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By Ryna Nazareth
Ethical questions are philosophical questions
Ethical questions are philosophical questions. There is no general agreement among philosophers about the answers to such questions. However, the rights and obligations of the individuals are generally dictated by the norms of the society. The societal norms are codes of the behavior adopted by a group; they suggest what a member of a group ought to do under any given circumstances. follows: 1. To maintain high standards of competence and integrity in research. 2. To maintain the highest level of business and professional conduct and to comply with Federal, State and local laws, regulations and ordinances applicable to my business practices and those of my company. 3. To exercise all reasonable care and to observe the best standards of objectivity and accuracy in the development, collection, processing and reporting research information. To protect the anonymity of respondents and hold all information concerning an individual respondent privileged, such that this information is used only within the context of the particular study. 4. To thoroughly instruct and supervise all persons for whose work I am responsible in accordance with study specifications and general research techniques. 5. To observe the rights of ownership of all materials received from and/or developed for clients, and to keep in confidence all research
Some of the ethical principles are as
techniques, data and other information considered confidential by their owners.
6. To make available to clients such details on the research methods
and techniques of an assignment as may be reasonably required for proper interpretation of the data, providing this reporting does not violate the confidence of respondents or clients. 7. To promote the trust of the public for marketing and survey research activities and to avoid any procedure, which misrepresent the activities of a respondent, the rewards of cooperation or the uses of the data. 8. To refrain from referring to membership in this organization as proof of competence, since the organization does not so certify any person or organization. 9. To encourage the observance of principles of this code among all people engaged in research.
General rights and obligations of the concerned parties
In most research situation three parties are involved: the researcher, the sponsoring client (user), and the respondent (subject). The interaction of each of these parties with one or both of the other two identifies a series of ethical questions. Consciously or unconsciously, each party expects certain rights and feels and certain obligations towards the other parties. Within any society there is a set of normatively prescribed exceptions of the behavior (including rights and obligations) associated with the social role, such as researcher, and another, reciprocal role, such as a respondent. Certain ethical behaviors may be expected only in certain specific situations, while other exceptions may be more generalized. If there are conflicting perspectives about behavioral exceptions, ethical problems may arise. For instance,
several ethical issues concern the researchers expected right versus those of the respondent/subject. A number of questions arise because the researchers believe that they have the right to seek information, but subject believe that they have a certain right privacy. A respondent who says “I do not care to answer your question about your income” believes that he or she has the rights to refuse to participate. Yet some researchers will persist in trying to get that information. In general, a field worker is not expected to overstep the boundary society places to individuals’ privacy. For each of the subject’s rights there is a corresponding obligation on the part the researcher. For example, the individual’s right to privacy dictates that the researcher has an obligation to protect the anonymity of the respondent. When a respondent discloses information about the personal matters, it is assumed that such information will be guarded from all people other than the researcher.
Rights and Obligations of the Respondent
By Austin Pinto The ethical issues vary somewhat, depending on whether the participant has given willing and informed consent. The notion of Informed consent means that an individual understands the reason for the research and waives his or her right to privacy when he or she agrees to participate in the research study. (The rights of a participant in an unobtrusive observation study differ from a survey respondent's rights because he or she has not willingly consented to be a subject of the research.) In return for being truthful, the survey respondent has the right to expect confidentiality and anonymity. (Privacy refers to the issue of whether a respondent chooses to answer a researcher’s questions; a person may choose to protect her privacy by not answering. Confidentiality refers to the
obligation on the part of the researcher not to reveal the identity of an individual research subject. A person who waives her right to privacy by agreeing to answer a researcher's questions nonetheless has a right to expect that her answers and her identity will remain confidential) Privacy and confidentiality are profound ethical issues in business research.
The Obligation to Be Truthful:
When a subject willingly consents to participate, it is generally
expected that he or she will provide truthful answers. Honest cooperation is the main obligation of the respondent or subject.
