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B.

Com in Business Management


B.Com in Marketing and Business Management
B.Com in Information Management

Module: Research Methodology


Module Code: RMED220/RMED310

STUDY GUIDE
Table of Contents
A WORD OF WELCOME ..................................................................................................................................................... 2
PRESCRIBED BOOK ............................................................................................................................................................. 2
PURPOSE OF THE MODULE ............................................................................................................................................... 2
LEARNING OUTCOMES ...................................................................................................................................................... 3
STUDY UNIT 1: INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS RESEARCH ................................................................................................. 5
STUDY UNIT 2: DEVELOPING RESEARCH SKILLS ..............................................................................................................14
STUDY UNIT 3: UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH ETHICS .....................................................................................................23
STUDY UNIT 4: UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY ............................................................................................31
STUDY UNIT 5: THE ROLE OF THEORY .............................................................................................................................43
STUDY UNIT 6: LITERATURE REVIEW ...............................................................................................................................47
STUDY UNIT 7: QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH: AN INTRODUCTION TO MEASUREMENT ....................................................55
STUDY UNIT 8: QUALITATIVE RESEARCH: AN INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................62
STUDY UNIT 9: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND DESIGN ...............................................................................................71
STUDY UNIT 10: UNDERSTANDING POPULATION AND SAMPLING.................................................................................78
STUDY UNIT 11: SURVEYS AND QUESTIONNAIRES ..........................................................................................................86

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A WORD OF WELCOME
Welcome to the Research methodology Module. The information contained in this tutorial guide is intended to assist
you in your preparation for lectures and to guide you in your studies. The tutorial guide indicates all the learning
outcomes covered in this module and the assessment strategies applicable to this module. Various study tips and study
information will be provided in this tutorial guide to assist you with your learning process.

PRESCRIBED BOOK
The following prescribed textbook is required for this module. Please note that it is compulsory to purchase the
textbook as it contains all the module specific outcomes that must be achieved in order to pass this module.

Title Authors Year Publisher ISBN

Quinlan, C, Babin,
Business Research Methods: 1 st
Carr, Griffin and 2015 Cengage 9781473704855
Edition
Zikmund

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED TEXT


Quinlan, C. (2011). Business research methods, Cengage: Hampshire.

USEFUL WEBSITES
www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/orc/brymanbrm3e

PURPOSE OF THE MODULE


The primary aim of this module is to equip students with relevant knowledge on how to conduct business
research. By focusing on the different types of research design, attention are brought to the different frameworks
for the collection and analysis of data. A research design relates to the criteria that are employed when evaluating
social research. It istherefore a framework for the generation of evidence that is suited to a certain set of criteria,
and to the research question in which the investigator is interested. A common distingtion drawn amongst
theorists and practitioners of social research, is the differentiation between quantitative and qualitative research.
These methods are explored in relation to the aforementioned considerations.

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COURSE OUTCOMES

CRITICAL CROSS-FIELD OUTCOMES (CCFOs)

The following CCFOs will be integrated into this module:


1. Identify and solve problems, and make decisions using critical and creative thinking
2. Work effectively with others as members of a team, group, organization and community
3. Organise and manage themselves and their activities responsibly and effectively
4. Collect, analyse, organize and critically evaluate information
5. Communicate effectively using visual, symbolic and/or language skills in various modes
6. Use science and technology effectively and critically, showing responsibility towards the environment
and health of others
7. Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognizing that problem-
solving contexts do not exist in isolation
8. Reflect on and explore a variety of strategies to learn more effectively
9. Participate as a responsible citizen in the life of local, national and global communities
11. Explore education and career opportunities

LEARNING OUTCOMES
At the end of this module learners should be able to:
Identify and solve marketing problems using critical and creative research methodologies;
Develop a critical understanding of the research process;
Collect, analyse, organise and effectively evaluate information;
Communicate effectively using visual and language skills in written and oral form;
Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving
contexts do not exist in isolation;
Develop skills for effective interpersonal communication;
Communicate research findings in a formal written paper.

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Practical skills will include:
To demonstrate an understanding and application of research concepts;
Be able to select appropriate methods for different types of research;
Be aware of the management of the research process;
Understand sources of error and be able to adopt appropriate strategies to cope with them;
Submit a research proposal;
Be able to evaluate a research paper;

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STUDY UNIT 1: INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS RESEARCH

It is of paramount significance to highlight from the onset the fact that research is the backbone of any business
organisation wishing to attain higher dimensions of excellence and progress. Todays business world is dynamic,
turbulent and highly volatile. Business technology has revolutionized the way companies conduct business today
(Vitez, 2016). Alarming levels of technology being injected into the business world on a daily basis is what
contributes to a heightened degree of competition. According to Mayhew (2016), only those organisations with
sound technological knowledge from research will thrive in a long term. It is for this reason that research is
regarded as the most fundamental activity in any business organisation. According to Quinlan, Babin, Carr,
Griffin and Sigmund (2015), the process of research involves a procedural approach where a number of
scientifically proven and universally applicable steps are taken. The procedure begins with the identification of
a research problem and ends with findings and recommendations. It is through research that scholars and
researchers contribute to the existing body of knowledge and identify gaps in the market place. With the inflow
of new knowledge gained form empirical research, the economy is set to advance drastically in divergent
spheres.
Learning outcomes:

By the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:

1. Discuss the concept of business research


2. Summarise the importance of conducting business research for business organisations.
3. Deconstruct the steps of the research process.
4. Explain the four process approach pertaining to a research project.
5. Analyse each stage in the research process.
6. Elaborate on the importance of research to business success.
7. Appraise business research in the context of todays dynamic and ever-changing business world.
8. Formulate a research problem

Topics
The nature of business research
Application of business research

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Business research in the 21st century
The four framework approach
Common problems for first time researchers
Coming up with a research project
Writing the research report
Introduction to research ethics

The nature of Business Research

Every research study is undertaken for a specific purpose. The main purpose of research is to provide sufficient
knowledge and information concerning the organisation, its employees, customers, the market, products or any
other aspect of interest. Quinlan etal (2015) concurs with the scholarly view that the ultimate goal for
undertaking a research study is to discover solutions to business problems in order to assist management in
making sound and concrete business decisions. Decisions which are not based on information gathered through
research could be very risky for the organisation. It is for this very reason that the information gathered through
research is used to reduce uncertainty in decision making.

What is Business Research?

According to Quinlan (2011: 4), business research can be defined as the application of social science research
procedures and methods in order to examine a business problem. It is a systematic and logical process that
involves the gathering, analysis and interpretation of information for the aim of solving a business-related
problem. It involves establishing objectives and gathering sound, accurate and relevant information to obtain
the answer to a business problem. Research is designed to facilitate strong decision making in the business as it
helps managers to solve problems easily without much hassles.

The results gained from research conducted, assists businesses in reducing risks associated with incorrect and
impulsive decision making. Business research may relate to investigations pertaining to production, finance,
marketing, consumer satisfaction, product quality and sales. Business research therefore enables organisations
in obtaining its objectives in terms of enhancing shareholder value through profits increases.

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The business research process involves the following components: problem definition, data collection, data
analysis and the communication of the findings. This process is illustrated in the model below:

The model of the Research Process

Source: Quinlan etal (2015:4).

The differences between applied and basic business research

According to Sam and Federal (2013), applied research occurs when a research is conducted to address or solve
a specific business issue for a particular firm or business organisation. In the context of business, it involves a
research study conducted to answer questions pertaining to specific problems in organisations. Applied research
examines the problem from a single organisation perspective. For example, an investigation into the reasons
behind a drop in sales at Sasol Pty Ltd is a good example of applied research as it focuses on a specific business
organisation.

On the contrary, basic business research (also known as pure research) is a holistic and broad activity which is
carried out without a specific objective in mind and does not address the specific need of an organisation. It is
not aimed at solving a specific problem and does not examine the problem from a single organisational point of
view. The purpose of basic business research is to test the validity of a business theory or to learn more about a

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business situation. An example of a basic business research is a study undertaken to determine the factors
influencing job satisfaction. This is a generic study as there may be multiple factors contributing to job
satisfaction (Quinlan etal, 2015).

However, it is important to note that these two business research methods are not mutually exclusive since basic
research can also lead to refined, applied findings. There are few aspects of research that apply only to basic or
applied research. Hence, in this module, the term business research is used to refer to both applied research and
basic business research.

The status quo of Business research in the 21st century

The contemporary globalised world of business is highly volatile - it is characterised by a revolutionary


explosion of information exchange and knowledge gain. Alarming levels of technology have been fuelled into
the business world, culminating in the advancement in communication technologies and the convergence of
world economies into a global village. According to Mayhew (2016), for the past generation, technological
inventions and improvements seem to be introduced every week and this trend is guaranteed to continue. The
impact of technology on the 21st century business climate has caused drastic changes. As a consequence, the
communication landscape has been transformed into a digital generation where virtually everybody is connected
all the time. This has changed the way in which information is gathered, stored and transformed. For example,
in the past, there was need to physically visit subjects when collecting data. Today, a researcher can use
application software such as Survey Monkey to collect required data online. In the 1970s, courier services were
seen as a big miracle as it enabled the transport of information overnight. Today, electronic communication is
as quick as clicking a mouse.. Indeed, time is collapsing and distance is disappearing because of the
introduction of information technologies. In addition, there is an increase in technology which can be used to
solve complex statistical problems. In the past a research with 200 respondents would require hours and hours
of waiting for results whereas today, a computer application software can provide solutions within a matter a
seconds.

With the world turning into a global village, companies are now operating beyond geographic boundaries. Good
examples are the German cars, BMW, Audi and Mercedes Benz that are doing well in selling luxury cars on a
global scale. Conducting business at a global scale requires companies to conduct extensive research in order to
understand the needs of the destination target markets.

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The Four Framework approach

Research design is the most important part of a research study. Strydom (2013: 81), describes research design as a
plan according to which research investigation will be conducted and specifies the data that will be required and the
broad framework of procedures for collecting, processing and analysing data. Part of drafting a research design
involves coming up with a four framework approach. The four frameworks approach is a four-dimensional guide to
carrying out research whereby the researcher uses four frameworks to develop the research project. The four
frameworks model was developed by Quinlan (2011). The framework is an effective model used to map the
boundaries of a particular project. When applied correctly, the four frameworks model enables research scholars to
comprehend the dynamics of a research project. The components of the four frameworks model are:

The conceptual framework,


The theoretical framework,
The methodological framework
The analytical framework.

A detailed description of the Four Frameworks

The conceptual framework

The first step to developing a research project is to come up with a constructive concept. The conceptual
framework is encapsulated in the research statement or hypothesis developed by the researcher for the research
project. The conceptual framework, shapes, supports and directs the other three frameworks. It lays a strong
foundation upon which other frameworks are built. Once the researcher decided on your topic for your research
project, it is imperative that you express this idea in one sentence. The sentence then becomes the conceptual
framework for the research project. (Quinlan etal, 2015).

The following is a quintessential example of a research statement: The formation of a revised induction
programme for new employees at KPMG: A Case Study. The act of defining the research project in one sentence
helps a researcher to exclude all of the concepts which are not relevant to the research. It also facilitates in terms

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of considering and exploring every concept which is relevant to the research. Notable is the realisation that all
of the key concepts in the research project should be included in this sentence. These concepts include research
question, objectives, literature review, methodology, data collection, data analysis and conclusions.

The theoretical framework

The theoretical framework is encapsulated in the literature review section of the research study. By definition,
a theory is a coherent group of assumptions that have been brought forward to explain two or more observable
facts (Aquinas, 2012:237). In writing a review of the literature, the researcher constructs a theoretical frame
work for the research they are carrying out. All researchers undertake a review of the literature in the field of
their study. They do this in order to assess the state of knowledge in the field, and to identify any gaps in
knowledge in the field in which the research will be conducted. They also do this in order to develop their own
expertise in the area or field of their research.

The key concepts in the conceptual framework gives the researcher guidance and direction in terms of the extent
of reading they need to undertake and the areas of reading which they need to engage with. They also help a
researcher to develop literature review or a theoretical framework for their research project.

The methodological framework


The methodological framework details how the research will be conducted in a particular area or field of study. In
other words, it spells out the methods, procedures and tactics used to conduct the research study. The methodological
framework is contained in the methodology section of the research report, and it contains all of the detail on how the
research was conducted. Research Methodology is the way in which the research was conducted. Notable is the fact
that there are many different methodologies used in conducting research, namely; the case study, survey
(questionnaire), experimental design, meta-analysis, attitude research, action research, ethnography, feminist research,
grounded theory, semiotics, image-based research and phenomenology. Each of these methodologies has a particular
application or use within the research discipline. The type of research methodology selected for the research project
will dictate which philosophical framework will be most appropriate. (Quinlan etal, 2015).

The research methodology is one of the most important sections of any research project as it engages a
researcher in an exercise that will culminate in solid research findings and conclusions. When undertaking a
research project, each researcher selects a methodology for the research. This selection is not made arbitrarily.

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The methodology selected should be the appropriate and relevant methodology for the research project.
Decisions around methodology are made with reference to the aim and objectives of the research project, with
reference to the population of the research and the sample of the population, with reference to the kinds of data
needed for the research project and with reference to how best to gather data.

The analytical framework

The final framework of the research study is the analytical framework. The data analysis forms an integral part
of a research project as it synthesizes, summaries and analyses the data gathered during the research process.
The data is then converted into a format that is easily understandable. The analytical framework is the structure
of the detailed analysis of the data presented in the report or thesis. This framework contains all the analysis
methods conducted for the research that is to be presented in the written report of the research project.

The Four Frameworks Model


Figure 1.2 below depicts the four Frameworks Model:

A diagnosis of common problems for first-time researchers

A large number of students are often confused by new words, terms and concepts when they are reading for their research
study. The solution to this problem is to acquire research skills so that it becomes easier to understand and disseminate
research knowledge. Acquiring the necessary research skills will make a researcher highly priced because multinational
corporations, small businesses, the public sector and even non-profit organisations require employees with the necessary

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research skills. It is therefore important to be able to distinguish between an area of interest, and a topic for a research
project.

