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BOOK REVIEW

BUSINESS RESEARCH METHODOLOGY


By
T N Srivastava & Shailaja Rao

Reviewed by : S Das

This book makes an important contribution to the business management profession by


addressing key methodological issues, insights, and challenges involved with the changing
landscapes and developments of our time. As the authors point out in the preface, “the contents
of the book are perceived to be ideal blend of theory and practice of Business Research and
Research Methodology not only in size but also in depth”. Material provided in the sixteen
chapters in this book definitely live up to this promise and make for highly recommended
reading (and practice) for researchers looking to strengthen their methodological rigor and to
complement their existing methods toolkit in triangulating new insights to important strategic
areas of research.

Each chapter, written meticulously, presents focused insights on their chosen topic and
encourages the reader to think beyond the issues addressed. The contents of these chapters
are stimulating, engaging, and thought provoking, written in a style that is nicely crafted and
easy to understand. The chapters can be read standalone or in sequence, but much is gained
by reading this book in the order the authors have masterfully arranged. First is a outline of the
volume arranged into various parts: first five chapters look at major scopes & opportunities
inherent in particular content areas. These chapters talk about objective of research, type of
research, concept and tools for business research, defines research process, and then research
design and measurement scales. The step by step progression of these chapters would
certainly help anyone desiring of pursuing research to get a lucid idea about the whole spectrum
of business research. The next four chapters again systematically try to sensitize the
researcher to the process of data collection, presentation and analysis. Next five chapters
prepares a framework for a clear understanding about use of statistics and statistical tools for
data analysis. Another unique feature about this book is that it gives a separate chapter on
report writing which will provide lot of help to the scholars in order to design and develop their
research findings in a appreciable report format. By adding another chapter on “Ethics in
Business Research”, the authors have tried to make it contextual and contemporary.

The genius of this book is the deliberate arrangement of the chapters in the order that they
appear—taking the reader on a journey of discovery and rediscovery from one methodological
corner of strategy to the next. It is a breathtaking read that will stretch your thinking about
research methods in business and management to a whole new level. Dr. T N Srivastava and
Ms. Shailaja Rego should be commended not just for their ability to bring together a
compendium of their intellectual contributions but for their careful and skillful arrangement and
flow of the chapters that is quite compelling.

The opening chapter provides an intriguing look at the various types of research starting from
basic to applied to business, exploratory, descriptive and so on so forth. The chapter focuses
on the central tenants of the theory that resources only have the potential to generate economic
value if they are used to help an organization create and implement strategies and that
resources can be a source of sustained competitive advantage if they possess attributes that
are costly to imitate. The authors provide exemplary evidence from the literature where scholars
have been able to test the theory by linking specific resources and capabilities to specific
strategies. In developing the field, the authors encourage scholars to ‘‘get inside’’ firms and
engage more at the level of resources through more primary data collection rather than the
overreliance on publicly available secondary sources.

The next chapter presents a meaningful differentiation between “Research Methodology” and
“Research Methods”. The chapter also describes different types of variables, besides throwing
sufficient light on collaborative approach, creativity and use of tools like PERT/ CPM.

Chapters 3 & 4 deal with research process and research designs respectively. Under the
chapter on research process, authors have tried to take the reader step by step in
understanding components of research process, critical issues relating to identifying the
problem and other related issues. Chapter 4 describes types of research design, relevance and
historical development of experimental designs which are very useful for giving a holistic view to
the beginners. Chapter 5 gives characteristics of good measurement scale and various types of
measures and measurement scales.

The next three chapters deal with data classification, data sources, collection and preparation of
data, and presentation of data. The guidance provided by the authors for framing questionnaires
is really useful for research practitioners.

Chapters 8 to 13 relate to statistical topics that are covered, to a varying degree, in various
institutions, prior to discussion on the subject of Business Research Methodology. These topics
have been elucidated in the book with an orientation towards conducting business research
studies in various areas/ fields.

Next chapter deals with multivariate analysis techniques, which are essential for providing
completeness to any kind of research. Chapter 15 provides guidelines for report writing, which is
another important feature of this book. Another unique feature of the book is its coverage of
ethical issues associated with various levels of hierarchy involved with research projects.

The appendices and tables are also very useful. Appendix I, for example, describes indicative
topics for carrying out business research. Appendix 2 explains the role of EXCEL in statistical
calculations. Templates have been provided that make the toil of calculations very simple and
convenient. Appendix 3 explains the role of SPSS in statistical calculation packages in business
research.

Indeed, authors through this book have articulated that without clear mechanism, theories are
ill-formed and incomplete. They have used the method of reflective and philosophical look at
how the integration between theory and method can be improved. The book is filled with clear
examples that advocate the need to go beyond simply testing theories to looking at testing the
underlying explanations of our aggregate theories. Good empirical tests of explanations should
examine all three features of preconditions (facts), mechanisms, and predictions as close to the
phenomena of interest as possible. This book is highly recommended for any research scholar
and seasoned researchers looking to take their methodological rigor to a whole new level.