Americans relish their privacy. A major polling organization indicated
that almost 80 percent of Americans believe that collecting and giving out personal information without their knowledge is a serious violation of their privacy. Hence, the right to privacy is an important question in business research. This issue involves the subject's freedom to choose whether to comply with an investigator's request. Traditionally, researchers have assumed that individuals make an informed choice. However, critics have argued that the old, the poor, the poorly educated, and other underprivileged individuals may not be aware of their right to choose. Further, they have argued that an interviewer may begin with some vague explanation of a survey's purpose, initially ask questions that are relatively innocuous, and then move to questions of a highly personal nature. It has been suggested that subjects be informed of their right to be left alone, or to break off the interview at any given time. Researchers should not follow the tendency to "hold on" to busy respondents. However, this view is definitely not universally accepted in the research community. Another aspect of the privacy issue is illustrated by the question "Is the telephone call that interrupts someone's favorite television program an
invasion of privacy?" The answer to this issue-and to most privacy questions lies in the dilemma of determining where the rights of the individual end and the needs of society for better scientific information on citizen preference take over. Generally, certain standards of common courtesy have been set by interviewing firms-for example, not to interview late in the evening and at other inconvenient times. However, there are several critics who may never be appeased. The computerized interview (“junk phone call") has stimulated increased debate over this aspect of the privacy issue. As a practical matter, respondents may feel more relaxed about privacy issues if they know who is conducting a survey. Thus, it is generally recommended that field interviewers indicate that they are legitimate researchers by passing out business cards, wearing name tags, or in other ways identifying the name of their company. In an observation study, the major ethical issues concern whether the observed behavior is public or private. Generally it is believed that unobtrusive observation of public behavior in such places as stores, airports, and museums is not a serious invasion of privacy. However, recording private behavior with hidden cameras and the like does represent a violation of this right. 3. Deception: In a number of situations the researcher creates a false impression by disguising the purpose of the research. The researcher, at least at the outset of the research, is not open and honest. Bluntly stated, to avoid possible biased reactions, the subject is lied to. Deception or concealment may be used if a researcher would otherwise be unable to observe or straightforwardly ask about the phenomena of interest and still hold all other factors constant. Generally, researchers who use deception argue that it is justified under two conditions:
(1) No physical danger or psychological harm will be caused by the deception, and (2) The researcher takes personal responsibility for informing the respondent of the concealment or deception after the research project ends. The issue of deception is interrelated with the subject's right to be informed and with the means-to-an-end philosophical issue.
The Right to Be Informed:
It has been argued that subjects have a right to be informed of all
aspects of the research, including information about its purpose and sponsorship. The argument for the researcher's obligation to protect this right is based on the academic tradition of informing and enlightening the public. A pragmatic argument for providing respondents with information about the nature of the study concerns the long-run ability of researchers to gain cooperation from respondents. If the public understands why surveyor experimental information has been collected and that the researchers may be trusted with private information, it may be easier in the long run to conduct research. Several research suppliers have suggested that public relations work is needed to sell the public on the benefits of the research industry.
