College of Business and
Business Research Methods
Introduction to research
WHAT IS RESEARCH?
Research, a somewhat intimidating term for
some, is simply the process of finding
solutions to a problem after a thorough study
and analysis of the situation factors.
Business research can be described as a
systematic and organized effort to investigate
a specific problem encountered in the work
setting, which needs a solution.
DEFINITION OF BUSINESS RESEARCH
We can define business research as an
organized, systematic, data-based, critical,
objective, scientific inquiry or investigation
into a specific problem, undertaken with
purpose of finding answers or solutions to it.
SOME COMMONLY RESEARCHED AREAS IN
1. Employee behaviors such as performance,
absenteeism, and turnover
2. Employee attitudes such as job satisfaction,
loyalty, and organizational commitment
3. Supervisory performance, managerial
leadership style, and performance appraisal
TYPES OF BUSINESS RESEARCH: APPLIED AND
1. Applied research
Research done with the intention of applying
the results of the findings to solve specific
problems currently being experienced in an
1. Basic research “ fundamental – pure”
Research done chiefly to make a contribution
to existing knowledge
MANAGERS AND RESEARCH
Managers with knowledge of research have an advantage over
those without Knowledgeable about research and research
methods helps professional managers to:
1. Identify and effectively solve minor problems in the work setting
2. Know how to discriminate good from bad research
3. Appreciate and be constantly aware of the multiple influences
and multiple effects of factors impinging on a situation
4. Take calculated risks in decision making, knowing full well the
probabilities associated with the different possible outcomes.
5. Prevent possible vested(fixed) interests from exercising their
influence in a situation.
6. Related to hire researchers and consultants more effectively.
7. Combine experience with scientific knowledge while making
THE MANAGER AND THE CONSULTANT- RESEARCHER
Managers often need to engage a consultant to
study some of the more complex, time
consuming problems that they encounter
E MANAGERS – RESEARCHER RELATIONSHIP
During their careers, it often becomes necessary for
managers to deal with consultants, so while hiring
researchers or consultants the manager should make
1. The roles and expectations of both parties are made
2. Related philosophies and value systems of
organization are clearly stated and constraints, if any,
3. A good rapport is established with the researchers,
and between the researchers and the employees in
the organization, enabling the full cooperation of the
INTERNAL CONSULTANTS / RESEARCHERS 1-2
Some organizations have their own consulting
or research department, which might be
called the management services department,
the organization and methods department, R
INTERNAL CONSULTANTS / RESEARCHERS 2-2
Advantage of internal consultants /
Disadvantage of internal consultants
1. Accepted by the employees
2. Less time to understand the
structure, work system
3. They are available to
recommendations, and deal
with any bugs
4. Less cost
1. Fall into a stereotyped way
2. Scope of certain powerful
3. Not perceived as “ experts”
4. Biases of the internal
EXTERNAL CONSULTANTS / RESEARCHERS
Advantage of external consultants /
Disadvantage of external consultants /
1. Wide range of experience
2. Have more knowledge of
current sophisticated problem
1. The cost is high
2. Much time to understand the
3. Additional fees for
KNOWLEDGE ABOUT RESEARCH AND
Managers are responsible for the final outcome
by making the right decisions at work. This is
greatly facilitated by research knowledge
ETHICS AND BUSINESS RESEARCH
Ethics in business research refers to a code of
conduct or expected societal norm of
behavior while conducting research.
THE HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH 1-3
Started the research with a definite aim or purpose
Rigor connotes carefulness, scrupulousness, and
the degree of exactitude in research investigations
The manager or researcher develops certain
hypotheses on how employee commitment can be
enhanced, then these can be tested by applying
certain statistical tests to the data collected for the
THE HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH 2-3
The results of the tests of hypotheses should be supported
again and yet again when the same type of research is
repeated in other similar circumstances.
5. Precision and confidence
Design the research in a manner the ensures that our findings
are as close to reality
Precision: reflects the degree of accuracy or exactitude of the
results on the basis of the sample, to what really exists in the
Confidence: refer to the probability that our estimations are
correct, it is important that we can confidently claim that 95%
of the time our results will be true and there is only a 5 %
chance of our being wrong.
THE HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH 3-3
The conclusion drawn through the interpretation of the results
of data analysis should be based on facts of the findings
derived from actual data, and not on our own subjective or
Refers to the scope of applicability of the research findings in
one organizational setting to other settings
Simplicity in explaining the phenomena or problems that
occur, and in generating solutions for the problem,
And it can be introduced with a good understanding of the
problem and the important factors that influence it.
