2 Business research methods: data sources 303LON and 308LONDO NOT ADD FURTHER SLIDES TO THIS PACKSAVE FILE USING THE FOLLOWING FORMAT: MODULE CODE UNIT NUMBER.PPT (E.G. LCM001U1.PPT)PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE TEMPLATE OR FORMATTINGUnit: 3
3 Module Learning Outcomes On completion of this module you will be able to:Work independently within an organisation, demonstrating initiative and commitmentReview the literature relating to a business issueAnalyse valid and reliable evidence to draw sound business conclusionsWrite a coherent project report communicating a solution or response to the business issueReflect on your working practices in relation to your Personal Development PlanIn this module, we will focus on both the theory and application of the theories and approaches to using business research skills and professional skills to investigate a live business issue. The aim here is to to prepare you for a career in the global business environment as a manager/leader . In order to achieve this goal, we need to understand the aims of business research, the context where our research will take place, and the skills required to work independently and with others to deliver a relevant insight into organisations.Throughout this module, we need to recognise that organisations do not exist in isolation, and that there is a constant interaction and interdependency on the external environment. Most actions will be influenced by their understanding of the combination of individual, group, organisational and environmental factors.The style of these Knowledgecasts will be to introduce and discuss a range of critical factors related to the role and skill set of leaders in the global business environment. From these Knowledgecasts, we will often explore one area in more detail in our seminar. For each Unit, you will be directed to some initial further reading however we expect you to read around the topics to build your own critical evaluation of the topic and develop you own original perspective on the role of training and development in organisations.
4 Module Overview: 303LON and 308LON Week 6Unit 1An Introduction to Workplace and Workbased ProjectsUnit 2Business research methods: an introductionUnit 3Business research methods: data sourcesUnit 4Business research methods: questions and active listeningWeek 7Unit 5Business research methods: project management skillsUnit 6Business research methods: using reflection in researchUnit 7Business research methods: writing professional reportsUnit 8Making a successful impact on your Workplace and Workbased projectWeek 8Workplace or Independent ResearchWeek 9Week 10Unit 9Project Updates – Individual PresentationsUnit 10Individual Progress ReviewUnit 11Unit 12Module ReviewIt is likely that each class will be made up of students who will be following:303LON Workplace Projectand 308LON Work-based ProjectA key point to make at this stage is that all students will be investigating a key business issue and developing:Key professional skillsKey business research skillsKey teamworking skillsA key differentiator is how students will be gathering data:All students will be gathering secondary dataWorkplace students will have the opportunity to gather primary and secondary data available from within an organisation
5 Unit Learning Outcomes On completion of this unit you will be able to:Formulate research questions from our research topicsInvestigate the types of information and data to be used in your projectAssess the benefits and limitations of types of data in relation to your researchIn this Unit, we are going to:Formulate research questions from our research topicsInvestigate the types of information and data to be used in your projectAssess the benefits and limitations of types of data in relation to your researchThe teaching and learning style of each unit will include:Review and feedback of independent or group work outside the seminarKnowledgecast slides to bring to life your readingSeminar discussions and activities to apply key ideas and prepare for independent and group workThe learning styles in this module will therefore include:Active participation in group discussions and activities to develop and practice a range of professional business skillsUsing one-to-one and small group activities to reflect on and develop your understanding of the topicsOpen and honest sharing of feedback to support your ongoing development of key personal and professional skillsIndividual reflection on key learning and active development planning
6 Defining Your Research Questions Employee motivation at work1. Identify Research AreaReward as a motivator at work2. Select Aspect of Research AreaWhat types of rewards? Does it motivate? How much motivation? What is the impact of change? How should policies be implemented?3. Brainstorm Research QuestionsWhat reward policies are used by Global Organisations to motivate line managers to manage their teams? Which are the most effective? How should they be implemented?4. Select Research Question(s)In Unit 2, students in their work groups brainstormed a range of research topics and applied a range of tools to explore one area in more depth.At the beginning of this unit, allocate 45 minutes to allow students to work independently on developing their own research area into a set of draft research questions.Once you have identified your research area, or your ‘burning question’ you need to begin to define your specific research questions.There are 4 stages that researchers typically follow. Factors to consider should include:This can be a long and iterative processThe process can benefit from discussions with other colleaguesYou are likely to go backwards as well as forwards in defining your final research questionsSeeking help from experienced colleagues and Tutors can help with this process. Students are likely to be required to submit a Research Proposal which can often be a more formal feedback process on the definition of research questions.
