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MB 0050: Research Methodology

1) How is a research problem formulated? Ans) The problem selected for research may initially be a vague topic. The question to be studied or the problem to be solved may not be known. Hence the selected problem should be defined and formulated. This is a difficult process. It requires intensive reading of a few selected articles or chapters in books in order to understand the nature of the problem selected. The process of defining a problem includes: 1. Developing title: The title should be carefully worded. It should indicate the core of the study, reflect the real intention of the researcher, and show on what is the focus e.g., Financing small-scale industries by commercial banks. This shows that the focus is on commercial banks and not on small-scale industries. On the other hand, if the title is The Financial Problem of Small-scale industries, the focus is on small-scale industries. 2. Building a conceptual model: On the basis of our theoretical knowledge of the phenomenon under study, the nature of the phenomenon, its properties / elements and their inter-relations should be identified and structured into a framework. This conceptual model gives an exact idea of the research problem and shows its various properties and variables to be studied. It serves as a basis for the formulation of the objectives of the study, on the hypothesis to be tested. In order to workout a conceptual model we must make a careful and critical study of the available literature on the subject-matter of the selected research problem. It is for this reason; a researcher is expected to select a problem for research in his field of specialization. Without adequate background knowledge, a researcher cannot grasp and comprehend the nature of the research problem. 3. Define the Objective of the Study: The objectives refer to the questions to be answered through the study. They indicate what we are trying to get through the study. The objectives are derived from the conceptual model. They state which elements in the conceptual model-which levels of, which kinds of cases, which properties, and which connections among properties are to be investigated, but it is the conceptual model that defines, describes, and states the assumptions underlying these elements. The objectives may aim at description or explanation or analysis of causal relationship between variables, and indicate the expected results or outcome of the study. The objectives may be specified in the form of either the statements or the questions. 2) What are the characteristics of good research design? Ans) Horton and Hunt have given following characteristics of scientific research: 1. Verifiable evidence: That is factual observations which other observers can see and check. 2. Accuracy: That is describing what really exists. It means truth or correctness of a statement or describing things exactly as they are and avoiding jumping to unwarranted conclusions either by exaggeration or fantasizing. 3. Precision: That is making it as exact as necessary, or giving exact number or measurement. This avoids colourful literature and vague meanings. 4. Systematization: That is attempting to find all the relevant data, or collecting data in a systematic and organized way so that the conclusions drawn are reliable. Data based on casual recollections are generally incomplete and give unreliable judgments and conclusions. 5. Objectivity: That is free being from all biases and vested interests. It means observation is unaffected by the observers values, beliefs and preferences to the

extent possible and he is able to see and accept facts as they are, not as he might wish them to be. 6. Recording: That is jotting down complete details as quickly as possible. Since human memory is fallible, all data collected are recorded. 7. Controlling conditions: That is controlling all variables except one and then attempting to examine what happens when that variable is varied. This is the basic technique in all scientific experimentation allowing one variable to vary while holding all other variables constant. 8. Training investigators: That is imparting necessary knowledge to investigators to make them understand what to look for, how to interpret in and avoid inaccurate data collection. 3) How case study method is useful in business research? Ans) In-depth analysis of selected cases is of particular value to business research when a complex set of variables may be at work in generating observed results and intensive study is needed to unravel the complexities. For instance, an indepth study of a firms top sales people and comparison with the worst sales people might reveal characteristics common to stellar performers. The exploratory investigator is best served by the active curiosity and willingness to deviate from the initial plan, when the finding suggests new courses of enquiry, might prove more productive 4) Distinguish between schedules and questionnaires? Ans) Questionnaires are mailed to the respondent whereas schedules are carried by the investigator himself. Questionnaires can be filled by the respondent only if he is able to understand the language in which it is written and he is supposed to be a literate. This problem can be overcome in case of schedule since the investigator himself carries the schedules and the respondents response is accordingly taken. A questionnaire is filled by the respondent himself whereas the schedule is filled by the investigator. 5) What are the contents of Research report? Ans) The outline of a research report is given below: I. Prefatory Items Title page Declaration Certificates Preface/acknowledgements Table of contents List of tables List of graphs/figures/charts Abstract or synopsis