Once you have decided on your area of interest, you need an idea for a topic within that area which you can develop
into your research project. A common mistake that many amateurs in research make is to prematurely attempt to develop
their research idea into a research project. They define their research project too broadly. Instead they should develop
their research project within the area of their research idea. For example, you might be interested in human resources,
but your topic for your research project might be, for instance, The Development of a New Induction Programme for
New Employees of Frequency Revelator Ltd, where Frequency Revelator Ltd is the company or business within which
you will work on your college placement, or it is the company you will work with in your summer job, or it is the
company you have your part-time job with, or indeed your full-time job, if you are in fulltime employment. While your
area of interest can be quite broad, your research project can focus on a small area. It is essential that your research
project be focused because it must be completed within the time frame allowed to conduct the research; it must be
completed within the word count allowed for the project; and it must be do-able or researchable within the scope of
the resources available to you for the research; and it must be to the standard required by your programme of study.

Formulating the research project

It is important to assess a research project in order to determine the extent to which it could be completed. In order
to assess whether or not you could undertake and complete your research project, it is a good idea to apply the test
of research-ability. In this simple test, you examine whether or not you have the resources to complete the research
project.

Firstly, it is important to determine the time needed to conduct the research. Other factors to be considered
involve the effort needed to design the project, carry out the field work, analyse the data, write up your findings,
draw conclusions and make recommendations. Secondly, it is important to determine the money needed to
conduct the research. For any research project to be a success, money is required for the fieldwork. This money
will be used for posting questionnaires, for travelling to interviews and for organising focus groups. Many
students underestimate the difficulties that researchers can encounter in accessing data, in attempting to access
data, in securing access to data, and in maintaining access to data over the time period required to complete the
fieldwork.

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Writing up the research report

The structure of the research project follows a pattern or a convention, and that pattern or convention doesnt
change. The steps are sequential, as indicated in the model of the research process. Research projects are very
organic, theyre living and growing entities and they change all the time. Generally the changes happen in tiny
shifts in emphasis, rather than giant changes or U-turns. All changes affect the entire project. The researcher is
constantly engaged in a process of editing the research report as it develops, in order to ensure that all the changes
made are properly incorporated into the research report and all of the changes made, fit properly into the
research report. The research report is the written record of the research project. It is a synopsis of the work that
was carried out. As the word count is always quite constrained, it is not possible for this written record to be
anything more than a synopsis of all of the work that went into the research project.

Introducing research ethics

According to Quinlan etal (2015), the quality of every research project is dependent upon the integrity of the
researcher. In reporting the research details, the researcher must know what to do, how to do it and why certain
things are done. In other words, he should be informed, organised and systematic. He must also be sensitive to
the people involved in the entire research process.

The account of the research must be accurate and honest. It must give enough detail for to allow the reader to
evaluate the work. The literature review must be comprehensive, complete and up-to-date. The data must be
properly gathered and properly managed, and analysed appropriately. The conclusions drawn from the research
must be drawn from the findings of the research, and these findings must emerge from the data gathered.
Every researcher has responsibilities to a number of constituencies. These constituencies include the business
within which and/or under whose auspices the research is being carried out; and all individuals, groups,
institutions and organisations participating in the research. The researcher has a duty of care towards all
participants, and must, above all, do no harm. All participation in the research should be on an informed,
voluntary basis.

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Summary

The following components pertaining to business research have been covered in this unit:

The nature of business research


Application of business research
Business research in the 21st century
The four framework approach
Common problems for first time researchers
Coming up with a research project
Writing the thesis report
Introducing research ethics
Self- assessment and reflection

Answer the following questions to check whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. How would you describe business research?


2. Elaborate on the relevance of business research to the business world?
3. Distinguish between applied business research and basic business research.
4. Analyse the four framework approach to research
5. Describe some of the common mistakes made by first time researchers

STUDY UNIT 2: DEVELOPING RESEARCH SKILLS

Introduction

The focus of this unit is on the research skills that every researcher should have in order to be effective in the
research process. Developing research skills is not an overnight sensation. It takes time and process for such

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skills to be perfected. Once these skills have been upgraded and developed, they enable the researcher to be
effective and pragmatic with regard to any issue that pertains to research. Research skills could be acquired
through reading text books, journal articles, periodicals with an emphasis to critically analyse the use of literature
sources and methodologies that were used.

Learning outcomes:
By the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:

1. Analyse the current research skills level and recognise weak points for improvement
2. Design the conceptual framework for a research study
3. Construct a research statement, research aims, objectives and questions
4. Source and select the relevant literature
5. Create a reference list and implement appendices

Topics

Formulating a research idea


Turning research ideas into research projects
The first step: Developing a research statement
Sourcing relevant literature
Introducing research methodology
How to avoid plagiarism
The reference list

Presentation of research skills needed by every researcher:

The following are the critical research skills that every researcher should have in order to conduct an effective research
process (Quinlan, 2011).

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The ability to generate ideas for research: This entails coming up with innovative ideas to mould the
research project. An excellent idea will culminate in a well-structured research project and the opposite is
true. A research project based on a good research idea is like a house build upon a strong foundation, which
would last for years.

The ability to make use of appropriate and relevant literature: This connotes to the act of coming
up with updated, current and relevant literature to support your reproach study. It takes a significant level
of skill to be able to assess what other researchers or scholars have done on similar topics to what you are
researching on. Being able to collate and analyse that information in your own research study is such a
notable skill that can solidify your research

The ability to synthesise and coordinate the research project: A good project requires good
coordination form the time a research problem is diagnosed until the findings and conclusions have been
derived. All the stages of the research project should be well coordinated to arrive at meaningful
conclusions.

The ability to analyse data: Data analysis is such an important skill needed by every researcher. While
many research students struggle in this process, modern researchers are now making use of data analysis
software and packages to simplify the process. It is important that human error be eliminated during this
process.

The ability to write effectively when communicating research information: It is important that
every researcher upgrades his/her academic writing skills and they would impact on the overall presentation
of the research project.

It is important to note that the key to developing an idea for a research project is to focus on an area of interest
to you. Once you have decided on the area, you begin to develop your idea(s) for your research project within
that area. It is also important to remember that your research project must be situated within your discipline. If,
for example, you are taking a degree in business, then your research project must be undertaken on some aspect
of business. In a similar vein, if you are studying economics, your research project must be undertaken in that
particular area of study. In other words, you should make an effort to focus on an area that you are familiar with.
This will enable you to gather as much information on literature as you can (Bergh and Theron, 2014:233).

Research ideas

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Definition of a research idea

The research idea is a statement of the general area within which you wish to situate your research (Quinlan etal,
2015:20).

The most important part of conducting any research project is to come up with excellent ideas. Ideas rule the word and
the same applies to any research study. Without sound and concrete ideas, a researcher would not arrive at meaningful
conclusion in his/her research study. The guiding factor is to focus on what interest you as a researcher. Once you have
established what your area of interest is, it becomes easier for you to begin to mould a research idea. So, the key question
you should ask yourself as a research at this stage is:

What precisely am I interested in researching? What exactly do I wish to focus on in my research project? The minute
you start asking yourself these questions, you are already developing a research idea that will turn into an excellent
research project.

Turning research ideas into research projects

Although coming up with sound ideas is such a vital step to developing an excellent research project, ideas alone will
not take you far unless you convert them into a research project. Have you ever wondered how many people out there
have excellent ideas yet just because they do nothing about them, their lives remain the same? Its because they are
doing nothing constructive with their ideas. In a similar vein, any researcher who just gathers research ideas but then
does nothing about them runs the risk of missing on a solid project.

There are two main factors that should guide and inform your decision to turn research ideas into research
projects and these are focus and test of researchability.
The primary key to this process is focus what precisely are you interested in researching? What exactly do
you wish to focus on in your research project?
The second factor is what we describe in research language as the test of researchability. This connotes to
the act of assessing if the project is researchable given the required time, money, and data to conduct the
study.
Therefore the most integral question to ask yourself as you engage in this process is: Is this research project feasible
given the time resources and information needed to arrive at meaningful conclusions? From this test, one would know
if the idea can be developed into a full research project. All possible limitations to the research should be minimised,
such as the possibility of time constraints, having a research project that can blow the budget or the required data
cannot be obtained. If these three areas are not addressed the research project can stall at this stage.

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The first step: Developing a research statement

Based on the discussion above, the question you are probably asking yourself is: How do I turn a research
idea into a research project? The answer to this question is by developing a research statement.

Once you have made a decision on the broad area within which you want to situate your research, and you have
decided on the precise focus of your research, the next big step is to outline a simple research statement, or
question which clearly expresses your idea for your research project. The conceptual framework is enshrined in
this statement.

Definition of key concepts in research

It is worth highlighting that the research statement should be concise, simple and understandable and should
contain all key concepts in research.

The conceptual framework is embedded within the research statement of research question, containing all key
concepts in the research project. This is the back-borne of the entire research project.

A hypothesis is the formal statement of a proposition that has not been empirically tested or proven.

The scope of the research provides the breadth and the depth of the research project.
Breadth of the study looks as how wide a research project is, for example, is the researcher looking
at one company or three different companies.
Depth measures the extent to which information can be collected regarding a research case, meaning
that the smaller the breath of the study, the more the depth of the research.
Validity involves the extent to which a research is logical, robust, sound, truthful, and meaningful and the degree to
which a concept is being accurately measured.

Reliability is the measurement of internal consistency, dependability of the research and whether a research can
be repeated and produce consistent findings.

Triangulation is a process of investigating a scenario using more than one approach or method.

A survey entails a process used to study a large population that is geographically sparse. Sampling methods are used to
pick the participants for the survey.

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Aims and objectives

The aim of the research is simply the research statement or question re-stated as an aim.

The aim is a specific statement of what the researcher wants to accomplish with the research. The research
objectives are there to provide a framework through which the aim can be achieved.

The objectives of the research emerge from the aim of the research.

The objectives of the research are the steps, or the actions, the researcher takes in order to accomplish the aim of the
research. Sourcing relevant literature

What is a literature review?

In the context of the research project, a literature review refers to research that has already been carried
out and published, and is available for use on internet, in journals, periodicals, books, magazines and
other sources (Quinlan etal, 2015:38).

By reading literature, you can understand in depth what has already been researched in your area. This makes it
easy for you to identify any gaps in that research study. It is advisable that you use the key concepts in the
conceptual framework to guide your search for appropriate literature.

The following are critical guidelines you should pay attention to during your analysis of literature:

Check the date of publication of the research article or source


Try to be as up-to-date as possible by using current literature sources.
Make an effort to include seminal works in your research.
Check the credentials of the authors you are referencing.
Read the written account of the research
Be critical of the information you are gathering form various sources.
Trace the steps of the research process through your reading of the research.

The literature review will contain the theoretical framework for the research project.

Different approaches to research

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Not every research requires the same approach or method. You will realise from your reading of the prescribed literature
that there are different approaches to research. These different approaches reflect the different philosophical
underpinnings of research projects. The following methodological pyramid details these different approaches:

The methodological pyramid

Introducing research methodology

Research methodology implies the use of various methods in research such as case studies and surveys. The
researcher should not pick a methodology randomly but consider the appropriateness of the methodology to a
given research scenario. The research methodology will also determine the data collection method to be used
which includes scales, maps, videos, field diaries and documentary evidence. (Bergh and Theron, 2014:239).

What constitute evidence?

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Data, in the context of a research project, constitutes evidence
Every researcher in undertaking a research project is exploring a phenomenon and/or attempting to
establish a case.
In order to do this, the researcher gathers data (evidence).

How to avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism has been universally branded as an academic crime with serious consequences which can culminate
in the expulsion of some students in some tertiary institutions. Students are therefore strongly warned to avoid
plagiarism at all cost. The Oxford Dictionary expressly defines plagiarism as The "wrongful appropriation"
and "stealing and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and the
representation of them as one's own original work. (Oxford University, 2016).

Recently in many academic institutions, cases of extreme plagiarism have been reported (O'Connor, 2015).
Some students have been found in the very act of cutting and pasting information form unreliable sources ion
I internet and then purport such information to be their own. This is considered academic dishonesty and a breach
of journalistic ethics. Hence, it is subject to sanctions like penalties, suspension, and even expulsion.

Plagiarism is the use and/or presentation of somebody elses work or ideas as your own. It is a most serious
offence any research student can ever commit in the academia. Students are therefore strongly advised to avoid
plagiarism and/or accusations of plagiarism by properly referencing everything they take from any and every
source. It is vitally important that they learn to reference properly.

With the current use of the World Wide Web, students have developed a tendency to cut and paste information
from the internet. This can be easily picked by plagiarism software such as Turnitin, Viper and Grammarly.
Please refer to the Damelin reference guide for further guidelines on how not to plagiarise.

The differences between a reference list and a bibliography

According to Quinlan (2011:43), a bibliography includes the details of all the resources you have quoted or
paraphrased in your assignment. It is one of the most critical elements of the research project. It is a list, in

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alphabetical order, of all of the published work used and cited in the research project. The reading you have
undertaken for the research project is evident in the bibliography compiled and presented.

On the other hand, a reference list includes the details of all the resources you have quoted or paraphrased in
your assignment is a very important part of the research project since it tells the reader whether a research project
is quality work or not. You should take note of the following when compiling a reference list (Griffith University,
2016).
Ensure that the correct required referencing style is used (Damelin subscribes to the Harvard method of
referencing).
Punctuate your list correctly
No spelling errors should be left
The reference list must be in alphabetical order
No bullets are allowed

Appendices

Appendices are used to detail any document containing information relevant to the research but not
detailed in the body of the work. This might include:
o Copies of letters written for the research project are placed in appendices.
o Copies of data collection methods used, for example questionnaires and interview or focus
group schedules are placed in appendices.
Appendices appear after the bibliography in the thesis or the report of the research.
It is important not to pad appendices - do not include unnecessary material in the appendices of the
research report.
The use of a diary
A research diary is a valuable tool for any researcher. It is a simple notebook within which the researcher records
all of their thoughts and reflections on the research project, and all of the decisions made throughout the duration
of the research project. It is your record of your experience with the research project. It is particularly useful as
an aid in the process of writing up the research.

