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The Hallmarks of Science The Building Blocks of Science and Hypothetico-Deductive Method of Research The Seven Steps of the HypotheticoDeductive Method Other types of Research Case studies Action research
The definition of research
Research is an organized, systematic, data-based, critical, objective, scientific inquiry into a specific problem that needs a solution. Managerial decisions based on the results of scientific research tend to be effective.
What is Meant by a Scientific Research?
Scientific research focuses on solving problems and pursues a step-by-step logical, organized, and rigorous method to identify the problems, gather data, analyze them, and draw valid conclusions therefrom. Thus, scientific research is not based on hunches, experience, and intuition (though these may play a part in final decision making), but a purposive and rigorous.
What is Meant by a Scientific Research?
Because of the rigorous way in which the research done, scientific research enables all those who are interested in researching about the same or similar issues to come up with comparable findings when the data are analyzed.
minimize. or solve problems. Scientific investigation tends to be more objective than subjective.What is Meant by a Scientific Research? Scientific research helps researchers to state their findings with accuracy and confidence. 6 . and helps managers to highlight the most critical factors at the workplace that need specific attention so as to avoid. This helps various other organizations to apply those solutions when they encounter similar problems.
characteristics of the employees. 7 .What is Meant by a Scientific Research? Scientific investigation and managerial decision making are integral aspects of effective problem solving. depending on the extent to which differences exist in such factors as size. Applied research may or may not be generalizable to other organizations. and structure of the organization. Scientific research applies to both basic and applied research. nature of work.
The Hallmarks of Scientific Research The Hallmarks or main distinguishing characteristics of scientific research may be listed as follows: 1. Generalizability 8. Precision 6. Rigor 3. Replicability 8 . Objectivity 7. Testability 4. Purposiveness 5. Parsimony 2.
9 .The Hallmarks of Scientific Research We will explain each of these characteristics in the context of the following example: Consider the case of a manager who is interested in investigating how employees’ commitment to the organization can be increased.
and increased performance levels. Purposiveness The manager has started the research with a definite aim or purpose. all of which would definitely benefit the organization. An increase in employee commitment will translate into less turnover. 10 .1. less absenteeism. The focus is on increasing the commitment of employees to the organization. as this will be a beneficial in many ways.
and the degree of exactitude in research investigations. Rigor A good theoretical base and a sound methodological design would add rigor to a purposive study.2. 11 . Rigor means carefulness.
12 . the whole approach to the investigation would be unscientific.In the case of our example of increasing the commitment of employees: Let us say that the manager of an organization asks 10 of its employees to indicate what would increase their level of commitment to the organization. If the manager depends solely on the basis of their responses reaches to several conclusions on how employee commitment can be increased.
and the researcher would have failed to include them (lacks of a good theoretical framework). There might be many other important influences on organizational commitment that this small sample did not verbalize during the interviews. 3. 13 . the manner of framing and addressing the questions could have introduced bias in the responses (lacks of methodological sophistication).An approach to an investigation would lack rigor for the following reasons: Incorrect conclusions because they are based on the responses of just a few employees (lacks of methodological sophistication). 1. 2. Conclusions drawn from an investigation that lacks a good theoretical framework and methodological sophistications would be unscientific.
Then these hypotheses can be tested by applying certain statistical tests to the data collected for the purpose. the researcher develops certain hypotheses on how employee commitment can be enhanced. and the study of previous research done of the area of organizational commitment.3. Testability After taking random selection of employees of the organization. 14 . Scientific research tends itself to testing logically developed hypotheses to see whether or not the data support the hypotheses that are developed.
15 .4. we will gain confidence in the scientific nature of our research. If the results are repeated. Replicability The results of the tests of hypotheses should be supported again and again when the same type of research is repeated in other similar circumstances.
Precision reflects the degree of accuracy of the results on the basis of the sample. Precision and Confidence Precision refers to the closeness of the findings to reality based on a sample. 16 .5. to what really exists in the universe.
we are not able to draw “definitive” conclusions on the basis of the results of data analysis. Measurement errors and other problems are bound to introduce an error in our findings. 17 . The sample may not reflect the exact characteristics of the phenomenon we try to study. In business research. 2.Precision and Confidence 1. The reasons are: We have to base our findings on a sample that we draw from the universe.
