You are on page 1of 25

Introduction to The

Research Methods
Lecture – 1
Research Methods

Department of Business Administration

IQRA University (Gulshan Campus)
What is Research?
• “Research is a process of steps used to collect and
analyze information to increase our understanding of a
topic or issue” (J. W. Creswell)

• “In the broadest sense of the word, the definition of

research includes any gathering of data, information and
facts for the advancement of knowledge” (Martyn

Hierarchy of Understanding

Hierarchy of Understanding
Data – refers to the facts and figures, usually the result of
experience, observation or experiment or a set of premises. This
may consist of numbers, words, or images, particularly as
measurements or observations of a set of variables.

Information – ordered data can be drawn out in discussion to its

abstract form in more specific but subjective manner, as can be
interpreted various ways. It has a diversity of meanings from
everyday usage to technical settings.

Hierarchy of Understanding
Knowledge – derives from placing information alongside practical
experience applying in the real world. This includes expertise and skills
through experience or education; the theoretical or practical
understanding of a subject, what is known in a particular field or in
total; facts and information or awareness or familiarity gained by
experience of a fact or situation.

Wisdom – results from bringing several unrelated knowledge together

in order to be able to see a problem situation more clearly. It is having
gained knowledge, understanding, experience, discretion, and intuitive
understanding, along with a capacity to apply these qualities well. It is
the sensible and well judged application of knowledge.
Why Conduct Research?
• Fills in blanks in our knowledge

• Expands our own understanding of issues

• Reproduce knowledge, to validate other’s work

• Add other perspectives to the knowledge base

• Improves Practice
• Learn about new practices (new ways of doing)
• Evaluate existing practices (why are we doing this?)

• Informs about important policy issues 6

Two Major Research Strategies
Qualitative research strategy
• Usually emphasizes words rather than quantification in the collection and
analysis of the data.

• Predominantly emphasizes an inductive approach to the relationship between

theory and research, in which the emphasis is placed on the generalization of

• Embodies a view of social reality as a constantly shifting emergent property of

individuals creation (process).

Quantitative research strategy

• Emphasizes quantification in the collection and analysis of data.

• Entails a deductive approach to the relationship between theory and research, in

which the accent is placed on the testing of theories.

• Embodies a view of social reality as an external objective reality. 7

Ethos of Research
Qualitative Approach
• Seeing through the eyes of the people being studied
• Emphasis on content (thick description)
• Emphasis on process
• Flexibility and limited structure
• Concepts and theory grounded in data

Quantitative Approach
• Measurement
• Causality
• Statistical (generalization) 8
• Objectivity (vs researcher’s subjectivity)
Data Collection Methods
Qualitative Quantitative

Subjective Objective

Non-numerical Numeric

Non-statistical analysis Statistical analysis

Small numbers Large numbers

Open ended data collection Structured data collection

Narrative for results Table/graphs to display results 9

Elements of the Research Process

Inductive thinking Deductive thinking

(Qualitative) (Quantitative)

Observation Theory

Patterns Hypothesis

Hypothesis Observation

Theory Confirmation
Research Process Cycle
Identifying a

Reporting & Reviewing the

evaluating literature

Analysis / Purpose &

interpretation methodology

Collecting 11
Research Process Cycle (cont.)
Identifying a research problem Collecting data
Specifying a problem Study groups/control and treatment
Justifying it Permission
Why do we need to study it Gathering information

Reviewing the literature Analysis/interpretation

Locating resources Breaking down data
Selecting Depicting data
Summarizing Explaining data

Purpose and methodology Reporting and evaluating

Purpose statements What does this mean?
Funneling/narrowing to research Which audience?
questions or hypothesis Structuring report (documenting)
Qualitative Research Explained
• Qualitative research is an umbrella concept covering several
forms of inquiry that focus on understanding and explain
meaning of a social phenomena.

• Emphasis on seeing the world from the eyes of the participants.

• Strive to make sense of phenomena in terms of the meanings

people bring to them.

• Holistic emphasis – studying the person, group, culture in the

natural setting.

• The focus is on subjective experiences, or the meanings that
people use.
Qualitative Research Explained
• Because meaning resides in language (people think with
language), qualitative research largely involves studying text.

• The best device for collecting and analyzing qualitative

information is the human brain.

