BUSINESS RESEARCH METHOD
Basic research would basically refer to systematic study which is aimed at fuller knowledge or a deeper understanding of the essential aspects of phenomena as well as of observable facts. This would be done with no precise applications towards any processes or products in mind. At the same time basic research could possibly comprise activities with maybe broad applications in mind. On the other hand, applied research identifies a systematic study undertaken to obtain knowledge or understanding which is necessary in order to establish the possible means by which a known and exact need may be met. The terms fundamental or pure research have also been applied to basic research. It refers to research motivated by a scientist's or person's curiosity or keen interest in a scientific question. Applied research may be thought of as intended to solve practical problems.
BUSINESS RESEARCH METHOD The Series of Essay 1 ESSAY ONE Basic research would basically refer to systematic study which is aimed at fuller knowledge or a deeper understanding of the essential aspects of phenomena as well as of observable facts. This would be done with no precise applications towards any processes or products in mind. At the same time basic research could possibly comprise activities with maybe broad applications in mind. On the other hand, applied research identifies a systematic study undertaken to obtain knowledge or understanding which is necessary in order to establish the possible means by which a known and exact need may be met. The terms fundamental or pure research have also been applied to basic research. It refers to research motivated by a scientist's or person's curiosity or keen interest in a scientific question. Applied research may be thought of as intended to solve practical problems. Basic research whether in business research or any other field has as its basic goal, to expand one's knowledge. Basic questions such as, “How can we increase production and save money at the same time”, might be a question for business. If, we increase production, we also increase the cost of payroll by hiring additional production employees. “How can this save money?” Curiosity lies at the heart of all business and it is this curiosity, which causes business to constantly ask questions that require research. Today modern business uses research techniques and the latest technology to achieve these goals. Basic research aims to enhance the understanding of problems that commonly occur across a range of organisations while an applied research is done with the intention of applying results to specific problems in the especially in business. One person has at any given time can defines his or her research goal, as an idea to investigate, and a question to answer. It is the type of question which determines the nature of the research. Applied research is solutions designed from basic research information, aimed at the solution of business problems within the company. The goal of applied research is change for the better, improvements in business management and practice aimed at improving the human condition. Regardless of the type of business, applied research has as its goal in business to improve production, increase sales, control losses, restore efficiency and establish solid financial investment in the future. 2 Basic research has understanding as only goal. Basic research does only promise a contribution to question, not to anything else, but it can give the most unexpected applications. Therefore as researcher, we can draw a borderline between basic and applied research by sorting questions into those with or without knowledge as to be achieved. As any business theory is based upon an idea or mental plan for creating a successful business, investigation into what others are doing and using what is known to discover new and better ways to solve the unknown answers in business is an ongoing process. Using innovative technology and modern developmental processes paved the way for industry development in today's modern world. As conclusion, historically basic research has led to the application of basic research to improve and develop our modern world of business industries world wide. Good concepts of basic or applied research in the context of business policy must be inspiring for the individual in any research group. REFERENCE C.C Beri (2000) Marketing Research. (3rd ed.). New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill Sekaran, U. (2000). Research Methods for Business. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Tuckman, B. (1999). Conducting Educational Research (5th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. 3 ESSAY 2 The research process should be understood as one of ongoing planning, searching, discovery, reflection, synthesis, revision, and learning. According to Sekaran. U (2001), research is a process of thoroughly studying and analyzing the situational factors surrounding a problem in order to seek out solutions to it. Therefore research process is a systematic, careful inquiry or examination to discover new information or relationships and to expand or verify existing knowledge for some specified purpose. In the business world, research process includes the systematic identification, collection, analysis and distribution of information for the purpose of knowledge development and decision making. It can be in the form of marketing research, product research or SWOT analysis. The reasons and times at which the company or organization might consider performing research varies, but the general purpose of gaining intelligence for decision making remains constant throughout. There are plenty of little steps along the way of research process. Each of those steps fits into one of the six major steps of the research process. They are: 1. Identifying the Problem This step is always the first of the research process. At this point, the problem will have been recognized by at least one level of management, and internal discussions will have taken place. Sometimes, further definition of the issue or problem is needed. The most common tools are internal and external secondary research. Secondary research intelligence consists of information that was collected for another purpose, but can be useful for other purposes. Examples of internal secondary research for a marketing research consist of sales revenues, sales forecasts, customer demographics, purchase patterns, and other information that has been collected about the customer. Often referred to as data mining, this information can be critical in diagnosing the problem for further exploration and should be leveraged when available and appropriate. The amount of internal secondary information that can be applied is typically limited. External secondary research is typically far more available. Most external secondary information is produced via research conducted for other purposes, financial performance data, expert opinions and analysis, corporate executive interviews, legal proceedings, and competitive intelligence firms. 