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It is advisable that you use your research diary to record your thoughts, insights, ideas, and reflections and to
sketch spider grams in order to help you develop your thinking and ideas. Then, when you are writing up your
research, use the notes and scribbles in the research diary to help you with the task of writing up the research
and, if you suffer a writing block, to help you re-start the process of writing up the research.
Summary

The following areas have been covered in this unit

In this unit we have explained:

Current research skills level and weak points for improvement


The four frame works; the conceptual framework
A research statement, research aims, objectives & questions
The sources of literature
The reference list and use of appendices

Self- assessment and reflection

Answer the following questions to assess whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. Distinguish between a research idea and a research question.


2. How would you formulate a conceptual framework for a research project?
3. Briefly elaborate on the concept of plagiarism and highlight the reasons why is it a cause of concern?
4. With the aid of practical examples, discuss the importance of a reference list.

STUDY UNIT 3: UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH ETHICS

Introduction

This chapter will explain ethical issues that are associated with business research. It introduces you as a research scholar
to ethics in business research thereby providing possible solutions to dealing with ethical issues. In this chapter, the
basic ethical issues and possible ethical dilemmas pertaining to a research project will be discussed.

Learning outcomes:

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At the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:
1. Apply the concept of business ethics in business organisations

2. Understand the significance of research ethics


3. Critically analyse ethical pitfalls evident in some research studies
4. Differentiate between ethical issues of anonymity and confidentiality

Topics
Ethics in business research
Ethical Issues and Dilemmas in Business Research
The Importance of Ethics in Research
Some Key Ethical Principles and Issues
The Ethically Reflective Practitioner
The Ethical Issues of Anonymity and Confidentiality
Informed Consent
Other Ethical Issues in Research
Research Ethics Committees
Case study
The Ethics checklist

What is Business Ethics?

The word ethics refers to the ability to discern what is right or wrong. In the business context, ethics refers to
the moral principles governing the conduct of an individual, a group, or an organisation. It is the act of doing
ones work honestly, with integrity, transparency and accountability. In principle, business ethics relates to the
norms, values and standards of behaviour that determine how a business interacts with its various stakeholders.
In the context of research, ethical behaviour occurs when an individual or researcher does not consider merely
what is good for him but also considers what is good for other people. For example, when you are aware that
your behaviour negatively affects other people but you do nothing about it, such an act is deemed as unethical
Quinlan (2011:76).

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Ethics in Business Research

Ethics in business research is the application of ethical principles and standards to business research. There are
several organisations, government institutions and conventions that conduct debate on ethical issues. Business
ethics is often regarded as a grey area due to the fact that there is less clarity in terms of what precisely is wrong
or right. It is for this reason that students are presented with an ample opportunity to conduct research studies in
this area since not much is known Quinlan etal (2015:76).

Ethical Issues and Dilemmas in Business Research

There is certain situations that occur in many business organisation in which it is difficult to tell what should be
considered as wrong or right. This results in what is referred to in ethical language as an ethical dilemma. An
ethical dilemma is a situation in which an individual finds it difficult to make a decision.

The recent global financial downturn raised a significant number of issues and dilemmas in relation to ethics in
business. In the aftermath of the downturn, significant changes have been made and continue to be made in
relation to ethical standards in the conduct of business throughout the world. This is because it is believed that
the world economic downturn was caused by certain individuals who were engaging in unethical business
practices. As a result, the issue of business ethics has received a lot of attention from several business sectors.

The Importance of Ethics in Research

When we undertake research, we are representing ourselves and our institution or organisation in the
wider community.
We must consequently adopt the highest ethical standards.
We must always try to present ourselves as ethical practitioners and professionals.
It is important that you begin to think as an ethical practitioner.
Critically engage with your own ethical standards and behaviours.
Critically engage with the ethical standards of your own research.

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Some Key Ethical Principles and Issues

Do no harm This implies that you should not do no harm to anybody or any natural environment.
Integrity This connotes to the idea of being as transparent as possible with regard to any business
dealings with the public. The integrity of the research project is dependent upon the integrity of the
researcher
Plagiarism Plagiarism should be avoided at all costs as it is an unethical practice. The presentation
of somebody elses work as your own, is a most serious offence. To avoid plagiarism and accusations of
plagiarism you must learn to reference properly.
Validity Above all, the research project must be valid. The concept of validity in research is a question
of how logical, truthful, robust, sound, reasonable, meaningful and useful is the research.
Power - Power is the most fundamental ethical issue. Every researcher should critically examine their
engagement with their research in terms of their own personal, organisational and institutional power, and
the impact that may have on the research
Transparency One established way of avoiding potential harms in a research project is through the
use of openness and transparency. Through open and honest communication about your research you can
identify and eliminate potential harms

The Ethically Reflective Practitioner

It is important that every researcher becomes an ethically reflective practitioner. Take time to think critically about the
standards in your own research. Critically reflect on the way in which you conduct your research. Throughout the
research process, the concept of research ethics should be adhered to. The ability to apply correct ethical procedures will
even enable the researcher to scrutinise research work that is done by others in relation to how it affects the way people
live, work and their careers. Researchers at undergraduate level are privileged to work with a supervisor who can guide
them of ethical research aspects Quinlan (2011:79).

The Ethical Issues of Anonymity and Confidentiality

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Anonymity and confidentiality are the most critical twin principles in research which every researcher should be strictly
adhere to. Presented below is an elaborative view on the differences between these two concepts:

Anonymity in research: This is a guarantee that researchers sometimes make to research participants, individuals
and/or organisations, that they will not be identified at any time during the research, and that they will not be
identifiable in any way in any written account of the research.
Confidentiality in research: This refers to the guarantee that researchers make to participants, individuals or
organisations, that their contribution to the research will remain confidential. Furthermore, some participants will
only consent to participate in a research when they are assured by the researcher that no names will be mentioned in
the research and that information provided by the organisation or individual will not be disclosed to a third party. It
is one thing to give participants these guarantees and another thing to actually uphold such promises as it is
sometimes a challenge.

Informed Consent in research

The notion of informed consent insinuates that the researcher is obliged to inform potential participants of the
nature of the research, and the nature and extent of their participation in the research, and any possible
consequences for them arising from their participation. Participant agrees to participate though there could be
consequences. This principle of informed consent is another ethical concern. Based on this information, potential
participants may give their (informed) consent to participate in the research. In cases where the research involves
complex issues pertaining to the participants or where the ethics committee require a completed template of
informed consent, then it might be essential to draft one such template and give to participants to complete and
sign.

Other Ethical Issues in Research

Other ethical issues include the issue of privileged access, the issue of intrusion, and the issue of vulnerable
populations. These are explained briefly below:

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Privileged access This is a situation whereby the person has some advantage in securing access. It
is important to note that a researcher should have access to interview people or enter certain premises to
conduct research.
Intrusion This refers to unwarranted, unnecessary or unwelcome intrusion into a certain area for
the purpose of conducting research. This is regarded as an unethical and potentially illegal act in research.
Vulnerable populations These are populations with some vulnerability, for example, in terms of
their social position, their age or their state of well-being. Researchers must be aware that such people
must never be taken advantage of because of their weaknesses.

Research Ethics Committees (RECs)

Many organisations have RECs. These committees are made up of people appointed by the organisation to
oversee the ethical standards of research conducted within the organisation The requirements of such committees
are often substantial you should establish as soon as possible whether or not you will be required to submit
your research proposal to an REC for ethical approval. If you must, then you should as soon as possible
familiarise yourself of the requirements of the REC. Source: http://www.shef.ac.uk, accessed 16 October 2016.

Most of us are familiar with conducting research ethics reviews from the safe environs of our offices, as we try
to envisage the ethical issues that are likely to arise in our work. But researchers often need to make on the
spot judgments as unexpected situations present themselves and need to ensure good practice in difficult
circumstances as they do so.

Whilst conducting research in Zambia in 2003, I interviewed a former politician about his experiences
under the one-party state in the 1970s. I had explained the general purpose of my research, obtained permission
to ask my questions and to record the interview. However, I was naively unaware of the extent of human rights
abuses during that period, and was unprepared when the interviewee launched into a detailed description of
being detained and tortured by state agents. This was, unsurprisingly, a traumatic experience that was expressed
emotionally and interspersed with crying and long silences. For a while, I forgot I was a researcher and responded
simply by holding the hand of this elderly gentleman as he spoke. I did however ask if he wanted to stop the
interview on a number of occasions, to which he responded with a vigorous shake of his head. Following the
interview, the recorder now switched off, I discussed with the interviewee what he wanted me to do with the

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material. He informed me that he had just spoken of experiences that he had not related in detail to any member
of his family, including his wife. Although I knew I had gathered valuable research material, I did offer to erase
the recording if he wished me to do so, since I didnt feel that the explanation I had provided in advance of what
the interview would cover reflected what had actually occurred. I also offered to anonymise him in any use I
would subsequently make of the material. He however was insistent that I retain the recording and that his name
be attached to his account he apparently viewed the interview as a cathartic act and was keen that his testimony
was published. I returned to discuss this with him the following day and he confirmed his view to me. I have
subsequently made use of his interview in an article and in a book on Zambian political history.

Good research practice consists in significant part of treating human beings with respect, as you would wish to
be treated. An ethics policy wont give you all the answers or address every possible scenario, but putting your
interviewees before your own interests will help you do the right thing in the unpredictable circumstances of
real world research.

Checklist for ethical reflection

The check list below can assist the researcher in areas that needs further consideration when reflecting on ethical matters
of the research;

Questions for the planning phases of the research process


Questions for the literature review
Questions for the population and sample
Questions for data gathering
Questions for negotiating access
Questions for an ethical engagement with participants
Questions for data management
Questions for data analysis
Questions for completing the research
Questions for disseminating the research

Summary

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The

In this unit we have explained:

Ethics in business research

Ethical issues

Ethical Issues and Dilemmas in Business Research

The Importance of Ethics in Research

Some Key Ethical Principles and Issues

The Ethically Reflective Practitioner

The Ethical Issues of Anonymity and Confidentiality

Informed Consent

Other Ethical Issues in Research

RECs following areas have been covered in this unit

Self- assessment and reflection

Answer the following questions to check whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. What ethical conclusions can you draw from the foregoing Zambian case study presented above?
2. Demonstrate your understanding of ethical violations that occur when someone conducts business
research by means of examples.

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STUDY UNIT 4: UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY

Introduction

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Research philosophy is one of the most integral aspects of the research process. This ideology is outlined in
depth in this chapter. The aim of this chapter is to introduce the student to the philosophical underpinnings of
research and research methodologies. In the previous chapters there is some discussion of the philosophical
underpinnings of research and research methodologies. In this chapter, there is a recap of those discussions and
a development of some of those themes. The philosophical topics covered in this chapter are positivism,
constructionism, interpretivism, functionalism, critical inquiry, feminism and postmodernism. Each of
these represents a fundamental framework within philosophy, and each represents different perspectives within
social science research. They have all been written about extensively; this chapter contains the briefest
introduction to them. The chapter also introduces the student to the theoretical framework, the second of the four
frameworks, within the four frameworks approach to research. The chapter highlights the importance of theory
in research, and explains how knowledge and theory are generated through research. The philosophical
framework is common in every research in order to establish or test the fit of the research Quinlan (2011:84).

Learning outcomes:
The end of this unit, the learner must be able to:

1. Understand philosophical concepts of research and methodologies


2. Compare and contrast various views presented on different philosophical methods
3. Analyse the connection between research, theory and knowledge
4. Comprehend the importance of theory in the research

Content
Research skills
Research process
The Philosophical Framework
Ontology and Epistemology
The Philosophical Underpinnings of Research
The Philosophical Frameworks
The Methodological Pyramid
The Use of Theory in the Generation of Knowledge

Research skills

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In this unit, the key research skills are outlined as follows:
Explain the philosophical underpinnings of sample research projects
Outline an appropriate theoretical framework for a given project
Critique a proposed theoretical framework
When beginning to develop a research proposal, the following questions should be asked:
What am I going to do? (The research question the aim of the research)
How am I going to do it? (The methodology and methods to be employed)
Where am I going to do it? (The location of the research) Why am I going to do it? ( The rational of
the study

The research process

As aforementioned, research is a process, with a series of scientifically proven and universally applicable steps to
be followed. The process starts with problem identification and ends with report writing and presentation of findings
that will then be used for decision making. The graph below summarises the research process that a business
researcher has to follow in that chronological order in order to come up with the tangible findings of the business
research.

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The Philosophical Framework

It is important that every step in the research project should be appropriate to the nature of the study, its aims,
population and the context of the study.

The focus is on understanding philosophical frameworks in research. Every research project is underpinned by a
philosophical framework; every research project is situated within a particular philosophical framework. The
philosophical framework within which the research project is situated evidences the worldview within which the
research is situated.

Every step in the research process as designed by the researcher should be appropriate to, fit with, the purpose
and focus of the research. Every aspect of the research project, as it is developed by the researcher, should fit
with the philosophical framework within which the research project is situated.

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Ontology and Epistemology

Our choice and use of particular methodologies and methods relate to the assumptions about reality that we
bring to our work. Questions about the nature of reality are questions of ontology. Questions about the
methodology and methods used in the research project relate to our understanding of knowledge and how it is
created, and the value we ascribe to knowledge, relate to epistemology.

Ontology

According to Quinlan etal (2015:88), ontology is the study of the nature of being or becoming existence and
their differences and similarities.

