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Research Strategies - Reference Note 1
 

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    Research Strategies - Reference Note 1 Research Strategies - Reference Note 1 Document Transcript

    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Student’s Guides: Note 1 – Research Strategies Reference Book : Business Research Methods by Alan Bryman & Emma Bell (2007) Oxford University Press Reading guide The chief aim of this Note1 is to show that a variety of considerations enter into the process of doing management and business research. The distinction that is commonly drawn among writers on and practitioners of social research between quantitative research and qualitative research is explored in relation to these considerations. This chapter explores:  the nature of the relationship between theory and research, in particular whether theory guides research (known as a deductive approach) or whether theory is an outcome of research (known as an inductive approach)  epistemological issues—that is, ones to do with what is regarded as appropriate knowledge about the social world, one of the most crucial aspects is the question of whether or not a natural science model of the research process is suitable for the study of the social world;  ontological issues—that is, ones to do with whether the social world is regarded as something external to social actors or as something that people are in the process of fashioning;  the ways in which these issues relate to the widely used distinction in the social sciences between two types of research strategy: quantitative and qualitative research; there is also a preliminary discussion, which will be followed up in Chapter 24, that suggests that, while quantitative and qualitative research represent different approaches to social research, we should be wary of driving a wedge between them;  the ways in which values and practical issues also impinge on the social research process. 1
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Slide 1.1 Research Strategies Bryman & Bell, Business Research Methods, 2nd edition, Chapter 1 Business research strategies ‘All social research is a coming together of the ideal and the feasible’. Authored by David McHugh ©1 Working from the quote the main point to make here is that research not a cut & dried affair. This is especially true of undergraduate/masters dissertation research as research possibilities are often driven by access and constrained by the opportunities available to the lone researcher (see 1. in Problem Spotting section at end). Research strategy is a complex topic but in practice is mainly a matter of making & justifying choices. Possibly the most crucial thing is to know is where to find the info you need as even professional researchers often use a ‘cookbook’ approach. Slide 1.2 The Field of Management Research The Field of Management Research Discipline base Psychology Sociology Anthropology Economics Organisational Sub Fields Operational Behaviour Research Human Resource Accounting Management & Finance Industrial Relations Strategy Marketing Authored by David McHugh ©1 Note that sub-fields are eclectic in content and only separate in conceptual terms, e.g. HRM itself could be considered as a sub-field of OB, IR & strategy. 2
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Slide 1.3 Research Classifications Research Classifications • Exploratory/descriptive • Analytical/critical • Predictive/confirmatory • Action/applied Authored by David McHugh ©1 This slide represents a conceptual classification or research typology additional to the material in the text – its main purpose is to introduce discussion of different types or approaches to research and as a link to point students to the ‘Research Project Guide’ section of the site. Possibly best to use simple examples of categories here: Exploratory/descriptive – informal interview Analytical/critical – survey/ethnography Predictive/confirmatory – experiment Action/applied – diagnostic survey Slide 1.4 The Status of Management Research The Status of Management Research ‘Both academic researchers and management consultants are in professional services; they are “intellectuals,” “knowledge workers”, or even “gold-collar workers”; they belong to “knowledge- based organizations,” a subset of the service economy’. Gummeson, E. 1991, p.5. Authored by David McHugh ©1 See Key concept 1.1 The emphasis here is on the sensitivity of client’s agendas & politicised interests e.g. the difficulty of researching topics such as absenteeism, workplace deviancy etc and the pressure to produce solutions. 3
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Key point: Management and business research is subject to considerable political debate concerning its relevance to practitioners and its fundamental purpose. Slide 1.5 Modes of Knowledge Production Modes of Knowledge Production • Mode 1 • Mode2 – traditional, university- – involves: based • academics • policy-makers – academic audience • practitioners – pure and applied – trans-disciplinarity – built upon existing – related to context knowledge • not easily replicated – more linear process – less linear process – more emphasis on – limited emphasis on dissemination & dissemination exploitation Based on Gibbons et al. (1994) Authored by David McHugh ©1 This is probably a good point to ask for some reflection from students using the questions from p.6 in text:  What is the aim or function of management research?  Is it conducted primarily in order to find ways of improving organizational performance?  Or is it mainly about increasing our understanding of how organizations work?  Who are the audiences of management research?  Is management research conducted primarily for managers and if not, for whom else in organizations is it conducted?  Or is it done in order to further the academic development of management and business as a field or even as a discipline? Additionally/alternatively you could explore points 1-4 on pp.6-7 4