4 2. Research Approach Once the problem is better defined, researcher can move onto developing the research approach, which will generally be around a defined set of objectives. Any clear objectives will lend researcher to better marketing research approach development. Developing the approach should consist of honestly assessing the research skills, understanding the environment and its influencing factors, developing an analysis model, and formulating hypotheses. 3. Research Design and Strategy Research design and strategy is the most encompassing of all steps in the research process, requiring the greatest amount of thought, time and expertise. Since the intelligence eventually gained from the research is so closely related to the selected research design, this is the single most import step in the research process and the step most vulnerable to common marketing research errors. Research design and strategy includes secondary information analysis, qualitative research, methodology selection, question measurement and scale selection, questionnaire design, sample design & size and determining data analysis to be used. 4. Research Data Collection The research data collection (often called survey fielding) is the point at which the finalized survey instrument is used in gathering information among the chosen sample segments. There are a variety of data collection methodologies to consider. Any research data collection typically begins with field testing the final questionnaire with a small portion of the sample taken to make sure it is gathering information correctly. Then data collection can be fairly automatic throughout the remainder of the research data collection process. When quota groups and/or sample subgroups are being screened for, data collection will require more oversight, maintenance time and cost. Regardless of the data collection methodology chosen, the data collection process often takes half of the total time needed to complete a research project. 5. Survey Data Analysis Any survey data analysis will depend on how the survey questionnaire was constructed. Less complex survey data analysis can be handled with any of a number of office suite 5 tools, while more complex questionnaire data analysis requires dedicated research analysis programs. Types of statistical survey data analysis that might be performed are simple frequency distributions, cross tab analysis, multiple regression (driver analysis), cluster analysis, factor analysis, perceptual mapping (multidimensional scaling), structural equation modeling and data mining. The more complex the needed level of statistical data analysis is, the more time and cost it will take to execute. 6. Research Reports Any critical information and knowledge that comes from the research findings will be limited by how the research reports are presented to decision makers. Once research information is collected and analyzed, present it in an organized manner to the decision makers of the business. The data gathered was created to help guide the business decisions, so it needs to be readily accessible and understandable to the decision makers. As conclusion, building a framework process for a research is very important. Equally important is to establish links between research type of approach, theoretical framework, and process involve during research and results of a research finding. In addition, the proposed sequence or step in research process helps answer the question, whether the findings answer and justify the rationale or base for conducting the research which benefiting the company and the organization. 6 REFERENCE C.C Beri (2000) Marketing Research. (3rd ed.). New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill Hudson, W. & Nurius, P. (1994). Controversial Issues in Social Work Research. Boston, MA:Allyn and Bacon. Sekaran, U. (2000). Research Methods for Business. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Tuckman, B. (1999). Conducting Educational Research (5th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. 7 ESSAY 3 Literature survey is the documentation of a comprehensive review of the published and unpublished work from secondary sources data in the areas of specific interest to the researcher. For example, the library is a rich storage base for secondary data and researchers used to spend several weeks and sometimes months going through books, journals, newspapers, magazines, conference proceedings, doctoral dissertations, master's theses, government publications and financial reports to find information on their research topic. With computerized databases now readily available and accessible the literature search is much speedier and easier. The researcher could start the literature survey even as the information from the unstructured and structured interviews is being gathered. Reviewing the literature on the topic area at this time helps the researcher to focus further interviews more meaningfully on certain aspects found to be important is the published studies even if these had not surfaced during the earlier questioning. So the literature survey is important for gathering the secondary data for the research which might be proved very helpful in the research. The literature survey can be conducted for several reasons. The literature survey can be in any area of the business. An in-depth interview is a qualitative research technique that allows person to person discussion. It can lead to increased insight into people's thoughts, feelings, and behavior on important issues. This type of interview is