The word ontology is derived from the Greek words ontos which means being and logos which means study.
The aim of ontology is to identify and isolate things around us that actually exist. Ontology attempts to answer
questions that begin with what. The scope of ontology can be generalised from philosophy to other fields like
medicine, information science or even advanced physics. Ontology helps us to understand questions like what
is God, what is a disease, what happens after death, what is artificial intelligence and so forth. The field is
dedicated towards understanding whether things exist or dont exist. Ontology also studies how various existing
entities can be grouped together on the basis of similar characteristics and it tries to find out those similarities.
The field also tries to find a relation between the objects that exist. People who deal in ontology try to understand
why a particular thing occurs how it is related to other things (Anonymous, 2016).

Epistemology

It is a branch of philosophy that aims at discovering the true meaning of knowledge. In essence, it tries to find
out what is there in the universe and what exists within it (Quinlan, 2011:92),

Epistemology is one of the core branches of philosophy which deals with the aspect of procuring knowledge. It
is more concerned with the natural sources and scope and limits of knowledge. Epistemology is also derived
from the Greek word episteme meaning knowledge and logos which means study (Anonymous, 2016).

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The three epistemological positions

Some philosophical frameworks


The table below provides some of the important theoretical terms that students will meet in this subject. The
goal is to reflect on the terms as many times as possible and not to get intimidated by these philosophical terms.

Positivism Holds that there is one objective reality; reality is singular and separate from consciousness

Constructivism Along with social constructivism, holds that social phenomena develop in social contexts and
that individuals and group create in part their own realities
Interpretivism Holds that all knowledge is a matter of interpretation
Hermeneutics Theory of interpretation and the study of the process of interpretation
Symbolic Holds that people derive meaning from interaction, that reality comes into being through the
interactionism shared meaning that develops from interaction
Functionalism Within sociology, the study of the structures of society and the manner in which those structures
serve the needs of society.
Structuralism Holds that human culture can be understood as a system of signs, that meaning is produced and
reproduced in society through systems of signs, such as different structures, e.g economic
structures, different practices and ways of doing things.
Critical theory The examination and critique of society, with a view to exposing systems of domination through
a focus on values and norms.
Feminism Holds that there should be political, social, sexual and economic equality between women and
men
Post structuralism Is derived from the critique of structuralism

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Post modernism After the period of modernity. The period of modernity is when Enlightenment was developing,
scientists attempted to explore, analyse and explain the world in empirical objective rational
terms. This was challenged by post-modern theory.

The Philosophical Underpinnings of Research

The epistemological positions of relevance to this module are positivism, constructionism and
interpretivism.
Some commonly used philosophical frameworks (see Table above) in social science research are:
functionalism, symbolic interactionism, feminism, critical inquiry and postmodernism.
Each of these represents a particular framework for viewing the social world, and each represents
particular ontological and epistemological standpoints.

The Philosophical Frameworks

Knowledge creation and the nature of knowledge are epistemological questions. The means by which knowledge
is created is an epistemological issue. Knowledge is created in the research project through the use of research
methodologies and methods.
The methodology and the methods used must fit with the research project, the philosophical framework used in
the research project. In order to answer epistemological questions, the researcher must explain and justify the
methodology and methods used in the research project.

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The five basic elements

In Figure 4.2 above, the five basic elements of the research process are evident.
The epistemological and ontological assumptions embedded in the research project are embedded in the
theoretical perspective deployed in the research, and this is embedded in the research methodology used in the
study.

The Methodological Pyramid

The methodological pyramid (see above) illustrates how the underlying philosophical frameworks support the
research methodologies which in turn support the data collection methods. This is the way in which the concept
of fit works within social science research. There are two types of data that can be collected for any research
project, quantitative and qualitative data.
Quantitative data is data in the form of numbers, numerical data.
Qualitative data is data is non-numerical data.

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The Use of Theory in the Generation of Knowledge

All research is about the generation of knowledge.. Every research project emerges from a particular body of
knowledge and in turn it makes a contribution to that body of knowledge. As every research project concludes
and makes its contribution to the body of knowledge, the body of knowledge grows.

The Importance of Theory in Research

Theory is of the most fundamental importance in research. Research that is theorised makes a contribution to the body
of knowledge it connects with the body of knowledge. Such research becomes part of the what is known about the
phenomenon under investigation.

Concepts - the building blocks of theory


Concepts are the building blocks of theory. Concepts, as we have seen from our exploration and use of the
conceptual framework, are key ideas, key words, often the big words in a sentence, a paragraph, in an idea.
Every discipline and every theory is made up of concepts. Each concept contains a great deal of meaning.

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Concepts, created and developed, and aligned with other concepts, are the means through which theory is
created. Concepts are the building blocks of theory.

The uses of theory in research


The conceptual framework contains the key concepts in the research project. The theoretical framework contains the
literature review. The theoretical framework is designed by the researcher, and it emerges from the conceptual
framework.

How to create a theoretical framework: the second of the four frameworks


The key concepts in the conceptual framework direct you in your search for literature and in your reading. The
theoretical framework, or literature review, contains a discussion, or a review, of the literature in the area of the
research project. The key concepts provide a structure for the literature review.
The researcher first sources the literature.
Then s/he downloads and saves the literature.
Then s/he reads the literature.
Finally, s/he begins to construct from the literature s/he has read the theoretical framework for their
research project.

Theoretical framework is required in order to;


provide the theoretical framework for the research project;
establish their expertise in this area;
detail the current state of knowledge in the area;
highlight what is known and to highlights any gaps in what is known;
detail the theory from which the research has emerged;
to outline the theory to which the research will ultimately contribute

How to Generate Theory from Your Own Research

Your review of the literature gives you material from which you develop questions to ask in data gathering.
When you analyse the data gathered, you begin the process of theorising your data. You do this by establishing

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where and how your data supports, and/or contradicts, the theory in the literature review. This is the process of
establishing how your data fits with the theory in the field.

Research, Theory and Knowledge

The conceptual and theoretical frameworks guide the research in terms of data gathering. The analysed data is
theorised. The findings of the research are knitted into the body of knowledge. What results is new theory or an
extension of existing theory. This is the new knowledge created by the research project.

Summary

The following areas have been covered in this unit

The philosophical underpinnings of research and research methodologies


The difference world views represented in the different philosophical approaches
The links between research, theory and knowledge

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Self- assessment and reflection

Answer the following questions to check whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. Elaborate on the differences between qualitative and quantitative data


2. Under what circumstances do you use qualitative and quantitative data in research?
3. Discuss three philosophical frameworks used in social research
4. Explain the limits of research developed without a theoretical framework

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STUDY UNIT 5: THE ROLE OF THEORY
Introduction

This chapter focuses on the understanding of theory in research and the role it plays in the research process. By
description, a theory is a coherent group of assumptions that has been brought forward to explain two and more
observable facts. Theory helps us to make sense of events by providing a systematic method to assess and
evaluate why stuff happen. The attribution theory helps us to determine the cause of events or why certain
behaviours exist.

Learning outcomes:
At the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:
1. Understand what theory is in a research context.
2. Discuss the role of theory in research
3. Differentiate the terms like concepts, propositions, variables and hypothesis
4. Evaluate how theories are developed in academia

Content
The research process
Understanding theory
Conducting research using hypothesis testing

The research process

As aforementioned, there are four key frameworks involved in the research process. Out of the four frameworks
of research, the theoretical framework is the second framework that also contributes significantly to business
research. The theory for research is derived from reviewing literature (academic) that was written and published
by other academic writers. These published research papers can be sourced from books, journals, government
documents, NGO reports and even conference presentations. To obtain the relevant literature, the researcher
should make use of the key words that are contained in the conceptual framework.

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The advancement in Information Technology has made it easier for researchers to access documents on the
internet. The relevant documents can be filtered when one searches the web using the key search words. To
avoid wasting time perusing through all kinds of literature, the researcher can make use of the abstract section
to establish if the article contains the right information that the researcher is looking for. The search for the
correct literature is further guided by the research hypothesis or research questions that were formulated in the
conceptual framework (refer to Chapter 1).

Understanding theory

A theory is a coherent group of assumptions that has been brought forward to explain two and more observable
facts. (Quinlan, 2011:75).

A number of theories were tried and tested in business research over the years and one of the most popular
theories is the Theory of Demand and Supply. Alfred Marshall (1975) who is credited as the founder of the
Theory of Demand and Supply, noticed that prices of goods and services are not only determined by the cost at
which they are produced, but by customers as well. The purpose of a theory in the business research is to review
what previous literature says about an aspect. When looking at the theoretical framework, you are required to
apply a lot of abstraction but eventually, you should link the theory with observable reality.

Research concepts and constructs

According to Quinlan etal (2015:75), a concept or construct is a generalised idea about a class of objects,
attributes occurrences or processes with a name assigned to.

It is a fact that concepts are the building blocks of theory. Concepts may vary in their degree of abstraction for
example the concept of an asset in accounting refers to a variety of things like a computer, a warehouse or a
department stores. They are the building blocks of theory in that they abstract reality. They express in one word
or in few words events, objects or experiences. The researcher operates at both the abstract level and the
empirical level where we experience reality. We observe, measure or manipulate objects or events.

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Ladder of abstraction: This refers to the arrangement or organisation of concepts in sequence from the most
concrete and the most general concept.
Abstract level: In theory development, the level of knowledge expressing a concept that exists only as an
idea, or a quality, apart from an object.
Empirical level: This connotes to the level of knowledge that is verifiable by experience or observation. To
come up with a theory, the relationships between concepts must be explained.

Research propositions and hypothesis

A proposition is a statement which is concerned with the relationships among concepts. Quinlan etal (2015:85),
Propositions are statements explaining the logical linkage among certain concepts by asserting a universal
connection between concepts. When a hypothesis is formulated, it should be empirically tested by means of
examining reality data. A quintessential example of a proposition is that treating employees better will make
them more loyal. On the other hand, a hypothesis can be thought of as agues. Where the empirical part is
concerned about observations and experiments whereas the abstract aspect looks at theory. They say records are
set to be broken, so are theories introduced to be tested. This is done to establish if a theoretical position is falls
or if it is inconsistent.

Theory building
Theory can be generated either by deductive reasoning or inductive reasoning. It is therefore important as a research
student that you fully understand the meaning of these concepts as they make it easier for you to understand how theories
are formulated in research.

Deductive reasoning: The logical process of deriving a conclusion about a specific instance based on a known
general premise or something known to be true.
Inductive reasoning: The logical process of establishing a general proposition on the basis of observation of
particular facts.

Research using hypothesis testing

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This is known as the scientific method of research where an idea progresses from a hypothesis to a theory. There
is no prescribed procedure of executing the scientific process of hypothesis testing, however below are seven
steps that can be used:
1. The assessment of relevant existing knowledge of a phenomenon
2. The formulation of concepts and propositions
3. A statement of hypothesis
4. The design of research to test the hypothesis
5. The acquisition of meaningful empirical data
6. An analysis and evaluation of data
7. Proposing and explanation of the scenario
Summary

The following areas have been covered in this unit

The meaning of theory


The role of theory
The terms concepts, propositions, variables & hypothesis
How theories are developed

Self- assessment and reflection

Answer the following questions to check whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. How would you describe the concept of theory?


2. In what way does a theory differ from a proposition?
3. Discuss any theories that you know from your field of study

4. Difference between deductive logic and inductive logic.

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STUDY UNIT 6: LITERATURE REVIEW

Introduction

It is worth highlighting the fact that literature review is the most important part of research. It provides a skeletal
structure which details what other researchers have done in the same field of study. Against this background,
this chapter focuses on what literature review is, and presents an elaborative explanation of various sources of
literature. Moreover, explanations are presented on how to select appropriate literature and how to write a
literature review.

Learning outcomes:
At the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:

1. Gather and practically apply appropriate literature;


2. Evaluate the quality and utility of literature sourced;
3. Review the literature gathered from various sources;
4. Create a theoretical framework for a specific research study;

Content

Conceptual framework as a guide to literature review


Writing the literature review
Reading Literature
Referencing work

At the end of this chapter the student should, using the exercises on the accompanying online platform be able to:
Create a theoretical framework for a given research project;
Critique a given literature review.
Come up with a key word search strategy for a given research topic

Literature in the context of social science research is research that has already been conducted and been
published in a recognised, formal publication. These publications refer to journal, books, theses, government

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reports, NGO reports, conference proceedings, online and different media. However, media reports of research
projects tend to be very short. This is because in the media there are usually substantial restrictions in terms of
space. Given these restrictions, generally what is reported in the media is a brief synopsis of the research; the
brief synopsis is usually presented in the media without any reference to the theoretical framework within which
the research project was situated.

The literature on a field or area of research constitutes the body of knowledge that already exist, thus, research
that was already conducted pertaining to the field of research.

The purpose of a literature review

A literature review involves the following:

to develop their own expertise, their own scholarship, on the topic or phenomenon;
to establish what is known and what is not known in the field;
to highlight gaps in the knowledge base in the area or on the topic, the researcher may decide to use
their research project to try to fill in one or more of those gaps;
to be able to create a theoretical framework for the research project, the theoretical framework is
contained in the literature review. It is the content of the literature review.

The difference between research which is presented within its theoretical context and the one which does not
have a theoretical context is substantial. In previous chapters we have discussed epistemology, questions of
knowledge, of what is known, of the nature of knowledge and the means of knowledge creation. Research is
about the creation of knowledge. Research projects are designed to make a contribution to some body of
knowledge.

As research is designed to contribute to knowledge, the rules, processes and procedures of research are rigorous.
For a research project to be established as valid research, it must meet rigorous scientific standards. When a
research project does meet these standards, it is accepted as a valid contribution to knowledge. Research which
has been established as valid research is research that has been subjected to peer-review. Such research is
published primarily in journal articles and in books. While it can be useful and interesting to source material

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from other sources, such as the media, it is primarily these peer-reviewed sources that are used in compiling a
literature review for a research project.

In the academic field, there is a huge difference between research that is linked to a theoretical framework and
the one that is not. It is important to have a research that connects with epistemological positions that were
discussed earlier. Valid research articles make reference to theory and are peer reviewed (criticised by other
experts) then published in journal articles, books and reports. A literature review must use these peer reviewed
articles.