Rights and Obligations of the Researcher
General business ethics should be a standard for business research firms and business research departments. Our concern is not with issues such
as bribery or the welfare and safety of one's employees but with ethical issues that are specifically germane to business research practices. More has been written about the ethics of researchers than about those of the other two parties because this group's purpose is clearly identifiable. A number of professional associations have developed standards and operating procedures for ethical practice by researchers. 1. The Purpose of Research is Research: It is considered unacceptable to misrepresent a sales tactic as business research. The Federal Trade Commission has indicated that it is illegal to use any plan, scheme, or use that misrepresents the true status of the person making the call as a door-opener to gain admission to a prospect's home, office, or other establishment. This sales ploy is considered to be unethical as well as illegal. No research firm should engage in any practice other than scientific investigation. 2. Objectivity: Ensuring accuracy via objectivity and scientific investigation is very important. Researchers should maintain high standards to ensure that the data they collect are accurate. Further, they must not intentionally try to prove a particular point for political purposes. 3. Misrepresentation of Research: Research companies (and clients) should not misrepresent the statistical accuracy of their data, nor should they overstate the Significance of the results by altering the findings. Basically, it is assumed that the researcher has the obligation to both the client and the subjects to analyze the data honestly and to report correctly the actual data collection methods. For example: The failure to report a variation from the technically correct probability sampling procedure is ethically questionable. Similarly, any
major error that has occurred during the course of the study should not be kept secret from management or the client sponsor. Hiding errors or allowing variations from the proper procedures tends to distort or shade the results. A more blatant breach of the researcher's responsibilities would be the outright distortion of data. 4. Protecting the Right to Confidentiality of Both Subjects and Clients: A number of clients might be very desirous of a list of favorable, organizational prospects generated from a research survey. It is the researcher’s responsibility to ensure that the privacy and anonymity of the respondents are preserved. If the respondent's name and address are known, this information should not be forwarded to the sponsoring organization under any circumstances. Information that a research supplier obtains about a client's general business affairs should not be disseminated, to other clients or third parties. The clients, (users of business research) have a number of rights and obligations. Their primary right is to expect objective and accurate data from supplier. They should also expect that their instructions relating to confidentiality have been carried out. 5. Dissemination of Faulty Conclusions: Another ethical issue concerns the dissemination of faulty conclusions. After conducting a research project, the researcher or decision maker may disseminate conclusions from the research that are inconsistent with or not warranted by the data. Most research professionals consider this to be improper. A dramatic example of violation of this principle is an advertisement for cigarettes that cited a study of smokers. The advertisement compared two brands and stated that "of those expressing a preference, over 65 percent Preferred" the advertised brand to a competitive brand. The misleading portion of this reported result was that most of the respondents did not express a preference; they indicated that both brands tasted about the
same. Thus, only a very small percentage of those studied actually revealed a preference, and the results were somewhat misleading. Such shading of the results falls short of the obligation to report accurate findings. 6. Competing Research Proposals: Consider a client who has solicited several bids for a business research project. The research supplier that wins the bid is asked by the client to appropriate ideas from the proposal of a competing research supplier and includes them in the research study to be done for the client. This is generally regarded as unethical.
Rights and Obligations of the Sponsoring Client (User)
By Nithin Saldanha
1. Ethics between Buyer and Seller:
The general business ethics expected to exist between a purchasing agent and a sales representative should apply in the business research situation. For example, if die purchasing agent has already decided to purchase a product (or research proposal) from a friend, it is generally considered unethical for him CD solicit competitive bids that have no chance of being accepted just to fulfill a corporate purchasing policy stating that a bid must be put out to three competitors.
2. An Open Relationship with Research Suppliers:
The sponsoring client has the obligation to encourage the research supplier to seek out the truth objectively; lb encourage this objectivity, a full and open statement of the problem, explication of time and money constraints, and any other insights that may help the supplier anticipate costs and problems should be provided. - In other words, the research sponsor should encourage efforts to reduce bias and to listen to the voice of the public.
3. An Open Relationship with Interested Parties:
Conclusions should be based on the data. A user of research should not knowingly disseminate conclusions from a given research project or service that are inconsistent with the data or are not warranted by them. Violation of this principle is perhaps the greatest transgression that a client can commit. Justifying a self-serving, political position that is not supported by the data poses serious ethical questions. Indicating that data show something so that a sale can be made is also ethically questionable.
The privacy rights of subjects create a privacy obligation on the part of the client. Suppose a database marketing company is offering a mailing list compiled by screening millions of households to obtain brand usage information. The information would be extremely valuable to your firm, but you suspect those individuals who filled out the information forms were misled into thinking they were participating in a survey. Would it be ethical to purchase the mailing list? If respondents have been deceived about the purpose of a survey and their names subsequently ace fold as part of a user mailing list, this practice is certainly unethical. The client at well as the research supplier has the obligation to maintain respondents' privacy. Example: Sales managers know that a survey of their business-to -business customers' buying intentions includes a means to attach a customer name to each questionnaire. Tim confidential information could be of benefit to a sales representative calling on a specific, customer. A client wishing to be ethical must resist the temptation to identify those accounts (i.e., mote respondents) who are the hottest prospects.
