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What is Research?

Sammar Abbas PhD Essex Business School University of Essex, UK

Contents: What is Research • • • • • • • The Nature of Research The Nature of Business and Management Research The Research Process Attributes of a Good Research Topic Generating & Refining Research Ideas Turning Research Ideas into a Research Projects Writing Your Research Proposal .

Data are interpreted systematically.. As a term to get your product or idea noticed and respected Research has no.g Poll Results. 2001) Because the above: i. Policies. 2002: 21) i. iii. Govt. ii. Documentaries. Reassembling and recording facts or information without any interpretation. iii. thereby increasing their knowledge” (ibid) . Of characteristics (Saunders et al. Data are collected systematically.The Nature of Research • ‘Research & Research Findings’ as Daily Life (e. Just collecting facts or information with no clear purpose ii. There is clear purpose to find things out “Something that people undertake in order to find out things in systematic way. Advertisers and many more) • Research is something Different (Walliman.

2002) Logical relations not just beliefs. an answer to question or number of question . understanding. a clear purpose. and analysing). explaining.The Nature of Research • Research is systematic (Ghauri and Gronhaug. criticising. argument about the meaningfulness of results. and any limitation[s] associated • To find things out (ibid): Multiplicity of possible purpose of your research (describing. explanation and rationale of the method used.

The facts that managers tend to be powerful and busy people. ii.... 2002) i. The requirement for the research to have some practical consequences .The Nature of Business and Management Research ‘A systematic research to find out things about business and management’ Three things combine to make business and management a distinctive focus of research ( Easterby-Smith et al. iii. The way in which managers (researchers) draw on knowledge developed by other disciplines.so access is an issue unless there is some personal and commercial advantages.

Distinctive Features of Management and Business Research • Business and Management research is of transdisciplinary nature (usage of knowledge from other disciplines) • Be able to develop idea[s] that relate to practice.should complete a virtuous circle of theory and practice (Tranfield and Starkey.managerial practice informs practically derived theory. 1998)...business and management research needs to engage with both theory and practice so the problems addressed grow out of interaction b/w both rather than either on their own .....

. 1994).the concept of Mode 1 & Mode 2 Knowledge creation..offering a way of brining supply side of knowledge (universities) together with demand side of knowledge (business) and overcoming the double hurdle.. 2001) • Production of knowledge (Gibsons et al...Distinctive Features of Management and Business Research • Challenging of being theoretically and methodologically rigorous (double hurdle) while embracing the world of practice and being practically relevance (Hodgkinson et al. Mode 1: emphasis research in which the questions are set and solved by academic interests... ..little if any utilization of research by practitioners Mode 2: emphasis on context governed for research governed by the world of practice.need for collaboration with and between practitioners (Starkey and Madan..... 2001) and need for practical consequences.fundamental rather than applied.

...large no.considering the practical implications of your findings • Purpose and context of your research may differ significantly while serving the above purpose of knowledge advancement and practical concerns: Purpose: You want to understand and explain the impact of a certain policy Context: may be studied in one organisation and suggest appropriate action[s] based on your findings Purpose: you want to explore the ways in which various organisations do things differently.Distinctive Features of Management and Business Research • It needs to provide findings both for knowledge advancement...to discover and understand better the underlying processes in wider context Context: In wider context. business issues and managerial problems.. of organisations .

Distinctive Features of Management and Business Research • According to purpose and context Baisc Basic Purpose: •Expand knowledge of processes of business and management •Results in universal principles relating to the process and relationship to outcomes •Findings of significance and value to society in general Context: •Undertaken in universities •Choice of topic and objectives determined by researcher •Flexible timescales Applied Applied Purpose: •Improve understanding of a particular business or management problem •Results in solution to problem •New knowledge limited to problem •Findings of practical relevance and value to managers Context: •Undertaken by people in organisations and universities •Objectives negotiated with originator •Tight timescales .

it is like this. i.2013-11-14-310. Formulating and clarifying a topic Reviewing the relevant literature Choosing a strategy Collecting data Analysing data i.The Research Process i. i. Writing up But it is not as simple. i...jpg . i...

