M2X8629 Lecture 5 Research Methodologies

What is research?

People undertake research in order to find things out in a systematic way, thereby increasing their knowledge (Jankowicz, 1995). Hussey and Hussey (1997, p. 1) define research as ‘enquiry and investigation [that]…is systematic and methodical…[and] increases knowledge’.

28)  . the selection of the most efficient ways to collect. analyse and present data whilst maintaining academic rigour. cited by Remenyi et al. ‘an operational framework within which the facts are placed so that their meaning may be seen more clearly’. p. 1998.What is research methodology?  Research methodology refers to the step-by-step research process. Leedy (1989.

Figure 1 The research process Source: © Saunders. Research Methods in Business. Lewis and Thornhill. 4th Edition © Pearson Education Limited 2007 .

Lewis and Thornhill.Figure 1 The research process (Continued) Source: © Saunders. Research Methods in Business. 4th Edition © Pearson Education Limited 2007 .

The emphasis here is on studying a situation or problem in order to explain the relationships between variables. rather than for generating problem solutions. For example. so that more detailed research work can be planned appropriately.So research has a purpose…  There are three kinds of research purpose:  Exploratory research is often undertaken in order to collect preliminary data to help clarify or identify a problem. assessing the search behaviour of users of a particular website and the reasons behind the behaviour exhibited.  Explanatory (causal or predictive) research seeks to establish cause and effect relationships. The purpose is to make an initial assessment of the nature of a problem.  Descriptive research aims to provide the researcher with a better understanding of a particular issue or problem. .

What is the difference between primary and secondary research?  Primary research (or field research) involves the collection of original (new) data by the researcher to address a specific problem. However.  . Secondary research (or desk research) is based on data that has been collected by somebody else for some other purpose (and for this reason. it can help the researcher gain understanding of an issue. which can later be refined by carrying out primary research. and formulate and generate ideas. it may not precisely meet the needs of the secondary user).

Quantitative research – research that produces statistics (hard data). people’s opinions which cannot be generalised in numerical terms.What is the difference between quantitative and qualitative research?  Qualitative research involves the collection of (soft) data that are open to interpretation.  . This usually involves surveys of large numbers of respondents. for example.

 .What is the difference between a longitudinal and a cross-sectional study?  Longitudinal research extends over a substantial period of time and involves studying changes over time. Cross-sectional research takes a 'snapshot' of a situation in time.

Credibility of research findings  Research findings must be credible. The three tests of credibility are  Reliability  Validity  Generalisability .

Reliability  Reliability is concerned with the findings of the research.1. Threats to reliability (Robson. it is reliable. 1993) include:  Subject (respondent) error   Subject (respondent) bias  Observer (interviewer) error  Observer (interviewer) bias . If a research finding can be repeated (replicable).

2. Validity  Validity is the extent to which the research findings accurately represent what is really happening in the situation.  Are you asking the right questions?  Are you asking the right people?  Are you measuring what you should be measuring? . Research errors can undermine validity.

is your organisation markedly different in some way?  . Generalisability  Generalisability refers to the extent to which you can come to conclusions about one thing (often a population) based on information about another (often a sample).3. Are your research results applicable in other settings/contexts? This is a particular worry if you are conducting case study research .

Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill 2007 .Philosophy Positivism Deductive Experiment Cross sectional Sampling Questionnaires Secondary data Observations Interviews Longitudinal Action Research Inductive Time horizon Survey Document Analysis Strategy Approach Case Study The research ‘onion’ Dr Nik Whitehead Phenomenographical Data collection method 14 Based upon Mark Saunders.

epistemology)  Epistemology. depends on the way that you think about the development of knowledge Epistemology asks the question ‘how do we know what we know?’ Two main research philosophies:  Positivism  Phenomenography  . your research philosophy.Research philosophies (or paradigms.

which can be found by carefully applying scientific procedures. 2006) Positivism contends there are single true answers to questions.Positivism  Positivists believe that knowledge we may gain is based on the observation or experience of real phenomena in an objective and real world (Cornford and Smithson. such as experiments.  .

Positivism  ‘The positivist approach seeks the facts or causes of social phenomena with little regard to the subjective state. objectivity and rigour replace hunches.’ (Collis & Hussey.  . p. 2003. Thus logical reasoning is applied to the research so that precision. experience and intuition as a means of investigating the research problem. 52) This view has come under considerable criticism in recent years from researchers who argue that research is heavily influenced by a person’s world-view or perception.

based on participants’ perceptions. based upon the world as we see it.’ (Collis and Hussey.Phenomenography  ‘The phenomenological paradigm is concerned with understanding human behaviour. 2007) We all see the world through our own ‘conceptual goggles’. This approach stresses the subjective aspects of human activity by focusing on the meaning. rather than measurement of social phenomena. 53) Reality is socially constructed. and needs to be ‘understood’ rather than trying to generate ‘facts’ (Saunders et al. 2003. p. so rather than attempting to find single true answers to our focus questions. we are attempting to build knowledge from event(s) and/or object(s).   .

Alternative terms for the main research paradigms Positivistic Quantitative Objectivist Scientific Experimentalist Traditionalist Phenomenographical Qualitative Subjectivist Humanistic Interpretivist .

Features of the main research paradigms Positivistic Tends to produce quantitative data Uses large samples Concerned with testing theory (deductive approach) Data is highly specific & precise The location is artificial Reliability is high Validity is low Generalises from sample to population Phenomenographical Tends to produce qualitative data Uses small samples Concerned with generating theory (inductive approach) Data is rich and subjective The location is natural Reliability is low Validity is high Generalises from one setting to another .

Some associated methods of the main paradigms Positivistic Structured questionnaire surveys Structured interview surveys Experiments Phenomenographical Action research Case studies Document analysis Unstructured interviews Focus groups .

Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill 2007 .Philosophy Positivism Deductive Experiment Cross sectional Sampling Questionnaires Secondary data Observations Interviews Longitudinal Action Research Inductive Time horizon Survey Document Analysis Strategy Approach Case Study The research ‘onion’ Dr Nik Whitehead Phenomenography Data collection method 22 Based upon Mark Saunders.

Research approaches  Two major types:  Deductive research (linked to positivism)  Inductive research (linked to phenomenography)  Relates to the extent to which you are clear about the ‘theory’ at the beginning of your research .

more usable. has more features) than an existing piece of software .g.The deductive approach    The deductive approach aims to test theory This involves developing a theory and hypothesis. and designing a research strategy to test that hypothesis The outcome will be a confirmation or modification of the theory  e. You hypothesise that your new piece of software is better (faster.

Deduction emphasises…        Scientific principles Moving from theory to data The need to explain causal relationships between variables The collection of quantitative data A highly structured approach Researcher independence of what is being researched Large sample size to allow generalisations .

g. then developing theory The outcome will be to add to the body of knowledge in that area  e.The inductive approach    The inductive approach aims to build theory This involves collecting data. analysing it. You develop a description of how businesses use Facebook for advertising based upon a survey of local businesses .

Induction emphasises… Gaining an understanding of the meanings humans attach to events  A close understanding of the research context  The collection of qualitative data  A more flexible structure to permit changes of research emphasis as the research progresses  A realisation that the researcher is part of the research process  Less concern with the need to generalise  .

often based on ‘one take’  Induction:  Is suitable when the topic is new.Which is best?  Deduction:  Is suitable when your research topic has a wealth of literature from which you can define a theoretical framework and a hypothesis  Is quicker. has much debate and/or there is little existing literature  Takes longer to gather the data .

Coming Soon…  Next lecture: Research Strategies  Homework: Dr Nik Whitehead 29 .