MB0050 –Research Methodology

Set - 1

Q1.a. Differentiate between nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio scales, with an example of each.
Ans) Measurement may be classified into four different levels, based on the characteristics of order,
distance and origin. 1. Nominal measurement this level of measurement consists in assigning numerals or symbols to different categories of a variable. The example of male and female applicants to an MBA program mentioned earlier is an example of nominal measurement. The numerals or symbols are just labels and have no quantitative value. The numbers of cases under each category are counted. Nominal measurement is therefore the simplest level of measurement. It does not have characteristics such as order, distance or arithmetic origin. Ordinal measurement In this level of measurement, persons or objects are assigned numerals which indicate ranks with respect to one or more properties, either in ascending or descending order Example Individuals may be ranked according to their “socio-economic class”, which is measured by a combination of income, education, occupation and wealth. The individual with the highest score might be assigned rank1, the next highest rank 2, and so on, or vice versa. The numbers in this level of measurement indicate only rank order and not equal distance or absolute quantities. This means that the distance between ranks 1 and 2 is not necessarily equal to the distance between ranks 2 and 3. Ordinal scales may be constructed using rank order, rating and paired comparisons. Variables that lend themselves to ordinal measurement include preferences, ratings of organizations and economic status. Statistical techniques that are commonly used to analyze ordinal scale data are the median and rank order correlation coefficients. 3. Interval measurement This level of measurement is more powerful than the nominal and ordinal levels of measurement, since it has one additional characteristic – equality of distance. However, it does not have an origin or a true zero. This implies that it is not possible to multiply or divide the numbers on an interval scale. Example The Centigrade or Fahrenheit temperature gauge is an example of the interval level of


measurement. A temperature of 50 degrees is exactly 10 degrees hotter than 40 degrees and 10 degrees cooler than 60degrees.Since interval scales are more powerful than nominal or ordinal scales; they also lend themselves to more powerful statistical techniques, such as standard deviation, product moment correlation and “t” tests and “F” tests of significance. 4. Ratio measurement This is the highest level of measurement and is appropriate when measuring characteristics which have an absolute zero point. This level of measurement has all the three characteristics – order, distance and origin.Examples Height, weight, distance and area. Since there is a natural zero, it is possible to multiply and divide the numbers on a ratio scale. Apart from being able to use all the statistical techniques that are used with the nominal, ordinal and interval scales, techniques like the geometric mean and coefficient of variation may also be used.

The main limitation of ratio measurement is that it cannot be used for characteristics such as leadership quality, happiness, satisfaction and other properties which do not have natural zero points. The different levels of measurement and their characteristics may be summed up. In the table below – Levels of measurement Nominal Ordinal Interval Ratio Characteristics No order, distance or origin Order, but no distance or origin Both order and distance, but no origin Order, distance and origin

b. What are the purposes of measurement in social science research?
Measurement has several purposes –  The researcher constructs theories to explain social and psychological phenomena (e.g. labor unrest, employee satisfaction), which in turn are used to derive hypotheses or assumptions. These hypotheses can be verified statistically only by measuring the variables in the hypotheses. Measurement makes the empirical description of social and psychological phenomena easier. Example – When conducting a study of a tribal community, measuring devices help the researcher in classifying cultural patterns and behaviors. Measurement also makes it possible to quantify variables and use statistical techniques to analyze the data gathered. Measurement enables the researcher to classify individuals or objects and to compare them in terms of specific properties or characteristics by measuring the concerned variables.

 

Examples –Comparison of male and female students’ performance in college exams or of length of stay on the job of older and younger employees.

