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Introduction to business research

  1. Introduction to Research Methodology
  2. Research : A Way of Thinking • Research is not only a set of skills, but also a way of thinking. • Within this framework of thoughtfulness, we usually get involved in the following things :  Question, What we Observe  Make an Attempt to Explore Further  Understand and Explain our Observations; and  Draw Conclusions and Inferences to Enhance our Practice Skills and Knowledge Base • Research is thus – An Inquisitive, Critical and Analytical Observation of our Work or Practice Situation, - To Gain an In-depth Knowledge of its Rationale, Relevance, Effectiveness and Efficiency.
  3. Research : A Way of Thinking (Cont…) • A Research-Oriented thought process develops in us an Attitude that :  Encourages us to Challenge Different Aspects of our Work Situation;  Question their Purpose, Relevance and Validity;  Find Strengths and Weaknesses; and  Investigate Possibilities and Ways for Further Improvements and Refinements • The Logical, Rational and Analytical Thinking that develops in us, requires us to gain Knowledge of the Research Methodologies and Skills - To provide ourselves with the Techniques to Find Answers to our Research Questions • A Research Orientation can thus become a Part of our Daily Practice, which will encourage us to Further Observe, Question, Explore, Test and Understand the Various Aspects
  4. Research : What does it Mean? The word research is composed of two syllables, re and search. The dictionary definition indicates that the prefix ‘re’ implies again, anew or over again, and the latter ‘search’ implying to examine closely and carefully, to test and try, or to probe. Thus, research implies a careful, systematic study and investigation in some field of knowledge, undertaken to establish facts or principles.
  5. Research : What does it Mean? (Cont…) Grinnell (1993) mentions that ‘research is a structured inquiry that utilises acceptable scientific methodology to solve problems and creates new knowledge that is generally acceptable’. Lundberg (1942) adds ‘the main difference between our day-to-day generalisations and the conclusions usually recognised as scientific method, lies in the degree of formality, rigorousness, verifiability and general validity of the latter’ Burns (1997) defines research as ‘a systematic investigation to find answers to a problem’ Kerlinger (1986) states ‘scientific research is a systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of propositions about the presumed relationships between various phenomena
  6. Research : What does it Mean? (Cont…) • The formal considerations of the word research indicate that the word can have multiple meanings and its precise definition varies from discipline to discipline and expert to expert. • There, however, seems to exist an agreement across disciplines and experts, with respect to the functions its performs, i.e., to find answers to your research questions. • The research methods may range from the fairly informal to the strictly scientific, adhering to the conventional expectations of scientific procedures
  7. Research : What does it Mean? (Cont…) A Formal Research Study should possess the following characteristics:  It should be undertaken within a framework of a set of philosophies; It should use procedures, methods and techniques that have been tested for their validity and reliability; and It should be designed to be unbiased and objective
  8. Research : What does it Mean? (Cont…) • Our Philosophical Orientation would stem from one of the several paradigms and approaches in research – positivist, interpretative, phenomenology, participatory, qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods – and our academic discipline. • The concept of Validity ensures that correct procedures have been applied to find answers to our research questions. • Reliability refers to the quality of a measurement procedure that provides repeatability and accuracy • Unbiased and Objective means that we have taken up each step in an unbiased manner and have drawn each conclusion to the best of our ability without introducing our own vested interests
  9. Research : What does it Mean? (Cont…) The degree to which these criteria are expected to be fulfilled varies from discipline to discipline and so the meaning of research also differs from one academic discipline to another. Example : the expectations of the research process are markedly different between the physical and social sciences. In the former, a research endeavour is expected to be strictly controlled at each step, whereas in the latter, rigid control cannot be enforced as we are studying human behaviour.
  10. Research : What does it Mean? (Cont…) • Not all research studies are based upon complex and technical methodologies and have to use statistics and computers. • Research can be a very simple activity designed to provide answers to very simple questions related to day-to-day activities. • On the contrary, research procedures may be complex and well articulated, and can be employed to formulate intricate theories or laws that govern our lives.
  11. Types of Research The basic types of research are as follows : •Descriptive vs Analytical  The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as it exists  This is referred to as Ex post facto research, often used by a researcher to measure items, e.g., frequency of shopping, preferences of people, etc.  The main characteristic of this method is that the researcher has no control over the variables; he can only report what has happened or what is happening.  This type of research is used to discover causes of a certain phenomenon, without any intention to control the variables.  The methods of research utilised are survey methods and fact-finding enquiries of different kinds, including comparative and correlational methods.
  12. Types of Research (Cont…)  In case of analytical research, the researcher has to use facts or information already available, and analyse these to make a critical evaluation of the material. • Applied vs Fundamental  The central aim of applied research is to discover a solution for a pressing and immediate practical problem facing a society, industrial or business organisation, academic institution, etc.  Fundamental or basic research is mainly concerned with generalisations and with the formulation of a theory.  This is directed towards finding information that has a broad base of applications, and thus adds to the already existing organised body of scientific knowledge.  This is gathering knowledge for knowledge’s sake.
