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									MBA SEMESTER III                                      REGISTRATION NO.:

                                SUBJECT CODE: MB0034
                                           SET 2


Q 1.Discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of
distributing questionnaires to the respondents of a study.

Ans.: There are some alternative methods of distributing questionnaires to the respondents.
They are:
1) Personal delivery,
2) Attaching the questionnaire to a product,
3) Advertising the questionnaire in a newspaper or magazine, and
4) News-stand inserts.

Personal delivery: The researcher or his assistant may deliver the questionnaires to the
potential respondents, with a request to complete them at their convenience. After a day or
two, the completed questionnaires can be collected from them. Often referred to as the self-
administered questionnaire method, it combines the advantages of the personal interview
and the mail survey. Alternatively, the questionnaires may be delivered in person and the
respondents may return the completed questionnaires through mail.

Attaching questionnaire to a product: A firm test marketing a product may attach a
questionnaire to a product and request the buyer to complete it and mail it back to the firm.
A gift or a discount coupon usually rewards the respondent.

Advertising the questionnaire: The questionnaire with the instructions for completion
may be advertised on a page of a magazine or in a section of newspapers. The potential
respondent completes it, tears it out and mails it to the advertiser. For example, the
committee of Banks Customer Services used this method for collecting information from
the customers of commercial banks in India. This method may be useful for large-scale
studies on topics of common interest. Newsstand inserts: This method involves inserting
the covering letter, questionnaire and self addressed reply-paid envelope into a random
sample of newsstand copies of a newspaper or magazine.

Advantages and Disadvantages:
The advantages of Questionnaire are:
    This method facilitates collection of more accurate data for longitudinal studies than
       any other method, because under this method, the event or action is reported soon
       after its occurrence.

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    This method makes it possible to have before and after designs made for field based
     studies. For example, the effect of public relations or advertising campaigns or
     welfare measures can be measured by collecting data before, during and after the

    The panel method offers a good way of studying trends in events, behavior or
     attitudes. For example, a panel enables a market researcher to study how brand
     preferences change from month to month; it enables an economics researcher to
     study how employment, income and expenditure of agricultural laborers change
     from month to month; a political scientist can study the shifts in inclinations of
     voters and the causative influential factors during an election. It is also possible to
     find out how the constituency of the various economic and social strata of society
     changes through time and so on.

    A panel study also provides evidence on the causal relationship between variables.
     For example, a cross sectional study of employees may show an association between
     their attitude to their jobs and their positions in the organization, but it does not
     indicate as to which comes first - favorable attitude or promotion. A panel study can
     provide data for finding an answer to this question.

    It facilities depth interviewing, because panel members become well acquainted with
     the field workers and will be willing to allow probing interviews.

The major limitations or problems of Questionnaire method are:

    This method is very expensive. The selection of panel members, the payment of
     premiums, periodic training of investigators and supervisors, and the costs involved
     in replacing dropouts, all add to the expenditure.

    It is often difficult to set up a representative panel and to keep it representative.
     Many persons may be unwilling to participate in a panel study. In the course of the
     study, there may be frequent dropouts. Persons with similar characteristics may
     replace the dropouts. However, there is no guarantee that the emerging panel would
     be representative.

    A real danger with the panel method is “panel conditioning” i.e., the risk that
     repeated interviews may sensitize the panel members and they become untypical, as a
     result of being on the panel. For example, the members of a panel study of political
     opinions may try to appear consistent in the views they express on consecutive
     occasions. In such cases, the panel becomes untypical of the population it was
     selected to represent. One possible safeguard to panel conditioning is to give
     members of a panel only a limited panel life and then to replace them with persons
     taken randomly from a reserve list.

    The quality of reporting may tend to decline, due to decreasing interest, after a panel
     has been in operation for some time. Cheating by panel members or investigators
     may be a problem in some cases.

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Q 2. In processing data, what is the difference between measures of central tendency
and measures of dispersion? What is the most important measure of central tendency
and dispersion?


Analysis of data involves understanding of the characteristics of the data.
The following are the important characteristics of a statistical data: -
    Central tendency
    Dispersion
    Skew ness
    Kurtosis

In a data distribution, the individual items may have a tendency to come to a central position
or an average value. For instance, in a mark distribution, the individual students may
score marks between zero and hundred. In this distribution, many students may score
marks, which are near to the average marks, i.e. 50. Such a tendency of the data to
concentrate to the central position of the distribution is called central tendency.
Central tendency of the data is measured by statistical averages. Averages are
classified into two groups.

1. Mathematical averages
2. Positional averages

Measures of Central tendency:

Arithmetic Mean
The arithmetic mean is the most common measure of central tendency. It simply the sum of
the numbers divided by the number of numbers. The symbol m is used for the mean of a
population. The symbol M is used for the mean of a sample. The formula for m is shown


Where ΣX is the sum of all the numbers in the numbers in the sample and N is the number
of numbers in the sample. As an example, the mean of the numbers 1+2+3+6+8=
=4 regardless of whether the numbers constitute the entire population or just a sample from
the population.