Q2. a. What are the sources from which one may be able to identify research problems?
Ans) The selection of one appropriate researchable problem out of the identified problems requires
evaluation of those alternatives against certain criteria, which may be grouped into: A. Internal Source Internal Criteria consists of: 1) Researcher’s interest: The problem should interest the researcher and be a challenge to him. Without interest and curiosity, he may not develop sustained perseverance. Even a small difficulty may become an excuse for discontinuing the study. Interest in a problem depends upon the researcher’s educational background, experience, outlook and sensitivity. 2) Researcher’s competence: A mere interest in a problem will not do. The researcher must be competent to plan and carry out a study of the problem. He must have the ability to grasp and deal with int.he must possess adequate knowledge of the subject-matter, relevant methodology and statistical procedures. 3) Researcher’s own resource: In the case of a research to be done by a researcher on his own, consideration of his own financial resource is pertinent. If it is beyond his means, he will not be able to complete the work, unless he gets some external financial support. Time resource is more important than finance. Research is a time-consuming process; hence it should be properly utilized. B. External Source – 1) Research ability of the problem: The problem should be researchable, i.e., amendable for finding answers to the questions involved in it through scientific method. To be researchable a question must be one for which observation or other data collection in the real world can provide the answer. 2) Importance and urgency: Problems requiring investigation are unlimited, but available research efforts are very much limited. Therefore, in selecting problems for research, their relative importance and significance should be considered. An important and urgent problem should be given priority over an unimportant one. 3) Novelty of the problem: The problem must have novelty. There is no use of wasting one’s time and energy on a problem already studied thoroughly by others. This does not mean that replication is always needless. In social sciences in some cases, it is appropriate to replicate (repeat) a study in order to verify the validity of its findings to a different situation. 4) Feasibility: A problem may be a new one and also important, but if research on it is not feasible, it cannot be selected. Hence feasibility is a very important consideration 5) Facilities: Research requires certain facilities such as well-equipped library facility, suitable and competent guidance, data analysis facility, etc. Hence the availability of the facilities relevant to the problem must be considered.

6) Usefulness and social relevance: Above all, the study of the problem should make significant contribution to the concerned body of knowledge or to the solution of some significant practical problem. It should be socially relevant. This consideration is particularly important in the case of higher level academic research and sponsored research. 7) Research personnel: Research undertaken by professors and by research organizations require the services of investigators and research officers. But in India and other developing countries, research has not yet become a prospective profession. Hence talent persons are not attracted to research projects. Each identified problem must be evaluated in terms of the above internal and external criteria and the most appropriate one may be selected by a research scholar.

b. Why literature survey is important in research?
Frequently, an exploratory study is concerned with an area of subject matter in which explicit hypothesis have not yet been formulated. The researcher’s task then is to review the available material with an eye on the possibilities of developing hypothesis from it. In some areas of the subject matter, hypothesis may have been stated by previous research workers. The researcher has to take stock of these various hypotheses with a view to evaluating their usefulness for further research and to consider whether they suggest any new hypothesis. Sociological journals, economic reviews, the bulletin of abstracts of current social sciences research, directory of doctoral dissertation accepted by universities etc afford a rich store of valuable clues. In addition to these general sources, some governmental agencies and voluntary organizations publish listings of summaries of research in their special fields of service. Professional organizations, research groups and voluntary organizations are a constant source of information about unpublished works in their special fields.

3. a. What are the characteristics of a good research design?
Characteristics of a Good Research Design 1) It is a series of guide posts to keep one going in the right direction. 2) It reduces wastage of time and cost. 3) It encourages co-ordination and effective organization.

4) It is a tentative plan which undergoes modifications, as circumstances demand, when the study progresses, new aspects, new conditions and new relationships come to light and insight into the study deepens. 5) It has to be geared to the availability of data and the cooperation of the informants. 6) It has also to be kept within the manageable limits

b. What are the components of a research design?
Components of Research Design1) Dependent and Independent variables: A magnitude that varies is known as a variable. The concept may assume different quantitative values, like height, weight, income, etc. Qualitative variables are not quantifiable in the strictest sense of objectivity. However, the qualitative phenomena may also be quantified in terms of the presence or absence of the attribute considered. Phenomena that assume different values quantitatively even in decimal points are known as “continuous variables‟. But, all variables need not be continuous. Values that can be expressed only in integer values are called „non-continuous variables‟. In statistical term, they are also known as „discrete variable‟. For example, age is a continuous variable; whereas the number of children is a non-continuous variable. When changes in one variable depends upon the changes in one or more other variables, it is known as a dependent or endogenous variable, and the variables that cause the changes in the dependent variable are known as the independent or explanatory or exogenous variables. For example, if demand depends upon price, then demand is a dependent variable, while price is the independent variable. And if, more variables determine demand, like income and prices of substitute commodity, then demand also depends upon them in addition to the own price. Then, demand is a dependent variable which is determined by the independent variables like own price, income and price of substitute. 2) Extraneous variable: The independent variables which are not directly related to the purpose of the study but affect the dependent variable are known as extraneous variables. For instance, assume that a researcher wants to test the hypothesis that there is relationship between children “school performance and their self-concepts, in which case the latter is an independent variable and the former, the dependent variable. In this context, intelligence may also influence the school performance. However, since it is not directly related to the purpose of the study undertaken by the researcher, it would be known as an extraneous variable. The influence caused by the extraneous variable on the dependent variable is technically called as an „experimental error ‟. Therefore, research study should always be framed in such a manner that the dependent variable completely influences the change in the independent variable and any other extraneous variable or variables.

