Definitions of Research When you say that you are undertaking a research, you imply that the process:1. Is being undertaken within a framework of a set of philosophies.2. Uses procedures, methods and techniques that have been tested for their validity and reliability.3. Is designed to be unbiased and objective.
What is a researchAn organized, systematic,data-based, critical, objective,scientific inquiry into aspecific problem that needs asolution.
Research is a purposiveinvestigation resulting inan original contribution tothe existing knowledge.
“…the systematic process ofcollecting and analyzinginformation (data) in order toincrease our understanding ofthe phenomenon about whichwe are concerned orinterested.”
“Careful, systematic, patient study andinvestigation in some field ofknowledge, undertaken to establishfacts or principles.” (Grinnell 1993:4)Grinnell further says ‘research is astructured inquiry that utilizesacceptable scientific methodology tosolve problems and creates newknowledge that is generallyacceptable.’
Yields desired results. Scientific Study Facilitates CriticalThen, what does the decisionterm scientific means? making.
Not based on hunches,experience, and intuition.Pursues an organized, logical,step-by-step process.Purposive & rigorous . Scientific • Identify problems means • Gather data • Analyze data • Draw valid conclusionsAccuracy and confidenceObjective
Three essential requirements • Validity • Reliability • Unbiased and Objective
• Validity is applied to any aspect of the research process. – Validity refers to the application of correct procedures to find answers to a question. – If the correct procedures applied to find the answer, then the findings are valid.• Reliability refers to quality of measurement procedures that provides; – Repeatability – accuracy
• Unbiased and objective – Means that you have taken each step in an unbiased manner. – Drawn conclusions to the best of your ability and without introducing your vested interests. – Subjectivity is an integral part of your way of thinking shaped by: • Educational background, discipline, philosophy, experience and skills. – Bias is a deliberate attempt to either conceal or highlight something. The methods adopted to carry out a research have to fulfill these three essential requirements.
Hallmarks of Scientific Research• Purposiveness • Precision and confidence• Rigor • Objectivity• Testability • Generalizability• Replicability • Parsimony How employee commitment to the organization can be increased?
Purposiveness• Start with a definite aim/objective/purpose/ focus.• Research is a purposive investigation. – Focus: increasing the commitment of employees to the organization. – This will in turn be beneficial in many ways. • Less turnover • Less absenteeism • Increased performance level
Rigour• A good theoretical base and a sound methodological design add regour to a purposive study.• Rigour connotes; – Carefulness (right sample, right respondents, right information, minimum degree of bias) – Scrupulousness (conformity to high standards of ethics/excellence) – Degree of exactitude in investigation – Methodological sophistication to ensure; • Relevance • Appropriateness • Justifiability
How employee commitment to the organization can be increased?• Suppose manager asks 10 or 12 employees to indicate what would increase their level of commitment to the organization. Based on the responses manger reaches several conclusions on how employee commitment can be increased.• Is this process scientific or unscientific? Unscientific. Lacks rigour.
• Lacks rigour due to; 1. Conclusions being incorrectly drawn based on few responses. Responses do not represent entire work force. (lacks methodological sophistication) 2. Manner of framing and addressing the questions could have introduced bias (incorrectness in responses). (lacks methodological sophistication) 3. There can be other reasons that impact on commitment which the respondents could not verbalize during the interviews (hence, researcher failed to include them). (lacks good theoretical foundation)
Testability• Need to formulate hypothesis. (How?) – You can talk to a randomly selected sample of people (Inductive) – You can refer to previous studies done on organizational commitment (Deductive) Employees who receive greater opportunities for participation in decision making will have a higher level of commitment.• Hypothesis should be tested using appropriate statistical tests to the data collected. – Correlation analysis – Chi-square tests – t- test
Deductive Reasoning Under deductive method researcher begins with a hypothesis derived from the theory and thereafter gathers empirical evidences to test the hypothesis in order to establish if the hypothesis can be confirmed.Associated with quantitative research.
Deductive methodSteps Working theory or argument (RQ) Hypothesis or proposition Empirical verification Working theory or argument
Deductive method - ExampleMotivation – Reinforcement Theory Human beings tend to repeat those actions that results in positive rewards and avoid those actions which results in negative actions.Hypothesis drawn form the theory Rewards followed by performance tend to generate higher efforts leading to increased performance.The deductive reasoning Performance Rewards Higher Increased efforts performance
Inductive ReasoningInquiry is begun with the aid of past observation ofphenomenon which might give a clue or a hunchfor the researcher to begin the research.The researcher arrives at a theory orgeneralization through the accumulation andsummation of a variety of past observation /experience concerning the phenomenon beingstudied.Generalization is done on past experience orobservation. Associated with qualitative research.
• Inductive method – Starts from a specific observation. – Derives general conclusions therefrom. All swans which have been observed are white in colour. Therefore, all swans are white. – You observe the ‘unit’ and conclude on the ‘whole’ based on the observations on the ‘unit.’
• How do you conclude that all the participants (say 30) attending this course are from public sector?
Inductive Reasoning - Example Unemployment problem and educated youth and youth revolts in Sri Lanka.How do we look at the youth revoltsin Sri Lanka? (1971, 1989)What are our past experience /observations in relation to youthrevolts in Sri Lanka?
