P. 1
MB0050 - Research Methodology

MB0050 - Research Methodology

|Views: 458|Likes:
Published by masin666

More info:

Published by: masin666 on Jun 07, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Master of Business Administration – MBA Semester 3rd core MB0050 Research Methodology - 4 Credits Assignment Set- 1 60 Marks Note

: Each question carries 10 Marks. Answer all the questions. Q1. Give examples of specific situations that would call for the following types of research, explaining why – a) Exploratory research b) Descriptive research c) Diagnostic research d) Evaluation research. Ans: a) Exploratory Research Exploratory research is a type of research conducted for a problem that has not been clearly defined. Exploratory research helps determine the best research design, data collection method and selection of subjects. It should draw definitive conclusions only with extreme caution. Given its fundamental nature, exploratory research often concludes that a perceived problem does not actually exist. Exploratory research often relies on secondary research such as reviewing available literature and/or data, or qualitative approaches such as informal discussions with consumers, employees, management or competitors, and more formal approaches through in-depth interviews, focus groups, projective methods, case studies or pilot studies. The Internet allows for research methods that are more interactive in nature. For example, RSS feeds efficiently supply researchers with up-to-date information; major search engine search results may be sent by email to researchers by services such as Google Alerts; comprehensive search results are tracked over lengthy periods of time by services such as Google Trends; and websites may be created to attract worldwide feedback on any subject. The results of exploratory research are not usually useful for decision-making by themselves, but they can provide significant insight into a 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". (10 marks)

Exploratory research is not typically generalizable to the population at large. It is also known as formulative research. It is preliminary study of an unfamiliar problem about which the researcher has little or no knowledge. It is ill-structured and much less focused on pre-determined objectives. It usually takes the form of a pilot study. The purpose of this research may be to generate new ideas, or to increase the researcher’s familiarity with the problem or to make a precise formulation of the problem or to gather information for clarifying concepts or to determine whether it is feasible to attempt the study. Katz conceptualizes two levels of exploratory studies. “At the first level is the discovery of the significant variable in the situations; at the second, the discovery of relationships between variables.” b) Descriptive Research Descriptive research, also known as statistical research, describes data and characteristics about the population or phenomenon being studied. Descriptive research answers the questions 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 researchers may follow-up with examinations of why the observations exist and what the implications of the findings are. In short descriptive research deals with everything that can be counted and studied. But there are always restrictions to that. Your research must have an impact to the lives of the people around you. For example, finding the most frequent disease that affects the children of a town. The reader of the research will know what to do to prevent that disease thus, more people will live a healthy life.

It is a fact-finding investigation with adequate interpretation. It is the simplest type of research. It is more specific than an exploratory research. It aims at identifying the various characteristics of a community or institution or problem under study and also aims at a classification of the range of elements comprising the subject matter of study. It contributes to the development of a young science and useful in verifying focal concepts through empirical observation. It can highlight important methodological aspects of data collection and interpretation. The information obtained may be useful for prediction about areas of social life outside the boundaries of the research. They are valuable in providing facts needed for planning social action program. c) Diagnostic Research It is similar to descriptive study but with a different focus. It is directed towards discovering what is happening, why it is happening and what can be done about. It aims at identifying the causes of a problem and the possible solutions for it. It may also be concerned with discovering and testing whether certain variables are associated. This type of research requires prior knowledge of the problem, its thorough formulation, clear-cut definition of the given population, adequate methods for collecting accurate information, precise measurement of variables, statistical analysis and test of significance. d) Evaluation Research It is a type of applied research. It is made for assessing the effectiveness of social or economic programmes implemented or for assessing the impact of developmental projects on the development of the project area. It is thus directed to assess or appraise the quality and quantity of an activity and its performance, and to specify its attributes and conditions required for its success. It is concerned with causal relationships and is more actively guided by hypothesis. It is concerned also with change over time.

Q 2.In the context of hypothesis testing, briefly explain the difference between a) Null and alternative hypothesis b) Type 1 and type 2 error c) Two tailed and one tailed test d) Parametric and non parametric tests. Ans: a) Null Hypothesis and Alternative Hypothesis In the context of statistical analysis, we often talk null and alternative hypothesis. If we are to compare method A with method B about its superiority and if we proceed on the assumption that both methods are equally good, then this assumption is termed as null hypothesis. As against this, we may think that the method A is superior, it is alternative hypothesis. Symbolically presented as: Null hypothesis = H0 and Alternative hypothesis = Ha Suppose we want to test the hypothesis that the population mean is equal to the hypothesis mean (µ H0) = 100. Then we would say that the null hypotheses are that the population mean is equal to the hypothesized mean 100 and symbolical we can express as: H0: µ= µ H0=100 If our sample results do not support these null hypotheses, we should conclude that something else is true. What we conclude rejecting the null hypothesis is known as alternative hypothesis. If we accept H0, then we are rejecting Ha and if we reject H0, then we are accepting Ha. For H0: µ= µ H0=100, we may consider three possible alternative hypotheses as follows: Alternative Hypothesis Ha: µ≠µ H0 Ha: µ>µ H0 Ha: µ< µ H0 (10 marks)

To be read as follows (The alternative hypothesis is that the population mean is not equal to 100 i.e., it may be more or less 100) (The alternative hypothesis is that the population mean is greater than 100) (The alternative hypothesis is that the population mean is less than 100)

The null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis are chosen before the sample is drawn (the researcher must avoid the error of deriving hypothesis from the data he collects and testing the hypothesis from the same data). In the choice of null hypothesis, the following considerations are usually kept in view:

Alternative hypothesis is usually the one which wishes to prove and the null hypothesis are ones that wish to disprove. Thus a null hypothesis represents the hypothesis we are trying to reject, the alternative hypothesis represents all other possibilities.

If the rejection of a certain hypothesis when it is actually true involves great risk, it is taken as null hypothesis because then the probability of rejecting it when it is true is α (the level of significance) which is chosen very small.

• •

Null hypothesis should always be specific hypothesis i.e., it should not state about or approximately a certain value. Generally, in hypothesis testing we proceed on the basis of null hypothesis, keeping the alternative hypothesis in view. Why so? The answer is that on assumption that null hypothesis is true, one can assign the probabilities to different possible sample results, but this cannot be done if we proceed with alternative hypothesis. Hence the use of null hypothesis (at times also known as statistical hypothesis) is quite frequent.

b) Type 1 and type 2 error In the context of testing of hypothesis there are basically two types of errors that researchers make. We may reject H0 when H0 is true & we may accept H0 when it is not true. The former is known as Type I & the later is known as Type II. In other words, Type I error mean rejection of hypothesis which should have been accepted & Type II error means accepting of hypothesis which should have been rejected. Type I error is donated by α (alpha), also called as level of significance of test; and Type II error is donated by β(beta). Decision Accept H0 Reject H0 H0 (true) Correct decision Type I error (α error) Ho (false) Type II error (β error) Correct decision The probability of Type I error is usually determined in advance and is understood as the level of significance of testing the hypothesis. If type I error is fixed at 5%, it means there are about chances in 100 that we will reject H0 when H0 is true. We can control type I error just by fixing it at a lower level. For instance, if we fix it at 1%,

But with a fixed sample size.025) and that of the acceptance region will be 0. in that case we shall accept the null hypothesis. As a result one must set very high level for type I error in one’s testing techniques of a given hypothesis. the probability of committing type II error increases. A two-tailed test rejects the null hypothesis if. n when we try to reduce type I error.01.we will say that the maximum probability of committing type I error would only be 0. There is a trade-off in business situations. Such a test inappropriate when we haveH0: µ= µ H0 and Ha: µ≠µ H0 which may µ>µ H0 or µ<µ H0.95. If we take µ = 100 and if our sample mean deviates significantly from µ. then in such a situation one should prefer a type II error. Both types of errors can not be reduced simultaneously. whether the population mean in either lower than or higher than some hypothesized value. say. the probability of the rejection area will be 0. If significance level is % and the two-tailed test to be applied. say.05 (equally split on both tails of curve as 0. the sample mean is significantly higher or lower than the hypnotized value of the mean of the population. Hence. where as type II error means taking a chance that an entire group of users of this chemicals compound will be poisoned. But there are situations when only one-tailed test is considered appropriate. one must make all possible effort to strike an adequate balance between Type I & Type II error. If type I error involves time & trouble of reworking a batch of chemicals that should have been accepted. C) Two Tailed Test & One Tailed Test In the context of hypothesis testing these two terms are quite important and must be clearly understood. d) Parametric and non parametric tests The hypothesis testing determines the validity of the assumption (technically described as null hypothesis) with a view to choose between the conflicting hypotheses about the value of the population hypothesis about the value of the . decision-makers decide the appropriate level of type I error by examining the costs of penalties attached to both types of errors. in testing of hypothesis. then in such a situation one should prefer a type I error to a type II error means taking a chance that an entire group of users of this chemicals compound will be poisoned. A one-tailed test would be used when we are to test.

