The S.P.B.

College of Business Administration 2008-2009 Assignment On The Research Process
Submitted To: Mr. Hormaz Patel Submitted By: Agrawal Rohtak (1) Doshi Rushabh (14) Mistry Bhavin (40) Patel Chirag (50) Patel Dhruv (51)

The research process consists of series of steps necessary to effectively carryout the research and the desired sequencing of these steps. It consists of closely related activities but these activities overlap continuously rather than strictly prescribed sequence. Each step will have an influence over the following steps so the researcher always has to think a few steps ahead. These steps are not distinct and separate but are interwoven. The researcher has a difficult task of anticipating the requirements of the subsequent steps, with each step he takes. His focus is not concentrated only on one single activity or operation at a particular point of time. However the following order concerning various steps provides useful procedural guideline regarding the research process:-

1)Formulating research problem. 2)Choice of research design. 3)Determining sources of data. 4)Data collection methods. 5)Determining the sample design and sample size. 6)Organizing and conducting field survey. 7)Processing and analyzing the collected data. 8)Preparing the research report.

Research Process
1) Formulating research problem:
The task of formulating or defining a research problem is the step of greatest importance in the entire research process. The problem to be investigated must be defined clearly and specifically so that the researcher can differentiate the relevant data from the unimportant data. Statement of problem determines the data to be collected, the characteristics of the data which are relevant relations between the variables that are to be determined, the choice of technique to be used in these explorations and the final of the report. The researcher has to remember that a problem well defined is a problem half-solved. In order to identify the research problem three kinds of situations (symptoms) should be studied. a) Overt (open) difficulties: These difficulties are quite evident, apparent (visible). Eg. Decline in sales or decline in performance of employees. b) Latent Difficulties: They are not so visible and if not checked will soon become evident. Eg. Poor supervision can demotivate the staff and affect performance. c) Unnoticed Opportunities: These show potential growth in certain areas.

After identifying two or more problems, the researcher must select one problem after examining the priorities of the organizations and its limitations of time and money and expected value of research. A complete problem definition must specify each of the following: i. Units of analysis: These are the individuals or objects whose characteristics are to be measured. It is necessary that universe is well defined. ii. Time and Space boundaries: This explains the time and place of reference to be considered by the researcher. Eg. Studying the buying behavior of consumers during diwali season for the purchase of wrist watches in Gujarat. iii. Characteristics of interest: This identifies the focus of problem. Eg. Style, color preference, buying behavior, etc. The researcher must specify the number and type of characteristics to be measured in his problem. Eg. What kind of shoes is preferred by manager? iv. Environmental Conditions: This indicates the uniqueness and generality of the problem. The problem definition must specify the environment for which the company wants research results. It should also indicate the possible changes in the environment, so that results of research do not become irrelevant. v. Hypothesis Development: A hypothesis is a proposition which the researcher wants to verify. The researcher has to select among the possible hypothesis and test them empirically with the help of statistical tools in order to make sure that they are true or false. Properly defined problem will provide direction to the researcher.

2) Choice of research design:
A research design gives the methods and procedures for conducting a particular study. The function of research design is to provide for the collection of relevant information (evidence), with minimum efforts, time and money. Broadly speaking, the research design can be grouped into three categories: a) Exploratory Research Design: Exploratory research focuses on discovery of ideas and is generally based on secondary data. It is preliminary investigation with a flexible approach. This is because a researcher may have to change his focus as a result of new ideas and relationship among the variables. b) Descriptive Research Design: Descriptive research is undertaken when the researcher has to get accurate description of a situation or relation between variables. This design tends to minimize bias and maximize the reliability of the data collected and analyzed. These are well structured. c) Causal Research Design: It is undertaken when a researcher wants to find out the cause-effect relationship between two or more variables. It is based on logical grounds. The main criterion of a good research design is that it must enjoy or solve the research problem.

3) Determining the sources of data:
After selection of research design, next step is to determine sources of data, whether primary data or secondary data should be used. The researcher should critically evaluate the secondary data or primary data so as to avoid the possible sources of error. The researcher should know about the authentic sources of relevant data, their periodicity, agency publishing data, etc. it is only when the secondary data is not available or not reliable that the researcher should use primary data.

4) Data Collection Methods:
A researcher should keep in mind the following factors while deciding on the data collection methods. Nature, scope and objectives of research, availability of funds and time and the precision needed. In primary data there are broadly two methods available and they are: a) Observation Method: This method suggests that data are collected through one’s observation. If the researcher is a keen observer, with integrity he would be in a position to observe and record data faithfully and accurately. While the observational method may be suitable in case of some studies, several things of interest such as attitudes, opinions, motivations and other intangible states of mind cannot be observed. Another aspect of this method is that it is non-reactive as data are collected unobtrusively without the direct participation of the respondent. This is a major advantage as the behaviour can be recorded without relying on reports from the respondents.

b) Survey Method: Surveys are also used to collect primary data. Survey can be personal, telephonic and mail. The most commonly used methods in India are personal and mail survey. The researcher has to choose the kind of survey to be used for data collection. Telephonic survey is suitable when very limited and specific information is needed. Surveys based on personal interview are suitable when detailed information is to be collected. Sometimes combinations of two or more methods can also be used. Normally in survey method, structured questionnaire are prepared in advance to get the necessary information from the respondents. Whether it is personal or mail survey, a suitable questionnaire has to be designed and the questionnaire is pretested for its validity.

5) Determining the sample design and sample size:
Another aspect which forms a part of research process is the sampling plan. When a researcher has decided to carryout a field survey, he has to decide whether it is to be a census or sample survey. In almost all cases, a sample survey is undertaken on account of its advantages over a census survey. When a decision in favour of a sample survey has been taken, it is necessary to have specific definition of the population from which sample is to be drawn, before deciding the type of sample design. He has to make choice between probability sampling and non-probability sampling. The type of sample design chosen will depend on its suitability and availability of the requisite sample frame.

There are two approaches regarding sample size: 1) The choice of practical approach. 2) The statistical approach. The size of sample will depend on the degree of precision required and also on the cost consideration. The proper selection of sample design and sample size will reduce the possibility errors.

6) Organizing and conducting field survey:
Having prepared the questionnaire and selected the sample design and sample size, the next step is to organize and conduct field survey. Interviewing and the supervision of fieldwork are the two steps of conducting survey. The task of interviewing seems to be simple but in reality it is one of the most difficult tasks in research because respondent are generally hesitant in giving information. Supervision of fieldwork is also important to ensure proper and in time completion of survey.

7) Processing and analyzing the collected data:
After the completion of field survey and receiving questionnaire, the next task is to aggregate the data in a meaningful manner. The number of tables is prepared to bring out the main characteristics of the data. In order to derive meaningful results from the statistical tables, the researcher may use the following steps.  To calculate relevant measures of central tendency, highlighting the major aspect of data.  To cross tabulate the data to ascertain some useful relationships .  To calculate the correlation coefficient and undertake a regression analysis between the variables.  To undertake the multi variable analysis.

8) Preparing the research report:
Once the data have been tabulated, interpreted has to prepare a report including the findings of his research study and his recommendations. The report should have objectivity, clarity in presentation of ideas, use of charts and diagrams, etc. the layout of report should be as follows: I. The Preliminary Pages: This includes title and dates, acknowledgement and foreword. II. The Main Text: This should have introduction, summary of findings, main report body and conclusion. III. The End Matter This includes appendixes, bibliography and index

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