often unstructured and therefore permits the interviewer to encourage an informant (or respondent) to talk at length about the topic of interest. The in-depth interview uses a flexible interview approach. It aims to ask questions to explain the reasons underlying a problem or practice in a target group. It is the technique to gather ideas and to gather information. Actually, both the literature survey and in-depth interview methods are contributing one another in term of developing a theoretical framework. Theoretical framework visually tells the big picture (research) of the study identifies literature review categories and directs research objectives. A typical theoretical framework with the help of both literature survey and in-depth interview approach provides a schematic description of relationships between and among independent, dependent, moderator, control, and extraneous variables so that a researcher can easily comprehend the theorized relationships. Therefore, a theoretical framework is the conceptual model of how one theorizes or makes logical sense of the 8 relationships among the several factors that have been identified as important to the problem. In depth interview should suffice to develop a theoretical framework but literature survey does completed the flows from the documentation of previous research in the problem by integrating logical beliefs with published research, taking into consideration the boundaries and constraints governing both the situation. The purpose of both in depth interview and literature survey is to ensure that no important variable that has in the past been found repeatedly to have had an impact on the problem is ignored. The variables considered relevant to the study should be clearly identified and labelled. It is possible that some of the critical variables are never brought out in the interviews, because the employees cannot articulate them or are unaware of their impact or because the variables seem so obvious to interviews that they are not specifically stated. If there are variables that are not identified during the interviews, but influence the problem critically then research done without considering them would be an exercise in futility. Theoretical framework is the foundation on which the entire research project is based on. As conclusion, the relationship between the literature survey and the in depth interview provides a solid foundation for developing the theoretical framework. It is done through interrelationships among the variables that are deemed to be integral to the dynamics of the situation being investigated. REFERENCE Creswell, J.W. (1998). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Hart, C. (1998). Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Hudson, W. & Nurius, P. (1994). Controversial Issues in Social Work Research. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Reichardt, C. & Rallis, S. (1994). The Qualitative-Quantitative Debate: New Perspectives. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Singleton, R.A. & Straits, B.C. (1999). Approaches to Social Research. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 9 QUESTION 4 Basic method and research design issues mainly consist of 1. Purpose The research design issues answers these two main questions: a) How was the data collected or generated? b) How was the data analyzed? In research, it is vital to know how the data was obtained because the method affects the results. For instance, if the researchers are investigating peoples' perceptions of the efficiency of public administration in Malaysia, they will need to obtain different results if they use a multiple choice questionnaire than through conducting series of interviews. Knowing how the data was collected helps the researcher to evaluate the validity and reliability of the results, and the conclusions that can be drawn from it. In other words, it shows how the researchers obtained their results and explain how the result is obtained. Often there are different methods that the researcher can use to investigate a research problem. The research methodology should make clear the reasons why the researcher chose a particular method or procedure. The researcher must be able and know that the data was collected or generated in a way that is consistent with accepted practice in the field of study. For example, if the researchers are using a questionnaire for example to investigating peoples' perceptions the standard of public administration in Malaysia, they need to know that it offered the respondents a reasonable range of answers to choose from such as (a) excellent, (b) very good or (c) good, it would obviously not be acceptable as it does not allow respondents to give negative answers. The basic research design must be appropriate to the objectives of the study. If the researcher performs a case study of one respondent in order to investigate users' perceptions of the efficiency of public administration in Malaysia, the method is obviously unsuited to the objectives. Therefore the methodology should also discuss the problems that were anticipated and explain the steps taken to prevent them from occurring, and the problems that did occur and the ways their impact was minimized. 2. Common Problems 10 There are commons problems or issues with a basic research design. They are a) Irrelevant detail b) Unnecessary explanation of basic procedures c) Problem blindness Most of the researchers encounter some problems when collecting or generating the data from the context of study. It is advisable to do not ignore significant problems or pretend they did not occur. A study context can be in the form of physical setting, pretest sensitization, treatment conditions and subjects thoughts about the study. Some time it can be some issue on how it is handled for example question on how the quality of instrument, question and data matching, independence of observations or person or people responsible of collecting the data. Often sometime through recording on how the researchers overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It also means that the researchers can also give a rationale for certain decisions, plus a realistic view of using the methods of research chosen. 