But there are situation when the researcher cannot or does not want to make assumptions. with an example of each. sample size is large. Besides. Assumption like observations come from a normal population. assumptions about the population parameters like mean. Non Parametric test or distribution – free test of the hypothesis. Hypothesis testing helps to secede on the basis of a sample data. In such situations we use statistical methods for testing hypothesis which are called non parametric tests because such tests do not depend on any assumption about the parameters of parent population. Explain the difference between a causal relationship and correlation. variants etc must hold good before parametric test can be used. whether a hypothesis about the population is likely to be true or false. What are the possible reasons for a correlation between two variables? Ans: (10 marks) . Statisticians have developed several tests of hypothesis (also known as tests of significance) for the purpose of testing of hypothesis which can be classified as: • • Parametric tests or standard tests of hypothesis . Q3. most non-parametric test assumes only nominal or original data.population of a population parameter. where as parametric test require measurement equivalent to at least an interval scale. Parametric tests usually assume certain properties of the parent population from which we draw samples. As a result non-parametric test needs more observation than a parametric test to achieve the same size of Type I & Type II error.

it is not always necessary that they have cause & effect relation. you are saying .Connor.King defined “Correlation means that between two series or groups of data. the term correlation is sued in the sense of mutual dependence of two or more variable. Heights & weights of a group of people. are examples of bi-variant data that change together. age of husbands & wives etc. change in the value of one variable results in a corresponding change in the value of the other variable. “ if two or more quantities vary in sympathy so that movements in the one tend to be accompanied by corresponding movements in the others(s) they are said to be correlated. Even a high degree of correlation between two variables does not necessarily indicate a cause & effect relationship between them. Supply of the commodity decreases when its price falls. which studies the relationship between two variables. Demand for a commodity increases as price falls. If two variables are said to be correlated. But sellers supply more of a commodity when its price rises. correlation indicates the relationship between two such variables in which changes in the value of one variable is accompanies with a change in the value of other variable..” The definitions make it clear that the term correlation refers to the study of relationship between two or more variables. We say supply & price are directly related or positively co-related. demand & supply of a commodity is related to its price. Demand for a commodity decreases as its price rises. Essentially when you say one thing causes another. For instance.I.Economic & business variables are related.R. Correlation is a statistical device. there exists some casual connection. Correlation and Causation Although. W. Thus. The main difference between cause and correlation is the strength and degree to which two things are related and the certainty with which anyone can establish a causal relationship. According to L. We say demand & price are inversely related or negatively correlated.

You can. but there is no cause factor. Such games may influence others to act in more aggressive ways but they are not the sole factor and sometimes not even a factor for predicting violence. make blanket cause/effect statements about some things. heating water to a certain temperature causes it to boil. This is a specific cause/effect relationship that no one would dispute. This is the key distinction between a . you’d have to be able to prove that everyone who ever played a violent video game subsequently exhibited violence. which should be considered. Instead. For example. When you define correlation. what you can say. in limited ways. examine the statement: “Violent video games cause violent behavior. If you see a correlation between two things. In order to make the above statement. mental illness. thus if you’re deciding between cause and correlation here. Cause means that an action will always have a predictable reaction. it can be almost impossible. perhaps. In some ways. there is a special type of relationship that holds that the two variables are not only in correspondence. especially when you’re dealing with human health or behavior. this statement is not true. Understanding the difference of cause and correlation can be helped by an example. except in extremely controlled circumstances to say any one thing causes something else. One thing doesn’t necessarily result in the other thing occurring. among them.” According to all research on this matter. due to the use of the word causes in the sentence. the terms cause and correlation become easier to understand. is the correlation between violent video games and violent behavior. and bad parenting. Plenty of people were violent. but it may increase likelihood that something will occur. Research has shown that violent video games may influence violent behavior. you must choose correlation. and what has been studied. You cannot say violent video games are the cause of violence. you can see that there is a relationship between those two things. Researchers have shown that there is a connection/correlation there. You can. It also shows that a number of different factors may be responsible for a person being violent. poorer socioeconomic status. Thus there’s a correlation there. prior to the advent of video games. abusive childhoods.that there is a direct line between that one thing and the result. While all relationships tell about the correspondence between two variables. but that one causes the other.

you cannot assume that the relationship is causal: that computer use improves grades. Does that mean that is we want fewer children in the U. does it mean that if we don't have enough roads in Europe. This leads to consideration of what is often termed the third variable problem. (At least. While there is a relationship between the number of roads built and the number of babies.S. it may be that there is a third variable that is causing both the building of roads and the birthrate. We know. The two variables are correlated.simple correlational relationship and a causal relationship. we should encourage U. When inflation is low. I hope not). we often talk of a correlation between inflation and unemployment. the third variable might be socioeconomic status -. When the economy is good more roads are built in Europe and more children are born in the U. citizens to have more babies? Of course not. The key lesson here is that you have to be careful when you interpret correlations. unemployment also tends to be low. But knowing that two variables are correlated does not tell us whether one causes the other. For instance. for instance. perhaps the general world economy is responsible for both. Correlation between two variables can be due to following reasons: . For instance. In this example. we don't believe that the relationship is a causal one. that there is a correlation between the number of roads built in Europe and the number of children born in the United States. It's the resources that drives both use and grades. In this case. unemployment also tends to be high. A correlational relationship simply says that two things perform in a synchronized manner..S.richer students who have greater resources at their disposal tend to both use computers and do better in their grades. When inflation is high. that is causing the correlation we observe. not computer use that causes the change in the grade point average.S. we should stop building so many roads in Europe? Or. If you observe a correlation between the number of hours students use the computer to study and their grade point averages (with high computer users getting higher grades).

There cannot be any relationship between divorce & exports of television. For instance. For instance. a small sample may show correlation between wages & productivity. What are the characteristics of a good sample? (10 marks) . Higher the heat. Such correlation is due to chance. Heat is the cause of temperature. The above points make it clear that correlation is only a statistical relationship & it does not necessarily signify a cause & effect relationship between the variable.• Cause & effect relationship: Heat & temperature are cause & effect variable. That is higher wage leading to lower productivity. relationship between number of divorces & television exports may be correlated. Briefly explain any two factors that affect the choice of a sampling technique. There are cases when price rise due to increased demand. • Both the correlated variables are being affected by a third variable. • The correlation may be due to chance. Demand may be the result of price. Q4. In real life it need not be true. • Related variable may be mutually affecting each other so that none of them is either a cause or an effect. • There might be a situation of nonsense or spurious correlation between and two variables. For instance. price of rice & price of sugar are affected by rainfall. higher will be the temperature. Here there may not be any cause & effect relation between price of rice & price of sugar.

we may or may not represent the population well. We can divide non-probability sampling methods into two broad types: Accidental or purposive. Here. At least with a probabilistic sample. Most sampling methods are purposive in nature because we usually approach the sampling problem with a specific plan in mind. researchers prefer probabilistic or random sampling methods over non probabilistic ones. (You don't really believe that psychologists use college students because they believe they're representative of the population at large. But it does mean that non-probability samples cannot depend upon the rationale of probability theory. I would also argue that the typical use of college students in much psychological research is primarily a matter of convenience.Ans: The difference between non-probability and probability sampling is that nonprobability sampling does not involve random selection and probability sampling does. Haphazard or Convenience Sampling One of the most common methods of sampling goes under the various titles listed here. We are able to estimate confidence intervals for the statistic. we know the odds or probability that we have represented the population well. we might use clients who are . In clinical practice. practical or theoretically sensible to do random sampling. and consider them to be more accurate and rigorous. With non-probability samples. In general. now it's probably the "person on the street") interviews conducted frequently by television news programs to get a quick (although non representative) reading of public opinion. Does that mean that non-probability samples aren't representative of the population? Not necessarily. I would include in this category the traditional "man on the street" (of course. in applied social research there may be circumstances where it is not feasible. do you?). The most important distinctions among these types of sampling methods are the ones between the different types of purposive sampling approaches. Accidental. and it will often be hard for us to know how well we've done so. However. we consider a wide range of non-probabilistic alternatives.

We might sample for diversity as in heterogeneity sampling. We might sample for specific groups or types of people as in modal instance. Purposive sampling can be very useful for situations where you need to reach a targeted sample quickly and where sampling for proportionality is not the primary concern. Purposive Sampling In purposive sampling. we are sampling the most frequent case. they interview a "typical" voter. There are a number of problems with this sampling . or quota sampling. In a lot of informal public opinion polls. All of the methods that follow can be considered subcategories of purposive sampling methods. or the "typical" case. we sample with a purpose in mind. In sampling.available to us as our sample. have you ever run into people in a mall or on the street who are carrying a clipboard and who are stopping various people and asking if they could interview them? Most likely they are conducting a purposive sample (and most likely they are engaged in market research). They size up the people passing by and anyone who looks to be in that category they stop to ask if they will participate. • Modal Instance Sampling In statistics. when we do a modal instance sample. but you are also likely to overweight subgroups in your population that are more readily accessible.we are sampling with a purpose. Clearly. you are likely to get the opinions of your target population. the mode is the most frequently occurring value in a distribution. we sample simply by asking for volunteers. we might capitalize on informal social networks to identify specific respondents who are hard to locate otherwise. One of the first things they're likely to do is verify that the respondent does in fact meet the criteria for being in the sample. In many research contexts. They might be looking for Caucasian females between 30-40 years old.and in many cases we would clearly suspect that they are not. the problem with all of these types of samples is that we have no evidence that they are representative of the populations we're interested in generalizing to -. In all of these methods we know what we want -. We usually would have one or more specific predefined groups we are seeking. For instance. expert. Or. for instance. With a purposive sample. as in snowball sampling.

if you know the population has 40% women and 60% men. In this case. income -. But the other reason you might use expert sampling is to provide evidence for the validity of another sampling approach you've chosen. and that you want a total sample size of 100.age. but not the sixty men. we convene such a sample under the auspices of a "panel of experts. wrong. because it would be the best way to elicit the views of persons who have specific expertise. So. • Quota Sampling In quota sampling. educational level.are the only or even the most relevant for classifying the typical voter? What if religion or ethnicity is an important discriminator? Clearly. and often are. expert sampling is essentially just a specific sub case of purposive sampling. • Expert Sampling Expert sampling involves the assembling of a sample of persons with known or demonstrable experience and expertise in some area." There are actually two reasons you might do expert sampling. and income in the population. There are two types of quota sampling: proportional and non proportional. And. You might convene an expert panel consisting of persons with acknowledged experience and insight into that field or topic and ask them to examine your modal definitions and comment on their appropriateness and validity. But. let's say you do modal instance sampling and are concerned that the criteria you used for defining the modal instance are subject to criticism. The advantage of doing this is that you aren't out on your own trying to defend your decisions -. for instance). education.approach. you select people non-randomly according to some fixed quota. First. how do you know that those three variables -. if you've already got the 40 women for your sample. The disadvantage is that even the experts can be. . you will continue sampling until you get those percentages and then you will stop. For instance. For instance. it's not clear that using the averages of these is the fairest (consider the skewed distribution of income. modal instance sampling is only sensible for informal sampling contexts. Often. First.you have some acknowledged experts to back you. how do we know what the "typical" or "modal" case is? We could say that the modal voter is a person who is of average age. In proportional quota sampling you want to represent the major characteristics of the population by sampling a proportional amount of each.

