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BUSINESS RESEARCH MBA – SEM II Prof.

PARUL GUPTA

UNIT I
BUSINESS RESEARCH DEFINITION, NATUREAND SCOPE

Research: A careful investigation or inquiry specially through search for new facts in any
branch of knowledge.

What is Research?
The task of research is to generate accurate information for use in decision making. The emphasis of research is
on shifting decision makers from intuitive information gathering to systematic and objective investigation.
Research is defined as the systematic and objective process of gathering, recording and analyzing data for aid in
making decisions.

Why is Research needed / Important / Necessary?


Research facilitates effective management. At many companies research drives every aspect of major decision
making. For example, at ford motor company, research is to fundamental that management makes hardly any
significant decision without the benefit of some kind of research.

Characteristics of Research

1. Research begins with a problem in the form of a question in the mind of the researcher.

2. Research demands the identification of a problem, stated in clear, unambiguous terms.

3. Research requires a plan.

4. Research deals with the main problem through appropriate sub-problems.

5. Research seeks direction through appropriate hypotheses and is based upon obvious assumptions.

6. Research deals with facts and their meaning.

7. Research is circular.

When Research is Needed?

A manager faced with two or more possible courses of action faces the initial decision of whether or not
research should be conducted. The determination of the need for research centers on –

Time constraints- Conducting research systematically takes time. In many instances management concludes
that, because a decision must be made immediately, there will be no time for Research.

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BUSINESS RESEARCH MBA – SEM II Prof. PARUL GUPTA

Availability of data - Often managers already possess enough information to make sound decisions with
business research. When they lack adequate information, however, research must be considered. Managers must
ask themselves if the research will provide the information needed to answer the basic questions about a
decision. Furthermore, if a potential source of data exists, managers will want to know how much it will cost to
obtain the data.

Types of Business Research: The two main types are Basic and Applied research.

Basic Research - The basic research


is fundamental research driven by a scientist's curiosity. The main motivation behind it is to expand his
knowledge, not to invent something.

Applied research - Applied research on the other hand is designed to solve practical problems, rather than
to gain knowledge. Applied research sets out to prove a specific hypothesis of value to the clients paying
for the research. For example, a cigarette company might commission research that attempts to show that
cigarettes are good for one's health. Many researchers have ethical misgivings about doing applied research.

1. Descriptive Vs Analytical
2. Applied (Basic) Vs Fundamental (Applied)
3. Quantitative Vs Qualitative
4. Conceptual Vs Empirical
5. Special types of research

Other Types of Research - Based on the purposes for which the researches are conducted, they may be divided
into following categories:

1. Baseline/Bench-mark survey/Research.
2. Evaluation Research:
a) Formative Evaluation (Mid-term)
b) Terminal Evaluation.
3. Impact assessment/research
4. Feasibility studies.

Baseline Survey- A baseline survey is a research in which data on pre-project socio-economic and business
aspects are generated in order to facilitate the assessment of future impact of project intervention. A baseline
survey is conducted in the absence of available published data on various socio-economic and business aspects.

Evaluation Research –
a. Formative or mid term evaluation is done to assess whether the project is in the right track. It is usually
done to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. On the basis of the findings of the
formative evaluation research corrective measures are taken to attain the goals of the project.

b. Terminal Evaluation research is conducted to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the
project/intervention.

o Effectiveness: is the ratio of actual and planned activities


- The extent of attainment of goal or the degree of target fulfillment determines the level of
effectiveness.
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BUSINESS RESEARCH MBA – SEM II Prof. PARUL GUPTA

o Efficiency:
- Attaining maximum output with minimum input.

Impact Assessment- The research, which is undertaken to measure the quantitative benefits derived out of
project intervention and qualitative changes that occurred due to project intervention, is known as an impact
assessment research. This type of research also provides information for identifying the negative impact of the
project.

Feasibility Studies - This type of research is undertaken prior to starting of any business enterprise or any
business related project. This type of research is done to assess the technical, economic, market and financial
viability of the project. The issue whether the project is socially desirable and environmentally acceptable is
also taken into consideration

Objectives
1. To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to explore new ideas
2. To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or a group
3. To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated
4. To establish a cause and effect relationship and test the relationship between two variables

Nature of Research
a. BR- As an economic resource
b. BR- As a system of authority
c. BR- as an activity of business management
d. BR- As a Team effort
e. BR- AS an art or science
f. BR- As a profession
g. BR- as an interdisciplinary system

