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Kwame Nkrumah University of
Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Instructor: Dominic Essuman (PhD)
Dept. Supply Chain & Information Systems
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi
Email: dominic.essuman@knust.edu.gh
@2021
ISD 353: Business Research Methods
Class: SCM, BIT, Marketing, IB & Hospitality
Lecture 2:
Research Problem, Question, & Proposal
www.knust.edu.gh
By the end of this lecture you should
• be able to explain and identify a ‘good’ research problem/question
• know how to generate research problem/question
• know the sources of research problem/question
• appreciate the techniques for identifying research problem/question
• know how to generate a research proposal
Learning Outcomes
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Read and make personal notes from Chapter 4 &
Chapter 5 of Bell et al. (2019)
Reading assignment
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• The research process begins with the recognition of a problem or an
opportunity to be investigated.
• Managers may be faced with such questions as:
• Do we have to change our supply chain partners?
• Do we need to alter our operational routines, and How?
• Essentially, managers need scientific answers to “how”, “Why” and
“When” problems.
• If we already have scientifically based robust answers to such
questions, we don’t have a research problem.
Research problem/question (1/4)
www.knust.edu.gh
Research problem/question (2/4)
Motivation for business
decision problem &
research problem
Business decision
problem
Business research
problem/question
 Customer needs and
competitor actions are
changing rapidly
 Sales volume for product
X keeps declining
 Should a new product
be introduced?
 Should product X be
repacked?/ Should
we increase
promotion for product
X?
 What can be done to
improve our
competitiveness and
sales?
 Would customer prefer and
purchase the proposed new
product?
 When would customer develop
strong intention to purchase the
new product?
 What are the significant
determinants of sales for product
X?
• Note: In the context of academic research, managerial/policy problem
is not the same as a research problem. Nonetheless, they are
connected.
www.knust.edu.gh
• Research problem: A statement, consisting of a series of arguments,
that raises concern(s) about existing knowledge, practice, or policy
and explains why addressing such concern(s) through research
would improve knowledge, practice, or policy.
• Research question is a question emanating from, or informing a
research problem. It essentially drives any piece of research.
• Research problem and research question are directly connected.
• In some cases, a research problem may be posed in a form of a
question.
• Research objectives, what the research wants to achieve, are derived
from research problem/question.
Research problem/question (3/4)
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Broader statements:
• How can an interplay between supply chain collaboration and
customer orientated behavior help enhance operational efficiency?
Specific underlying questions to examine are:
• How does customer oriented behavior impact supply chain
collaboration ?
• How does customer oriented behavior influence operational efficiency?
• How does supply chain collaboration influence operational efficiency?
• How does supply chain collaboration intervene in the relationship
between a company’s customer orientated behavior and operational
efficiency?
Illustrative example of research problem
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1. Problem facing an individual, group of individuals, an organisation, an
industry, a society, a country, the world, etc. that we already have enough
understanding (particularly, empirical) of
What is NOT a research problem
2. Arguments about limited research on an issue within a particular
context without corresponding arguments on what makes the context in
question different and why knowledge on the issue at hand from other
contexts may not apply
In sum, set of statements or arguments that do not communicate or
articulate gap(s)/missing link(s) in a specific body of knowledge does not
suffice for research problem, particularly, in academic context
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1. Phenomena whose nature are not well-understood generally or within
certain settings:
• Conceptual/theoretical studies may be undertaken with the goal of
clarifying the nature of the phenomenon (see e.g. Davidson et al.
2016; Teece 2007; Ocasio 1997)
• Empirical research (usually, qualitative) may also be undertaken to
explore the nature of the phenomenon (see e.g. Blackhurst et al.
2011; Chandra et al 2009; Saw and Carter 2007; Haq et al. 2016;
Marques et al. 2015)
Common ways in which research problem can take (1/7)
www.knust.edu.gh
2. Little or concentrated knowledge of the antecedents of a
particular concept:
• New theoretical perspectives can be utilized to identify new
antecedents of a particular concept and explain why/how
they can be connected to it (see e.g. Buyl et al. 207;
Hockerts 2017; Ip et al. 2017; Bacq et al. 2014; Pal et al.
