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Research Design and Process

Research Design and Process

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BUSINESS RESEARCH METHODS

TOPIC OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH DESIGN AND RESEARCH PROCESS
SUBMITTED TOMS. SUMITHA ACHAR SENIOR LECTURER AIBA

GROUP NO : 2

GROUP MEMBERS ALWIN JOSEPH: 0816062 NITIN R KUMBHAR: 0816094 SARAH FERNANDES: 0816110 SHILPESH PAWAR: 0816112 SRIKRISHNA R J: 0816116 ZENELY D’SOUZA: 0816020

Research Design
According to Pauline V. Young, a research design is "the logical and systematic planning and directing a piece of research". The design, according to her "results from translating a general scientific model into varied research procedures". It gives an outline of the structure and process of the research programme. Without such a plan of study no scientific study is possible. Russel Ackoff has defined it as "Design is the process of making decisions before a situation arises in which the decision has to be carried out. It is a process of deliberate anticipation directed towards bringing unexpected situation under control".

TYPES OF RESEARCH
The basic types of research are as follows:
(i)

Descriptive vs. Analytical: Descriptive research includes surveys and fact-finding enquiries of different kinds. The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as it exists at present. In social science and business research we quite often use the term Ex post facto research for descriptive research studies. 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. Most ex post facto research

projects are used for descriptive studies in which the researcher seeks to measure such items as, for example, frequency of shopping, preferences of people, or similar data. Ex post facto studies also include attempts by researchers to discover causes even when they cannot control the variables. The methods of research utilized in descriptive research are survey methods of all kinds, including comparative and correlational methods. In analytical research, on the other hand, the researcher has to use facts or information already available, and analyze these to make a critical evaluation of the material.
(ii)

Applied vs. Fundamental: Research can either be applied (or action) research or fundamental (to basic or pure) research. Applied research aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society or an industrial/business organisation, whereas fundamental research is mainly concerned with generalisations and with the formulation of a theory. “Gathering knowledge for knowledge’s sake is termed ‘pure’ or ‘basic’ research.” Research concerning some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics are examples of fundamental research. Similarly, research studies, concerning human behavior carried on with view to make generalizations about human behavior, are also examples of fundamental research, but research aimed at certain conclusions facing a concrete social or business

problem is an example of applied research. Research to identify social, economic or political trends that may effect a particular institution or copy research or the marketing research are examples of applied research. Thus, the central aim of applied research is to discover a solution for some pressing practical problems. Whereas basic research is directed towards finding information that has a broad base of applications and thus, adds to the already existing organized body of scientific knowledge.
(iii)

Quantitative vs. Qualitative: Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e., phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind. For instance, when we are interested in investigating the reasons for human behavior, we quite often talk of ‘Motivation Research’, an important type of qualitative research. This type of research aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires, using in depth interviews for the purpose. Other techniques of such research are word association tests, sentence completion tests, story completion tests and similar other projective techniques. Attitude or opinion research, i.e., research designed to find out how people feel or what they think about a particular subject or institution is also qualitative research.

Qualitative research is specially important in the behavioral sciences where the aim is to discover the underlying motives of human behavior. Through such research we can analyse the various factors which motivate people to behave in a particular manner or which make people like or dislike a particular thing. It may be stated, however, that to apply qualitative research in practice is relatively a difficult job and therefore, while doing such research, one should seek guidance from experimental psychologists.
(iv)

Conceptual vs. Empirical: Conceptual research is that related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones. On the other hand, empirical research relies an experience or observation alone, often without due regard for system and theory. It is data based research, coming up with conclusions which arc capable of being verified by observation or experiment. We can also call it as experimental type of research, in such a research it is necessary to get at facts firsthand, at their source, and actively to go about doing certain things to stimulate the production of desired information. In such I research, die researcher must first provide himself with a working hypothesis or guess as to the probable results. He then works to get enough facts (data) to prove or disprove his hypothesis. He then sets up experimental designs which he thinks will

manipulate the persons or the materials concerned so as to bring forth the desired information. Such research is thus characterised by the experimenter's control over the variables under study and his deliberate manipulation of one of them to study its effects. Empirical research is appropriate when proof is sought that certain variables affect other variables in some way. Evidence gathered through experiments or empirical studies is today considered to be the most powerful support possible for a given hypothesis.
(v)

Some Other Types of Research: All other types of research are variations of one or more of the above stated approaches, based on either the purpose of research, or the time required to accomplish research, on the environment in which research is done, or on the basis of some other similar factor. Form the point of view of time, we can think of research either as one-time research or longitudinal research. In the former case the research is confined to a single time-period, whereas in the latter case the research is carried on over several time-periods. Research can be field-setting research or laboratory research or simulation research, depending upon the environment in which it is to be carried out. Research can as well be understood as clinical or diagnostic research. Such research follow case-study methods or indepth approaches to reach the basic causal relations. Such studies usually go deep into the causes of things or events that

interest us, using very small samples and very deep probing data gathering devices. The research may be exploratory or it may be formalized. The objective of exploratory research is the development of hypotheses rather than their testing, whereas formalized research studies are those with substantial structure and with specific hypotheses to be tested. Historical research is that which utilizes historical sources like documents, remains, etc. to study events or ideas of the past, including the philosophy of persons and groups at any remote point of time. Research can also be classified as conclusion-oriented and decision oriented. While doing conclusion oriented research, a researcher is free to pick up a problem, redesign the enquiry as he proceeds and is prepared to conceptualize as he wishes. Decision-oriented research is always for the need of a decision maker and the researcher in this case is not free to embark upon research according to his own inclination. Operations research is an example of decision oriented research since it is a scientific method of providing executive departments with a quantitative basis for decisions regarding operations under their control.

EXPLORATORY RESEARCH
Exploratory research is conducted to clarify ambiguous problems. Management may have discovered general problems, but research is

needed to gain better understanding of the dimensions of the problems. Exploratory studies provide information to use in analyzing a situation, but uncovering conclusive evidence to determine a particular course of action is not the purpose of exploratory research. Usually, exploratory research is conducted with the expectation that subsequent research will be required to provide conclusive evidence, It is a serious mistake to rush into detailed surveys before less expensive and more readily available sources of information have been exhausted. In an organisation considering a program to help employees with childcare needs, for example, exploratory research with a small number of employees who have children might determine that many of them have spouses who also work and that these employees have positive reactions to the possibility of an on-site child-care program. In such a case exploratory research helps to crystallize a problem and identify information needs for future research.

