Introduction to Business research
The systematic and objective process of gathering, recording and analyzing data for aid in making business decisions.
Basic research: intends to- expand the boundaries of knowledge/verify the acceptability of a given theory.
Applied research: to answer questions about specific problems/make decisions about particular course of action.
Scientific method: techniques used to analyze empirical evidence to confirm or disapprove prior conceptions
Value of business research
The DM process associated with the development and implementation of a strategy involves 4 stages:
Diagnosing and assessing problems/opportunities
Selecting and implementing a course of action
Evaluating the course of action
When is business research needed?
(Time, availability of data, nature of decision, benefits vs costs)
Business research in 21st century?(Global res, Internet)
Information Systems and Knowledge management
Data-recorded measures of certain phenomenon
Information- A body of facts that are in a format suitable for DM
Knowledge- A blend of information, experience and insights that provides a framework that can be thoughtfully applied when assessing new information or evaluating relevant situations
Knowledge management- The process of creating an inclusive, comprehensive, easily accessible organizational memory, called as organization’s intellectual capital
Information Systems and Knowledge management cont..
Global information Systems: An organized collection of computer hardware and software, data and personnel designed to capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze and immediately display information about worldwide business activity. It integrates data from all business functions.
Decision support Systems (Components of larger GIS): A computer based system that helps decision makers confront problems through interaction with databases and analytical software(generally to facilitate CRM)
Decision making is the process of resolving a problem or choosing among alternative opportunities. Every DM situation can be classified on a continuum ranging from complete certainty to absolute ambiguity.
The Research Process
Types of Business Research
Exploratory Studies: conducted to clarify and define the nature of a problem
Descriptive Research: designed to describe characteristics of a population/ phenomenon
Causal Research: conducted to identify cause and effect relationships among variables (causal order, concomitant variation, alternative causal factors)
The Research Process cont…
Forward linkage; A term implying that the early stages of the research process will influence the design of the later stage
Backward linkage: A term implying that the late stages of the research process will have an influence on the early stages.
The Research Process cont…
Define the problem
Planning a research design
Planning a sample
Gathering the data
Processing and Analysing data
Formulating conclusions and preparing report
Defining the new problem
The process of problem definition:
Ascertain the decision maker’s objectives
Understand the background of the problem
Isolate and identify the problem rather than its symptoms
Determine the unit of analysis
Determine the relevant variables
State the research questions(hypothesis)and research objectives
Preparing a Research Proposal
A written statement of the research design that includes a statement explaining the purpose of the study and a detailed, systematic outline of a particular research methodology.
Initial research conducted to clarify and define the nature of a problem.
Purposes for Exploratory research:
Diagnosing a situation(provides an orientation to Management by gathering info on a topic with which Mgmt has little experience)
Screening Alternatives (eg Concept Testing- a form of research that tests something that acts as a proxy for a new or revised program , product or a service)
Discovering new ideas (new product ideas/unthought problems)
Categories of Exploratory research:
Experience surveys- Individuals who are knowledgeable about a particular research problem are surveyed
Secondary data analysis- Preliminary review of data collected for another purpose to clarify issues in early stages of research.
Case studies- Intensively investigates one or a few situations similar to the researcher’s problem situation
Pilot studies for qualitative analysis- Any small scale exploratory research project that uses sampling but does not apply rigorous standards
(FGD- An unstructured, free flowing interview with a small group of people
Projective techniques- An indirect means of questioning that enables a respondent to “project” beliefs n feelings on to a third party, an inanimate object or a task situation…Word association test, Sentence completion,3rd person technique, Role playing, TAT, Picture frustration
Depth Interviews- A relatively unstructured, extensive interview used in the primary stages of research process)
Data that have been previously collected for some purpose other than the one at hand.
Objectives for Secondary data research designs
Fact finding- A secondary data research objective aimed at collecting descriptive information to support decision making (eg. Routine investigation of brand and product category sales volume)
Model building- An attempt to specify relationships between variables based on secondary data, sometimes using descriptive or predictive equations(eg. Estimation of interest rates, economic growth and inflation with secondary data)
Classification of secondary data:
Internal and proprietary data
Common external sources of secondary data(Books and periodicals, govt sources, regional publications, Media sources, Commercial sources)
Research Methods for collecting Primary data
Primary data-Data gathered and assembled specifically for the research project at hand
A research technique in which information is gathered from a sample of people by use of questionnaire or interview
Errors in Survey Research
a)Random Sampling error -The diff between the result of a sample and the result of a census conducted using identical procedures; a statistical fluctuation that occurs because of chance variation in the elements selected for a sample
b) Systematic error- Error resulting from some imperfect aspect of the research design that causes response error or from mistake in the execution of the research, error arising from sample bias, mistakes in recording responses, non responses from persons not contacted or refusing to participate
Survey research cont…
a) Non response error- The statistical difference between a survey that includes only those who responded and a perfect survey that would also include those who failed to respond.(No contact, Refusal, Self selection bias)
b)Response bias – Survey error that occurs when respondents tend to answer questions in a certain direction (Acquiescence bias, Interviewer bias, Extremity bias, Social desirability bias)
Survey research cont…
2.Administrative error-An error caused by the improper administration or execution of a research task.