SOME OBSTACLES TO CONDUCTING SCIENTIFIC
RESEARCH IN THE MANAGEMENT AREA
In the management and behavioral areas, it is
not always possible to conduct investigations
that are 100 % scientific, in the sense that,
unlike in the physical sciences, the results
obtained will not be exact and error-free. This
is primarily because of difficulties likely to be
encountered in the measurement and
collection of data in the subjective areas of
feelings, emotions, attitudes, and
THE HYPOTHETICO-DEDUCTIVE METHOD
Scientific research pursues a step –by- step,
logical, organized, and rigorous method to
find a solution to a problem
THE SEVEN-STEP PROCESS IN THE
HYPOTHETICO-DEDUCTIVE METHOD 1-2
1. Identify a broad problem area
A drop in sales, frequent production interruptions,… and the like,
could attract the attention of manager and catalyze the research
2. Define the problem statement
Problem statement that stats the general objective of the research
should be developed
3. Develop hypotheses
In this step variable are examined as to their contribution or
influence in explaining why the problem occurs and how it can be
4. Determine measures
Unless the variables in the theoretical framework are measured in
some way, we will not be able to test our hypotheses.
THE SEVEN-STEP PROCESS IN THE
HYPOTHETICO-DEDUCTIVE METHOD 2-2
5. Data collection
Data with respect to each variable in the hypothesis
need to be obtained.
6. Data analysis
In the data analysis step, the data gathered are
statistically analyzed to see if the hypotheses that
were generated have been supported
7. Interpretation of data
Now we must decide whether our hypotheses are
supported or not by interpreting the meaning of the
results of the data analysis.
REVIEW OF THE HYPOTHETCO-DEDUCTIVE
Deductive reasoning is a key element in the
Deductive reasoning: start with a general
theory and then apply this theory to a
Inductive reasoning: works in the opposite
direction it is a process where we observe
specific phenomena and on this basis arrive
at general conclusions.
OTHER TYPES OF RESEARCH
Case studies and action research are sometimes used to
study certain types of issues.
Involve in depth, contextual analyses of similar situations in
Case study, as a problem solving technique, is not often
undertaken in organizations
Is sometimes undertaken by consultants who want to
initiate change processes in organizations.
Thus, action research is a constantly evolving project with
interplay among problem, solution, effects or
consequences, and new solution.
The research process
The broad problem area and defining the
The definition of problem is any situation where
a gap exists between the actual and the
desired ideal states.
Example: training program is not as effective
1. BROAD PROBLEM AREA :
After identification of the broad problem area
through the process of observation and
focusing on the situation we need to be
narrowed down to a specific problem statement
after some preliminary information (interviews
and literature research) is gathered by the
2. PRELIMINARY INFORMATION GATHERING :
a) Data sources :
1. Primary data sources ( it is that information’s
that the researcher obtain it by himself by ,
talking , observing, and administrating
2. Secondary data sources ( it is that
information’s that already existed and the
researcher has no role in obtaining it but he
read it and take what he need from it )
b) Data nature :
Unstructured interviews, structured interviews,
and a review through existing sources of
information will help us to narrow the broad
problem area and to define a specific problem
Collection of information’s about the following factors to
stand on the real issues instead of working only on the
a) Contextual factors ( background information of
the organization )
b) Structural factors ( philosophy, policies, goals,
system structure, reward system )
c) Attitudinal factors ( information’s about believes
and reactions the members of organization about
certain subjects like , nature of the work, reward
system , opportunities )
d) Behavioral factors (actual work habits )
In some cases there are variables that are not
identified during the interviews but influence
the problem critically, then research done
without considering them is an exercise in
futility, in such case the true reason for the
problem will remain unidentified even at the
end of the research, to avoid such possibilities
the researcher needs to delve into all the
important research relating to the particular
3. LITERATURE REVIEW :
The literature review helps the researcher to
develop a good problem statement; it ensures
that no important variable is overlooked in the
process of defining the problem
Sometimes the investigator might spend
considerable time and effort in “discovering”
something that has already been thoroughly
researched. A Literature review would prevent
such a waste of resources in reinventing the
CONDUCTING THE LITERATURE REVIEW
1- Data sources
( you will need to use a combination of
information resources the precise combination
of resources depend on the nature and the
objectives of your research project ) this
combination come from information’s from text
books, journals, theses, conference
proceedings, unpublished manuscripts,
reports, newspapers, the internet.