there are times when it may be the best method available. For instance. Will it be by gender. you will not sample them because you have already "met your quota. not identifying the "average" or "modal instance" ones. you're not concerned with having numbers that match the proportions in the population. almost the opposite of modal instance sampling. Although this method would hardly lead to representative samples. Another term for this is sampling for diversity. if you are studying the homeless. etc. in order to get all of the ideas. Here. Snowball sampling is especially useful when you are trying to reach populations that are inaccessible or hard to find. Clearly. you are . you simply want to have enough to assure that you will be able to talk about even small groups in the population. education race. You then ask them to recommend others who they may know who also meet the criteria. what we would like to be sampling is not people. and especially the "outlier" or unusual ones. but ideas. age. • Heterogeneity Sampling We sample for heterogeneity when we want to include all opinions or views. Heterogeneity sampling is. we have to include a broad and diverse range of participants. In effect. In many brainstorming or nominal group processes (including concept mapping). not the population of people who have the ideas. In this method." The problem here (as in much purposive sampling) is that you have to decide the specific characteristics on which you will base the quota. • Snowball Sampling In snowball sampling. This method is the non-probabilistic analogue of stratified random sampling in that it is typically used to assure that smaller groups are adequately represented in your sample. you begin by identifying someone who meets the criteria for inclusion in your study. Instead.you will continue to sample men but even if legitimate women respondents come along. religion. you specify the minimum number of sampled units you want in each category. we would use some form of heterogeneity sampling because our primary interest is in getting broad spectrum of ideas.? Non-proportional quota sampling is a bit less restrictive. We imagine that there is a universe of all possible ideas relevant to some topic and that we want to sample this population. and we aren't concerned about representing these views proportionately. in this sense.

it is difficult to apply a probability sampling method. probability sampling should be used.not likely to be able to find good lists of homeless people within a specific geographical area. where the research objective requires statistical inference. Then an exploratory study with nonprobability sampling may be done to gain a better idea of the population. Where a high degree of precision of results is desired. readership surveys etc). The choice of a particular type of probability sampling depends on the geographical area of the survey and the size and the nature of the population under study. you may find that they know very well whom the other homeless people in their vicinity are and how you can find them. After gaining sufficient knowledge about the population through the . any convenient non-random sampling like quota sampling would be enough. The various criteria governing the choice of the sampling technique are: 11. Characteristics of good Sample: The decision process is a complicated one. 22. The researcher has to first identify the limiting factor or factors and must judiciously balance the conflicting factors. Purpose of the Survey: What does the researcher aim at? If he intends to generalize the findings based on the sample survey to the population. Where even crude results would serve the purpose (E. depending on whether the population is homogenous or heterogeneous.g. marketing surveys. if you go to that area and identify one or two. the sample should be drawn by applying simple random sampling method or stratified random sampling method. Information about Population: How much information is available about the population to be studied? Where no list of population and no information about its nature are available.Degree of Precision: Should the results of the survey be very precise. 33. 44. or could even rough results serve the purpose? The desired level of precision is one of the criteria for sampling method selection. then an appropriate probability sampling method must be selected. Hence. However.Measurability: The application of statistical inference theory requires computation of the sampling error from the sample itself.. Only probability samples allow such computation.

66. The Nature of the Population: In terms of the variables to be studied. multi-stage cluster sampling would be appropriate. A sample is economical if the precision per unit cost is high. That is. as a compromise. the precision has to be sacrificed to some extent. stratified random sampling is appropriate. it may become necessary to choose a less costly sampling plan like multistage cluster sampling. Then. However. instead of single-stage sampling of elements. Where the finance is not a constraint. it may become necessary to choose less time consuming methods like simple random sampling. 77. But if the area and the size of the population are small. single stage probability sampling methods could be used. Financial Resources: If the available finance is limited. an appropriate probability sampling design may be adopted. a researcher can choose the most appropriate method of sampling that fits the research objective and the nature of population. even simple random sampling will give a representative sample. The above criteria frequently conflict with each other and the researcher must balance and blend them to obtain a good sampling plan. Time Limitation: The time limit within which the research project should be completed restricts the choice of a sampling method.exploratory study. 55. is the population homogenous or heterogeneous? In the case of a homogenous population. It means achieving the desired level of precision at minimum cost. or multi-stage cluster sampling. The chosen plan thus represents an adaptation of the sampling theory to the available facilities and resources. or the cost per unit of variance is low. there is no alternative but to give up the proposed survey. Geographical Area of the Study and the Size of the Population: If the area covered by a survey is very large and the size of the population is quite large. Economy: It should be another criterion in choosing the sampling method. or even quota sampling as a compromise. 99. it . 88. Of course. If the population is heterogeneous. if the objectives of the study and the desired level of precision cannot be attained within the stipulated budget. instead of stratified sampling/sampling with probability proportional to size.

represents a compromise between idealism and feasibility. instead of unduly elaborate and complicated techniques. (10 marks) . One should use simple workable methods. Q5. Select any topic for research and explain how you will use both secondary and primary sources to gather the required information.

Primary data is first hand information collected through various methods such as surveys. trade associations (e. census reports. such as annual reports. sales reports. World Bank and International Monetary Fund. and brand loyalty and other aspects of consumer behavior.g. trade and financial journals. Secondary sources may be internal sources. unlike published information that is already available The disadvantages are – 1 It is expensive to collect.Ans: Primary Sources of Data Primary sources are original sources from which the researcher directly collects data that has not been previously collected. brand preference. Chambers of Commerce) and commercial services (outside suppliers of information). published sources (annual reports of currency and finance published by the Reserve Bank of India. from a sample of consumers by interviewing them. Methods of Data Collection: . reports of government departments).). They may also be external sources.. inventory records. which has been collected and compiled for another purpose. financial statements. collection of data directly by the researcher on brand awareness. compared to gathering information from available sources 2 Data collection is a time consuming process 3 It requires trained interviewers and investigators 2 Secondary Sources of Data These are sources containing data.g. The advantages of primary data are – 1 It is unique to a particular research study 2 It is recent information. etc. in the form of a marketing information system. e. publications of international organizations such as the UN. such as government agencies (e. for the purposes of the project immediately at hand. experiments and observation. minutes of meetings and other information that is available within the firm.g.

including surveys. Primary data has to be gathered in cases where the available data is inappropriate. social anthropological studies of rural communities and tribal communities.V. viewing surveys. required data is not available from secondary sources and it has to be directly gathered from the primary sources. It includes: socio economic surveys. business management studies etc. It is a method of research involving collection of data directly from a population or a sample at a particular time. audits and panels. 2 It seeks responses directly from the respondents. It is a field study. 1 Survey Research A survey is a fact-finding study. knowledge-awareness practice (KAP) studies. observation and experiments. A survey has certain characteristics: 1 It is always conducted in a natural setting. In this case. sociological studies of social problems and social institutions. leadership studies. for several types of social science research. 3 It can cover a very large population. There are various methods of primary data collection. marketing research. radio listening and T. the researcher can collect the required data precisely according to his research needs and he can collect them when he wants and in the form that he needs it.The researcher directly collects primary data from its original sources. inadequate or obsolete. opinion polls. Yet. attitudinal surveys. But the collection of primary data is costly and time consuming. A survey involves the following steps 1 Selection of a problem and its formulation 2 Preparation of the research design 3 Operation concepts and construction of measuring indexes and scales 4 Sampling 5 Construction of tools for data collection 6 Field work and collection of data 7 Processing of data and tabulation 8 Analysis of data 9 Reporting . farm management studies. 4 It may include an extensive study or an intensive study 5 It covers a definite geographical area.

Interviewing as a method of data collection has certain characteristics. Interview is often superior to other data-gathering methods. It may be defined as a two-way systematic conversation between an investigator and an informant. They are: 1. It permits probing into the context and reasons for answers to questions. People are usually more willing to talk than to write. Where the area covered for the survey is compact. It is useful for collecting a wide range of data. Interviewing is the only suitable method for gathering information from illiterate or less educated respondents. Interview can add flesh to statistical information. or probing is necessary to draw out the respondent fully.There are four basic survey methods. experiences and future intentions. or when a sufficient number of qualified interviewers are available. initiated for obtaining information relevant to a specific study. beliefs. the investigator has to get himself/herself introduced to the respondent in an appropriate manner. attitudes. It permits the investigator to seek clarifications and brings to the forefront those questions. which for some reason or the other the respondents do not want to answer. Once rapport is established. and his environment. Interviewing may be used either as a main method or as a supplementary one in studies of persons. The participants – the interviewer and the respondent – are strangers. personal interview is feasible. facial expressions and pauses. It involves not only conversation. values. even confidential information may be obtained. . It enables the investigator to grasp the behavioral context of the data furnished by the respondents. but also learning from the respondent’s gestures. from factual demographic data to highly personal and intimate information relating to a person’s opinions. Interviewing is appropriate when qualitative information is required. hence. which include: 1 Personal interview 2 Telephone interview 3 Mail survey and 4 Fax survey Personal Interview Personal interviewing is one of the prominent methods of data collection.