2014)
Common ways in which research problem can take (2/7)
www.knust.edu.gh
3. Little or concentrated knowledge of the outcomes of a
particular concept:
• New theoretical perspectives can be utilised to identify new
outcomes of a particular concept and explain why/how
they can be connected to it (see e.g. Kwak et al. 2018; Li
et al. 2017)
• Multiple but conceptually different outcomes (requiring
different logics) can be linked to the concept in question
(Wong et al. 2011)
Common ways in which research problem can take (3/7)
www.knust.edu.gh
4. Mixed/inconsistent prior research findings or competing explanations (either
about the link a particular concept and its antecedent or outcome)
• New research is needed to help explain what may account for the
mixed/inconsistent findings or to minimize competing explanations
• New research can address the problem by introducing contingency/moderator
variables in the relationship (see e.g. Ju and Zhao 2009; Rosenbusch et al.
2011)
• By logically explaining and empirically analyzing how different levels of the
predictor variable relate differently to the outcome variable (see e.g. Huang et
al. 2014; Nohria and Gulati 1996)
• By logically explaining and empirically analyzing the mechanisms that might be
characterizing the relationships between the variables in question (see e.g.
Boso et al. 2017)
Common ways in which research problem can take (4/7)
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5. Little empirical knowledge of HOW (or the PROCESSES via which) a particular
variable (say, X) affects another variable (say, Y):
• This usually occurs when prior research has focused on examining the direct
relationship between X and Y, which sometimes leads to inconclusive findings
(see Boso et al. 2017)
• This is solved by introducing (a) unique causal mechanism(s) (i.e. other
variable[s]) that connect(s) X to Y in a particular way (see Wu 2008; Lu et al.
2010)
Common ways in which research problem can take (5/7)
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6. Questioning the causal direction of existing relationships between variables
Consider the relationship between innovation and financial performance among
firms
• Is it the case that the innovation drives financial performance or it’s rather
financial performance that drives innovation?
7. Weaknesses in methods used to investigate the relationship between X and Y.
• E.g. If prior studies have focused using cross-sectional survey method to
examine the causal relationship between X and Y, you can adopt a ‘better’
method (say, longitudinal-survey design, or panel data, or experiment), if
possible, to re-examine the same relationship.
Common ways in which research problem can take (6/7)
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8. Lack of research testing existing theories/models, or replicating/verifying prior
research findings, in new and different or similar contexts
• See Tan (2003); Kuada and Buatsi (2005); Acquaah (2007)
Common ways in which research problem can take (7/7)
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• A literature search-first approach
• Observation-first approach
• Other approaches
Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (1/7)
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A literature search-first approach:
Steps
1. Focus on a particular concept in your field of study
A concept whose empirical literature is not matured is usually ideal. However, as novice, you
want to work with concepts that have enough academic literature on it. The concept should
be clearly defined/conceptualized in the literature, and if possible, it should have been
measured.
2. Review recent literature (particularly, empirical) on the concept
• Does any aspect of the body of knowledge about the concept have some important
questions that have been ignored in prior research?
• Quick Sources:
 Conceptual papers. Do they have any proposition that interest you? (e.g. Siguaw et
al. 2006; Ocasio 1997).
 Qualitative studies. Do they have any proposition that interest you? What are the
limitations of the study? What avenues for further studies have been discussed?
(see Blackhurst et al. 2011; Conroy and Collings 2016)
Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (2/7)
www.knust.edu.gh
A literature search-first approach:
Steps
2. Review recent literature (particularly, empirical) on the concept (continued)
• Does any aspect of the body of knowledge about the concept have some important
questions that have been ignored in prior research?
• Quick Sources:
 Quantitative/hypothesis-testing studies. Can you critique, extend or build on their
model? Is there any better methodology that could have been utilised? See the
limitation and avenues for further research for guidelines (e.g. Buyl et al. 2017; Boso
et al. 2017; Wu 2008)
 Empirical literature review studies (conceptual). What important questions have
been asked? What testable propositions have been made? Look at their
recommendations for further studies section (see e.g. Linnenluecke 2015; Tseng et
al. 2019; Nabi et al. 2017)
 Empirical literature review studies (Meta-analysis) studies. Look at their
recommendations for further studies section (e.g. Martin et al. 2013).
Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (3/7)
www.knust.edu.gh
A literature search-first approach:
Steps
2. Review recent literature (particularly, empirical) on the concept (continued)
• Does any aspect of the body of knowledge about the concept have some important
questions that have been ignored in prior research?