II. Body of the Report Introduction Theoretical background of the topic Statement of the problem Review of literature The scope of the study The objectives of the study

Hypothesis to be tested Definition of the concepts Models if any Design of the study Methodology Method of data collection

Sources of data Sampling plan Data collection instruments Field work Data processing and analysis plan Overview of the report Limitation of the study Results: findings and discussions

Summary, conclusions and recommendations III. Reference Material Bibliography Appendix Copies of data collection instruments Technical details on sampling plan Complex tables Glossary of new terms used.

6) Write short notes on the following: a. Median b. Standard Deviation Ans) a. Median Median is the middlemost item of a given series. In individual series, we arrange the given data according to ascending or descending order and take the middlemost item as the median. When two values occur in the middle, we take the average of these two values as median. Since median is the central value of an ordered distribution, there occur equal number of values to the left and right of the median. Individual series Median = (N+ 1 / 2)th item b. Standard deviation Standard deviation is the most important measure of dispersion. It satisfies most of the properties of a good measure of dispersion. It was introduced by Karl Pearson in 1893. Standard deviation is defined as the mean of the squared deviations from the arithmetic mean. Standard deviation is denoted by the Greek letter Mean deviation and standard deviation are calculated from deviation of each and every item. Standard deviation is different from mean deviation in two respects. First of all, algebraic signs are ignored in calculating mean deviation. Secondly, signs are taken into account in calculating standard deviation whereas, mean deviation can be found from mean, median or mode. Whereas, standard deviation is found only from mean. Standard deviation can be computed in two methods 1. Taking deviation from actual mean 2. Taking deviation from assumed mean.

Formula for finding standard deviation is (x-x)2 / N

1) What is the significance of research in social and business sciences? Ans) According to a famous Hudson Maxim, All progress is born of inquiry. Doubt is often better than overconfidence, for it leads to inquiry, and inquiry leads to invention. It brings out the significance of research, increased amounts of which makes progress possible. Research encourages scientific and inductive thinking, besides promoting the development of logical habits of thinking and organization. The role of research in applied economics in the context of an economy or business is greatly increasing in modern times. The increasingly complex nature of government and business has raised the use of research in solving operational problems. Research assumes significant role in formulation of economic policy, for both the government and business. It provides the basis for almost all government policies of an economic system. Government budget formulation, for example, depends particularly on the analysis of needs and desires of the people, and the availability of revenues, which requires research. Research helps to formulate alternative policies, in addition to examining the consequences of these alternatives. Thus, research also facilitates the decision making of policy-makers, although in itself it is not a part of research. In the process, research also helps in the proper allocation of a countrys scare resources. Research is also necessary for collecting information on the social and economic structure of an economy to understand the process of change occurring in the country. Collection of statistical information though not a routine task, involves various research problems. Therefore, large staff of research technicians or experts is engaged by the government these days to undertake this work. Thus, research as a tool of government economic policy formulation involves three distinct stages of operation which are as follows: Investigation of economic structure through continual compilation of facts Diagnoses of events that are taking place and the analysis of the forces underlying them; and The prognosis, i.e., the prediction of future developments Research also assumes a significant role in solving various operational and planning problems associated with business and industry. In several ways, operations research, market research, and motivational research are vital and their results assist in taking business decisions. Market research is refers to the investigation of the structure and development of a market for the formulation of efficient policies relating to purchases, production and sales. Operational research relates to the application of logical, mathematical, and analytical techniques to find solution to business problems such as cost minimization or profit maximization, or the optimization problems. Motivational research helps to determine why people behave in the manner they do with respect to market characteristics. More specifically, it is concerned with the analyzing the motivations underlying consumer behaviour. All these researches are very useful for business and industry, which are responsible for business decision making. Research is equally important to social scientist for analyzing social relationships and seeking explanations to various social problems. It gives intellectual satisfaction of knowing things for the sake of knowledge. It also possesses practical utility for the social scientist to gain knowledge so as to be able to do something better or in a more efficient manner. This, research in social sciences is concerned with both knowledge for its own sake, and knowledge for what it can contribute to solve practical problems. 2) What is the meaning of hypothesis? Discuss the types of hypothesis. Ans) According to Theodorson and Theodorson, a hypothesis is a tentative statement asserting a relationship between certain facts. Kerlinger describes it as a conjectural statement of the relationship between two or more variables. Black

