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BUSINESS RESEARCH METHODS

RESEARCH PHILIOSOPHIES Research is not neutral, but reflects a range of the researchers personal interests, values, abilities, assumptions, aims and ambitions. In the case of your own proposed research, your own mixtures of these elements will not only determine the subject of the research, but will influence your approach to it. It is important to consider in advance what approach you to take with your research and why.

THE PURPOSE OF RESEARCH IS TO Review or synthesize existing knowledge Investigate existing situations or problems Provide solutions to problems Explore and analyse more general issues Construct or create new procedures or systems Explain new phenomenon Generate new knowledge or a combination of any of the above!

Research refers to a search for knowledge. Research is an art of scientific investigation. The Advanced Learners Dictionary of Current English lays down the meaning of research as, a careful investigation or inquiry specially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge.

Redman and Mory define research as a, Systematized effort to gain new knowledge. Some people consider research as a movement, a movement from the known to the unknown. According t Clifford woody, research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions collecting, organising and evaluating data, making deductions and reaching conclusions; to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis

TYPES OF RESEARCH

It is imperative that a marketer has to have a broad understanding of the various types of research, in general. There are eleven types of research depending on whether it is primarily fundamental or applied in nature. They are as follows: 1. Applied research, also known as decisional research, use existing knowledge as an aid to the solution of some given problem or set of problems. 2. Fundamental research, frequently called basic or pure research, seeks to extend the boundaries of knowledge in a given area with no necessary immediate application to existing problems.

3. Futuristic research: Futures research is the systematic study of possible future conditions. It includes analysis of how those conditions might change as a result of the implementation of policies and actions, and the consequences of these policies and actions. 4. Descriptive research includes surveys and factfinding enquiries of different kinds. It tries to discover answers to the questions who, what, when and sometimes how. Here the researcher attempts to describe or define a subject, often by creating a profile of a group of problems, people, or events. The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as it exists at present

5. Explanatory research: Explanatory research goes beyond description and attempts to explain the reasons for the phenomenon that the descriptive research only observed. The research would use theories or at least hypothesis to account for the forces that caused a certain phenomenon to occur. 6. Predictive research: If we can provide a plausible explanation for an event after it has occurred, it is desirable to be able to predict when and in what situations the event will occur. This research is just as rooted in theory as explanation. This research calls for a high order of inference making. In business research, prediction is found in studies conducted to evaluate specific courses of action or to forecast current and future values

7. Analytical research: The researcher has to use facts or information already available, and analyse these to make a critical evaluation of the material. 8. Quantitative research: Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity.

9. Qualitative research: It is concerned with qualitative phenomenon (i.e.) phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind. This type of research aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires, using in depth interviews for the purpose. Other techniques of such research are word association test, sentence completion test, story completion tests and similar other projective techniques. Attitude or opinion research i.e., research designed to find out how people feel or what the think about a particular subject or institution is also qualitative research.

10. Conceptual research: Conceptual research is that related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones. 11. Empirical research: It is appropriate when proof is sought that certain variables affect other variables in some way. Evidence gathered through experiments or empirical studies is today considered to be the most powerful support possible for a give hypothesis

CASE STUDIES

A case study offers an opportunity to study a particular subject, e.g. one organisation, in depth, or a group of people, and usually involves gathering and analysing information; information that may be both qualitative and quantitative. Case studies can be used to formulate theories, or be: Descriptive (e.g. where current practice is described in detail) Illustrative (e.g. where the case studies illustrate new practices adopted by an organisation Experimental (e.g. where difficulties in adopting new practices or procedures are examined) Explanatory (e.g. where theories are used as a basis

Researchers are increasingly using autobiography as a means of collecting information from small groups of respondents to seek patterns, underlying issues and life concerns. This method could be used, for example, to trace the influences of variables, such as social class, gender and educational experiences on career development and career progression, or lack of it, within an organisation. It can be, however a time consuming process as it requires trust to be built between researcher and the people concerned.