• Quick Sources:
 Quantitative/hypothesis-testing studies. Can you critique, extend or build on their
model? Is there any better methodology that could have been utilised? See the
limitation and avenues for further research for guidelines (e.g. Buyl et al. 2017; Boso
et al. 2017; Wu 2008)
 Empirical literature review studies (conceptual). What important questions have
been asked? What testable propositions have been made? Look at their
recommendations for further studies section (see e.g. Linnenluecke 2015; Tseng et
al. 2019; Nabi et al. 2017)
 Empirical literature review studies (Meta-analysis) studies. Look at their
recommendations for further studies section (e.g. Martin et al. 2013).
Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (4/7)
www.knust.edu.gh
A literature search-first approach:
Note!
The literature or articles for the review should come from
recognized journals first (e.g. ABS or ABDC journals)
Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (5/7)
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‘Real’ world-first approach
• What do you hear, see, feel, etc. that puzzles or interest you?
• Is there any trending/emerging issue that attracts your interest?
• Go back to the literature to know what has been said or investigated
about
Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (6/7)
www.knust.edu.gh
Other approaches
• Look for “Call for papers: Special issues”
• Visit the websites of concept/domain-specific journals
Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (7/7)
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Irrespective of the form it may take, research problem usually contain
the following parts:
• Background to the problem (what makes the concepts (particularly,
the focal one) and perhaps, the nature of their relationship,
important concern for managers/ businesses or policy managers/the
society?
• Discussion of what prior research (either conceptual or empirical) has
done
• Discussion of important gaps (missing links) that the present research
is interested in
Formulating Research Problem (1/4)
www.knust.edu.gh
Irrespective of the form it may take, research problem usually contain
the following parts:
• Background to the problem (what makes the concepts (particularly,
the focal one) and perhaps, the nature of their relationship,
important concern for managers/ businesses or policy managers/the
society?
• Discussion of what prior research (either conceptual or empirical) has
done
• Discussion of important gaps (missing links) that the present research
is interested in
Formulating Research Problem (2/4)
www.knust.edu.gh
Formulating a research problem can be difficult. An easier way to
overcome this is to:
• Know the form of research problem that your study has (as discussed
earlier)
• Look for 3 to 5 good papers that have investigated the same/similar
form of research problem (the concepts may be different though)
• Model yours according to these papers
• You can also discuss the problem with ‘senior’ researchers or other
who have investigated a similar problem.
Formulating Research Problem (3/4)
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Additional considerations:
The exploratory tasks (mentioned in previous slide) can help you
understand the environmental context of the research problem.
This includes:
• past information (e.g. previous research findings) and forecasts,
• resources and constraints,
• buyer behavior,
• legal environment,
• economic environment,
• technological changes, and
• Industry dynamics
Formulating Research Problem (4/4)
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• Research questions come in varied forms. The ff. are a few examples:
Types of Research Question
TYPE OF
RESEARCH
TYPE OF QUESTION
Descriptive
research
What is the nature of CREATIVITY? How does LOVE look like? What are the
characteristics of resilient entrepreneurs?
Comparative
research
What are the differences and similarities between CREATIVITY and
INNOVATION? Are woman different from men in terms of their responses to
challenging, life-threatening issues?
Correlational
research
What is the relationship between INCOME and HAPPINESS? Is INCOME related
to LONGEVITY?
Exploratory
research
What are the main factors in RESILIENCE? What is the role of CREATIVITY in
INNOVATION?
Explanatory
research
Does HOPE have an effect on RESILIENCE? What is the impact of HOPE on
HAPPINESS? What are the causes or determinants of HAPPINESS?
Evaluation
research
What are the advantages and disadvantages of RELIGION? How well does
RELIGION work? How desirable is RELIGION at the workplace?
Action research How can RURAL COMMUNITY RESILIENCE be enhanced? What are the most
effective strategies for boosting URBAN COMMUNITY RESILIENCE to the Covid-
19 pandemic?
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Criteria for evaluating research questions:
• Appropriateness: is the question necessary in the first
place?
• Capability: can you do it?
• Fulfilment: are you personally excited about the
question?
Research question: Good ones? (1/2)
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Alt. criteria for evaluating research questions:
• Questions should be researchable.
• Questions should be clear.
• Questions should not be too narrow or too broad.
• Questions should connect with established theory and
research/literature.
• Questions should be logically and conceptually link to each other.
• Questions should offer you the potential to contribute to knowledge.
Research question: Good ones? (2/2)
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Steps in generating a research question
Source: Bell et al. (2019)
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A document the highlights the research motivation, problem/question,
objective (where necessary), potential contributions, and tentative
methodology, as well as the research timelines, resources necessary for
completing the research, and the ethical issues that have to be
considered.
Research proposal (1/5)
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What question should a research proposal answer?
1. What is your research topic? OR what body of knowledge is your
research connected to?
2. Why is your research topic important?
3. What is your research question or questions?
4. What does the literature have to say about your research topic and
research question(s)?
5. What theory(ies) will you need to investigate the research quesition(s)?
6. How are you going to go about collecting data relevant to your
research question(s)? In other words, what research methods are you
intending to use?
7. Why are the research methods you have selected the appropriate
ones for your research question?
Research proposal (2/5)
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What question should a research proposal answer? (continued)
8. Who will your research participants be and how will they be selected
(or if the research will use documents, what kinds of documents will
you use and how will they be selected)?
9. If your research requires you to negotiate access to organizations,
have you done so, and if not, how will you do this?
10.What resources will you need to conduct your research (for example,
travel costs, recording equipment, printing, software) and how will
those resources be obtained?
11.What is your timetable for the different stages of the project?
12.What are the ethical issues associated with your research and what
steps will you take to address them?
13.How will you analyze your data?
Research proposal (3/5)
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The template below can help you organize your thoughts well:
Research proposal (4/5)
An Excel version is available for download here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GcPaQx_XBqTUiYXMQUhhloP0f_9Dpzkc
/view?usp=sharing
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Individual assignment
Search and critically examine sample
research proposal for academic research
Research proposal (5/5)
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Bell, E., Bryman, A. & Harley, B. (2019). Business Research Methods (5
ed), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Boso, N. (2019). Business Research Methods: Lecture Slide 1 (available
here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/10tddIjeRJYGYgRa45FqG91SgDIft11zn/vi
ew?usp=sharing )
Saunders, M.N.K, Lewis, P., Thornhill, A (2019). Research Methods For
Business Students (8 ed), Pearson, Harlow.
Key References
www.knust.edu.gh
Literature: searching, managing, reviewing,
citating/referencing
Next Lecture

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Lesson 2.pptx

  • 1. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana Instructor: Dominic Essuman (PhD) Dept. Supply Chain & Information Systems Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi Email: dominic.essuman@knust.edu.gh @2021 ISD 353: Business Research Methods Class: SCM, BIT, Marketing, IB & Hospitality Lecture 2: Research Problem, Question, & Proposal
  • 2. www.knust.edu.gh By the end of this lecture you should • be able to explain and identify a ‘good’ research problem/question • know how to generate research problem/question • know the sources of research problem/question • appreciate the techniques for identifying research problem/question • know how to generate a research proposal Learning Outcomes
  • 3. www.knust.edu.gh Read and make personal notes from Chapter 4 & Chapter 5 of Bell et al. (2019) Reading assignment
  • 4. www.knust.edu.gh • The research process begins with the recognition of a problem or an opportunity to be investigated. • Managers may be faced with such questions as: • Do we have to change our supply chain partners? • Do we need to alter our operational routines, and How? • Essentially, managers need scientific answers to “how”, “Why” and “When” problems. • If we already have scientifically based robust answers to such questions, we don’t have a research problem. Research problem/question (1/4)
  • 5. www.knust.edu.gh Research problem/question (2/4) Motivation for business decision problem & research problem Business decision problem Business research problem/question  Customer needs and competitor actions are changing rapidly  Sales volume for product X keeps declining  Should a new product be introduced?  Should product X be repacked?/ Should we increase promotion for product X?  What can be done to improve our competitiveness and sales?  Would customer prefer and purchase the proposed new product?  When would customer develop strong intention to purchase the new product?  What are the significant determinants of sales for product X? • Note: In the context of academic research, managerial/policy problem is not the same as a research problem. Nonetheless, they are connected.
