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UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

DEPARTMENT OF REAL ESTATE AND CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY: BBE 511/BLE 501


TERM PAPER/ASSIGNMENT 1 FOR 2016/17

LECTURER: Prof. Paul Maurice Syagga

DATE OF ASSIGNMENT: 10th October,2016.

DATE OF SUBMISSION: 18th November,2016

Study the following articles which have been published in the Journal of the Decision Sciences
Institute(copies available at Level 3 photocopy room in ADD Building).
Carry out a content analysis (literature review) of any one (1) of the identified four(4) articles
with reference to the following details.
1. What is the stated research problem? Is it clear and focused?
Geographical Information System enables decision makers to view tabular data
graphically. This facilitates problem solving, but it is not clear how GIS facilitates
problem solving and it is not clear on the types of problem that benefit from GIS
representation. Both maps and tables aid in solving problems, but it is not clear which of
the two representations facilitates faster and accurate problem solving. Businesses and

government are spending countless of billions on GIS and customizing the same. These
enormous expenditures need to be justified.
2. Does the research have a hypothesis, and is it appropriate for the problem
identified?
The research has four hypotheses, one for each of the research question/objective. They
are:
H1: Maps will lead to shorter problem-solving times than tables for each of the three
geographic relationships.
H2: More difficult task will require more time
H3: For each geographic relationship, with an increase in task difficulty, maps will lead to a
smaller increase in problem solving time compared to tables
H4: Subjects with higher spatial visualization ability will require less time than subjects
with lower spatial visualization ability.

3. What is the main research objective? Is it clear about the problem to be solved?
The main research objective is to determine the relative advantages offered by different
representations, maps and tables, for problem solving.
This objective is clearly in line with the research problem which is to compare between
maps and tables and establish which among the two is faster and accurate in problemsolving. It clearly defines the item for investigation. It is also measurable, realistic and
can achievable within a specific period of time.

4. What are the research questions; do they facilitate the line/ direction of
investigations?
The main research question is:
What are the relative advantages offered by different representations, maps and tables, for
problem-solving?
Other research questions although not clearly stated include:
a. What is the relationship between problem- solving time and task difficulty?
b. What is the relationship between geographic relationship, task difficulty and
problem-solving time for maps and tables?
c. Does subjects spatial visualization ability has an effect on problem solving
time?
All the above research questions facilitate the direction of investigation. They are feasible,
interesting, novel, ethical and relevant to the research problem and objectives.

5. What type of research is it, and what research method(s) is used?


This is an applied type of research. It aims at finding
This researcher has adopted quantitative research method. The research has been done in
a systematic, formal and objective manner. It has used structured procedures and
instruments in data collection and has incorporated logic and deductive reasoning in
interpreting data. The researcher has adopted this method probably because of relatively
large literature review.
The researcher has adopted experimental approach through control, manipulation and
randomization. The researcher has manipulated the independent variables to observe its

effects on the dependent variables. For example, the researcher has varied task difficulty
in order to establish the changes in problem-solving times.
6. Does the article outline and review previous studies, and are they relevant to the
research problem?
The article has outlined and reviewed various relevant and several previous studies on
geographical relationships, information representation and cognitive skills.
In the literature review, various studies by Benbasat, Daxter & Todd, 1986, DeSanctis &
Jarvenpaa, 1985; Hoadley, 1990; Larvenpaa, 1989; Jarvenpaa, &Dickson, 1988; Lohse,
1994; Tan & Benbastat ,1993 and specifically Jarvenapaa and Dickson summarized
several studies concluding that graphs lead to faster or better performance for most
elementary tasks. This literature review provided bench mark for this research.
7. Does the article clearly state the source of data, how it was collected and how it was
analysed? Are the tools of data collection appropriate? Is the sampling and sample
size appropriate?
Data was obtained from forty-four undergraduates majoring in business administration at
a U.S university who participated in the experiment. Data was collected on Macintosh
personal computers using custom-built stacks. Subjects responses were captured by the
same software. Problem-solving time was analyzed with a three-way ANCOVA. the three
independent variables were representation (table and map), geographic relationship
(adjacency, proximity, containment) and task difficulty (low, medium, high). The
covariate was spatial visualization.

8. Are the interpretations of the results relevant to the research problem and
objectives?
9. What is the most important finding? Does it support or not support the hypothesis?
10. Are the conclusions justified, and are they based on the data obtained?
11. Do the conclusions promote better understanding of the phenomenon or lead to
interventions that enhance better performance?
12. Is the article logically organized? Is formatting and referencing style appropriate?
13. Is the process followed in the research scientific or replicable?
14. What do you consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of the article?

Authors
Sumit Sakar and

Title
Contractor Accreditation: A

Publication Journal
Decision Sciences.Vol

Deb Ghosh

Probabilistic Model.

28,Number 2, pages 235-259,

John B.Smelcer and

The Effectiveness of Different

Spring 1997
Decision Sciences.Vol

Erran Carmel

Representations for Managerial Problem

28,Number 2, pages 391-420,

Brad Tuttle and

Solving: Comparing Tables and Maps.


The Effects of Task Information and

Spring 1997
Decision Sciences.Vol

Morris H. Stocks

Outcome feedback on Individuals

28,Number 2, pages 421-442

Arun Sen and Ajay

Insight into Their Decision Models


Understanding the Complexity of the

Decision Sciences.Vol

S.Vinze

Model Formulation Process: A Protocal

28,Number 2, pages 443-473

Analysis Approach

cc.Chair,Real Estate and Construction Management