• Observations and findings depend on understanding contexts

and the meanings held by the people in those contexts and
the meanings of the things in those contexts.

• Observations are typically of interactions in smaller groups or

selectively defined settings. 14
Characteristics of Qualitative
• Takes place in the natural setting: travel to sites

• Researcher is the primary method of data collection

• Observation
• Interview
• Documents
• Audiovisual

• Emergent rather than tightly prefigured 15

Characteristics of Qualitative
Research (cont.)
• Based upon interpretation

• Views social phenomena holistically

• Qualitative researchers reflect and are explicit regarding personal

assumptions and values

• Uses both deductive and inductive logic

• Deductive: going from specific to large
• Inductive: going from broad to specific

• Can use multiple methods 16

Qualitative Research Methods in
• Narrative Research
• Focus on studying a single person and gathering data through the
collection of stories that are used to construct a narrative about the
individual’s experience and the meanings he/she attributes to them.

• Phenomenology
• Focus on understanding the essence of experiences surrounding a
phenomena, purpose of this approach is to illuminate the specific, to
identify phenomena through how they are perceived by the actors in a

• Grounded Theory
• Focus on systematic generation of theory through the analysis of data 17
that contains both inductive and deductive thinking, one goal is to
formulate hypotheses based on conceptual ideas.
Qualitative Research Methods in
Practice (cont.)
• Ethnography
• Focus on describing and interpreting a cultural and social group,
understanding is developed through close exploration of several
sources of data, using these data sources as a foundation,
the researcher relies on a cultural frame of analysis.

• Case Study
• Focus on developing an in-depth analysis of a single or multiple cases
and analyzed either to build up or validate models or theories, typically
through collection of textual data through interviews, observations and
document analysis.
Qualitative Research Methods in
Practice (cont.)
• Action Research
• Focus on collection and analysis of data to provide a solution to the
practical, valued problems of organization, identified by its dual goal of
both improving the organization participating in the research project
and at the same time generating knowledge.

• Historical Research
• Focus on descriptions of historical, legal, or policy issues through an
analysis of documents, oral histories and relics.

Stages in Qualitative Research
• Theory
• Hypothesis
• Research design
• Devise measures of concepts (operationalization)
• Select research site(s)
• Select research subjects/respondents
• Administer research instruments/collect data
• Process data
• Analyze data
• Findings/conclusions
• Document findings/conclusions 20
Advantages & Limitations of
Qualitative Research
• Focus on the whole of the human experience and the meanings ascribed
to them by participants.
• They provide the researcher with deep insights that would not be possible
using quantitative methods.
• The major strength of qualitative work is the validity of the data it
• Participants’ true reality is likely to be reflected.

• Qualitative research is too subjective in nature.
• Difficult to replicate – scenario dependent.
• Problems of generalization.
• Lack of transparency – could be bias! 21
• Researchers become the research tools and may lack objectivity.
Qualitative Research in Action
Formulating a research question
• General and intuitive in the beginning – should be as
definite as possible

• Research question will guide:

• Literature search
• Decisions about the research design to employ
• Decision about what data to collect and from whom
• Analysis of data
• Writing up of the data
• How to stop from going off in unnecessary directions and
tangents 22
Qualitative Research in Action
Research plan
• Questions that should be answered:
• Why your research topic is interesting and relevant?
• What issues is it connected to?
• What already has been written about the topic and is it
• How are you planning to approach the topic – what is your point
of view, what is your context?
• What is your research question and how you analyze it?
• What will be your data – why this particular data, why is it
restricted to a certain social setting?
• What is your methodology – why is it better than some other
possible methodologies? 23
• How are you planning to proceed in you research?
Qualitative Research in Action
Documenting social research
• An essential part of qualitative research
• Conceptualization develop and deepen during the write-up
• Basic structure of qualitative presentation:
• Introduction
• Literature review
• Theory
• Research design/methodology
• Empirical presentation of the case
• Results and theoretical discussion 24
• Conclusion
Ethical Issues in Qualitative
• Respecting Participant Rights

• Maintain confidentiality (of individuals and communities)

• Honoring Research Sites

• Get permission first
• Don’t overly disturb operation
• Remember you may be a guest

• Reporting Research Fully & Honestly

• Make sure your reporting is accurate
• Report what you find even if it does not support your hypothesis