7 Business Skills: Project Stages Source:Cameron (2009: 378)Cameron (2009) outlines a set of specific stages that are followed in the production of a research project. It is these stages that you will follow and complete in the delivery of your End of Module Assessments. (The numbers refer to Chapters within the textbook).Key points here include:Each stage requires the use of a set of business skillsThis is not a linear process, with revisions and redefinitions being made across each stage through the process of learning, analysis and synthesisRequires project management skills to carefully plan, organise, implement, coordinate, control and monitorThe selection of the topic will be the focus of Unit 2. Workplace students will be focusing on a business issue facing their work placement organisation. Workbased students should be focusing on an organisation or industry that will help them focus on their next career move
8 Stages of Research – Up to Unit 8 Identify Research AreaFormulate Research QuestionsCreate Research Design and MethodologyWrite Research ProposalComplete Literature ReviewCollect and Analyse DataWrite Up Research FindingsIn order for managers and leaders to make effective decisions, they need to rely on a broad range of information. In your studies, you will be learning and practicing the skills required to collect, interpret and present this type of critical business information. You can use these same skills in the workplace to influence and lead the decision making process.When approaching a piece of research, there are a number of core stages that new researchers will be typically asked to complete in the design and delivery of their research findings.In our last Unit, we took a high level view at the stages and considered the purpose of business and management research.In this Unit, we begin to look at the stages required to produce your Project Report – starting with identifying your research area to formulate your research interests.In our seminars, we will work through each of the highlighted stages above to get to help you produce your research plan or research proposal. This will take us up to Unit 8, before you move on to your work placement or independent study period.
9 Selecting a Research Topic What makes good business and management research?The topic is clearly definedMeets the requirements of the marking criteriaUses a variety of techniques to generate research questionsHas clear research questions based on relevant literatureIncorporates relevant theoryStarts with a proposal that:Presents well organised ideasDescribes clearly what will be done and whyJustifies how the research questions will be answeredBased on:Saunders et al (2009)Selecting an area to research can be a daunting task – and there are many pitfalls that we need to be aware of along the way. As we progress through this module, we will be exploring why many students and researchers struggle with producing their research, and how we can overcome these hurdles.Saunders et al (2009) argue that a good starting point for us is to consider how to select a good research topic. Research topics can be selected by many methods and for many reasons. We will explore some of these perspectives or starting points in this unit. These include:Topics which are feasible, worthwhile and relevantTopics which are generated by rational and creative thinking systemsTopics which are brainstormed by our own interests or requirementsTopics which are driven by theory and modelsTopics which are identified by external and internal influences on an organisation (PESTEL and SWOT)
10 6 Steps to Refine Research Questions Research questions should:Be Clear – understandable to you and othersRe researchable – relevant data is collectableRelate to established theory and research – base your research question on existing knowledge and show your contribution to knowledge and understandingLinked to each other – supports the development of an argumentHave potential to contribute to existing knowledgeBe neither too broad or too narrowSource: Bryman & Bell (2007)Once you have selected your research questions, consider this 6 Step Framework to review and refine your research questions.One key skill to develop in this process is to invite and actively receive feedback on your research questions. If you are a new researcher, it is unlikely you will get it right first time.Recording your experience in a learning journal will help you consider the process that went through to define and refine your research questions – a key stage to becoming a reflective practitioner (more about this later).