18 . so that we can place reliance or confidence in the results.Precision and Confidence We would like to design the research in a manner that ensures that our findings are as close to reality as possible.
Precision and Confidence Confidence refers to the probability that our estimations are correct. It is not enough to be precise. the more scientific is the investigation and the more useful are the results. This is also known as confidence level. 19 . but it is also important that we can confidently claim that 95% of the time our results would be true and there is only a 5% chance of our being wrong. The greater the precision and confidence we aim at in our research.
the more scientific the research investigation becomes.6. The conclusions should be based on the facts of the findings derived from actual data. 20 . objectivity The conclusions drawn through the interpretation of the results of data analysis should be objective. The more objective the interpretation of the data. and not on our own subjective or emotional values.
Generalizability Generalizability refers to the scope of applicability of the research findings in one organizational setting to other settings.7. The wider the range of applicability of the solutions generated by research. 21 . the more useful the research is to the users.
Economy in research models is achieved when we can build into our research framework a lesser number of variables that would explain the variance far more efficiently than a complex set of variables that would only marginally add to the variance explained. Parsimony Parsimony refers to simplicity in explaining the phenomena or problems that occur. 22 .8. and in generating solutions for the problems.
Parsimony Parsimony can be introduced with a good understanding of the problem and the important factors that influence it. 23 . and a thorough literature review of the previous research work in the particular problem area. A good conceptual theoretical model can be realized through interviews with the concerned people.
Counting white swans Both inductive and deductive processes are often used in research. 24 24 . Hypothesis testing Inductive reasoning: a process where we observe specific phenomena and on this basis arrive at general conclusions.Deduction and Induction Deductive reasoning: application of a general theory to a specific case.
This process of observation or sensing of the phenomena around us is what gets most of the research.Example 2. The manager may not be certain that this is really the case but may experience anxiety and some uneasiness that customer satisfaction is on the decline.whether applied or basicstarted.1 A sales manager might observe that customers are perhaps not pleased as they used to be. 25 .
how serious it is. The manager might find that the customers like the products but are upset because many of the times the product is out of stock.1 (cont. and if so.) The next step is to determine whether there is a real problem. .Example 2. and they perceive the salesperson as not being 26 helpful. The manager might talk to a few customers to find out how they feel about the products and customer service. This problem identification calls for some preliminary data gathering.
Salespersons might also indicate that they try to please the customers by communicating the delivery dates given to them by the factory. the manager might discover that the factory does not supply the goods on time.Example 2.) From discussions with some of the salespersons. 27 .1 (cont.
It also helps the manager to formulate a conceptual model or theoretical framework of all the factors contributing to the problem.1 (cont.Example 2.) Integration of the information obtained through the informal and formal interviewing process has helped the manager to determine that the problem does exist. 28 .
) Thus. 29 .1 (cont. the following factors contribute to the problem: Delays by the factory in delivering goods The notification of later delivery dates that are not kept The promises of the salespersons to the customers that cannot be fulfilled All of these factors contribute to customer dissatisfaction.Example 2.
7. 3.The hypothetico-Deductive Method The hypothetico-deductive method of seven steps involved in the 1. 6. research stem from the building blocks discussed above and listed below: Identify a broad problem area Define the problem statement Develop hypotheses Determine measures Data collection Data analysis Interpretation of data 30 . 4. 5. 2.
disinterestedness of employees in their work. lowyielding investment. and the like. incorrect accounting results. could attract the attention of the manager to do a research project.Identify a broad problem area If the manager notice a drop in sales. 31 .
32 .Define the problem statement • Scientific research starts with a definite aim or purpose. • A problem statement states the general objective of the research.
Develop hypotheses The network of associations between the problem and the variables that affect it is identified. The hypothesis must be falsifiable (we can only prove our hypotheses until they are disproved). The hypothesis must be testable 2. A scientific hypothesis must meet two requirements: 1. 33 .