Peer reviewed literature: Published documents research documents that were subjected to extreme review by
peers of the authors of the research.

Conceptual framework as a guide to literature review

In the model of the research process, the literature review is the fourth stage in the research process. In fact, the
process of reviewing the literature begins as soon as the researcher has decided to undertake a research project.
As soon as the researcher decides on an area of research, or on a particular topic within an area of research, the
researcher begins to read literature around that topic or that broad area. Reading for the research project begins
as soon as the researcher decides to undertake a research project, and the reading continues all the way through
the research project. When the researcher starts with an idea, it is transformed into a conceptual framework
followed by a hypothesis and after that, the theoretical framework. Key words then used to search for literature
online. In order to generate useful and thorough key word searches, the researcher must develop a search
strategy. The search strategy can be outlined in the research diary. In the diary the researcher devises and decides
on key word searches. A key objective of the search is that the researcher identifies, sources and develops an
understanding of all of the literature relevant to their study.

Keyword searches: A search of the literature, in library databases, carried out using the key concepts, key words and/or
phrases, in the research.
Search strategy: The plan the researcher makes for their search of the literature for relevant literature needed in the
literature review.

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Writing the Literature Review

The first thing to do when writing a literature review is to develop a research plan. This structure of the literature
review comprise of:
a through introduction;
a summary;
the use of sub-sections with sub-headings;
the use of proper paragraphs and proper sentences;
the elimination of spelling, syntax, grammatical and punctuation errors.

The introduction usually introduces the literature review section of the research paper. The introduction is
followed by the number of sub-sections which determined by the type of research and aspects that was reviewed.
The literature review section ends with a summary which, in essence, summarises the foregoing literature
review.

Structure: The structure of a chapter or any written work, is the way in which it is organised

Example of literature review structure

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Reading literature: some key points
In reading literature the researcher engages in an evaluation of the literature.
A literature review constitutes literature regarding studies previously done in relation to the current
study.
The literature review is undertaken to provide a theoretical framework for the research project.
Where was the literature sourced? Is this a good source?
Check the date of publication. Is the literature from seminal sources? Is the literature upto-date?
Who authored the literature? Do they have other publications?
What are their qualifications?
Take a critical perspective. Use the model of the research process to examine each aspect of the
published work.

Questions for the introduction to the research


Critically examine the research question/statement, the research hypothesis.

Does it seem useful and appropriate?


Are the aim and objectives of the research clearly outlined?
Do they seem reasonable and appropriate?
Do the aim and objectives fit with the research statement/question?

Questions for the literature review


Critically examine the literature review, the theoretical framework.
Is it comprehensive?
Does it include seminal authors?
Is it up-to-date?
Does it adequately support the research project as it is detailed in the research statement/question, or
inthe hypothesis?

Questions for the research methodology


Examine the methodology

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Is it appropriate?
Has enough detail been given on the methodology to allow for a care critique of the research?
Is the population of the research detail, if there is a human population?
Was a sample used? If so, is the sampling method detailed?
Are the data collection methods outlined?
How well did the data collection methods serve the research?
Do the data collection methods fit with the aim of the research?
Is there a copy of the data collection method(s) in appendices?

Questions for data analysis


How were the data analysed?
Was the means of analysis adequate and appropriate?

Questions for the findings of the research


Are the findings clearly drawn from the data? Is it clear that the findings did emerge from the data
collected?
Are the findings reasonable, useful, interesting and insightful?
Are the findings theorised? Did the author(s) knit the findings from the research back into the body of
knowledge? Did the author(s) connect the findings with the theory laid out in the literature review, in the
theoretical framework?

Questions for the conclusions drawn from the research


Are there conclusions? Are they reasonable?
Do the conclusions emerge clearly from the findings?
Are the conclusions meaningful?
Do they evidence a deep level of reflection on the part of the researcher?
Are they useful, interesting and insightful?

Questions for the recommendations made at the end of the study


Are there recommendations?

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Are the recommendations clear and simple?
Do the recommendations make sense?
Are the recommendations achievable, are they do-able?
Are there recommendations for further research?

Questions for an overall critical appraisal of the study


Overall, is the report of the research well written?
Is the research well-presented?
Has the research been carried out to a high standard?
Does the research make a contribution to knowledge?
Is it a valid contribution to knowledge?
Is it a valuable contribution to knowledge?

Referencing the literature


It is imperative that all the sources hat was consulted for the literature review be referenced, both in text and in
the list of references at the end of the document. Since the literature review is conducted from several existing
literature sources, the researcher is drawing on the opinions, findings and conclusions of other researchers. It is
therefore imperative that each source be properly referenced. Remember to lead with your own voice in writing
the literature review (paraphrase). The literature review that you write is your take on the literature that you have
read, as it relates to your research project.

Common mistakes pertaining to a literature review


Failure to review enough literature
Reviewing irrelevant literature
Presenting unnecessary detail
Failure to present the main argument in the literature review

Summary

The following areas have been covered in this unit

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Source appropriate literature
Evaluate the quality of literature sourced
Review literature
Create a theoretical framework
Write a literature review

Self- assessment and reflection

Answer the following questions to check whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. Compare and contrast the conceptual framework and the theoretical framework?
2. How would you develop a theoretical framework for a research study?
3. Elaborate on the role of references in literature

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STUDY UNIT 7: QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH: AN INTRODUCTION TO MEASUREMENT
Introduction

This chapter focuses a great deal on quantitative research and its dynamics in research. It also highlights the
different methods or approaches of quantitative research which are available for exploration by researchers.
Quantitative research methods can help a researcher explain a relationship, test a theory, describe a pattern, and
measure a behaviour (Kotler, Wong, Saunders and Armstrong, 2015). For one to decide on what concepts to
measure in the research project, it is important to revisit the conceptual framework and zoom into the research
statement and research questions. Example: A company wants to perform a customer relationship management
(CRM) employee evaluation process that will allow an overall ranking of all CRM employees.

Learning outcomes:
By the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:

1. Understand quantitative research


2. Comprehend the dynamics of when and how to use quantitative research
3. Distinguish between the levels of scale of measurement

Content
What is being measured?
Operational Definitions of?
The levels of scale measurement
Mathematical and statistical analysis of scales
The three criteria for good measurement

What is being measured

Measurement: The process of describing some property of a phenomenon, usually by assigning numbers in a reliable
and valid way.
Concept: A generalized idea about a class of objects that has been given a name, an abstraction of reality that is
the basic unit for theory development. Every discipline and theory is made up of concepts, e.g. key ideas, key
words, key phrases.

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Are There Any Validity Issues with This Measurement

Which students could be happy with the arrangement above?


The first two students receive the same grade C, even though their scores are 9.4 per cent apart.
The third student gets a grade lower (D) than the first two students, even though his score differs only
by 1% from the second student.
The fourth student who has a score only 0.5 per cent higher than the first student would receive a B.

Operational Definitions Operationalization:


The process of identifying scales that correspond to variance in a concept involved in a research process.
Scales:
A device providing a range of values that correspond to different values in a concept being measured.
Correspondence rules:
Indicate the way that a certain value on a scale corresponds to some true value of a concept.
Constructs
A term used for concepts that are measured with multiple variables.

Levels of Scale Measurement

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Measurement levels can either be nominal, ordinal, interval or ratio measurement. Normal measurement tends
to assigns a value to an object for identification or classification purposes. It is the most elementary level of
measurement.

On the other hand, ordinal measurement deals with ranking scales allowing things to be arranged based on how much
of some concept they possess.

Interval scales have both nominal and ordinal properties but they also capture information about differences in
quantities of a concept. The best example of an interval scale is temperature where you can have maximum and
minimum temperatures.

Ratio scale is regarded as highest form of measurement. It allows for all the properties of interval scales with
the additional attribute of representing absolute quantities.

A diagrammatic representation of Nominal, Ordinal, Interval, and Ratio Scales

In the graph above, the nominal measure is where a horse is assigned a number 7, not that its the biggest or 7 th
position but just for identification purposes. In ordinal measurement, horses are ranked in terms of their finishing
positions. Winning horse is in the first position, place is for second position whereas show is the third position.

Mathematical and statistical analysis of scales

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Although mathematicians can input numbers into formulas and get results, there is need for them to know the
meaning and relationships behind the numbers before making any meaningful conclusions. For example, a
professor cannot be used student ID numbers to judge the quality of students performance.
A discrete Measure: Is a measure/s that can take on only one of a finite number of values.

For example, choosing from responses;


Disagree
Neutral
Agree

The results provide a discrete value that can be coded 1, 2, 3, in that order. The central tendency of discrete
measures is best represented by the mode (the number that appears most often).

Continuous Measures: Measures that reflect the intensity of a concept by assigning values that can take on any
value along some scale range.

Index Measures

Attributes: These are single characteristics or fundamental features that pertain to an object, person, situation, or issue.
Index Measures: An index assigns a value based on how much of the concept being measured is associated with
an observation. In most cases indexes often are formed by putting several variables together. An example is
measuring social class index using 3 variables, occupation, education and area residence.

Composite Measures: Assign a value to an observation based on a mathematical derivation of multiple variables.
An example will be measuring job satisfaction using income and work exposure.

Computing Scale Values

Summated Scale: This is achieved by creating a scale created by simply summing (adding together) the response to each
item making up the composite measure.

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Reverse Coding: This is a method of making sure all items forming a composite scale are scored in the same
direction. Negative items can be recoded, changing the value of a response to a scale so it is opposite of the
original value. This method is used so that negative items in a scale are scored in the same direction as positive
items. This can be done as follows;
5 becomes 1
4 becomes 2
3 becomes 3
2 becomes 4
1 becomes 5

Three Criteria for Good Measurement


Reliability: The degree to which measures are free from random error and therefore yield consistent results.
Internal Consistency: Represents a measures homogeneity or the extent to which each indicator of a concept converges
on some common meaning.

Reliabili Validi

Go o d
Measurement

Sensitivity

The three major criteria for evaluating the goodness of measurement are validity, sensitivity and reliability

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Internal Consistency
Split-half Method
This is a method for assessing internal consistency by checking the results of one-half of a set of scaled items
against the results from the other half.
Coefficient alpha ()
This is the most commonly applied estimate of a multiple item scales reliability. It represents the average of all possible
split-half reliabilities for a construct.

Test-Retest Reliability
Test-retest Method
The test-retest method is used to estimate reliability.
This can be achieved by administering the same scale or measure to the same respondents at two separate points in
time to test for stability. It represents a measures repeatability.
The major problems of the test-retest method are that the pre-measure, or first measure, may sensitize the
respondents and subsequently influence the results of the second measure. Another challenge is the time effects
that produce changes in attitude or other maturation of the subjects.

Validity
Validity is the accuracy of a measure or the extent to which a score truthfully represents a concept.

Does a scale measure what was intended to be measured?

In order to establish validity, there must be consensus that the scale measures what was intended to measure, the
measure should correlates with other measures on the same concept and the behaviour expected from the
measure should match with the observed behaviour.
Face Validity
A scales content logically appears to reflect what was intended to be measured.
Content Validity
The degree that a measure covers the breadth of the domain of interest.
Criterion Validity
The ability of a measure to correlate with other standard measures of similar constructs or established criteria.
Construct Validity

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Exists when a measure reliably measures and truthfully represents a unique concept.
Convergent Validity
Concepts that should be related to one another are, in fact, related; highly reliable scales contain convergent validity.
Discriminant Validity
Represents how unique or distinct is a measure; a scale should not correlate too highly with a measure of a different
construct
Sensitivity
Sensitivity is a measurement instruments ability to accurately measure variability in stimuli or responses. Sensitivity
is generally increased by adding more response points or adding scale items.

Summary

The following areas have been covered in this unit:

Discuss quantitative research

Understand when and how to use quantitative research

Distinguish between the levels of scale measurement

Analyse three criteria for a good measurement

Self- assessment and reflection

Answer the following questions to check whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. Distinguish between nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio measures.


2. Discuss the concept of construct validity
3. Explain the weaknesses of the test-retest method

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STUDY UNIT 8: QUALITATIVE RESEARCH: AN INTRODUCTION
This section focuses on qualitative research as an integral aspect of the research process. It details what qualitative
research is as well as the various methods of conducting qualitative research. It is important to note that qualitative
research does not focus on generating and analysing numeric data, but focus on individual human experiences,
understandings and interpretations.

Learning outcomes:
By the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:
1. Understand qualitative research
2. Explain qualitative research
3. Comprehend how and when to use qualitative research

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Content
Qualitative research in business
Uses of Qualitative Research
Qualitative versus Quantitative Research
Contrasting Exploratory and Confirmatory Research
Qualitative Research Orientations
Interactive Media and Online Focus Groups

What is Qualitative research in business?

Qualitative business research is a type of research that addresses business objectives through techniques that
allow the researcher to provide elaborate interpretations of phenomena without depending on numerical
measurement.
The focus of qualitative research is on discovering inner meanings and new insights. Wiid and Diggines
(2013:88) states that quantitative data helps in gaining insight into markets or areas about which there is little
information.

Researcher-dependent: Researcher must extract meaning from unstructured responses such as text from a
recorded interview or a collage representing the meaning of some experience.

Uses of Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is used in cases where:

The aim of the research is to develop a detailed and in-depth understanding of some phenomena.
It is difficult to develop specific and actionable problem statements or research objectives.
The aim of the research is to learn how a phenomenon occurs in its natural setting or to learn how to
express some concept in colloquial terms.
The behaviour the researcher is studying is particularly context-dependent.
A fresh approach to studying the problem is needed.

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Distinguishing between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

The major point of distinction between qualitative and quantitative research is that quantitative business research
is descriptive and conclusive in nature and seeks to addresses research objectives through empirical assessments
that involve numerical measurement and statistical analysis. On the other hand, qualitative business research is
more exploratory in nature and addresses research objectives through empirical assessments that involve
nonnumeric approaches. It uses relatively small samples. For this reason, qualitative research is regarded as
subjective at times. Quinlam (2011:102).