(Data processing error, Sample selection error, Interviewer error, Interviewer cheating)
Classifying Survey research methods
Structured and Disguised questions
Structured questions- A question that imposes a limit on the number of allowable responses
Disguised questions- An indirect type of question that assumes that the purpose of the study must be hidden from respondents
CLASSIFYING SURVEYS ON A TEMPORAL BASIS
Cross sectional and (Longitudinal studies- panel studies)
Cross sectional- A study in which various segments of a population are sampled at a single point in time
Longitudinal studies- A survey of respondents at different points in time, thus allowing analysis of response continuity and changes over time.(eg Panel studies)
Media used to communicate with Respondents
Human Interactive Media-Personal forms of communication in which a message is directed at an individual or a small group, who then has an opportunity to interact with the communicator
Electronic Interactive Media-Communication media that allow an organization and an audience to interact using digital technology.
Media used to communicate with Respondents cont…
Methods of Communication with Respondents:
Personal Interviews-Gathering of information through face to face contact with an individual.(D to D, Mall Intercept)
Telephone Interviews-Contacting respondents by telephone to gather responses to survey questions.
(central location interviewing, CATI)
Self administered questionnaire (filled by respondent, not by interviewer)- eg. Mail questionnaire.
The systematic process of recording the behavioral patterns of people, objects, and occurrences as they are witnessed- Scientific Observation (Visible, Hidden)
Observation of human behavior(non verbal behavior)
Direct Observation- A straightforward attempt to observe and record what naturally occurs ; the investigator does not create an artificial situation.
Response latency-The time it takes to decide between 2 alternatives: used as a measure of strength of preference
Scientifically contrived Observation – Observation in which the investigator creates an artificial environment in order to test a hypothesis
Observing social settings(Participants,Setting,Purpose,Social behavior, Duration)
Observation of physical objects
Observation methods cont…
Content analysis (A research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication)
Mechanical observation (TV monitoring, Website traffic monitoring, measuring physiological reactions, optical scanners and bar codes)
A research method in which conditions are controlled so that one or more variables can be manipulated in order to test a hypothesis. Experimentation is a research method that allows evaluation of causal relationships among variables
Terminology/Issues in Experimental research
Manipulation of Independent variable(Experimental treatment)
Experimental and Control groups
Several experimental treatment levels
Selection and Measurement of the Dependent variable
Selection and Assignment of Test Units
Control over Extraneous variables
Terminology/Issues in Experimental research explained
Independent variable: In an exp design,the variable that can be manipulated to be whatever the experimenter wishes. Its value may be changed or altered independently of any other variable.
Experimental treatment: An alternative manipulation of the independent variable being investigated
Experimental group: The group of subjects exposed to an experimental treatment
Control group: A group of subjects who are exposed to the control condition in an experiment-i.e. they are subjects not exposed to the experimental treatment
Terminology/Issues in Experimental research explained
Dependent variable: The criterion by which the results of an experiment are judged. Name so becoz it is expected to be dependent on experimenter’s manipulation of the independent variable.
Test unit: A subject whose responses to experimental treatments are observed and measured
Extraneous variable: Most exp concern identifying single indep variables and measurement of its effects on the dep variable. A no. of extraneous variables may affect the dep variable , thereby distorting the experiment
Fundamental Questions in Experimentation
Basic Vs Factorial Experimental Designs
In Basic exp design, a single independent variable is manipulated to observe its effect on a single dependent variable
Factorial experimental designs are more sophisticated and allow for investigation of the interaction of two or more independent variables.
Field and Laboratory Experiments
Issues Of Experimental Validity
Internal validity: Validity determined by whether an experimental treatment was the sole cause of changes in a dependent variable
External validity: The ability of an experiment to generalize the results to the external environment
Classification of Experimental Designs
Informal experimental designs:
Before and after without control design
After only with control design
Before and after with control design
Formal experimental designs:
Completely randomized design
Randomized block design
Latin square design
Concept(or a construct): A generalized idea about a class of objects, attributes, occurences or processes.
Rules of Measurement: An instruction to guide assignment of a number or other measurement designation.
TYPES OF SCALES
Nominal Scale-A scale in which the numbers or letters assigned to objects serve as labels for identification or classification
Ordinal Scale-A scale that arranges objects or alternatives acc to their magnitudes
Interval Scale-A scale that not only arranges objects or alternatives acc to their magnitudes but also distinguishes this ordered arrangement in units of equal intervals
Ratio scale-A scale having absolute rather than relative quantities and possesing an absolute zero , where there is an absence of a given attribute.
Three Criteria for Good Measurement
Reliability : The degree to which measures are free from errors and therefore yield consistent results
Validity : The ability of a scale or measuring instrument to measure what it is intended to measure
Sensitivity : A measurement instrument’s ability to accurately measure variability in stimuli or responses
An enduring disposition to consistently respond in a given manner to various aspects of the world composed of affective, cognitive and behavioral components.
Techniques for measuring attitudes: