Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
The Research ProcessThe Research ProcessThe Research ProcessThe Research ProcessMBA2216 BUSINESS RESEARCH PROJECTMBA2216 B...
Topics of DiscussionTopics of Discussion1.1. Types of ResearchTypes of Research2.2. The Research ProcessThe Research Proce...
4–3LEARNING OUTCOMESLEARNING OUTCOMESLEARNING OUTCOMESLEARNING OUTCOMES1.1. Classify business research as either explorato...
TYPES OF RESEARCHTYPES OF RESEARCH111 - 4
4–5Types of Business ResearchTypes of Business Research Business research can be classified on thebasis of technique (e.g...
4–6Exploratory ResearchExploratory Research It is conducted to clarify ambiguous situationsIt is conducted to clarify amb...
4–7Descriptive ResearchDescriptive Research It describes characteristics of objects, people,groups, organizations or envi...
4–8Descriptive Research …Descriptive Research … Examples The average Weight Watchers’ customer Is a female about 40 yea...
4–9Causal ResearchCausal Research It allows causal inferences to be made. It seeks to identify cause-and-effectrelations...
Causal Research …Causal Research … Causal research attempts to establish that whenwe do one thing, another thing will fol...
 Concomitant Variation – occurs when twoevents “co-vary,” meaning they varysystematically and a when a change in thecause...
The Spurious Effect of Ice CreamThe Spurious Effect of Ice Cream
4–13Causal Research - Degrees ofCausal Research - Degrees ofCausalityCausality Absolute Causality The cause is necessary...
4–14Causal Research - ExperimentsCausal Research - Experiments Experiment A carefully controlled study in which theresea...
© 2010 South-Western/CengageLearning. All rights reserved. May notbe scanned, copied or duplicated, orposted to a publical...
16COMPLETELYCERTAINABSOLUTEAMBIGUITYCAUSAL ORDESCRIPTIVEEXPLORATORYUncertainty InfluencesThe Type Of Research
17Exploratory ResearchExploratory Research Descriptive ResearchDescriptive Research Causal ResearchCausal Research(Unaware...
4–18Characteristics of Different Types of Business ResearchCharacteristics of Different Types of Business ResearchUncertai...
THE RESEARCH PROCESSTHE RESEARCH PROCESS221 - 19
4–20Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process Process stages:1. Defining the research objectives2. Pla...
4–21Stages of the Research ProcessStages of the Research Process
EXHIBIT 4.EXHIBIT 4.66FlowchartFlowchartof theof theBusinessBusinessResearchResearchProcessProcessNote: Diamond-shaped box...
4–23Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process1. Defining the Research Objectives1. Defining the Researc...
Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process1. Defining the Research Objectives1. Defining the Research Ob...
Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process1. Defining the Research Objectives1. Defining the Research Ob...
4–26Example : Exploratory ResearchExample : Exploratory ResearchTechniquesTechniques Previous ResearchPrevious Research ...
4–27Example : Exploratory ResearchExample : Exploratory ResearchTechniquesTechniques A small-scale research project that ...
Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process1. Defining the Research Objectives1. Defining the Research Ob...
ExampleExampleResearch ideaResearch idea ResearchResearchQuestionsQuestionsResearchResearchObjectivesObjectivesUsing teamU...
Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process1. Defining the Research Objectives1. Defining the Research Ob...
4–31Example : Decision/Problem Statements,Example : Decision/Problem Statements,Research Objectives andResearch Objectives...
4–32Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process2. Planning the Research2. Planning the Research DesignDes...
Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process2. Planning the Research Design2. Planning the Research Design...
4–34Selection of the Basic ResearchSelection of the Basic ResearchMethodMethod SurveySurvey A research technique in whic...
Selection of the Basic Research MethodSelection of the Basic Research Method Observations It can be mechanically recorde...
4–36Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process3.3. Planning a sample SamplingSampling Involves any pro...
Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process4. Gathering Data4. Gathering Data This is the process of gat...