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Slide 1.6 Theory & Social Research Theory & Social Research • Two types of theory: – Grand theories • offer few indications to influence the collection of empirical evidence • do not necessarily link well with the real world • are said to be of limited use in connection with social research • do not typically guide management and business research – Theories of the middle range • operate in limited domains • vary in purpose or application • fall somewhere between grand theories and empirical findings • represent attempts to understand and explain limited aspects of social life? Authored by David McHugh ©1 Refer to text p.7-8 & the discussion of Merton. Grand theories can be presented as good at integrating findings of research into theoretical frames, middle-range theories as giving more guidance as to possible directions of research and generating research questions. Slide 1.7 Examples of Grand Theory Examples of Grand Theory • Structural-functionalism • Symbolic Interactionism • Critical theory • Poststructuralism • Structuration theory (see Key concept 1.1) Authored by David McHugh ©1 See Research in focus 1.2 – the point is that though grand theories can inform research, results often tell us more about the explanatory power of the theory itself or are used to support the veracity of the theory against competing theories than they do to integrate knowledge about a social situation. 5
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Slide 1.8 Examples of Mid Range Theories Examples of Mid Range Theories • Strategic choice • Trait theory • Contingency theory • Labour Process theory (see Research in focus 1.2) Authored by David McHugh ©1 Here you can either: 1. Refer to Research in focus 1.3 and & give an example of labour process theory research 2. Emphasise the discussion of contingency theory in the text 3. Or for a more OB related course use an example of trait theory in different strands of research – personality, stress, career development etc. Slide 1.9 Theory and Literature Theory and Literature • Uses of literature: – not just naive empiricism (see Key concept1.4) – characteristic of ‘fact-finding exercises' – descriptive & exploratory – literature can act as a proxy for theory – theory can be latent or implicit in the literature • Theory driven by: – neglected aspects of topics – ideas not previously tested – deficiency of existing approaches – newly published ideas or findings Authored by David McHugh ©1 You could spend some time explaining empiricism, referring to Key concept 1.4 Alternatively you could point out that in student research it is often theory that drives how to proceed with research questions regardless of status of theory, 6
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research i.e. uncritical usage treats all theory as of equal status (see 2. in Problem Spotting section at end). Slide 1.10 Deduction and Induction Deduction and Induction • Deduction Deduction: – Theory  observations/findings • Induction Induction: – Observations/findings  theory Authored by David McHugh ©1 Use this slide mainly as a link to introduce slides 1.11 & 1.12, but point out that both deductive research & inductive research comprise elements of each other and it is rare that student research uses a pure version of either (see 3. in Problem Spotting section at end). Key point: Theory can be depicted as something that precedes research (as in quantitative research) or as something that emerges out of it (as in qualitative research). Slide 1.11 The Process of Deduction The Process of Deduction • Theory • Hypothesis • Data collection • Findings • Hypotheses confirmed or rejected • Revision of theory Figure 1.1 – see Research in focus 1.5 Authored by David McHugh ©1 See Research in focus 1.5 - you could use this as an opportunity to explain relevance of the null hypothesis. 7
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research You could also use Research in focus 1.5 to point out use of deductive research to produce findings and of inductive research to interpret findings. Slide 1.12 The Process of Induction The Process of Induction • Compare theory • Develop theory • Look for patterns • Form Categories • Ask Questions • Gather information Authored by David McHugh ©1 See Research in focus 1.6 (& 1.11) Point out that the use of inductive research to develop categories for deductive research shows the cyclical and/or interdependent nature of the research process within a discipline even where individual choices about research projects may emphasise one over the other – could also link this to the research example re slide 1.14. Slide 1.13 Influences on Social Research Influences on Social Research Practical considerations Theory Epistemology Social Research Values Ontology Figure 1.2 Authored by David McHugh ©1 Use mainly as an introduction to slides 1.14-20 8
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research 9