and Champion have described it as a tentative statement about something, the validity of which is usually unknown. This statement is intended to be tested empirically and is either verified or rejected. It the statement is not sufficiently established, it is not considered a scientific law. In other words, a hypothesis carries clear implications for testing the stated relationship, i.e., it contains variables that are measurable and specifying how they are related. A statement that lacks variables or that does not explain how the variables are related to each other is no hypothesis in scientific sense. 3) Explain the sampling process. Ans) The decision process of sampling is complicated one. The researcher has to first identify the limiting factor or factors and must judiciously balance the conflicting factors. The various criteria governing the choice of the sampling technique: 1. Purpose of the Survey: What does the researcher aim at? If he intends to generalize the findings based on the sample survey to the population, then an appropriate probability sampling method must be selected. The choice of a particular type of probability sampling depends on the geographical area of the survey and the size and the nature of the population under study. 2. Measurability: The application of statistical inference theory requires computation of the sampling error from the sample itself. Probability samples only allow such computation. Hence, where the research objective requires statistical inference, the sample should be drawn by applying simple random sampling method or stratified random sampling method, depending on whether the population is homogenous or heterogeneous. 3. Degree of Precision: Should the results of the survey be very precise, or even rough results could serve the purpose? The desired level of precision as one of the criteria of sampling method selection. Where a high degree of precision of results is desired, probability sampling should be used. Where even crude results would serve the purpose (E.g., marketing surveys, readership surveys etc) any convenient non-random sampling like quota sampling would be enough. 4. Information about Population: How much information is available about the population to be studied? Where no list of population and no information about its nature are available, it is difficult to apply a probability sampling method. Then exploratory study with non-probability sampling may be made to gain a better idea of population. After gaining sufficient knowledge about the population through the exploratory study, appropriate probability sampling design may be adopted. 5. The Nature of the Population: In terms of the variables to be studied, is the population homogenous or heterogeneous? In the case of a homogenous population, even a simple random sampling will give a representative sample. If the population is heterogeneous, stratified random sampling is appropriate. 6. Geographical Area of the Study and the Size of the Population: If the area covered by a survey is very large and the size of the population is quite large, multi-stage cluster sampling would be appropriate. But if the area and the size of the population are small, single stage probability sampling methods could be used. 7. Financial resources: If the available finance is limited, it may become necessary to choose a less costly sampling plan like multistage cluster sampling or even quota sampling as a compromise. However, if the objectives of the study and the desired level of precision cannot be attained within the stipulated budget, there is no alternative than to give up the proposed survey. Where the finance is not a constraint, a researcher can choose the most appropriate method of sampling that fits the research objective and the nature of population. 8. Time Limitation: The time limit within which the research project should be completed restricts the choice of a sampling method. Then, as a compromise, it may become necessary to choose less time consuming methods like simple random sampling instead of stratified sampling/sampling with probability proportional to size; multi-stage cluster sampling instead of single-stage sampling of elements. Of course, the precision has to be sacrificed to some extent. 9. Economy: It should be another criterion in choosing the sampling method. It means achieving the desired level of precision at minimum cost. A sample is