  • 6. www.knust.edu.gh • Research problem: A statement, consisting of a series of arguments, that raises concern(s) about existing knowledge, practice, or policy and explains why addressing such concern(s) through research would improve knowledge, practice, or policy. • Research question is a question emanating from, or informing a research problem. It essentially drives any piece of research. • Research problem and research question are directly connected. • In some cases, a research problem may be posed in a form of a question. • Research objectives, what the research wants to achieve, are derived from research problem/question. Research problem/question (3/4)
  • 7. www.knust.edu.gh Broader statements: • How can an interplay between supply chain collaboration and customer orientated behavior help enhance operational efficiency? Specific underlying questions to examine are: • How does customer oriented behavior impact supply chain collaboration ? • How does customer oriented behavior influence operational efficiency? • How does supply chain collaboration influence operational efficiency? • How does supply chain collaboration intervene in the relationship between a company’s customer orientated behavior and operational efficiency? Illustrative example of research problem
  • 8. www.knust.edu.gh 1. Problem facing an individual, group of individuals, an organisation, an industry, a society, a country, the world, etc. that we already have enough understanding (particularly, empirical) of What is NOT a research problem 2. Arguments about limited research on an issue within a particular context without corresponding arguments on what makes the context in question different and why knowledge on the issue at hand from other contexts may not apply In sum, set of statements or arguments that do not communicate or articulate gap(s)/missing link(s) in a specific body of knowledge does not suffice for research problem, particularly, in academic context
  • 9. www.knust.edu.gh 1. Phenomena whose nature are not well-understood generally or within certain settings: • Conceptual/theoretical studies may be undertaken with the goal of clarifying the nature of the phenomenon (see e.g. Davidson et al. 2016; Teece 2007; Ocasio 1997) • Empirical research (usually, qualitative) may also be undertaken to explore the nature of the phenomenon (see e.g. Blackhurst et al. 2011; Chandra et al 2009; Saw and Carter 2007; Haq et al. 2016; Marques et al. 2015) Common ways in which research problem can take (1/7)
  • 10. www.knust.edu.gh 2. Little or concentrated knowledge of the antecedents of a particular concept: • New theoretical perspectives can be utilized to identify new antecedents of a particular concept and explain why/how they can be connected to it (see e.g. Buyl et al. 207; Hockerts 2017; Ip et al. 2017; Bacq et al. 2014; Pal et al. 2014) Common ways in which research problem can take (2/7)
  • 11. www.knust.edu.gh 3. Little or concentrated knowledge of the outcomes of a particular concept: • New theoretical perspectives can be utilised to identify new outcomes of a particular concept and explain why/how they can be connected to it (see e.g. Kwak et al. 2018; Li et al. 2017) • Multiple but conceptually different outcomes (requiring different logics) can be linked to the concept in question (Wong et al. 2011) Common ways in which research problem can take (3/7)
  • 12. www.knust.edu.gh 4. Mixed/inconsistent prior research findings or competing explanations (either about the link a particular concept and its antecedent or outcome) • New research is needed to help explain what may account for the mixed/inconsistent findings or to minimize competing explanations • New research can address the problem by introducing contingency/moderator variables in the relationship (see e.g. Ju and Zhao 2009; Rosenbusch et al. 2011) • By logically explaining and empirically analyzing how different levels of the predictor variable relate differently to the outcome variable (see e.g. Huang et al. 2014; Nohria and Gulati 1996) • By logically explaining and empirically analyzing the mechanisms that might be characterizing the relationships between the variables in question (see e.g. Boso et al. 2017) Common ways in which research problem can take (4/7)
  • 13. www.knust.edu.gh 5. Little empirical knowledge of HOW (or the PROCESSES via which) a particular variable (say, X) affects another variable (say, Y): • This usually occurs when prior research has focused on examining the direct relationship between X and Y, which sometimes leads to inconclusive findings (see Boso et al. 2017) • This is solved by introducing (a) unique causal mechanism(s) (i.e. other variable[s]) that connect(s) X to Y in a particular way (see Wu 2008; Lu et al. 2010) Common ways in which research problem can take (5/7)
  • 14. www.knust.edu.gh 6. Questioning the causal direction of existing relationships between variables Consider the relationship between innovation and financial performance among firms • Is it the case that the innovation drives financial performance or it’s rather financial performance that drives innovation? 7. Weaknesses in methods used to investigate the relationship between X and Y. • E.g. If prior studies have focused using cross-sectional survey method to examine the causal relationship between X and Y, you can adopt a ‘better’ method (say, longitudinal-survey design, or panel data, or experiment), if possible, to re-examine the same relationship. Common ways in which research problem can take (6/7)
