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WRITING A DISSERTATION

Submitted by:

A.S.N.SASHANK

4TH YR A/1846/06

JETTIN TOM AUGUSTINE

4TH YR A/1865/06

Dissertation coordinators:

Dr. Ranjana Mittal

Prof. Jaya Kumar


RESEARCH QUESTION
In research process, the first and foremost step happens to be that of selecting and properly
defining a research problem. A researcher must find the problem and formulate it so that it
becomes susceptible to research. Like a medical doctor, a researcher must examine all the
symptoms (presented to him or observed by him) concerning a problem before he can diagnose
correctly. To define a problem correctly, a researcher must know: what a problem is?

A research problem, in general, refers to some difficulty which a researcher experiences in the
context of either a theoretical or practical situation and wants to obtain a solution for the same.

SELECTING THE PROBLEM

The research problem undertaken for study must be carefully selected. The following points may
be observed by a researcher in selecting a research problem or a subject for research:

(i) Subject which is overdone should not be normally chosen, for it will be a difficult task to
throw any new light in such a case.

(ii) Controversial subject should not become the choice of an average researcher.

(iii) Too narrow or too vague problems should be avoided.

(iv)The subject selected for research should be familiar and feasible so that the related research
material or sources of research are within one’s reach.

(v) The selection of a problem must be preceded by a preliminary study.

NECESSITY OF DEFINING THE PROBLEM

A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved. This statement signifies the need for defining
a research problem. A proper definition of research problem will enable the researcher to be on
the track whereas an ill-defined problem may create hurdles.

TECHNIQUE INVOLVED IN DEFINING A PROBLEM

Defining a problem involves the task of laying down boundaries within which a researcher shall
study the problem with a pre-determined objective in view.

The technique for the purpose involves the undertaking of the following steps generally one after
the other:
(i) Statement of the problem in a general way;
(ii) Understanding the nature of the problem
(iii) Surveying the available literature
(iv) Developing the ideas through discussions; and
(iv) Rephrasing the research problem into a working proposition.
A brief description of all these points will be helpful.

(i) Statement of the problem in a general way: First of all the problem should be stated in a
broad general way, keeping in view either some practical concern or some scientific or
intellectual interest. For this purpose, the researcher must immerse himself thoroughly in the
subject matter concerning which he wishes to pose a problem

(ii) Understanding the nature of the problem: The next step in defining the problem is to
understand its origin and nature clearly. The best way of understanding the problem is to discuss
it with those who first raised it in order to find out how the problem originally came about and
with what objectives in view.

(iii) Surveying the available literature: All available literature concerning the problem at hand
must necessarily be surveyed and examined before a definition of the research problem is given.
Knowing what data are available often serves to narrow the problem itself as well as the
technique that might be used.”
(Robert Ferber and P.J. Verdoorn, p. 33–34)

(iv) Developing the ideas through discussions: Discussion concerning a problem often
produces useful information. Various new ideas can be developed through such an exercise.

(v) Rephrasing the research problem: Through rephrasing, the researcher puts the research
problem in as specific terms as possible so that it may become operationally viable and may help
in the development of working hypotheses.

Reference
Dawson, Catherine, 2002, Practical Research Methods, New Delhi, UBS Publishers’
Distributors,
Kothari, C.R.,1985, Research Methodology-Methods and Techniques, New Delhi, Wiley Eastern
Limited.
Kumar, Ranjit, 2005, Research Methodology-A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners, (2nd.ed),
Singapore, Pearson Education
Research Methods in Economics and Business, Robert Ferber and P.J. Verdoorn
LITERATURE SURVEY
METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION

The task of data collection begins after a research problem has been defined. While deciding
about the method of data collection to be used for the study, the researcher should keep in mind
two types of data viz., primary and secondary.

The primary data are those which are collected afresh and for the first time, and thus happen to
be original in character.

The secondary data, on the other hand, are those which have already been collected by someone
else and which have already been passed through the statistical process.

METHODS OF PRIMARY DATA COLLECTION

OBSERVATION METHOD:

Commonly used in behavioral sciences

It is the gathering of primary data by investigator’s own direct observation of relevant people,
actions and situations without asking from the respondent. Observation can yield information
which people are normally unwilling or unable to provide.