2- Searching for literature
In past go through several bibliographical
indexes but now by computer online systems
(locating sources to locate and printout the
Internet online searching directories (subject,
title, geographical location, trade
opportunities, industrial plants, foreign
traders, data bases)
3- Evaluating the literature
Accessing the online system and searching for
literature in the area of interest will provide a
comprehensive bibliography on the subject.
4- Documenting the literature review
Is important to convince the reader that
a) The researcher is knowledgeable about the
problem area and has done the preliminary
homework that is necessary to conduct the
b) The theoretical framework will be structured
on work already done and will add to the
solid foundation of existing knowledge.
DEFINING THE PROBLEM STATEMENT
There are three key criteria to assess the quality
of the problem statement: it should be relevant,
feasible, and interesting.
It is very important that symptoms of problems
are not defined as the real problem
When you have defined the problem statement
you are ready to start your research first
however you need to communicate the problem
statement and a number of other important
frame and the budget
The research process
Theoretical framework and hypothesis
THE NEED FOR A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
A theoretical framework is the foundation of
Represents your believes on how certain
phenomena are related to each other.
THE PROCESS OF BUILDING A THEORETICAL
1. Introducing definitions of the concept or
variable in your model.
2. Developing a conceptual model that
provides a descriptive representation of
3. Coming up with a theory that provides an
explanation for relationships between
the variable in your model.
A variable is anything that can take on
differing or varying values.
Examples of variables are: production
units, absenteeism and motivation.
TYPES OF VARIABLES :
1- Dependent variable
The dependent variable is the variable of
primary interest to the researcher. Through
the analysis of the dependent variable is
possible to find answers or solutions to the
2- Independent variable
The independent variable is generally
conjectured that an independent variable is
one that influences the independent
variable in either a positive or negative way.
That is, when the independent variable is
present, the dependent variable is also
present, and with each unit of increase in
the independent variable, there is an
increase or decrease in the dependent
3- Moderating variable
The moderating variable is the presence of
a third variable that modifies the
relationship between the independent and
the dependent variables.
4- Mediating variable
The mediating variable is one that surfaces
between the time the independent variable
start operating to influence the dependent
variable and the time their impact is felt on it.
The Mediating variable surfaces as a function
of the independent variable operating in any
situation, and helps to conceptualize and
explain the influence of the independent
variable on the dependent variable.
The theoretical framework is the foundation on
which the entire research project is based.
Variables are relevant to the problem situation
and identified through; interviews, observations
and literature review.
Experience and intuition also guide the
development of theoretical framework after
identifying the appropriate variable, the next step
is to elaborate the network of associations among
the variables, so that relevant hypotheses can be
developed and subsequently tested.
Based on the results of hypothesis testing the
extend to which the problem can be solved
The theoretical framework:
o Represents and elaborates the relationship
among the variables.
o Explains the theory underlying these relations.
o Describes the nature and direction of the
Just as the literature review sets the stage for
a good theoretical framework, this in turn
provides the logical base for developing
testable hypothesis. 49
BASIC FEATURES IN ANY THEORETICAL
The variables considered relevant to the study
should be clearly defined.
A conceptual model that describes the relationships
between the variables in the model should be given.
There should be a clear explanation of why we
expect these relationships to exist.
Both a schematic diagram of the conceptual
model and a description of the relationships
between the variables in words should be given,
so that the reader can see and easily comprehend
the theorized relationships.
Hypothesis can be defined as logically
conjectured relationships between two or
more variables expressed in the form of
statement. By testing the hypothesis and
confirming the conjectured relationships,
it is expected that solutions can be found
to correct the problem encountered.
STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS : FORMATS
1- If-Then statement
To examine whether or not the conjectured
relationship or differences exist, this
hypothesis can be set either propositions
or in the form of If-Then statement.
IF the employees are more healthy, THEN
they will take sick leave less frequently.
2- Directional and non directional hypothesis
If, instating the relationship between two variables or
comparing two groups, terms such as positive, negative, more
then, less then, and the like are used, then these are:
Directional hypothesis because the direction of the relationship
between the variables ( positive – negative) is indicated.
The greater the stress experienced in the job, the lower the job
satisfaction of employees.
Non directional hypothesis there is a significant relationship
between two variables, we may not be able to say whether the
relationship is positive or negative.
There is a relationship between age and job satisfaction.