The differences between qualitative and quantitative research

Table 4.6 below summarizes the major distinctions between quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Contrasting Exploratory and Confirmatory Research


.

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Qualitative data: Qualitative data is any data that is not characterized by numbers but rather are textual, visual,
or oral. The focus is on stories, visual portrayals, meaningful characterizations, interpretations, and other
expressive descriptions.
Quantitative data: represent phenomena by assigning numbers in an ordered and meaningful way.

Qualitative Research Orientations

The main Orientations of Qualitative Research are as follows:

Phenomenology: is a philosophical approach to studying human experiences based on the idea that human
experience itself is inherently subjective and determined by the context in which people live. It seeks
to describe, reflect on, and interpret experiences. Phenomenology is an approach that relies on
conversational interview tools, although image based research is also useful.
Hermeneutics: Can be defined as the theory of interpretation and the study of the processes of interpretation.
o Hermeneutic Unit: A text passage from a respondents story that is linked with a key theme from within the
respondents story or provided by the researcher.
Ethnography: Is an approach which represents ways of studying cultures through methods that involve the
researcher becoming a part of that culture.
o Participant-observation: Is an ethnographic research approach where the researcher becomes
immersed within the culture that he or she is studying and draws data from his or her observations.
Grounded Theory: This is a research methodology specifically designed for the production of theory from
data. The researcher asks the questions to him or herself and repeatedly questions the responses to derive
deeper explanations. Key questions such as
What is happening here? And how is it different?
The distinguishing characteristic of grounded theory is that it does not begin with a theory, but instead develops
theory from the data gathered in the research project. Theory is inductively developed from data analysis. Case
Studies: A case study is an in-depth study of the phenomenon under investigation. The case being studied may be
as relatively simple as one incident, or as complex as an entire organisation.

Observation

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Strydom (2013: 134), describes observation as a systematic process of witnessing and recording behavioral
patterns of objects through human or artificial methods. He further contends that the process involves recording
the behavioral patterns of people, objects and occurrences without questioning or otherwise communicating with
them. Curwin and Slater (2014:67), further contends that observation provides an insightful information on a
range of topics. Observation method can be used in conjunction with communication method is situations where
verbal communication is required only for service preference.

The researcher observes what is happening in the field, and then records those observations (often in the form
of field notes in a field diary). The researcher makes use of field notes which provide the researchers
descriptions of what actually happens in the field. These notes then become the text from which meaning is
extracted. It is advantageous for gaining insight into things that respondents cannot or will not verbalize. In
participant observation, the researcher is a participant in the action being observed.

Focus groups

This is an unstructured, free-flowing discussion among a small group (6-10 people) facilitated by a moderator
who encourages dialogue among participants.

The participants, through dialogue, produce new insights into the phenomenon under investigation. The ideal ggroup
composition can be:

6 to 10 people

Relatively homogeneous

Capable of providing insight on the phenomenon under investigation

A focused group should have a moderator whose task is to leads a focus group and insures that everyone gets a
chance to speak and contribute to the discussion. A good moderator should be able to:

To develop a rapport with the group

To be a good listener

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To try not to interject his or her own opinions

To control discussion without being overbearing

When planning the focused group, the moderator should come up with a discussion guide which should include
written introductory comments informing the group about the focus group purpose and rules and then outlines
topics or questions to be addressed in the focus group.

Interactive Media and Online Focus Groups

Online focus group: A qualitative research effort in which a group of individuals provides unstructured
comments by entering their remarks into an electronic Internet display board of some type.
Focus blog: A type of informal, continuous focus group established as an Internet blog for the purpose of
collecting qualitative data from participant comments.
Depth Interviews
Depth interview: Involves a one-on-one interview between a researcher and a research respondent conducted about
some relevant business or social topic. The interview shall range from quite informal and completely open ended
questions to cover formal questions with predetermined and asked in a structured manner. According to Smith,
Cronje, Brevis and Viba (2013:199), the purpose of open-ended interviewing is not to put things in some one s
mind but to access the perspectives of the person being interviewed. Although this is time-consuming and it is
difficult to control the range of answers (Cant, Strydom and Duplesis, 2016:43).
Laddering: This is an approach to probing asking respondents to compare differences between brands at different
levels. It produces distinctions at the:
attribute level
benefit level
value or motivation level
Conversations: An informal qualitative data-gathering approach in which the researcher engages a respondent in
a discussion of the relevant subject matter.
Social Networking: One of the most impactful trends in recent times. For many, social networking sites
have become the primary tool for communicating with friends both far and near and known and unknown.
Examples are Facebook, MySpace, twiiter, Linkedin
A large portion of this communication involves discussions of business and consumer-related information. Companies
monitor these sites for information related to their brands.

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Free-Association and Sentence Completion Methods

Free-association techniques

Record a respondents first cognitive reactions (top-of-mind) to some stimulus.

Allow researchers to map a respondents thoughts or memory.

The researchers are required to complete a few partial sentences like the ones below:

People who drink juice are

A man who drinks pressed orange juice is


Fresh juice is most liked by

The woman drinking juice in the commercial

Collages: Respondents prepare a collage (artwork assembled from different media) to represent their
experiences. The collages are analysed for meaning.

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): Presents subjects with an ambiguous picture(s) in which consumers and
products are the center of attention. Investigator asks the subject to tell what is happening in the picture(s) now
and what might happen next.

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The setting could one for discussing organisational matters on management, products or software development as
demonstrated in the picture above

Summary

The following areas have been covered in this unit

Understand qualitative research


Explain qualitative research
Know how and when to use qualitative research

Self- assessment and reflection

Answer the following questions to check whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. Define the following terms;


Focused group discussion
In-depth interview
Internet blog
2. What are the advantages of a focused group?
3. In a table format, list the differences between quantitative and qualitative research.

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STUDY UNIT 9: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND DESIGN

Introduction

This unit details and explain the third framework in the four frameworks approach to research, the
methodological framework. It shows how to develop an appropriate methodological framework for a research
project. The different elements of the methodological framework are highlighted and explained.

Learning outcomes:
By the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:

1. Introduce the student to research methodology;


2. Understanding how to use research methodologies;
3. Outline some of the methodologies used in research.
4. Critique the use of methodologies in other research projects

Content
Research skills
Research Methodologies
Methodological pyramid
The four frameworks
Date collection methods
Issues of validity and reliability

Research skills

Researchers should acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to evaluate the utility, value and limitations,
of the methodologies deployed in given research projects; and to design a research project with an appropriate
methodology. In this unit the focus is on research methodology.
In the model of the research process, research methodology is situated after the literature review and before the data
collection methods.

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Data collection methods are a major part of the methodological framework for the research project. Thoughts
and ideas in relation to the research methodology and data collection methods to be used in the project develop
as the idea for the research project develops.

Research methodologies

There are many different methodologies in social research each unique in terms of its purpose and application.
We have seen examples of the different methodologies in the previous units. The decision on the methodology
to use in a research project is informed by:
the focus of the research,
the research question or statement,
the type of data required to answer the research question (or to inform the research statement), and
the location of that data.

The Methodological Pyramid

The fundamental philosophies support the research methodologies, and in turn, the research methodologies
support the data collection methods. This means that the research methodologies must fit with the fundamental
philosophies of the research project, and the data collection methods must fit with the projects research
methodology. We have seen the way in which the different elements of the research project are designed by the
researcher to fit together, and to fit together in such a way as to properly and adequately support the research
project.

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.

The figure below illustrates the way in which the methodological framework emerges from the conceptual
framework within the Four Frameworks. The decision as to which methodology to use in the research project is
made based on the focus of the research. The focus of the research is outlined succinctly in the conceptual
framework for the research project. The conceptual framework for the research project is contained in the
research question or statement.

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Decisions about methodology

The key issues in every research project in terms of determining the appropriate methodology for the research
project are the focus of the research and the aim of the research.
The research methodology used in the research must be capable of supporting the research, of facilitating the
accomplishment of the aim of the research, the completion of the research. Practiced, experienced researchers
can make decisions around appropriate methodologies for research projects relatively quickly. For the beginner
researcher, the decision-making process is slower. The decision-making process needs to be supported by some
study of the possibilities in terms of research methodology, some knowledge of the different research
methodologies (please refer to p.146 of the recommended textbook for the further reading).

List of research methodologies

Deciding on the most appropriate methodology for your own research

It is very important that you decide as quickly as possible which methodology you intend to use in your own
research. It is important that you take all the time that you need to get this right, but it is important too to try to
get it right as quickly as you can. Be quick to ask for guidance in selecting a research methodology and for
feedback in relation to any decision you make regarding research methodology from your lecturers and your
thesis supervisor.

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Description of Population and Sampling

Following an explication of the research methodology used in the research project, the researcher details and
explains the population of the study and the sample drawn from that population.
If a population sample was used, the researcher details and explains the sample, and the size of the sample in
relation to the size of the population. The sampling method used is clearly outlined and justified. The unit deals
in detail with populations, samples and data collection methods.

Data Collection Methods

The next issue to be dealt with is data collection. The researcher thoroughly details and explains, and justifies,
the data collection methods used in the research project. Usually a copy of each of the data collection methods,
the questionnaire, or the interview schedule or the observation schedule, and so on, is placed in appendices. Each
of the data collection methods used is discussed and explained and justified in detail. The level of detail is
important because the detail allows readers and examiners to fully understand the research project, to critically
engage with the research conducted. The detail allows the reader and the examiner to evaluate the quality of the
research.

Description of Validity and Reliability

The issues of validity and reliability are then addressed. Perhaps the key issue in any research project is that of
validity. Validity in social research is the degree to which a research project measures that which it purports to
measure.
This means that if, for instance, the researcher develops a research project designed to measure levels of
industrial unrest in a particular workplace, then the research project must do that. To be a valid research project,
the research project must measure levels of industrial unrest in that workplace. The data collection methods used
in the research project must be valid measures of industrial unrest in the workplace, and the researcher must be
able to establish the validity of the data collection methods used. The term reliability in social science research,
as explained in Chapter Two of the prescribed textbook, relates to the degree to which the research can be

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repeated while obtaining consistent results. A measurement instrument in social science research is deemed
reliable if it produces consistent results. Reliability in relation to research instruments is the extent to which a
research instrument, such as a questionnaire, will yield the same results if used again. Reliability is about the
capacity of a research instrument to yield consistent results.

The issue of reliability has more application to quantitative than to qualitative research. Within quantitative
research the data gathering instrument is designed before the researcher goes into the field to accomplish a
specific purpose. Therefore, the instrument is to a degree independent of the context for the research. Such an
instrument, if used again, should yield consistent results. On the other hand, qualitative research is context
specific, and the data collection methods developed for qualitative research are developed specifically for the
context within which the research is situated. As this is the case, it would not be meaningful to test whether or
not data collection methods developed for qualitative research would yield consistent results over time, with
different populations. Qualitative researchers focus on establishing the rigour of their research. They focus on
establishing the soundness, the dependability of their research (Quinlam, 2011:98).

Triangulation
The next issue to be addressed in the research methodology chapter is the issue of triangulation. Triangulation in social
science research, is the use of more than one approach to answering the research question or responding to the research
issue. Triangulation means looking at the phenomenon under investigation from more than one perspective. There are
different kinds of triangulation: researcher triangulation; theoretical triangulation; and method triangulation (within and
between method triangulation). Table 4.9 provides a summary of the structure of a typical research methodology section.

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Summary

The following areas have been covered in this unit

Research methodology;

How to use research methodologies;

Types of the methodologies used in research.

Critique the use of methodologies in other research projects

Answer the following questions to check whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. How would you classify triangulation as a business research method?


2. Drawing on the knowledge gained from this unit, distinguish between any five of the methodologies
presented.

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STUDY UNIT 10: UNDERSTANDING POPULATION AND SAMPLING

Introduction

Data collection methods, research populations, samples and sampling methods are fundamental elements of the
methodological framework which is the third framework in the four frameworks approach to the research
project.

The aim of this unit is to explain how to select a population, and when and how to select a sample from a
population for a research project. The unit outlines the issues in choosing a population and a sample. The unit
details different research methods, the different ways of gathering data.

Learning outcomes:
By the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:

1. Diagnose a research population;


2. Select a sample from a population;
3. Explain how the choice and design of data collection method(s) used in the research project are
fundamentally influenced by:

the aim of the research being undertaken,


the population of the study,
the kind of data required for the study

Content
Research skills
The population of the study
The scope of the study
Sampling methods

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Research skills

A researcher should be able to outline an appropriate population for a given research project and select a sample
from that population using an appropriate sampling method, plus selecting and designing appropriate data
collection methods for a given research project. This unit explores the ways by which data can be gathered for
a research project, and the chapter deals with research populations and sampling methods. The methodological
framework of the research project is comprised of an account of all of the ways and means by which the research
was actually carried out.
The model of the research process shows that in the research process, we have decided on the research
methodology to be used in the research project, and we have now come to the stage of defining the population
of the research. Other decisions to be make includes whether to work with the entire population or with a sample
of that population, and deciding the data collection methods to be used in the research.

The Population of the Study


The population of a study is all of the individuals, items or units relevant to the study. The population can be comprised
of individuals, groups, organisations, documents, campaigns and incidents. The population of the research is also called
the universe. As the term the universe implies, the population of a study is comprised of all of the units or individual
belonging to that population. According to Wiid and Diggines (2013:171), a population is the total group or entities
from whom information is required. This implies that it is any group of individuals that have one or more characteristics
in common that are of interest to the researcher. This is consistent with Trevor Wegner (2012:7) who contends that a
population must be defined in every specific terms to include only those sampling items that realistically possesses
characteristics that are relevant to the problem and is potentially accessible by the researcher.

Examples of research populations

The researcher might decide to compare levels of disposable income among undergraduate students at College.
The researcher may decide to focus on the population of undergraduates at Damelin or the population of
undergraduates at Rose bank College, or at College Campus. The researcher may decide to focus on the
population of undergraduates in all three colleges. All of these populations are valid. The population of the study
is every person relevant to the population of the study, as the population of the study is defined by the researcher.