Types of Observation:

1. Structured – for descriptive research

2. Unstructured—for exploratory research

3. Participant Observation

4. Non- participant observation

5. Disguised observation

SURVEY METHOD

Approach most suited for gathering descriptive information.

Structured Surveys: use formal lists of questions asked of all respondents in the same way.
Unstructured Surveys: let the interviewer probe respondents and guide the interview according to
their answers.

Survey research may be Direct or Indirect


CONTACT METHODS:

Information may be collected by:


• Mail
• Telephone
• Personal interview

EXPERIMENTAL METHOD

It is a data-based research, coming up with conclusions which are capable of being verified with
observation or experiment.
Experimental research is appropriate when proof is sought that certain variables affect other
variables in some way. It is also known as Empirical Research or Cause and Effect Method.

COLLECTION OF SECONDARY DATA

Secondary data means data that are already available i.e., they refer to the data which have
already been collected and analyzed by someone else. When the researcher utilizes secondary
data, then he has to look into various sources from where he can obtain them. In this case he is
certainly not confronted with the problems that are usually associated with the collection of
original data.

Secondary data must possess following characteristics:


1. Reliability of data
2. Suitability of data:
3. Adequacy of data:

CASE STUDY METHOD

The case study method is a very popular form of qualitative analysis and involves a careful and
complete observation of a social unit,

Characteristics

1. Under this method the researcher can take one single social unit or more of such units for his
study purpose.

2. Here the selected unit is studied intensively.

3. Understand the complex of factors that are operative within a social unit as an integrated
totality.
4. Under this method the approach happens to be qualitative and not quantitative.

5. In respect of the case study method an effort is made to know the mutual inter-relationship of
causal factors.

6. Under case study method the behavior pattern of the concerning unit is studied directly and
not by an indirect and abstract approach.

Reference
Dawson, Catherine, 2002, Practical Research Methods, New Delhi, UBS Publishers’
Distributors,
Kothari, C.R.,1985, Research Methodology-Methods and Techniques, New Delhi, Wiley Eastern
Limited.
Kumar, Ranjit, 2005, Research Methodology-A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners, (2nd.ed),
Singapore, Pearson Education
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
MEANING OF RESEARCH

Research is an academic activity and as such the term should be used in a technical sense.
According to Clifford Woody research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating
hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions
and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they
fit the formulating hypothesis.

D. Slesinger and M. Stephenson in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences define research as “the
manipulation of things, concepts or symbols for the purpose of generalizing to extend, correct or
verify knowledge, whether that knowledge aids in construction of theory or in the practice of an
art.” (MacMillan, 1930)

In short, the search for knowledge through objective and systematic method of finding solution
to a problem is research.

A research can be classified as:-

• Descriptive research attempts to describe systematically a situation, problem,


phenomenon, service or programme, or provides information about, say, living condition
of a community, or describes attitudes towards an issue.
• Correlational research attempts to discover or establish the existence of a relationship/
interdependence between two or more aspects of a situation.
• Explanatory research attempts to clarify why and how there is a relationship between
two or more aspects of a situation or phenomenon.
• Exploratory research is undertaken to explore an area where little is known or to
investigate the possibilities of undertaking a particular research study (feasibility study /
pilot study).
(Dawson, Catherine, 2002)

TYPES OF RESEARCH

(i) Descriptive vs. Analytical: Descriptive research includes surveys and fact-finding enquiries of
different kinds. The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as
it exists at present.
In analytical research, on the other hand, the researcher has to use facts or information already
available, and analyze these to make a critical evaluation of the material.

(ii) Applied vs. Fundamental: Research can either be applied (or action) research or fundamental
(to basic or pure) research. Applied research aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem
facing a society or an industrial/business organization, whereas fundamental research is mainly
concerned with generalizations and with the formulation of a theory.
(Pauline V. Young, 1970, p. 30)
(iii) Quantitative vs. Qualitative: Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity
or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity.
Qualitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e.,
phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind.