Scope & Its applications in different functions of management

1. Advertising Research 2. Business economic and corporate


a. Motivation research research
b. Copy research a. Short range forecasting
c. Media research b. Long range forecasting
d. Studies of advertisement effectiveness c. Studies of business trends
e. other d. Pricing studies
e. Plant and warehouse location studies
f. product mix studies
g. Acquisition Studies
h. Export and international studies
i. Others

d. Social values and policies studies


3. Corporate responsibility research e. Others
a. Consumers’ “ rights to know” studies
b. Ecological impact studies 4. Product research
c. Studies of legal constraints 5. Packaging research
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BUSINESS RESEARCH MBA – SEM II Prof. PARUL GUPTA

6. Sales and market research


a. Measurement of market potential
b. Market share analysis
c. Sales analysis
d. Establishment of sales quotas & territories
e. Distribution channel studies
f. Test markets
g. Consumer panel operation
h. Sales compensation studies
I Promotional studies
j. Others

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THE RESEARCH PROCESS

Steps Of Business Research Process

(I) Defining the Research problem & Research Objective:-


Two steps are involved defining the research problem
a. Understanding the problem thoroughly and
b. Rephrasing the same into meaningful terms from analytical point of view

Techniques for preliminary investigation


a. Situation Analysis
b. Informal investigations

Researcher can review two types of literature


a. The conceptual literature
b. The empirical literature

(II) Review of theories, concepts and previous research findings

(III) Development of Working Hypothesis


Working hypothesis is tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or
empirical consequences

Approach
1. Discussion with colleagues and experts
2. Examination of data and records
3. Review of the same
4. Exploratory personal investigation which involves original field interviews
[I]
Define Research
Problem &
Research Objective

[II] [II]
Review concepts Review previous
and theories research finding

[III]
Formulate
Hypothesis

[IV]
Design research
(Including Sample
design) F
FF
[V]
Collect data
FF (Execution)
F
[VI]
Analyze Data [IX]Report
(Test Hypotehses) preperation
F
[VII]Interpretation [VIII]Actionable
and Implications Proposition

Where,
F = Feed back ( Helps in controlling the sub-system to which it is transmitted )
FF = Feed forward ( Serves the vital function of providing criterion for evaluation )
(IV) Determining Research designs (including sample design)
Research Design is the basic framework which provides guidelines for the rest of the research
work. It is a map or a blueprint according to which the research is to be conducted

Research design categories


a. Exploratory research designs
b. Descriptive research designs
c. Causal research designs

Following points must be considered while selecting any of the research designs available
1. The means of obtaining the information
2. The availability and skills of the researcher and his staff
3. Time available
4. Cost factor
5. sampling plan

Sample design: A sample design is a definite plan determined before any data is actually
collected for obtaining a sample from a given population. It provides answer to the following
four questions;
1. What sampling unit should be studied ?
2. What should be the sample size?
3. What sample procedure should be used?
4. What contact method should be used?

(IV) Data collection


1. By observation
2. Through personal interview
3. Through telephone interviews
4. Through Schedules
5. By mailing questionnaire
(V) Analysis of data
The researcher should classify the raw data into some purposeful and usable categories
Three operations have to de done before the raw data is brought in a form to be analyzed further
a. Coding
b. Editing
c. Tabulation
After successful completion of above operations following three steps are there to follow to
complete Data analysis
1. Hypothesis Testing
a. Chi Square
b. F- test
c. Z test
2. Generalization
3. Interpretation

(VII) Interpretation and Implications

(VIII) Actionable Implications

(IX) Report preparation

PROBLEM IDENTIFIACTION AND DEFINITION

What Is A Research Problem:- It refers to some difficulty which a researcher experiences in


context of either a theoretical or practical situation and wants to obtain a solution for the same

Components of a research problem


1. There must be an individual or a group or an organization
2. There must be at least two courses of action
3. There must be at least two possible outcomes
4. The courses of actions available must provide some chance of obtaining the objective
5. There must be some environment to which the difficulty pertains

Selecting a problem
Following points to be avoided while selecting a problem,
1. Overdone Subject
2, Controversial subject
3. Too narrow and too vague problem
4. Unfeasible subject
5. Uneconomical and time consuming problem

Steps involved in defining a problem


(1) General definition of the problem
(2) Understanding the nature of the problem
(3) Surveying the literature available
(4) Developing the ideas
(5) Rephrasing the problem

Research question
• Questions in the mind of researcher
• All are able to achieve research objective/ to solve research problem if put together

Three types of Research questions


o A. Descriptive questions
o B. Comparison Questions
o C. Relational Questions
 Association Questions (Happening together)
 Causal Questions
a. Concomitant Variation (two things vary together)
b. Time sequence of the variable (Occurrence of two variables)
c. Cause variable (Reasons behind)
Illustration
(1) What sport matches your personality
Research questions
1. Sociability
2. Spontaneity
3. Discipline
4, Aggressiveness
5. Competitiveness
6. Mental focus
7. Risk taking

Variables Very High High Medium Low Very Low

1 *
2 *
3 *
4 *
5 *
6 *
7 *

Possible Answers
1. Swimming
2. Carom
3. Jogging

HYPOTHESIS FORMULATION
Hypothesis: A tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem that can be
tested by further investigation. A hypothesis describes in concrete terms, in the form of a statement, what you
expect will happen in your study.

