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Unit 1 Introduction to Research

1.1 Introduction Managers are mostly involved in studying and analyzing issues that lead to decision making. They are involved in some form of research for making an appropriate decision. Decision making today is complicated and complex. There is a myriad flow of information enabled by data mining and warehousing which provides a vital input for decision making. The success or failure of a business decision depends on the data associated with the decision. The decisions can be made in an objective or subjective manner. Objective decision making is rationale and scientific. To arrive at objective decisions making the business managers often involve themselves in some form of research. Research is simply the process of finding solutions to a problem after a thorough study and analysis of the situational and other related factors. Business research is a systematic and organized effort to investigate a specific problem encountered in the work setting that needs a solution. It comprises of a series of steps designed and executed with the goal of finding answers to the issues that are of concern to the manager. This unit provides a basic understanding of research, the process involved and the steps involved in development and testing of hypothesis. Further the need and the major types of research design is dealt in detail. 1.2 Learning Objectives: After reading this unit you should be able to;  Define research and understand the advantages of the knowledge of research    Highlight the distinctive characteristic features of research Describe the building blocks of Science in research Understand the steps in the research process

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Develop a research design Understand the need and basic features of the theoretical framework Describe the steps in hypotheses development and testing The need and the major types of research design Research refers to search for knowledge. It is an art of scientific

1.3 Definition of research investigation. Redman and Mory define research as “Systematized effort to gain new knowledge”. Research is an original contribution to the existing stock of knowledge. D.S. Lesinger and M.Stephenson in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, define research as “the manipulation of things, concepts or symbols for the purpose of generalizing to extend, correct or verify knowledge, whether that knowledge aids in construction of theory or in the practice of an art”. According to Clifford Woody “research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulated hypothesis”. Business research is an organized, systematic, data-based, critical, objective, scientific inquiry or investigation into a specific problem undertaken with the purpose of finding solutions to it. Research provides the needed information that guides managers to make informed decisions to successfully deal with problems. 1.4 Importance of knowledge of Research in business settings: The knowledge of research is important on account of the following reasons:  The business world today is more complicated and complex. In this context the research enables the manager to face the competitive global market with greater confidence. Research enables to consider the available information in a sophisticated and creative ways.  Research enables the managers to identify critical issues, gather relevant information, analyse the data and implement the right course of action. 2

Managers need to understand, predict and control events that are dysfunctional to the organization. Research enables to understand, predict and control the environment. Research enables to sense, spot and deal with problems before they go out of hand. The organizations may not be able to solve all the problems encountered in house. Consultants may be engaged for expert advice. The manager needs to have knowledge of research to interact with the research consultants effectively and to get the maximum benefit out of them All the research findings published cannot be accepted as such. The soundness of findings should be evaluated before making decisions on the basis of research findings. The managers needs to know about the research so as to evaluate and discriminate the research findings based on the soundness of methodology etc., The knowledge of research and research methods sensitize the mangers to the various variables operating in a situation and remind them of the multi causality and multi finality of the situations and thereby avoiding inappropriate, simplistic notions of one variable causing another. It enables the managers to understand the research reports prepared by professionals so as to take intelligent, calculated risks with known probabilities attached to the success or failure of their decision. Knowledge about the scientific investigation will enable the managers to eliminate or avoid making decisions on subjective or biased manner. Knowledge about research helps the manager to understand the need for and share the pertinent information with the research consultants.

1.5 Hallmarks of scientific research Successful managerial decisions are seldom made on hunches or on trail and error method. The sound and effective decisions are always made on the basis of scientific research. Scientific research focuses on solving problems in a step _by _step logical, organized and rigorous manner in each step of research 3

viz., identifying problem, gathering data, analyzing it and in arriving at a valid conclusion. Organizations may not always be involved in the scientific research due to various reasons like - simple problems which can solved with previous experience, time contingency, lack of knowledge, resource constraints etc., However the scientific research performed in a rigorous and systematic way leads to repeatable and comparable research findings. It also enables the researchers to arrive at accurate, dependable and subjective findings. The hallmarks or distinguishing characteristic features of scientific research are as follows: 1.5.1 Purposiveness The research is conducted with a purpose. It has a focus. The purpose of the research should be clearly mentioned in an understandable and unambiguous manner. The statement of the decision problem should include its scope, its limitations and the precise meaning of all words and terms significant to the research. Failure to mention the purpose clearly will raise doubts in the minds of stakeholders of the research as to whether the researcher has sufficient understanding of the problem. 1.5.2. Rigor Rigor means carefulness, scrupulousness and the degree of exactness in research investigation. In order to make a meaningful and worthwhile contribution to the field of knowledge, research must be carried out rigorously. Conducting a rigorous research requires a good theoretical knowledge and a clearly laid out methodology. This will eliminate the bias, facilitate proper data collection and analysis which in turn would lead to sound and reliable research findings. 1.5.3. Testability Research should be based on testable assumptions/hypotheses developed after a careful study of the problems involved. The scientific research should enable the testing of logically developed hypotheses to see whether or not the data collected support the hypotheses developed. 1.5.4. Replicability

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Research findings would command more faith and credence if the same results are evolved on different set of data. The results of the test hypothesis should be supported again and again when the same type of research is repeated in other similar circumstances. This will ensures the scientific nature of the research conducted and more confidence could be placed in the research findings. It also eliminates the doubt that the hypotheses are supported by chance and ensures that the findings reflect the true state of affairs. 1.5.5. Precision and Confidence In management research the findings are seldom definitive due to the fact that the universe of items, events or population are not taken as such but based on sample drawn from universe. There is a probability that the sample may not reflect the universe. Measurement errors and other problems are bound to introduce an element of error in the findings. However the research design should ensure that the findings are as close to the reality as possible so that one can have confidence in the findings . Precision refers to the closeness of the finding to ‘reality’ based on sample. It reflects the degree of accuracy or exactitude of the results on the basis of the sample to what exactly is in the universe. The confidence interval in statistics is referred here as precision. Confidence refers to the probability that the estimation made in the research findings are correct. It is not enough if the results are precise but it is also important to claim that 95% of the time the results would be true and there is only a 5% chance of the results being wrong. This is known as confidence level. If the precision and confidence level of the research findings are higher then the findings of the research study would be more scientific and useful. Precision and confidence can be attained through appropriate scientific sampling design. 1.5.6. Objectivity Research finding should be factual, data-based and free from bias. The conclusion drawn should be based on the facts of the findings derived form the actual data and not on the basis of subjective or emotional values. Business

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organizations will suffer a greater extent of damage if non-data-based or misleading conclusions drawn from the research is implemented. Scientific approach ensures objectivity of research. 1.5.7. Generalizability It refers to the scope of applying the research findings of one organizational setting to other settings of almost similar nature. The research will be more useful if the solutions are applicable to a wider range. The more generlizable the research, the greater will be its usefulness and value. However it is not always possible to generalize the research findings to all other settings, situations or organizations. For achieving genaralizability the sampling design has to be logically developed and data collection method needs to be very sound. This may increase the cost of conducting the research. In most of the cases though the research findings would be based on scientific methods it is applicable only to a particular organization, settings or situations. 1.5.8. Parsimony Research needs to be conducted in a parsimonious ie simple and economical manner. Simplicity in explaining the problems and generalizing solutions for the problems is preferred to a complex research framework. Economy in research models can be achieved by way of considering less number of variables leading to greater variance rather than considering more number of variables leading to less variance. Clear understanding regarding the problem and the factors influencing the same will lead to parsimony in research activities. The sound understanding can be achieved through structured and unstructured interview with the concerned people and by undertaking a study of related literature in the problem area. The scientific research in management area cannot fulfill all the above discussed hallmarks to the fullest extent. In management research it is not always possible to conduct investigations that are 100% scientific like in physical science as it is difficult to collect and measure the data regarding the feelings, emotions, attitudes and perception. It is also difficult to obtain representative sample; these aspects restrict the generlizability of the findings. Though it is not

