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Rakesh Kumar Singh


Roll No. : 510910259

Learning Centre : Systems Domain (2779)

Subject : Research Methodology

Assignment No. : Set – I (MB0034)

Date of Submission : 2010
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MBA Semester 3
MB0034 – Research Methodology
Assignment Set- 1

1. What do you mean by research? Explain its significance in social and business sciences.

Ans: Research simply means a search for facts – answers to questions and solutions to problems. It is a
purposive investigation. It is an organized inquiry. It seeks to find explanations to unexplained
phenomenon to clarify the doubtful facts and to correct the misconceived facts.

The search for facts may be made through either:

 Arbitrary (or unscientific) Method: It’s a method of seeking answers to question consists of
imagination, opinion, blind belief or impression. E.g. it was believed that the shape of the earth was
flat; a big snake swallows sun or moon causing solar or lunar eclipse. It is subjective; the finding will
vary from person to person depending on his impression or imagination. It is vague and inaccurate.
 Scientific Method: this is a systematic rational approach to seeking facts. It eliminates the
drawbacks of the arbitrary method. It is objective, precise and arrives at conclusions on the basis of
verifiable evidences.

Therefore, search of facts should be made by scientific method rather than by arbitrary method.
Then only we may get verifiable and accurate facts. Hence research is a systematic and logical study of an
issue or problem or phenomenon through scientific method.

Significance of Research in Social and Business Sciences

According to a famous Hudson Maxim, “All progress is born of inquiry. Doubt is often better than
overconfidence, for it leads to inquiry, and inquiry leads to invention”. It brings out the significance of
research, increased amounts of which makes progress possible. Research encourages scientific and inductive
thinking, besides promoting the development of logical habits of thinking and organization.

The role of research in applied economics in the context of an economy or business is greatly
increasing in modern times. The increasingly complex nature of government and business has raised the use
of research in solving operational problems. Research assumes significant role in formulation of economic
policy, for both the government and business. It provides the basis for almost all government policies of an
economic system. Government budget formulation, for example, depends particularly on the analysis of
needs and desires of the people, and the availability of revenues, which requires research. Research helps to
formulate alternative policies, in addition to examining the consequences of these alternatives. Thus,
research also facilitates the decision making of policy-makers, although in itself it is not a part of research.
In the process, research also helps in the proper allocation of a country’s scare resources. Research is also
necessary for collecting information on the social and economic structure of an economy to understand the
process of change occurring in the country. Collection of statistical information though not a routine task,
involves various research problems. Therefore, large staff of research technicians or experts is engaged by
the government these days to undertake this work. Thus, research as a tool of government economic policy
formulation involves three distinct stages of operation which are as follows:
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 Investigation of economic structure through continual compilation of facts
 Diagnoses of events that are taking place and the analysis of the forces underlying them; and
 The prognosis, i.e., the prediction of future developments

Research also assumes a significant role in solving various operational and planning problems
associated with business and industry. In several ways, operations research, market research, and
motivational research are vital and their results assist in taking business decisions. Market research is refers
to the investigation of the structure and development of a market for the formulation of efficient policies
relating to purchases, production and sales. Operational research relates to the application of logical,
mathematical, and analytical techniques to find solution to business problems such as cost minimization or
profit maximization, or the optimization problems. Motivational research helps to determine why people
behave in the manner they do with respect to market characteristics. More specifically, it is concerned with
the analyzing the motivations underlying consumer behaviour. All these researches are very useful for
business and industry, which are responsible for business decision making.

Research is equally important to social scientist for analyzing social relationships and seeking
explanations to various social problems. It gives intellectual satisfaction of knowing things for the sake of
knowledge. It also possesses practical utility for the social scientist to gain knowledge so as to be able to do
something better or in a more efficient manner. This, research in social sciences is concerned with both
knowledge for its own sake, and knowledge for what it can contribute to solve practical problems.

2. What is meant by research problem? And what are the characteristics of a good research problem?

Ans: Meaning of Research Problem: Research really begins when the researcher experiences some
difficulty, i.e., a problem demanding a solution within the subject-are of his discipline. This general area of
interest, however, defines only the range of subject-matter within which the researcher would see and pose a
specific problem for research. Personal values play an important role in the selection of a topic for research.
Social conditions do often shape the preference of investigators in a subtle and imperceptible way.

The formulation of the topic into a research problem is, really speaking the first step in a scientific
enquiry. A problem in simple words is some difficulty experienced by the researcher in a theoretical or
practical situation. Solving this difficulty is the task of research.

R.L. Ackoffs analysis affords considerable guidance in identifying problem for research. He
visualizes five components of a problem.