11 Problem Definition: Using Literature Literature SearchesCan help you to:Clarify your research questionInform your own research designSet your research in context of existing knowledge and practice – both academic and in practiceLiterature ReviewsA good literature review should be discursive:Thesis – the argument behind the research+Antithesis – the counter argumentSynthesis – your conclusions drawn from the literatureWe have considered the importance of defining the research question and constructing an appropriate research design through which to answer the research question.You will already be familiar with the types of sources used in academic and business reports. Literature reviews should generally be based on secondary sources such as:Academic journalsAcademic booksConference papersResearch reportsProfessional body researchOnline databases can be used to find information across many of these sources. Defining your search parameters can help you manage the types of sources that a database may suggest. This could include:subject area, e.g. ‘marketing’language of search (US or UK ‘English’?)business sector, e.g. manufacturingtime frame, e.g. last five yearstype of literature, e.g. refereed journals onlyConsiderations about the literature that you find in your searches include:The age and reliability of the information gatheredThe relevance to your own research questionWhat citations are used by the author as a potential lead to new sources of informationMake the link back to good note taking:Remember to record the references for any secondary source that you come acrossThis will save you time and effort when you come to draft your research report
12 Designing your Methodology Decisions to be made in your research design include:The purpose of the studyThe unit of analysis (population to be studied)Consideration of how much researcher interferenceThe time horizonThe type of investigationThe setting for the studySource:Sekaran (2000)Sekaran argues that there are 6 types of decisions when designing any research:1. Purpose of studya. Exploratory – aims to find out more about what it happening, or generating new theoretical insights (inductive research)b. Descriptive – aims to describe the extent to which something exists or happens, specifying any variables and how they may be measuredc. Hypothesis testing (deductive) – aims to investigate the relationship between variablesOnce you have decided on the research question, one of the first decisions to be made is how it will be best answered by an exploratory, descriptive or hypothesis-testing research design.2. Unit of analysisThe level at which the issue will be studiedOrganisational, group or individualThis decision is not always obvious from the initial research question. This may force the researcher to refine the research question or make a judgment/assumption about the most appropriate unit of analysisThis decision making process should be recorded to explain the context and rationale for the research3. Researcher interferenceThe extent to which the researcher will interfere during the normal course of events and therefore influence any findingsPositivist research strives to control the effect of the researcher interferenceConstructivist disputes that inference can be controlled and that they are active participants in the construction of knowledge4. Time horizonLength of time over which the variables will be studiedMost business and management studies collect data at one point in time. This makes it difficult to prove a cause-effect relationshipLongitudinal studies allow researchers to monitor the effect of changes in the independent variable on the dependent variable5. Type of investigation: This is influenced by:The nature of the researchThe purpose of the researchNature of the variablesThe population to be studiedAccess to the sampleThis may suggest a number of alternative research designs however the key is that there is a logical link to the research question, and that this is clearly described in the final research report6. Study Setting. Such as:a. Field experiment - studying variables in organisationsb. Lab experiments – creating simulated scenarios
13 Research Data: Key Terms Primary DataOriginal data directly collected by youTailored to your own requirementsKnowledge of the conditions where data was collectedSecondary DataOther researcher’s facts and figuresOriginally collected for a different purposeRequires critical evaluation of reliability and validityAt this stage, it is important to distinguish between 2 key research terms:Primary Data. Data collected at source by the researcher in relation to answering their own research question. This can be gathered by a range of methods such as:direct observationmeasurementinterviewsquestionnairesSecondary Data. Data which already exists and can be drawn on for your own purposes. This can be gathered by a range of methods such as:Academic journalsAcademic booksConference papersResearch reportsProfessional body researchthis may also include newspaper reports, blogs and podcastsWhen gathering any data in your research activities, you need to be aware of your purpose as well as the limitations of the reliability and validity of the data retrieved. More about this later on in the Knowledgecast.
14 Research Data: Key Terms Quantitative DataData as a set of numbersDerived from ‘unarguable’ measuresRepresents an ‘objective’ realityQualitative DataData as wordsDerived from variety of measuresRepresents how others interpret the worldIn our discussion of defining and refining research questions, it is likely that the questions you select will suggest the type of research design and data to be gathered.Qualitative data is concerned with qualities of situations and non-numerical characteristics. Qualitative data could be much more than just words or text. This can include photographs, videos, sound recordings.Quantitative data can be classified as either:discrete: one of a range of distinct values e.g. number of employeescontinuous: any value within a given range e.g. time or lengthIn some areas of social research, the qualitative-quantitative distinction has led to protracted arguments with the proponents of each arguing the superiority of their kind of data over the other. The quantitative types argue that their data is 'hard', 'rigorous', 'credible', and 'scientific'. The qualitative proponents counter that their data is 'sensitive', 'nuanced', 'detailed', and 'contextual'. However, more recently writers have argued that there is some cross-over between the design and use of each type of data.As a researcher, it is important that you are aware of the advantages and limitations of your choice of data to investigate your research questions.