5. Privacy on the Internet:
Privacy on the Internet is a Controversial issue. A number of groups question whether Web site questionnaires, registration forms, and
6. Commitment to Research:
Some potential clients have been known to request research proposals from a research supplier when there is a low probability that the research will be conducted. A research consultant's opinion may be solicited even though: agreement is not really planning research and funds have not been allocated for the project. For example, obtaining an outsider's opinion of a company problem via a research proposal provides an inexpensive consultation. If the information supports a given manager's position in an ongoing debate within the company, it could be used politically rather than as a basis for research. Because the research supplier must spend considerable effort planning a custom-designed study, most research practitioners believe that the client has the obligation to be serious about considering a project before soliciting proposals.
As noted, it is important for clients to be open about the business problems
be investigated. However, there is a special case of this problem that should be explained. Sometimes a client will suggest that a more comprehensive study is in the planning stages and that the proposal the research supplier is bidding on is a pilot study. The client might say something like “I don't want to promise anything, but you should know that this is the first in a very ambitious series of studies we are planning to undertake, and if you sharpen your pencil in estimating cost. . . ." The research consultant is told that if his or her company; does a good job during .the pilot study stages, there will be an additional major contract down the line. Too often these pilot studies are "come-ons"— the comprehensive study never materializes, and the consultant must absorb a loss.
Problem Defining and Research Proposal
Nature of the Business Problem:
Business problems are sometimes hard to define. In fact often, different people see the problem in different ways. Unless the problem is clearly defined, articulated, documented and understood, there is not much chance of delivering a successful project etc. Managers may be completely certain about situations they face. For example, a retail store may have been recording and analyzing scanner data for years and know exactly what information its optical scanners need to record every day. Well-tested research techniques are regularly used to investigate routine problems that have already been defined. At the other extreme, a manager or researcher may face a decision-making situation that is absolutely ambiguous. The nature of the problem to be solved is unclear. The objectives are vague, and the alternatives are difficult to define. This is by far me most difficult decision situation. Most decision-making situations fall somewhere
between these two extremes. Managers often grasp die general nature of the objectives they wish to achieve, but some uncertainty remains about the nature of the problem. They often need more information about important details. Their information is incomplete. They need to dear up ambiguity or uncertainty before making a formal statement of the business problem.
Importance of proper problem definition
By Ryna Nazareth The formal quantitative research process should not being until the problem has been clearly defined. However, properly and completely defining a business problem is easier said that done. When a problem or opportunity is discovered, managers may have only vague insights about a complex situation. For example, suppose morale is declining at a west coast television studio, and management does not know the reason. If quantitative research is conducted before learning exactly what issues are important, false conclusion may be drawn from the investigation. The right answer to the wrong question may be absolutely worthless. A decision made on the basis of solution to the wrong problem may actually be harmful. Consider what happened in the 1980’s when Coca-Cola made the decision to change its formula and introduced “new” Coke. The company managers decided to investigate consumer’s reaction to the taste of reformulated Coke and nothing more. (The company carried out a series of taste tests in shopping malls. No home taste tests were conducted) the result of the taste test led to the introduction of “new” Coke and the withdrawal of regulars Coke from the market. As soon as consumers learned the company’s original formula was no longer available, there were emotional protests from Coca-Cola loyalist. The consumer protests were so passionate and determined that the original formula was quickly brought back as Coca-Cola classic. Cokes
business research was too narrow in scop0e, and the problem not adequately defined. Coca-Cola tested one thing and one thing only. The business research failed to identify the consumer’s emotional attachment and loyalty to the brand as a problem for investigation. There is a lesson to be learnt from the Coca-Cola mistake. Do not ignore investigating the emotional aspects of human behavior
The process of problem definition
By Chandrashekhar There are several steps in the process of defining of problem definition they are as follows: 1. Ascertain the decision maker’s objective. 2. Understand the background of the problem. 3. Isolate and identify the problem rather than its symptoms. 4. Determine the unit of analysis. 5. Determine the relevant variables. 6. State the research questions and research objectives.