ACTION RESEARCH

Action research involves an intervention by a researcher to influence change in any given situation and to monitor and evaluate the results. The researcher, working with a client, identifies a particular objective, e.g. ways of improving telephone responses to difficult clients, and explores ways this might be done. The researcher enters into the situation, e.g. by introducing new techniques, and monitors the results. This research requires active co-operation between researcher and client and a continual process of adjustment to the intervention in the light of new information and responses to it from respondents.

What is Business Research? The application of the scientific method in searching for the truthabout business phenomena. These activities include defining business opportunities and problems, generating and evaluating ideas, monitoring performance, and understanding the business process.

What is Business research ?

Business research is a management tool that companies use to reduce uncertainty Business research is the systematic and objective process of gathering, recording, and analyzing data for decision making Managers can use business research in all stages of the decision-making process: to define problems; to identify opportunities; and to clarify alternatives. Research is also used to evaluate current programs and courses of action, to explain what went wrong with managerial efforts in the past, and to forecast future conditions.

A manager determines whether business research should be conducted based on (1) time constraints, (2) the availability of data (3) the nature of the decision to be made, and (4) the benefits of the research information in relation to its costs.

Research Design

A research design is a framework or blueprint for conducting the research project. It gives details, of the procedures necessary for obtaining the information needed to structure or solve research problems. Although a broad approach to the problem has already been developed, the research design specifies the details-the nuts and bolts of implementing that approach. A research design lays the foundation for conducting the project. A good research design will ensure that the business research project is conducted effectively. Typically a research design involves the following components, or tasks.

1. Define the information needed. 2. Design the exploratory, descriptive, and/or causal phases of the research. 3. Specify the measurement and scaling procedures. 4. Construct and pretest a questionnaire (interviewing form) or an appropriate form for data collection. 5. Specify the sampling process and sample size. 6. Develop a plan of data analysis.

CLASSIFICATION OF RESEARCH DESIGN

Exploratory research is used in cases when you must define the problem more precisely, identify relevant courses of action, or gain additional insights before an approach can be developed. Conclusive research is typically more formal and structured than is exploratory research. It is based on large, representative samples, and the data obtained are subjected to quantitative analysis.

Why conduct exploratory research? Three interrelated forms of exploratory research exist: (1) diagnosing a situation, (2) screening alternatives, and (3) discovering new ideas. A manager may choose from four general categories of exploratory research methods: (1) experience surveys, (2) secondary data analysis, (3) case studies, and (4) pilot studies.

Experience survey consists of interviews with a small number of experienced people who have been carefully selected. Secondary data analysis is economical and quick source of background information is trade literature in the public library. The purpose of the case study method is to obtain information from one or a few situations that are similar to the researchers problem situation. The primary advantage of the case study is that an entire organization or entity can be investigated in depth and with meticulous attention to detail.

MAJOR TOPICS FOR RESEARCH IN BUSINESS General Business, Economic, and corporate Research Short-range forecasting (up to one year) Long-range forecasting (over one year) Studies of business and industry trends Inflation and pricing studies Plant and warehouse location studies Acquisition studies Export and international studies Financial and Accounting Research Forecasts of financial interest-rate trends Stock, bond, and commodity value predictions Capital formation alternatives

Research related to mergers and acquisitions Risk-return trade off studies Impact of taxes Portfolio analysis Research on financial institutions Expected-rate-of-return studies Capital asset pricing models Credit risk management in corporates Cost analysis Management and Organizational Behavior Research Total quality management Morale and job satisfaction

Leadership styles and their effectiveness Employee productivity Organizational effectiveness Structural studies Absenteeism and turnover Organizational communication Time and motion studies Physical environment studies Labor union trends Sales and Marketing Research Measurement of market potentials Market-share analysis

Market segmentation studies Determination of market characteristics Sales analysis Establishment of sales quotas, territories Distribution-channel studies New-product concept tests Test-market studies Advertising research Buyerbehavior/consumer satisfaction studies Corporate Responsibility Research Ecological impact studies Legal constraints on advertising and promotion studies Sex, age, and racial discrimination worker-equity studies Social values and ethics studies.