15 Quantitative Data Analysis AdvantagesLarger sample sizeSupports generalisationsResearch can be replicatedResearcher interference can be avoidedDisadvantagesData gathered can be narrow and superficialFindings provide numerical descriptions onlyStudy settings often do not replicate organisational settingsDifficult to record how people feel about a subjectQuestion design can lead to structural biasQuantitative methods are ideally suited for finding out who, what, when and where.Advantages:allow for a broader study, involving a greater number of subjects, and enhancing the generalisation of the resultscan allow for greater objectivity and accuracy of results. Generally, quantitative methods are designed to provide summaries of data that support generalisations about the phenomenon under study. In order to accomplish this, quantitative research usually involves few variables and many cases, and employs prescribed procedures to ensure validity and reliabilityusing standards means that the research can be replicated, and then analysed and compared with similar studies. Kruger (2003) confirms that 'quantitative methods allow us to summarize vast sources of information and facilitate comparisons across categories and over time’personal bias can be avoided by researchers keeping a 'distance' from participating subjects and employing subjects unknown to themDisadvantages:collect a much narrower and sometimes superficial datasetresults are limited as they provide numerical descriptions rather than detailed narrative and generally provide less elaborate accounts of human perceptionthe research is often carried out in an unnatural, artificial environment so that a level of control can be applied to the exercise. This level of control might not normally be in place in the real world yielding laboratory results as opposed to real world resultsin addition preset answers will not necessarily reflect how people really feel about a subject and in some cases might just be the closest match.the development of standard questions by researchers can lead to 'structural' bias and false representation, where the data actually reflects the view of them instead of the participating subject.From:Based on:
16 Qualitative Data Analysis AdvantagesDepth and DetailCreates opennessSimulates individual’s experiencesAvoids pre-judgmentsDisadvantagesSmaller sample sizeLess easy to generaliseDifficult to make comparisonsDependent on the skills of the researcherQualitative data provides a rich, detailed picture to be built up about why people act in certain ways, and their feelings about these actions.Advantages:Provides depth and detail : looks deeper than analysing ranks and counts by recording attitudes, feelings and behavioursCreates openness: encouraging people to expand on their responses can open up new topic areas not initially consideredSimulates people's individual experiences: a detailed picture can be built up about why people act in certain ways and their feelings about these actionsAttempts to avoid pre-judgments: if used alongside quantitative data collection, it can explain why a particular response was givenDisadvantages:Usually fewer people studied: collection of qualitative data is generally more time consuming that quantitative data collection and therefore unless time, staff and budget allows it is generally necessary to include a smaller sample size.Less easy to generalise: because fewer people are generally studied it is not possible to generalise results to that of the population. Usually exact numbers are reported rather than percentages.Difficult to make systematic comparisons: for example, if people give widely differing responses that are highly subjective.Dependent on skills of the researcher: particularly in the case of conducting interviews, focus groups and observation.From:Based on:
17 Deficiencies of DataReliabilitySame results will be obtained if the research was repeatedDo your methods consistently measure respondent’s views?ValidityExtent to which the findings accurately represent what is being studiedDo your methods measure what you intended to measure?Reliability and validity are important issues in your design, analysis and reflections on the research carried out. These relate to themes already discussed in this unit, in relation to both the need for accuracy in the collection of data and also the ethics of collecting and interpreting data.The extent to which a researcher needs to estimate and manage issues regarding reliability and validity will be dependent on their chosen research design.For example, to estimate the reliability of response to questions in questionnaires or interviews, you can use:1. Test Re-Test MethodResponses to the same questions on different occasions are correlated to provide a reliability index2. Internal Consistency MethodEvery item is correlated with every other item across the whole sample to provide a reliability indexBoth these methods however have limitations:Time to complete the test of reliabilityComputer resources to work out the correlationsIt presumes that respondents are consistent in how they respond to questions about beliefs, attitudes and opinions