EXPLORATORY RESEARCH METHODS

The quickest and the cheapest way to formulate a hypothesis in exploratory research is by using any of the four methods: • Literature search • Experience survey • Focus group • Analysis of selected cases

Literature Search
This refers to "referring to a literature to develop a new hypothesis". The literature referred are - trade journals, professional journals, market research finding publications, statistical publications etc Example: Suppose a problem is "Why are sales down?" This can quickly be analyzed with the help of published data which should indicate "whether the problem is an "industry problem" or a "firm problem". Three possibilities exist to formulate the hypothesis. 1. The company's market share has declined but industry's figures are normal. 2. The industry is declining and hence the company's market share is also declining. 3. The industry's share is going up but the company's share is declining. If we accept the situation that our company's sales are down despite the market showing an upward trend, then we need to analyse the marketing mix variables.

Example 1: A TV manufacturing company feels that its market share is declining whereas the overall television industry is doing very well. Example 2: Due to a trade embargo imposed by a country, textiles exports are down and hence sales of a company making garment for exports is on the decline. The above information may be used to pinpoint the reason for declining sales.

Experience Survey
In experience surveys, it is desirable to talk to persons who are well informed in the area being investigated. These people may be company executives or persons outside the organisation. Here, no questionnaire is required. The approach adopted in an experience survey should be highly unstructured, so that the respondent can give divergent views. Since the idea of using experience survey is to undertake problem formulation, and not conclusion, probability sample need not be used. Those who cannot speak freely should be excluded from the sample. Example 1: 1) A group of housewives may be approached for their choice for a "ready to cook product". .2) A publisher might want to find out the reason for poor circulation of newspaper introduced recently. He might meet (a) Newspaper sellers (b) Public reading room (c) General public (d) Business community; etc. These are experienced persons whose knowledge researcher can use.

Focus Group
Another widely used technique in exploratory research is the focus group. In a focus group, a small number of individuals are brought together to study and talk about some topic of interest. The discussion is co-ordinated by a moderator. The group usually is of 8-12 persons. While selecting these persons, care has to be taken to see that they should have a common background and have similar experiences in buying. This is required because there should not be a conflict among the group members on the common issues that are being discussed. During the discussion, future buying attitudes, present buying opinion etc., are gathered. Most of the companies conducting the focus groups, first screen the candidates to determine who will compose the particular group. Firms also take care to avoid groups, in which some of the participants have their friends and relatives, because this leads to a biased discussion. Normally, a number of such groups are constituted and the final conclusion of various groups are taken for formulating the hypothesis. Therefore, a key factor in focus group is to have similar groups. Normally there are 4-5 groups. Some of them may even have 6-8 groups. The guiding criteria is to see whether the latter groups are generating additional ideas or repeating the same with respect to the subject under study. When this shows a diminishing return from the group, the discussions stopped. The typical focus group lasts for 1-30

hours to 2 hours. The moderator under the focus group has a key role. His job is to guide the group to proceed in the right direction.

Analysis of selected cases
Analysing a selected case sometimes gives an insight into the problem which is being researched. Case histories of companies which have undergone a similar situation may be available. These case studies are well suited to carry out exploratory research. However, the result of investigation of case histories arc always considered suggestive, rather than conclusive. In case of preference to "ready to eat food", many case histories may be available in the form of previous studies made by competitors. We must carefully examine the already published case studies with regard to other variables such as price, advertisement, changes in the taste, etc.

DESCRIPTIVE RESEARCH
Descriptive research is used to obtain information concerning the current status of the phenomena to describe "what exists" with respect to variables or conditions in a situation. The methods involved range from the survey which describes the status quo, the correlation study which investigates the relationship between variables, to developmental studies which seek to determine changes over time.

Descriptive Research Methods
Case Studies Detailed analysis of a single (or limited number) of people or events. Case studies are usually interesting because of the unusualness of the case .The major problem with case studies is the problem of objectivity. The person who is presenting the case usually has some theoretical orientation. It is acceptable for a theoretical orientation to affect one’s interpretation of events. In a case study the theoretical orientation can also lead to the selection of the facts to include in the case. It is not surprising that case studies often seem to provide very compelling evidence for a theory. Case studies can therefore assist psychology by illustrating how a theory could be applied to a person or events and by assisting with the development of hypotheses for more systematic testing. Observational Research Accounts of the natural behavior of individuals or groups in some setting. Unless the observation is unobtrusive, there may be some subject reactivity to being observed. This often decreases with time, a process called habituation. Observers cannot usually observe all It is behaviors all of the time. They may use a behavioral checklist and may also use time sampling or event sampling procedures. important to assess observer bias by the use of interobserver reliability. Observational research may also pose ethical problems. These can

arise when the behaviors being observed are not public behaviors and when the observer joins a group in order to observe the members’ behavior – participant observation. Survey Research Structured questions to assess peoples beliefs, attitudes, and selfreports of behavior. sample. If the researcher wishes to generalize the responses to a population, it is important to have a representative Surveys that rely on self-selection (respond if you are interested) produce non-generalizable results. Surveys also provide information for co relational research. One can correlate responses to some questions (often demographic questions) with responses to other questions (often attitudes or reports of behavior). Survey question must be clear and unambiguous. Even if the questions are unambiguous and non-leading, people may display a social desirability bias and give positive or socially acceptable and desirable answers. Survey methods include: (1) the interview or face-to-face method which is generally viewed as the best method for obtaining a high rate of responses but is also very costly; (2) phone surveys, which are less expensive but have a higher non-response rate (which has probably increased with caller ID); and (3) written or mail surveys, which are least expensive but have a very high non-response rate. Follow-up messages can help increase the response rate. Archival Research

Analysis of pre-existing data or records. Archival research often involves content analysis, a qualitative analysis of material. For example, one would use content analysis to determine whether there had been an increase in the frequency with which women and minorities were mentioned in US history books between 1920 and 2000. Some archival research is quasi-experimental.

EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH
Science revolves around experiments, and learning the best way of conducting an experiment is crucial to obtaining useful and valid results. When scientists speak of experiments, in the strictest sense of the word, they mean a true experiment, where the scientist controls all of the factors and conditions. Real world observations, and case studies, should be referred to as observational research, rather than experiments. For example, observing animals in the wild is not a true experiment, because it does not isolate and manipulate an independent variable. With an experiment, the researcher is trying to learn something new about the world, an explanation of ‘why’ something happens. The experiment must maintain internal and external validity, or the results will be useless.