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The table, Number of touchdown passes, shows the number of touchdown (TD) passes
thrown by each of the 31 teams in the National Football League in the 2000 season. The
mean number of touchdown passes thrown is 20.4516 as shown below. m=
                           37 33 33 32 29 28 28 23
                           22 22 22 21 21 21 20 20
                           19 19 18 18 18 18 16 15
                           14 14 14 12 12 9 6
                           Table 1: Number of touchdown

Although the arithmetic mean is not the only "mean" (there is also a geometric mean), it is
by far the most commonly used. Therefore, if the term "mean" is used without specifying
whether it is the arithmetic mean, the geometric mean, or some other mean, it is assumed to
refer to the arithmetic mean.

The median is also a frequently used measure of central tendency. The median is the
midpoint of a distribution: the same number of scores is above the median as below it. For
the data in the table, Number of touchdown passes, there are 31 scores. The 16th highest
score (which equals 20) is the median because there are 15 scores below the 16th score and
15 scores above the 16th score. The median can also be thought of as the 50th percentile.
Let's return to the made up example of the quiz on which you made a three discussed
previously in the module Introduction to Central Tendency and shown in Table 2.

               Student         Dataset 1      Dataset 2       Dataset 3
               You             3              3               3
               John's          3              4               2
               Maria's         3              4               2
               Shareecia's     3              4               2
               Luther's        3              5               1
               Table 2: Three possible datasets for the 5-point make-up

For Dataset 1, the median is three, the same as your score. For Dataset 2, the median is 4.
Therefore, your score is below the median. This means you are in the lower half of the class.
Finally for Dataset 3, the median is 2. For this dataset, your score is above the median and
therefore in the upper half of the distribution.
Computation of the Median: When there is an odd number of numbers, the median is
simply the middle number. For example, the median of 2, 4, and 7 is 4. When there is an

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY (SUBJECT CODE: MB0034) SET2                                             4
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even number of numbers, the median is the mean of the two middle numbers. Thus, the
median of the numbers 2, 4, 7, 12 is


The mode is the most frequently occurring value. For the data in the table, Number of
touchdown passes, the mode is 18 since more teams (4) had 18 touchdown passes than any
other number of touchdown passes. With continuous data such as response time measured
to many decimals, the frequency of each value is one since no two scores will be exactly the
same (see discussion of continuous variables). Therefore the mode of continuous data is
normally computed from a grouped frequency distribution. The Grouped frequency
distribution table shows a grouped frequency distribution for the target response time data.
Since the interval with the highest frequency is 600-700, the mode is the middle of that
interval (650).

                          Range             Frequency
                          500-600           3
                          600-700           6
                          700-800           5
                          800-900           5
                          900-1000          0
                          1000-1100         1
                          Table 3: Grouped frequency

Measures of Dispersion: A measure of statistical dispersion is a real number that is zero if
all the data are identical, and increases as the data becomes more diverse. It cannot be less
than zero.

Most measures of dispersion have the same scale as the quantity being measured. In
other words, if the measurements have units, such as metres or seconds, the measure of
dispersion has the same units. Such measures of dispersion include:

       Standard deviation
       Interquartile range
       Range
       Mean difference
       Median absolute deviation
       Average absolute deviation (or simply called average deviation)
       Distance standard deviation

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These are frequently used (together with scale factors) as estimators of scale parameters, in
which capacity they are called estimates of scale.

All the above measures of statistical dispersion have the useful property that they are
location-invariant, as well as linear in scale. So if a random variable X has a dispersion of
SX then a linear transformation Y = aX + b for real a and b should have dispersion
SY = |a|SX.

Other measures of dispersion are dimensionless (scale-free). In other words, they have no
units even if the variable itself has units. These include:

       Coefficient of variation
       Quartile coefficient of dispersion
       Relative mean difference, equal to twice the Gini coefficient

There are other measures of dispersion:

       Variance (the square of the standard deviation) — location-invariant but not linear in
       Variance-to-mean ratio — mostly used for count data when the term coefficient of
        dispersion is used and when this ratio is dimensionless, as count data are themselves
        dimensionless: otherwise this is not scale-free.

Some measures of dispersion have specialized purposes, among them the Allan variance and
the Hadamard variance.

For categorical variables, it is less common to measure dispersion by a single number. See
qualitative variation. One measure that does so is the discrete entropy.

Sources of statistical dispersion

In the physical sciences, such variability may result only from random measurement errors:
instrument measurements are often not perfectly precise, i.e., reproducible. One may assume
that the quantity being measured is unchanging and stable, and that the variation between
measurements is due to observational error.

In the biological sciences, this assumption is false: the variation observed might be intrinsic to
the phenomenon: distinct members of a population differ greatly. This is also seen in the
arena of manufactured products; even there, the meticulous scientist finds variation.The
simple model of a stable quantity is preferred when it is tenable. Each phenomenon must be
examined to see if it warrants such a simplification.

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Q 3. What are the characteristics of a good research design? Explain how the
research design for exploratory studies is different from the research design for
descriptive and diagnostic studies.