4–38Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process5. Processing and Analyzing Data5. Processing and Analyzin...
4–39Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process6. Drawing Conclusions and6. Drawing Conclusions andPrepar...
RESEARCH PROBLEMRESEARCH PROBLEMDEFINITIONDEFINITION331 - 40
6–41Good Decisions Start with aGood Decisions Start with aGood Problem DefinitionGood Problem Definition Importance of St...
6–42Good Decisions Start with aGood Decisions Start with aGood Problem DefinitionGood Problem Definition Decision Stateme...
Problem ComplexityProblem Complexity Problem definition - this stage of the research process canbe the most complex. Fac...
6–44Defining Problems Can Be DifficultDefining Problems Can Be Difficult
6–45The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition Process Problems Mean Gaps A problem occurs when there is a dif...
6–46The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition Process
6–47The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 1: Understand the Business DecisionStep 1: Understand...
6–48The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 1: Understand the Business Decision …Step 1: Understa...
6–49 Identifying Symptoms Probing is an interview technique that tries todraw deeper and more elaborate explanationsfrom...
6–50What Has Changed?What Has Changed?
The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 2: Identify the relevantStep 2: Identify the relevantissu...
6–52EXHIBIT 6.EXHIBIT 6.44 Symptoms Can Be ConfusingSymptoms Can Be Confusing
6–53The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 3: Writing Managerial DecisionStep 3: Writing Manager...
6–54EXHIBIT 6.EXHIBIT 6.55 Translating Decision StatementsTranslating Decision Statements
6–55The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 4: Determine the Unit of AnalysisStep 4: Determine th...
The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 5: Determine the Relevant VariableStep 5: Determine the R...
Types of VariablesTypes of Variables Continuous variable Can take on a range ofquantitative values. E.g. Sales, profit,...
6–58Business Decision Situations, Corresponding ResearchBusiness Decision Situations, Corresponding ResearchHypotheses, an...
ExampleExample Why are Americans OBESE?Why are Americans OBESE?4–59
ExampleExampleHypothesis: There is a positive relationshipbetween treatment of employees andemployee loyalty Dependent va...
The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 6: Writing ResearchStep 6: Writing ResearchObjectives and...
6–62Clarity in ResearchClarity in ResearchQuestions and HypothesesQuestions and Hypotheses1.1. A research question is the ...
6–63Influence of Decision Statement of MarketingInfluence of Decision Statement of MarketingProblem on Research Objectives...
6–64How Much Time Should BeHow Much Time Should BeSpent on Problem Definition?Spent on Problem Definition? Budget constra...
1 - 65Further ReadingFurther Reading ZIKMUND, W.G., BABIN, B.J., CARR, J.C.AND GRIFFIN, M. (2010) BUSINESSRESEARCH METHOD...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Mba2216 business research week 2 research process 0613

1,110 views

Published on

Research process, problem definition

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

Mba2216 business research week 2 research process 0613

  1. 1. The Research ProcessThe Research ProcessThe Research ProcessThe Research ProcessMBA2216 BUSINESS RESEARCH PROJECTMBA2216 BUSINESS RESEARCH PROJECTbyStephen OngVisiting Fellow, Birmingham CityUniversity, UK
  2. 2. Topics of DiscussionTopics of Discussion1.1. Types of ResearchTypes of Research2.2. The Research ProcessThe Research Process3.3. Research ProblemResearch ProblemDefinitionDefinition
  3. 3. 4–3LEARNING OUTCOMESLEARNING OUTCOMESLEARNING OUTCOMESLEARNING OUTCOMES1.1. Classify business research as either exploratoryClassify business research as either exploratoryresearch, descriptive research, or causal researchresearch, descriptive research, or causal research2.2. List the major phases of the research process and theList the major phases of the research process and thesteps within eachsteps within each3.3. Explain why proper “problem definition” is essential toExplain why proper “problem definition” is essential touseful business researchuseful business research4.4. Know how to recognize problemsKnow how to recognize problems5.5. Translate managerial decision statements into relevantTranslate managerial decision statements into relevantresearch objectivesresearch objectives6.6. Translate research objectives into research questionsTranslate research objectives into research questionsand/or research hypothesesand/or research hypothesesAfter this lecture, you should
  4. 4. TYPES OF RESEARCHTYPES OF RESEARCH111 - 4
  5. 5. 4–5Types of Business ResearchTypes of Business Research Business research can be classified on thebasis of technique (e.g. experiments, surveys,or observation studies) or purpose. Classifying research on the basis of itspurpose, it can be broken into three categories:1. exploratory,2. descriptive, and3. causal.
  6. 6. 4–6Exploratory ResearchExploratory Research It is conducted to clarify ambiguous situationsIt is conducted to clarify ambiguous situationsor discover ideas that may be potentialor discover ideas that may be potentialbusiness opportunities.business opportunities. It is not intended to provide conclusiveIt is not intended to provide conclusiveevidence from which to determine a particularevidence from which to determine a particularcourse of action.course of action. It is not an end unto itself – usually it isIt is not an end unto itself – usually it isconducted with the expectation that moreconducted with the expectation that moreresearch will be needed to provide moreresearch will be needed to provide moreconclusive evidence.conclusive evidence. It is particularly useful inIt is particularly useful in new productnew productdevelopment.development.
  7. 7. 4–7Descriptive ResearchDescriptive Research It describes characteristics of objects, people,groups, organizations or environments. It addresses who, what, when, where, and howquestions. It often helps describe market segments. It is conducted with a considerableunderstanding of the situation being studied. Diagnostic analysis Seeks to diagnose reasons for marketoutcomes and focuses specifically onthe beliefs and feelings consumers haveabout and toward competing products.
  8. 8. 4–8Descriptive Research …Descriptive Research … Examples The average Weight Watchers’ customer Is a female about 40 years old Has a household income of about $50,000 Has at least some college education Is trying to juggle children and a job Characteristics of leaders Empathetic Resourceful Ability to delegate
  9. 9. 4–9Causal ResearchCausal Research It allows causal inferences to be made. It seeks to identify cause-and-effectrelationships. When something causes an effect, itmeans it brings it about or makes ithappen; the effect is the outcome. It usually follows exploratory anddescriptive research and, therefore, theresearchers are quite knowledgeableabout the subject.
  10. 10. Causal Research …Causal Research … Causal research attempts to establish that whenwe do one thing, another thing will follow – acausal inference is just such a conclusion. A causal inference can only be supported whenvery specific causal evidence exists, and thethree critical pieces of causal evidence are: Temporal Sequence – deals with the timeorder of events; having an appropriatecausal order of events means the causemust occur before the effect. i.e. the cause must occur before the effect.i.e. the cause must occur before the effect. E.g. chef changed, sales dropped after that change.E.g. chef changed, sales dropped after that change.4–10
  11. 11.  Concomitant Variation – occurs when twoevents “co-vary,” meaning they varysystematically and a when a change in thecause occurs, a change in the outcomealso is observed. Changes in income level will lead to changes inthe spending. Non-spurious Association – anycovariation between a cause and an effectis true and not simply due to some othervariable. E.g. introduction of compulsory attendance inlecture leads to improved attendance inlecture.4–11Causal Research …Causal Research …
  12. 12. The Spurious Effect of Ice CreamThe Spurious Effect of Ice Cream
  13. 13. 4–13Causal Research - Degrees ofCausal Research - Degrees ofCausalityCausality Absolute Causality The cause is necessary and sufficient tobring about the effect. E.g. rain - wet floor Conditional Causality A cause is necessary but not sufficient tobring about an effect. Rain – wet floor – broken leg Contributory Causality A cause need be neither necessary norsufficient to bring about an effect. Weakest form of causality. Rain – wet floor – quarrel between couples
  14. 14. 4–14Causal Research - ExperimentsCausal Research - Experiments Experiment A carefully controlled study in which theresearcher manipulates a proposed cause andobserves any corresponding change in theproposed effect. Experimental variable Represents the proposed cause and iscontrolled by the researcher by manipulating it. Manipulation The researcher alters the level of the variable inspecific increments. Test-market An experiment that is conducted within actualmarket conditions.
  15. 15. © 2010 South-Western/CengageLearning. All rights reserved. May notbe scanned, copied or duplicated, orposted to a publically accessiblewebsite, in whole or in part.4–15Testing for Causes with an ExperimentTesting for Causes with an Experiment
  16. 16. 16COMPLETELYCERTAINABSOLUTEAMBIGUITYCAUSAL ORDESCRIPTIVEEXPLORATORYUncertainty InfluencesThe Type Of Research
  17. 17. 17Exploratory ResearchExploratory Research Descriptive ResearchDescriptive Research Causal ResearchCausal Research(Unaware of Problem)(Unaware of Problem) (Aware of Problem)(Aware of Problem) (Problem Clearly Defined)(Problem Clearly Defined)““Our sales are declining andOur sales are declining and “What kind of“What kind of peoplepeople are buying“ Will buyers purchase more of ourare buying“ Will buyers purchase more of ourwe don’t know whywe don’t know why.”.” our product?our product? products in a new package?products in a new package?WhoWho buys our competitor’sbuys our competitor’sproduct?”product?”““Would people be interestedWould people be interested “Which of two advertising“Which of two advertisingin our new product idea?”in our new product idea?” “What“What featuresfeatures do buyers preferdo buyers prefer campaigns is more effective?”campaigns is more effective?”in our product?”in our product?”possiblesituationDegree of Problem DefinitionDegree of Problem Definition
  18. 18. 4–18Characteristics of Different Types of Business ResearchCharacteristics of Different Types of Business ResearchUncertainty Influences the Type of Research ConductedUncertainty Influences the Type of Research Conducted
  19. 19. THE RESEARCH PROCESSTHE RESEARCH PROCESS221 - 19
  20. 20. 4–20Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process Process stages:1. Defining the research objectives2. Planning a research design3. Planning a sample4. Collecting the data5. Analyzing the data6. Formulating the conclusions and preparingthe report Forward linkage—earlier stages influence later stages. Backward linkage—later stages influence earlier stages.
  21. 21. 4–21Stages of the Research ProcessStages of the Research Process
  22. 22. EXHIBIT 4.EXHIBIT 4.66FlowchartFlowchartof theof theBusinessBusinessResearchResearchProcessProcessNote: Diamond-shaped boxes indicate stages in the research process in which a choice of one or more techniquesmust be made. The dotted line indicates an alternative path that skips exploratory research.
  23. 23. 4–23Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process1. Defining the Research Objectives1. Defining the Research Objectives It is the beginning of the research process. Research objectives are the goals to be achieved byconducting research. In consulting, the term deliverables is often used todescribe the objectives to a research client. In applied business research, the objectives cannot belisted until there is an understanding of the decisionsituation, which must be shared between the actualdecision maker and the lead researcher. This understanding is often described as a problemstatement. A research proposal is a document in which the problemis stated. This is a process of discovery rather than confirmation.
  24. 24. Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process1. Defining the Research Objectives1. Defining the Research ObjectivesDefining the research problemAn orderly definition of the research problemlends a sense of direction to the investigation.Properly defining a problem can be moredifficult than solving it.Defining the decision situation must precedethe research objectives.Best place to begin a research project is at theend; that is, knowing what is to beaccomplished determines the research process.4–24
  25. 25. Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process1. Defining the Research Objectives1. Defining the Research ObjectivesExploratory ResearchExploratory ResearchExploratory Research can be used to help identify theExploratory Research can be used to help identify thedecisions that need to be made.decisions that need to be made.Once done, the researcher should know exactly whichOnce done, the researcher should know exactly whichdata to collect during formal phases of the project anddata to collect during formal phases of the project andhow to conduct the project.how to conduct the project.Researchers can employ techniques from four basicResearchers can employ techniques from four basiccategories to obtain insights and gain a clearer idea ofcategories to obtain insights and gain a clearer idea ofthe problem:the problem: previous research,previous research, pilot studies,pilot studies, case studies, andcase studies, and experience surveysexperience surveys4–25
  26. 26. 4–26Example : Exploratory ResearchExample : Exploratory ResearchTechniquesTechniques Previous ResearchPrevious Research Literature reviewLiterature reviewA directed search of publishedA directed search of publishedworks, including periodicals andworks, including periodicals andbooks, that discusses theory andbooks, that discusses theory andpresents empirical results thatpresents empirical results thatare relevant to the topic at hand.are relevant to the topic at hand. Pilot StudiesPilot Studies
  27. 27. 4–27Example : Exploratory ResearchExample : Exploratory ResearchTechniquesTechniques A small-scale research project that collects dataA small-scale research project that collects datafrom respondents similar to those to be used infrom respondents similar to those to be used inthe full study.the full study. PretestPretest A small-scale study in which the results areA small-scale study in which the results areonly preliminary and intended only to assistonly preliminary and intended only to assistin design of a subsequent study.in design of a subsequent study. Focus GroupFocus Group A small group discussion about someA small group discussion about someresearch topic led by a moderator whoresearch topic led by a moderator whoguides discussion among the participants.guides discussion among the participants.
  28. 28. Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process1. Defining the Research Objectives1. Defining the Research Objectives Stating Research ObjectivesStating Research Objectives After identifying and clarifying the problem,After identifying and clarifying the problem,the researcher must formally state thethe researcher must formally state theresearch objectives.research objectives. This statement delineates the type ofThis statement delineates the type ofresearch that is needed and whatresearch that is needed and whatintelligence may result that would allow theintelligence may result that would allow thedecision maker to make informed choices.decision maker to make informed choices. Represents a contract of sorts that commitsRepresents a contract of sorts that commitsthe researcher to producing the neededthe researcher to producing the neededresearch.research.4–28
  29. 29. ExampleExampleResearch ideaResearch idea ResearchResearchQuestionsQuestionsResearchResearchObjectivesObjectivesUsing teamUsing teambriefing inbriefing inorientationorientationprogramprogram1. Why have1. Why haveorganisationsorganisationsintroduced teamintroduced teambriefing?briefing?1. To identify1. To identifyorganisations’organisations’objectives forobjectives forteam briefing.team briefing.2. Has team2. Has teambriefing beenbriefing beeneffective?effective?2. To describe2. To describethe extent tothe extent towhich thewhich theeffectivenesseffectivenesscriteria for teamcriteria for teambriefing beingbriefing beingmet.met.1–29
  30. 30. Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process1. Defining the Research Objectives1. Defining the Research Objectives Linking Decision Statements,Linking Decision Statements,Objectives, and HypothesesObjectives, and HypothesesHypotheses should beHypotheses should belogically derived from andlogically derived from andlinked to the researchlinked to the researchobjectives.objectives.
  31. 31. 4–31Example : Decision/Problem Statements,Example : Decision/Problem Statements,Research Objectives andResearch Objectives andResearch HypothesesResearch Hypotheses
  32. 32. 4–32Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process2. Planning the Research2. Planning the Research DesignDesign Research DesignResearch Design A master plan that specifies the methodsA master plan that specifies the methodsand procedures for collecting andand procedures for collecting andanalyzing the needed information.analyzing the needed information. Basic design techniques for descriptiveBasic design techniques for descriptiveand causal research:and causal research: SurveysSurveys ExperimentsExperiments Secondary dataSecondary data ObservationObservation
  33. 33. Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process2. Planning the Research Design2. Planning the Research Design Determination of which method shouldbe chosen depends on:objectives of the studyavailable data sourcesurgency of the decisioncost of obtaining data Most common method is the survey.4–33
  34. 34. 4–34Selection of the Basic ResearchSelection of the Basic ResearchMethodMethod SurveySurvey A research technique in which aA research technique in which asample is interviewed in some formsample is interviewed in some formor the behavior of respondents isor the behavior of respondents isobserved and described.observed and described. TelephoneTelephone MailMail InternetInternet In personIn person
  35. 35. Selection of the Basic Research MethodSelection of the Basic Research Method Observations It can be mechanically recorded or observed byhumans. One advantage of the observation technique is thatit records behaviour without relying on reports fromrespondents. Several things of interest (i.e., attitudes, opinions,motivations) cannot be observed. The “Best” Research Design There is no single best research design. Several alternatives can accomplish the statedresearch objectives. Ability to select the most appropriate designdevelops with experience.4–35
  36. 36. 4–36Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process3.3. Planning a sample SamplingSampling Involves any procedure that drawsInvolves any procedure that drawsconclusions based on measurements ofconclusions based on measurements ofa portion of the population.a portion of the population. Sampling decisionsSampling decisions Who to sample?Who to sample?—t—target populationarget population What size should the sample be?What size should the sample be? How to select the sampling units?How to select the sampling units? Random sampleRandom sample
  37. 37. Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process4. Gathering Data4. Gathering Data This is the process of gathering orcollecting information. It may be gathered by human observers orinterviewers or may be recorded bymachines (e.g., scanner data). An unobtrusive method is one in which thesubjects do not have to be disturbed fordata to be collected. However the data are collected, it isimportant to minimize errors in the process.4–37
  38. 38. 4–38Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process5. Processing and Analyzing Data5. Processing and Analyzing Data Editing Involves checking the data collection forms foromissions, legibility, and consistency inclassification. Codes Rules for interpreting, categorizing, recording,and transferring the data to the data storagemedia. Data analysis The application of reasoning to understand thedata that have been gathered.
  39. 39. 4–39Stages in the Research ProcessStages in the Research Process6. Drawing Conclusions and6. Drawing Conclusions andPreparing a ReportPreparing a Report Steps in communicating the research findings: Interpreting the research results Describing the implications Drawing the appropriate conclusions for managerialdecisions Reporting requirements Conclusions fulfill the deliverables promised in theresearch proposal Consider the varying abilities of people tounderstand the research results A clearly-written, understandable summary of theresearch findings
  40. 40. RESEARCH PROBLEMRESEARCH PROBLEMDEFINITIONDEFINITION331 - 40
  41. 41. 6–41Good Decisions Start with aGood Decisions Start with aGood Problem DefinitionGood Problem Definition Importance of Starting with a Good Problem DefinitionImportance of Starting with a Good Problem Definition The chances that a research project will proveThe chances that a research project will proveuseful are directly related to how well theuseful are directly related to how well theresearch objectives correspond to the trueresearch objectives correspond to the truebusiness problem.business problem. When the client fails to understand theirWhen the client fails to understand theirsituation, or when they insist on studying ansituation, or when they insist on studying anirrelevant problem, the research is very likely toirrelevant problem, the research is very likely tofail even if it is done properly.fail even if it is done properly. Translating a business situation into somethingTranslating a business situation into somethingthat can be researched begins by coming to athat can be researched begins by coming to aconsensus on a decision statement or question.consensus on a decision statement or question.
  42. 42. 6–42Good Decisions Start with aGood Decisions Start with aGood Problem DefinitionGood Problem Definition Decision Statement A written expression of the key question(s)that the research user wishes to answer. Problem Definition The process of defining and developing adecision statement and the steps involved intranslating it into more precise researchterminology, including a set of researchobjectives.
  43. 43. Problem ComplexityProblem Complexity Problem definition - this stage of the research process canbe the most complex. Factors influencing problem complexity include: Situation Frequency – cyclical, routineproblems are easier to define. Dramatic changes – when sudden change inthe business situation takes place, it can beeasier to define the problem. How Widespread are the Symptoms? – themore scattered any symptoms are, the moredifficult it is to put them together into somecoherent problem statement. Symptom Ambiguity – the greater theambiguity of the symptoms, the more difficult itis to define the problem.4–43
  44. 44. 6–44Defining Problems Can Be DifficultDefining Problems Can Be Difficult
  45. 45. 6–45The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition Process Problems Mean Gaps A problem occurs when there is a differencebetween the current conditions and a morepreferable set of conditions (i.e., a gap existsbetween the way things are now and the way thatthings could be better). A gap can come about in a number of ways:1. Business performance is worse than expected (e.g., sales,profits, margins are below targets set by management).2. Actual business performance is less than possible businessperformance (note that realization of this gap first requiresthat management have some idea of what is possible).3. Expected business performance is greater than possiblebusiness performance.
  46. 46. 6–46The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition Process
  47. 47. 6–47The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 1: Understand the Business DecisionStep 1: Understand the Business Decision Situation AnalysisSituation Analysis A situation analysis involves theA situation analysis involves thegathering of background information togathering of background information tofamiliarize researchers and managersfamiliarize researchers and managerswith the decision-making environment.with the decision-making environment. It often requires exploratory research.It often requires exploratory research. The situation analysis begins with anThe situation analysis begins with aninterview between the researcher andinterview between the researcher andmanagement.management.
  48. 48. 6–48The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 1: Understand the Business Decision …Step 1: Understand the Business Decision … Interview Process Researcher should be granted access to allindividuals who have specific knowledge or insightof the situation. It is important that the researcher not blindly accepta convenient problem definition for expediency’ssake. Helpful hints that can be useful in the interviewprocess include:1. Develop many alternative problem statements.2. Think about potential solutions to the problem.3. Make lists – use free association and interrogative techniques(i.e., asking multiple what, where, who, when, why, and howquestions).4. Be open-minded.
  49. 49. 6–49 Identifying Symptoms Probing is an interview technique that tries todraw deeper and more elaborate explanationsfrom the discussion with key decisionmakers. One of the most important questions to ask –“What has changed?” (i.e., customers,competitors, internal conditions of thecompany and in the external environment). Then, the researcher should probe to identifypotential causes of the change.The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 1: Understand the Business Decision …Step 1: Understand the Business Decision …
  50. 50. 6–50What Has Changed?What Has Changed?
  51. 51. The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 2: Identify the relevantStep 2: Identify the relevantissues from the symptomsissues from the symptoms The symptoms identified shouldThe symptoms identified shouldbe translated into a problem andbe translated into a problem andthen a decision statement.then a decision statement. Exhibit illustrates how symptomsExhibit illustrates how symptomscan be translated into a problemcan be translated into a problemand then a decision statement.and then a decision statement.4–51
  52. 52. 6–52EXHIBIT 6.EXHIBIT 6.44 Symptoms Can Be ConfusingSymptoms Can Be Confusing
  53. 53. 6–53The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 3: Writing Managerial DecisionStep 3: Writing Managerial DecisionStatements into CorrespondingStatements into CorrespondingResearch ObjectivesResearch Objectives Decision statements must betranslated into research objectives. Once the decision statement is written,the research essentially answers thequestion, “What information is needed toaddress this situation?” Research objectives are thedeliverables of the research project.
  54. 54. 6–54EXHIBIT 6.EXHIBIT 6.55 Translating Decision StatementsTranslating Decision Statements
  55. 55. 6–55The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 4: Determine the Unit of AnalysisStep 4: Determine the Unit of Analysis Unit of Analysis Unit of analysis indicates what or who shouldprovide the data and at what level of aggregation. Individuals (such as customers, employees, and owners) Households (families, extended families, and so forth) Organizations (businesses and business units) Departments (sales, finance, and so forth) Geographical areas Objects (products, advertisements, and so forth). Multi-level analysis studies variables measured atmore than one unit of analysis.
