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RESEARCH

METHODOLOGY
(Business Research Methods)
Week 2

29 August 2005

MBA III (Research Methodology)

Course

What is Research? (1)


There are many accepted definitions for the term
research, for example:
Research is an active, diligent and systematic process of
inquiry in order to discover, interpret or revise facts,
events, behaviours, or theories, or to make practical
applications with the help of such facts, laws or theories.
The term research is also used to describe the collection
of information about a particular subject
(Encyclopedia Wikipedia)
29 August 2005

MBA III (Research Methodology)

Course

What is Research? (2)


Other insightful definitions of research are:
Systematic, intensive, patient study and investigation in some field of
knowledge, usually employing the techniques of hypothesis and
experiment, whose purpose is to reveal new facts, theories, or principles
Means a systematic investigation, including research development,
testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to
generalizable knowledge
Systematic study directed toward more complete scientific knowledge or
understanding of the subject studied

29 August 2005

MBA III (Research Methodology)

Course

Types and Scope of Research


TYPES OF RESEARCH

BASIC

Non-Specificity

APPLIED

Specificity

Research is undertaken in numerous scientific disciplines, e.g.:

Natural / Physical Sciences


Social Sciences
Management Sciences
Humanities
29 August 2005

MBA III (Research Methodology)

Course

The Dimensions of Research


Theories
Concepts

Deductive
Reasoning
RESEARCH

Propositions
Scientific Method

Inductive
Reasoning

Hypotheses
Empiricism

29 August 2005

MBA III (Research Methodology)

Course

What is a Theory? (1)


Zikmund (p. 41) has defined a theory as a coherent set of general
propositions, used as principles of explanation of the amount of the
apparent relationships of certain observed phenomona
Concepts (or constructs) are the basic building blocks of theory
development. A concept (or construct) is a generalized idea about a
class of objects, attributes, occurrences, or processes that have been
given a name. A concept (or construct) may vary in terms of the level of
abstraction
Examples: Productivity, Leadership, Morale, Assets, Inflation

29 August 2005

MBA III (Research Methodology)

Course

What is a Theory? (2)


A proposition is a statement concerned with the relationship between concepts. It
asserts a universal connection and logical linkage between concepts. Propositions
are at a higher level of abstraction than concepts
Example: Smoking is injurious to health
Hypotheses are propositions which are empirically testable. They are usually
concerned with the relationships between variables
Example: Increasing salary by 10% will double the production

29 August 2005

MBA III (Research Methodology)

Course

The Abstraction Ladder


Theory

Abstract Level

Propositions

Levels of
Abstraction

Concepts / Constructs

Observations of Objects,
Events and Occurrences (Reality)
29 August 2005

MBA III (Research Methodology)

Empirical Level
Course

Qualities of a Good Theory (1)


A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two
requirements. It must accurately describe a
large class of observations on the basis of a
model that contains only a few arbitrary
elements. And it must make definite predictions
about the result of future observations
Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 1988

29 August 2005

MBA III (Research Methodology)

Course

Qualities of a Good Theory (2)


Often, competing theories are put forth to explain certain
phenomena. One cannot really be 100% certain that a given
theory is correct because, no matter on how many occasions
the results of experiments agree with the theory, there may
come an occasion when some do not
Theories must be:
Objective
Verifiable (i.e. within the accepted margins of error)
Falsifiable / disprovable
Good theories must understand, explain and predict

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MBA III (Research Methodology)

Course

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Example of a Theory: Voluntary Job Turnover

Job Performance

Labour market conditions, number of


organizations, personal characteristics,
And other partial determinants
of ease of movement

Perceived ease of movement (e.g.


Expectation of finding alternatives,
unsolicited opportunities)

Intention
To
Quit

Voluntary
Job
Turnover

Perceived desirability of movement


(e.g. job satisfaction)

Equity of pay, job complexity, participation


In decision-making, and other partial
Determinants of desirability of movement
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MBA III (Research Methodology)

Zikmund, pp. 44 - 45
Course

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Deductive Reasoning
Theory

Hypotheses

Observation

Using deductive reasoning, one


starts with a given theory as the
basis for which we develop
hypotheses and then confirm
these with specific
data acquired using observation
or experimentation
(Is our theory valid or not?)

