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Business

Research Methods

Problem Definition
A Sea Horse’s Tale
Problem Discovery Problem Selection of
and Definition discovery exploratory research
technique
Sampling

Selection of
exploratory research
technique ProbabilityNonprobability

Secondary
Experience Pilot Case Collection of
(historical) Data
survey study study data
data Gathering
(fieldwork)

Data
Editing and
Problem definition Processing
coding
(statement of and
Analysis data
research objectives)

Data
Selection of processing
Research Design basic research
method Conclusions
Interpretation
and Report
of
findings
Experiment Survey
Secondary
Laborator Field Intervie Questionnair Observation
Data Study Report
y w e
Uncertainty Influences the Type
of Research

CAUSAL OR COMPLETELY ABSOLUTE EXPLORATORY
DESCRIPTIVE CERTAIN AMBIGUITY
Problem Discovery and Definition

• First step
• Problem, opportunity, or monitor
operations
• Discovery before definition
• Problem means management
problem
“The formulation of the problem
is often more essential than its
solution.”

Albert Einstein
Defining Problem Results in
Clear Cut Research Objectives
Symptom Detection

Analysis of
the Situation
Exploratory
Research
(Optional)
Problem Definition

Statement of
Research Objectives
The Process of
Problem Definition
Ascertain Determine
the decision unit of
maker’s analysis
objectives

Understand Determine
background relevant
of the variables
problem

Isolate/ident State research
ify the questions and
objectives
problem,
not the
Ascertain the Decision Maker’s
Objectives
• Decision makers’ objectives
• Managerial goals expressed in measurable
terms.

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Examples of broad problem area
• The training programs are perhaps not as effective
as anticipated
• The anticipated results of the recent merger have
not been forthcoming
• Inventory contrl is not effective
• The installation of MIS keeps getting stalled
• The introduction of flexible work hours has
created more problems than it has solved in many
companies
The Iceberg Principle
• The principle indicating that the
dangerous part of many business
problems is neither visible to nor
understood by managers.
Understand the Background of
the Problem
• Exercising judgment
• Situation analysis - The informal gathering
of background information to familiarize
researchers or managers with the decision
area.

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Preliminary data collection
• Background information of the organization
– The origin & History
– Charter – purpose & ideology
– Size employees & assets
– Location
– Resources – human & others
– Inter dependent relationship with other
Institutions
– Financial position during the last 5 or 10 years
• Information on structural factors & management
philosophy
– Role & position
– Extent f specialization, control systems
– Span of control, record system
Perception, Attitude & behavioral responses
nature of work
work flow interdependence
participation in decision making
client system
co-workers
Rewards
Opportunities
orgn’s involvement in social activities
• Literature survey
– Impt variables are not left out
– What variables is most impt
– Problem statement can be made more
clearly
– Testability & replicability of the research
is enhanced
– Not waste time in doing things already
done
Isolate and Identify the Problems,
Not the Symptoms
• Symptoms can be confusing

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Symptoms Can Be Confusing
Twenty-year-old neighborhood
swimming association:
• Membership has been declining for
years.
• New water park -residents prefer the
expensive water park????
• Demographic changes: Children have
grown up
Problem Definition True
Organization Symptoms based on symptoms Problem

Membership has been Neighborhood Demographic changes:
Twenty-year-old declining for years. residents prefer the Children in this 20-
neighborhood New water park with expensive water year-old neighborhood
swimming wave pool and water park and have have grown up. Older
association in a slides moved into negative image of residents no longer
major city. town a few years ago. swimming pool. swim anywhere.
What Language Is Written on
This Stone Found by
Archaeologists?

TOTI
EMUL
ESTO
The Language Is English: To Tie
Mules To

TOTI
EMUL
ESTO
Determine the Unit of Analysis
• Individuals, households, organizations, etc.
• In many studies, the family rather than the
individual is the appropriate unit of
analysis.

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Determine the Relevant Variable
• Anything that may assume
different numerical values

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Types of Variables
• Categorical
• Continuous
• Dependent
• Independent
Hypothesis
• An unproven proposition
• A possible solution
to a problem Guess
Problem definition

• Define the problem as any
situation where a gap exists
between the actual and the
desired ideal state exists
Examples of well defined problems
• How has the new packaging affected the
sales of the product
• How the new advertising message resulted
in enhanced recall?
• What are the components of the quality of
work life?
• What network system is best suitable for
this orgn?
Exercise -1
• “” while chrysler’s pick ups and sport utility
vehicles take a big share of the truck
markets its cars trail behind those of GM,
Ford, Honda & Toyota. Quality problems
include among other things water leaks &
defective parts.”
• Identify the broad problem area
• Define the problem & explain how you
will proceed
EX -2 what is the problem st in this case?
• Co’s benefit through employee loyalty. crude
downsizing in orgns during the recession
crushed the loyalty of millions. The economic
benefits of loyalty embrace lower recruitment
& training costs, higher productivity customer
satisfaction & morale. In order that these
benefits are not lost some co’s while
downsizing try various gimmicks. Flex leave
is one where employees get 20% of salary +
EPF etc. others try more communication,
handholding etc
• What is the problem statement in this case? “