Ascertain the decision maker’s objectives:
As a staff person, the investigator must attempt to satisfy the objectives of the line manager who requests for the project. Management theorists suggest that the decision maker should express his or her goals to the researcher in measurable term. However, ,expecting a decision maker to follow this recommendation is, unfortunately, somewhat optimistic. Researcher who must conduct investigation when a line manager wants the
information “yesterday” do not usually get a great deal of assistance when they ask, “what are your objectives for this study?” nevertheless, both parties should attempt to have a clear understanding of the purpose for undertaking the research. One effective technique for uncovering elusive research objectives is to present the manager with each possible solution to a problem and ask whether he or she would follow that course of action. If the decision maker say’s “no” further questioning to determine why the course of action is inappropriate usually will help formulate objectives. Often exploratory research can illuminate the nature of the opportunity or problem and help managers clarify their objectives and decisions. Understand the background of the problem: Although no text book outline exists for identifying a business problem. Often experienced managers know a great deal about a situation and can provide researchers with considerable background information about previous events and why those events occurred. In situation in which the decision maker’s objectives are clear, the problem may be diagnosed exclusively by exercising managerial judgment. In other situations, when information about what has happened previously is inadequate or when managers have trouble identifying the problem, a situation analysis is the logical first step in defining the problem. A situation involves a primarily investigation or informal gathering of background information to familiarize researches or managers with the decision area.
Isolate and identify the problem, not the symptoms:
Anticipating all of the dimensions of a problem is impossible for any researcher or executive. For instance, a firm may have a problem with its
advertising effectiveness. The possible causes of this problem may be low brand awareness, the wrong brand image use of the wrong media, or perhaps too small budget. Management’s job is to isolate the most likely causes. Certain occurrence that may appear to be “the problem” may be only symptoms of a deeper problem. Other problem may be identifying only after gathering background information and after conducting exploratory research. How does one ensure that the fundamental problem, rather than symptoms associated with the problem, has been identified? There is no easy or simple answer to this question. Executive judgment and creativity must be exercised.
Determine the unit of analysis:
Defining the problem requires that the researcher determine the unit of analysis for study. The researcher must specify whether the level of investigation will focus on the collection of data about the entire organization, department, workgroups, individuals, or objects. In studies of buying, for example, the husband-wife dyad rather than the individual typically is the unit of the analysis, because the purchase decision is made jointly by husband and wife. If studies of organization behavior, cross functional teams rather than individual employee may be selected as the unit of analysis. The researchers, who think carefully and creatively about situations often, discover that a problem may be investigated at more than one level of analysis. Determining the unit of analysis, although relatively straightforward in most projects, should not be overlooked during the problem-definition stage of the research. It is a crucial aspect of problem definition.
Determine the relevant variables:
Key variable should be identified in the problem definition stage. Attitude toward internet brokerage firms may be variable, for example, as people’s attitude may vary from positive the negative. The attitude toward each of the many characteristics of brokerage firm, such as availability of investment advisory services, toll-free calls, and the like would be a variable. In casual research the term dependant variable and independent variable are frequently encountered, a dependant is a criterion or a variable that is to be predicted or explained. An independent variable is a variable that is expected to influence the dependant variable. For example, average hourly rate of pay may be a dependant variable that is influenced or can be predicted by an independent variable such as number of years of experience.
