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Research Methodology in Business

Research Methodology in Business

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  • Delphi technique An excellent tool for gaining input from recognised sources of expertise, without the need for face to face meetings. It provides a highly disciplined way of addressing or solving a problem. It can be time consuming and the information gained is only as good as the selection of the experts. Description The Delphi technique uses a highly structured and focused questionnaire approach in order to establish a consensus opinion from 'experts'. Recognising that these experts may be geographically dispersed, it was designed to be conducted by post, although this does not preclude its use in face to face interviews. Method The method is iterative, and first aims to obtain a broad range of opinions from the target group. The results of the initial survey are collated, summarised and then form the basis of a second, follow on questionnaire. Results from the second questionnaire inform a third and final questionnaire. The aim is to progressively clarify and expand on issues, identify areas of agreement or disagreement and begin to establish priorities. Identify experts Define the problem Round one questions General questions to gain a broad understanding of the views of the experts relating to the problem. Responses should be collated and summarised. Round two questions Based on the responses to the first questions, these questions should dig more deeply into the topic to clarify specific issues. Again, collate and summarise the results. Round three questions The final questionnaire which aims to focus on supporting decision making.
  • Delphi technique An excellent tool for gaining input from recognised sources of expertise, without the need for face to face meetings. It provides a highly disciplined way of addressing or solving a problem. It can be time consuming and the information gained is only as good as the selection of the experts. Description The Delphi technique uses a highly structured and focused questionnaire approach in order to establish a consensus opinion from 'experts'. Recognising that these experts may be geographically dispersed, it was designed to be conducted by post, although this does not preclude its use in face to face interviews. Method The method is iterative, and first aims to obtain a broad range of opinions from the target group. The results of the initial survey are collated, summarised and then form the basis of a second, follow on questionnaire. Results from the second questionnaire inform a third and final questionnaire. The aim is to progressively clarify and expand on issues, identify areas of agreement or disagreement and begin to establish priorities. Identify experts Define the problem Round one questions General questions to gain a broad understanding of the views of the experts relating to the problem. Responses should be collated and summarised. Round two questions Based on the responses to the first questions, these questions should dig more deeply into the topic to clarify specific issues. Again, collate and summarise the results. Round three questions The final questionnaire which aims to focus on supporting decision making.
  • 'Goldilocks test' - a metaphor for thinking through the suitability of the research questions for a particular researcher in a particular setting at a particular time.  So, we can ask: is this question 'too big', such that it cannot be tackled in this particular study at this time - perhaps it is a study which needs significant research funding or assistance which is not usually available to students doing research for an academic award?  We can ask 'Is this too small?' - perhaps there is not enough substance to the question to warrant investigation.  We can ask if the question is 'too hot' - perhaps an issue which is so sensitive that the timing is not right for investigation - or such that researching it at this point would be not only difficult but damaging in the particular social context.  These questions will enable us finally to identify those questions which might be 'just right' for investigation at this time, by this researcher in this setting.  (pages 33-34)
  • Once you complete your list, review your questions in order to choose a usable one that is neither too broad nor too narrow. In this case, the best research question is "c." Question "a" is too narrow, since it can be answered with a simple statistic. Question "b" is too broad; it implies that the researcher will cover many tactics for reducing juvenile delinquency that could be used throughout the country. Question "c," on the other hand, is focused enough to research in some depth. (EXERCISE 2)
  • EXPLANATION Question "c" (MacDonald's vs. Burger King) is not researchable as it is worded, since it has no concrete meaning. What does "better" mean? Better in terms of nutrition? Better tasting? Better value? Fewer calories? Better for making your kids happy? This question could become researchable only if you define its terms.
  • EXPLANATION Question "c" (MacDonald's vs. Burger King) is not researchable as it is worded, since it has no concrete meaning. What does "better" mean? Better in terms of nutrition? Better tasting? Better value? Fewer calories? Better for making your kids happy? This question could become researchable only if you define its terms.