The investigator records information furnished by the respondent in the interview. e. This poses a problem of seeing that recording does not interfere with the tempo of conversation. such as family members. The relationship between the participants is a transitory one. business houses. 5. behavior. The respondent reacts to the interviewer’s appearance. The interaction between the interviewer and the respondent depends upon how they perceive each other. 4. business executives. Interviewing is not a standardized process like that of a chemical technician. it need not be limited to a single respondent. it is rather a flexible. depending on the requirements of the study. or a group of children. or a group of customers. facial expression and intonation.g. 10. The interaction between the interviewer and the respondent need not necessarily be on a face-to-face basis. viz. obtaining information relevant to a study. It can also be conducted with a group of persons. 3. doctors and other professionals. It will be useful in the following situations: 1. 3 Telephone Interviewing Telephone interviewing is a non-personal method of data collection. gestures. 8. The interview is a mode of obtaining verbal answers to questions put verbally. 9. As far as possible. It has a fixed beginning and termination points. It may be used as a major method or as a supplementary method.. When the universe is composed of those persons whose names are listed in telephone directories. The interview is not a mere casual conversational exchange. 7. . psychological process. The interview is an interactive process. because the interview can also be conducted over the telephone. his perception of the thrust of the questions and his own personal needs. momentary experience for them. the interviewer should try to be closer to the social-economic level of the respondents. but a conversation with a specific purpose.2. 6. The interview proper is a fleeting. Although the interview is usually a conversation between two persons.

5 Mail Survey The mail survey is another method of collecting primary data. Free discussion is encouraged on some aspect of the subject under study. The group may consist of about six to eight individuals with a common interest. The distinctive feature of the mail survey is that the questionnaire is selfadministered by the respondents themselves and the responses are recorded by them and not by the investigator. beliefs. The discussion leader stimulates the group members to interact with each other. When the subject is interesting or important to respondents. In a personal interview. a survey relating to trade conducted by a trade association or a chamber of commerce. The interviewer acts as the discussion leader. the flow of information is multi dimensional.g. a radio or television program survey. a survey relating to a profession conducted by the concerned professional association. 4. the interviewers look for evidence of common elements of attitudes. he must be aware that a single comment by a member can provide important insight. as in the case of personal interview method. clubs and other organized groups. It should preferably contain mostly closedended and multiple choice questions. The mail questionnaires should be simple so that the respondents can easily understand the questions and answer them. provided the units of study are listed in the telephone directory. In particular. e. so that it could be completed within a few minutes. When the study requires responses to five or six simple questions.2. with the discussion serving as a guide to ensure consideration of the areas of concern. This can be used in the case of educated respondents only. 4 Group Interviews A group interview may be defined as a method of collecting primary data in which a number of individuals with a common interest interact with each other. It does not . 5. This method involves sending questionnaires to the respondents with a request to complete them and return them by post. e. intentions and opinions among individuals in the group. The desired information may be obtained through selfadministered questionnaire or interview.g. When the respondents are widely scattered and when there are many call backs to make. At the same time. 3. Samples for group interviews can be obtained through schools. When the survey must be conducted in a very short period of time.

involve face-to-face conversation between the investigator and the respondent. . so as to attract the attention of the respondent. Follow-up-contacts: In the case of respondents belonging to an organization. Communication is carried out only in writing and this requires more cooperation from the respondents than verbal communication. a disguised organization name may be used. by collecting the addresses from the telephone directory of the association or organization to which they belong. 1 After a few days from the date of mailing the questionnaires to the respondents. the researcher can expect the return of completed ones from them.  A self-addressed stamped envelope should be enclosed in the covering letter. Covering letter: The covering letter should be couched in a pleasant style. In this case. Certain techniques have to be adopted to increase the response rate. it is not desirable to reveal it. 55. The following procedures should be followed . or advance notice in the newsletter of the concerned organization. Such preliminary contact with potential respondents is more successful than follow-up efforts. so as to attract and hold the interest of the respondent. stamps for collection and other incentives are also used to induce respondents to complete and return the mail questionnaire. It must anticipate objections and answer them briefly. a covering letter should accompany a copy of the questionnaire. Quality printing: The questionnaire may be neatly printed on quality light colored paper. They are: 11. or by a letter. The researcher should prepare a mailing list of the selected respondents. It must explain to the respondent the purpose of the study and the importance of his cooperation to the success of the project.  The sponsor’s identity may be revealed.  Anonymity must be assured. The progress in return may be watched and at the appropriate stage. 33. However. It is desirable to address the respondent by name. Incentives: Money. follow-up efforts can be made. they may be approached through someone in that organization known as the researcher. 44. The response rate in mail surveys is generally very low in developing countries like India. when such information may bias the result. Advance information: Advance information can be provided to potential respondents by a telephone call. 22.

This may help the researcher to secure an effective sample size closer to the required size. in order to . 7 Q6. a sample of 1500 may be drawn. Case Study: You are engaged to carry out a market survey on behalf of a leading Newspaper that is keen to increase its circulation in Bangalore City. Larger sample size: A larger sample may be drawn than the estimated sample size. For example.66. if the required sample size is 1000.

at correcting a faulty methodology. Own experience or the experience of others may be a source of problem supply. confused and ill at ease. Theories could be a third source. Ans: Title: Newspaper reading choices Research problem: A research problem is the situation that causes the researcher to feel apprehensive. Long before any competition from cable television or Nintendo. at reconciling conflicting opinions. at least 20 years prior to Music Television (MTV) or the Internet. Three sources usually contribute to problem identification. media research scholars1 began to focus their studies on young adult readers' decreasing interest in newspaper content. This could lead to a research problem. You may read about certain findings and notice that a certain field was not covered. Even where circulation has grown or stayed stable. the news about newspapers and young readers has been mostly bad for the newspaper industry. at clarifying contradictory findings.ascertain reader habits and interests. Develop a title for the study. define the research problem and the objectives or questions to be answered by the study. The concern over a declining youth market preceded and perhaps foreshadowed today's fretting over market penetration. at correcting the inadequate or unsuitable use of statistical techniques. A second source could be scientific literature. population growth is occurring more rapidly than newspaper readership in most communities. There are many problem situations that may give rise to research.2 Simply put. the WHEN and the WHY of the problem situation. It is the demarcation of a problem area within a certain context involving the WHO or WHAT. the WHERE. As early as 1960. or at solving existing practical problems Types of questions to be asked :For more than 35 years. American newspaper publishers were worrying about declining readership among the young. there is rising concern over penetration. Research can thus be aimed at clarifying or substantiating an existing theory. Shortcomings in theories could be researched. (10 marks) . defined as the percentage of occupied households in a geographic market that are served by a newspaper.

Gerald Stone and Timothy Boudreau found differences between readers ages 18-34 and those 35plus. the students' preference for reading as a leisure-time activity was related only to a public affairs focus. Methodology Sample . obituaries. Interest in international news and letters to the editor was less among younger readers. while older readers showed less interest in reports of births. sports. Leo Jeffres and Atkin assessed dimensions of interest in newspapers. editorials. job / travel information.17 He reported that computer-related technologies. including electronic mail and computer networks. The study found that newspaper subscribers preferred print formats over electronic. One of the underlying concerns behind the decline in youth newspaper reading is the question of how young people view the newspaper. and academic major on newspaper content preferences. The researchers found no significant differences in readership among various academic majors. but that young readers would choose an electronic newspaper over a printed one. school-age children.19 exploring the influence of media use. magazines. and classified advertisements over the decade between 1984 and 1994. However. were unrelated to newspaper readership. while older readers ranked weather. and books. Brian Brooks and James Kropp found that electronic newspapers could persuade children to become news consumers. and marriages. Comparing reader content preferences over a 10-year period. though there was a slight correlation between age and the public affairs readership index. non-media leisure. A number of studies explored how young readers evaluate and use newspaper content. or by gender. Content preferences for newspapers and other print media were related. David Atkin explored the influence of telecommunication technology on newspaper readership among students in undergraduate media courses. and food advertisements higher.This study looks at trends in newspaper readership among the 18-to-34 age group and examines some of the choices young adults make when reading newspapers. with older readers more interested in news about public affairs.18 In an exploration of leisure reading among college students. weather. In a study of younger.16 Younger readers showed increased interest in national news. The study discovered that overall newspaper readership was positively related to students' focus on entertainment. and public affairs.

seniors.6 years. . the researcher introduced herself to the students as a journalism professor who was conducting a study on students' use of newspapers and other media. two (.1 percent) African American. 33 (12. and phone number.4 percent) Arabic. 45 (16. Approximately six students asked to take the questionnaires home to finish. The goal of this sampling procedure was to reach a cross-section of students representing various fields of study. The researcher obtained permission from seven professors to distribute questionnaires in the eight classes during regularly scheduled class periods.9 percent) African/Native American. five (1. This mean does not include the 32 respondents who declined to give their ages. 16 (6 percent).Participants in this study (N=267) were students enrolled in 100.6 percent). Of the 267 students who participated in the study. Ages ranged from 17 to 56. Procedure After two pre-tests and revisions. two students declined. and one (.4 percent). juniors. with some individual students taking as long as an hour. questionnaires were distributed and collected by the investigator. A total of 157 participants (58.8 percent) Asian. A total of 25 participants chose not to divulge their genders.8 percent). sophomores. Each questionnaire included a cover letter with the researcher's name.3 percent) were female. two (. The average time spent on the questionnaires was 20 minutes. 15 (5. and graduate students.and 200-level English courses at a midwestern public university. 65 (24. 10 (3. with a mean age of 23. 59 (22. A basic studies course is one that is listed within the core curriculum required for all students.8 percent) Native American.8 percent) said they were of the Caucasian race.3 percent) were male and 177 (66. The researcher provided pencils and was available to answer questions if anyone needed further assistance. address. whereas a few (28) were part-time students. Courses that comprise the framework for this sample were selected because they could fulfill basic studies requirements for all majors.9 percent). 53 majors were represented. They returned the questionnaires to the researcher's mailbox within a couple of day. The class rank breakdown was: freshmen.8 percent) Hispanic. The students' participation was voluntary. Most (214) of the students were enrolled full time. 133 (49. In all. In each of the eight classes.