State the research question and research objectives:
Both manager and researcher expect problem definition efforts to result in statements of research question and research objectives. At the end of the problem definition stage of the research process, researchers should prepare a written statement that clarifies any ambiguity about what they hope the research will accomplish.
How Can the Problem Statement Be Clarified?
By Adrian Pinto Before mounting and leaping right into solving your business problems, you need to define and describe the problem by using a statement
problem. This tool clarifies the issue by specifically identifying what has to improve to meet your goal, the magnitude of the problem, where the problem occurs, with whom the problem occurs, when the problem occurs, and the financial impact. The problem statement can then be used to communicate the problem to the concerned people whose support you need. Following is a checklist that shows all the critical elements of a successful problem statement: 1. A description of the problem and the metric used to describe it. 2. The process name and location of the problem. 3. The time frame over which the problem has been occurring. 4. The magnitude of the problem. One more tool is important which helps in describing the problem statement is objective statement. The tool called objective statement which directly addresses the problem statement. In order to be more effective, the objective statement must contain all of the following elements: 1. It must improve some metric from some baseline to some goal, in the same amount of time with positive impact on some corporate goal or objectives. 2. The objective statement must indicate the level of improvement expected from improvement efforts, including specific, quantifiable amounts and the time required to complete it. The problem statement is also known as the opportunity statement. The problem statement serves as the focal point throughout the clarification process or it is because of the problem statement the clarification process has been followed. The problem should be described in terms of factual events or measurable conditions. If the problem is vague or unclear, it can perhaps be better defined by listing its symptoms or it can take up necessary steps in
making the problem clearer. It could be any fact, conditions, events, or results that provide clues to the underlying causes of the problem. It(symptoms) can be identified by answering a series of questions, such as the following: 1. Who is involved? 2. What has happened? 3. Where is it occurring? 4. When does it happen? Once an exhaustive list of symptoms is identified or when all the possible symptoms are identified, the most pressing items can be incorporated into an opportunity statement. Defining the problem in this way enables the people to deal with the problem in a factual, objective and measurable manner. When clarifying problems, we should avoid using personal opinions, emotions and factoids. Factoids are pieces of information that appear to be factual but are actually opinions that have grown in acceptance and are considered as facts by others.
Decision oriented research objectives:
The decision oriented research objectives are given as below:1. It promotes better decision making. 2. The research is the basis for innovation. 3. Research identifies the problem areas. 4. Research help in forecasting, which is useful for managers. 5. Research helps in formulation of policies and strategies. 6. Research helps in the development of new products or in modifying existing products and in understanding the competitive environment. 7. It helps in the optimum utilization of resources. 8. It helps in identifying marketing opportunities and constraints.
9. It helps in evaluating marketing plans. 10. It helps in identifying current and potential markets for value-added processing of major and livestock commodities and emerging niche markets for alternative products. 11.It focuses on resources conservation, environmental protection, enhancement of comfort and safety, and advanced information processing. 12.If the objective is clear, then the time and money spent by the researcher in collecting necessary information can be minimized.
How much time should be spent defining a problem?
