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Chapter Two: Defining Research

Problem and Theory

2.1Problem Definition
• “The formulation of the problem is often
more essential than its solution.”
• Albert Einstein

• “ A problem well identified is half solved”

Importance of Starting with a good research
• A research project is proved useful when the research objectives
correspond to the true business problem
• This must be done well or else the rest of the research process is
• If not, the results deemed to be irrelevant, and then the research
is useless and do not assist in decision making
• Problem Definition is a process of defining and developing
problem statement and the steps involved in translating it into
more precise research terminologies, including research
• Problem statement is a written expression of the key questions
that the research user wishes to answer (the reason that the
research being considered)

actionable (researchable) research objects. .Continued…. • Translate the business decision situation into specific. relevant.

Factors for Complexity of problem definition • Situation is recurring/appears new • Dramatic/subtle change • Symptoms isolated/scattered • Symptoms consistent/ambiguous .


Problems means gaps • Difference between the current situation and the most preference set of conditions For instance. problem exists in organizations when. Business performance is worse than expected Actual performance is less than possible performance Expected performance is greater than possible business performance The same is true in research problem .

Defining Problem Results in Clear Cut Research Objectives Symptom Detection Analysis of the Situation Exploratory Research (Optional) Problem Definition Statement of Research Objectives .

Problem formulation involves activities Problem Discovery Problem and Definition discovery Selection of exploratory research technique Secondary Experience Pilot Case (historical) survey study study data Research Design Problem definition (statement of research objectives) .

The Process of Problem Definition Ascertain the Determine unit decision maker’s of analysis objectives Understand Determine background of relevant the problem variables Isolate/identify State research the problem. not questions and the symptoms objectives .

11 . Ascertain the Decision Maker’s Objectives • Decision makers’ objectives • Managerial goals expressed in measurable terms.

. The Iceberg Principle • The principle indicating that the dangerous part of many business problems is neither visible to nor understood by managers.

13 .The informal gathering of background information to familiarize researchers or managers with the decision area. Understand the Background of the Problem • Exercising judgment • Situation analysis .

Isolate and Identify the Problems. Not the Symptoms • Symptoms can be confusing 14 .

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 .

town a few years ago. Problem Definition Organization Symptoms Based on Symptom True Problem Twenty-year-old Membership has been Neighborhood Demographic changes: neighborhood declining for years. swimming pool. . -Older residents no longer swim anywhere. residents prefer the Children in this 20- swimming New water park with expensive water year-old neighborhood association in a wave pool and water park and have -children have grown major city. slides moved into negative image of up.

What Language Is Written on This Stone Found by Archaeologists? TOTI EMUL ESTO .

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

• More than one level of analysis is also possible 19 . • In many studies. Determine the Unit of Analysis • Who should provide the data and at what level of aggregation • Individuals. etc. the family rather than the individual is the appropriate unit of analysis. organizations. households.

magnitude. direction) • Constant is something that doesn’t change and is not useful in addressing research questions 20 . Determine the Relevant Variable • What things to be studied • Any thing that changes from one instance to another • Anything that may assume different values (in strength.

Types of Variables • Categorical • Continuous • Dependent • Independent .

Hypothesis • An unproven proposition • A possible solution to a problem .

State the research questions and research objectives 23 .

any road will take you there. .If you do not know where you are going.

Broad Statement Exploratory research of business research objectives problem (optional) Specific Specific Specific Objective 1 Objective 2 Objective 3 Research Results Design .

Research Proposal • A written statement of the research design that includes a statement explaining the purpose of the study • Detailed outline of procedures associated with a particular methodology .

The proposal as a planning tool • Preparation of a proposal forces the researcher to think critically about each stage of the res-process • Research users evaluate the proposed study whether or not it will provide useful information. whether it will do so within a reasonable time and resource • Effective proposal communicates exactly what information will be obtained. where and how it will be obtained. .

the proposal is signed by both sides and will be binding in the research process (serve as a written statement of agreement) . The Proposal as a contract • When the research is conducted by consultant or outside researcher. a proposal is considered as an offer to a bid (so management can evaluate the relative quality of competing researches based on proposal) • If accepted.

Basic Questions - Problem Definition • What is the purpose of the study? • How much is already known? • Is additional background information necessary? • What is to be measured? How? • Can the data be made available? • Should research be conducted? • Can a hypothesis be formulated? .

Basic Questions - Basic Research Design • What types of questions need to be answered? • Are descriptive or causal findings required? • What is the source of the data? .

Basic Questions - Basic Research Design • Can objective answers be obtained by asking people? • How quickly is the information needed? • How should survey questions be worded? • How should experimental manipulations be made? .

Basic Questions - Selection of Sample • Who or what is the source of the data? • Can the target population be identified? • Is a sample necessary? • How accurate must the sample be? • Is a probability sample necessary? • Is a national sample necessary? • How large a sample is necessary? • How will the sample be selected? .

Basic Questions - Data Gathering • Who will gather the data? • How long will data gathering take? • How much supervision is needed? • What operational procedures need to be followed? .

Basic Questions - Data Analysis • Will standardized editing and coding procedures be used? • How will the data be categorized? • What statistical software will be used? • What is the nature of the data? • What questions need to be answered? • How many variables are to be investigated simultaneously? • Performance criteria for evaluation? .

Basic Questions - Type of Report • Who will read the report? • Are managerial recommendations requested? • How many presentations are required? • What will be the format of the written report? .

Basic Questions - Overall Evaluation • How much will the study cost? • Is the time frame acceptable? • Is outside help needed? • Will this research design attain the stated research objectives? • When should the research be scheduled to begin? .

Anticipating Outcomes • The proposal should help to communicate the expected results. • Should make clear any misunderstandings • Representations of the actual tables that will be in the findings section of the final report. . used to gain a better understanding of what the actual outcomes of the research will be.