Following aspects should be kept in mind when formulating a hypothesis

• Hypotheses can only be formulated after the researcher has gained enough knowledge regarding the
nature, extent and intensity of the problem.
• Hypotheses should figure throughout the research process in order to give structure to the research.
• Hypotheses are tentative statements/solutions or explanations of the formulated problem. Care should be
taken not to over-simplify and generalize the formulation of hypotheses.
• The research problem does not have to consist of one hypothesis only. The type of problem area
investigated, the extent which encircles the research field are the determining factors on how many
hypotheses will be included in the research proposal.

Criteria for the formulation of a hypothesis: Following criteria are of importance in formulating hypotheses.
A hypothesis should:

1. stand a test;
2. be expressed in clear language;
3. be in accordance with the general theme of other hypotheses statements in the same field of study, and
should be regarded as valid;
4. be. coordinated with the theory of science;
5. be a tentative answer to the formulated problem;
6. be logical and simplistic;
7. consider available research techniques (to be able to analyze and interpret the results);
8. be specific; and
9. Be relevant to the collection of empirical phenomenon and not merely conclude value judgments
10. In case of exploratory research generally there exist no hypothesis
Steps in Formulating a Hypothesis
1.Decide what you want to explain: choose a dependent variable
2. Choose independent variables that also show variation
3. Think of multiple causes of the dependent variable

4. Consider alternative measures of both the dependent and independent variables.

VARIABLES AND ATTRIBUTES


Variable: Any entity that can take on different values. Anything that can be assigned a value. Age can change.
Nationality can differ. Variables are not always ‘quantitative’ or numerical.

Attribute: A specific value on a variable.


The variable sex or gender has two attributes: male and female.
Or,
The variable agreement might be defined as having five attributes:
1=strongly agree
2=disagree
3=neutral
4=agree
5=strongly agree

TYPES of VARIABLES
1. Independent Variable
2. Dependent Variable

Example
Research question – “How could extended use of the Internet negatively affect college students’ academic
performance?”
Extended use of the Internet negatively affects most college students’ academic performance
Independent variable - Internet use
Attributes- high, moderate, low, none

Dependent variable = Performance


Attributes: Good, average, Bad

Variable Traits
A. Exhaustive
B. Mutually exclusive

Different forms of Hypothesis


A. Non Directional Hypothesis: All examples of associated difference, sometimes called non directional
hypotheses
B. Directional Hypothesis
1. With magnitude
2. Without magnitude

TYPES OF HYPOTHESIS
• The prediction is that variables A and B are related.
• The only other possible outcome is that variables A and B are not related

A.NULL HYPOTHESIS
B. ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESIS

A. The Alternative Hypothesis

• The alternative hypothesis is simply the question you are asking.


• Denoted by HA or H1
• Just opposite to Null Hypothesis

H1: μ1 = μ2

TWO TAILED V/s ONE TAILED TEST

EXAMPLE
You are investigating the effects of a new employee training program and that you believe one of the outcomes
will be that there will be less employee absenteeism. Your two hypotheses might be stated something like this:

The null hypothesis for this study is;


HO: As a result of the XYZ company employee training program, there will either be no significant
difference in employee absenteeism or there will be a significant increase.

which is tested against the alternative hypothesis:


HA: As a result of the XYZ company employee training program, there will be a significant decrease in
employee absenteeism.
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How To Write a Research Proposal
• The goal of a research proposal (RP) is to present and justify a research idea you have and to present
the practical ways in which you think this research should be conducted.

• Having decided on the research topic and defined a clear research question or set of questions, together
with appropriate methods of seeking answers, you now need to convey your plan of research clearly in
a research proposal.

• Research proposals serve a number of purposes. Among them:


• They convince others that your research is worth undertaking.
• They enable you to demonstrate expertise and competency in your particular area of study.
• They may serve as a contract between the researcher and her funders.
• They serve as a planning tool for the researcher

• Regardless of your research area and the methodology you choose, all research proposals must address
the following questions:
• What you plan to accomplish,
• Why you want to do it and
• How you are going to do it.