1. Research-consumer: There must be an individual or a group which experiences some difficulty.
2. Research-consumer’s Objectives: The research-consumer must have available, alternative means for
achieving the objectives he desires.
3. Alternative Means to Meet the Objectives: The research-consumer must have available, alternative
means for achieving the objectives he desires.
4. Doubt in Regard to Selection of Alternatives: The existence of alternative courses of action in not
enough; in order to experience a problem, the research consumer must have some doubt as to
which alternative to select.
5. There must be one or More Environments to which the Difficulty or Problem Pertains: A change
in environment may produce or remove a problem. A research-consumer may have doubts as to
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which will be the most efficient means in one environment but would have no such doubt in

Horton and Hunt have given following characteristics of scientific research:

1. Verifiable evidence: That is factual observations which other observers can see and check.
2. Accuracy: That is describing what really exists. It means truth or correctness of a statement or
describing things exactly as they are and avoiding jumping to unwarranted conclusions either by
exaggeration or fantasizing.
3. Precision: That is making it as exact as necessary, or giving exact number or measurement. This
avoids colourful literature and vague meanings.
4. Systematization: That is attempting to find all the relevant data, or collecting data in a systematic
and organized way so that the conclusions drawn are reliable. Data based on casual recollections are
generally incomplete and give unreliable judgments and conclusions.
5. Objectivity: That is free being from all biases and vested interests. It means observation is
unaffected by the observer’s values, beliefs and preferences to the extent possible and he is able to
see and accept facts as they are, not as he might wish them to be.
6. Recording: That is jotting down complete details as quickly as possible. Since human memory is
fallible, all data collected are recorded.
7. Controlling conditions: That is controlling all variables except one and then attempting to
examine what happens when that variable is varied. This is the basic technique in all scientific
experimentation – allowing one variable to vary while holding all other variables constant.
8. Training investigators: That is imparting necessary knowledge to investigators to make them
understand what to look for, how to interpret in and avoid inaccurate data collection.

3. What is hypothesis? Examine the procedures for testing hypothesis.

Ans: A hypothesis is an assumption about relations between variables. It is a tentative explanation of the
research problem or a guess about the research outcome. Before starting the research, the researcher has a
rather general, diffused, even confused notion of the problem. It may take long time for the researcher to
say what questions he had been seeking answers to. Hence, an adequate statement about the research
problem is very important. What is a good problem statement? It is an interrogative statement that asks:
what relationship exists between two or more variables? It then further asks questions like: Is A related to B
or not? How are A and B related to C? Is A related to B under conditions X and Y? Proposing a statement
pertaining to relationship between A and B is called a hypothesis.

Testing of Hypothesis

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 population of a population parameter. Hypothesis testing helps to secede
on the basis of a sample data, whether a hypothesis about the population is likely to be true or false.
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 ;
 Non Parametric test or distribution – free test of the hypothesis.
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Parametric tests usually assume certain properties of the parent population from which we draw
samples. Assumption like observations come from a normal population, sample size is large, assumptions
about the population parameters like mean, variants etc must hold good before parametric test can be used.
But there are situation when the researcher cannot or does not want to make assumptions. 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. Besides, most non-
parametric test assumes only nominal or original data, where as parametric test require measurement
equivalent to at least an interval scale. As a result non-parametric test needs more observation than a
parametric test to achieve the same size of Type I & Type II error.

4. Write an essay on the need for research design and explain the principles of experimental designs.

Ans: The research designer understandably cannot hold all his decisions in his head. Even if he could,
he would have difficulty in understanding how these are inter-related. Therefore, he records his decisions
on paper or record disc by using relevant symbols or concepts. Such a symbolic construction may be called
the research design or model. A research design is a logical and systematic plan prepared for directing a
research study. It specifies the objectives of the study, the methodology and techniques to be adopted for
achieving the objectives. It constitutes the blue print for the collection, measurement and analysis of data. It
is the plan, structure and strategy of investigation conceived so as to obtain answers to research questions.
The plan is the overall scheme or program of research. A research design is the program that guides the
investigator in the process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting observations. It provides a systematic
plan of procedure for the researcher to follow elltiz, Jahoda and Destsch and Cook describe, “A research
design is the arrangement of conditions for collection and analysis of data in a manner that aims to
combine relevance to the research purpose with economy in procedure.”

Needs of Research Design: The need for the methodologically designed research:

a- In many a research inquiry, the researcher has no idea as to how accurate the results of his study
ought to be in order to be useful. Where such is the case, the researcher has to determine how much
inaccuracy may be tolerated. In a quite few cases he may be in a position to know how much inaccuracy
his method of research will produce. In either case he should design his research if he wants to assure
himself of useful results.

b- In many research projects, the time consumed in trying to ascertain what the data mean after they
have been collected is much greater than the time taken to design a research which yields data whose
meaning is known as they are collected.

c- The idealized design is concerned with specifying the optimum research procedure that could be
followed were there no practical restrictions.