  13. Types of Research (Cont…)  Examples of Fundamental Research : Research concerning some natural phenomenon, pure mathematics, human behaviour, etc for the purpose of generalisations and formulation of theories.  Examples of Applied Research : Research to identify social, economic or political trends that may affect a particular institution, marketing research of a business organisation, evaluation research, etc. • Quantitative (Structured) vs Qualitative (Unstructured) vs Mixed Methods  The core difference between these three is the extent of flexibility permitted to the researcher  Quantitative research is based on the quantitative measurements of some characteristics.  This is applicable to phenomenon that can be expressed in terms of quantities.  In case of qualitative research, there is lack of flexibility in the sense that the objectives, design, sample, questions, etc are all predetermined whereas in qualitative approach, there exists complete flexibility in these aspects.
  14. Types of Research (Cont…)  Qualitative research is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, those that are involving quality or kind- is of particular importance in behavioural sciences, in which the aim is to analyse human behaviour  ‘Motivation Research’ is an important type of qualitative research – aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires behind human behaviour – analysing the various factors which motivate people to behave in a particular manner, or to like or dislike a particular thing.  Attitude or Opinion Research is a type of qualitative research – designed to find out how people feel or think about a particular subject.  The techniques used are in depth interviews, word association tests, sentence completion tests, story completion tests and similar other projective techniques.  The mixed methods approach uses the strengths of qualitative and quantitative approaches, with an aim to select the best combinations of methods, to find answers to the research questions.
  15. Types of Research (Cont…) Quantitative Research Qualitative Research Mixed Methods Based on the Philosophy of Rationalism Based on the Philosophy of Empiricism •Uses the Strengths of both Quantitative and Qualitative Research •Combines two or more methods to collect and analyse date pertaining to the research problem •Could be either a mix of methods belonging to the two types or belonging to the same paradigm •Objective is to obtain the Best Outcome for a research study Combining Both Approaches or using More than One Method Follows a Rigid, Structured, and Pre-determined set of Procedures Follows an Open, Flexible and Unstructured Approach Aims to Quantify the extent of variation in a phenomenon Aims to Explore Diversity rather than to quantify Emphasises on the Measurement of the Variables and the Objectivity of the Process Emphasises the Description and Narration of Feelings, Perceptions and Experiences Emphasises on the Substantiation of the Results on the basis of a Large Sample Size Does not Stress on Large Sample Size Communicates Findings in an Analytical and Aggregate manner Communicates Findings in Descriptive and Narrative manner Draws Conclusions and Inferences that can be Generalised Place Less or No Emphasis on Generalisations
  16. Types of Research (Cont…) • Conceptual vs Empirical  Conceptual research is related to some abstract ideas or theory – generally used to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones.  Empirical research relies on experience or observation – data-based research coming up with conclusions, which are capable of being verified by observation or experiment.  Empirical research is also referred to as experimental type of research, characterised by the researcher’s control over the variables  A researcher must have a working hypothesis or guess the probable results  He then works to get enough data or facts to prove or disprove his hypothesis  He then sets up experimental designs which he thinks will manipulate the concerned persons or materials, so as to bring forth the desired information
  17. Types of Research (Cont…) • Empirical research is appropriate when proof is sought that certain variables affect others in some way • Evidence gathered through experiments or empirical studies are considered to be the most important or powerful support possible for testing a given hypothesis. Other Types of Research Some other type of research are : • One-time research or longitudinal research. Single time-period, or over Several time-periods. • Field-setting research or laboratory research or simulation research, depending upon the environment in which it is to be carried out. • Research can also be historical.
  18. Types of Research (Cont…) • The different types of research can be broadly categorized based on the following three perspectives :  Application Perspective, i.e., applications of the findings of the research study;  Objective Perspective, i.e., objectives of the research study; and  Mode of Enquiry Perspective. • From the perspective of application, there are broadly two categories – pure or fundamental research and applied research • From the objective perspective, research can be descriptive or analytical – exploratory, correlational or explanatory • From the mode of enquiry perspective, the types are quantitative or structured, qualitative or unstructured, and mixed methods.
  19. Types of Research (Cont…) • It is to be noted that the classification of the types of research is not Mutually Exclusive- for example, a research project may be classified as pure or applied, descriptive or analytical, and as quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods.
  20. Research Methods vs Research Methodology • Research methods or techniques, refer to the methods the researchers use in performing research operations. • A distinction is also made between research techniques and research methods. Research techniques refer to the behaviour and instruments that we use in performing research operations such as making observations, recording data, techniques of processing data and the like. Research methods refer to the behaviour and instruments used in selecting and constructing research technique E.g. Focus Interview is the research method, whereas, the research technique would be that the interviewer focusses attention on a given phenomenon and its effects.
  21. Research Methods vs Research Methodology • Research methodology is a way to systematically solve the research problem. • When we talk of research methodology, we consider not only the research methods but also the logic behind the methods we use in the context of our research study • We explain why we are using a particular method or technique and why we are not using others so that research results are capable of being evaluated either by the researcher himself or by others.
  22. • Mixed methods is an approach, rather a philosophy, to social enquiry that uses two or more methods, processes and philosophies in undertaking a research study • Mixed methodologists present an alternative to the quantitative and qualitative traditions, but using whatever methodological tools are required to answer the research questions • Mixed method studies combine the quantitative and qualitative approaches into the research methodology of a single study or multi- phased study
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