3) Control: One of the most important features of a good research design is to minimize the effect of extraneous variable. Technically, the term control is used when a researcher designs the study in such a manner that it minimizes the effects of extraneous independent variables. The term controls used in experimental research to reflect the restrain in experimental conditions. 4) Confounded relationship: The relationship between dependent and independent variables is said to be confounded by an extraneous variable, when the dependent variable is not free from its effects.  Research hypothesis: When a prediction or a hypothesized relationship is tested by adopting scientific methods, it is known as research hypothesis. The research hypothesis is a predictive statement which relates a dependent variable and an independent variable. Generally, a research hypothesis must consist of at least one dependent variable and one independent variable. Whereas, the relationships that are assumed but not be tested are predictive statements that are not to be objectively verified are not classified as research hypothesis. Experimental and control groups: When a group is exposed to usual conditions in an experimental hypothesis-testing research, it is known as „control group‟. On the other hand, when the group is exposed to certain new or special condition, it is known as an „experimental group‟. In the afore-mentioned example, the Group A can be called a control group and the Group B an experimental one. If both the groups A and B are exposed to some special feature, then both the groups may be called as „experimental groups‟. A research design may include only the experimental group or the both experimental and control groups together. Treatments: Treatments are referred to the different conditions to which the experimental and control groups are subject to. In the example considered, the two treatments are the parents with regular earnings and those with no regular earnings. Likewise, if a research study attempts to examine through an experiment regarding the comparative impacts of three different types of fertilizers on the yield of rice crop, then the three types of fertilizers would be treated as the three treatments. Experiment: An experiment refers to the process of verifying the truth of a statistical hypothesis relating to a given research problem. For instance, experiment may be conducted to examine the yield of a certain new variety of rice crop developed. Further, Experiments may be categorized into two types namely, absolute experiment and comparative experiment. If a researcher wishes to determine the impact of alchemical fertilizer on the yield of a particular variety of rice crop, then it is known as absolute experiment. Meanwhile, if the researcher wishes to determine the impact of chemical fertilizer as compared to the impact of bio-fertilizer, then the experiment is known as a comparative experiment.

Experiment unit: Experimental units refer to the predetermined plots, characteristics or the blocks, to which the different treatments are applied. It is worth mentioning here that such experimental units must be selected with great caution.

Q4.a. Distinguish between Doubles sampling and multiphase sampling.
Double Sampling and Multiphase Sampling Double sampling refers to the subsection of the final sample form a pre-selected larger sample that provided information for improving the final selection. When the procedure is extended to more than two phases of selection, it is then, called multi-phase sampling. This is also known as sequential sampling, as sub-sampling is done from a main sample in phases. Double sampling or multiphase sampling is a compromise solution for a dilemma posed by undesirable extremes. “The statistics based on the sample of ‘n’ can be improved by using ancillary information from a wide base: but this is too costly to obtain from the entire population of N elements. Instead, information is obtained from a larger preliminary sample which includes the final sample extraneous Double sampling refers to the subsection of the final sample form a pre-selected larger sample that provided information for improving the final selection. When the procedure is extended to more than two phases of selection, it is then, called multi-phase sampling. This is also known as sequential sampling, as sub-sampling is done from a main sample in phases. Double sampling or multiphase sampling is a compromise solution for a dilemma posed by undesirable extremes. “The statistics based on the sample of ‘n’ can be improved by using ancillary information from a wide base: but this is too costly to obtain from the entire population of N elements. Instead, information is obtained from a larger preliminary sample which includes the final sample n.

b. What is replicated or interpenetrating sampling?
Replicated or Interpenetrating Sampling It involves selection of a certain number of sub-samples rather than one full sample from a population. All the sub-samples should be drawn using the same sampling technique and each is a self-contained and adequate sample of the population. Replicated sampling can be used with any basic sampling technique: simple or stratified, single or multi-stage or single or multiphase sampling. It provides a simple means of calculating the sampling error. It is practical. The replicated samples can throw light on variable non-sampling errors. But disadvantage is that it limits the amount of stratification that can be employed.