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possible to meet all the above said characteristics of the scientific research, to the extent possible the research activities should be pursued in the scientific manner. 1.6 The Building Blocks of Science in Research The essential tenets of scientific research are: direct observation of phenomena, clearly defined variables, methods and procedures, empirically testable hypotheses, ability to rule out rival hypotheses, statistical justification of conclusions and self correcting process. One of the primary method of scientific investigation is the hypothetico-deductive method. The method of starting with a theoretical framework, formulating hypotheses and logically deducing from the results of the study is known as hypothetico-deductive method. The deduction and induction are two important aspects of the scientific research through which the answers to a research question can be arrived at. Further details on deduction and induction are dealt below; Deduction Deduction is a process by which the researcher arrive at a reasoned conclusion by logical generalization of a known fact. Deduction leads to conclusions which should be necessarily based on reasons. The reasons are said to imply the conclusions and represent a proof. The bond between the reasons and conclusions is much stronger than in the case of induction. To be correct, a deduction should be both valid and true. True in the sense that the reasons given for the conclusions must agree with the real world. Valid means the conclusion must necessarily be arrived from the reasons. Researchers often use deduction to reason out the implication of various acts and conditions. For example in a survey a researcher may reason as follows: Surveying households in urban area is difficult and expensive 1) The study involves interview with households in urban area (Reason 2) (Reason

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The (Conclusion) Induction

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Induction is a process where certain phenomenon is observed on the basis of which conclusions are arrived at. The conclusions are drawn from one or more facts or pieces of evidence. The conclusions in induction result in hypotheses. Induction leads to establish a general proposition based on observed facts. For example the researcher understand that production processes is the prime feature of factories. It is therefore concluded that factories exist for production purposes. Research is based on both deduction and induction. It helps us to understand, explain and predict business phenomena. The building blocks of scientific inquiry include the following sequences 1. Observing a phenomena 2. Identifying a problem 3. Constructing a theory 4. Developing hypotheses 5. Developing research design 6. Collecting data 7. Analyzing data and 8. Interpreting results Observation a phenomena may be casual or purposeful. A casual scanning of the environment may lead us to the knowledge of interesting facts. This observation may lead to identifying the problem in the concerned area. The problem identification needs gathering of primary data form the customers or from the employees or management concerned with the particular problem. Further insights may be obtained to refine the problem in a more specific manner. The next step is to build a conceptual model or theoretical framework taking into consideration all the factors contributing to the problem. The framework enables to integrate all the information collected in a meaningful manner. From this theoretical framework several hypotheses can be generated

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and tested to support the concept. A research design provides the blue print of the mechanism or insight regarding the methods of collecting data, analyzing the same and interpreting them in order to solve the problem. The building blocks of science discussed above provide the genesis for the hypothetico-deductive method of scientific methods. The steps are discussed below: 1. Observation Observation is the first stage in scientific investigation. In this process, the researcher takes into account the changes that are occurring in the environment. To proceed further the changes observed in the environment should have important consequences. The changes may be in the form of sudden drop in the sales, increase in the employee turnover, decrease in the number of customer and the like. 2. Preliminary information gathering This involves seeking in depth information regarding the facts being observed. The information may be gatehered through formal questionnaires, interview schedules or through informal or causal talk with the concerned people. Desk research may also be conducted to enrich the information gathered. The next step is to make sense out of the factors identified in the information gathering stage by assembling them together in an meaningful manner. 3. Formulation of theory Theory formulation enables to integrate all the information in a logical manner so as to conceptualize and test the factors responsible for problem. The critical variables contributing to the problems are examined. The association or relationship among the variables contributing to the problem is studied in order to formulate the theory. 4. Developing Hypotheses The next logical step leads to framing of testable hypotheses. Hypotheses testing are called deductive research. Sometimes it may so happen that the hypotheses which are not originally formulated get generated through the process of induction. After the collection of data an insight may occur based on

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which new hypotheses can be formulated. Thus hypotheses testing through deductive research and hypotheses generation through induction are both common. 5. Scientific Data collection After the hypothesis is developed, the data with respect to each variable in the hypotheses needs to be obtained in a scientific manner so as to test the hypotheses. The primary and secondary sources can both be explored in order to collect the data. Data on every variable in the theoretical framework from which the hypothesis is generated should be collected. 6. Data Analysis The data gathered are to be statistically analyzed to validate the hypothesis postulated. Both qualitative and quantitative data needs to be analyzed. Qualitative data refer to information gathered through interviews and observations. Through scaling techniques the qualitative data can be converted into quantifiable form and subjected to analysis. Appropriate statistical tool should be used to analyze the data. 7. Deduction Deduction is the process of arriving at conclusions by interpreting the meaning of results of the data analysis. Based on the deduction recommendations can be made to solve the problem encountered. 1.7. Research Process : An Overview Research process involves execution of a series of phases towards accomplishment of the objectives of research. Each phase in the research process need not be carried out in a sequential process. Some the phase can be carried out simultaneously. However the idea of sequence will be useful for developing and carrying out a research study in a systematic manner. The research process consists of the following distinctive interrelated phases: (1) Defining the research problem (2) Establishing Research Objectives (3) Developing the research design (4) Preparing a research proposal (5) Data Collection (6) Data Analysis and Interpretation and (7) Research reporting.

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1.7.1. Defining the Research Problem: A problem need not necessarily mean that something is wrong in the current situation which needs to be rectified immediately. It simply indicates an issue for which finding a solution could help to improve an existing situation. Problem can be defined as any situation where a gap exists between the actual and the desired states. Problem statement or problem definition refers to a clear, precise and succinct statement of question or issue that is to be investigated with the goal of finding an answer or solution. Components of research problem The components of research problem are as suggested by R.L.Ackoff in the Design of Social Research is elaborated below;  There must be an individual or a group which has some difficulty or the problem   There must be some objective(s) to be attained at. There must be alternative means or course of action for obtaining the objectives  There must be some doubt in the minds of a researcher with regard to the selection of alternatives.  There must be some environment to which the difficulty pertains. The following criteria can be kept in the minds of researcher in selecting the research problem.  Subjects on which the research is carried on amply should not be normally chosen as there will not be new dimension to reveal   Too narrow or too vague problems should be avoided The researcher should be familiar with the subject chosen for research. The researcher should have enough knowledge, qualification and training in the selected problem area. The resources needs to solve the problem in terms of time, money, efforts, manpower requirement should be taken into account before embarking on a problem. Criteria for selecting the research problem

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The subject of research should be familiar and feasible so that related research material or sources of research can be obtained easily. The selection of a problem must be preceded by a preliminary study. Research problems trigger the research process. Defining the research

problem is a critical activity. A thorough understanding of research problem is a must for achieving success in the research endeavor. Defining the research problem begins with identifying the basic dilemma that prompts the research. It can be further developed by progressively breaking down the original dilemma into more specific and focus oriented objectives. Five steps could be envisaged (1) Identifying the broad problem area(2) Literature review (3) Identifying the research question (4) Refining the research question (5) Developing investigative questions. They are discussed below; 1.7.1.1 Identifying the broad problem area The process begins with specifying the problem at the most general level eg., Declining sales, increased cost, increased employee turnover etc. From this general specification of problem the next step is to move towards the question. The question reinstates the general problem. For eg., What is the reason for declining sales?. The questions that can be raised can be grouped into three categorizes;(1) Choice of purposes or objectives where the question focuses on what objectives the researcher wishes to achieve by conducting the research (2) Generation and evaluations of solutions where the question focuses on the alternatives available to solve a problem in hand (3) Trouble shooting or control situation where the query focuses on monitoring and diagnosing why an organization is not achieving the established goals. The researcher can identify the problem through the following sources;  Own experience as well as observation of others experience and situations may give raise to researchable problem    Detailed discussion with various authorities concerned with the problem Focus group interviews and Scrutinizing the published data

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Review of literature enables to identify problems which are researched and questioned in other studies. The same can be simulated by the researcher. The above techniques would enable the researcher to understand the

problem in a better manner and also to outline the possible variables that might exert an influence. The nature of information needed by the researcher could be broadly classified under three headings: 1. Background information of the organization for which research is conducted viz, the origin and history of the company, its assets, number of employees, location etc., The information can be obtained from company records, published data, Census of Business and Industry and the web. 2. Information regarding managerial philosophy, company policies and other structural aspects can be collected by asking direct question from the management 3. Information regarding the perception, attitudes and behavioural aspect of employees could be obtained by way of observation, interview and questionnaires. 1.7.1.2 Literature survey Literature survey is the review of published and unpublished work from secondary source in the area of interest to the researcher. The purpose of conducting literature survey at this stage is ;   To document the studies relevant to the problem identified for research To ensure that no variable that has been taken up in the past related studies is ignored.  To avoid conducting similar type of study and thereby stop the researcher from investing his resources in terms of time and effort in an research venture which is already solved.  To provide a good frame work and a solid foundation to proceed further in the investigation.

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To have a comprehensive theoretical framework from which hypothesis can be developed for testing. To enable to develop the problem statement in a precise and clear manner To enhance the testability and replicability of the findings of the current research. To understand the research gap To stimulate researcher to carry out the work To confirm the appropriateness of procedure by referring the similar studies conducted in the past To trace inconsistencies, contradictions and consistencies To clear conceptualization To familiar with methodology, research tools and statistical analysis The literature review needs to be performed on the variables identified

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through the interview process. It comprises of three steps viz., (i) Identifying the sources (ii) Gathering relevant information (iii) Writing up the Literature review. i. Identifying the sources The data can be obtained from library by going through books, journals, newspapers, magazines, conference proceedings, doctoral dissertation, thesis, government publication and other reports. The development of information technology has led to many online databases like Prowess, EBSCO etc and also interlinking of libraries has led to a myriad of information in the hands of the researcher with the click of the mouse. Computerized databases include bibliographies, abstract and full text of articles. Bibliographic databases display only the bibliographic citations i.e., the name of the author, the title of the article/Journal, source of publication, year, volume and page numbers. The abstract databases in addition to the above said information provides an abstract or summary of the articles. The full-text databases as the name suggest enables to download the full text of the article. ii. Gathering relevant information. 14

The articles gathered either form books, Journal or on line sources could as such act a reservoir of information. These sources could lead to further information through the citation and references used. The list of journal and references referred in the articles could lead us further to the source of information. Also during the course of reading the articles the researcher can get insight into new variables or new avenues hitherto unexplored. iii. Presenting the Literature review . The literature should be presented in a clear and logical manner citing the author, year of study, objectives of the research, major findings and implications. The researcher should present the literature in a chronological order and in a coherent manner. There are several methods of citing references in the literature. The publication Manual of American Psychological Association (2001) offers detailed information regarding citations, quotations, references and so on. The Chicago Manual of Style also prescribes the format. 1.7.1.3 Identifying the research problem/question The next step is converting the broad problem into a research question. The research question is fact-oriented and requires gathering of information. A research question states the objective of the research study. It is a more specific question that must be answered. It can be more than one question or just only one. 1.7.1.4 Refining the research question The refined research question will have better focus and will enable to conduct research with more clarity than the initially formulated questions. In addition to fine-tuning the original question, other research question related activities should be addressed in this phase to enhance the quality of research work viz., 1. Examine the concepts and constructs used in the study. 2. Review the research question and break them down to second and third level questions. 3. Whether hypotheses are postulated in a proper and standard manner?

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4. What is not included in the scope of the research questions? If the research questions are well defined, the sub questions can be easily arrived at. However if the research question is poorly defined the researcher will need further exploration and question revision to refine the original question and generate the material for constructing the investigative questions. 1.7.1.5 Developing investigative questions Investigative questions are questions that the researcher must answer satisfactorily to arrive at a conclusion about the research question. To formulate them, the researcher should break down the research question into more specific questions for which the data is to be gathered. This fractioning process can be continued down to several levels with increasing specificity. The investigative questions guides to develop a suitable research design. They are the foundation for creating the research data collection instrument. In developing the investigative questions performance considerations, attitudinal issues and behavioral issues can be included, depending on the research problem. The problems in defining research questions There might be some problems in defining the research questions which are discussed below;  The researcher may recast the management question so that it is amenable to favorite methodology.  The existence of a pool or information or a database may distract the researcher to reduce the need for other research.  All management questions are not researchable. To be researchable, a question must be one for which observation or other data collection can provide the answer.  Some problems are complex, value-laden and bound by constraints. These ill defined questions have characteristics that are virtually the opposite of those of well-defined problems. These problems require a thorough exploratory study before proceeding. 1.7.2 Establishing Research Objectives

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The research objectives should be set once the research problem is finalized. Research objectives provide the guidelines for determining the other steps to be undertaken in the research process. If the objectives are achieved the decision maker will have the information needed to solve the problem. Research objectives justify the need for undertaking the research work. It provides a purpose and direction for the research. 1.7.3 Developing the research design A research design is the specification of methods and procedures for acquiring the information needed to structure or to solve problems. It is overall operational pattern or framework of the project that stipulates the information to be collected, the sources from which information can be collected and the procedures for collection of information. In other words the researcher should consider (1)the design technique, (2)the type of data, (3)the sampling methodology and procedures, (4)the schedule and the budget. A good research design ensures that the information obtained is relevant to the research problem in an objective and economical manner. The research design can be described as a master plan or model or blueprint for the conduct of investigation. 1.7.3.1The type of research design Most of the research objective could be met by using any one of the three types of research designs; exploratory, descriptive and casual research designs. Exploratory research focuses on collecting data using an unstructured format or informal procedures to capture data and to interpret them. It is often used to classify the problems or opportunities and it is not intended to provide conclusive information from which a particular course of action can be determined. Descriptive research uses a set of scientific methods and procedures to collect raw data and create data structures that describe the existing characteristics of a defined target population. For eg, the profile of the consumers, pattern of purchase behaviour etc. In descriptive research design the researcher looks for answer to the how, who, what, when and where questions concerning the different components of a market structure. The data and

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information generated through the descriptive designs can provide the decision makers with evidence that can lead to a course of action. Casual research design deals with collecting raw data, creating data structures and information that will allow the decision maker or researcher to model cause-effect relationships between two or more market variables. The casual research designs enables to identify, determine and explain the critical factors that affect the decision making. However the research process is more complex, expensive and time-consuming. 1.7.3.2 The type of data The data can be grouped into two broad categories viz., primary and secondary. Primary data represent the first hand raw data that have been specifically collected for the current research problem. Primary data are raw, unprocessed and yet to receive any type of meaningful interpretation. Sources of primary data tend to be the output of conducting some type of exploratory, descriptive or casual research. The secondary data is the historical data previously collected and assembled for some other research problem. Secondary data can be usually gathered at faster and economical manner than the primary data. However the data may not fit in the researchers information need. The secondary data can be obtained form the libraries, website, published as well as unpublished documents etc., 1.7.3.3 Sampling methodology and procedure Sampling refers to randomly selected subgroup of people or objects from the overall membership pool of defined target population. Sampling plans can be broadly classified into probability and non probability sampling. In a probability sampling plan, each member of the defined target population is a known and has an equal chance of being drawn into the sample group. Probability sampling gives the researcher the opportunity to assess the sampling error. In the case of non probability sampling the research finding cannot be generalized and the sampling error cannot be assessed. The findings are limited to the sample which provided the original raw data. However non probability sampling may be the

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only choice in case where the population cannot be ascertained. . (A more detailed discussion on sampling is dealt in Unit 3 ) 1.7.3.4The time schedule and the budget The time schedule for completing the research along with the break up of time required for each task has to be ascertained. Scheduling will enable the completion of the project in time. A budget displays the sources and application of funds for the research. The budget may require less attention in case of a inhouse project or one which is sourced by the researcher . However a budget which is prepared for financial grants needs to be prepared very systematically supported with proper documentation. The budget may be prepared on various basis for eg., the Rule-of thumb budgeting where a fixed percentage is arrived on some criterion like a percentage of sales or previous years research budget. Task budgeting selects specific research projects to support on an adhoc basis. 1.7.4. Preparing a research proposal The research proposal is an oral or written activity that incorporates decisions made regarding the research work. It includes the choices the researcher made in the preliminary steps. A written proposal is often made when the study is suggested. It ensures the project purpose, methodology, time and budget. The length and complexity of the proposal varies according to the needs and desires of the researcher. Irrespective of the length of the proposal it should have two basic sections; statement of the research problem and the research methodology. 1.7.5 Data collection The data gathering phase begins with the pilot testing. It is done to detect the weakness in the research design, questionnaire/interview schedule and provides proxy data for selection of probability sample. The pilot testing should stimulate the procedure and protocols designed for data collection. If the study is to be conducted by email then the pilot questionnaire should be emailed. The size of the pilot group may range normally from 25 to 100 respondents who need not be statistically selected. There are a number of variations of pilot testing. Some of them may be restricted to data collection only. One form is ‘pre testing’

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where the responses are collected from colleagues, respondents surrogates or actual respondents for the main purpose of refining the questionnaire. Based on the pilot testing the questionnaire may be redesigned, rephrased and improved. Pre testing may be repeated many times to refine questions or procedures. Data are the facts presented to the researcher form the study environment. Data can be gathered from a singe location or from all over the world based on the research objectives and the resource allocation. The data collection method ranges from observation, questionnaires, laboratory notes and other modern instruments and devices. Data can be characterized by their abstractness, verifiability, elusiveness and closeness to the phenomenon. As abstractions, data are more metaphorical than real. When sensory experiences consistently produce the same result then the data is said to be trustworthy as they are verified. Data capturing is elusive, complicated by the speed at which events occur and the time-bound nature of observation. Data reflect their truthfulness measured by the degree of closeness to the phenomena. Secondary data has at least one level of interpretation inserted between the event and its recording. Primary data are close to the truth. Data collected need to be edited for ensuring consistency and to locate omissions. In case of survey method editing reduces errors in the recording, improves legibility and clarifies unclear and inappropriate responses. Edited data are then converted into analyzable form. Computers can be used to find missing data, validate data, edit and code so that further analyses can be carried out in a valid manner. 1.7.6 Data Analysis and Interpretation Research is conducted for the purpose of acquiring information. Raw data as such does not provide information. Further analyzes needs to be done to crunch information out of data. Data analysis involves application of statistical techniques for reducing accumulated data to a manageable size leading to summaries. Responses acquired by way of administering questionnaires should be subjected to analysis so as to ascertain the behaviour of variable, the

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relationship between variables etc. Analysis should be focused to find answers to the research questions / hypothesis. Various statistical softwares are available to make the job of data analysis easier and scientifical. However the interpretation needs to be made with expertise as the recommendations are made on the basis on them. 1.7.7 Research Report It is only through reports the researcher communicates about the research work, findings and recommendations to the outside world. The report has to be prepared in the style that will be understood by the target audience. The reports may be communicated by way of written documents or in an oral manner, through letters or through telephone calls or a combination of all. The type of report varies depending on the type of research, length of report and the purpose. The researcher should take care to see that the report addresses all the objectives of research in a lucid manner. The report should be adapted to the needs of the target audience and care must be taken to use appropriate words in projecting the interpretation, recommendations and conclusion. A report should contain an executive summary consisting of synopsis of problem, findings and recommendations. It should speak about the background of the study, the statement of problem, literature summary, methods and procedures, findings, recommendations and conclusion. A detailed discussion on report writing follows in Unit 5. 1.8 Theoretical Framework A theoretical framework is a conceptual model of how one theorizes or makes logical sense of the relationship among the several factors that have been identified as important to the research problem concerned. To put it simply a theoretical framework involves identifying the network of relationship among the variables considered important to the study .It provides the conceptual foundation to proceed further with the research. The theory is developed based on the documentation of previous research studies undertaken in the relevant study area or similar problems.