When the objective of a research is to test a research hypothesis, it is known as a hypothesis-testing
research. Such research may be in the nature of experimental design or non-experimental design. A research
in which the independent variable is manipulated is known as ‘experimental hypothesis-testing research’,
where as a research in which the independent variable is not manipulated is termed as ‘non-experimental
hypothesis-testing research’. E.g., assume that a researcher wants to examine whether family income
influences the social attendance of a group of students, by calculating the coefficient of correlation between
the two variables. Such an example is known as a non-experimental hypothesis-testing research, because the
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independent variable family income is not manipulated. Again assume that the researcher randomly selects
150 students from a group of students who pay their school fees regularly and them classifies them into tow
sub-groups by randomly including 75 in Group A, whose parents have regular earning, and 75 in group B,
whose parents do not have regular earning. And that at the end of the study, the researcher conducts a test
on each group in order to examine the effects of regular earnings of the parents on the school attendance of
the student. Such a study is an example of experimental hypothesis-testing research, because in this
particular study the independent variable regular earnings of the parents have been manipulated

5. Distinguish between primary and secondary of data collection. Explain the features, uses, advantages
and limitations of secondary data. Which is the best way of collecting the data for research “Primary or
secondary”? Support your answer.

Ans: Primary Sources of Data: Primary sources are original sources from which the researcher directly
collects data that have not been previously collected e.g.., collection of data directly by the researcher on
brand awareness, brand preference, brand loyalty and other aspects of consumer behaviour from a sample
of consumers by interviewing them,. Primary data are first hand information collected through various
methods such as observation, interviewing, mailing etc.

Advantage of Primary Data

 It is original source of data
 It is possible to capture the changes occurring in the course of time.
 It flexible to the advantage of researcher.
 Extensive research study is based of primary data

Disadvantage of Primary Data

1. Primary data is expensive to obtain
2. It is time consuming
3. It requires extensive research personnel who are skilled.
4. It is difficult to administer.

Methods of Collecting Primary Data: Primary data are directly collected by the researcher from
their original sources. In this case, the researcher can collect the required date precisely according
to his research needs, he can collect them when he wants them and in the form he needs them. But
the collection of primary data is costly and time consuming. Yet, for several types of social science
research required data are not available from secondary sources and they have to be directly
gathered from the primary sources.

In such cases where the available data are inappropriate, inadequate or obsolete, primary
data have to be gathered. They include: socio economic surveys, social anthropological studies of
rural communities and tribal communities, sociological studies of social problems and social
institutions. Marketing research, leadership studies, opinion polls, attitudinal surveys, readership,
radio listening and T.V. viewing surveys, knowledge-awareness practice (KAP) studies, farm
managements studies, business management studies etc.
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There are various methods of data collection. A ‘Method’ is different from a ‘Tool’ while a
method refers to the way or mode of gathering data, a tool is an instruments used for the method.
For example, a schedule is used for interviewing. The important methods are

(a) observation, (b) interviewing, (c) mail survey, (d) experimentation,
(e) simulation and (f) projective technique. Each of these methods is discussed in detail in the
subsequent sections in the later chapters.

Secondary Sources of Data: These are sources containing data which have been collected and
compiled for another purpose. The secondary sources consists of readily compendia and already
compiled statistical statements and reports whose data may be used by researchers for their studies
e.g., census reports , annual reports and financial statements of companies, Statistical statement,
Reports of Government Departments, Annual reports of currency and finance published by the
Reserve Bank of India, Statistical statements relating to Co-operatives and Regional Banks,
published by the NABARD, Reports of the National sample survey Organization, Reports of trade
associations, publications of international organizations such as UNO, IMF, World Bank, ILO,
WHO, etc., Trade and Financial journals newspapers etc.

Secondary sources consist of not only published records and reports, but also unpublished
records. The latter category includes various records and registers maintained by the firms and
organizations, e.g., accounting and financial records, personnel records, register of members,
minutes of meetings, inventory records etc.

Features of Secondary Sources: Though secondary sources are diverse and consist of all sorts of
materials, they have certain common characteristics.

First, they are readymade and readily available, and do not require the trouble of
constructing tools and administering them.

Second, they consist of data which a researcher has no original control over collection and
classification. Both the form and the content of secondary sources are shaped by others. Clearly,
this is a feature which can limit the research value of secondary sources.

Finally, secondary sources are not limited in time and space. That is, the researcher using
them need not have been present when and where they were gathered.

Use of Secondary Data: The second data may be used in three ways by a researcher. First, some
specific information from secondary sources may be used for reference purpose. For example, the
general statistical information in the number of co-operative credit societies in the country, their
coverage of villages, their capital structure, volume of business etc., may be taken from published
reports and quoted as background information in a study on the evaluation of performance of
cooperative credit societies in a selected district/state.