Q5 a. How is secondary data useful to researcher?
Use of Secondary Data The second data may be used in three ways by a researcher. First, some specific information from secondary sources may be used for reference purpose. For example, the general statistical information in the number of co-operative credit societies in the country, their coverage of villages, their capital structure, volume of business etc., may be taken from published reports and quoted as background information in a study on the evaluation of performance of cooperative credit societies in a selected district/state. Second, secondary data may be used as bench marks against which the findings of research may be tested, e.g., the findings of a local or regional survey may be compared with the national averages; the performance indicators of a particular bank may be tested against the corresponding indicators of the banking industry as a whole; and so on. Finally, secondary data may be used as the sole source of information for a research project. Such studies as securities Market Behavior, Financial Analysis of companies, Trade in credit allocation in commercial banks, sociological studies on crimes, historical studies, and the like, depend primarily on secondary data. Year books, statistical reports of government departments, report of public organizations of Bureau of Public Enterprises, Censes Reports etc, serve as major data sources for such research studies. Advantages of Secondary Data Secondary sources have some advantages: 1. Secondary data, if available can be secured quickly and cheaply. Once their source of documents and reports are located, collection of data is just matter of desk work. Even the tediousness of copying the data from the source can now be avoided, thanks to Xeroxing facilities. 2. Wider geographical area and longer reference period may be covered without much cost. Thus, the use of secondary data extends the researcher’s space and time reach. 3. The use of secondary data broadens the data base from which scientific generalizations can be made. 4. Environmental and cultural settings are required for the study. 5. The use of secondary data enables a researcher to verify the findings bases on primary data. It readily meets the need for additional empirical support. The researcher need not wait the time when additional primary data can be collected.

Disadvantages of Secondary Data The use of a secondary data has its own limitations. 1. The most important limitation is the available data may not meet our specific needs. The definitions adopted by those who collected those data may be different; units of measure may not match; and time periods may also be different. 2. The available data may not be as accurate as desired. To assess their accuracy we need to know how the data were collected. 3. The secondary data are not up-to-date and become obsolete when they appear in print, because of time lag in producing them. For example, population census data are published two or three years later after compilation, and no new figures will be available for another ten years. 4. Finally, information about the whereabouts of sources may not be available to all social scientists. Even if the location of the source is known, the accessibility depends primarily on proximity. For example, most of the unpublished official records and compilations are located in the capital city, and they are not within the easy reach of researchers based in far off places.

b. What are the criteria used for evaluation of secondary data?
Evaluation of Secondary Data When a researcher wants to use secondary data for his research, he should evaluate them before deciding to use them. 1. Data Pertinence The first consideration in evaluation is to examine the pertinence of the available secondary data to the research problem under study. The following questions should be considered.  What are the definitions and classifications employed? Are they consistent ?  What are the measurements of variables used? What is the degree to which they conform to the requirements of our research?  What is the coverage of the secondary data in terms of topic and time? Does this coverage fit the needs of our research? On the basis of above consideration, the pertinence of the secondary data to the research on hand should be determined, as a researcher who is imaginative and flexible may be able to redefine his research problem so as to make use of otherwise unusable available data. 2. Data Quality If the researcher is convinced about the available secondary data for his needs, the next step is to examine the quality of the data. The quality of data refers to their accuracy, reliability and completeness. The assurance and reliability of the available secondary data depends on the organization

which collected them and the purpose for which they were collected. What is the authority and prestige of the organization? Is it well recognized? Is it noted for reliability? It is capable of collecting reliable data? Does it use trained and well qualified investigators? The answers to these questions determine the degree of confidence we can have in the data and their accuracy. It is important to go to the original source of the secondary data rather than to use an immediate source which has quoted from the original. Then only, the researcher can review the cautionary and other comments that were made in the original source. 3. Data Completeness The completeness refers to the actual coverage of the published data. This depends on the methodology and sampling design adopted by the original organization. Is the methodology sound? Is the sample size small or large? Is the sampling method appropriate? Answers to these questions may indicate the appropriateness and adequacy of the data for the problem under study. The question of possible bias should also be examined. Whether the purpose for which the original organization collected the data had particular orientation? Has the study been made to promote the organization’s own interest? How the study was conducted? These are important clues. The researcher must be on guard when the source does not report the methodology and sampling design. Then it is not possible to determine the adequacy of the secondary data for the researcher’s study.