Attaching questionnaire to a product: A firm test marketing a product may attach a questionnaire to a product and request the buyer to complete it and mail it back to the firm. 2) Attaching the questionnaire to a product. Q1. tears it out and mails it to the advertiser. the committee of Banks Customer Services used this method for collecting information from the customers of commercial banks in India. Discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of distributing questionnaires to the respondents of a study. Often referred to as the self-administered questionnaire method.2 60 Marks Note: Each question carries 10 Marks. A gift or a discount coupon usually rewards the respondent. Ans: There are some alternative methods of distributing questionnaires to the respondents. with a request to complete them at their convenience. questionnaire and self addressed replypaid envelope into a random sample of newsstand copies of a newspaper or magazine. (10 marks) . After a day or two. Personal delivery: The researcher or his assistant may deliver the questionnaires to the potential respondents. They are: 1) Personal delivery. it combines the advantages of the personal interview and the mail survey. Advertising the questionnaire: The questionnaire with the instructions for completion may be advertised on a page of a magazine or in a section of newspapers. and 4) News-stand inserts. The potential respondent completes it. Answer all the questions. the completed questionnaires can be collected from them. This method may be useful for large-scale studies on topics of common interest.Master of Business Administration – MBA Semester 3rd core MB0050 Research Methodology . Newsstand inserts: This method involves inserting the covering letter. Alternatively.4 Credits Assignment Set. For example. the questionnaires may be delivered in person and the respondents may return the completed questionnaires through mail. 3) Advertising the questionnaire in a newspaper or magazine.

Persons with similar characteristics may replace the dropouts. because panel members become well acquainted with the field workers and will be willing to allow probing interviews. all add to the expenditure. income and expenditure of agricultural laborers change from month to month. behavior or attitudes. periodic training of investigators and supervisors.  this method makes it possible to have before and after designs made for field based studies. A panel study can provide data for finding an answer to this question. it enables an economics researcher to study how employment.  the panel method offers a good way of studying trends in events. For example. the payment of premiums. the event or action is reported soon after its occurrence. Many persons may be unwilling to participate in a panel study. .Advantages and Disadvantages: The advantages of Questionnaire are:  this method facilitates collection of more accurate data for longitudinal studies than any other method. It is also possible to find out how the constituency of the various economic and social strata of society changes through time and so on. In the course of the study. However. a political scientist can study the shifts in inclinations of voters and the causative influential factors during an election. but it does not indicate as to which comes first . For example. because under this method. a cross sectional study of employees may show an association between their attitude to their jobs and their positions in the organization. and the costs involved in replacing dropouts. there is no guarantee that the emerging panel would be representative. during and after the campaign.  It facilities depth interviewing.  A panel study also provides evidence on the causal relationship between variables. The major limitations or problems of Questionnaire method are:  this method is very expensive. For example. there may be frequent dropouts. a panel enables a market researcher to study how brand preferences change from month to month. the effect of public relations or advertising campaigns or welfare measures can be measured by collecting data before. The selection of panel members.favorable attitude or promotion.  it is often difficult to set up a representative panel and to keep it representative.

 A real danger with the panel method is “panel conditioning” i. One possible safeguard to panel conditioning is to give members of a panel only a limited panel life and then to replace them with persons taken randomly from a reserve list. the risk that repeated interviews may sensitize the panel members and they become untypical. due to decreasing interest. as a result of being on the panel. after a panel has been in operation for some time.. the panel becomes untypical of the population it was selected to represent. In such cases. the members of a panel study of political opinions may try to appear consistent in the views they express on consecutive occasions.  the quality of reporting may tend to decline. For example. . Cheating by panel members or investigators may be a problem in some cases.e.

4516 as shown below. It simply the sum of the numbers divided by the number of numbers. shows the number of touchdown (TD) passes thrown by each of the 31 teams in the National Football League in the 2000 season. Therefore. if the term "mean" is used without (10 marks) . the mean of the numbers 1+2+3+6+8= 20 5 =4 regardless of whether the numbers constitute the entire population or just a sample from the population.4516 37 33 33 32 29 28 28 23 22 22 22 21 21 21 20 20 19 19 18 18 18 18 16 15 14 14 14 12 12 9 6 Table 1: Number of touchdown passes Although the arithmetic mean is not the only "mean" (there is also a geometric mean).Q2. The symbol M is used for the mean of a sample. The mean number of touchdown passes thrown is 20. The table. what is the difference between measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion? What is the most important measure of central tendency and dispersion? Ans: Measures of Central tendency: Arithmetic Mean The arithmetic mean is the most common measure of central tendency. As an example. m= ΣX N = 634 31 =20. In processing data. The formula for m is shown below: m= ΣX N Where ΣX is the sum of all the numbers in the numbers in the sample and N is the number of numbers in the sample. Number of touchdown passes. The symbol m is used for the mean of a population. it is by far the most commonly used.

For this dataset. the geometric mean. 12 is 4+7 2 =5. Number of touchdown passes. the median of 2. Therefore the mode of continuous data is normally computed from a grouped frequency distribution. the median is 2. the median is three. your score is above the median and therefore in the upper half of the distribution. the median of the numbers 2. Computation of the Median: When there is an odd number of numbers. Let's return to the made up example of the quiz on which you made a three discussed previously in the module Introduction to Central Tendency and shown in Table 2. the median is the mean of the two middle numbers. and 7 is 4. For Dataset 2. the same as your score. For the data in the table. there are 31 scores. With continuous data such as response time measured to many decimals. your score is below the median.5. This means you are in the lower half of the class. For the data in the table. The median can also be thought of as the 50th percentile. When there is an even number of numbers. Thus. The 16th highest score (which equals 20) is the median because there are 15 scores below the 16th score and 15 scores above the 16th score.specifying whether it is the arithmetic mean. Finally for Dataset 3. the mode is 18 since more teams (4) had 18 touchdown passes than any other number of touchdown passes. Median The median is also a frequently used measure of central tendency. 4. Number of touchdown passes. the median is simply the middle number. . or some other mean. The median is the midpoint of a distribution: the same number of scores is above the median as below it. For example. Mode The mode is the most frequently occurring value. it is assumed to refer to the arithmetic mean. the median is 4. Student Dataset 1 Dataset 2 Dataset 3 You 3 3 3 John's 3 4 2 Maria's 3 4 2 Shareecia's 3 4 2 Luther's 3 5 1 Table 2: Three possible datasets for the 5-point make-up quiz For Dataset 1. 4. 7. Therefore. the frequency of each value is one since no two scores will be exactly the same (see discussion of continuous variables).

Range 500-600 600-700 700-800 800-900 900-1000 1000-1100 Table 3: distribution Frequency 3 6 5 5 0 1 Grouped frequency Measures of Dispersion: A measure of statistical dispersion is a real number that is zero if all the data are identical. Since the interval with the highest frequency is 600-700. and increases as the data becomes more diverse. if the measurements have units. as well as linear in scale. the mode is the middle of that interval (650). Most measures of dispersion have the same scale as the quantity being measured. in which capacity they are called estimates of scale. All the above measures of statistical dispersion have the useful property that they are location-invariant. such as metres or seconds. .The Grouped frequency distribution table shows a grouped frequency distribution for the target response time data. It cannot be less than zero. Such measures of dispersion include: • • • • • • • Standard deviation Interquartile range Range Mean difference Median absolute deviation Average absolute deviation (or simply called average deviation) Distance standard deviation These are frequently used (together with scale factors) as estimators of scale parameters. So if a random variable X has a dispersion of SX then a linear transformation Y = aX + b for real a and b should have dispersion SY = |a|SX. the measure of dispersion has the same units. In other words.

e. they have no units even if the variable itself has units. In the biological sciences. i. the meticulous scientist finds variation.Other measures of dispersion are dimensionless (scale-free).The simple model of a stable quantity is preferred when it is tenable. this assumption is false: the variation observed might be intrinsic to the phenomenon: distinct members of a population differ greatly. reproducible. Variance-to-mean ratio — mostly used for count data when the term coefficient of dispersion is used and when this ratio is dimensionless. it is less common to measure dispersion by a single number. In other words. Each phenomenon must be examined to see if it warrants such a simplification. See qualitative variation. among them the Allan variance and the Hadamard variance. and that the variation between measurements is due to observational error. This is also seen in the arena of manufactured products. as count data are themselves dimensionless: otherwise this is not scale-free. These include: • • • Coefficient of variation Quartile coefficient of dispersion Relative mean difference. . • Some measures of dispersion have specialized purposes. equal to twice the Gini coefficient There are other measures of dispersion: • Variance (the square of the standard deviation) — location-invariant but not linear in scale. such variability may result only from random measurement errors: instrument measurements are often not perfectly precise. even there. One measure that does so is the discrete entropy.. Sources of statistical dispersion In the physical sciences. One may assume that the quantity being measured is unchanging and stable. For categorical variables.

What are the characteristics of a good research design? Explain how the research design for exploratory studies is different from the research design for descriptive and diagnostic studies. Cook and Campbell (1979) argue that three conditions must be met before we can infer that such a cause-effect relation exists: 1.Q3. if we introduce. Ans: Good research design: Much contemporary social research is devoted to examining whether a program. whether a special work release program for prisoners causes lower recidivism rates. For example. . we should observe some change in the outcome measures. or change the level of a treatment or program. or manipulation causes some outcome or result. we might wish to know whether a new educational program causes subsequent achievement score gains. treatment. Covariation. remove. Changes in the presumed cause must be related to changes in the presumed effect. whether a novel drug causes a reduction in symptoms. and so on. Thus. (10 marks).