  56. 56. The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 5: Determine the Relevant VariableStep 5: Determine the Relevant Variable What is a Variable? A variable is anything that varies orchanges from one instance to another. It can exhibit differences in value, usuallyin magnitude or strength, or in direction. Converse of a variable is a constant (i.e.,something that does not change). What is a Constant? Something that does not change; is not useful in addressing researchquestions.
  57. 57. Types of VariablesTypes of Variables Continuous variable Can take on a range ofquantitative values. E.g. Sales, profit,satisfaction Categorical variable Indicates membershipin some group. Also calledclassificatory variable. E.g. gender, customer Dependent variable,Dependent variable,DV or YDV or Y A process outcome or avariable that ispredicted and/orexplained by othervariables. IndependentIndependentvariable, IV or Xvariable, IV or X A variable that isexpected to influencethe dependent variablein some way.
  58. 58. 6–58Business Decision Situations, Corresponding ResearchBusiness Decision Situations, Corresponding ResearchHypotheses, and Variable DescriptionsHypotheses, and Variable Descriptions
  59. 59. ExampleExample Why are Americans OBESE?Why are Americans OBESE?4–59
  60. 60. ExampleExampleHypothesis: There is a positive relationshipbetween treatment of employees andemployee loyalty Dependent variable Employee Loyalty Independent variable Treatment of employee4–60
  61. 61. The Problem-Definition ProcessThe Problem-Definition ProcessStep 6: Writing ResearchStep 6: Writing ResearchObjectives and QuestionsObjectives and Questions Research Questions Express the research objectives interms of questions that can beaddressed by research. Help to develop well-formulated,specific hypotheses that can beempirically tested. Help the researcher design a study thatwill produce useful results.
  62. 62. 6–62Clarity in ResearchClarity in ResearchQuestions and HypothesesQuestions and Hypotheses1.1. A research question is the researcher’s translation ofA research question is the researcher’s translation ofthe problem into a specific inquiry.the problem into a specific inquiry.2.2. Asking specific research questions helps the researcherAsking specific research questions helps the researcherdesign a study that will produce useful results.design a study that will produce useful results.3.3. A formal hypothesis has considerable practical value inA formal hypothesis has considerable practical value inplanning and designing research because it forcesplanning and designing research because it forcesresearchers to be clear about what they expect to findresearchers to be clear about what they expect to findthrough the study, and it raises crucial questions aboutthrough the study, and it raises crucial questions aboutdata required.data required.4.4. In cases of a “go/no go” decision, the research involvesIn cases of a “go/no go” decision, the research involvesa managerial action standard that specifies a specifica managerial action standard that specifies a specificperformance criterion upon which a decision can beperformance criterion upon which a decision can bebased.based.5.5. Objectives should be limited to a manageable number.Objectives should be limited to a manageable number.
  63. 63. 6–63Influence of Decision Statement of MarketingInfluence of Decision Statement of MarketingProblem on Research Objectives andProblem on Research Objectives andResearch DesignsResearch Designs
  64. 64. 6–64How Much Time Should BeHow Much Time Should BeSpent on Problem Definition?Spent on Problem Definition? Budget constraints usually influencehow much effort is spent on problemdefinition. The more important the decision facedby management, the more resourcesshould be allocated toward problemdefinition. The time taken to identify the correctproblem is usually time well spent.
  65. 65. 1 - 65Further ReadingFurther Reading ZIKMUND, W.G., BABIN, B.J., CARR, J.C.AND GRIFFIN, M. (2010) BUSINESSRESEARCH METHODS, 8THEDN, SOUTH-WESTERN SAUNDERS, M., LEWIS, P. ANDTHORNHILL, A. (2012) RESEARCHMETHODS FOR BUSINESS STUDENTS, 6THEDN, PRENTICE HALL. SAUNDERS, M. AND LEWIS, P. (2012)DOING RESEARCH IN BUSINESS &MANAGEMENT, FT PRENTICE HALL.

×