THE BASIS OF CONDUCTING AN EXPERIMENT
With an experiment, the researcher is trying to learn something new about the world, an explanation of ‘why’ something happens. The experiment must maintain internal and external validity, or the results will be useless. When designing an experiment, a researcher must follow all of the steps of the scientific method, from making sure that the hypothesis is valid and testable, to using controls and statistical tests. Whilst all scientists use reasoning, operationalization and the steps of the scientific process, it is not always a conscious process. Experience and practice mean that many scientists follow an instinctive process of conducting an experiment, the ‘streamlined’ scientific process. Following the basic steps will usually generate valid results, but where experiments are complex and expensive, it is always advisable to follow the rigorous scientific protocols. Conducting a experiment has a number of stages, where the parameters and structure of the experiment are made clear. Whilst it is rarely practical to follow each step strictly, any aberrations must be justified, whether they arise because of budget, impracticality or ethics.

STAGE ONE After deciding upon a hypothesis, and making predictions, the first stage of conducting an experiment is to specify the sample groups. These should be large enough to give a statistically viable study, but small enough to be practical. Ideally, groups should be selected at random, from a wide selection of the sample population. This allows results to be generalized to the population as a whole. In the physical sciences, this is fairly easy, but the biological and behavioral sciences are often limited by other factors. For example, medical trials often cannot find random groups. Such research often relies upon volunteers, so it is difficult to apply any realistic randomization. This is not a problem, as long as the process is justified, and the results are not applied to the population as a whole. If a psychological researcher used volunteers who were male students, aged between 18 and 24, the findings can only be generalized to that specific demographic group within society. STAGE TWO The sample groups should be divided, into a control group and a test group, to reduce the possibility of confounding variables. This, again, should be random, and the assigning of subjects to groups should be blind or double blind. This will reduce the chances of experimental error, or bias, when conducting an experiment.

Ethics are often a barrier to this process, because deliberately withholding treatment is not permitted. Again, any deviations from this process must be explained in the conclusion. There is nothing wrong with compromising upon randomness, where necessary, as long as other scientists are aware of how, and why, the researcher selected groups on that basis. STAGE THREE This stage of conducting an experiment involves determining the time scale and frequency of sampling, to fit the type of experiment. For example, researchers studying the effectiveness of a cure for colds would take frequent samples, over a period of days. Researchers testing a cure for Parkinson’s disease would use less frequent tests, over a period of months or years. STAGE FOUR The penultimate stage of the experiment involves performing the experiment according to the methods stipulated during the design phase. The independent variable is manipulated, generating a usable data set for the dependent variable. STAGE FIVE The raw data from the results should be gathered, and analyzed, by statistical means. This allows the researcher to establish if there is any relationship between the variables and accept, or reject, the null hypothesis.

These steps are essential to providing excellent results. Whilst many researchers do not want to become involved in the exact processes of inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning and operationalization, they all follow the basic steps of conducting an experiment. This ensures that their results are valid.

TYPES DESIGN

OF

ERRORS

AFFECTING

RESEARCH

There are several sources of errors. Attempts should be made to keep the errors down to a minimum. The total error is made up of sampling error and non-sampling error. The total error is the variation between the true mean value of the population and the observed mean value obtained in the market research. 1: NON SAMPLING ERROR This is an error occurring for reasons other than sampling. This error could be due to factors such as interviewing method, design of questionnaire etc. Example: If the questionnaire is poorly designed with many ambiguities, the response will be poor. Non-sampling errors consists of non-response errors and response errors. NON-RESPONSE ERROR

This happens when chosen respondents do not respond. This may due to (1) non availability of the respondent (2)Refusal to answer. onresponse will cause the resulting sample to be different size compared to original sample.

RESPONSE ERROR
Response error occurs due to any of the eventualities- (1)Misrecording (2) inaccurate answer (3) Wrong analysis errors made by the researcher include a)surrogate information b)Measurement c)population definition d)sampling frame and data analysis error.

a: SURROGATE INFORMATION
It is defined as a variation between the information needed and that sought by the researcher. Example: Instead of obtaining information on consumer choice of a new brand, but the researcher obtains information on consumer preference because the process of choice is difficult to observe. b: MEASUREMENT ERROR This happens due to the use of a wrong scale. The measurement required may be consumer preference but the scale employed is such that it measures perception instead of preference. c: POPULATION DEFINITION ERROR

This is the difference between the actual population and the population defined by the researcher. Example: The population needed is affluent people but researcher defines them by taking the upper middle class. This may be due to an incorrect definition of ‘affluent group’. d: SAMPLING FRAME ERROR Assume that a telephone directory is used as a sampling frame. Where there may be omissions, migration of people, new additions, disconnected lines etc. this will cause an error.

e : DATA ANALYSIS ERROR This occurs when the data is transferred from the questionnaire. This could be any of the following (1) graphical illusions (2) Mix up in row and columns percentages (3) Difficulty in recording open ended questions (4) Misuse of arithmetic operations and wrong interpretation. Open ended questions do not focus on what the response is; in fact, open ended questions are well suited for qualitative research, but in appropriate for quantitative measurements. 2: RESPONDENT SELECTION ERROR This occurs when the interviewer selects a respondent other than the individual is specified as a sample. Example: While surveying

newspaper or periodical readership, a non reader is selected for interview. 3: QUESTIONING ERROR This occurs during the process of interviewing a respondent. This may occur out of not using the same word or context with respect to the questionnaire. It could be also due to ambiguity in question. 4: RECORDING ERROR Errors in interpreting or failing to concentrate when the respondents replies. Example: “when do you think, you will switch over to the new brand” mat be the question. The answer perhaps could be ‘shortly’. The researcher may misinterpret this as immediate and project an immediate demand for the product. 5: CHEATING ERROR This is because the interviewer fills the questionnaire without interviewing anybody. Sometimes the interviewer may find it very delicate to ask questions about sensitive issues such as habits, debts etc. He may fill up the questionnaire based on his judgment. Response error comprises of (a) Inability (b) unwillingness a: INABILITY ERROR

Inability may be due to (1) Respondent not being familiar with the subject (2) Boredom (3) fatigue on the part of the respondent (4) Faulty recall of what is being asked (5) question content (6) Passage of time. “What shirt were you wearing on your birthday last week”. The respondent may not be able to recall. b: UNWILLINGNESS ERROR This may be due to the fact that the respondent wants to avoid embarrassment for the interviewer or alternately, impress the interviewer. Non sampling errors are more problematic than sampling errors. Sampling errors can be computed, but non sampling errors are difficult to compute.

Research Methodology
Research methodology is a method to solve the research problem systematically. It involves gathering data, use of statistical techniques, interpretations and drawing conclusions about the research data. It is a blueprint, which is followed to complete the study. It is similar to builders’ blueprint for building a house.

Difference between Management and Research Problem

Management problem involves “what needs to be done?” Research problem essentially involves determining “what information needs to be provided and how can the information be obtained?”