In most social research the third condition is the most difficult to meet. changes in record keeping or measurement systems which occur at the same time as the program might be falsely attributed to the program. it may be that some historical event which occurs at the same time that the program or treatment is instituted was responsible for the change in the outcome measures. Cook and Campbell (1979) list a number of common plausible alternative explanations (or. But such explanations may be ruled out or minimized in a number of ways other than by design. Any number of factors other than the treatment or program could cause changes in outcome measures. 3. which follows. Standard social science methodology textbooks (Cook and Campbell 1979. Campbell and Stanley (1966) and later. This paper takes a structural approach to research design. The discussion. Furthermore. While standard designs may sometimes fit real-life situations. it will often be necessary to "tailor" a research design to minimize specific threats to validity. No Plausible Alternative Explanations. The presumed cause must occur prior to the presumed effect. it helps to clarify some of the basic principles of design logic.2. This paper is primarily heuristic in purpose. The presumed cause must be the only reasonable explanation for changes in the outcome measures. If there are other factors. For example. Minimizing Threats to Validity Good research designs minimize the plausible alternative explanations for the hypothesized cause-effect relationship. which these designs rule out or minimize. which could be responsible for changes in the outcome measures. While this is by no means the only strategy for constructing research designs. Judd and Kenny. The reader is referred to standard research methods texts for more detailed discussions of threats to validity. an understanding of the logic of design construction in general will improve the comprehension of these standard approaches. we cannot be confident that the presumed cause-effect relationship is correct. even if standard textbook designs are used. 1981) typically present an array of research designs and the alternative explanations. one of which is by research design: . or. outlines five ways to minimize threats to validity. threats to internal validity). Temporal Precedence.an emphasis on the selection of an available design rather than on the construction of an appropriate research strategy. This tends to foster a "cookbook" approach to research design .

or other such factors. By Design. 4. 3. This topic will be discussed in more detail below. the occurrence of other events which might lead to an increased desire to purchase the product) would be a plausible alternative explanation. As a result. a study of the effects of an advertising campaign on subsequent sales of a particular product. and the like. ruling out a potential threat to validity by argument alone will be weaker than the other approaches listed below. By Argument. For example. or similar events could cause an increase in product sales. 2. One might attempt to minimize such threats by measuring local economic indicators and the availability and sales of competing products. these threats would be considerably minimized. it might be useful to observe everyday classroom behavior in order to verify that students were not receiving any additional math training to that provided in the study. The most straightforward way to rule out a potential threat to validity is to simply argue that the threat in question is not a reasonable one. the major emphasis is on ruling out alternative explanations by adding treatment or control groups. In some cases it will be possible to rule out a threat by measuring it and demonstrating that either it does not occur at all or occurs so minimally as to not be a strong alternative explanation for the cause-effect relationship. In most cases. They suggest that one could study the plausibility of an attrition . Here. the most plausible threats in a study should not. Similarly. By Analysis. If there is no change in these measures coincident with the onset of the advertising campaign.e. For example. a change in the local economy. history (i. Consider.1. In such a study. There are a number of ways to rule out alternative explanations using statistical analysis. one might argue that an instrumentation threat is not likely because the same test is used for pre and post test measurements and did not involve observers who might improve. be ruled out by argument only. One interesting example is provided by Jurs and Glass (1971).. waves of measurement. depending on the situation. except in unusual cases. Such an argument may be made either a priori or a posteriori. for example. if one is studying the effects of special mathematics training on math achievement scores of children. By Measurement or Observation. although the former will usually be more convincing than the latter. the removal of a competing product from the market.

e. one plausible alternative explanation might be the status of local economic conditions. auditing methods and quality control can be used to track potential experimental dropouts or to insure the standardization of measurement. The inclusion of measurements designed to minimize threats to validity will obviously be related to the design structure and is likely to be a factor in the analysis. in a study of the effects of "workfare" programs on social welfare caseloads. In general. One factor in this study would be the original treatment group designations (i. if the program is a desirable one. When potential threats are anticipated some type of preventive action can often rule them out. A main effect on the attrition factor would be indicative of a threat to external validity or generalizability. while the other factor would be attrition (i. while an interaction between group and attrition factors would point to a possible threat to internal validity.. Several actions can be taken to minimize the effects of these attitudes including offering the program to the comparison group upon completion of the study or using program and comparison groups which have little opportunity for contact and communication. One must be careful when using covariance adjustments of this type -. By Preventive Action. Where both effects occur. reducing a particular threat by design or preventive action will .e. Nevertheless causal assertions are likely to be strengthened by demonstrating that treatment effects occur even after adjusting on a number of good covariates. Here. program vs.or mortality threat by conducting a two-way analysis of variance.. comparison group). For example. make use of multiple methods for reducing threats. A good research plan should. For example. In addition. it might be possible to construct a measure of economic conditions and include that measure as a covariate in the statistical analysis. it is likely that the comparison group would feel jealous or demoralized. The dependent measure could be the pretest or other available pre-program measures. The plausibility of alternative explanations might also be minimized using covariance analysis."perfect" covariates do not exist in most social research and the use of imperfect covariates will not completely adjust for potential alternative explanations. non-dropout group). 5. where possible. The five categories listed above should not be considered mutually exclusive. it is reasonable to infer that there is a threat to both internal and external validity. dropout vs.

Typically. 2. Similarly. The choice of which strategy to use for any particular threat is complex and depends at least on the cost of the strategy and on the potential seriousness of the threat. 4. Thus. Complex designs might involve a lengthy sequence of observations and programs or treatments across time. Design Construction Basic Design Elements. we normally assume that the cause and effect in social science arenas do not occur simultaneously.. Groups or Individuals. by its very nature. In design notation we usually depict a presumed cause with the symbol "X". Most research designs can be constructed from four basic elements: 1. While for some phenomena the elapsed time might be measured in microseconds and therefore might be unnoticeable to a casual observer. there will .e. In design notation we indicate this temporal element horizontally . the "O" can be used to depict the entire set of measures. one which does not receive the program under study) no "X" is used. Program(s) or Treatment(s). Measurements are typically depicted in design notation with the symbol "O". However. as we read from left to right in design notation we are reading across time. When multiple programs or treatments are being studied using the same design. Observation(s) or Measure(s). The presumed cause may be a program or treatment under the explicit control of the researcher or the occurrence of some natural event or program not explicitly controlled. we can keep the programs distinct by using subscripts such as "X1" or "X2". If the same measurement or observation is taken at every point in time in a design. then this "O" will be sufficient. Time. if the same set of measures is given at every point in time in this study. if different measures are given at different times it is useful to subscript the "O" to indicate which measurement is being given at which point in time. 3. implies that some time has elapsed between the occurrence of the cause and the consequent effect. The final design element consists of the intact groups or the individuals who participate in various conditions.probably be stronger than by using one of the other three approaches.whatever symbol is used to indicate the presumed cause would be placed to the left of the symbol indicating measurement of the effect. A causal relationship. For a comparison group (i.

learning how to write a case study takes time. the manner in which groups are assigned to the conditions can be indicated by an appropriate symbol at the beginning of each line. What’s more. developing an effective case study (also called a success story) is an art. a nonequivalent group or cohort) and a "C" will indicate that the group was assigned using a cutoff score on a measurement. "N" will depict a group. Like other marketing communication skills. Q4. which was nonrandom assigned (i. writing case studies without careful planning usually results in sub optimal results? Savvy case study writers increase their chances of success by following these ten proven techniques for writing an effective case study: . "R" will represent a group.e. How is the Case Study method useful in Business Research? Give two specific examples of how the case study method can be applied to business research. In design notation.be one or more program and comparison groups. Furthermore. Here. (10 marks) Ans: While case study writing may seem easy at first glance. which was randomly assigned.. each group is indicated on a separate line.

it simplifies the actual writing. and ensures that the document looks. and stick to them. procedurally. Obtain customer permission before writing the document. solicit input during the development. A template serves as a roadmap for the case study process. and reads consistently. . Rather than asking the customer to draft their quotes.Involve the customer throughout the process. • Write all customer quotes for their review. and secure approval after drafting the document. Case Study Writing Ideas • Establish a document template. writing them for their review usually results in more compelling material. Involving the customer throughout the case study development process helps ensure customer cooperation and approval. Before beginning work. and results in an improved case study. define 3-5 specific elements to include in every case study. formalize those elements. the template helps build the brand. Visually. feels.

First. the latter can be quite compelling to readers as well. how the solution resolves a commonly faced issue. ZZZ after just 6 months of implementation. attempt to develop a range of qualitative benefits. Then. First. finally. in a concrete way. but not impossible. “homegrown” digital photos sometimes lead to surprisingly good results and . The key is to present imaginative ideas to the customer for ways to quantify the benefits. most effective organization for a case study follows the problem-solution-benefits flow. “Using Solution X saved Customer Y over $ZZZ. the time-tested. Beginning more generally draws the reader into the story. In the problem section. describe the business and/or technical problem or issue. describe the specific problem or issue that the customer faced. • Use photos. and benefits. ideally using the solution. Then. “Thanks to Solution X. and remain flexible during this discussion. Include a short (less than 20-word) customer quote in larger text. solution. summarize the key points of the case study in 2-3 succinct bullet points. • Use the general-to-specific-to-general approach.” Quantifying benefits can be challenging. In the solution section. in fact.• Start with a bang. Use action verbs and emphasize benefits in the case study title and subtitle. then indicate how it can also help resolve this issue more broadly within the industry. describe the solution to this problem or resolution of this issue. The shots need not be professionally done.” or. • Quantify benefits when possible. No single element in a case study is more compelling than the ability to tie quantitative benefits to the solution. If benefits cannot be quantified. use the opposite sequence. For example. • Organize according to problem. employees at Customer Y have realized a ZZ% increase in productivity as measured by standard performance indicators. begin with a general discussion of the issue that faces the relevant industry. describe how the solution solved this specific problem. The goal should be to tease the reader into wanting to read more. offering a specific example demonstrates. Regardless of length. Ask the customer if they can provide shots of personnel. next. describe how the customer benefited from the particular solution (more on this below). This natural story-telling sequence resonates with readers. and concluding more generally allows the reader to understand how the solution can also address their problem.

