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Research Methods for

Business Studies

Week 1

How This Course Will Be Conducted
 Introduction to Research Methodology (Business Research Methods)

 Knowledge acquisition and application of subject matter to real-life situations

 Use of multimedia visual aids (MS PowerPoint slides)

 SPSS application

 Encouragement of questions, comments and constructive criticism from course


 Analytical and critical thinking, inquisitiveness as well as common sense from

course participants also expected

The DO‘s and DONT‘s Catalogue for Course Participants

• listen attentively • be late to class. We start at 6 PM

• be considerate and amenable PM sharp!
• be inquisitive, analytical and critical • distract the attention of other
in your approach to learning course participants
research methodology • use mobile phones or send SMS
• mention if you do not understand messages in the class
something and seek clarification • follow a rote-learning approach.
• read the prescribed course There is zero tolerance for this in
literature. It is the basic all classes taught at CIIT!
requirement for comprehending • feel afraid to bring up any relevant
research methodology and point for discussion
succeeding in this course • hesitate to visit me at my office,
• start reading from the beginning individually or as a group, if you
of the course and not towards the have a course-related problem and
end! seek counseling in this regard
Fundamental Course Objectives
• To acquaint course participants with all salient aspects of research methodology in
accordance with the current body of scientific literature on this challenging, interesting
and indepensible area of management science

• To show that the subject of research methodology has matured into a substantive
body of knowledge, an indepth understanding of which is crucial for ensuring the
success of commercial or non-commercial organizations

• To show and encourage the course participants that the theoretical knowledge
acquired in this course can - with the appropriate context-related modifications - be
applied to numerous real-life situations in business, public-sector and non-profit

• To stimulate interest in the business research field as a prospective career field

Demands on Course Participants

The essence of knowledge is having it to apply it - Confucius

 Acquisition and careful application of knowledge

 Analytical and critical thinking, innovation, inquisitiveness
 Holistic perspective

• Quizzes & (proof that the course participant is familar with the essentials
Sessionals of research methodology)

• Examination

Important Information for Course Participants – (1)
 You MUST read the course literature from the beginning of the semester.
Relying on the PowerPoint slides is NOT sufficient! The purpose of these
slides is to provide you with a broad and general introduction to research
methodology. Kindly note that the slides are intended as a supplement
to, and NOT as a substitute for the prescribed course literature

 The prescribed course literature will be used as a reference for the quizzes,
sessionals and final examination. Failure to read and understand the course
literature could mean that a course participant will fail the course! An
automatic passing grade in this course is NOT guaranteed, rather, a course
participant‘s marks will reflect his or her effort and performance in the

Important Information for Course Participants – (2)

 Plagiarism will NOT be tolerated! If caught, zero marks will be given

 The course lectures, discussions etc. will be conducted exclusively in


What is Business Research?

• Business Research may be defined as the

“systematic and objective process of gathering,
recording and analyzing data for aid in making
business decisions” (Zikmund, Business Research
Methods, 2002, p. 6)

• Systematicness and Objectivity are its

distinguishing features of Business Research,
which is important tool for managers and
decision-makers in corporate and non-corporate
When is Business Research Used?

Typically, business research methods are

used in situations of uncertainty, that is,
when decision-makers face two or more
courses of action and seek to select the
best possible alternative under the
circumstances. Business Research is
hence aimed at improving the quality of
decision-making which, in turn, benefits
the organization and helps ensure its
continuity and efficiency
Typical Users of Business Research Methods

• Businesses and Corporations

• Public-Sector Agencies
• Consulting Firms
• Research Institutes
• Non-Governmental Organizations
• Non-Profit Organizations
• Independent Researchers and Consultants

Common Business Research Methods &

• Surveys
• Interviews
• Observation
• Experiments
• Archival and Historical Data
• Qualitative Analysis
• Quantitative Analysis

Fields Where Business Research is Often Used – (1)
General Business Conditions and Financial and Accounting Research
Corporate Research
• Forecasts of financial interest rate
• Short- & Long-Range Forecasting, trends,
• Business and Industry Trends • Stock,bond and commodity value
• Global Environments predictions
• Inflation and Pricing • capital formation alternatives
• Plant and Warehouse Location • mergers and acquisitions
• Acquisitions • risk-return trade-offs
• portfolio analysis
Management and Organizational • impact of taxes
Behaviour Research • research on financial institutions
• expected rate of return
• Total Quality Management • capital asset pricing models
• Morale and Job Satisfaction • credit risk
• Leadership Style • cost analysis
• Employee Productivity
• Organizational Effectiveness
• Structural ssues
• Absenteeism and turnover
• Organizational Climate

Fields Where Business Research is Often Used – (2)
Sales and Marketing Research Information Systems Research