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Below are examples of research projects without human populations

The scope of the study

The researcher defines the population of the study precisely, in order to ensure that the research project is do-able, in
order to ensure that it is researchable.

The researcher can only do what it is possible to do, thus limiting the scope of the research. The resources necessary
in order to ensure that the research project is researchable include the amount of time available for the research, the

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amount of money required to conduct the research, and the level of access to the necessary data available to the
researcher. In designing the research project, the researcher might decide, for example, to situate the research in one
University, or in more than one University. The researcher might chose to situate the research in one Business
School or Faculty within a particular University or College, or in more than one Business School or Faculty. These
are questions of scope, questions of how big the study or the research project is to be.

Samples and Sampling in Research

Wiid and Diggines (2013:171), defines a sample as a subset of a population or a small proportion of a
population selected for observation and analysis. They proceeded to assert that by observing the characteristics
of a sample, the investigator can make certain inferences about the characteristics of the population from which
it is drawn. Strydom (2014: 90), echoes similar sentiments when he advances the view point that a sample must
be representative so that the researcher can make accurate estimates of thoughts and behaviors of the larger
population. This is complemented by Trevor Wegner (2013:7) who advanced that a sample must be
representative to ensure that conclusions based on sample analysis will be valid when generalized to the broader
population.

In social science research, it is often the case that the entire population of the research is too big, and as a result
beyond the scope of the researcher. In such situations, the researcher clearly defines the population of the
research, and then selects from that population a sample to study. The proposed research is then carried out on
or with the sample, instead of the entire population. Some research is carried out using entire populations and
some is carried out using sample populations or samples of populations.

Populations and Samples

Figure 8.2 (see below) shows the population, the sample and the unit, the individual or the case. As can be seen
from the figure, the population is all of the units in the figure. The sample is a small sub-set of the population.
The population is made up all many individual units, cases or individuals.

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The Issue of Representation

When using a sample of a population in a research project, the researcher must clearly describe the sample. Then
s/he must explain why that sample was selected and clearly describe the sampling method, the means by which
that sample was selected. In describing the sampling method, the researcher aims to establish how representative
the sample is of the research population. The key issue in sampling is this notion of representation. The concept
of representation relates to the degree to which a sample drawn from a population can be said to be representative
of the population.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria


Another issue to be addressed is that of the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The inclusion criteria are the criteria
potential participants must meet in order to be included in the study. Exclusion criteria are the criteria on which
participants will be excluded from participation in the study. Outlining clear inclusion and exclusion criteria is
a good way of achieving clarity in terms of what potential participants would be serve the research.

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Probability Sampling
Using probability sampling, the sample selected from the population is claimed by the researcher to be
representative of the population. It is of fundamental importance that the sample selected be representative of
the population of the study. The researcher using a probability sampling technique wants to claim that the
findings of research conducted with the sample are generalisable to the entire population of the study. Probability
sampling is based on the theories of mathematics of probability. Probability sampling techniques include simple
random sampling, stratified sampling, systematic sampling and cluster sampling. If used properly, probability
sampling techniques yield precise results while working with samples a fraction the size of the original
populations of research.

The Sampling Frame


The basic rule of probability sampling holds that each member of the population has an equal probability of
being selected for inclusion in the sample. As this is the case, the researcher, in order to engage in probability
sampling, must have a complete list (or map, or chart), of every member of the population. The sample is drawn
from this list. This list is known as a sampling frame. A sampling frame is a list or a map or a chart in which
every member of the population of the study is represented. Each member or item in the sample is randomly
selected from the population for inclusion in the study, using the sampling frame.

Simple Random Sampling


Simple random sampling involves selecting a sample at random from a sampling frame. Let us say that you want
to study the population of your class, and there are thirty students in your class. As it is a simple thing to get a
complete list of the names of the students in your class (a sampling frame), it is possible to engage in simple
random sampling with this population. The first thing to do is to make a list on a sheet of paper of all of the
names of the people in your class. Then tear off each name one by one, and place each of them into a hat or a
box. Then select one name at a time. You are now engaging in simple random sampling.

Systematic Sampling
Systematic sampling involves selecting items at systematic or regular intervals from the sampling frame. For
example, you might be working in a housing estate trying to establish which brand of washing powder is used
in each house. Your sampling frame is made up of all of the houses in the housing estate. Suppose there are 500
houses in the estate and you begin at a random starting point and then sample every third house, or every fifth
house, or whatever interval of house you decide on, until you complete your sample.

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Stratified sampling
A Stratified Sample is a sample selected based on some known characteristic of the population, a characteristic
which will have an impact on the research. Using stratified sampling the researcher divides, or stratifies, the
sample selected for use in the research using the characteristic which s/he knows will have an impact on the
research. For example a study of religious practice among your classmates for a simple and good explanation
of these sampling methods. In the example, the researcher uses first a simple random sampling technique, then
a systematic sampling technique, before finally deciding that a stratified sampling technique in really required
for this particular study with this particular population.

Non-probability sampling

In non-probability sampling, the sample is selected to represent the population, but it cannot be said to be
representative of the population, in any statistical sense. The emphasis in nonprobability sampling is on the
capacity of a relatively small number of cases to clearly and comprehensively illustrate the phenomenon under
investigation. It often happens with social science research projects that it is not possible to produce a complete
list of the population; when this is the case, it is not possible to develop a sampling frame. For example, a
researcher might be asked to examine brand loyalty among consumers of Cosmopolitan magazine. It wouldn't
be possible to compile a complete list of consumers of Cosmopolitan magazine. Without a complete sampling
frame, it is not possible to engage in probability sampling, as without a sampling frame it is not possible to
guarantee that every member of the population has an equally likely chance of being included in the study. The
sampling approach used in such circumstances is non- probability sampling. Non-probability sampling
techniques include judgmental sampling, quota sampling, snowball sampling and convenience sampling.

Judgemental or Purposive Sampling


Using a judgmental or purposive sampling technique the researcher decides, or makes a judgement, about who
to include in the research. The criterion for inclusion in the research is the capacity of the participant to inform
the research. Each person, or unit, chosen to be included must have a contribution to make to the research. People
chosen to be included in such a sample would be key informants on the topic under investigation.

Quota Sampling: Using a quota sampling technique the researcher develops a sample of participants for the research
using different quota criteria.

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Convenience Sampling: Using a convenience sampling technique the researcher engages those participants in
the research it is easiest to include, for example people in the newsagents, people in the supermarket and so on.
The researcher knows how many people to include in the sample, then s/he continues to engage people in the
research until the sample has been filled. Snowball Sampling: Using a snowball sampling technique the
researcher finds one participant in the research, s/he conducts the research with that participant, and then s/he
asks that participant to recommend the next participant. Participants must fit the inclusion criteria for the research
project. The researcher goes through the procedure with the second participant and when finished, asks that
participant to recommend another participant to be included in the research. The researcher continues in this
manner, conducting the research with participants and then asking each participant to recommend the next
participant, until the sample is complete.

Summary

The following areas have been covered in this unit

1. Discuss the concept of research population;


2. Practically select a sample from a population;
3. Explain how the choice and design of data collection method(s) used in the research

Answer the following questions to check whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. When should a researcher use judgemental sampling?


2. How would you choose a sample for a research study?
3. Present practical examples of a research population

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STUDY UNIT 11: SURVEYS AND QUESTIONNAIRES

Introduction

Data gathering techniques are part of the methodological framework, the third framework in the four frameworks
approach to the design of the research project. The four frameworks approach to the research project facilitates
the researcher in developing a logical and coherent, fully integrated research project. The first three frameworks
of the four frameworks approach to research are discussed again in this unit

Learning outcomes:
By the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:

1. Define surveys and explain their advantages;


2. Describe the type of information that may be gathered in a survey;
3. Identify sources of error in survey research;
4. Design questionnaires for different research projects;
5. Discuss and explain the issues of validity and reliability in relation to questionnaire

Content
Data Gathering Methods
Questionnaires and Scales
Errors in Survey Research
Presentation of the Questionnaire
A pilot study

Data Gathering Methods


The model of the research process demonstrates where in the research process questionnaires and scales are
used. Questionnaires and scales, like observation, interviews and focus groups, explored before, are data
gathering methods. As the model shows, the selection and design of the data gathering methods for the research
project generally takes place after the literature review has been completed and decisions around methodology
have been made. The researcher may have some ideas around data collection from the start of the project.
However, these ideas are likely to change and/or develop over the course of the conceptualisation of the research

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statement, the conduct of the literature review, and the design of methodological framework for the research
project. It is only at the point at which the methodology for the project, and the population and sample are finally
decided upon, that the data gathering methods for the research project are finally selected and designed.

Questionnaires and Scales

According to Wiid and Diggines (2012:171), states that a questionnaire is a document containing questions designed to
solicit information appropriate for analysis. Strydom (20014: 88), advances the complimentary view that since the
questionnaire is the most significant instrument used to collect primary data hence careful consideration must be given
to the type of questions, their format, wording and sequence.

When engaging a large population in a research project, it is not possible to engage every member of the population in
in-depth research. So rather than exploring the phenomenon under investigation in great depth, the researcher designs a
research instrument which facilitates a broad approach to researching the phenomenon, using a large number of
respondents. A survey research methodology is an appropriate research methodology in such research. Survey research
is situated within a framework of positivism, it is deductive and it is used primarily to generate quantitative data.
Questionnaires and/or scales are appropriate data gathering instruments in such research. Questionnaires are structured
data gathering methods. They are structured to ensure that each respondent is asked the same simple, clear, concise and
precise questions, and structured to ensure that the responses made to those questions/issues are also simple, clear,
concise and precise. The data gathered by researchers engaged in very large studies tends to be mostly or entirely
quantitative data; that is, data in numeric form or data that can easily be converted into numeric form.

Errors in Survey Research


According to Wiid and Diggines (2013:86) the survey method entails gathers data about selected individuals from a
relatively large number of individuals and cases at a particular time by using direct and indirect questioning. However,
there are two major sources: random sampling error and systematic error.
Types of Error
Random Sampling Error: The chance that the selected sample my not represent the population
accurately
Sample Bias: When sample results twist in one direction
Systematic Error: Is created by a wrong research design

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Respondent Error: Error from an action of despondence or failure to act
Non-response Error: Subjects not contacted or refuse to respond
Response Bias: When responses are affected by respondents bias.

Questionnaires

Questionnaires are precisely structured data gathering instruments. They are widely used in survey research.
Questionnaires are used primarily in quantitative research to generate quantitative data, although qualitative data
can be generated by questionnaires, through the use of open questions. Bhardwaj (2013:40) contended that
although the quality of information collected through the filling of the questionnaire depends to a larger extent
upon the drafting of questions, questionnaires administered personally to groups of individuals have a number
of advantages. The gathering of quantitative data in a research project indicates a positivistic perspective in the
research, and a positivistic philosophical framework for the research.

Sample Questionnaire

There are three questions in the sample questionnaire. The questions asked are simple, clear, concise and precise,
and so too are the responses to those questions. Note that the questionnaire has been designed to allow for the
coding of responses to the questionnaire. The coded responses are detailed on the right-hand side of the
questionnaire.

Designing a Questionnaire

The key issues when designing a questionnaire are:


The content of the questions.
The construction and presentation of each of the questions.
The order of the questions.
The length of the questionnaire.
The best guide to the design of an appropriate question, to begin with, is the conceptual framework of your
research project. The conceptual framework of the research project is contained in the research question or
statement of your project and it is the question or statement driving your research.

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Examples of Questionnaires

When you are designing a questionnaire for your research project, along with your study of survey research and
questionnaires in this and other textbooks, you should examine examples of questionnaires used in other research
projects. You will find these detailed and explained in journal articles. When you have collected a number of
such questionnaires, examine them.

Examining questionnaires

Study the way in which they are presented in terms of both organization and the aesthetics.
Study the structure and the sequence of questions and items.
Take note of which questions are asked first, and which questions came later.
Study the words, concepts and language used.
Examine the manner in which questions are presented.
Take note of the manner in which the respondent was required to respond to the questions, ticking
boxes, inputting words and/or numbers, writing phrases and/or sentences.
Note the structure and presentation of the closed questions, and the way in which the respondent is
required to respond to them.
Note the structure and presentation of the open questions, and the way in which the respondent is
required to respond to them.
Note the entire different question formats in the questionnaires.
Note skips and filters and the ways in which they are used.
Note the length of the questionnaires. Questionnaires are designed to be concise and precise data
gathering methods, they should be as long as is necessary, and as short as is possible.

Presentation of the Questionnaire

The presentation of the questionnaire should be simple, succinct, and professional.

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The spacing of the questions should be logical and aesthetically pleasing. In other words, the questionnaire
should be attractive. This is important because the appearance of the questionnaire will influence people in terms
of whether or not they respond to it.

Questionnaires are often sent to respondents by post, or by internal mail/post or by email. When this happens,
obviously the researcher is not at hand to encourage the respondent to respond to the questionnaire. So the
questionnaire must appeal to the respondent, aesthetically as well as in terms of its content, and it must appeal
in terms of the rationale for the questionnaire and the research. Creating aesthetically pleasing questionnaires
takes a considerable amount of time and skill, but it is important to invest the time in this creative endeavour.

Issues of validity and reliability

The issues of validity and reliability are treated differently in quantitative research and qualitative research. In
quantitative research, the researcher is primarily concerned with measurement and with the precision of the data
gathering instruments they use or develop for use in their research projects.

The Politics and Practicalities of Asking a Question

As explained, in quantitative research the researcher decides what needs to be known, and designs a very precise data
gathering instrument to gather data in order to create knowledge.
In such a data gathering exercise, the researcher is the expert and it is the researchers understanding of and/or
perspective on the phenomenon that is explored or examined in such research.
In designing such a precise instrument, the researcher controls and even shapes the information that is gathered,
and consequently the knowledge generated by the research project. Critiques of such approaches to research
stem from what are perceived as power issues. The researcher has all the power in designing the research project,
and the researched are powerless.