Research designs are concerned with turning the research question into a testing project. The
best design depends on your research questions. Every design has its positive and negative

Research design can be divided into fixed and flexible research designs (Robson, 1993).
Others have referred to this distinction with „quantitative research designs‟ and „qualitative
research designs‟. However, fixed designs need not be quantitative, and flexible design need
not be qualitative. In fixed designs the design of the study is fixed before the main stage of
data collection takes place. Fixed designs are normally theory-driven; otherwise it‟s
impossible to know in advance which variables need to be controlled and measured. Often
these variables are quantitative. Flexible designs allow for more freedom during the data
collection. One reason for using a flexible research design can be that the variable of interest
is not quantitatively measurable, such as culture. In other cases, theory might not be available
before one starts the research.

Characteristics of a Good Research Design

(1) It is a series of guide posts to keep one going in the right direction.
(2) It reduces wastage of time and cost.
(3) It encourages co-ordination and effective organization.
(4) It is a tentative plan which undergoes modifications, as circumstances
     demand, when the study progresses, new aspects, new conditions and
     new relationships come to light and insight into the study deepens.
(5) It has to be geared to the availability of data and the cooperation of the
(6) It has also to be kept within the manageable limits.

Research design in case of exploratory research studies :Exploratory research
studies are also termed as formulative research studies. The main purpose of such studies
is that of formulating a problem for more precise investigation or of developing the
working hypothesis from an operational point of view. The major emphasis in such studies
is on the discovery of ideas and insights. As such the research design appropriate for such
studies must be flexible enough to provide opportunity for considering different aspects of
a problem under study. Inbuilt flexibility in research design is needed because the
research problem, broadly defined initially, is transformed into one with more precise
meaning in exploratory studies, which fact may necessitate changes in the research
procedure for gathering relevant data. Generally, the following three methods in the
context of research design for such studies are talked about:

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1) The survey of concerning literature happens to be the most simple and fruitful
method of formulating precisely the research problem or developing hypothesis.
Hypothesis stated by earlier workers may be reviewed and their usefulness be
evaluated as a basis for further research. It may also be considered whether the
already stated hypothesis suggests new hypothesis. In this way the researcher should
review and build upon the work already done by others, but in cases where
hypothesis have not yet been formulated, his task is to review the available material for
deriving the relevant hypothesis from it. Besides, the bibliographical survey of studies,
already made in one‟s area of interest may as well as made by the researcher for precisely
formulating the problem. He should also make an attempt to apply concepts and
theories developed in different research contexts to the area in which he is himself working.
Sometimes the works of creative writers also provide a fertile ground for hypothesis
formulation as such may be looked into by the researcher.

2) Experience survey means the survey of people who have had practical experience with
the problem to be studied. The object of such a survey is to obtain insight into the
relationships between variables and new ideas relating to the research problem. For
such a survey, people who are competent and can contribute new ideas may be carefully
selected as respondents to ensure a representation of different types of experience.
The respondents so selected may then be interviewed by the investigator. The
researcher must prepare an interview schedule for the systematic questioning of informants.
But the interview must ensure flexibility in the sense that the respondents should be
allowed to raise issues and questions which the investigator has not previously
considered. Generally, the experience of collecting interview is likely to be long and
may last for few hours. Hence, it is often considered desirable to send a copy of
the questions to be discussed to the respondents well in advance. This will also give
an opportunity to the respondents for doing some advance thinking over the various
issues involved so that, at the time of interview, they may be able to contribute effectively.

Thus, an experience survey may enable the researcher to define the problem more
concisely and help in the formulation of the research hypothesis. This, survey may as
well provide information about the practical possibilities for doing different types of
3) Analyses of ‘insight-stimulating’ examples are also a fruitful method for suggesting
hypothesis for research. It is particularly suitable in areas where there is little experience
to serve as a guide. This method consists of the intensive study of selected instance of
the phenomenon in which one is interested. For this purpose the existing records, if nay,
may be examined, the unstructured interviewing may take place, or some other
approach may be adopted. Attitude of the investigator, the intensity of the study and the
ability of the researcher to draw together diverse information into a unified
interpretation are the main features which make this method an appropriate procedure
for evoking insights.

Now, what sorts of examples are to be selected and studied? There is no clear cut answer to
it. Experience indicates that for particular problems certain types of instances are more
appropriate than others. One can mention few examples of „insight-stimulating‟ cases such
as the reactions of strangers, the reactions of marginal individuals, the study of

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individuals who are in transition from one stage to another, the reactions of individuals
from different social strata and the like. In general, cases that provide sharp contrasts or
have striking features are considered relatively more useful while adopting this method
of hypothesis formulation. Thus, in an exploratory of formulative research study which
merely leads to insights or hypothesis, whatever method or research design outlined
above is adopted, the only thing essential is that it must continue to remain flexible so
that many different facets of a problem may be considered as and when they arise and
come to the notice of the researcher.