  • The OBJECTIVES of a research project summarise what is to be achieved by the study. Objectives should be closely related to the statement of the problem. For example, if the problem identified is low utilisation of child welfare clinics, the general objective of the study could be to identify the reasons for this low utilisation, in order to find solutions. The general objective of a study states what researchers expect to achieve by the study in general terms. It is possible (and advisable) to break down a general objective into smaller, logically connected parts. These are normally referred to as specific objectives. Specific objectives should systematically address the various aspects of the problem as defined under ‘Statement of the Problem’ ( Module 4 ) and the key factors that are assumed to influence or cause the problem. They should specify what you will do in your study, where and for what purpose . A study into the cost and quality of home-based care for HIV/AIDS patients and their communities in Zimbabwe, developed at an HSR workshop, for example, had as its general objective: To explore to what extent community home-based care (CHBC) projects in Zimbabwe provide adequate, affordable and sustainable care of good quality to people with HIV/AIDS, and to identify ways in which these services can be improved. It was split up in the following specific objectives: To identify the full range of economic, psychosocial, health/nursing care and other needs of patients and their families affected by AIDS. To determine the extent to which formal and informal support systems address these needs from the viewpoint of service providers as well as patients. To determine the economic costs of CHBC to the patient and family as well as to the formal CHBC programmes themselves. To relate the calculated costs to the quality of care provided to the patient by the family and to the family/patient by the CHBC programme. To determine how improved CHBC and informal support networks can contribute to the needs of persons with AIDS and other chronically and terminally ill patients. To use the findings to make recommendations on the improvement of CHBC to home care providers, donors and other concerned organisations, including government. The first specific objective usually focuses on quantifying or specifying the problem. This is necessary in many studies, especially when a problem has been defined (but not quantified) for which subsequently the major causes have to be identified. Often use can be made of available statistics or of the health information system. In the study on the high defaulter rate of TB patients, this rate should first be established, using the records, and only then would the contributing factors to defaulting be analysed. In the example given, the needs of AIDS patients and their relatives for care and support have been defined in the first objective. The objectives which follow concentrate on adequacy, cost and quality of care provided whereas the last two objectives specify possible improvements with respect to CHBC, and to whom the results and recommendations of the study will be fed back. Note: It may be helpful to use the diagram as a point of departure and check whether the problem and all major, directly contributing factors (analytic study) or major components (descriptive or evaluation study) have been covered by the objectives. An objective indicating how the results will be used should be included in every operational study, either as part of the general objective or as a specific objective. Focus the study (narrowing it down to essentials) How should you state your objectives? Take care that the objectives of your study: Cover the different aspects of the problem and its contributing factors in a coherent way and in a logical sequence ; Are clearly phrased in operational terms, specifying exactly what you are going to do, where, and for what purpose; Are realistic considering local conditions; and Use action verbs that are specific enough to be evaluated. Examples of action verbs are: to determine, to compare, to verify, to calculate, to describe, and to establish. Avoid the use of vague non-action verbs such as: to appreciate, to understand, or to study.

Chapter2&3 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. 09/20/10 Business Research Methods Ning DING
  • 2. Learning Objectives 09/20/10
    • Generate ideas about a suitable research topic
    • Identify the attributes of a good research topic
    • Turn the ideas into clear research questions
    • Draft a research proposal
  • 3. Group Assignment 09/20/10
    • Expert
    • Literature
  • 4. Group Assignment 09/20/10
    • Definition
    • Example:
    • Stress: neutral, negative, positive definition?
    • ‘ physical, mental, or emotional response to events that causes bodily or mental tension’
    • Direction?:
      • indicators of stress (how does it show)
      • Sources of stress (what causes it)
      • Coping with stress (which strategies)
      • Stress and health (example: usage of coffee / energy drinks during exam periods)
      • Stress and self esteem
      • Etc
  • 5. 2.1 Introduction 09/20/10 Fail to plan? Plan to fail.
  • 6. 2.2 Attributes of a good research topic 09/20/10
        • Feasible
        • Clear
        • Significant: symmetry of potential outcomes
        • Ethical
        • Theory-based
  • 7. 09/20/10 2.2 Attributes of a good research topic
  • 8. 09/20/10 1 Discover B/M dilemma 2 Define B/M Question 3 Define Res Question(s) 1a Exploration Review published sources and interview information Understand the true B/M dilemma, not just its symptoms 2a Exploration Clarify the plausible actions, e.g. brainstorming with experts 3a Selection The most plausible and with the greatest gain 2.2 Attributes of a good research topic
  • 9. 2.3.1 Generating research ideas 09/20/10 Rational Thinking Creative Thinking See Table 2.1 on Page 23
    • Strengths & interest
    • Past project titles
    • Discussion
    • Literature search
    • Media search
    • Personal preferences using past projects
    • Relevance trees
    • Brainstorming
    • Notebook diary
  • 10. 2.3.2 Refining research ideas 09/20/10 Delphi technique
  • 11. 2.3.2 Refining research ideas 09/20/10 Delphi technique
  • 12. 2.3.2 Refining research ideas 09/20/10 The preliminary study
    • To gain a greater understanding so that your research question can be refined.