Pilot Study

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A pilot study is a test of the design of the research project, or a test of the data gathering instrument(s) designed
for the research. In general, all data gathering methods should be tested, and in your reading for the literature
review and for the research methods element of your research, you will notice that almost every data collection
method you come across will be subjected to a pilot study. This is because the assumptions researchers make
about how research subjects will respond to the questions and items presented to them in the data gathering
methods designed for the research project are not always correct. So, researchers test the data collection methods
they design. They test them to find out how, in reality, participants will respond to their questions.
A pilot study, as explained, is carried out using a small number of respondents. These respondents should be
similar to the actual respondents in the study, but they should not be respondents in the study. Usually pilot
studies are carried out with five to fifteen respondents, depending on the size of the study. In piloting a
questionnaire and/or scale, the researcher wants to establish how respondents will respond to the questionnaire
or scale, if they clearly understand each item and question in the questionnaire or scale, and if the responses they
give to each item and question will be the responses required. Any issues that the pilot study throws up can be
dealt with before the real study takes place.

Response Rates
Researchers are very fundamentally concerned with response rates. A response rate in a research project is a
count of the number of valid responses received to a data gathering exercise, for example the number of properly
completed and returned questionnaires and/or scales. The higher the response rates the better. If every member
of the study population or sample responds, then the study will have a very complete data set. In face-to-face
data gathering exercises, it is not unusual to achieve 100% response rates, in telephone interviews it is not
unusual to achieve 80% response rates. In postal surveys and in online surveys, response rates are often
considerably lower than this. If the response rate is, for example, 75%, then there is no data on the attitudes or
experiences of 25% of the study population or sample.

Generalisability

One claim that researchers sometimes make about their research is that it is generalisable. Generalisability in
research is the application of the findings of a research project beyond the specific context of the study. In
claiming that the findings of their research are generalisable, what the researcher means is that the findings and
conclusions s/he has drawn from his study can be applied more generally.

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The rule is, the bigger the sample population of the study, the more you can generalise. This is the reason why
only quantitative research is said to be, if sound design and sampling procedures have been used, generalisable;
qualitative research is said to be transferable rather than generalizable. Researchers are usually very focused on
getting good response rates in their research and very active in encouraging as many responses as possible in
order to be able to claim that their research is generalisable.
Ways of improving response rates
Respondents can be contacted and encouraged to respond.
Incentives can be given in order to improve response rates; the value of the research, when clearly
explained, is often incentive enough.
Clear and persuasive information sheets and informed consent forms can improve response rates.
The presentation, format and layout of questionnaires and scales can influence response rates.
Clarity, simplicity and brevity in the design of the data gathering instrument will help improve response
rates.
The use of a covering letter can improve response rates.
Sending stamped addressed envelopes with postal questionnaires will improve response rates.
Addressing the envelopes containing postal questionnaires to a specific person can help improve
response rates.
Courtesy and respect will improve response rates.
Summary

The following areas have been covered in this unit

Learning outcomes:
By the end of this unit, learners should be able to do the following:

Define surveys and explain their advantages;


Describe the type of information that may be gathered in a survey;
Highlight the sources of error in survey research;
Design questionnaires for different research projects;
Discuss and explain the issues of validity and reliability in relation to questionnaire design.

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Answer the following questions to check whether you have achieved all the set outcomes:

1. Discuss the different types of errors that can be encountered in carrying out a survey.
2. Describe how you would conduct a pilot study
3. Discuss the different ways that a researcher can use to enhance response rate.

Research Methodology Exam 1

SECTION A:
[30 Marks]
This section is COMPULSORY. Answer ALL questions in this section.

Question 1: Multiple Choice Questions

Select the correct answer from the options available. Write the correct letter next to the question number. Each question
is worth one (1) mark.

1. _____________ in the context of a research project is an account of research which has already been carried
out and published in books, in articles in scientific journals, in theses, in conference reports, in government
reports, in the reports of NGOs and in the media.
(1)
A. Literature
B. Quantitative data
C. Methodology
D. Qualitative data

2. The literature review that you develop becomes the___________ framework that your research project will be
built on. (1)
A. Conceptual
B. Theoretical
C. Analytical
D. Methodological

3. Data collection methods are: (1)


A. the means by which data is gathered for the research project
B. the way in which the research is conducted
C. the means by which the researcher reviews the literature for the research project

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D. either quantitative or qualitative

4. The ________________ contains all of the information and detail relating to the research methodology and
methods used in the research project. This framework contains all of the information and detail on the way in
which the research was carried out.
(1)
A. Analytical framework
B. Methodological framework
C. Theoretical framework
D. Conceptual framework

5. _____________in social research is associated with quantitative research, the production and study of numbers
and statistics (1)
A. Social constructionist
B. Interpretivism
C. Positivism
D. Epistemology

6. According to ___________, the world is seen as co-constituted, co-created, socially constructed and made up
of many different realities. (1)
A. Epistemological
B. Interpretivism
C. Positivism
D. Social constructionist

7. A _________is a prediction or expected answer to a research question. (1)


A. Report
B. Statement
C. Hypothesis
D. Scope of study

8. Taking or using somebody elses work or idea as your own without referencing is_______________.
(1)
A. Copying and pasting
B. Harvard style of reference
C. Plagiarism
D. Functionalism

9. Empirical data is: (1)


A. data gathered directly by the researcher in the field
B. any data used in a research project
C. any relevant and usable data
D. quantitative data

10. Which of the following types of data can be analysed using the Statistical Package for So cial Sciences
(SPSS)? (1)
A. Qualitative data

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B. Quantitative data
C. All of the above
D. None of the above

Question 2: True or False (10 marks)

State whether the statement is True or False. Each question is worth one (1)

2.1. Researchability relates to whether the researcher has time needed, money required and the access to data
necessary to carry out and complete the research project.
(1)

2.2. Rigour in research refers to the rigorous manner in which research is conducted.
(1)
2.3. The divide between the paradigms of positivism, social constructionism and Interpretivism presents researchers
with substantial epistemological questions.
(1)

2.4. Epistemology is the study of the nature of reality whereas Ontology is the theory of knowledge
(1)

2.5. Triangulation is using more than one research method of data collection. (1)

2.6. Nominal is the lowest level of measurement, examples of nominal level variables include gender, nationality,
race, religion, type of business. (1)

2.7. Ordinal is the highest unit of measurement (1)

2.8. If you ask respondents to rank tasks they undertake in their daily work in some order, for example, from the
most important to the least important, you are asking them to create an ordinal scale of preference.
(1)

2.9. Statistics are used in qualitative data analysis for two purposes, description; using descriptive statistics, and
prediction; using inferential statistics. (1)

2.10. With inferential statistics, the researcher tries to reach conclusions that extend beyond the immediate data alone.
(1)

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Question 3: Matching Columns (10marks)

Match the term in Column A with the correct description in Column B.

Column A Column B
3.1 Survey A. the study of theory of knowledge
3.2 Inductive approach B. a research tool of quantitative methodology
3.3 Interview C. you make some prediction based on evidence, and you
test that prediction
3.4 Deductive D. a research tool of qualitative methodology
3.5 Methodological framework E. is contained in the literature review
3.6 Theoretical framework F. details how the research is to be conducted
3.7 Epistemology G. the study of the nature of reality
3.8 Ontology H. gather all the evidence, then you formulate a
generalisation
3.9 Critical analysis I. questioning analytical approach to any phenomenon
3.10 Interval J. Highest level of measurement

SECTION B: (45 marks)

This section is COMPULSORY. Answer ALL questions in this section.

Question 4 (12)
Identify and discuss the four frameworks that underpin any kind of research.

Question 5 (8)
Discuss four (4) different data collection methods used in various research projects.

Question 6 (8)
Explain the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics.

Question 7 (8)
State any two (2) types of graphs and explain why graphing data is important when reporting research.

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Question 8 (9)
Briefly describe the role of the researcher

SECTION C:
(45
Marks)
This section is COMPULSORY. Answer ALL questions in this section.

Question 9 (20)
Identify and discuss the stages of conducting research process. Provide examples where applicable.

Question 10 (10)
Discuss the concept of mixed methods research?

Question 11 (15)
11.1 State the meaning of the acronym; CAQDAS.
11.2 Identify any two (2) qualitative data software packages and summarise the advantages of using these packages in
research.

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Research Methodology Exam 2

Section A: (30 Marks)

This section is compulsory. Please answer all the questions in this section.

Question 1: Multiple Choice (16)

Select the correct answer for the question or statement. Write the correct letter next to the question number.

1. is research that has already been carried out and published in books, articles in scientific journals,
theses, conferences reports, government reports and in the media
(2)
a) Literature
b) Desktop
c) Methodology
d) Analytical

2. The literature review that you develop becomes the framework that your research
project will be built on (2)
a) Conceptual
b) Theoretical
c) Analytical
d) Methodological

3. Identify the example of quantitative research methodology used in any research project
(2)

a) Survey
b) In depth interview
c) Focus Group Discussion
d) Life histories

4. contains all the information and detail relating to the research methodology or the thesis, in the research
methodology section of the report of the research
(2)

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a) Analytical framework
b) Methodological framework
c) Theoretical framework
d) Conceptual framework

5. in social research is associated with quantitative research, the production and study of numbers and
statistics (2)

a) Social constructionist
b) Interpretivism
c) Positivism
d) Ontologist

6. According to the ,the world is seen as co-constituted, co-created, socially constructed and made up of
many different realities (2)

a) Epistemological
b) Interpretivism
c) Positivism
d) Social constructionist

7. A is a prediction or expected answer to a research question (2)

a) Report
b) Statement
c) Hypothesis
d) Scope of study

8. Taking or using a somebody elses work or idea as your work without referencing properly is called
(2)

a) Copying and pasting


b) Harvard style of reference
c) Plagiarism
d) Functionalism

Question 2: True or False (5)

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State whether the statement is true or false. Provide a reason why the statement is true or false.

1. Researchability relates to whether the researcher has time needed, money required and the access to data
necessary to carry out and complete the research project
(1)

2. A research is called rigorous if it adheres to the scientific principles of research that is scientific and valid
(1)

3. The divide between the paradigms of positivism, social constructionism and Interpretivism presents
researchers with substantial epistemological questions
(1)

4. Epistemology is the study of the nature of reality whereas Ontology is the theory of knowledge
(1)

5. Triangulation is using more than one research method of data collection (1)

Question 3: Match the Columns (9)


Match the correct term in Column A with the correct description in Column B.

Term Description
1. Survey a. the study of theory of knowledge
2. Inductive approach b. a research tool of quantitative methodology
3. Interviews c. you make some prediction based on evidence, and
you test that prediction
4. Deductive d. a research tool of qualitative methodology
5. Methodological framework e. is contained in the literature review.
6. Theoretical framework f. details how the research is to be conducted.
7.Epistemology g. the study of the nature of reality
8. Ontology h. gather all the evidence, then you formulate a
generalisation
9. Critical analysis i. questioning analytical approach to any
phenomenon

Section B: Short Questions [45 Marks]


This section is compulsory. Please answer all the questions in this section.

Question 4: (8)
Identify and discuss the four frameworks that underpin any kind of research

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Question 5: (12)
Identify and discuss in detail at least 3 different data collection methods used in various research projects.

Question 6: (12)
Explain with clear descriptions the differences between the following concepts:
6.1 Theory and Research
6.2 Deductive and Inductive
6.3 Qualitative and Quantitative
6.4 Sample and Population

Question 7: (9)
List and discuss in detail the different level variables

Question 8: (4)
Explain what is meant by the terms univariate, bivariate and multivariate analysis

SECTION D: Long Question [45 Marks]


This section is compulsory. Please answer all the Questions

Question 9: (30)
Discuss the stages of conducting research process and give examples at each and every stage.

Question 10: (15)


Identify a topic of a research project of your choice and outline appropriate aim and objectives, as well as the method
of data collection why that method is the most appropriate

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Bergh, Z. and Theron, A. (2014). Psychology in the workplace. 3rd Edition. Oxford University Press. Cape Town.

Bhardwaj, R.S. (2013). Business Statistics. 2nd edition. New Delhi. Excell Books.

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Griffith University (2016). What is the difference between a reference list and a bibliography? (Online), Available
from: https://studenthelp.secure.griffith.edu.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/1676/~/what-is-the-difference-between-a-
reference-list-and-a-bibliography%3F- html. (Accessed 17 December 2016).

Cant, M.C., Strydom, J.W. and Duplesis, P.J. (2016), Strategic Marketing, 5th Edition, Cape Town, Juta.

Curwin, J. and Slater, R. (2014:67). Quantitative Methods for Business Decisions. 6th Edition. Cengage Learning
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Kotler, P., Wong, V., Saunders, J. and Armstrong, G. (2015), Principles of Marketing, fourth European edition,
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Mayhew, R. (2016). How Is Technology Impacting the Changes in the 21st Century Workplace? (Online), Available
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OConnor, Z. (2015). Extreme plagiarism. The rise of the e-Idiot? International Journal of Learning in Higher
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Oxford University. (2016). Plagiarism. (Online), Available from:


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Quinlan, C. (2011). Business research methods, Cengage: Hampshire. .

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Sam, S. and Federal R, D. (2013a). Analyzing the Shift from Basic and Applied Research toward Development. Dept
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Sam, S. and Federal R, D. (2013b). Analyzing the Shift from Basic and Applied Research toward Development. Dept
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Smith, P.J., Cronje G.J., Brevis, T. and Viba, M.S (2013). Management: A Contemporary Edition for Africa. 4th
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Strydon, J. (2014). Introduction to Marketing. 4th Edition. Cape Town. Juta.

Trevor Wegner. (2012). Applied Business statistics: Methods & Excel based Approach. 3rd Edition. Juta. Cape Town.

Vitez, O. (2016). The Impact of Technological Change on Business Activity. (Online), Available from:
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Vivek, M. (2013). Business Environment. New Delhi. Excel Books.

Wiid, J. and Digines, C. (2013).Marketing Research. Cape Town. Juta .

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