(iv) Conceptual vs. Empirical: Conceptual research is that related to some abstract idea(s) or
theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to
reinterpret existing ones.
On the other hand, empirical research relies on experience or observation alone, often without
due regard for system and theory. It is data-based research, coming up with conclusions which
are capable of being verified by observation or experiment. In such a research it is necessary to
get at facts firsthand, at their source, and actively to go about doing certain things to stimulate
the production of desired information.

RESEARCH METHODS VERSUS METHODOLOGY

Research methods may be understood as all those methods/techniques that are used for
conduction of research.
At times, a distinction is also made between research techniques and research methods. Research
techniques refer to the behavior and instruments we use in performing research operations such
as making observations, recording data, techniques of processing data and the like. Research
methods refer to the behavior and instruments used in selecting and constructing research
technique. For instance, the difference between methods and techniques of data collection can
better be understood from the details given in the following chart—
QUALITIES OF A GOOD RESEARCH

1. Good research is systematic: It means that research is structured with specified steps to be
taken in a specified sequence in accordance with the well defined set of rules. Systematic
characteristic of the research does not rule out creative thinking but it certainly does reject the
use of guessing and intuition in arriving at conclusions.

2. Good research is logical: This implies that research is guided by the rules of logical reasoning
and the logical process of induction and deduction are of great value in carrying out research.
Induction is the process of reasoning from a part to the whole whereas deduction is the process
of reasoning from some premise to a conclusion which follows from that very premise. In fact,
logical reasoning makes research more meaningful in the context of decision making.

3. Good research is empirical: It implies that research is related basically to one or more aspects
of a real situation and deals with concrete data that provides a basis for external validity to
research results.

4. Good research is replicable: This characteristic allows research results to be verified by


replicating the study and thereby building a sound basis for decisions.

(Danny N. Bellenger and Barnett, A. Greenberg, 1978, p. 107–108)

REFERENCE

The Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, Vol. IX, MacMillan, 1930


Practical Research Methods, Dawson, Catherine, 2002
Scientific Social Surveys and Research, Pauline V. Young, 1970
Marketing Research—A Management Information Approach, Danny N. Bellenger and
Barnett, A. Greenberg, 1978
SYNOPSIS

Synopsis is a brief presentation which describes the purpose of research and method of
conducting research. Main features of Synopsis are:

A. There should be first page ; cover page should spell out the title, name of candidate with his
registration number, name of guide, subject / department to which the candidate belongs.

B. Title: This gives the first impression to the reader, it should be concise, and it should reflect
nature of study and relationship between hypothesis and guiding question.

C. Introduction: It should be short but informative. It should be direct to the point. Be clear in
stating your problem. There should be logic in progression from identification of problem o f
raising formal question. You can also justify your interest in the topic in the introduction.

D. Literature review: It is important that you study all the currently available literature before
initiating proposal. This give an adequate knowledge of the topic, it helps to have critical
appraisal of ideas and hypothesis that are raised in the literature and also those that get generated
in your mind. It also informs you if the topic has been researched in past and which aspect was
researched. Literature review should give information which supports the study and method
utilized in the study. The information source can be from journals – review articles, textbooks of
medicine, internet, colleagues, mentors, experts, seminars etc.

E. Aims and Objectives: After one has gone through the above process he can spell out the
objectives of study. It is putting down steps by which one will attempt to achieve answers to the
questions that made the study. The objectives should be certainly in tune with the title of the
study.

F. Scope: Be clear that you have defined the boundaries of your study or else you will be
gathering a lot of information which is of no significance to your study. The range of literature
study should be from significant past to most recent inputs on the subject under study.

G. Method: It describes the subjects / participants; it states the research design and procedure.

H. References / Bibliography: It is important component o f the study. We have to state the


sources from where we have been able to create purposes of the study. It has to be written in a
particular format, alphabetical order of the author’s last name who have been referred, followed
b y the publication, publisher and edition etc. internet reference should be stated along with
complete URL address and the date, and time of surfing for referencing, journals have to be
referred with authors last name in alphabetical order, article referred, journal name and volume
details. (Harvard system of Referencing)

REFERENCE

Dr Anoop Nigwekar, 2008, Science and art of writing a Synopsis, www.similima.com