3. Different Types of Research Design There are different types of basic research designs. A good researcher must be able to choose the suitable research design to achieve the purpose of researching. It shows how the results were achieved through explanation of how data was collected or generated and explanation of how data was analyzed explanation of methodological problems and their solutions or effects The basic research designs consist of: a) Analysis Analysis is classes of data are collected and studies conducted to discern patterns and formulate principles that might guide future action b) Case Study Case study provides the background, development, current conditions and environmental interactions of one or more individuals, groups, communities, businesses or institutions is observed, recorded and analyzed for stages of patterns in relation to internal and external influences. c) Comparison 11 Comparison happens when two or more existing situations are studied to determine their similarities and differences. d) Correlation-prediction Correlation-prediction is a situation when statistically significant correlation coefficients between and among a number of factors are sought and interpreted. e) Evaluation Evaluation is an act of research to determine whether a program or project followed the prescribed procedures and achieved the stated outcomes. f) Design-demonstration Design-demonstration is a new system or programs are constructed, tested and evaluated g) Experiment An experiment is conducted when one or more variables are manipulated and the results analyzed. h) Survey-questionnaire Survey-questionnaire is a tool to discover behaviors, beliefs and observations of specific groups are identified, reported and interpreted. i) Status Status is a representative or selected sample of one or more phenomena is examined to determine its special characteristics. j) Theory construction Theory construction is an attempt to find or describe principles that explain how things work the way they do. k) Trend analysis Trend analysis is a tool to predict or forecasting the future direction of events. 12 4. The Authenticity of Variables In a well-designed research, the researcher varies at least one independent variable to assess its effects on respondents' behavior, assigns participants to the experimental conditions in a way that assures their initial equivalence, and controls extraneous variables that may influence the behavior of research. Researchers may vary an independent variable through environmental, instructional, or invasive manipulations. To assure that their independent variables are strong enough to produce the hypothesized effects, researcher’s often pilot test their independent variables and use manipulation checks in the experiment itself. In addition to independent variables manipulated by the researcher, experiments sometimes include subject variables that reflect characteristics of the respondents. The logic of the experimental method requires that the various experimental and control groups be equivalent before the levels of the independent variable are introduced. Initial equivalence of the various conditions is accomplished in one of three ways. In between-subjects designs, researchers use simple or matched randomly assignment. In within-subjects or repeated measures designs, all respondents serve in all experimental conditions, thereby ensuring their equivalence. Within-subjects designs are more powerful and economical than between-subjects designs, but order effects and carryover effects are sometimes a problem. Nothing other than the independent variable may differ systematically among conditions. When something other than the independent variable differs among conditions, confounding occurs, destroys the internal validity of the experiment and making it difficult, if not impossible, to draw conclusions about the effects of the independent variable. Good researchers will try to minimize error variance. Error variance is produced by unsystematic differences among participants within experimental conditions. Although error variance does not undermine the validity of an experiment, it makes detecting effects of the independent variable more difficult. Attempts to minimize the error variance in an experiment may lower the study's external validity the degree to which the results can be generalized. However, most experiments are designed to test hypotheses about the causes of behavior. If the hypotheses are supported, then they are not the particular results of the study are generalized. Any good researchers must be able to look for the purpose of each part of the methodology before deciding its usage or function. It can be rationale or reasons for doing 13 something, description or equipment used, purpose, application on how something is used, structure of the research or the order in which information will be given, assumption, and parameters or variables that are measured. A good research must be able to differentiate series of question such as where did subjects come from?, what kinds of samples?, how many of intended subjects actually supplied data?, were in final analysis? and how motivated were subjects?. Through this then the researchers are be able to serve the basic issues of research design and the role of statistics in research with clear classification of variables, quantification of variables or scales of measurement and finally the validity of interpretations of research studies. As conclusion, a basic research design is a tool which assists the researcher in defining a research topic, by which describing the method by which the research topic will be explored and analyzing the sources which will be utilized. REFERENCE Bridget Somek and Cathy Lewin. (2006) Research Methods in the Social Sciences. London: Sage Publications David S. Moore and George P. McCabe. (2006) Introduction to the Practice of Statistics. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company Gall, M. D., Borg, W. R., Gall, J. P. (2003). Educational Research: An introduction. (7th Edition). White Plains, New York: Longman. Gilbert, N. ed. (1996) Researching Social Life. New York: Sage Publications John W. Creswell. (2003) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. London: Sage Publications Miles, M. B. and A. M. Huberman (1994) Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook, New York: Sage Publications 14