Observation may be defined as a systematic viewing of a specific phenomenon on its proper setting for the specific purpose of gathering data for a particular study. Observation is classical method of scientific study. consider outsourcing the task to professionals who specialize in case study writing. What are the differences between observation and interviewing as methods of data collection? Give two specific examples of situations where either observation or interviewing would be more appropriate. If a qualified internal writer is unavailable. a case study is doomed to failure if the writer lacks the exceptional writing skills. a talented writer can mean the difference between an ineffective case study and one that provides the greatest benefit. After receiving final customer approval and finalizing the case study. technical savvy. In many cases. as well as printed copies. Even with the best plan. to the customer. Q5. Writing a case study is not easy. ( 10 marks) Ans: Observation means viewing or seeing. Another idea is to frame a copy of the completed case study and present it to the customer in appreciation for their efforts and cooperation. provide a pdf. and marketing experience that these documents require. • Reward the customer.often appear more genuine. Photos further personalize the story and help form a connection to readers. The prerequisites of observation consist of: .

The mechanical devices used must be in good working conditions and operated by skilled persons. The observer must be in vantage point to see clearly the objects to be observed.g. studies of children. If it is feasible two separate observers and set of instruments may be used in all or some of the original observations. • The accuracy and completeness of recorded results must be checked. The researcher needs to ask people about their behavior and interactions he can simply watch what they do and say. The distance and the light must be satisfactory. • Observation must cover a sufficient number of representative samples of the cases. Advantages of observation o The main virtue of observation is its directness it makes it possible to study behavior as it occurs. The results could then be compared to determine their accuracy and completeness. which will permit accurate results. Other methods introduce elements or artificiality into the researched situation for instance in interview the respondent may not behave in a natural way. o Observations improve the opportunities for analyzing the contextual back ground of behavior. o Observations in more suitable for studying subjects who are unable to articulate meaningfully e. birds etc. • Recording should be accurate and complete. o Data collected by observation may describe the observed phenomena as they occur in their natural settings.• Observations must be done under conditions. There is no such artificiality in observational studies especially when the observed persons are not aware of their being observed. Furthermore verbal resorts can be validated . tribal animals. A certain number of cases can be observered again by another observer/another set of mechanical devices as the case may be.

it is also a good opportunity for you to ask questions and to make sure the organisation and position are right for you. As this is a two-way process. o Observations make it possible to capture the whole event as it occurs. o It is easier to conduct disguised observation studies than disguised questioning.’ . The validity of what men of position and authority say can be verified by observing what they actually do. For example only observation can be providing an insight into all the aspects of the process of negotiation between union and management representatives.and compared with behavior through observation. Their purpose is to give the interviewer(s) a chance to assess your suitability for the role and for you to demonstrate your abilities and personality. Interview format Interviews take many different forms. It is a good idea to ask the organisation in advance what format the interview will take. The interviewer is looking for evidence of your skills and may ask such things as: ‘Give an example of a time you worked as part of a team to achieve a common goal. o Mechanical devices may be used for recording data in order to secure more accurate data and also of making continuous observations over longer periods. which will usually have been detailed in the job specification or advert. o Observation is less demanding of the subjects and has less biasing effect on their conduct than questioning.These are structured to reflect the competencies or qualities that an employer is seeking for a particular job. Interviews are a crucial part of the recruitment process for all Organisations. • Competency/criteria based interviews .

g. how you identify the key issues. and to have an in-depth discussion about the pieces you have chosen to include. you may be asked to bring a portfolio of your work to the interview. Questions are likely to center on your academic history to date. it is likely that you will be asked technical questions or has a separate technical interview. Structured interviews .These are used for further study or research positions. while others will feel more like an informal chat about you and your interests. Questions may focus on your final year project or on real or hypothetical technical problems. You should be prepared to prove yourself. in an interview. • • • Portfolio based interviews . Formal/informal interviews . • Senior/case study interviews . Recruitment Manager. and asks all the candidates the same questions. Specific types of interview The Screening Interview . how you pursue a particular line of thinking and whether you can develop and present an appropriate framework for organising your thoughts.The organisation determines the selection criteria based on the roles they are recruiting for and then. Do not worry if you do not know the exact answer interviewers are interested in your thought process and logic. The Cooperative Group • Technical interviews . however informal the discussion may seem.If the role is within the arts. media or communications industries. but also to admit to what you do not know and stress that you are keen to learn.The interviewer has a set list of questions.If you have applied for a job or course that requires technical knowledge. You will be evaluated on your analysis of the problem. • Academic interviews .These ranges from straightforward scenario questions (e. examines whether or not you have evidence of possessing these.Some interviews may be very formal. ‘What would you do in a situation where…?’) to the detailed analysis of a hypothetical business problem. Be aware that you are still being assessed.

are often open to . Give a range. you will be able to switch gears quickly. They also will want to know from the outset whether you will be too expensive for the company. Get into the straightforward groove. A meeting that you initiate. Screening interviewers often have honed skills to determine whether there is anything that might disqualify you for the position. screeners tend to dig for dirt. Job seekers ostensibly secure informational meetings in order to seek the advice of someone in their current or desired field as well as to gain further references to people who can lend insight. The Informational Interview On the opposite end of the stress spectrum from screening interviews is the informational interview. Personality is not as important to the screener as verifying your qualifications. Save your winning personality for the person making hiring decisions! • Be tactful about addressing income requirements." • If the interview is conducted by phone. and try to avoid giving specifics by replying. Computer programs are among the tools used to weed out unqualified candidates. Employers that like to stay apprised of available talent even when they do not have current job openings. (This is why you need a digital resume that is screening-friendly. only whether you are not a match. whether the interviewer catches you sleeping or vacuuming the floor. See our resume center for help. "I would be willing to consider your best offer. Remember-they does not need to know whether you are the best fit for the position. the informational interview is underutilized by job-seekers who might otherwise consider themselves savvy to the merits of networking. Some tips for maintaining confidence during screening interviews: • • Highlight your accomplishments and qualifications. Answer questions directly and succinctly. That way.Companies use screening tools to ensure that candidates meet minimum qualification requirements. For this reason.) Sometimes human professionals are the gatekeepers. it is helpful to have note cards with your vital information sitting next to the phone. Screeners will hone in on gaps in your employment history or pieces of information that look inconsistent.

Their style does not necessarily mean that they have dominance issues. the interviewer has a clear agenda that he or she follows unflinchingly. This takes off some of the performance pressure. Gain references to other people and make sure that the interviewer would be comfortable if you contact other people and use his or her name. Directive interviewers rely upon their own questions and methods to tease from you what they wish to know.informational interviews. During an informational interview. Do not relinquish complete control of the interview." which . feel flattered by your interest. when interviewers ask each candidate the same series of questions. they can more readily compare the results. Either way. Write a thank you note to the interviewer. You might feel like you are being steam-rolled. Sometimes companies use this rigid format to ensure parity between interviews. remember: • • Flex with the interviewer. The Meandering Style This interview type. contact information and resume. but be intentional nonetheless: • • Come prepared with thoughtful questions about the field and the company. especially if they like to share their knowledge. the jobseeker and employer exchange information and get to know one another better without reference to a specific job opening. usually used by inexperienced interviewers. although you should keep an eye open for these if the interviewer would be your supervisor. or esteem the mutual friend that connected you to them. If the interviewer does not ask you for information that you think is important to proving your superiority as a candidate. Give the interviewer your card. politely interject it. • • The Directive Style In this style of interview. It might begin with a statement like "tell me about yourself. following his or her lead. or you might find the conversation develops naturally. relies on you to lead the discussion.

remain respectful of the interviewer's role. adjust. • Remain alert to the interviewer. Do not rely on the interviewer to spark your memory-jot down some notes that you can reference throughout the interview.it is not simply a catalogue of what has been written. What type of research report would be most appropriate? Develop an outline of the research report with the main sections. . • Ask well-placed questions. Critiquing rather than merely listing each item a good literature review is led by your own critical thought processes . are particularly important when interviewers use a non-directive approach: • Come to the interview prepared with highlights and anecdotes of your skills. Q6. Case Study: You are engaged to carry out a market survey on behalf of a leading Newspaper that is keen to increase its circulation in Bangalore City. The following strategies. Ans: There are four major interlinking processes in the presentation of a literature review: 1.(10 marks). Even if you feel like you can take the driver's seat and go in any direction you wish. If he or she becomes more directive during the interview. which are helpful for any interview. in order to ascertain reader habits and interests. qualities and experiences. The interviewer might ask you another broad.you can use to your advantage. Although the open format allows you significantly to shape the interview. openended question before falling into silence. This interview style allows you tactfully to guide the discussion in a way that best serves you. running with your own agenda and dominating the conversation means that you run the risk of missing important information about the company and its needs.

the direction of your literature review will emerge with greater clarity. Structuring the fragments into a coherent body through your reading and discussions with your supervisor during the searching and organising phases of the cycle. ideas and authors into firm categories as they relate more obviously to your own study. As you begin to group together the items you read. you will eventually reach a final decision as to your own topic and research design. This is your opportunity for showing that you did not take all your reading at face value. but that you have the knowledge and skills to interpret the authors' meanings and intentions in relation to each other. terminology and conventions in the field.Once you have established which authors and ideas are linked. As you get used to reading at this level of intensity within your field you will find it easier and more purposeful to ask questions as you read: o o o o o o o o o o o What is this all about? Who is saying it and what authorities do they have? Why is it significant? What is its context? How was it reached? How valid is it? How reliable is the evidence? What has been gained? What do other authors say? How does it contribute? So what? 2. Rest assured that developing a sense of critical judgment in the literature surrounding a topic is a gradual process of gaining familiarity with the concepts. particularly if there are conflicting views or incompatible findings in a particular area. take each group in turn and really think about what you want to achieve in presenting them this way. language. . grouping linked items. In the early stages of your research you cannot be expected to have a fully developed appreciation of the implications of all findings. This is a good time to finalise your concept map.