3- Null and alternate hypothesis
Null hypothesis may state that the
correlation between two variables is equal
The null statement is expressed in terms of
there being no relationship between two
The alternate hypothesis, whish is the
opposite of the null, is a statement
expressing a relationship between two 54
The steps to be followed in hypothesis
1. State the null and the alternate
2. Choose the appropriate statistical test
depending on whether the data collected
are parametric or non parametric.
Is tool or mechanism by which individuals are
distinguished as to how they differ from one to
another on the variables of interest to our study
THERE ARE FOUR BASIC TYPES OF SCALES:
1- NOMINAL SCALE :
Allows the researcher to assign subjects to
certain categories or groups it categorize
individuals or objects into mutually exclusive
and collectively exhaustive groups, thus such
scaling tells us nothing more about the two
groups and gives some basic, categorical,
gross information, personal data such gender
or department in which one works ,
There are two types :
a) Dichotomous scale :
Used to … elicit a yes or no answer
ex. Do you own a car? Yes no
b) Category scale :
Used to … elicit a single response
ex. Where in London do you reside?
- east London - south London
- west London - north London
2- ORDINAL SCALE:
Job characteristic Ranking of importance
The opportunity provided by the job to -
Interact with people -
Use a number of different skills -
Complete a whole task from beginning to end -
Serve others -
Work independently -
In this scale the respondents might be asked to indicate
their preferences by ranking the importance they attach to
five distinct characteristics in a job that the researcher
might be interested in studying
The ordinal scale helps researcher to
determine the percentage of respondents who
consider interaction with others as most
important, those who consider using a number
of different skills as most important and so on,
such knowledge might help in designing jobs
that are seen as most enriched by the majority
of the employees.
Here we know the differences in the ranking of
objects, persons, or events investigated but we
don’t know their magnitude
There are two types:
Texture of lather 20
Total points 100
•Fixed or constant scale:
The respondents are here asked to distribute a given number of
points across various items as shown in example:
• Graphic rating scale:
Used to obtain responses regarding people’s feelings with
respect to some aspect or how they feel about their jobs
It’s a graphical representation helps the respondents to
indicate on this scale their answers to a particular question
by placing a mark at the appropriate point on the line
How would you rate your supervisor?
10 excellent 5 adequate 1 very bad
3- INTERVAL SCALE:
In nominal scale we can make qualitatively
distinguish groups by categorizing them into
mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive
and in ordinal scale allow us to rank order the
preferences the interval scale indicate
whether once preference is the same
extent, or a greater extent than the second.
Interacting with other 1 2 3 4 5
Using a number of different skills 1 2 3 4 5
Completing a task from beginning to
1 2 3 4 5
Serving others 1 2 3 4 5
Working independently 1 2 3 4 5
This can be done by changing the scale from the ranking
type to make it appear as if there are several points on a
scale that represent the extent or magnitude. So it used
when responses to various items that measure a variable
can be tapped on a five points or more
Strongly disagree disagree neither agree nor disagree agree strongly agree
1 2 3 4 5
There are five types:
1) Semantic differential scale: It is used to assess
respondent’s attitudes toward a particular brand,
advertisement, object, or individual.
Several bipolar attributes: respondents are asked to
indicate their attitudes toward a particular individual,
Several bipolar adjectives: used might employ such
terms as good-bad, strong-weak, hot-cold
Courageous ------- timid
2) Numerical scale : Similar to the semantic
scale but with numbers on five-point or seven-
point scale are provided
Extremely pleased 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 extremely displeased
1 2 3 4 5
Very unlikely Unlikely Neither unlikely nor
likely Very likely
1 I will be changing my job within the next 12 months
2 I will take on new assignments in the near future
3 It is possible that I will be out of this organization within the next 12 months
Not at all interested
How would you rate
your interest in
1 2 3 4
3) Itemized rating scale :
It provides the flexibility to use as point in the scale as considered necessary
(4,5,7,9 or whatever) and its possible to use different anchors e.g. very
unimportant to very important and extremely low to extremely high )when a
neutral point is provided it is a balanced rating scale, and when it is not it is an
unbalanced rating scale.
It is balanced rating scale with a neutral point
It is unbalanced rating scale which does not have a neutral point.
4) Likert scale:
My work is very interesting 1 2 3 4 5
I am not engrossed in my work all day 1 2 3 4 5
Life without my work would be dull 1 2 3 4 5
Used in it the summated approach
High score in items I and 3 reflects a favorable
attitude to work this will lead to high total scores for
respondents who have a favorable attitude toward
work and low total scores for respondents who have
an unfavorable attitude towards work.