MANAGEMENT PROBLEM 1. Develop the package for a new product 2. To select a media for product advertising

RESEARCH PROBLEM Evaluate the effectiveness of alternative package design We should conduct an investigation to determine suitable media. Evaluate the Impact of the media in terms of reach

3. Increase the amount of repurchase behaviour of the customer 4. introduce new product

Assess current amount of repeat purchase behaviour Design a test market through which the likely acceptance of new product can be gauged

Difference between a Manager and a Researcher

DOMAIN Of DIFFERENCE • Position in the organization • Responsible • Activity Involved

MANAGER Line Function To Generate Profits Make Symptoms Disappear

RESEARCHER Staff Function To Generate Information To Find The Truth

• Involvement • Training

Emotional All Aspects Of Decision Making

Unemotional Technicalities and Application Orientation Wants To Ask Questions

• Knowledge

Wants Answers To Questions

Research Design / Plan
Research design is one of the important steps in marketing research. It helps in establishing the manner researchers go about to achieve the objective of the study. The preparation of a research design involves a

careful consideration of the following questions and making appropriate decisions about them: • What the study is about? • Why is the study undertaken? • What is its scope? • What are the objectives of the study? • What are the hypotheses / proportions to be tested? • What are the major concepts to be defined operationally? • What type of literature needs to be reviewed? • What is the area of study? • What is the reference period of study? • What is the methodology to be used? • What kinds of data are needed? • What are the sources of data? • What is the sampling boundary? • What are the sampling units? • What is the sampling size? • What are the sampling techniques? • What are the data collection methods? • How is the data processed? • What are the statistical techniques for analysis? • What is the target group, the finding are meant for? • What is the type of report?

• What is the duration of time required for each stage of the research work? • What is the cost involved? • Who reads the report?

How to Design a Research Plan? Steps Involved In Designing a Research
There are nine steps in the research process that can be followed while designing a research project. They are as follows: • Formulate the problem • Evaluate the cost of research • Prepare the list of information • Research design decision • Data collection • Select the sample type • Determine the sample size • Organize the field work • Analyse the data and report preparation

1. Formulating the Problem Problem formulation is the key to research process. For a researcher, the problem formulation means converting the management problem to a research problem. In order to attain clarity, the MR Manager and the researcher must articulate clearly so that perfect understanding of each other is achieved.

Example: Management Problem and Research Problem M.P. – want to increase the sale of product ‘A’ R.P. – what is the current standing of the product ‘A’ While the problem is being formulated, the following should be taken into account: • Determine the objective of the study • Consider various environmental factors • Nature of the problem • Stating the alternative

Determine the objective of the study
The objective may be general or specific. General category – it would like to know how effective was the advertising campaign. The corollary looks like a statement with an objective. In reality, this is far from the case. There are two ways of determining the objectives precisely: 1) The researcher should clarify with the MR Manager “what effective means”. Does effective mean, the awareness or does it refer to an increase in sales or does it mean it has improved the knowledge of the audience, or the perception of audience about the product? In each of the above circumstances, the questions to be asked from the audience varies.

2) Another way to determine objectives is to find out from the MR Manager, “what action will be taken, given the specified outcome of the study?” For example, if research findings to the previous advertisement by the company was indeed ineffective, what course of action does the company intend to take? (a) increase the budget for the next ad (b) use different appeal

(c) change the media (d) go to a new agency If the objectives are proper, the research questions will be precise. However, we should remember that objectives do undergo a change.

Consider Environmental Factors
Environmental factors influence the outcome of the research and the decision. Therefore, the researcher must help his client to identify the environmental factors that are relevant. Example: Assume that the company wants to introduce a new product like iced tea or frozen green peas or ready to eat chapathis. The following environmental factors are to be considered: 1. Purchasing habits of consumers 2. Presently, who are the competitors in the market with similar product 3. What is the perception of the people about other products of the company, with respect to price, image of the company 4. Size of the market and target audience

Nature of the Problem
By understanding the nature of the problem, the researcher can collect relevant data and help suggest a suitable solution. Every problem is related to either one or more variables. Before beginning the data collection, a preliminary investigation of the problem is necessary for a better understanding of the same. Initial investigation could be carried by using a focus group of consumers or sales representatives. If a focus group is carried out with the consumers, some of the following questions will help the researcher to understand the problem better: 1. Did the customer ever include this company’s product in his mental map? 2. If the customer is not buying the company’s product, the reasons for his not doing so 3. Why did the customer turn to the competitor’s product? 4. Is the researcher contacting the right target audience?

Stating the Alternatives
The researcher would be better served by generating as many alternatives as possible during the problem formulation hypothesis.

Example: Whether to introduce a sachet form of packaging with a view to increase sales. The hypothesis may state the acceptance of the sachet by the customer will increase the sales by 20%. Thereafter, the test marketing will be conducted before deciding whether to introduce the sachet variant. Therefore, for every alternative, a hypothesis has to be developed.

2. Evaluate the Cost of Research
There are several methods to establish the value of research. Some of them are: 1. Bayesian approach 2. Simple Saving Method 3. Return on Investment 4. Cost Benefit Approach

Example 1: Company ‘x’ wants to launch a product. The company’s intuitive feeling is that the possibilities of the product’s failure are 35%. However, if research is conducted and appropriate data is gathered, the chances of failure could be reduced to 30%. The company has

calculated that losses would be to the tune of Rs. 3.00.000 if the product fails. The company has received a quotation from an MR agency. The cost of the intended research is Rs. 75,000. The question is: “should the company spend this money to conduct the research?” Calculation Loss without research = Rs. 3,00,000 * 0.35 = Rs. 1,05,000 Loss with research = Rs. 3,00,000 * 0.30 = Rs. 90,000 Value of research information = Rs. 1,05,000 – Rs. 90,000 = Rs. 15,000

Since the value of information, namely Rs. 15,000 is lower than the cost of research, i.e., Rs. 75,000, conducting this particular research is not recommended.

Example 2 Company ‘A’ would like to introduce a new product in the market. The research agencies have given an estimation of Rs, 5 lakhs and a

time period of 5 months. According to the past experience of the company, the probability of earning Rs. 10 lakh is 0.4 and Rs. 5 lakh is 0.3 and losing Rs. 7 lakh is 0.3. Should the company undertake the research?

Calculation 0.4*Rs.10 + 0.3*Rs.5 – 0.3*Rs.7 = Rs.4 + Rs.1.5 – Rs.2.1 = Rs.3.4 lakh

Since we find that the expected value of information, i.e. Rs.3.3 lakh, less than the cost of M.R. at Rs. 5lakh, there is no need to carry out his research.