Second, secondary data may be used as bench marks against which the findings of research
may be tested, e.g., the findings of a local or regional survey may be compared with the national
averages; the performance indicators of a particular bank may be tested against the corresponding
indicators of the banking industry as a whole; and so on.
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Finally, secondary data may be used as the sole source of information for a research project.
Such studies as securities Market Behaviour, Financial Analysis of companies, Trade in credit
allocation in commercial banks, sociological studies on crimes, historical studies, and the like,
depend primarily on secondary data. Year books, statistical reports of government departments,
report of public organizations of Bureau of Public Enterprises, Censes Reports etc, serve as major
data sources for such research studies.

Advantages of Secondary Data: Secondary sources have some advantages:

1. Secondary data, if available can be secured quickly and cheaply. Once their source of
documents and reports are located, collection of data is just matter of desk work. Even the
tediousness of copying the data from the source can now be avoided, thanks to Xeroxing
2. Wider geographical area and longer reference period may be covered without much cost.
Thus, the use of secondary data extends the researcher’s space and time reach.
3. The use of secondary data broadens the data base from which scientific generalizations can be
4. Environmental and cultural settings are required for the study.
5. The use of secondary data enables a researcher to verify the findings bases on primary data. It
readily meets the need for additional empirical support. The researcher need not wait the time
when additional primary data can be collected.

Disadvantages of Secondary Data: The use of a secondary data has its own limitations:

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

6. Describe interview method of collecting data. State the conditions under which it is considered most
suitable. You have been assigned to conduct a survey on the reading habits of the house wives in the
middle class family. Design a suitable questionnaire consisting of 20 questions you propose to use in the

Ans: Interviewing is one of the prominent methods of data collection. It may be defined as a two way
systematic conversation between an investigator and an informant, initiated for obtaining information
relevant to a specific study. It involves not only conversation, but also learning from the respondent’s
gesture, facial expressions and pauses, and his environment. Interviewing requires face to face contact or
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contact over telephone and calls for interviewing skills. It is done by using a structured schedule or an
unstructured guide.

Interviewing as a method of data collection has certain features. They are:

The Participants: The interviewer and the respondent – are strangers. Hence, the investigator has to get
him introduced to the respondent in an appropriate manner.

The Relationship between the Participants is a Transitory one: It has a fixed beginning and termination
points. The interview proper is a fleeting, momentary experience for them.

Interview is not a mere casual conversational exchange: Interview is a conversation with a specific purpose,
viz., obtaining information relevant to a study.

Interview is a mode of obtaining verbal answers to questions put verbally: The interaction between the
interviewer and the respondent need not necessarily be on a face-to-face basis, because interview can be
conducted over the telephone also. Although interview is usually a conversation between two persons, it
need not be limited to a single respondent. It can also be conducted with a group of persons, such as family
members, or a group of children or a group of customers, depending on the requirements of the study.

Interview is an inter-actionable process: The interaction between the interviewer and the respondent
depends upon how they perceive each other.

The respondent reacts to the interviewer’s appearance, behaviour, gestures, facial expression and
intonation, his perception of the thrust of the questions and his own personal needs. As far as possible, the
interviewer should try to be closer to the social-economic level of the respondents. Moreover, he should
realize that his respondents are under no obligations to extend response.

One should, therefore, be tactful and be alert to such reactions of the respondents as lame-excuse,
suspicion, reluctance or indifference, and deal with them suitably. One should not also argue or dispute.
One should rather maintain an impartial and objective attitude. Information furnished by the respondent
in the interview is recorded by the investigator. This poses a problem of seeing that recording does not
interfere with the tempo of conversation.

Interviewing is not a standardized process: Like that of a chemical technician; it is rather a flexible
psychological process. The implication of this feature is that the interviewer cannot apply unvarying
standardized technique, because he is dealing with respondents with varying motives and diverse
perceptions. The extent of his success as an interviewer is very largely dependent upon his insight and skill
in dealing with varying socio-physiological situations.

The Questionnaire:

1. How old were you when you learned how to read?
2. Were you a big reader growing up?
3. Are there any books that left a big impression on you as a kid?
4. Favourite genres? (Do you read mainly fiction or non-fiction? Do you have a soft spot for horror,
sci-fi, or romance?)
5. Top 5 favourite authors.
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6. Top 5 favourite books.
7. What do you typically wear when you read?
8. On average, how many books do you read a month?
9. How do you get hold of the books? Do you buy them at a bookstore, visit an online store, borrow
from a friend or family member, or do you use the library?
10. Paperback or hardcover?
11. At what point do you give up on a book?
12. How do you find about new books and authors?
13. Best reading-related memory?
14. Worst reading-related memory?
15. What was the last book(s) you bought?
16. What was the last book you checked out from the library?
17. On average, how many hours a week do you spend reading?
18. Do you sometimes read more than one book at the time?
19. What's the longest you've gone without reading?
20. Why do you read?