Confirmation

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MBA III (Research Methodology)

Course

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Inductive Reasoning
Observation

Pattern

Tentative Hypothesis

Using inductive reasoning, one


starts with a specific observation
as the basis for which we develop
a general pattern and tentative
hypothesis as the foundation
of a theory

Theory

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MBA III (Research Methodology)

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The Scientific Method


The scientific method is basically an overarching perspective
on how scientific investigations should be undertaken. It can,
in effect, be considered as a complete set of principles and
methods that help researchers in all scientific disciplines
obtain valid results for their research studies, and which
includes the provision of clear and universally accepted
guidelines for acquiring, evaluating and communicating
information in the context of a research study
The goals of scientific research are, broadly speaking, to
understand, explain and predict

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MBA III (Research Methodology)

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Elements of the Scientific Method

Empirical Approach
Observation
Questions
Hypotheses
Experiments
Analysis
Conclusion
Replication

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Elements of the Scientific Method


(Empirical Approach)
Evidence-based approach. The guiding principle
behind all research conducted in accordance
with the scientific method
Data derived from direct, systematic and careful
observation and experimentation (as opposed to
speculation, intuition, opinions, hunches, gut
feeling)
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Elements of the Scientific Method


(Observation)
Awareness of the real / physical / social world in which
we exist. This, in turn, gives rise to questions as the
basis for research studies or investigations
Operational Definitions Ensures consistency when
researchers talk about or are interested in undertaking or
replicating research on the same phenomenon.
Example: What is exercise?

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MBA III (Research Methodology)

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Elements of the Scientific Method


(Questions)
Making an answerable question out of a research idea. The
question must be answered using available and established
scientific research techniques and procedures. Scientific
Analysis should not be attempted on questions which cannot
be answered
Example of an answerable question: Can regular exercising
reduce an individuals cholesterol level?
Example of a (currently) unanswerable question: Is time
travel possible?
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MBA III (Research Methodology)

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Elements of the Scientific Method


(Hypotheses)
Hypotheses attempt to explain phenomena of interest. A hypothesis
is a proposition which is empirically testable. It usually seeks to
explain relationships between variables, and predict, and must be
falsifiable
Typical hypotheses structures:
Conditional - If Condition X is fulfilled, then Outcome Y will result
Correlational - The value of Variable B is observed to be related with
changes in the value of Variable A
Causal The value of Variable determines the value of Variable

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MBA III (Research Methodology)

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Elements of the Scientific Method


(Experiments)
Experiments are basically about measuring phenomena
and collecting accurate and reliable data which are used
for analysis and evaluation
Accuracy Correctness of the Measurement
Reliability Consistency of the Measurement

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MBA III (Research Methodology)

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Elements of the Scientific Method


(Analysis)
Analysis is about the use of qualitative or quantitative
tools and techniques to process data
Quantitative tools and techniques are considered more
desirable (objective) than qualitative tools and
techniques
Statistical analysis is typically used to quantitatively
analyze data acquired in research studies
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MBA III (Research Methodology)

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Elements of the Scientific Method


(Conclusions)
Based on the results of the analysis conducted, and used to
support or refute a hypothesis
When undertaking research, conclusions should only be
based on the available data and not broadened to include
statements which are not supported by the data
Example: If the research analysis shows that two variables
are correlated (related), do not assert also that a causal
relationship exists between them
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Elements of the Scientific Method


(Replication)
The purpose of replication is to ensure that if the same
research study is conducted with different participants (i.e.
researchers, research subjects), then the same results are
achieved
Replication establishes the reliability of a research studys
conclusions
Conclusions are often based on the results of one research
study (aberration effect) which may not be accurate

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MBA III (Research Methodology)

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