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Understanding the conceptual framework enables to postulate hypotheses and test the relationships. A testable hypothesis can be developed to examine whether the theory formulated is valid or not. The hypothesized relationship can be tested by means of suitable statistical techniques. In case of applied research, testable hypothesis need not be evolved from the theoretical framework but still it is important as it provides a background for understanding the problem researched. Thus the entire research process rests on the soundness of the theoretical framework undertaken. Having a background knowledge of variables is absolutely necessary to understand the relationship so as to formulate testable hypotheses. A variable, as the name suggest takes varied values. The values may be different at varies time for the same object or person or at the same time for different objects or persons. For eg. Age is a variable, as it can be different for different consumers and also for a single consumer it varies as time evolves. 1.8.1 Types of variables There are many types of 1.8.1.1 Dependent variable As the name suggests the value of a dependent variable is influenced by other variables. It is the main variable of interest to the researcher. Understanding the variables that influence the dependent variables will lead to finding solutions to the problem. For this purpose the researcher will be interested in quantifying and measuring the dependent variable as well as the other variables that influences the dependent variables. For eg. sales of a organization is a dependent variable. The sales value depends on the demand, price fixed, environmental factors etc. The sales also vary from time to time. Hence it can be called as dependent variable. There can be more than one dependent variable in a study. In this case the researcher may be interested to know factors that influence all the dependent variables and difference in the degree of variance among the different dependent variables. variables like the dependent, independent, moderating, intervening, discrete , continuous ,extraneous etc.,

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1.8.1.2 Independent variables An independent variable influences the value of dependent variable either in a positive or in a negative way. The variance in the dependent variable is accounted for by the independent variable. To manipulate the dependent variable the independent variable can be used. With each unit of increase in the dependent variable the independent variable may increase or decrease. The variance in the dependent variable is caused by the independent variables. To establish the casual relationship the independent variable is manipulated. For example age of a customer may influence the choice of a product. Here age is the independent variable and the Choice of the product is a dependent variable. Age Independent variable 1.8.1.3 Moderating variable The variable that moderates the relationship between dependent and independent variables is called as a moderating variable. The moderating variable has a strong contingent effect on the relationship between the independent and the dependent variable. The presence of a third variable modifies the original relationship between the dependent and independent variables. In the example discussed above the price of the product is a moderating variable. Though the age influences the price may moderate the choice of the product. Age Choice of product Choice of product Dependent variable

Price Pric e 1.8.1.4 Intervening variables An intervening variable is one that surfaces between the time, the independent variable start operating to influence the dependent variable and the

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time the impact is felt on it. The intervening variable surfaces as a function of the independent variables operating in any situation and helps to conceptualize and explain the influences of the independent variables on the dependent variables. Age product Independent Intervening Dependent variable Attitude Choice of

1.8.2 Theoretical Framework: The need and features The theoretical framework is the foundation on which the entire research is carried out. It is logically developed, described and elaborated network of associations among the variables deemed to be relevant to the problem situation and identified through such processes as interviews, observations and literature survey. Experience and intuition can also be taken up in developing the theoretical framework. To arrive at good solutions to the problem, correct identification of the problem and the variables contributing to the same is a must. After identifying the variables, the next step is to elaborate the network of associations among the variables. This will enable formulation of hypotheses which can be subsequently tested. The literature survey provides a solid foundation to develop the theoretical framework. Through literature survey the variables that are important are identified through previous research findings. This forms the basis for a theoretical model. The theoretical framework elaborates the relationship among variables, explains the theory underlying the relations and describes the nature and directions of the relationship. The theoretical foundations provide the basis for developing testable hypotheses. The following are the basic features of a theoretical framework;  The variables influencing the research problem should be clearly identified, defined and discussed.

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The discussion should also highlight the relationship between the variables so identified. The type of relationship for eg. Positive or negative should be highlighted. The reason for assuming the type of relationship should be mentioned drawing on the previous research studies identified through the literature review. A model showing the relationship among the variables can be given so that the concepts can be visualized and understood clearly by the reader.

 

1.9 Hypothesis : Types and Testing procedure
A hypothesis can be defined as a logically conjectured relationship between two or more variables expressed in the form of a testable statement. Relationships are assumed on the basis of the network of associations established in the theoretical framework. Formulating such testable statement is called hypothesis development. The hypothesis can be grouped on the following basis; 1. Statement of hypotheses Hypothesis can be expressed either as propositions or in the form of Ifthen statements. Example: Aged customers will be inclined to take insurance policy If customers are aged, then they will be inclined to take insurance policy 2. Directional and Nondirectional Hypotheses The hypothesis which indicates the type or direction of relationship between variables is called as directional hypothesis. In specifying the relationship between variables the terms such as positive, negative, more than, less than and the like are used in these hypotheses. Eg., High income consumers spend more on consumer durables. Non directional hypotheses postulate relationship but does not offer indication of the direction of the relationship.

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Eg., Education of the respondent does not have an influence on the importance given to the information source. Nondirectional hypotheses are formulated in the case where previous studies have not explored the direction of relationship or there is no evidence to assume the direction of the relationship among the variables. The previous research studies may give rise to conflicting findings which will also be the reason for nondirectional hypothesis. 3 Null and alternative hypotheses Null hypotheses states that there is no significant relationship between the variables. Null hypotheses also state that there is no difference between what we might find in the population characteristics and the sample that is being studied. It is implied through null hypotheses that the difference if any between the two samples groups or any relationship between two variables based on our sample is simply due to random sampling fluctuations and not due to any ‘true’ differences between the two population groups. The null hypotheses so formulated are tested for possible rejection. It may state that the population correlation between two variables is equal to zero or that the difference in the means of two groups in the population is equal to zero. The hypotheses generation and testing can be done through both induction and deduction. In deduction, the theoretical model is first developed, testable hypotheses are formulated on the basis of the theoretical framework, data collected and then the hypotheses are tested. In the inductive process, new hypotheses are formulated based on the known facts collected already which are subjected to test. The findings would add to the knowledge and help to build a theoretical framework. 1.9.1 Hypothesis testing: Meaning and Approaches The purpose of hypothesis testing is to determine the accuracy of the hypotheses framed due to the fact that the data is collected from sample and not from the entire population. The accuracy of hypotheses is evaluated by

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determining the statistical likelihood that the data reveal true differences and not the random sampling error. There are two approaches to hypothesis testing; classical or sampling – theory and the Bayesian approach. Classical approach is mostly used in research application. This approach represents an objective view of probability and the decision making is made totally on an analysis of available sampling data. A hypothesis is accepted or rejected based on the sample data collected. The sample drawn may vary at least to a smaller extent from the population and hence it is a must to know whether the differences are statistically significant or insignificant. A difference is statistically significant if there is a good reason to believe that the difference does not represent the random sampling fluctuations only. Bayesian statistics also use sampling data for decision but go beyond them and considers all other available information. The additional information consists of subjective probability estimates stated in terms of degrees of belief. The subjective estimates are based on general experience rather than on specific data collected . They are expressed as a prior distribution that can be revised after sample information is gathered. The revised estimate known as posterior distribution can be further revised by additional information and so on. Various decision rules are established, cost and other estimates can be introduce and the expected outcome of the combination of these elements are used to judge the decision alternatives 1.9.2 Statistical testing procedure The sequence for testing a hypothesis is discussed below; State the null hypothesis The null hypothesis is mostly used for statistical purposes. It is used in the case where the researcher is interested in testing a hypothesis of change or difference. Choose the statistical test Appropriate statistical test must be chosen to test the hypothesis. Criteria is to be employed in selecting the appropriate statistical test. The criteria may

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include the type of sample used, the nature of population, type of measurement scale used etc. Select the desired level of significance The level of significance must be decided before the data collection. Commonly used level is .05 however .01 is also widely used. The other significance level are.10,.025 and .001. The level of significance is determined on the basis of extent of risk the researcher is willing to accept and the effect of the choice on the risk. The larger the level of significance lower will the risk. Compare the calculated difference value Once the data is collected then a selected statistical formula is used to obtain the calculated value Obtain the critical test value After obtaining the calculated value, the critical value is to be obtained from the appropriate statistical table. The critical value is the criteria that defines the region of rejection from the region of acceptance of the null hypothesis Interpret the test If the calculated value is larger that of the critical value the null hypothesis is rejected and concluded that the alternative hypothesis is accepted. If the critical value is larger the null hypothesis is accepted. 1.9.3 Parametric and Nonparametric test There are two general classes of significance tests: parametric and non parametric. In the case of Parametric test the data are derived from interval and ratio measurements. Nonparametric tests are used to test the nominal and ordinal data. The following assumptions are made in case of parametric tests  The observation must be independent ie the selection of one case should not affect the chances of any other cases to be included in the sample   The observations should be drawn from normally distributed populations The population should have equal variances hypotheses with