and how the debate informs your understanding of the topic. with your own intentions and conceptual framework in mind. 3. As with all academic writing. Later. usually as a series of headed sections and subsections. but the difference is that it is not data you generated yourself. The final conclusion of the literature review ties together the main points from each of your sections and this is then used to build the framework for your own study. A short conclusion at the end of each section presents a synthesis of these linked ideas. paraphrasing and summarizing) You can treat published literature like any other data. Knowing what you want to convey will help you decide the most appropriate structure. The body takes each element in turn. When you report on your own findings. for example: o o o An historical survey of theory and research in your field A synthesis of several paradigms A process of narrowing down to your own topic It is likely that your literature review will contain elements of all of these. The section then expands on these ideas and authors. showing how each relates to the others. you are likely to present the results with reference to their source. when you come to write the discussion chapter of your thesis. Controlling the 'voice' of your citations in the text (by selective use of direct quoting. a literature review needs: o o o An introduction A body A conclusion The introduction sets the scene and lays out the various elements that are to be explored. for example: . The first paragraph or two of each section mentions the major authors in association with their main ideas and areas of debate. you should be able to relate your findings in one-to-one correspondence with many of the concepts or questions that were firmed up in the conclusion of your literature review.Now you can plan the structure of your written literature review. A review can take many forms.

and it must be an identical copy of the original in every respect. this is significant in the assessment of the merit and rigor of your work.' o In these examples your source of information is table 2. with no loss of the author's intended meaning: . the author's name and publication details must be associated with the words in the text. If the quotation is run in with your text. If you don't do this you would be in severe breach of academic convention. In each case it would be your voice introducing a fact or statement that had been generated somewhere else. using an approved referencing system. it appears that the majority of subjects responded positively. There are three ways to combine an idea and its source with your own voice: o o o Direct quote Paraphrase Summary In each method.' When using published data. you would say: o 'Positive responses were recorded for 80 per cent of the subjects (see table 2). Had you found the same results on page 17 of a text by Smith published in 1988. you would naturally substitute the name.o 'Table 2 shows that sixteen of the twenty subjects responded positively. and might be penalized. single quotation marks are used to enclose it. Overuse or simple 'listing' of quotes can substantially weaken your own argument by silencing your critical view or voice.' 'From the results shown in table 2. Direct quoting repeats exact wording and thus directly represents the author: o 'Rain is likely when the sky becomes overcast'. which determines how strong the wall will be. You could see this process as building a wall: you select and place the 'bricks' and your 'voice' provides the ‘mortar’. In turn. Paraphrasing is repeating an idea in your own words. date and page number for 'table 2'. Your field of study has its own referencing conventions you should investigate before writing up your results.

and once you are confident in controlling the voice in your citations. The original writing is 'described' as if from the outside. Once you have established a good structure with appropriate headings for your literature review. The good use of language depends on the quality of the thinking behind the writing. and on the context of the writing. Paraphrasing allows you to organize the ideas expressed by the authors without being rigidly constrained by the grammar. and it is your own voice that is predominant: o Referring to the possible effects of cloudy weather. rain may well be indicated by the presence of cloud in the sky. and reflects how you are dealing with the subtleties and complexities inherent in the literature. Smith (1988) claims that some degree of precipitation could be expected as the result of clouds in the sky: he has clearly discounted the findings of Jones (1986). However. If you have doubts about your confidence to use the English language well. Using appropriate language Your writing style represents you as a researcher. o 4. You need to conform to disciplinespecific requirements. Summarizing means to shorten or crystallize a detailed piece of writing by restating the main points in your own words and in the order in which you found them.o As Smith (1988) pointed out in the late eighties. Smith (1988) predicted the likelihood of rain. there may still be some points of grammar and vocabulary you would like to improve. colleagues and academics Look for specific language information in reference materials o . tense and vocabulary of the original. you should find that your writing becomes more lucid and fluent because you know what you want to say and how to say it. You retain a degree of flexibility as to whose voice comes through most strongly. you can help yourself in several ways: o Ask for feedback on your writing from friends.

might.. o To convey ideas. Other language tips .o Access programs or self-paced learning resources which may be available on your campus Grammar tips . Table 2 shows. Use modals (may. o In referring to components of your own document:  Use present perfect tense for: o Recent events or actions that are still linked in an unresolved way to the present:  Several studies have attempted to.. Which tense should I use? Use present tense: o For generalizations and claims:  The sky is blue.. especially theories.. o For authors' statements of a theoretical nature. should) to: o Convey degrees of doubt  This may indicate that . which can then be compared on equal terms with others:  Smith (1988) suggests that.practical and helpful The following guidance on tenses and other language tips may be useful. Use past perfect tense for: o Events which occurred before a specified past time:  Prior to these findings.. this would imply that.. which exist for the reader at the time of reading:  I think therefore I am. Use simple past tense for: o Completed events or actions:  Smith (1988) discovered that.... could.. it had been thought that.. would....

and with my research . 'because'. particularly nouns. 'but'. Verbs are more dynamic than nouns. 'whereas' etc. o o o o o o o The total process The story of a research study Introduction I looked at the situation and found that I had a question to ask about it. Use it to separate the elements of complex sentences in order to keep subject. Keep punctuation to a minimum. Review of literature So I read everything I could find on the topic . I established exactly where my investigation would fit into the big picture. verb and object in clear view. and nouns carry information more densely than verbs. Avoid densely packed strings of words. Methodology I decided on the number and description of my subjects. I wanted to investigate something in particular. and began to realise at this stage how my study would be different from anything done previously.o Convey your meaning in the simplest possible way. and do not rely on your reader to read your mind! Keep sentences short and simple when you wish to emphasise a point. Select active or passive verbs according to whether you are highlighting the 'doer' or the 'done to' of the action. Use compound (joined simple) sentences to write about two or more ideas which may be linked with 'and'. Don't try to use an intellectual tone for the sake of it.what was already known and said and what had previously been found. Use complex sentences when you are dealing with embedded ideas or those that show the interaction of two or more complex elements.

graphs. For each display of results. I wanted to state the facts just the facts. designed my own investigation process. Findings/results What had I found? What did the tables/graphs/categories etc. or do I simply see myself as reinforcing existing . What did I find in the results that answered my original research question? Why was I so sure I had some answers? What about the unexplained or unexpected findings? Had I interpreted the results correctly? Could there have been any other factors involved? Were my findings supported or contested by the results of similar studies? Where did that leave mine in terms of contribution to my field? Can I actually generalise from my findings in a breakthrough of some kind. I dealt correctly with all inferential statistical procedures. qualitative/quantitative. applying tests of significance where appropriate to ensure both reliability and validity. They would carry a great deal more credibility. I wrote a corresponding summary of important observations relating only elements within my own set of results and comparing only like with like. categories. strength and thereby academic 'clout' if I took no shortcuts and remained both rigorous and scholarly.question clearly in mind. As part of the analysis. I knew I would have to analyse the raw data. have to say that could be pinned down? It was easy enough for me to see the salient points at a glance from these records. Discussion Now I was free to let the world know the significance of my findings. It was then that I began to realise what I had found. I reduced the data (by means of my preferred form of classification) to manageable thematic representation (tables. using certain known research methods (and perhaps some that are not so common). etc). Then I devised my research instrument to get the best out of what I was investigating. critical/interpretive/ empiricist). but in writing my report. I also spelled out what I had found truly significant to make sure my readers did not miss it. I was careful not to let my own interpretations intrude or voice my excitement just yet. Then I carried out the research study and recorded all the data in a methodical way according to my intended methods of analysis. so I made sure that the instrument and my proposed method(s) of analysis were compatible right from the start. I knew that I wanted my results to be as watertight and squeaky clean as possible. I began with the broad decision about which research paradigm I would work within (that is.

the more questions arise. reactions to experimental outcomes etc.. Keep a systematic log of technical records of your experimental and other research data. The more you find out. after all? There were some obvious limitations to my study. Be systematic with your reading. Writing up the research report or thesis Use an active. I'll know that I know what I'm talking about. That way. remembering to date each entry. 7. changes of mind. or the abandoned analyses. state of mind. cyclical writing process: draft. Train yourself to select what you do need and reject what you don't need. .. reflect. note-taking and referencing records.. how I speculate. succinct sentences. Reading 2. Discuss your ideas with your supervisor and interested others. Keep a research journal to reflect on your processes. 6. and whatever implications have arisen in my mind as a result of doing this thing at all. How does it rate? How did I end up answering the question I first thought of? The conclusion needs to be a few clear.knowledge? And so what. redraft. I'll wrap up with whatever generalizations I can make. so where do we all go from here? Three stages of research 1. Keep your research question always in mind. particularly to your hypothesis or research question. Conclusion We'll take a long hard look at this study from a broad perspective. revise. Establishing good practice 1. 4. decisions. How I wonder what you are .. which may relate to your topic. the fascinating byways sadly left behind. Read widely to collect information. I'll defend to the hilt. 5. But I won't become over-apologetic about the things left undone. 9. Research design and implementation 3. even so. check. Design your research approaches in detail in the early stages so that you have frameworks to fit findings into straightaway. OK. I have my memories. 2. 3. Read widely to establish a context for your research. and noting any discrepancies or unexpected occurrences at the time you notice them. 8. which.

10. Know how you will analyse data so that your formats correspond from the start. Keep going back to the whole picture. Be thoughtful and think ahead about the way you will consider and store new information as it comes to light. .

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->