Inductive Reasoning - ExampleOur past experience and observations:When unemployment among educated youthincreases educated youths rise against thestate.This has happened two times (1971 and 1989)in the history of Sri Lanka.Researcher generalizes according to pastobservations (repeated observations) whenunemployment increases among educatedyouth they revolt against the state.
Inductive Reasoning Steps Past experience or When the unemployment among Observation the …….. They revolt against the state Hunch RepeatedIt has happened twice observation When the unemployment among Generalization the ……..
Replicability• Replicability refers to the occurrence of the same result in other studies as well.• E.g. based on the results, let us suppose, that the manager concludes it is the participation in decision making that influences most on the commitment of employees to the organization among other factors. – What if this result is repeated in other studies using the same method adopted? • The hypo is supported again and again by other studies.
Precision and Confidence• Difficulty in drawing ‘definitive’ conclusions in research. (Why) – Unable to study the universe of items, events, population. – Have to base on a sample from the universe. – Sample does not show exact characteristics of the universe. – Measurement errors. – BiasesYet, our findings need to be close to the reality!
Precision – Closeness of findings to the “reality” based on a sample. – Degree of accuracy or exactitude of the results. – E.g. Researcher estimates that number of production days lost due to absenteeism is between 30 and 40 as against the actual figure 35. • Closer to reality • If the estimate is between 25 and 50? – So, precision is confidence interval in statistics.
Confidence – Being precise is not enough. – Confidence refers to probability of our the estimate being correct. – We should confidently claim that 95% of the time our results our results will be true. – Known as confidence level. – In social science research, 95% of confidence level is accepted as conventional (significance level). – Scientific sampling design achieves both precision and confidence.
Objectivity• Conclusions/recommendations drawn should be based on data analysis and interpretations.• Subjective and emotional values have no room.• E.g. Greater participation in decision making will increase organizational commitment.• What if data prove otherwise and researcher wants to prove it?• Findings answer the problem. (Objectivity)
Generalizability• It is the scope of applicability of research findings to other settings.• Wider applicability is expected.• In applied research, generalizability is limited. – Applied research – Basic research
Parsimony• Simplicity is preferred to complexity. – Data collection – Data analysis – Generating solutions• Manageability of research. – Not many variables.
Controlled – Exploring causality in relation to two variables. – But, in real life there may be more situations affecting the relationship. – In your research, you have to set up your study in a way that minimizes the effects of other factors affecting the relationship. – In social science research we only attempt to quantify their impact.
Systematic – Procedure adopted follows a certain logical sequence. – Each step should relate to the next step. – Not in haphazard way.Valid and verifiable – What ever you conclude on the basis of findings is correct and can be verified by others.
• Empirical – Conclusions drawn are based on hard evidence gathered from information.• Critical – Scrutiny of procedures used. – Process of investigation must be foolproof and free from any drawbacks. – Process adopted can withstand critical scrutiny.
The scientific method of research• Scientific method consists of following elements. • Concepts – names or labels used to identify and understand phenomena eg. Power • Variables - special kind of concepts containing within them a notion of degree or differentiation. eg. Degree of power distance
The scientific method of research proposes a relationship• Hypothesis - between two or more variables that can be empirically verified. eg. Increased poverty leads to crime.• Measurements – process of verification of the proposed relationship between variables through field research consist of a set of related proposition or affirmed• Theories - hypothses that suggest why event occur in the manner they do.
Step 1 Identification of variables to be studied • Variables are: • Independent Variable (IV) • Dependent Variable (DV) • Extraneous variable (EV)
Variables• Social science involves the study of variables and attributes.• Attributes are characteristics/qualities that describe an object. Object Characteristics Male Female Extravert A person Gleeful Farmer
• So, variables are logical groupings of attributes. Male Gender/Sex Variable Female Occupation Variable It is this relationship (association, causality) between variables and attributes that science tries to explain.
Step 2 A hypothesis about the relationof one variable to another • Deductive approach requires the hypo. • Conjectural statements (tentative theories) • Hypo should demonstrate the relationship between the variables and the concept. • Hypo demonstrates either positive or negative relationships. • Variables included in the hypo must be clearly stated and measured.
Step 3 Testing the hypo. to see thefield reality• Researcher engaging in an empirical exercise does the following. • Define the population (who will be covered) • Select a representative sample from the population • Study the sample using methods to measure the characteristics of the sample • Process and analyze data gathered to measure if the hypothesized relationship between the variables can be established.
Step 4 Comparison of measuredrelationships with the originalhypothesis • This is done to draw generalizations • Depending on the result, the hypo gets established or changed.
Step 5 Suggestions about the theoretical significance of thefindings • Findings reveal whether the theory can still be held valid or not.
Hypothetico-deductive method • Developed by Austrian philosopher Karl Propper. • This method involves seven steps. 1. Identify a broad problem area 2. Define the problem statement 3. Develop hypothesis (testable, falsifiable) 4. Determine measures 5. Data collection 6. Data analysis 7. Interpretation of data
• Applied researchTypes of Research • Basic research • Action research • Case research (Studies) • Survey strategy • ExperimentalResearch Strategies • Action • Case • Ethnographic