once your are done with it you can proceed with other research issues.’ said Alice. 1997). ‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk’ said Cat. ‘I don’t much care where. You must know that what makes a good research topic • . please... 1989: 63-4) “Formulating and clarifying the research topic is the starting point of your research project” (Ghauri and Gronhaug. 2002) • Clarifying research topic is time consuming and can take you to blind alleys (Saunders and Lewis.Attribute s of a Good Research Process ‘Would you tell me. which way I ought to walk from here?’ ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to’ said Cat. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Carroll.

of similar value whatever the outcomes?  Does the research topic match your career goals? .Checklist of Attribute s of a Good Research Process (Saunders et al. or can develop within the project time frame.. 2003: 34)  Does topic fit the specifications and meet standards set by the examining institutions?  Is the topic something with which you are really fascinated?  Do you have. the necessary research skills to undertake the topic?  Is the research topic achievable within the available time. financial resources?  Are you reasonable certain of being able to gain access to data/field you are likely to require for topic?  Are you able to state your research question[s] and objectives clearly?  Will your proposed research be able to provide fresh insights into this topic?  Does your topic relate clearly to the idea you have been given (perhaps by an organisation)?  Are the findings of this research topic likely to be symmetrical: that is.

Generating and Refining Research Ideas More frequently used techniques for generating and refining research ideas Rational Thinking •Examining your own strengths & interests •Looking at past project titles •Discussions •Searching the literature Creative Thinking •Keeping a notebook of ideas •Exploring personal preferences using past projects* •Relevance trees •Brainstorming** .

Why is the project good 3. For each of these six projects note down your first thought in response to three questions (if the responses for different projects are same this does not matter) a. Why is the project bad? . What do you dislike about the project? b. this does not matter. What appeal to you about the project? b. Select six projects that you like. 2. 1993): 1.Generating and Refining Research Ideas *Exploring personal preferences using past projects (Raimond. What is bad about the project? c. Select three projects that you do not like 4. note them down any way) a. What is good about the project? c. For each of these three projects note down your first thoughts in response to three questions (if responses for different projects are same or cannot be clearly expressed.

4. 5.Generating and Refining Research Ideas **Brainstorming 1. 2. a. Analyse the list of suggestions and decide which appeal to you most a research idea and why. as precisely as possible Ask for suggestions relating to the problem Record all suggestions observing the following rules: No suggestion should be criticised or evaluated in any way before all ideas have been considered All suggestions. c. b. however wild. 3. Define your problem. . should be recorded and considered As many suggestions as possible should be recorded Review all suggestions and explore what is meant by each. or sorts of ideas you are interested in.

voting or some other method . To collect the research idea in an unedited and non-attributable from and to distribute them to all members of group. 3. A second cycle of process (step 2-4)in which individual comment on the research idea and revise their own contributions in the light of what others have said. 6. 4. To brief the members of the group about the research idea (they can make notes if they wish) 2. to generate independently up to three specific research ideas (with justification)based on the broad idea that has been described. Subsequent cycle of the process until a consensus is reached. To ask each member of the group. including the originator of the research idea.Generating and Refining Research Ideas The Delphi Technique 1. These either follow a similar pattern ( step 2-4) or use discussion. At the end of the briefing to encourage group members to seek clarification and more information as appropriate. 5.

vi. ii. iv. viii. Reflect the research objectives . iii. Investigative rather descriptive questions Avoid too easy and too difficult questions Research question should generate new insights. Legitimate to replicate a research but not legitimate to have ignorance from relevant literature May be one broad question and then sub-questions Discussion with supervisor and use of delphi technique From literature. Theoretically informed research question[s].Turning a Research Idea into a Research Projects • Defining the Research Question i. articles showing future research concerns/issues vii. v.

) The Contents of Research Proposal: • Background • Research question[s] and objectives • Method • Time Scale • Resources • References . organisation etc. supervisor.Writing Your Research Proposal The Purpose of Research Proposal: • Organising your ideas: turning ideas into coherent statement of your research intent • Convincing your audience/reader: your proposed research is achievable • Contracting with your client: acceptance and approval of proposal by your client (institute.

• The viability of proposal • The absence of preconceived ideas .Writing Your Research Proposal Criteria for Evaluating Research Proposal • The extent to which components of proposal fit together.