Q6. What are the differences between observation and interviewing as methods of data collection? Give two specific examples of situations where either observation or interviewing would be more appropriate.
Observation vs. Interviewing as Methods of Data Collection Collection of data is the most crucial part of any research project as the success or failure of the project independent upon the accuracy of the data. Use of wrong methods of data collection or any inaccuracy in collecting data can have significant impact on the results of a study and may lead to results that are not valid. There are many techniques of data collection along a continuum and observation and interviewing are two of the popular methods on this continuum that has quantitative methods at one end while qualitative methods at the other end. Though there are many similarities in these two methods and they serve the same basic purpose, there are differences that will be highlighted in this article. Observation Observation, as the name implies refers to situations where participants are observed from a safe distance and their activities are recorded minutely. It is a time consuming method of data collection as

you may not get the desired conditions that are required for your research and you may have to wait till participants are in the situation you want them to be in. Classic examples of observation are wild life researchers who wait for the animals of birds to be in a natural habitat and behave in situations that they want to focus upon. As a method of data collection, observation has limitations but produces accurate results as participants are unaware of being closely inspected and behave naturally. Interviewing Interviewing is another great technique of data collection and it involves asking questions to get direct answers. These interviews could be either one to one, in the form of questionnaires, or the more recent form of asking opinions through internet. However, there are limitations of interviewing as participants may not come up with true or honest answers depending upon privacy level of the questions. Though they try to be honest, there is an element of lie in answers that can distort results of the project. Though both observation and interviewing are great techniques of data collection, they have their own strengths and weaknesses. It is important to keep in mind which one of the two will produce desired results before finalizing. Observation vs. Interviewing     Interview format: Interviews take many different forms. It is a good idea to ask the organization in advance what format the interview will take. Competency/criteria based interviews: These are structured to reflect the competencies or qualities that an employer is seeking for a particular job, which will usually have been detailed in the job specification or advert. The interviewer is looking for evidence of your skills and may ask such things as: µGive an example of a time you worked as part of abeam to achieve a common goal. Technical interviews: If you have applied for a job or course that requires technical knowledge, it is likely that you will be asked technical questions or has a separate technical interview. Questions may focus on your final year project or on real or hypothetical technical problems. You should be prepared to prove yourself, but also to admit to what you do not know and stress that you are keen to learn. Data collection is an integral part of any research and various techniques are employed for this purpose. Observation requires precise analysis by the researcher and often produces most accurate results although it is very time consuming Interviewing is easier but suffers from the fact that participants may not come up with honest replies.

Do not worry if you do not know the exact answer - interviewers are interested in your thought process and logic. The Screening Interview: Companies use screening tools to ensure that candidates meet minimum qualification requirements. Computer programs are among the tools used to weed out unqualified candidates. (This is why you need digital resume that is screening-friendly. See our resume centre for help.) Sometimes human professionals are the gatekeepers. Screening interviewers often have honed skills to determine whether there is anything that might disqualify you for the position. Remember they do not need to know whether you are the best fit for the position, only whether you are not a match. For this reason, screeners tend to dig for dirt. Screeners will hone in on gaps in your employment history or pieces of information that look inconsistent. They also will want to know from the outset whether you will be too expensive for the company. The Informational Interview: On the opposite end of the stress spectrum from screening interviews is the informational interview. Meeting that you initiate, the informational interview is underutilized by job-seekers who might otherwise consider themselves savvy to the merits of networking. Jobseekers ostensibly secure informational meetings in order to seek the advice of someone in their current or desired field as well as to gain further references to people who can lend insight. Employers that like to stay apprised of available talent even when they do not have current job openings, are often open to informational interviews, especially if they like to share their knowledge, feel flattered by your interest, or esteem the mutual friend that connected you to them. During an informational interview, the jobseeker and employer exchange information and get to know one another better without reference to specific job opening.

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