  • 15. www.knust.edu.gh 8. Lack of research testing existing theories/models, or replicating/verifying prior research findings, in new and different or similar contexts • See Tan (2003); Kuada and Buatsi (2005); Acquaah (2007) Common ways in which research problem can take (7/7)
  • 16. www.knust.edu.gh • A literature search-first approach • Observation-first approach • Other approaches Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (1/7)
  • 17. www.knust.edu.gh A literature search-first approach: Steps 1. Focus on a particular concept in your field of study A concept whose empirical literature is not matured is usually ideal. However, as novice, you want to work with concepts that have enough academic literature on it. The concept should be clearly defined/conceptualized in the literature, and if possible, it should have been measured. 2. Review recent literature (particularly, empirical) on the concept • Does any aspect of the body of knowledge about the concept have some important questions that have been ignored in prior research? • Quick Sources:  Conceptual papers. Do they have any proposition that interest you? (e.g. Siguaw et al. 2006; Ocasio 1997).  Qualitative studies. Do they have any proposition that interest you? What are the limitations of the study? What avenues for further studies have been discussed? (see Blackhurst et al. 2011; Conroy and Collings 2016) Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (2/7)
  • 18. www.knust.edu.gh A literature search-first approach: Steps 2. Review recent literature (particularly, empirical) on the concept (continued) • Does any aspect of the body of knowledge about the concept have some important questions that have been ignored in prior research? • Quick Sources:  Quantitative/hypothesis-testing studies. Can you critique, extend or build on their model? Is there any better methodology that could have been utilised? See the limitation and avenues for further research for guidelines (e.g. Buyl et al. 2017; Boso et al. 2017; Wu 2008)  Empirical literature review studies (conceptual). What important questions have been asked? What testable propositions have been made? Look at their recommendations for further studies section (see e.g. Linnenluecke 2015; Tseng et al. 2019; Nabi et al. 2017)  Empirical literature review studies (Meta-analysis) studies. Look at their recommendations for further studies section (e.g. Martin et al. 2013). Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (3/7)
  • 19. www.knust.edu.gh A literature search-first approach: Steps 2. Review recent literature (particularly, empirical) on the concept (continued) • Does any aspect of the body of knowledge about the concept have some important questions that have been ignored in prior research? • Quick Sources:  Quantitative/hypothesis-testing studies. Can you critique, extend or build on their model? Is there any better methodology that could have been utilised? See the limitation and avenues for further research for guidelines (e.g. Buyl et al. 2017; Boso et al. 2017; Wu 2008)  Empirical literature review studies (conceptual). What important questions have been asked? What testable propositions have been made? Look at their recommendations for further studies section (see e.g. Linnenluecke 2015; Tseng et al. 2019; Nabi et al. 2017)  Empirical literature review studies (Meta-analysis) studies. Look at their recommendations for further studies section (e.g. Martin et al. 2013). Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (4/7)
  • 20. www.knust.edu.gh A literature search-first approach: Note! The literature or articles for the review should come from recognized journals first (e.g. ABS or ABDC journals) Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (5/7)
  • 21. www.knust.edu.gh ‘Real’ world-first approach • What do you hear, see, feel, etc. that puzzles or interest you? • Is there any trending/emerging issue that attracts your interest? • Go back to the literature to know what has been said or investigated about Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (6/7)
  • 22. www.knust.edu.gh Other approaches • Look for “Call for papers: Special issues” • Visit the websites of concept/domain-specific journals Identifying/Searching for Research Problem (7/7)
  • 23. www.knust.edu.gh Irrespective of the form it may take, research problem usually contain the following parts: • Background to the problem (what makes the concepts (particularly, the focal one) and perhaps, the nature of their relationship, important concern for managers/ businesses or policy managers/the society? • Discussion of what prior research (either conceptual or empirical) has done • Discussion of important gaps (missing links) that the present research is interested in Formulating Research Problem (1/4)
  • 24. www.knust.edu.gh Irrespective of the form it may take, research problem usually contain the following parts: • Background to the problem (what makes the concepts (particularly, the focal one) and perhaps, the nature of their relationship, important concern for managers/ businesses or policy managers/the society? • Discussion of what prior research (either conceptual or empirical) has done • Discussion of important gaps (missing links) that the present research is interested in Formulating Research Problem (2/4)