• Market Potentials • Knowledge and information needs

• Market Share assessment
• Market segmentation • Computer information system use and
• Market characteristics evaluation
• Sales Analysis • Technical suppot satisfaction
• Establishment of sales quotas • Database analysis
• Distribution channels • Data mining
• New product concepts • Enterprise resource planning systems
• Test markets • Customer relationship management
• Advertising research
• Buyer behaviour
Corporate Responsibility Research
• Customer satisfaction
• Website visitation rates
• Ecological Impact
• Legal Constraints on advertising and
• Sex, age and racial discrimination /
worker equity
• Social values and ethics

Basic and Applied Research
Basic Research aims to expand the frontiers of science and knowledge by
verifying or disproving the acceptability of a given theory or attempting to
discover more about a certain concept (non-specificity)

Example: How does motivation affect employee performance?

Applied Research focusses on a real-life problem or situation with a view

to helping reach a decision how to deal with it (Specificity)

Example: Should Corporation X adopt a paperless office environment?

Science and the Scientific Method
Science has been defined as “the methodological and
systematic approach to acquisition of new knowledge”
(Geoffrey Marcyzk, David DeMatteo, David Festinger, Essentials of
Research Design and Methodology, John Wiley & Sons, 2005, p. 4)

The scientific method, which has evolved since the 13th

century, concerns the set of tools, techniques and
procedures used by basic and applied researchers to
analyze and understand phenomena and prove or
disprove prior conceptions

The Essence of the Scientific Method

Characteristics of the Scientific Method

Elements of the
Objectivity Scientific Method
Systematic Analysis
Logical Interpretation of Results

Empirical Approach
Basic Experiments
General Laws


Applied Information or
Research Ideas for alternative
Courses of action
The Value of Business Research for Managers – (1)

Reduction of uncertainty and improvement in

the quality of decision-making with several
consequent advantages (e.g. strategic,
operational) and benefits for organizations

Business Research Methods can be employed

in each of the following four stages:

(1) Identification of problems and/or opportunities

Useful for strategy planning, analysis of internal and
external organizational environment

The Value of Business Research for Managers – (2)

(2) Diagnosing and Assessment of problems and/or


Its purpose is to gain insight into the underlying

reasons and causes for the situation. If there is a
problem, it asks what happened and why? If there is
an opportunity, it seeks to explore, clarify and refine
the nature of the opportunity and, in the case of
multiple opportunities, seeks to set priorities

(3) Selection and Implementation of Courses of Action

After alternative courses of action have been

determined, selection of the best possible course.
The Value of Business Research for Managers – (3)

An important consideration is the quality of

forecasting which is an essential tool of research

(4) Evaluating the Course of Action

Business Research Methods are used after a course

of action has been implemented in order to
determine whether activities have been properly
implemented and have accomplished what they
intended to do

The Value of Business Research for Managers – (4)
Evaluation Research – It is the formal objective
measurement and evaluation of the extent which an
activity, project or programme has achieved its goal, and
the factors which influence performance (e.g. audits). It is
also the formal objective measurement and evaluation of
the extent to which on-going activities, projects or
programmes are meeting their goals (performance-
monitoring research)

Examples of performance-monitoring research:

(1) Are railway passengers satisfied with the level of

service the railway company is providing? If not, then
research may need to be undertaken to ascertain the
reasons for customer dissatisfaction and propose
corrective measures
The Value of Business Research for Managers – (5)

(2) What are the trends in retail and wholesale sector?

Can research suggest new ways to improve efficiency
in purchase transactions?

When Should Business Research be Undertaken?
Is sufficient time


Is information
inadequate? NO Do not
undertake Business Research

High importance
of decision?


Research benefits
greater than costs? Undertake Business Research

Value and Costs of Undertaking Business


Decreased Uncertainty Research Costs

Higher Likelihood of Delay in Making
Correct Decisions Business Decisions
Better Business Disclosure of
performance Information to Rivals
Higher Profits Possibility of Error
Better Reputation

The Building Blocks of Research

Blend of information, experience and in-sights that

KNOWLEDGE provides a framework that can be thoughtfully evaluated
when assessing new information or evaluating
relevant situations

Determination of relationship amongst data with a

view to facilitating understanding of the phenomena,
their relationships and decision-making
(e.g. past and predicted future sales trends)

DATA Measurements of phenomena

(e.g. sales statistics of a department store)

Demands on Data & Information
• Relevance to the problem or situation at hand
• Must be available in a timely manner to the right person
(manager or decision-maker)
• Completeness
• Accuracy
• Accessibility
• Affordability
• Integrateability into a broader global information or
decision-support system

Databases & Software

• Databases are collections of raw data which

have been arranged in a logical manner and
which can be stored and processed

• Software are programmes that allow complex

operations to be undertaken on data and which
give information for managers and decision-

• Data Warehousing & Data Mining