3. Preparing a List of Needed Information Assume that company ‘X’ wants to introduce a product (tea powder). Before introducing the product, it has to be test marketed. The company needs to know the extent of competition, price and quality acceptance from the market. In this context, following is the list of information required:

1. Total Demand and Company Sales Example: • What is the overall industry demand? • What is the share of competitors? The above information will help the management estimate the overall share and its own share in the market. 2. Distribution Coverage Example: • Availability of products at different outlets • Effect of shelf display on sales 3. Market Awareness, Attitudes and Usage Example: • “What percentage of target population are aware of the firm’s product?” • “Do customers know about the product?” • “What is the customers’ attitude towards the product?” • “What percentage of consumers repurchase the product?” 4. Marketing Expenditure Example: • “What has been the marketing expenditure?” • “How much was spent on promotion?”

5. Competitors’ Marketing Expenditure Example: • “How much did the competitor spend to market a similar product?”

4. Decision on Research Design A) Should the research be exploratory or conclusive? Exploratory research Example: “Causes for the decline in sales of a specific company’s product in a specific territory under a specific salesman”. The researcher may explore possible reasons as to why sales failing. • Faulty product planning • Higher price • Less discount • Less availability • Inefficient advertising / salesmanship • Poor quality of salesman ship • Less awareness Not all factors are responsible for decline in sales.

Conclusive Research Narrow down the option. Only one or two factors are responsible for decline in sales. Therefore, zero down, and use judgment and past experience. B) Who should be interviewed for collecting data? If the study is undertaken to determine whether children influence the brand, for ready – to eat cereal (cornflakes) purchased by parents. The researcher must decide, if only adults are to be studied or children too included. The researcher must decide if data is to be collected by observation method or by interviewing. If an interview is chosen, should it be a personal interview or telephonic interview or questionnaire? C) Should a few cases be studied or a large sample be chosen? The researcher may feel that there are some cases available which are identical and similar in nature. He may decide to use these cases for formulating the initial hypothesis. If suitable cases are not available, then the researcher may decide to choose a larger sample.

D) How to incorporate experiment in research? In an experiment, it has to be decided at the outset as to where and when measurements are to be conducted. Example: In a test of advertising copy, the respondents can first be interviewed to measure their present awareness, and their attitudes towards certain brands. Then, they can be shown a pilot version of the proposed advertisement copy. Following this, their attitude too has to be measured again, to see if the proposed copy had any effect on them. If it is a questionnaire, then the following questions should be postal – • What are the contents of the questionnaire? • What type of questions are to be asked? For example: pointed questions, general questions, etc. • In what sequence should the questions be asked? • Should there a fixed set of alternatives or should the questions be open-ended? • Should the purpose be made clear to the respondents or should the same be disguised?

Are to be determined well in advance. 5. Select the sample types The first task is to carefully select which groups of people or stores are to be sampled.

Example: Collecting the data from a fast food chain. Here, it is necessary to define what is meant by fast food chain. Also, the precise geographical location should be mentioned. The next step is to decide whether to choose probability sampling or non-probability sampling. Probability sampling is one in which each element has a known chance of being selected. A nonprobability sampling can be convenience or judgment sampling.

6. Determine the Sample Size
Smaller the sample size, larger the error and vice versa. Small size depends upon: • Accuracy required • Time available

• Cost involved While selecting the sample, the sample unit has to be clearly specified. Example: Survey on the attitudes towards the use of shampoo with reference to a specific brand, where husbands, wives or a combination of them are to be surveyed or a specific segment is to be surveyed. The sample size depends on the size of the sample frame / universe. 7: Organize the Fieldwork This includes selection, training and evaluating the field sales force to collect the data. • How to organize the fieldwork? • What type of questionnaire – structured or unstructured to use? • How to approach the respondents? • Week, day and time to meet the specific respondents etc. are to be decided.

8. Analysis of the Data

This involves; • Editing

• Tabulating • Codifying Editing: The data collected should be scanned to make sure that it is complete and that all the instructions are followed. This process is called editing. Once these forms have been edited, they must be coded. Coding: Means assigning numbers to each of the answers, so that they can be analysed. The final step is called data tabulation. It is the orderly arrangement of data in a tabular form. Also, at the time of analyzing the data, the statistical tests to be used must be finalized such as T-Test, Z-Test, Chisquare Test, ANOVA, etc.

Types of Business Research
There are four types of research in business 1. Exploratory research 2. Descriptive research 3. Causal research

4 .Experimental research

Exploratory Research
The objective of exploratory research is to gather preliminary information that will help define problems and suggest hypothesis. Exploratory research is a type of research conducted because a problem has not been clearly defined. Exploratory research helps determine the best research design, data collection method and selection of subjects. Given its fundamental nature, exploratory research often concludes that a perceived problem does not actually exist. Exploratory research relies on secondary research such as reviewing available literature and/or data, or qualitative approaches such as informal discussion with consumers, employees, managements or competitors, and more formal approaches through in depth interviews, focused groups, projective, case studies or pilot studies. The results of exploratory research are not usually useful for decision making by themselves, but they can provide significant insight into given situation. Although the results of qualitative research can give some indication as to the “why”, ”how” and “when” something occurs, it cannot tell us “how often” or “how many”. Exploration is particularly useful when researchers lack a clear idea of the problems they will meet during the study. Through exploration researchers develop concepts more clearly, establish priorities, develop operational definitions, and improve the final research design.

Exploration may also save time and money. If the problem is not as important as first thought, more formal studies can be cancelled. Exploration serves other purposes as well. The area of investigation may be so new or so vague that a researcher needs to do an exploration just to learn something about the dilemma facing the manager. Important variables may not be known or thoroughly defined. Hypothesis for the research may be needed. Also, the researcher may explore to be sure it is practical to do a formal study in the area. Despite its obvious value, researchers and managers alike give exploration less attention than it deserves. There are strong pressures for quick answers. Moreover, exploration is something linked to old biases about qualitative research: subjectiveness, nonrepresentativeness, and nonsystematic design.

Descriptive research
The objective of descriptive research is to describe thing, such as the market potential for a product or the demographics and attitudes of consumers who buy the product. Descriptive research, also known as statistical research, describes data and characteristics about the population or phenomenon being studied. Descriptive research answers the question who, what, where, when and how. Although the data description is factual, accurate and systematic the research cannot describe what caused a situation. Thus, descriptive research cannot be used to create a causal relationship, where one variable

affects another. In other words, descriptive research can be said to have a low requirement for internal validity. The description is used for frequencies, averages and other statistical calculations. Often the best approach, prior to writing descriptive research, is to conduct a survey investigation. Qualitative research often has the aim of description and the researchers may follow-up with examinations of why the observations exist and what the implications of the findings are. The basic difference between exploratory and descriptive research is the research design. Exploratory research follows a format that is less structured and more flexible than descriptive research. This approach works well when the marketer doesn’t have an understanding of the topic or the topic is new and it is hard to pinpoint the research direction. The downside, however, is that results may not be as useful in aiding a marketing decision. We use this method because in addition to offering the marketer basic information on a topic, exploratory research may also provide direction for a more formal research effort. For instance, exploratory research may indicate who the key decision makers are in a particular market thus enabling a more structured descriptive study targeted to this group.