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The measurement scales should be at least interval so that arithmetic operations can be used with them

Non parametric tests have few assumptions. They are easy to understand and simple to use. They do not specify normally distributed population or homogeneity of variance. Some tests require independence of cases others are designed for related cases. Nonparametric tests are the only ones usable with nominal data; they are the only technically correct test to be used with ordinal data. Non parametric test can also be used in the case of interval and ratio data. However it will result in waste of some information available. The non parametric tests are highly efficient as compared to parametric tests. Non parametric test with the sample of 100 will provide the same statistical testing power as a parametric test with a sample of 95. 1.9.4 Types of test Five different types of tests can be applied to test the hypotheses viz., One-sample test, two independent sample test, two related sample test, K Independent sample test and K related sample test. In order to test the hypothesis a particular test has to be selected based on the following criterion;   The samples involved viz., one sample, two samples or k samples. In case of two samples it has to be identified whether the individual cases are independent or related.  The type of scale used i.e., nominal, ordinal, interval or ratio The following section explores the type of test to be used based on the three criteria discussed above; I. One-sample Tests One-sample tests are used when a single sample is taken and test is undertaken to know whether the sample come from a specified population. Parametric tests The parametric tests Z or t-test can be used to determine the statistical significance between a sample distribution mean and a parameter. When sample sizes are beyond 120 then the t and z distributions are virtually identical. Non-parametric tests

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Different types of non parametric tests may be used in the case of onesample test depending on the measurement scale used and other conditions. If measurement scale is nominal, binomial or chi-square test can be used. The binomial test is appropriate when the population is viewed as only two-classes such a male and female, buyers and non-buyers and all observations fall into one of these categories. The binomial test is useful when the size of sample is very small and the chi-square test cannot be used Chi-square test is the most widely used non parametric test of significance. It is particularly useful in those tests involving nominal data but can also be used for higher scales. Using this technique, the significant differences between the observed distribution of data among categories and the expected distribution are tested on the null hypothesis. This test can be used in one sample, two independent samples or k independent samples. It must be calculated with actual counts rather than percentages. The formula for the chisquare( x 2 ) test is

x =∑
2 t =1

k

( Oi − E1 ) 2
Ei

Oi = observed number of cases categorized in the ith category Ei = Expected number of cases in the ith category under Ho K = the number of categories II. Two-independent samples tests The need for two independent samples tests is often encountered in research. One can compare the purchasing predisposition of a sample of subscribers from two magazines to discover if they are from the same population. Parametric tests The z and t-tests are frequently used parametric tests for independent samples, however F test can also be used

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The z test is used with sample sizes exceeding 30 for both independent samples or with smaller samples when the data are normally distributed and population variances are known. The formula for the z test is z=

(x

1

− x 2 − ( µ1 − µ 2 ) X 0 S12 S 22 + n1 n 2

)

In the case of small sample sizes, normally distributed populations and assuming equal population variances, the t-test is appropriate: t=

(x

1

− x 2 − ( µ1 − µ 2 ) X 0 1  2 1 Sp +  n n  2   1

)

( µ1 − µ 2 )

is the difference between the two population means

is associated with the pooled variable estimate:
2 Sp =

( n1 − 1) S12 + ( n2 − 1) S 22
n1 + n2 − 2

Non-parametric tests The chi-square test is appropriate for situations in which a test for differences between samples is required. It is especially valuable for nominal data, however it can be used with ordinal measurements also. The formula slightly differs from earlier one and it is as below; x = ∑i ∑ j
2

(O

ij

− E ij ) E ij

2

Oij = Observed number of cases categorized in the ijth cell Eij = Expected number of cases under Ho to be categorized in the ijth cell. III Two Related Samples Test The two related samples tests are used in situations in which persons, objects or events are closely matched or the phenomena are measured twice. The efficiency of workers before and after training can be measured. Parametric Tests

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The t-test for independent samples is inappropriate because one of the assumptions is that observations are independent. This problem is solved by a formula where the difference is found between each matched pair of observations, thereby reducing the two samples to the equivalent of one-sample case. In the following formula , the average difference, D corresponds to the normal distribution when the (alpha) difference is known and the sample size is sufficient. The statistic t with (n – 1) degrees of freedom is defined as t= D SD

( ∑ D) ∑D ∑ D2 − where D = n n n SD = ( n − 1)

2

Nonparametric Tests The McNemar test may be used with either nominal or ordinal data and is especially useful with before-after measurement of the same subjects. IV. K Independent Samples Tests K independent samples tests are normally used in management and economic research when three or more samples are involved. The test is concerned with whether the samples might come from the same or identical populations. When the data are measured on an interval-ratio scale and the necessary assumptions are met then the Analysis of Variance and F test are used. If the assumptions cannot be met or if the data are measured on ordinal and nominal scale then the nonparametric test can be selected. The samples are assumed to be independent. Parametric Tests Analysis of Variance(ANOVA) is a statistical method of testing the null hypothesis that the means of several populations are equal. To use ANOVA certain conditions must be met.   The samples must be randomly selected from normal populations Populations should have equal variances

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The distance from one value to its group’s mean should be independent of the distance of other values to that mean ANOVA breaks down or partitions total variabaility into component parts. It

uses squared deviations of the variance so computation of distances of the individual data points from their own mean or from the grand mean can be summed up. In ANOVA model each group has its own mean and values that deviate from that mean. Similarly all the data points form all of the groups produce an overall grand mean. The total deviation is the sum of the squared differences between each data point and the overall grand mean. The total deviation of any particular data point may be portioned into between groups variance and within-group variance. The between-groups variance represents the effect of the treatment or factor. The differences between-groups means imply that each group was treated differently and the treatment will appear as deviations of the sample means from the grand mean. The within-groups variance describes the deviations of the data points within each group from the sample mean. This results from variability among subjects and from random variation. This is often called error.when the variability attributable to the treatment exceeds the variability arising from error and random fluctuations, the viability of the null hypothesis begin to diminish. The test statistic for ANOVA is the F ratio. It compares the variance between two sources; F = Between-groups variance -----------------------------Within-groups variance Mean square between Mean square within = --------------------------

Mean square between = Sum of squares between ----------------------------Degrees of freedom between Mean square within = Sum of squares within ----------------------------Degrees of freedom within IV. K Related Sample Case