  • 25. www.knust.edu.gh Formulating a research problem can be difficult. An easier way to overcome this is to: • Know the form of research problem that your study has (as discussed earlier) • Look for 3 to 5 good papers that have investigated the same/similar form of research problem (the concepts may be different though) • Model yours according to these papers • You can also discuss the problem with ‘senior’ researchers or other who have investigated a similar problem. Formulating Research Problem (3/4)
  • 26. www.knust.edu.gh Additional considerations: The exploratory tasks (mentioned in previous slide) can help you understand the environmental context of the research problem. This includes: • past information (e.g. previous research findings) and forecasts, • resources and constraints, • buyer behavior, • legal environment, • economic environment, • technological changes, and • Industry dynamics Formulating Research Problem (4/4)
  • 27. www.knust.edu.gh • Research questions come in varied forms. The ff. are a few examples: Types of Research Question TYPE OF RESEARCH TYPE OF QUESTION Descriptive research What is the nature of CREATIVITY? How does LOVE look like? What are the characteristics of resilient entrepreneurs? Comparative research What are the differences and similarities between CREATIVITY and INNOVATION? Are woman different from men in terms of their responses to challenging, life-threatening issues? Correlational research What is the relationship between INCOME and HAPPINESS? Is INCOME related to LONGEVITY? Exploratory research What are the main factors in RESILIENCE? What is the role of CREATIVITY in INNOVATION? Explanatory research Does HOPE have an effect on RESILIENCE? What is the impact of HOPE on HAPPINESS? What are the causes or determinants of HAPPINESS? Evaluation research What are the advantages and disadvantages of RELIGION? How well does RELIGION work? How desirable is RELIGION at the workplace? Action research How can RURAL COMMUNITY RESILIENCE be enhanced? What are the most effective strategies for boosting URBAN COMMUNITY RESILIENCE to the Covid- 19 pandemic?
  • 28. www.knust.edu.gh Criteria for evaluating research questions: • Appropriateness: is the question necessary in the first place? • Capability: can you do it? • Fulfilment: are you personally excited about the question? Research question: Good ones? (1/2)
  • 29. www.knust.edu.gh Alt. criteria for evaluating research questions: • Questions should be researchable. • Questions should be clear. • Questions should not be too narrow or too broad. • Questions should connect with established theory and research/literature. • Questions should be logically and conceptually link to each other. • Questions should offer you the potential to contribute to knowledge. Research question: Good ones? (2/2)
  • 30. www.knust.edu.gh Steps in generating a research question Source: Bell et al. (2019)
  • 31. www.knust.edu.gh A document the highlights the research motivation, problem/question, objective (where necessary), potential contributions, and tentative methodology, as well as the research timelines, resources necessary for completing the research, and the ethical issues that have to be considered. Research proposal (1/5)
  • 32. www.knust.edu.gh What question should a research proposal answer? 1. What is your research topic? OR what body of knowledge is your research connected to? 2. Why is your research topic important? 3. What is your research question or questions? 4. What does the literature have to say about your research topic and research question(s)? 5. What theory(ies) will you need to investigate the research quesition(s)? 6. How are you going to go about collecting data relevant to your research question(s)? In other words, what research methods are you intending to use? 7. Why are the research methods you have selected the appropriate ones for your research question? Research proposal (2/5)
  • 33. www.knust.edu.gh What question should a research proposal answer? (continued) 8. Who will your research participants be and how will they be selected (or if the research will use documents, what kinds of documents will you use and how will they be selected)? 9. If your research requires you to negotiate access to organizations, have you done so, and if not, how will you do this? 10.What resources will you need to conduct your research (for example, travel costs, recording equipment, printing, software) and how will those resources be obtained? 11.What is your timetable for the different stages of the project? 12.What are the ethical issues associated with your research and what steps will you take to address them? 13.How will you analyze your data? Research proposal (3/5)
  • 34. www.knust.edu.gh The template below can help you organize your thoughts well: Research proposal (4/5) An Excel version is available for download here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GcPaQx_XBqTUiYXMQUhhloP0f_9Dpzkc /view?usp=sharing
  • 35. www.knust.edu.gh Individual assignment Search and critically examine sample research proposal for academic research Research proposal (5/5)
  • 36. www.knust.edu.gh Bell, E., Bryman, A. & Harley, B. (2019). Business Research Methods (5 ed), Oxford University Press, Oxford. Boso, N. (2019). Business Research Methods: Lecture Slide 1 (available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/10tddIjeRJYGYgRa45FqG91SgDIft11zn/vi ew?usp=sharing ) Saunders, M.N.K, Lewis, P., Thornhill, A (2019). Research Methods For Business Students (8 ed), Pearson, Harlow. Key References
  • 37. www.knust.edu.gh Literature: searching, managing, reviewing, citating/referencing Next Lecture

Editor's Notes

  1. This materials