Causal Research
The objective of casual research is to test hypothesis about cause-andeffect relationships. In this form of research the marketer tries to determine if the manipulation of one variable, called the independent variable, affects another variable, called the dependent variable. In

essence, the marketer is conducting an experiment. To be effective the design of causal research is highly structured and controlled so that other factors do not affect those being studied. Marketers use this approach primarily for purposes of prediction and to test hypothesis, though it can also be used to a lesser extent for discovery and explanatory purposes. In marketing, causal research is used for many types of research including testing marketing scenarios, such as what might happen to product sales if changes are made to a products design or if advertising is changed. If causal research is performed well marketers may be able to use results for forecasting what might happen if the changes are made. If the research study happens to be an exploratory or a formulative one, wherein the major emphasis is on discovery of ideas and insights, the research design most appropriate must be flexible enough to permit the consideration of many different aspects of a phenomenon. But when the purpose of a study is accurate description of a situation or of an association between variables, accuracy becomes a major consideration and e research design which minimizes bias and maximizes the reliability of the evidence collected is considered a good design. Studies involving the testing of hypothesis of a causal relationship between variables require a design which will permit inferences about causality in addition to the minimization of bias and maximization of reliability. But in practice it is the most difficult task to put a particular study in a particular group, for a given research may have in it elements of two or more of the functions of different studies.

It is only on the basis of its primary function that a study can be categorized either as an exploratory or descriptive or hypothesistesting study and accordingly the choice of a research design may be made in case of a particular study. Besides the availability of time, money, skills of the research staff and the means of obtaining the information must be given due weightage while working out the relevant details of the research design such as experimental design, survey design, sample design and the like.

EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH
Science revolves around experiments, and learning the best way of conducting an experiment is crucial to obtaining useful and valid results. When scientists speak of experiments, in the strictest sense of the word, they mean a true experiment, where the scientist controls all of the factors and conditions. Real world observations, and case studies, should be referred to as observational research, rather than experiments. For example, observing animals in the wild is not a true experiment, because it does not isolate and manipulate an independent variable. With an experiment, the researcher is trying to learn something new about the world, an explanation of ‘why’ something happens. The experiment must maintain internal and external validity, or the results will be useless.

RESEARCH PROGRAM

PROJECT

VERSUS

RESEARCH

Discussion of the business research process began with the assumption that the research investigator wished to gather information to achieve a specific objective. We have emphasized the researcher’s need to select the specific techniques for solving one-dimensional problems, such as identifying the characteristics of productive employees, selecting the best packaging design, or forecasting bond values. However, if you think about a firm’s strategic activity in a given period of time, perhaps a year, you’ll realize that business research is not a one-shot approach. Research is a continuous process. A company may conduct an exploratory research study and then conduct a survey. It is very likely that a specific research project will be conducted for each aspect of a program. If a new product is being developed, the different types of research might include market potential studies, to identify the size and characteristics of the market; product using testing, which records consumer’s reactions to using prototype products; and brandname and packing research, to determine the product’s symbolic connotations. Ultimately, the new product may go into a test market. Because research is a continuous process, management should view research at as strategic planning level. A research program refers to a firm’s overall strategy for utilizing business research. This program is a

planning activity that places each research project into the company’s strategic plan.

STEPS IN THE RESEARCH PROCESS
Business research can take many forms, but systematic inquiry is a common thread. Systematic inquiry requires careful planning of an orderly investigation. Business research, like other forms of scientific inquiry, is a sequence of highly interrelated activities. The steps in the research process overlap continuously, and it is somewhat of an oversimplification of state that every research project has exactly the same ordered sequence of activities. Any research process consists of the following steps: • Defining the research problem and reviewing the literature • Formulation of hypothesis • Research design: developing the research plan and

implementing it • Collecting data • Analyzing data and testing hypothesis • Preparation of report and preliminary analysis • Interpreting and reporting the findings

Defining the research problem and formulation of hypothesis are the hardest steps in the research process.

Defining the Research Problem
The first and foremost step in the research process consists of problem or opportunity identification. The necessity of properly identified research problems cannot be overemphasized. It is rightly said that a problem properly defined is half solved. Based upon the objective, the research problem could be in any of the following three areas: 1. Exploratory for gathering preliminary information that may help in defining the problem and suggest hypothesis. The major emphasis of exploratory research is on the discovery of ideas. The idea is to clarify concepts and subsequently make more extensive research on them. 2. Descriptive, which may describe things such as market potential for a product or the demographics and attitudes of a customer who buys the product.

3. Casual, to test hypothesis about cause and effect relationships. Once the researcher has identified two or more problems or opportunities, the next question for him is to select a problem based on priority, limited finance and time constraints. He should choose the problem in which is likely to add value to the research. Choosing a relatively less important problem would amount to wasting time and resources. Initially the problem may be stated in a broad general way and then the clarifications if any, can resolved as the research advances. The researcher must, at the same time, examine all available literature to get himself acquainted with the selected problem.

Formulation of the Problem
Formulation of the problem means defining the problem precisely. In other words, a problem ell defined is half solved. In operations research, we say that formulation of problem is often more essential than its solution because when the problem is formulated, an appropriate technique can be applied to generate alternative solutions. Choosing the best alternatives is the best decision under the given circumstances. Steps involved in defining a problem are:

i. ii. iii. iv. v.

Statement of the problem in a general way. Understanding the nature of the problem. Surveying the available literature. Developing the idea through discussion. Rephrasing the research problem into a working proposition.

Once the problem has been selected, the same has to be understood thoroughly and then the same has to be reframed into meaningful terms from an analytical point of view. Problem formulation would have focus on what sort of decision issues are tackled. In other words, it gives a clear idea of the research itself.