    • Is your research idea feasible?
    • Do you need to revise your ideas?
    Integrating ideas Working up and narrowing down Classfying each research idea into its area, field, and then the precise aspect
  • 13. 2.4.1 Research question(s) 09/20/10 Too big? Too small? Too hot? Just right? Russian Dolls
  • 14. 2.4.1 Research question(s) 09/20/10
    • juvenile delinquency
      • What is the 1994 rate of juvenile delinquency in the U.S.?
      • b. What can we do to reduce juvenile delinquency in the U.S.?
      • c. Does education play a role in reducing juvenile delinquents' return to crime?
    too narrow too broad
  • 15. 2.4.1 Research question(s) 09/20/10 Question: Does MacDonald's or Burger King make a better burger? Vs. no concrete meaning
  • 16. 2.4.1 Research question(s) 09/20/10 Worked Example: How have green issues influenced the way in which manufacturers advertise cars? Parameter Narrow Broader Language UK(e.g. car) UK and USA (e.g. car/ automobile) Subject area Green issues Environmental issues Motor industry Manufacturing Advertising Marketing Business sector Motor industry Manufacturing Geographical area UK Europe and North America Publication period Last 5 years Last 15 years Literature type Refereed journals Journals and books and books
  • 17. 2.4.2 Research objective(s) 09/20/10
  • 18. 2.4.2 Research objective(s) 09/20/10 Why should research objectives be developed? Focus the study Avoid unnecessary data Organise the study clearly How should you state your objectives? Take care that the objectives of your study: coherent and logical ; clearly phrased realistic action verbs to appreciate to understand to study.
    • Your objectives are structured using action-words like:
      • assess or reassess
      • develop
      • provide (an understanding of …)
      • examine
      • analyse
      • interpret
      • elucidate
      • articulate
      • establish
      • construct
      • evaluate or re-evaluate
  • 19. 2.4.3 Theory 09/20/10
  • 20. 2.4.3 Theory 09/20/10
    • Theory
      • Narrows the range of facts we need to study
      • Suggests which research approaches are likely to yield the greatest meaning
      • Suggests a system for the researcher to impose on data in order to classify them in the most meaningful way
      • Summarizes what is known about an object of study and states the uniformities that lie beyond immediate observation
      • Predict further facts that should be found
  • 21. 2.5 Writing research proposal 09/20/10
    • Purposes of the research proposal:
      • Organizing your ideas
      • Convincing your audience
      • Contracting with your client
    • Content of the research proposal:
      • Title
      • Background
      • Research Questions and objectives
      • Method
      • Timescale
      • Resources
      • References
  • 22. 3. Literature Review 09/20/10 Deductive approach
  • 23. 3. Literature Review 09/20/10
  • 24. Summary
    • Research topic
      • Formulate and clarify your research topic
      • Generate and refine your research ideas using various techniques.
    • Research question
      • Clear, theory-dependent
    • Research Proposal
      • What you want to do?
      • Why you want to do?
      • What your are trying to achieve?
      • How you plan to achieve it?
    09/20/10
  • 25. Group Assignment 09/20/10 hand-in date for research proposal (use ‘ assignment form ‘ on blackboard): Tuesday , week 3, 12:00 noon, my pigeon hole Based on: ‘ Team Assignment Business research Methods ‘
  • 26. Discussion Questions
    • In academic research, at University level, a verb best avoided in the research question is:
      • to identify. 
      • to describe. 
      • to determine. 
      • to establish.
    09/20/10
    • Idea generation by two or more people thinking as freely as possible is formally known as:
    • A. forced relationships. 
    • B. gap analysis. 
    • C. clap-trapping. 
    • D. the learning curve. 
    • E. brainstorming
  • 27. Discussion Questions 09/20/10
    • Which word fills all the blanks in this extract: We talk about generating __________, testing_______, rejecting ________.
      • objectives 
      • hypotheses 
      • aims 
      • questions
    More exercises: click here A student plans a research project; it is called A description of IBM. On the limited information we have (the title), which ONE of these best applies to the idea?   A. It is wide.  B. It has an acceptable purpose.  C. It has an acceptable method.  D. It is narrow.