Guide on research for management students


Published on

A learning resource from Jayadeva de Silva

Published in: Business, Technology, Education
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Guide on research for management students

  1. 1. Humantalents InternationalGuide on research work for managementstudents(A learning resource)ByJayadeva de SilvaMany business degree programmes require students to carry out a project of 3-4 monthsduration .In some places this would have to be a research project. Many studentsundertake research work in the area of social psychology. Social psychology is “thescientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another.”That would mean how the individual mind works in the actual presence of others, impliedpresence of others, and the imagined presence of others.Social Psychology studies attitude formation, self-concept, forming relationships, socialinfluence, social thinking, motivations for helping and harming others.Now let us look at Personality Psychology and Social PsychologyWhat they have in common is that both focus on the individual. Differences lie in howsocial character is explained .In .Personality studies; emphasis is on private, internalattributes and differences between individuals. In Social Psychology the emphasis is onwhat people have in common and general rules of how people view and affect oneanother. This then is really about levels of explanation. Various perspectives that explainone event are not necessarily contradictory. They are often complimentary. There is noone level of explanation that is the “real” explanation. Different levels of explanationoften fit together to form a fuller picture. It is not very useful to think in terms ofeither/or.Three Worlds of Social Psychology ResearchJayadeva de Silva 1
  2. 2. Humantalents InternationalWhen studying the publications available, we can identify the following trends in socialpsychology research1-North America: First WorldMuch attention on individual level explanationPrimary method is laboratory experiments2-Other industrialized nations: Second WorldMore attention to intergroup and societal levels of explanationMethod: laboratory experiments as well as natural observation and social discourse(social order)3-Developing countries: Third WorldConcerned with poverty, conflict, and making use of limited resources.Psychologists use a number of different scientific methods to conduct research on socialpsychology topics. These methods allow researchers to test hypotheses and theories andlook for relationships between different variables. Which type of research is best? Thisdepends largely on the subject the researcher is exploring, the resources available, and thetheory or hypothesis being investigated.Psychology researchers study a wide variety of topics, ranging from the development ofinfants to the behavior of social groups. Psychologists use the scientific method toinvestigate questions both systematically and empirically. We hope this learning resourcewould help you familiarize yourself with the psychology research process or to brush upon your skills.Introduction to Research MethodsPsychology experiments can range from simple to complex, but there are some basicterms and concepts that all students of psychology should understand. It is important foryou to start your studies by learning more about the different types of research.The Scientific MethodPsychologists use the scientific method to conduct studies and research in psychology.The basic process for conducting psychology research involves asking a question,designing a study, collecting data, analyzing results, reaching conclusions and sharing thefindings. Choosing a topic, selecting research methods, and figuring out how to analyzethe data you collect can be intimidating, especially if you have little or no background orprevious in experimental methods.Correlational Research MethodsCorrelational studies are one of the two major types of psychology research.Correlational studies are frequently used in psychology research to look for relationshipsbetween variables. While correlational studies can suggest that there is a relationshipbetween two variables, finding a correlation does not prove that one variable causes achange in another variable. In other words, correlation does not equal causation.Jayadeva de Silva 2
  3. 3. Humantalents InternationalSocial psychologists use correlational research to look for relationships betweenvariables. For example, a social psychology might carry out a correlational study lookingat the relationship between media violence and aggression. Conducting surveys, directlyobserving behaviors, or compiling research from earlier studies are some of the methodsused to gather data for correlational research. While this type of study can help determineif two variables have a relationship, as we mentioned earlier, it does not allow researchersto determine if one variable causes changes in another variable.Correlational researchThe positive or negative relationship between two variables is called a correlation(positive or negative).Positive = “same direction”Negative = “opposite direction”Jayadeva de Silva 3
  4. 4. Humantalents InternationalCorrelation is represented by the coefficient rConveys magnitude (value of r) and direction (- or +) Ex: correlation between hours ofsleep and energy level is r=.60 (0 < r < 1)Correlations do not imply a causal relationshipExperimental Research MethodsThe simple experiment is one of the most basic methods of determining if there is acause-and-effect relationship between two variables. A simple experiment utilizes acontrol group of participants who receive no treatment and an experimental group ofparticipants who receive the treatment. Experimenters then compare the results of the twogroups to determine if the treatment had an effect. If you want to study the effectivenessof a particular training method you would use this approachExperimental ResearchExperimental research is the key to uncovering causal relationships between variables. Inexperimental research, the experimenter randomly assigns participants to one of twogroups: the control group and the experimental group. The control group receives notreatment and serves as a baseline. Researchers manipulate the levels ofsome independent variable in the experimental group and then measure the effects.Because researchers are able to control the independent variables, experimental researchcan be used to find causal relationships between variables.Experimental Research DesignYou need to understand the definition of the following concepts fairly wellJayadeva de Silva 4