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Parametric test A k related sample test is required in the following situations;   The grouping factor has more than two levels The observations or subjects are matched or the same subject is measured more than once  The data are atleast interval In this method it is often necessary to measure subjects several times. These repeated measurements are called trials. The repeated-measures ANOVA is a special type of n-way analysis of variance. Nonparametric test In case of k related samples to be measured on a nominal scale the Cochran Q test is appropriate. The test extends McNemar test. It tests the hypothesis that the proportion of cases in a category is equal for several related categories. When the data are ordinal, the Friedman two-way analysis of variance is appropriate. It tests matched samples, ranking each case and calculating the mean rank for each variable across all cases. It uses ranks to compute a test statistic.   The basis aspects of a research design The need and the major types of research design The research design is a blue print of action. It involves a series of rational decision making choices regarding the purpose of the study, its scope, its location, the type of investigation, the extent to which its is controlled and manipulated by the researcher, the time aspects, the collection, measurement and analysis of data. It is a plan and structure to obtain answer to the research questions. It aids the researcher in the allocation of the resources in a well defined manner. The more sophisticated and rigorous the research design is the greater outcome of the research. The essentials of research design:   It is an activity and time based plan The design is based on the research questions 34

1.10 Research Design

  

The design guides the selection of sources and types of information. It is a framework for specifying the relationship among the study’s variable It outlines the procedures for every research activity The sampling design which deals with the method of selecting the samples for the purpose of conducting the study The observational design which deals with the conditions under which the observation is made The statistical design which is concerned with the number of samples to be observed and the how the data gathered is to be analyzed The operational design which relates to the techniques by which the procedures specified in the sampling, statistical and observational designs can be carried out.

The overall research design can be split into the following parts: 

In a nut shell the research design should contain the following     A clear statement of the research problem Procedure and techniques proposed for gathering information The population involved in the study The methods to be used in processing and analyzing the data The research design has to be prepared on account of the following reasons;  Research design is the blueprint of the proposed research to be conducted. It enables to plan the various activities and provides an insight into the type of difficulties that may arise so that the researcher may be prepared to tackle the same.  Since the research design is the plan regarding the sampling procedure, data collection method and various other activities to be performed in the proposed research , the same can be discussed with others and based on the critical comments the flaws and inadequacies can be tackled leading to an effective research design.

1.10.1 Need for research design

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It gives an idea regarding the type of resources required in terms of money, manpower, time and efforts It enables the smooth and efficient conduct of various research operations The research design affects the reliability of the research findings and as such it constitutes the foundation of the entire research work

 

1.10.2 Classification of research designs Every researcher is faced with the task of identifying a suitable research design to carry out the study. The following section explores the types of research design, based on select criteria Criteria Method of data collection Researcher’s control on variables Purpose of study Time dimension Scope Research environment Participants perception Types of investigation Unit of analysis Types Monitoring Interrogation/communication Experimental Expost facto Descriptive Casual Cross-sectional Longitudinal Case Statistical study Field setting Laboratory research Simulation Actual routine Modified routine Casual Correlational Single Dyad Group Organization/Nation Formal study Exploratory study

Extent of crystallization

1. Method of data collection

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The research study may assume the characteristics of monitoring and interrogation. Monitoring includes the studies where the researcher inspects the activities of a subject without attempting to elicit response from anyone. For eg observing the behaviour of consumers in a departmental store. In the interrogation/communication study the researcher questions the subjects and collects their responses. The data can be collected through questionnaires, interviews or experimental methods. 2. Researcher’s control of variables On the basis of researcher’s ability to control or manipulate the variables two types of research design could be arrived at viz., experimental and ex post facto designs. In an experimental design, the researcher attempts to control or manipulate the variables in the study. The variables may be kept constant or may be changed to know the effects. Experimental design is appropriate when one wishes to understand and explore the effects of certain variables on the other. In an ex post facto design investigators have no control over the variables. The variables cannot be manipulated. The researcher can only report what has happened or what is happening. 3. Purpose of the study On the basis of the purpose of the study two categories of research design can be arrived at viz., descriptive and casual studies. Descriptive studies The research concerned with finding out who, what, where, when or how much is a descriptive study. The descriptive studies are more formalized and has a structure with clearly stated hypotheses or investigative questions. They can serve a variety of objectives viz.,   Description of phenomena or characteristics Estimates of the proportion of a population that have a certain set of characteristics  Discovery of association among different variables. This is commonly called as correlational study

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The Descriptive studies present data in a meaningful form and thus helps to understand the characteristics of a group in a given situation. It enables to think systematically about the aspects in a given situation. It offers ideas for further research and help to make simple decisions. A descriptive study may be simple or complex and can be done in many settings. A simplest descriptive research can study about the size, form, distribution etc. Casual studies If the researcher is concerned with analyzing how one variable produces changes in another, it is called a casual study. The casual study attempts to explain the relationship among variables. The concern in casual analysis is to analyse how one variable affects or ‘is responsible for’ changes in the other variable. There are three possibilities of relationship that can occur between variables; 1. Symmetrical 2. Reciprocal 3. Asymmetrical In the case of Symmetrical relationship two variables fluctuate together but it is assumed that changes in neither variable are due to changes in the other. Symmetrical conditions are usually found when two variables are alternate indicators of another cause or independent variable. Reciprocal relationship exists in the case where two variables mutually influence or reinforce each other. Asymmetrical relationship exists where the changes in one variable viz the independent variable is responsible for changes in another variable viz the dependent variable. The dependent and independent variables are identified on the basis of :  The degree to which each variable may be altered. The variable which are relatively unalterable is called independent variable  The time order between the variables. The independent variables precedes the dependent variable. Four types of asymmetrical relationship can exists:

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1. Stimulus – response; where an event or change results in a response from some object. A stimulus is an even or force. A response is a decision or reaction. eg. decrease in price might result in increase in the number of units sold 2. Property – disposition; where an existing property causes a disposition. A property is an enduring characteristic of a subject that does not depend on circumstances for its activation. Disposition is a tendency to respond in a certain way under certain circumstances. eg. gender and attitude towards genocide 3. Disposition –behaviour; where a disposition causes a specific behaviour A behaviour is an action eg. opinion about the stores image and purchase 4. Property- behaviour; where an existing property causes a specific behaviour eg. family size and purchase of car. Testing casual hypotheses To test casual hypotheses, three types of evidence can be opted: 1. Covariation between the variables 2. Time order of events moving in the hypothesized direction 3. No other possible causes for change in the dependent variable. Causation and experimental Design In case of experimental design apart from the above three conditions two other requirements must be met:  All factors except the independent variable must be held constant and not confounded with another variable that is not part of the study. This is called a control group.  Each person in the study must have an equal chance for exposure to each level of the independent variable. This is called random assignment of subjects to groups Causation and Ex Post Facto Design: In case where research studies cannot be carried out experimentally by manipulation of variable, the subjects which has been exposed to an experimental variable and those which are not exposed are studied

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4. The time dimension On the basis of time involved in conducting the study two classifications is possible; Cross sectional and longitudinal study. The cross sectional studies are carried out once and represent a snapshot of the happening in a study at a point of time. Longitudinal studies are repeated over an extended period. In longitudinal studies the changes over a period of time can be tracked. In the case of longitudinal studies where a panel is used, the same members of the panel can be used for the entire period of study. The longitudinal studies involve more time and budget. Hence attempt can be made to use adroit questions involving past, present and future expectations in the cross sectional study itself. However care must be taken in interpreting the findings. 5. Scope The topic of the research may involve a particular case study or it may be a general study. The general study attempts to capture a population’s characteristics based on the inference drawn from sample characteristics. Hypotheses are formulated and tested based on quantitative data. Generalizations of the findings are made based on the findings of the sample study. These studies have breadth rather than the depth. Case studies place more importance on a holistic analysis of a fewer events or conditions and their interrelations. The study relies to a greater extent on the qualitative data. It provides more input and valuable insight to problem solving, evaluation and strategy. The details regarding the problem in hand are collected from multiple sources of information. Generalizations cannot be made from the case study as the findings are specific to the particular problem in hand. However a single, well designed case study can provide a major challenge to a theory and also provide the source for framing new hypotheses. 6 The research environment Research may be conducted in actual, manipulated or simulated conditions. Research conducted in actual environmental conditions is called as field study. The studies conducted under staged or manipulated conditions are termed as laboratory studies. Simulated studies involve replication of the