Adopting modern technology
5) Staple scale:
This scale measures both the direction and intensity of
the attitude toward the items under study
Rate your supervisor abilities:
4- RATIO SCALE:
Usually used in organizational research when exact numbers
on objective (as opposed to subjective) factors are called:
1. How many other organizations did you work for before
joining this system?
2. Please indicate the number of children you in each of the
--- Below 3 years of age
--- Between 3 and 6
--- Over 6 years but under 12
--- 12 years and over
3. How many retail outlets do you operate?
The responses to the questions could range from 0 to any
Group of people, events, or things of interest that the
researcher wishes to investigate.
A single member of the population.
Some members selected from population.
The element that is available for selection.
Single member of the sample.
Characteristics of the population
THE SAMPLING PROCESS:
1- Defining the population:
Sampling begin with precisely defining the target population, the
researcher objective and the scope of the study play a crucial role in
defining the target population.
2- Determining the sample frame:
The sampling frame is a representation of all the elements in the
population from whish the sample is drawn.
3- Determining the sampling design: ( Two types )
Probability sampling, the elements in the population have some
known probability of being selected as sample subject.
Non probability sampling, the elements do not have a known
chance of being selected as sample subject.
4- Determining the sample size:
Factors affecting decisions on sample size are:
Extent of precision desired.
Acceptable risk in predicting that level of precision.
Amount of variability in the population itself.
Cost and time constraints.
Size of the population.
When elements in the population have a
known chance of being chosen as subjects in
Types of Probability sampling:
1- Unrestricted or simple random
sampling: Every element in the population has
a known and equal chance of being selected.
It is a design that involves drawing every nth element in the population starting with
a randomly chosen element between 1 and n.
« Easy and quickness in developing the sample »
Stratified random sampling
It helps to estimate population to have a different parameters on a variable of
Population is first divided into mutually exclusive groups that are relevant.
« Good choice when differentiated information is needed »
Samples are gathered in groups, target population is first divided into clusters. Then
a random sample of cluster is drawn and for each selected cluster either all the
elements or a sample of elements are included in the sample.
« Useful when a heterogeneous group is to be studied »
When a sample is used in a study to collect some preliminary information of interest
and later a subsample of this primary sample is used to examine the matter in more
« Provides added information at minimal additional expenditure »
2 - Restricted or complex probability sampling:
NON PROBABILITY SAMPLING:
When elements in the population do not have any
probabilities attached to their being chosen as
Refers to the collection of information from
members of the population who are conveniently
available to provide it.
It is used during the exploratory phase of a
research project and is perhaps the best way of
getting some basic information quickly and
Judgment Sampling Quota Sampling
Used when a limited number or
category of people have the
information that is sought.
« Help to obtain specialized
In which a predetermined
proportion of people are sampled
from different groups.
« Allow inclusion of all groups so
small in number are not neglected »
Confined to a specific type of people who can provide
the desired information
Types of purposive sampling:
• It uses both a graphical and a syntactical
• managing, analyzing, and presenting data
Population (universe) is the collection of
things under consideration
Sample is a portion of the population
selected for analysis
Statistic is a summary measure computed to
describe a characteristic of the sample
Mean (average) is the sum of the values divided by
the number of values
Median is the midpoint of the values (50% above;
50% below) after they have been ordered from the
smallest to the largest, or the largest to the smallest
Mode is the value among all the values observed that
appears most frequently
Range is the difference between the smallest and
largest observation in the sample
TYPE OF DATA
There are basically two kinds of data in this groups:
1. Nominal data (named categories), e.g. gender (male/female),
ethnicity (Malay, Chinese, Indian), outcome (dead/alive), etc. The
nominal data are summarised by percentages.
2. Ordinal data (ordered categories), e.g. there is an order to the
values high, medium, and low, but the distance between values
cannot be calculated. Likert scale (5-point scale, 1-5), etc. The
ordinal data are summarised by median value.
“Scale” Continuous data:
Continuous data is sometime referred to as
interval data. These data take the form of a
range of number, and may or may not have
decimals, e.g. age, weight, height, salary,
etc. The continuous data are summarized
by mean and standard deviation (SD).
VARIANCE AND STANDARD DEVIATION
Variance (deviations) is a measure of the dispersion
of a sample (or how closely the observations cluster
around the mean [average])
Standard Deviation, the square root of the variance,
is the measure of variation in the observed values (or
variation in the clustering around the mean), it helps
detect tampering of data.