Research design in case of descriptive and diagnostic research studies
Descriptive research studies are those studies which are concerned with describing the
characteristics of a particular individual, or of a group, where as diagnostic research studies
determine the frequency with which something occurs or its association with
something else. The studies concerning whether certain variables are associated are the
example of diagnostic research studies. As against this, studies concerned with specific
predictions, with narration of facts and characteristics concerning individual, group of
situation are all examples of descriptive research studies. Most ofthe social research comes
under this category. From the point of view of the research design, the descriptive as well
as diagnostic studies share common requirements and as such we may group together
these two types of research studies. In descriptive as well as in diagnostic studies, the
researcher must be able to define clearly, what he wants to measure and must find
adequate methods for measuring it along with a clear cut definition of population he wants
to study. Since the aim is to obtain complete and accurate information in the said
studies, the procedure to be used must be carefully planned. The research design must
make enough provision for protection against bias and must maximize reliability. With
due concern for the economical completion of the research study, the design in such studies
must be rigid and not flexible and must focus attention on the following:

1. Formulating the objective of the study
2. Designing the methods of data collection
3. Selecting the sample
4. Collecting the data
5. Processing and analyzing the data
6. Reporting the findings.
In a descriptive / diagnostic study the first step is to specify the objectives with sufficient
precision to ensure that the data collected are relevant. If this is not done carefully, the
study may not provide the desired information. Then comes the question of selecting the
methods by which the data are to be obtained. While designing data-collection procedure,
adequate safeguards against bias and unreliability must be ensured. Which ever method
is selected, questions must be well examined and be made unambiguous; interviewers
must be instructed not to express their own opinion; observers must be trained so
that they uniformly record a given item of behaviour.

More often than not, sample has to be designed. Usually, one or more forms of probability
sampling or what is often described as random sampling, are used. To obtain data, free
from errors introduced by those responsible for collecting them, it is necessary to supervise
closely the staff of field workers as they collect and record information. Checks may be set
up to ensure that the data collecting staffs performs their duty honestly and without

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prejudice. The data collected must be processed and analyzed. This includes steps like
coding the interview replies, observations, etc., tabulating the data; and performing several
statistical computations.

Last of all comes the question of reporting the findings. This is the task of
communicating the findings to others and the researcher must do it in an efficient

Q 4. How is the Case Study method useful in Business Research? Give two specific
examples of how the case study method can be applied to business research.

Ans.: While case study writing may seem easy at first glance, developing an effective case
study (also called a success story) is an art. Like other marketing communication skills,
learning how to write a case study takes time. What‟s more, writing case studies without
careful planning usually results in sub optimal results?

Savvy case study writers increase their chances of success by following these ten proven
techniques for writing an effective case study:

    Involve the customer throughout the process. Involving the customer
     throughout the case study development process helps ensure customer cooperation
     and approval, and results in an improved case study. Obtain customer

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       permission before writing the document, solicit input during the development, and
       secure approval after drafting the document.

        Write all customer quotes for their review. Rather than asking the customer
         to draft their quotes, writing them for their review usually results in more
         compelling material.

Case Study Writing Ideas
    Establish a document template. A template serves as a roadmap for the case study
       process, and ensures that the document looks, feels, and reads consistently. Visually,
       the template helps build the brand; procedurally, it simplifies the actual writing.
       Before beginning work, define 3-5 specific elements to include in every case study,
       formalize those elements, and stick to them.

    Start with a bang. Use action verbs and emphasize benefits in the case study title
     and subtitle. Include a short (less than 20-word) customer quote in larger text.
     Then, summarize the key points of the case study in 2-3 succinct bullet points. The
     goal should be to tease the reader into wanting to read more.

    Organize according to problem, solution, and benefits. Regardless of length, the
     time-tested, most effective organization for a case study follows the problem-
     solution-benefits flow. First, describe the business and/or technical problem or
     issue; next, describe the solution to this problem or resolution of this issue; finally,
     describe how the customer benefited from the particular solution (more on this
     below). This natural story-telling sequence resonates with readers.

    Use the general-to-specific-to-general approach. In the problem section, begin
     with a general discussion of the issue that faces the relevant industry. Then, describe
     the specific problem or issue that the customer faced. In the solution section, use
     the opposite sequence. First, describe how the solution solved this specific problem;
     then indicate how it can also help resolve this issue more broadly within the
     industry. Beginning more generally draws the reader into the story; offering a
     specific example demonstrates, in a concrete way, how the solution resolves a
     commonly faced issue; and concluding more generally allows the reader to
     understand how the solution can also address their problem.

    Quantify benefits when possible. No single element in a case study is more
     compelling than the ability to tie quantitative benefits to the solution. For example,
     “Using Solution X saved Customer Y over $ZZZ, ZZZ after just 6 months of
     implementation;” or, “Thanks to Solution X, employees at Customer Y have realized
     a ZZ% increase in productivity as measured by standard performance indicators.”
     Quantifying benefits can be challenging, but not impossible. The key is to present
     imaginative ideas to the customer for ways to quantify the benefits, and remain
     flexible during this discussion. If benefits cannot be quantified, attempt to develop a
     range of qualitative benefits; the latter can be quite compelling to readers as well.

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    Use photos. Ask the customer if they can provide shots of personnel, ideally using
     the solution. The shots need not be professionally done; in fact, “homegrown”
     digital photos sometimes lead to surprisingly good results and often appear more
     genuine. Photos further personalize the story and help form a connection to readers.

    Reward the customer. After receiving final customer approval and finalizing the
     case study, provide a pdf, as well as printed copies, to the customer. Another idea is
     to frame a copy of the completed case study and present it to the customer in
     appreciation for their efforts and cooperation.

    Writing a case study is not easy. Even with the best plan, a case study is doomed to
     failure if the writer lacks the exceptional writing skills, technical savvy, and marketing
     experience that these documents require. In many cases, a talented writer can mean
     the difference between an ineffective case study and one that provides the greatest
     benefit. If a qualified internal writer is unavailable, consider outsourcing the task to
     professionals who specialize in case study writing.

Q 5. What are the differences between observation and interviewing as methods of
data collection? Give two specific examples of situations where either observation or
interviewing would be more appropriate.

Ans.: Observation means viewing or seeing. Observation may be defined as a systematic
viewing of a specific phenomenon on its proper setting for the specific purpose of gathering
data for a particular study. Observation is classical method of scientific study.

The prerequisites of observation consist of:
         Observations must be done under conditions, which will permit accurate
            results. The observer must be in vantage point to see clearly the objects to be
            observed. The distance and the light must be satisfactory. The mechanical
            devices used must be in good working conditions and operated by skilled

          Observation must cover a sufficient number of representative samples of the

          Recording should be accurate and complete.

          The accuracy and completeness of recorded results must be checked. A certain
           number of cases can be observered again by another observer/another set of
           mechanical devices as the case may be. If it is feasible two separate observers
           and set of instruments may be used in all or some of the original observations.

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             The results could then be compared to determine their accuracy and

                Advantages of observation

                 The main virtue of observation is its directness it makes it possible to
                  study behavior as it occurs. The researcher needs to ask people about
                  their behavior and interactions he can simply watch what they do and

                 Data collected by observation may describe the observed phenomena as
                  they occur in their natural settings. Other methods introduce elements or
                  artificiality into the researched situation for instance in interview the
                  respondent may not behave in a natural way. There is no such artificiality
                  in observational studies especially when the observed persons are not
                  aware of their being observed.

                 Observations in more suitable for studying subjects who are unable to
                  articulate meaningfully e.g. studies of children, tribal animals, birds etc.

                 Observations improve the opportunities for analyzing the contextual
                  back ground of behavior. Furthermore verbal resorts can be validated
                  and compared with behavior through observation. The validity of what
                  men of position and authority say can be verified by observing what they
                  actually do.

                 Observations make it possible to capture the whole event as it occurs.
                  For example only observation can be providing an insight into all the
                  aspects of the process of negotiation between union and management

                 Observation is less demanding of the subjects and has less biasing effect
                  on their conduct than questioning.

                 It is easier to conduct disguised observation studies than disguised

                 Mechanical devices may be used for recording data in order to secure
                  more accurate data and also of making continuous observations over
                  longer periods.

Interviews are a crucial part of the recruitment process for all Organizations. Their
purpose is to give the interviewer(s) a chance to assess your suitability for the role and for
you to demonstrate your abilities and personality. As this is a two-way process, it is also a

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY (SUBJECT CODE: MB0034) SET2                                                 13
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good opportunity for you to ask questions and to make sure the organisation and position
are right for you.

Interview format
Interviews take many different forms. It is a good idea to ask the organisation in advance
what format the interview will take.

      Competency/criteria based interviews - These are structured to reflect the
       competencies or qualities that an employer is seeking for a particular job, which will
       usually have been detailed in the job specification or advert. The interviewer is
       looking for evidence of your skills and may ask such things as: „Give an example of a
       time you worked as part of a team to achieve a common goal.‟

       The organisation determines the selection criteria based on the roles they are recruiting for and then,
       in an interview, examines whether or not you have evidence of possessing these.
                                                              Recruitment Manager, The Cooperative Group

      Technical interviews - If you have applied for a job or course that requires
       technical knowledge, it is likely that you will be asked technical questions or has a
       separate technical interview. Questions may focus on your final year project or on
       real or hypothetical technical problems. You should be prepared to prove yourself,
       but also to admit to what you do not know and stress that you are keen to learn. Do
       not worry if you do not know the exact answer - interviewers are interested in your
       thought process and logic.
      Academic interviews - These are used for further study or research positions.
       Questions are likely to center on your academic history to date.
      Structured interviews - The interviewer has a set list of questions, and asks all the
       candidates the same questions.
      Formal/informal interviews - Some interviews may be very formal, while others
       will feel more like an informal chat about you and your interests. Be aware that you
       are still being assessed, however informal the discussion may seem.
      Portfolio based interviews - If the role is within the arts, media or communications
       industries, you may be asked to bring a portfolio of your work to the interview, and
       to have an in-depth discussion about the pieces you have chosen to include.
      Senior/case study interviews - These ranges from straightforward scenario
       questions (e.g. „What would you do in a situation where…?‟) to the detailed analysis
       of a hypothetical business problem. You will be evaluated on your analysis of the
       problem, how you identify the key issues, how you pursue a particular line of
       thinking and whether you can develop and present an appropriate framework for
       organising your thoughts.

Specific types of interview

The Screening Interview

Companies use screening tools to ensure that candidates meet minimum qualification
requirements. Computer programs are among the tools used to weed out unqualified

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candidates. (This is why you need a digital resume that is screening-friendly. See our resume
center for help.) Sometimes human professionals are the gatekeepers. Screening interviewers
often have honed skills to determine whether there is anything that might disqualify you for
the position. Remember-they does not need to know whether you are the best fit for the
position, only whether you are not a match. For this reason, screeners tend to dig for dirt.
Screeners will hone in on gaps in your employment history or pieces of information that
look inconsistent. They also will want to know from the outset whether you will be too
expensive for the company.

Some tips for maintaining confidence during screening interviews:

      Highlight your accomplishments and qualifications.
      Get into the straightforward groove. Personality is not as important to the screener
       as verifying your qualifications. Answer questions directly and succinctly. Save your
       winning personality for the person making hiring decisions!
      Be tactful about addressing income requirements. Give a range, and try to avoid
       giving specifics by replying, "I would be willing to consider your best offer."
      If the interview is conducted by phone, it is helpful to have note cards with your vital
       information sitting next to the phone. That way, whether the interviewer catches you
       sleeping or vacuuming the floor, you will be able to switch gears quickly.

The Informational Interview

On the opposite end of the stress spectrum from screening interviews is the informational
interview. A meeting that you initiate, the informational interview is underutilized by job-
seekers who might otherwise consider themselves savvy to the merits of networking. Job
seekers ostensibly secure informational meetings in order to seek the advice of someone in
their current or desired field as well as to gain further references to people who can lend
insight. Employers that like to stay apprised of available talent even when they do not have
current job openings, are often open to informational interviews, especially if they like to
share their knowledge, feel flattered by your interest, or esteem the mutual friend that
connected you to them. During an informational interview, the jobseeker and employer
exchange information and get to know one another better without reference to a specific job

This takes off some of the performance pressure, but be intentional nonetheless:

      Come prepared with thoughtful questions about the field and the company.
      Gain references to other people and make sure that the interviewer would be
       comfortable if you contact other people and use his or her name.
      Give the interviewer your card, contact information and resume.
      Write a thank you note to the interviewer.

The Directive Style

In this style of interview, the interviewer has a clear agenda that he or she follows
unflinchingly. Sometimes companies use this rigid format to ensure parity between

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interviews; when interviewers ask each candidate the same series of questions, they can more
readily compare the results. Directive interviewers rely upon their own questions and
methods to tease from you what they wish to know. You might feel like you are being
steam-rolled, or you might find the conversation develops naturally. Their style does not
necessarily mean that they have dominance issues, although you should keep an eye open for
these if the interviewer would be your supervisor.

Either way, remember:

       Flex with the interviewer, following his or her lead.
       Do not relinquish complete control of the interview. If the interviewer does not ask
        you for information that you think is important to proving your superiority as a
        candidate, politely interject it.

The Meandering Style

This interview type, usually used by inexperienced interviewers, relies on you to lead the
discussion. It might begin with a statement like "tell me about yourself," which you can use
to your advantage. The interviewer might ask you another broad, open-ended question
before falling into silence. This interview style allows you tactfully to guide the discussion in
a way that best serves you.

The following strategies, which are helpful for any interview, are particularly important when
interviewers use a non-directive approach:

       Come to the interview prepared with highlights and anecdotes of your skills, qualities
        and experiences. Do not rely on the interviewer to spark your memory-jot down
        some notes that you can reference throughout the interview.
       Remain alert to the interviewer. Even if you feel like you can take the driver's seat
        and go in any direction you wish, remain respectful of the interviewer's role. If he or
        she becomes more directive during the interview, adjust.
       Ask well-placed questions. Although the open format allows you significantly to
        shape the interview, running with your own agenda and dominating the conversation
        means that you run the risk of missing important information about the company
        and its needs.

Q 6. Case Study: You are engaged to carry out a market survey on behalf of a leading
Newspaper that is keen to increase its circulation in Bangalore City, in order to
ascertain reader habits and interests. What type of research report would be most
appropriate? Develop an outline of the research report with the main sections.

Ans.: There are four major interlinking processes in the presentation of a literature review:

    1. Critiquing rather than merely listing each item a good literature review is led by your
       own critical thought processes - it is not simply a catalogue of what has been written.

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     Once you have established which authors and ideas are linked, take each group in
     turn and really think about what you want to achieve in presenting them this way.
     This is your opportunity for showing that you did not take all your reading at face
     value, but that you have the knowledge and skills to interpret the authors' meanings
     and intentions in relation to each other, particularly if there are conflicting views or
     incompatible findings in a particular area.

     Rest assured that developing a sense of critical judgment in the literature surrounding
     a topic is a gradual process of gaining familiarity with the concepts, language,
     terminology and conventions in the field. In the early stages of your research you
     cannot be expected to have a fully developed appreciation of the implications of all

     As you get used to reading at this level of intensity within your field you will find it
     easier and more purposeful to ask questions as you read:

         o   What is this all about?
         o   Who is saying it and what authorities do they have?
         o   Why is it significant?
         o   What is its context?
         o   How was it reached?
         o   How valid is it?
         o   How reliable is the evidence?
         o   What has been gained?
         o   What do other authors say?
         o   How does it contribute?
         o   So what?

  2. Structuring the fragments into a coherent body through your reading and
     discussions with your supervisor during the searching and organising phases of the
     cycle, you will eventually reach a final decision as to your own topic and research

     As you begin to group together the items you read, the direction of your literature
     review will emerge with greater clarity. This is a good time to finalise your concept
     map, grouping linked items, ideas and authors into firm categories as they relate
     more obviously to your own study.