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Slide 1.14 Epistemology and Ontology Epistemology and Ontology  Epistemology Epistemology:  Ontology Ontology:  Natural science  Objectivism model  Structural analysis  Positivism  Attitudinal analysis  Realism  Empirical realism  Critical realism  Interpretivism  Constructionism  Verstehen  Categorical analysis  Phenomenology  Discourse analysis  Hermeneutics Authored by David McHugh ©1 Emphasise the categories as indicators of different strands of research/analysis which can be applied to the same research topic. You might also point out that objectivism and constructionism are often referred to under the blanket heading of ‘anti-positivism’ with the implication that they embody a series of disparate approaches that often only have their opposition to positivism in common. Key point: Epistemological considerations loom large in considerations of research strategy. To a large extent, these revolve around the desirability of employing a natural science model (and in particular positivism) versus interpretivism. Ontological considerations, concerning objectivism versus constructionism, also constitute important dimensions of the quantitative/qualitative contrast. Slide 1.15 What Is Positivism? 10
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research What Is Positivism? Five elements: 1. Phenomalism - knowledge must be confirmed by the senses 2. Inductivism - facts gathered to generate laws 3. Deductivism - role of theory is generation of hypotheses to be tested 4. Objectivism - objectivity in the gathering and analysis of data 5. Concern with scientific rather than normative statements See Key concept 1.7 & Research in focus 1.8 Authored by David McHugh ©1 You could either discuss or explain the difference between scientific & normative statements: Discussion point: introduce the notions of falsifiability & probability: Falsifiablity - Popper, which is basically the notion that to 'prove' or verify any hypotheses it has to be examined under all conditions and contexts, which is practicably impossible, and that science progresses by the serial disproof of hypotheses. Probability - mixes falsification and verification in focus on testing statistical significance of hypotheses predicted from laws, possibly the main form of positivism these days and an important distinction in that we can often only show a probability value for even the disproof of a hypothesis because of a reliance on correlational data. Slide 1.16 What is Realism? What is Realism? • Natural and social sciences can and should apply the same approach to collecting data and to explanation • There is an external reality to which scientists direct their at tention (see glossary in text) • Empirical realism – asserts that, through the use of appropriate methods, external reality can be understood – Implies that categories refer to real objects • Critical realism – recognizes the reality of the natural order – recognizes events and discourses of the social world – seeks to identify the structures at work that generate those events and discourses – admits into explanation theoretical terms not directly amenable to observation See Key Concept 1.9 Authored by David McHugh ©1 Explain how critical realism tries to bridge the gap between objectivist & constructionist approaches & link this to slide 1.21 & the discussion of paradigms. 11
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Slide 1.17 What is Interpretivism? What is Interpretivism? Interpretivism is taken to denote an alternative to the positivist orthodoxy that has held sway for decades. It is predicated upon the view that a strategy is required that respects the differences between people and the objects of the natural sciencesand therefore requires the social scientist to grasp the subjective meaning of social action. Its intellectual heritage includes: Weber's notion of Verstehen; the hermeneutic-phenomenological tradition; and symbolic interactionism. see Key concept 1.10 & Research in focus1.11 Authored by David McHugh ©1 Refer to Research in focus 1.11, emphasise how Grint uses leadership as a construct to highlight the experience of leadership as opposed to a set of deductive concepts or categories. Slide 1.18 What is Objectivism? What is Objectivism? Objectivism is an ontological position that asserts that social phenomena and their meanings have an existence that is independent of social actors. It implies that social phenomena and the categories that we use in everyday discourse have an existence that is independent or separate from actors. Key concept 1.13 Authored by David McHugh ©1 The best approach here may be to point out how conventional wisdom treats organisations as concrete, objective entities and then using the examples of social order and culture from the text show how such constraints reinforce this impression in our everyday experience. 12
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Slide 1.19 What is Constructionism? What is Constructionism? • Also referred to as constructivism • Social phenomena and their meanings are continually being generated by social actors • Social phenomena and categories are produced through social interaction • Social phenomena and categories are are in a constant state of revision • Researchers' own accounts of the social world are constructions • Knowledge is viewed as indeterminate see Key concept 1.14 & Research in focus 1.15 Authored by David McHugh ©1 Refer to Key concept 1.14 & Research in focus 1.15 emphasise the notion of sense-making processes in the Linstead example. Slide 1.20 Fundamental Differences Between Quantitative and Qualitative Research Strategies Fundamental Differences Between Quantitative and Qualitative Research Strategies Quantitative Qualitative Principal Deductive Inductive orientation to the role of theory in relation to research Epistemological Natural science Interpretivism orientation model, in particular positivism Ontological Objectivism Constructionism orientation Table 1.1 Authored by David McHugh ©1 Use this as a link to introduce debates in Chapters 24 & 25 on hybrid research and/or introduce the theme of feminist research reflected throughout the text. Key point: Quantitative and qualitative research constitute different approaches to social investigation and carry with them important epistemological and ontological considerations. Feminist researchers have tended to prefer a qualitative approach, though there is some evidence of a change of viewpoint in this regard. 13