Formulation of Hypothesis
 Concept of Hypothesis A hypothesis is a proposition - a tentative assumption which a researcher wants to test for its logical or empirical consequences. Hypotheses are more useful when stated in precise and clearly defined terms. It may be mentioned that though a hypothesis is useful it is not always necessary, especially in case of exploratory researches. However, in a problem - oriented research, it is necessary to formulate a hypothesis or hypotheses. In such researches, hypotheses are

generally concerned with the causes of a certain phenomenon or a relationship between two or more variables under investigation.  Hypothesis Testing A number of steps are involved in testing a hypothesis: i. ii. iii. iv. v. Formulate a hypothesis Set up a suitable significance level Choose a test criterion Compute the statistic Make decision

Developing the Research Plan
The next step of the research process calls for determining the information needed, developing a plan for gathering it efficiently and presenting the management of the organization. The plan outlines sources of secondary data and spells out the specific research approaches, contact methods, sampling plan and instruments that the researcher will use to gather primary data. First of all research objectives must be translated into specific information needs. To meet

the management information needs, the researcher can gather secondary data and primary data or both.  Implementing the Research Plan The researcher next puts the research plan to action. This involves collecting, processing and analyzing the information.  Interpreting and Reporting the Findings After collecting, processing and analyzing the information collected, the researcher must now interpret the findings, draw conclusions and then report to the management.

Collecting Data
Once the research has been formalized, the process of gathering information from respondents may begin. Obviously, because there are many research techniques, there are many methods of data collection. When the survey method is utilized, some form of direct participation by the respondent is necessary during the process. The respondent may participate by filling out a questionnaire or by interacting with an interviewer. In an unobtrusive method of data collection is utilized, the subjects do not actively participate. For example, it is important that the data collection be consistent in all geographic areas. If an

interviewer phrases questions incorrectly or records a respondent’s statements inaccurately, this will cause major data collection errors. Often there are two phases to the process of collecting data: pretesting and the main study. A presenting phase, using a small sub sample, may determine whether the data collection plan for the main study is an appropriate procedure. Thus, a small – scale pretest study provides an advance opportunity for the investigator to check the data collection form to minimize errors due to improper design, such as poorly worded or organized questions. There is also a chance to discover confusing interviewing instructions, learn if the question is too long or too short, and uncover other such field errors. Tabulation of data from the pretests provides the researcher with a format for the knowledge that may be gained from the actual study. If the tabulation of data and statistical tests do not answer the researcher’s questions, the investigator may need to redesign the study.

Analyzing Data
Once the field work has been completed, the data must be converted into a format that will answer the decision maker’s questions. Data processing generally begins with the editing and coding of the data. Editing involves checking the data collection forms for omission s, legibility, and consistency in classification. The editing process corrects problems such as interviewer errors (e.g., an answer recorded

on the wrong position of the questionnaire) before the data are transferred to a computer or readied for tabulation. Before data can be tabulated, meaningful categories and character symbols must be established for groups of responses. The rules for interpreting, categorizing, and recording the data are called codes. The coding process facilitates computer or hand tabulation. Computer assisted (online) interviewing is an example of the impact of technological change on the research process. Telephone interviewers are seated at computer terminals, where survey questions are printed out on the screen. The interviewer asks the questions and then types in the respondent’s answers. Thus, answers are collected and processed into the computer at the same time, eliminating intermediate steps where errors could creep in.

Preparation of Report
Most business research is applied research. Hence, the purpose of the research is to make a business decision. An important but often overlooked aspect of the researcher’s job is to look at the analysis of the collected information. The final stage in the process is to interpret the information and draw conclusions relevant to managerial decisions. Making recommendations is often a part of this process.

The research report should communicate the research findings effectively. All too often the report is a complicated statement of the study’s technical aspects and sophisticated research methods. Often, management is not interested in detailed reporting of the research design and statistical findings but wants only a summary of the findings. It cannot be overemphasized that if the findings remain unread on the manager’s desk, the research study is useless. Research is only as good as the applications made of it. Business researchers must communicate their findings to a managerial audience. The manager’s information needs should determine how much detail is provided in the written report. The written report serves another purpose: It is a historical document, a record that may be referred to later if the research is to be repeated or if further research is to be based on what has come before.

RESEARCH PROBLEM Research problem refers to some difficulties which a researcher experiences in the context of both a theoretical or practical situation and wants to obtain a solution for the same, usually it is said that a research problem does exist if the following condition are met with: • There must be an individual (or a group or an organization), let us call it I, to whom the problem can be attributed. The individual or the organization, as the case may be, occupies an

environment, say ‘N’, which is defined by the values of uncontrolled variables, Y1. • There must be at least two courses of actions, say C1 and C2, to be pursued. A course of action is defined by one or more values of the controlled variables. For example, the number of items purchased at a specified time is said to be one of action. • There must be at least two possible outcomes, say O1 and O2, of the course of action, of which one should be preferable to other. In other words, this means there must be at least one outcome that the researcher wants, i.e., an objective.

The courses of action available must provide some chance; otherwise the choice would not matter. Thus, if p(Oj\I,C1,N)≠P(O1\I,C2,N). In simple words, we can say that the choices must have unequal efficiencies for the desired outcomes.

Over and above these conditions, the individual or organization can said to have the problem only if ‘I’ does not know what course of action is best, i.e., ‘I’, must be in doubt about the solution. Thus, an individual or a group of persons can be said to have a problem which can be technically described as research problem, if they (individual or group), having one or more described out comes, are confronted with two or more courses of action that that have some but not equal

efficiency for the described objective(s) and are in doubt about which course of action is best. COMPONENTS OF RESEARCH PROBLEM Identification of the components is very much essential for formulation of problem, once we identify the components than formulation of the problem will become much easier. The following are the components of research problem which helps in formulating and solving the research problem. i. There must be an individual or a group which has some difficulty or the problem. ii. There must be some objectives to be attained at. If one wants nothing one cannot have a problem. iii. There must be alternative means (or the course of action) for obtaining the objectives one wishes to attain. This means there must be at least two means available to a researcher for if he has no choice of means, he cannot have problem. iv. There must remain some doubt in the mind of researcher with regard to the selection of alternatives. This means the research must answer the question concerning the relative efficiency of the possible alternatives. v. There must be some environments to which the difficulty pertains.

Thus a research problem is one which requires a researcher to find out the best solution for the given problem, i.e., to find out by which course of action the objective can be attained optimally in the context of a given environment. There are several factors which may result in making the problem complicated. For instance, the environment may change affecting the efficiencies of the course of action or values of the outcomes; the number of alternative courses of action may be very large; persons not involved in making the decision may be affected by it and react to it favorably or unfavorably, and similar other factors. All such elements (or at least the important ones) may be thought of in context of a research problem.