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essence of a system or process. Simulations are used to a wider extent in operations research where the major characteristics of various conditions and relationships in actual situations are often represented in mathematical models. Simulations can also take the form of role playing and other behavioral activities. 7 Participants perceptions The usefulness of a design may be reduced when people in a disguised study perceive that the research is being conducted. Participants’ perceptions influence the outcomes of the research. When participant perceive that something out of the ordinary is happening, they may behave less naturally. In this context three situations are likely to arise;    Participants perceive no deviations from the routine. Participants perceive deviations, but as unrelated to the researcher. Participants perceive deviations as researcher-induced. Research study can take the form of casual or correlational investigation. A casual study is conducted to establish a definitive cause and effect relationship. In this case the objective of the research is to delineate one or more factors that are causing the problem. The intention of the researcher conducting a casual study is to be able to state that variable X causes variable Y. Thus the study in which the researcher wants to delineate the cause of one or more problems is called a casual study. If the researcher wants to identify or delineate the important factors associated with the problem then a correlational study is suitable. The type of questions asked and the way in which problem is defined determines whether a study is casual or correlational. 9. Units of Analysis The research question decides the unit of analysis. The research study may be involved in collecting information from the individual units involved in the study in which case it is an individual study. If the research involves studying the interaction between two or more individuals then several two person groups also known as dyads will become the unit of analysis. The group study involves

8. Type of investigation

41

studying a group for eg. Comparison of the motivation level among the workers in the different departments is a group study. Likewise the unit of study may involve the organization or nation. 10. Extent of crystallization of Research question The research study can be classified as formal or exploratory. The classification is made on the base of the degree of structure and the objective of the study. (a)Formal study Formal study begins where exploratory studies ends. It begins with a hypothesis or research question and involves precise procedures and data source specification. The goal of formal research design is to test the hypothesis or answer the research questions. (b)Exploratory study Exploratory study has loose structures with the objective of discovering further research tasks. An exploratory study is undertaken when the existing knowledge base on the problem selected is very limited or not available. In such cases preliminary research work needs to be done to gain familiarity with the situation. It is undertaken with the idea of comprehending the nature of the problem since very few studies have been conducted in that area. The data are mostly collected through interviews or observation. When data reveal some pattern regarding the problem at hand, theories are developed and hypotheses are postulated for subsequent testing. The immediate purpose is to develop hypotheses or questions for further research. Exploratory studies are also conduced when some facts are known and more information is needed for developing a viable theoretical framework. The exploratory study is finished when the researcher has achieved the following purpose;   Establish the major dimensions of the research task Defined a set of subsidiary investigative questions that can be used a s guideline to a detailed research design  Develop hypotheses about possible causes of the problem

42

 

Learned the boundaries and scope of the proposed research study Decided that additional efforts or further research is not feasible.

The objectives of exploration may be accomplished with different techniques. Exploratory study to a greater extent depends on the qualitative techniques; however quantitative techniques may also be used. Several techniques are available for conducting exploratory investigations;         In-depth interviewing Participant observation Films, photographs and videotapes Projective techniques and psychological testing Case studies Street ethnography Document analysis Proxemics and Kinesics Secondary data analysis Experience survey Focus groups Two-stage design Data collected by others for the purpose of conducting their research is called secondary data. If the present study the researcher is conducting can use the same data then time and money can be saved by means of not conducting the study again. The researcher can explore the organizations archives for the data. Report of prior research studies would reveal the successful and unsuccessful methods adopted in the previous research studies. Browsing through the earlier research studies will also reveal the less attempted problem areas which can be addressed in the present research.

Combining the approaches listed above four techniques could be derived    

i. Secondary data analysis

43

The researcher can look into the published documents in the form of books/journals by outside organizations. They can be a rich source of hypotheses. The e-sources and the library will provide the needed information. The search of secondary sources will provide the background information about the research to be conducted and also will provide a fair idea about the areas to be pondered. ii. Experience survey Experience survey involves collecting information form the people experience or knowledgeable in the particular area of study. The data would be collected from their memories and experiences .The ideas on important issues and the subject matter can be explored. The investigative format is more flexible. The outcome of the interview would be new hypothesis, discarding an old one or information on doing the study in a better manner. iii. Focus groups A focus group is a panel of people who meet for about 90 minutes to 2 hours and discuss about the subject matter led by a trained moderator. The facilitator uses group dynamics to focus or guide the group in the exchange of ideas, feelings and experiences on a specific topic. The focus group is made up of 6 to 10 respondents. Too small or too large a group may not be effective in meeting the objective. The outcome of the focus group will be a list of ideas and behaviourial observations with the observations and recommendations made by the moderator. The qualitative data produced from the focus group can be used for enriching the knowledge. Depending on the topic separate focus groups could be run for different subset of the population. Homogeneity in the focus group will be more effective and produce maximum results. The focus groups can be conducted in a face to face manner, through telephones, internet (e-groups) videoconferencing. iv.Two stage design In the exploratory stage, the researcher does not know much about the problem in hand but needs to know more before proceeding further in terms of and through

44

time and resources. A two stage design would be useful in this situation. With this approach exploration becomes a separate first stage with limited objectives: (1) clearly defining the research question and (2) developing research design. A limited exploration at a lesser cost carries little risk for the researcher and enables to uncover information that reduces the total research cost. SUMMARY: This unit has examined some of the basic aspects of research. The importance of knowledge of research in business setting was emphasized. The hallmarks of scientific research viz., purposiveness, rigor, testability, replicability, precision and confidence, objectivity, generalizability and parsimony were described. The steps involved in hypothetico-deductive research were discussed. The various steps involved in undertaking the research were dealt in detail. The issues involved in development of hypothesis and the parametric and non parametric test were examined. With the impetus to the background of research, the next unit deals with the issues concerning the research design and its types.

Have you understood?
     What is research? Explain the need for the same Discuss the hallmarks of scientific research. Explain the process of deduction and Induction with an example Discuss the building blocks of scientific research. What are the steps in Hypothetico-dedcutive research?. Explain them using an example     Describe the research process in detail. Discuss the steps involved in problem identification Why should literature survey be conducted? Discuss the need for theoretical framework and highlight the features of the same   What is hypothesis? Discuss the types. Explain the steps involved in formulation and testing the hypothesis

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Discuss the various methods of testing the hypothesis Explain the meaning and significance of research design What are the basic research design issues? Discuss them in detail. Is single research design suitable for all research studies? If not why? Discuss the exploratory research design in detail. Discuss the different types of research design. Site a situation to which each design is applicable to.

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