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Slide 1.21 Paradigms Paradigms • A cluster of beliefs and dictates that influence: – What should be studied – How research should be done – How results should be interpreted • Features: – Incommensurability – Social science consists of competing paradigms and is itself pre-paradigmatic see Key concept 1.16 Authored by David McHugh ©1 Perhaps it is best here to simply explain the notion of notion of incommensurability and preface a wider discussion of the issue in relation to slide 1.23. Refer to Key concept 1.16 – explanation of Thomas Kuhn’s Scientific Politics; the notion that natural and positivist science does not follow even its own laws of progress and laws change to follow social/situational expediency. Methods are mainly to examine accounts and cases of scientific work to elicit political, organisational or professional influences on scientific progress. Discussion point: Kuhn's theory itself could be said to constitute a form of law: (New) Dominant paradigm - (normal science) Crisis Empirical anomalies Alternative theories - (rejected and vilified in the main) but the point is that change and often scientific work in itself is not always pursued for scientific reasons. Key point: These considerations have informed the ‘four paradigm’ model which has been an important influence on business and management research. 14
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Slide 1.22 Social Paradigms Social Paradigms Radical Radical humanist Radical structuralist S Social arrangements Structural power u O Emancipatory practice Conflict b b j j e e c c t Interpretive Functionalist t i Social construction? Rationality i v v Experiental Problem-solving i i s s t t Regulatory Based on Burrell & Morgan, 1981 Authored by David McHugh ©1 This is based on Burrell and Morgan’s (1979) Refer to the text p. 26. You could possibly explain Burrell & Morgan’s four strands of analysis:  Ontology  Epistemology  Methodology  Theory of human nature Discussion point: Organisation Theory has moved along since Burrell &Morgan produced the original of this, notably in the areas of labour process theory and other notions ranging from post-fordism to post modernism, a good exercise here would perhaps be to attempt to locate these approaches on the 'map' of organisation theory. Slide 1.23 Multiple Paradigm Research Multiple Paradigm Research • Functionalist – Survey of job motivation • Interpretive – Conversational data on work routines • Radical humanist – Descriptive analysis of management training • Radical structuralist – Historical analysis of employment relations Based on Hassard 1991, see Research in focus1.17 Authored by David McHugh ©1 Refer to Research in focus 1.17 – emphasise Hassard’s work as embodying alternate versions of the same reality. You could also possibly reprise the issue of incommensurability as discussed on p.26 of the text. 15
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Slide 1.24 Values Values • Can reflect the beliefs or feelingsof a researcher • Can produce biasat any or all points in the social research process, e.g.: – choice of research area and methods – formulation of research question, research design and data collection techniques – implementation of data collection – analysis and interpretation of data – Conclusions • Can produce affinity or sympathy, especially to underdog groups • Can be antithetical to values of many managers Authored by David McHugh ©1 Emphasise the debate between value-laden & value free research as a link to the next chapter. Key point: Values may impinge on the research process at different times. Slide 1.25 Practical Considerations Practical Considerations • May influence or determine choices on: – research strategy – design – method – resources & costs • May be influenced or determined by: – nature of the topic – people being investigated – political acceptability Authored by David McHugh ©1 Discussion point: Take the opportunity here to remind students of the Research Project Guide where these issues will be discussed further and ask for examples of the kind of practical considerations students have or may face in their own dissertations/projects. Key point: Practical considerations in decisions about research methods are also important. 16
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY by Mr. Shaya’a Othman, Academic Fellow, INSANIAH University College Extra Reading on General Introduction of Research Problem-spotting 1. It is difficult for business students to take a purist approach to research due to practical considerations, especially timescale & difficulties of access – thus feasibility is a major factor of research projects. 2. There is a tendency to treat theories and models uncritically and as themselves embodying particular perspectives rather than examining the methodological stance or methods of the research they are based on – or else students may critique particular studies on a methodological basis, but often fail to examine the methodological basis of theories and models they adopt e.g. Blake & Mouton’s managerial grid or Belbin’s role analysis. 3. Students often use phenomenological strategies, qualitative methods in general and specific approaches such as grounded theory as if they were interchangeable, it is important to be as specific as possible when specifying methodological approaches in these areas. 17