FORMULATION OF THE PROBLEM Formulation of the problem means defining the problem precisely. In other words, a problem well defined is half solved. In operations research, we say that formulation of problem is often more essential than its solution because when the problem is formulated, an appropriate techniques can be applied to generate alternative solutions. Choosing the best alternative is the best decision under the given circumstances. Steps involved in defining research problem are: i. ii. Statement of the problem in a general way. Understanding the nature of the problem.

iii. iv. v.

Surveying the available literature. Developing the idea through discussions. Rephrasing the research problem into a working proposition.

Once the problem has been selected, the same has to be understood thoroughly and then the same has to be reframed into meaningful terms from an analytical point of view. The best way is to discuss the problem with friends or colleagues or with those who have the knowledge of it. Both parties, the researcher and/or the concerned manager and customer, must agree on the specific nature of the research problem. Ideally, both the parties must ascertain the priorities of the issues involved, scope or potential benefits, cost as well as the time required to conduct the study. Researcher must specify the exact issues being examined and the underlying logic in setting the priorities. Moreover, the research must define the boundaries of the population covered in the proposal. In essence, a proper formulation of the research problem starting with objectives would enable a researcher to go ahead in the proper direction. Finally, it may be noted that problem formulation would have focus on what sort of decision issues are tackled. In other words, it gives a clear idea of research itself.

SIMPLE STEPS TO SOLVE THE RESEARCH PROBLEM Whenever the problem arises than we have to search for the solution, searching of solution can be done in different ways but if at all we consider better way of solving the problems than we can easily solve the research problem, the following steps will make easier for the researcher to solve the problem much more quickly, i. ii. iii. Identify what is KNOWN. Identify what is UNKNOWN. Do the KNOWNS tell us anything about the UNKNOWNS? (Make a list). iv. COMBINE the KNOWNS with UNKOWNS to see if there is a “new” and important research question that is worth a doctorate. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. Identify its parts and wholes. Trace its history and changes. Identify its categories and characteristics. Determine its value [to you as well]. Review and rearrange your answers.

ORIGINS OF THE PROBLEM Origins of the problems are nothing but how the problem creates while research, this can also be the sources, how the problem is created. The following are the various origins of the problem which is created while research,

a) PRIMARY DATA Generally the researcher always depends on the primary data which he has collected or else he will be depending on the others collected data. So if at all there is an error in the primary data, or else the data misrepresents the facts their arises the problem, then the further process of the research may not serve the objective. If at all the data taken from the source is inappropriate then their creates a problem and this may consider as the origin of the problem.

b)

FORMULATIG OF THE PROBLEM Even there is a good primary data there is a chance of

problem where the problem may arises while formulating the problem itself. Formulation of the problem means defining the problem precisely. In other words, a problem well defined is half

solved. In operations research, we say that formulation of problem is often more essential than its solution because when the problem is formulated, an appropriate techniques can be applied to generate alternative solutions. If at all the formulation itself has some o wrong information and if wrong procedures are implicated to solve the problem then arises the new problem, so this will be origin of new problem which may arise in solving the problem. So necessary actions is required to take while formulating the problem so that their won’t be chance of origin of new problem.

c) SAMPLES SELECTED FOR RESEARCH Whenever the researcher wants to conduct the research he has to select certain samples for his study, it might be the area, sex, age, income level, etc, if at all researcher fails to identify which sample has to be taken for his research then the purpose never be served. Identifying and selecting of the sample according to the objective is very much essential if at all it is not considered then problem will definitely arises, that will be the origin for the problem so it is very much essential to identify and select the sample so as origin of problem can be avoided.

d) RESEARCH DESIGN

Research Design is a framework or blueprint for conducting the research project. It specifies the details of the procedures necessary for obtaining the information needed to structure or solve research problem. Sometimes it happens that while solving the problem we will get some complications where we fail to identify the problems in research design this is the main problem where identification of the problem in research design will always depend on how you define the problem. If the problem is defined wrongly then the solution will be wrong only. This is how problem is originated in research design.

Problems are meant to happen but solving that is important. We may take necessary actions to avoid the origin of problem which may arise during the research. Solving should be like that where it should not create a new problem so that solving becomes much more complicated. So solving in smarter way is very much essential to avoid the further complications in solving the problem

QUESTIONS

WHICH

RESEARCHER

MAY

ASK

THEMSELVES WHILE DEFINING THE PROBLEM

The researcher problem undertaken for the study must carefully selected. The task is a difficult one, although it may not appear to be so. Help may be taken from a research guide in this connection. Nevertheless, every researcher must find out his own salvation for research problems cannot be borrowed. A problem must spring from the researcher’s mind like a plant springing from its own seed. If our eyes needed glasses, it is not the optical alone who decides about the number of the lens we require. We have to see ourselves and enable him to prescribe for us the right number by cooperating with him. Thus, a research guide can at the most only help a researcher choose a subject. However, the following points may be observed by a researcher in selecting a research problem or a subject for research: i. Subject which is overdone should not be normally chosen, for it will be a difficult task to throw any light in such a case. ii. Controversial subject should not become the choice of an average researcher. iii. iv. Too narrow or too vague problems should be avoided. The subject selected for research should be familiar and feasible so that the related research supplies definitive ideas concerning how a researcher should obtain ideas for his research. For the purpose, a researcher should contact an expert or a professor in the university who is already engaged in research. He may as well read articles published in current literature available on the solution of other problems. He may

discuss with others what he has mind concerning a problem. In this way he should make all possible efforts in selecting a problem. v. The importance of the subject, the qualification and the training of a researcher, the costs involved, the time factor are few other criteria that must also be considered in selecting a problem. In other words, before the final selection of problem is done, a researcher must ask himself the following questions: a) Whether he is well-equipped in terms of his background to carry out the research? b) Whether the study falls within the budget he can afford? c) Whether the necessary cooperation can obtained from those who must participate in research as subjects? If the answers to all these questions are in the affirmative, one may become sure so far as the practicability of the study is concerned. vi. The selection of a problem must be preceded by a preliminary study. This may not be necessary when the problem requires the conduct of a research closely similar to one that has already been done. But when the field of inquiry is relatively new and does not have available a set of well developed techniques, a brief feasibility study must always be undertaken.

If the subject for research is selected properly by observing the above mentioned points, the research will not be boring drudgery, rather it will be love’s labour. In fact, zest for work is a must. The subject or the problem selected must involve the researcher and must have an upper most place in his mind so that he may undertaken all pains needed for the study.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Zikmund G. William, “Business Research Methods,” Cengage Learning India Private Limited, Eight Indian Reprints, 2009.

Kothari C R, “Research Methodology Methods and Techniques,” Publishers. New Age International (P) Ltd

• •

Prof. Murthy S N, “Business Research Methods”. Dr.Bhojanna U, “Business Research Methodology”.

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