  5. 5. Humantalents InternationalExperimental design: Research in which independent variables are manipulated andbehavior is measured while all other variables (extraneous variables) are controlled for.Random sampling: Drawing from the population in a way that ensures equal opportunityfor every member to be included in one or more conditions of the experiment.Control Group: A group of subjects in an experiment that does not receive theexperimental treatment. The data from the control group are used as a baseline againstwhich data from the experimental group are compared.Hypothesis: A tentative statement, subject to empirical test, about the expectedrelationship between variables.Independent variable: The variable that is manipulated in an experiment. Theindependent variable is believed to have an impact on the dependent variable. (multiplelevels).I like to call this “Influencing factors”Dependent variable: The variable measured in a study. .I like to call this the factorinfluenced”What is a hypothesis?A hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or morevariables. A hypothesis is a specific, testable prediction about what you expect to happenin your study. For example, a study designed to look at the relationship between sleepdeprivation and test performance might have a hypothesis that states, "This study isdesigned to assess the hypothesis that sleep deprived people will perform worse on a testthan individuals who are not sleep deprived."Unless you are creating a study that is exploratory in nature, your hypothesis shouldalways explain what you expect to happen during the course of your experiment orresearch.Remember, a hypothesis does not have to be right. While the hypothesis predicts what theresearchers expect to see, the goal of research is to determine whether this guess is rightor wrong. When conducting an experiment, researchers might explore a number ofdifferent factors to determine which ones might contribute to the ultimate outcome.In many cases, researchers may find that the results of an experiment do not support theoriginal hypothesis. When writing up these results, the researchers might suggest otheroptions that should be explored in future studies.Elements of a Good HypothesisWhen trying to come up with a good hypothesis for your own psychology research orexperiments, ask yourself the following questions:• Is you hypothesis based on your research of a topic?• Can your hypothesis be tested?• Does you hypothesis include independent and dependent variables?Jayadeva de Silva 5
  6. 6. Humantalents InternationalBefore you come up with a specific hypothesis, spend some time doing backgroundresearch on your topic. Once you have completed a literature review, start thinking ofpotential questions you still have. Pay attention to the discussion section in the journalarticles you read. Many authors will suggest questions that still need to be explored.Descriptive researchThe goal of descriptive research is to portray what already exists in a group or population.One example of this type of research would be an opinion poll to find which politicalcandidate people plan to vote for in an upcoming election. Unlike causal and relationalstudies, descriptive studies cannot determine if there is a relationship between twovariables. They can only describe what exists within a given population. An example ofdescriptive research would be conducting a survey to find out peoples attitudes toward aparticular social issue such as divorce, capital punishment, gambling laws or intendedpiece of labour law like private sector pension schemeJayadeva de Silva 6
  7. 7. Humantalents InternationalYou should be also aware of the following conceptsValidity /Validity of researchWhen determining the merits of a psychological test, validity is one of the most importantfactors to consider. What is validity? One of the greatest concerns when creating apsychological test is whether or not it actually measures what we think it is measuring.For example, a test might be designed to measure a stable personality trait, but insteadmeasure transitory emotions generated by situational or environmental conditions. Avalid test ensures that the results are an accurate reflection of the dimension undergoingassessment.Validity has two dimensions1-Internal ValidityDoes the Design lend itself to testing the hypotheses?2 -External ValidityAre the results only applicable in the controlled setting or can they be generalized to thereal world?You would find that one compromises the otherReliabilityReliability is another vital component of a valid psychological test. What is reliability?How do we measure it? Simply put, reliability refers to the consistency of a measure. Atest is considered reliable if we get the same result repeatedly.The impact of human valuesValues mean “Personal convictions about what is desirable and how people ought tobehave.” We should be aware that when conducting research, researcher’s values canimpact their work in obvious and subtle ways.Obvious impact may be due to historical trends .Subtle ways of impact: are due to thefact that our preconceptions penetrate our interpretations, Much of these preconceptionsare culturally patterned (socially shared beliefs, ideas, values, and assumptions)Ideas for practiceIf you want to develop your skills in research work, you can try some psychologicalexperimentsBreakfast and Learning ExperimentDoes eating breakfast really help students do better in school? According to manyexperts, eating breakfast can have a beneficial influence on school performance. Onestudy found that children who ate a healthy breakfast learned better and had more energythan students who did not eat breakfast. Learn more by conducting your own experimenton how breakfast impacts learning.Jayadeva de Silva 7
  8. 8. Humantalents InternationalShort-Term Memory ExperimentHow much information can be stored in short-term memory? One classic experimentsuggests that people can store between five to nine items, but rehearsal strategies such aschunking can significantly increase memorization and recall. Explore this psychologyexperiment idea in greater depth and learn more about how to conduct your own short-term memory experiment.**Jayadeva de Silva obtained Master’s degree in Science from Russian Friendship University Moscow and Diploma inPersonnel Management from National Institute of Business Management( SriLanka). He is a fellow of both the Instituteof Personnel Management IPM) and Institute of Training & development. (SLITAD) He is also professionally qualified intraining systems & curriculum design with an ILO fellowship.A strong advocate of Human Talents Development, Jayadeva is the Principal Consultant/Director of HumantalentsUnlimited, a professional practice that provides training & consultancy in Management. Jayadeva has carried outseveral consultancy projects and conducted numerous management development programs/strategic planningworkshops, and has been trained in modern management and leadership concepts. He has contributed articles (over50) and authored the trend setting book ‘Human Talents Management’.He founded humantalents International and HRSriLanka virtual learning Groups. Jayadeva de Silva functioned asGroup Manager (Human Resources Development) of Hayleys Group of Companies and Group Director–HumanResources of Browns Group of companies.He serves as a resource person for professional and post graduate at University of Peradeniya, University of Ruhuna,University of Ballarat Australia (SriLanka campus) Herriot Watt university UK, Australian, Institute of Business (AIB),SriLanka Foundation Institute, IPM & SLITAD.He is a past president of HRDGateway, an International organization of over 45,000 HR Professionals worldwide.He can be contacted as follows E mail 011 2562449 077 7272295 Web Some of his publications are available for fee download from de Silva 8