     Now you can plan the structure of your written literature review, with your own
     intentions and conceptual framework in mind. Knowing what you want to convey
     will help you decide the most appropriate structure.

     A review can take many forms; for example:

         o   An historical survey of theory and research in your field

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         o   A synthesis of several paradigms
         o   A process of narrowing down to your own topic

     It is likely that your literature review will contain elements of all of these.

     As with all academic writing, a literature review needs:

         o   An introduction
         o   A body
         o   A conclusion

     The introduction sets the scene and lays out the various elements that are to be

     The body takes each element in turn, usually as a series of headed sections and
     subsections. The first paragraph or two of each section mentions the major authors
     in association with their main ideas and areas of debate. The section then expands on
     these ideas and authors, showing how each relates to the others, and how the debate
     informs your understanding of the topic. A short conclusion at the end of each
     section presents a synthesis of these linked ideas.

     The final conclusion of the literature review ties together the main points from each of
     your sections and this is then used to build the framework for your own study. Later,
     when you come to write the discussion chapter of your thesis, you should be able to
     relate your findings in one-to-one correspondence with many of the concepts or
     questions that were firmed up in the conclusion of your literature review.

  3. Controlling the 'voice' of your citations in the text (by selective use of direct
     quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing)

     You can treat published literature like any other data, but the difference is that it is
     not data you generated yourself.

     When you report on your own findings, you are likely to present the results with
     reference to their source, for example:

         o   'Table 2 shows that sixteen of the twenty subjects responded positively.'

     When using published data, you would say:

         o   'Positive responses were recorded for 80 per cent of the subjects (see table
         o   'From the results shown in table 2, it appears that the majority of subjects
             responded positively.'

     In these examples your source of information is table 2. Had you found the same
     results on page 17 of a text by Smith published in 1988, you would naturally

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     substitute the name, date and page number for 'table 2'. In each case it would be your
     voice introducing a fact or statement that had been generated somewhere else.

     You could see this process as building a wall: you select and place the 'bricks' and
     your 'voice' provides the „mortar‟, which determines how strong the wall will be. In
     turn, this is significant in the assessment of the merit and rigor of your work.

     There are three ways to combine an idea and its source with your own voice:

         o   Direct quote
         o   Paraphrase
         o   Summary

     In each method, the author's name and publication details must be associated with
     the words in the text, using an approved referencing system. If you don't do this you
     would be in severe breach of academic convention, and might be penalized. Your
     field of study has its own referencing conventions you should investigate before
     writing up your results.

     Direct quoting repeats exact wording and thus directly represents the author:

         o   'Rain is likely when the sky becomes overcast' (Smith 1988, page 27).

     If the quotation is run in with your text, single quotation marks are used to enclose
     it, and it must be an identical copy of the original in every respect.

     Overuse or simple 'listing' of quotes can substantially weaken your own argument by
     silencing your critical view or voice.

     Paraphrasing is repeating an idea in your own words, with no loss of the author's
     intended meaning:

         o   As Smith (1988) pointed out in the late eighties, rain may well be indicated by
             the presence of cloud in the sky.

     Paraphrasing allows you to organize the ideas expressed by the authors without being
     rigidly constrained by the grammar, tense and vocabulary of the original. You retain a
     degree of flexibility as to whose voice comes through most strongly.

     Summarizing means to shorten or crystallize a detailed piece of writing by restating the
     main points in your own words and in the order in which you found them. The
     original writing is 'described' as if from the outside, and it is your own voice that is

         o   Referring to the possible effects of cloudy weather, Smith (1988) predicted
             the likelihood of rain.

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         o   Smith (1988) claims that some degree of precipitation could be expected as
             the result of clouds in the sky: he has clearly discounted the findings of Jones
  4. Using appropriate language
     Your writing style represents you as a researcher, and reflects how you are dealing
     with the subtleties and complexities inherent in the literature.

     Once you have established a good structure with appropriate headings for your
     literature review, and once you are confident in controlling the voice in your
     citations, you should find that your writing becomes more lucid and fluent because
     you know what you want to say and how to say it.

     The good use of language depends on the quality of the thinking behind the writing,
     and on the context of the writing. You need to conform to discipline-specific
     requirements. However, there may still be some points of grammar and vocabulary
     you would like to improve. If you have doubts about your confidence to use the
     English language well, you can help yourself in several ways:

         o    Ask for feedback on your writing from friends, colleagues and academics
         o    Look for specific language information in reference materials
         o    Access programs or self-paced learning resources which may be available on
              your campus

     Grammar tips - practical and helpful
     The following guidance on tenses and other language tips may be useful.

     Which tense should I use?

     Use present tense:

         o    For generalizations and claims:
                   The sky is blue.
         o    To convey ideas, especially theories, which exist for the reader at the time of
                   I think therefore I am.
         o    For authors' statements of a theoretical nature, which can then be compared
              on equal terms with others:
                   Smith (1988) suggests that...
         o    In referring to components of your own document:
                   Table 2 shows...

     Use present perfect tense for:

         o    Recent events or actions that are still linked in an unresolved way to the
                   Several studies have attempted to...