By Rashmi Shetty Budget constraints usually influence the amount of effort that will be spent defining the problem. Most business situations are complex, and numerous variables may have some influence. It is impractical to search for every conceivable cause and minor influence. The importance of the recognized problem will dictate what reasonable amount of time and money is to be spent to determine with explanations or solutions are most likely. Managers-those responsible for decision making-generally want the problem definition process to proceed quickly, whereas the researchers usually take long periods of time to carefully define problems and thereby frequently frustrate managers. Nevertheless the time spent to identify the correct problem to be researched is time well spent. THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL
The research proposal is the written statement of a research design. It always includes an explanation of the purpose of the study (research objectives) or a definition of the problem. It systematically outlines the particular research methodology and details the procedure that will be utilized at each stage of the research process. Normally a schedule of costs and deadlines is included in the research proposal. For example, a short research proposal for an internal revenue service study to explore public attitude towards a variety of tax related issues. Preparation of a research proposal forces the researcher to think critically about each stage of the research process. Vague plans, abstract ideas, and sweeping generalizations about problems or procedures must become concrete and precise statements about specific events. What information will be obtained and what research procedures will be implemented have to be clearly specified so that others may understand their exact implications. All ambiguities about why and how the research will be conducted must be clarified before the proposal is completed. Because the proposal is clearly outlined, planned, and submitted to the management for acceptance and rejection, it initially performs a communication function; it serves as a mechanism that allows managers to evaluate the detail of proposed research design and determine its alterations are necessaries. The proposal help managers decide if the proper information will be obtained and if the proposed research will be accomplished what is designed. If the business problem has not been adequately translated into a set of a specific research objectives and a research design, the client’s assessments of the proposal will help ensure that the researchers revise it to meet the client’s information needs. The proposal needs to communicate exactly what information will be obtained, where it will be obtained, and how it will be obtained. For this
reason, proposals must be explicit about sample selection, measurement, field work, and so on. For instance, most survey proposal includes a copy of the proposed questionnaire (or at least some sample questions) to ensure that managers and researchers agree on the information to be obtained and how questions should be worded. The format for the IRS research proposal in the above example the six stages in the research process. At each stage one or more questions must be answered before the researcher can select one of the various alternatives. For example, before a proposal can be completed the researcher has to ask “What is to be measured?” Simply answering “market share” may not be enoughmarket share may be measured by auditing retailers or wholesalers , and sales; by using trade association data or by asking consumers what brands they buy. The question of what is to be measured is just one of the important questions that must be answered before setting the research process in motion. This issue will be addressed in greater detail. It presents an overview of some of the basic questions that managers and researchers typically have to answer while planning a research design. Review the IRS research proposal in the above example to see the questions in as follows that are answered in a specific situation. In business, one often hers the adage “do not say it, write it”. This is a wise advice for a researcher who is proposing the research project to the management. Misstatements and faulty communications may occur if the parties relay only of the individual’s memory and what occurred at a planning meeting. Writing a proposal for a research design, specifying exactly what will be done , creates a record to which everyone can refer and eliminates many problems that might arise after the research has been conducted. With a written proposal, management researchers alike are less likely to discover after the fact (after the research) that information related to
a particular variable was omitted or that the sample size was too small for a particular subgroup. Further, as a statement of agreement between executives and researchers, the formal proposal will reduce the tendency for someone reading the results to say, “Should not we have had a larger sample?” or “Why did not you do it this way?” As a record of the researcher’s obligations, the proposal also provides a standard for determining if the actual research was conducted as originally planned. When a consultant or an outside research supplier will be conducting the research, the written proposal serve as that persons or company’s bid to offer a specific service. Typically, a sponsoring client solicits several competitive proposals, and these written offers help management judge the relative quality of alternative research suppliers. One final comment needs to be made about the nature of the research proposals; the proposals do not all follow the same format. The researchers must adapt his or her proposal to the audience to whom it will be submitted. An extremely brief proposal submitted by the organization’s internal research department to its own executives bears little resemblance to a complex proposal submitted by a university professor to an agency of the federal government to test a basic theory about international financial markets.
Whenever the problem occurs, we should try to define it well because a well defined problem is like almost solved, so its very important to define the problem rather than its symptoms and causes, if the problem is well defined there will be no difficulties in finding alternative solutions for the problem. A well defined problem is like a target which guides us in coming up with appropriate solutions. If any research is done without knowing what exactly the problem is, then it is useless conducting such research.
1. Zikmund William G., “Business Research Methods”, http://books.google.co.in/books?id=APlxTUo7qjgC&pg=PT31&lpg=PT31&dq =ethical+issues+in+business+research&source=bl&ots=6scaYDwlQN&sig= 5Zqk4g2xhcKYFRwImaQwLhWx4U&hl=en&ei=9dSjSYiBDZLSkAXRs825BQ& sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result#PPT25,M1