34 .Determine measures The variables in the theoretical framework should be measurable in some way. Measurement of variables is discussed in Chs. such as unresponsive employees. Some variables can not be measure quantitatively. 6 and 7. we need to operationalize this variable.
Quantitatative data .Qualitative data 35 . There are two types of data: .Data collection Data with respect to each variable in the hypothesis need to be obtained.
36 .Data Analysis In this step. Analyses of both quantitative and qualitative data can be done to determine if certain relations are important. the data gathered are statistically analyzed to see if the hypotheses that were generated have been supported.
These data usually for objects than can not be physically measured. Quantitative data refer to information gathered about objects that can be physically measured. or any formal records.Data Analysis Qualitative data refer to information gathered through interviews and observations. 37 . government statistics. like feelings and attitudes. The researcher could obtain these data through the company records.
38 . Based on these results.Interpretation of data Now we must decide whether our hypotheses are supported or not by interpreting the meaning of the results or the data analysis. the researcher would make recommendations in order to solve the problem in hand.
” the CIO exclaims. “There is surely a problem here. 39 .Example 2.2 of the Application of the Hypothetico-Deductive Method Observation of the CIO Dilemma The Chief Information Officer (CIO) of a firm observes that the newly installed Management Information System (MIS) is not being used by middle managers as much as was originally expected.
the CIO finds that many of them have very little idea as to what MIS is all about.2 (cont.Talking to some of the middle-level managers.Example 2.) Information Gathering through Informal Interviews . what kinds of information it could provide. and how to access it and utilize the information. 40 .
) Obtaining More Information through Literature Survey . .2 (cont.The CIO immediately uses the Internet to explore further information on the lack of use of MIS in organizations.Lack of knowledge about what MIS offers is also found to be another main reason why some managers do not use it. .Example 2.The search indicates that many middle-level managers are not familiar with operating personal computers. 41 .
Example 2.based on all this information. the CIO develops a theory incorporating all the relevant factors contributing to the lack of access to the MIS by managers in the organization. 42 .2 (cont.) Formulating a Theory .
) Hypothesizing From such a theory. 43 .2 (cont. one among them being: .Example 2.Knowledge of the usefulness of MIS would help managers to put it to greater use. the CIO generates various hypotheses for testing.
44 - - .) Data Collection The CIO then develops a short questionnaire on the various factors theorized to influence the use of the MIS by managers. such as: The extent of knowledge of what MIS is What kinds of information MIS provides How to gain access to the information The level of comfort felt by managers in using computers in general How often managers have used the MIS in the preceding 3 months.Example 2.2 (cont.
) Data Analysis The CIO then analyzes the data obtained through the questionnaire to see what factors prevent the managers from using the system.2 (cont. 45 .Example 2.
and . among other things: . the manager deduces or concludes that managers do not use MIS owing to certain factors. which might include.Example 2.2 (cont. • These deductions help the CIO to take necessary actions to solve the problem. 46 .) Interpretation of data Based on the results.Organizing seminars for training managers on the use of computers.MIS and its usefulness.
Other Types of Research Case studies. and Action research Are sometimes used to study certain types of issues. 47 .
If a particular hypothesis has not been supported even in a single other case study. 48 . where the nature and definition of the problem is the same as experienced in the current situation.Case Studies Case studies involve in-depth analyses of similar situations in other organizations. the researcher could ignore that hypothesis.
2. Case studies are not often undertaken in organizations because: It is very seldom to find similar problems happened in an organizations of the same size and same type of setting. 49 .Case Studies 1. Many companies prefer to guard their problems and their data.
50 .Action Research Action research is sometimes undertaken by consultants who want to initiate change processes in organizations. Action research methodology is most appropriate while effecting planned changes.
defined.Action Research The researcher begins with a problem that is already identified. The effects are then evaluated. and gathers relevant data to provide a tentative problem solution. and the research continues on an ongoing basis until the problem is fully resolved. and diagnosed. 51 . with the knowledge that there may be unintended consequences following such implementation. This solution is then implemented.
31.. Berry. V. (1996). L. 52 . 60(2). and Parasuraman A.VISIT THE LIBRARY Zeithaml. Journal of Marketing. “The behavioral consequences of service quality”.