1. Title
• It should be concise and descriptive
• Often titles are stated in terms of a functional relationship, because such titles clearly indicate the
independent and dependent variables.
• However, if possible, think of an informative but catchy title. An effective title not only pricks the
reader's interest, but also predisposes him/her favorably towards the proposal.

2. Abstract
It is a brief summary of approximately 300 words. It should include the research question, the rationale for
the study, the hypothesis (if any), the method and the main findings.

3. Introduction

• The main purpose of the introduction is to provide the necessary background or context for your
research problem
• Try to place your research question in the context of either a current "hot" area, or an older area that
remains viable.
• Secondly, you need to provide a brief but appropriate historical backdrop.
• Thirdly, provide the contemporary context in which your proposed research question occupies the
central stage.
• Finally, identify "key players" and refer to the most relevant and representative publications.

The introduction generally covers the following elements:

• State the research problem, which is often referred to as the purpose of the study.

• Provide the context and set the stage for your research question in such a way as to show its necessity
and importance.
• Present the rationale of your proposed study and clearly indicate why it is worth doing.
• Briefly describe the major issues and sub-problems to be addressed by your research.
• Identify the key independent and dependent variables of your experiment. Alternatively, specify the
phenomenon you want to study.
• State your hypothesis or theory, if any. For exploratory or phenomenological research, you may not
have any hypotheses. (Please do not confuse the hypothesis with the statistical null hypothesis.)
• Set the delimitation or boundaries of your proposed research in order to provide a clear focus.
• Provide definitions of key concepts. (This is optional.)

4. Literature Review

• Ensures that you are not "reinventing the wheel".


• Gives credits to those who have laid the groundwork for your research.
• Demonstrates your knowledge of the research problem.
• Demonstrates your understanding of the theoretical and research issues related to your research
question.
• Shows your ability to critically evaluate relevant literature information.
• Indicates your ability to integrate and synthesize the existing literature.
• Provides new theoretical insights or develops a new model as the conceptual framework for your
research.
• Convinces your reader that your proposed research will make a significant and substantial contribution
to the literature (i.e., resolving an important theoretical issue or filling a major gap in the literature).

Literature reviews suffer from the following problems:


1. Lacking organization and structure
2. Lacking focus, unity and coherence
3. Being repetitive and verbose
4. Failing to cite influential papers
5. Failing to keep up with recent developments
6. Failing to critically evaluate cited papers
7. Citing irrelevant or trivial references
8. Depending too much on secondary sources

5. Methods (Methodology)

• The Method section is very important because it tells your Research Committee how you plan to
tackle your research problem

• In short, what actions are you going to take in order to answer the question? When will you
know whether the hypothesis has been proven wrong, or has survived enough tests to be
considered, for now, valid? Those tests and the way you are supposed to handle them to give
rigor to your research is what is understood under methods.

• Methods divide in qualitative (interviews, questionnaires) and quantitative (statistics, stuff that
deals intensively with numbers)

For quantitative studies, the method section typically consists of the following sections:

• Design -Is it a questionnaire study or a laboratory experiment? What kind of design do you
choose?
• Subjects or participants - Who will take part in your study? What kind of sampling procedure
do you use?
• Instruments - What kind of measuring instruments or questionnaires do you use? Why do you
choose them? Are they valid and reliable?
• Procedure - How do you plan to carry out your study? What activities are involved? How long
does it take?

6. Results & Discussion


You also need to mention the limitations and weaknesses of the proposed research, which may be justified
by time and financial constraints as well as by the early developmental stage of your research area.

Common Mistakes in Proposal Writing

1. Failure to provide the proper context to frame the research question.


2. Failure to delimit the boundary conditions for your research.
3. Failure to cite landmark studies.
4. Failure to accurately present the theoretical and empirical contributions by other researchers.
5. Failure to stay focused on the research question.
6. Failure to develop a coherent and persuasive argument for the proposed research.
7. Too much detail on minor issues, but not enough detail on major issues.
8. Too much rambling -- going "all over the map" without a clear sense of direction. (The best
proposals move forward with ease and grace like a seamless river.)
9. Too many citation lapses and incorrect references
7. Synopsis

1. Statement of Problem
A. Introduction to subject
B. Specific problem formulation
2. Objective of study
3. Scope of study
4. Research methodology
a. Hypothesis Formulation
C. Data collection
D. Analysis and presentation of data
E. Limitation of study

5. Presentation of Study
6. Bibliography