advantage to describe variables in ratio scale form but the behaviouralsciences are generally limited to describe variables in interval scale form, a less precise type ofmeasurement.Summary of the Four Levels of Measurement: Appropriate Descriptive Statisticsand GraphsLevel of Properties Examples Descriptive GraphsMeasurement statisticsNominal / Discrete Dichotomous Frequencies BarCategorical Arbitrary Yes / No Percentage Pie (no order) Gender Mode Types / Categories colour shapeOrdinal / Rank Ordered Ranking of Frequencies Bar categories favourites Mode Pie Ranks Academic grades Median Stem & leafInterval Equal distances Discrete Frequencies Bar between values - Thoughts, (if discrete) (if discrete) Discrete behaviours, Mode Pie
  • 38. (e.g., Likert feelings, etc. on a (if discrete) (if discrete) scale) Likert scale Median Stem & Leaf Metric Metric Mean Boxplot (e.g., deg. F) - Deg. C or F SD Histogram Interval scales Skewness (if metric) >5 can usually Kurtosis be treated as ratioRatio Continuous / Age Mean Histogram Metric / Weight SD Boxplot Meaningful 0 VO2 max Skewness Stem&Leaf allows ratio Deg. Kelvin Kurtosis (may need to statements round leafs (e.g., A is twice as large as B)