economical if the precision per unit cost is high or the cost per unit of variance is low. The above criteria frequently conflict and the researcher must balance and blend them to obtain to obtain a good sampling plan. The chosen plan thus represents an adaptation of the sampling theory to the available facilities and resources. That is, it represents a compromise between idealism and feasibility. One should use simple workable methods instead of unduly elaborate and complicated techniques. 4) Distinguish between schedules and questionnaires. Ans) Questionnaires are mailed to the respondent whereas schedules are carried by the investigator himself. Questionnaires can be filled by the respondent only if he is able to understand the language in which it is written and he is supposed to be a literate. This problem can be overcome in case of schedule since the investigator himself carries the schedules and the respondents response is accordingly taken. A questionnaire is filled by the respondent himself whereas the schedule is filled by the investigator. 5) What are the problems encountered in the Interview? Ans) In personal interviewing, the researcher must deal with two major problems, inadequate response, non-response and interviewers bias. Inadequate response Kahn and Cannel distinguish five principal symptoms of inadequate response. They are: partial response, in which the respondent gives a relevant but incomplete answer non-response, when the respondent remains silent or refuses to answer the question irrelevant response, in which the respondents answer is not relevant to the question asked inaccurate response, when the reply is biased or distorted and verbalized response problem, which arises on account of respondents failure to understand a question or lack of information necessary for answering it.

Interviewers Bias The interviewer is an important cause of response bias. He may resort to cheating by cooking up data without actually interviewing. The interviewers can influence the responses by inappropriate suggestions, word emphasis, tone of voice and question rephrasing. His own attitudes and expectations about what a particular category of respondents may say or think may bias the data. Another source of response of the interviewers characteristics (education, apparent social status, etc) may also bias his answers. Another source of response bias arises from interviewers perception of the situation, if he regards the assignment as impossible or sees the results of the survey as possible threats to personal interests or beliefs he is likely to introduce bias. As interviewers are human beings, such biasing factors can never be overcome completely, but their effects can be reduced by careful selection and training of interviewers, proper motivation and supervision, standardization or interview procedures (use of standard wording in survey questions, standard instructions on probing procedure and so on) and standardization of interviewer behaviour. There is need for more research on ways to minimize bias in the interview. Non-response Non-response refers to failure to obtain responses from some sample respondents. There are many sources of non-response; non-availability, refusal, incapacity and inaccessibility. Non-availability Some respondents may not be available at home at the time of call. This depends upon the nature of the respondent and the time of calls. For example, employed

persons may not be available during working hours. Farmers may not be available at home during cultivation season. Selection of appropriate timing for calls could solve this problem. Evenings and weekends may be favourable interviewing hours for such respondents. If someone is available, then, line respondents hours of availability can be ascertained and the next visit can be planned accordingly. Refusal Some persons may refuse to furnish information because they are ill-disposed, or approached at the wrong hour and so on. Although, a hardcore of refusals remains, another try or perhaps another approach may find some of them cooperative. Incapacity or inability may refer to illness which prevents a response during the entire survey period. This may also arise on account of language barrier. Inaccessibility Some respondents may be inaccessible. Some may not be found due to migration and other reasons. Non-responses reduce the effective sample size and its representativeness. 6) Write short notes on the following: a. Dispersion b. Mathematical averages Ans) Arithmetic Mean Arithmetic mean is the most commonly used statistical average. It is the value obtained by dividing the sum of the item by the number of items in a series. Symbolically we say Arithmetic mean = X/n Geometric Mean Geometric mean is defined as the nth root of the product of N items of a series. If there are two items in the data, we take the square root; if there are three items we take the cube root, and so on. Harmonic Mean In individual series HM = N /(1/x) In discrete series HM = N / f (1/m) N = Total frequency M = Mi values of the class Dispersion Dispersion is the tendency of the individual values in a distribution to spread away from the average. Many economic variables like income, wage etc., are widely varied from the mean. Dispersion is a statistical measure, which understands the degree of variation of items from the average.