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       Use simple past tense for:

           o    Completed events or actions:
                   Smith (1988) discovered that...

       Use past perfect tense for:

           o    Events which occurred before a specified past time:
                    Prior to these findings, it had been thought that...

       Use modals (may, might, could, would, should) to:

           o    Convey degrees of doubt
                    This may indicate that ... this would imply that...

       Other language tips

           o    Convey your meaning in the simplest possible way. Don't try to use an
                intellectual tone for the sake of it, and do not rely on your reader to read
                your mind!
           o    Keep sentences short and simple when you wish to emphasise a point.
           o    Use compound (joined simple) sentences to write about two or more ideas
                which may be linked with 'and', 'but', 'because', 'whereas' etc.
           o    Use complex sentences when you are dealing with embedded ideas or those
                that show the interaction of two or more complex elements.
           o    Verbs are more dynamic than nouns, and nouns carry information more
                densely than verbs.
           o    Select active or passive verbs according to whether you are highlighting the
                'doer' or the 'done to' of the action.
           o    Keep punctuation to a minimum. Use it to separate the elements of complex
                sentences in order to keep subject, verb and object in clear view.
           o    Avoid densely packed strings of words, particularly nouns.

The total process

The story of a research study

I looked at the situation and found that I had a question to ask about it. I wanted to
investigate something in particular.

Review of literature
So I read everything I could find on the topic - what was already known and said and what
had previously been found. I established exactly where my investigation would fit into the
big picture, and began to realise at this stage how my study would be different from anything
done previously.

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I decided on the number and description of my subjects, and with my research question
clearly in mind, designed my own investigation process, using certain known research
methods (and perhaps some that are not so common). I began with the broad decision about
which research paradigm I would work within (that is, qualitative/quantitative,
critical/interpretive/ empiricist). Then I devised my research instrument to get the best out
of what I was investigating. I knew I would have to analyse the raw data, so I made sure that
the instrument and my proposed method(s) of analysis were compatible right from the start.
Then I carried out the research study and recorded all the data in a methodical way
according to my intended methods of analysis. As part of the analysis, I reduced the data (by
means of my preferred form of classification) to manageable thematic representation (tables,
graphs, categories, etc). It was then that I began to realise what I had found.

What had I found? What did the tables/graphs/categories etc. have to say that could be
pinned down? It was easy enough for me to see the salient points at a glance from these
records, but in writing my report, I also spelled out what I had found truly significant to
make sure my readers did not miss it. For each display of results, I wrote a corresponding
summary of important observations relating only elements within my own set of results and
comparing only like with like. I was careful not to let my own interpretations intrude or
voice my excitement just yet. I wanted to state the facts - just the facts. I dealt correctly with
all inferential statistical procedures, applying tests of significance where appropriate to ensure
both reliability and validity. I knew that I wanted my results to be as watertight and squeaky
clean as possible. They would carry a great deal more credibility, strength and thereby
academic 'clout' if I took no shortcuts and remained both rigorous and scholarly.

Now I was free to let the world know the significance of my findings. What did I find in the
results that answered my original research question? Why was I so sure I had some answers?
What about the unexplained or unexpected findings? Had I interpreted the results correctly?
Could there have been any other factors involved? Were my findings supported or contested
by the results of similar studies? Where did that leave mine in terms of contribution to my
field? Can I actually generalise from my findings in a breakthrough of some kind, or do I
simply see myself as reinforcing existing knowledge? And so what, after all? There were
some obvious limitations to my study, which, even so, I'll defend to the hilt. But I won't
become over-apologetic about the things left undone, or the abandoned analyses, the
fascinating byways sadly left behind. I have my memories...

We'll take a long hard look at this study from a broad perspective. How does it rate? How
did I end up answering the question I first thought of? The conclusion needs to be a few
clear, succinct sentences. That way, I'll know that I know what I'm talking about. I'll wrap up
with whatever generalizations I can make, and whatever implications have arisen in my mind
as a result of doing this thing at all. The more you find out, the more questions arise. How I
wonder what you are ... how I speculate. OK, so where do we all go from here?

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Three stages of research

    1. Reading
    2. Research design and implementation
    3. Writing up the research report or thesis

Use an active, cyclical writing process: draft, check, reflect, revise, redraft.

Establishing good practice

    1. Keep your research question always in mind.
    2. Read widely to establish a context for your research.
    3. Read widely to collect information, which may relate to your topic, particularly to
        your hypothesis or research question.
    4. Be systematic with your reading, note-taking and referencing records.
    5. Train yourself to select what you do need and reject what you don't need.
    6. Keep a research journal to reflect on your processes, decisions, state of mind,
        changes of mind, reactions to experimental outcomes etc.
    7. Discuss your ideas with your supervisor and interested others.
    8. Keep a systematic log of technical records of your experimental and other research
        data, remembering to date each entry, and noting any discrepancies or unexpected
        occurrences at the time you notice them.
    9. Design your research approaches in detail in the early stages so that you have
        frameworks to fit findings into straightaway.
    10. Know how you will analyse data so that your formats correspond from the start.
    11. Keep going back to the whole picture. Be thoughtful and think ahead about the way
        you will consider and store new information as it comes to light.

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