18 Gathering Primary Data: Questionnaires Key considerations when using questionnairesSample sizeCost and ease of administrationTypes of questions – open and closed questionsUse of clear and unambiguous questionsOverall design including introduction and instructionsAwareness of respondent fatigueTests for validity and reliabilityFollow up plan for non-responsesA questionnaire is a list of carefully structured questions which have been chosen and tested to elicit reliable responses from a chosen sample. The aim of a questionnaire is to determine what a group of participants think, feel or do.The choice of questions used will be influenced by:The aim of the researchThe type of analysis required from the responses of participantsThe access to computer software for coding and analysisIn the design of questions, you need to make sure that each respondent will understand the question in the same way, and will respond to the questions in the same way as other respondents.How your questionnaire is presented can both encourage and help a respondent to complete it correctly. This relies on the purpose being apparent and respondents under the context in which they are participating. This can be supported by the use of an introductory letter or an introductory paragraph at the start of the questionnaire. Precise instructions need to be given to ensure that respondents fully complete the questionnaire to indicate their responses.Tips for the use of questions include:All questions should be numbered for ease of analysisPresented in a logical orderUsing ‘funneling’ from general to specific questionsFilter questions so that respondents do not need to complete questions that are not applicable to themSome key issues with using questionnaires include:Managing non-responseRequirement to pilot the questionnaire with individuals similar to your sampleCost of distributing your questionnaire. There are now some free survey sites that can support your research such as Survey Monkey.comManaging sample size to be big enough to be representative to support your ability to generalise from the sample to the population.
19 Gathering Primary Data: Interviews Key considerations when using interviewsAccess to appropriate sample sizeTime and resources to complete interviewsStyle of interview – structured, semi-structured or unstructuredTypes of questions – open, closed and probing questionsConsistency in conduct of interviewsAwareness of researcher interference on the participantUse of recordings and transcriptsManaging respondent confidentialityAn interview is a method of collecting data from participants by asking questions to find out what they think, feel or do. Interviews can be completed by face-to-face, over the phone or using internet technologies, and either with individuals or groups.The aims of an interview include:Understand the basis of an individual’s opinions and beliefsOpen discovery to understand the respondent’s ‘world’Some key issues with using interviews include:The time and cost of organising and running interviews (when a short questionnaire may be more suitable)The access and availability of participantsEnsuring confidentiality in the data collection and analysisConsistency in how the questions are constructed, understood and deliveredImpact of the interviewer and the context of the interview on the respondent – e.g. body language, bias and respondents wanting to ‘please’ the interviewerImpact of external factors on how the individual feels before attending the interview
20 Business Skills: Project Work Unit 3 Priority Actions:Confirm your research topic and research questionsWhat knowledge and research exists on this topic?What range of secondary sources can you access?What type of data will you be gathering to answer your research questions?Be ready to present back in Unit 4Preparation for Unit 4Submit your Learning Plan to by Unit 4xxx
21 Knowledgecast Summary Formulate research questions from our research topicsInvestigate the types of information and data to be used in your projectAssess the benefits and limitations of types of data in relation to your research
23 Business Skills: Project Work Unit 3 Priority Actions:Confirm your research topic and research questionsWhat knowledge and research exists on this topic?What range of secondary sources can you access?What type of data will you be gathering to answer your research questions?Be ready to present back in Unit 4Preparation for Unit 4Submit your Learning Plan to by Unit 4xxx
24 What are we going to cover next? In our next Unit, we will:Assess how the use of questioning techniques can be used to gather primary and secondary data in support of a research questionCreatively use the keyword search in research databases to identify a broad range of secondary sources in relation to the goals of your researchPractice using questioning techniques to build rapport with participants to encourage an open and honest sharing of informationIn our next Knowledgecast, we will:Assess how the use of questioning techniques can be used to gather primary and secondary data in support of a research questionCreatively use the keyword search in research databases to identify a broad range of secondary sources in relation to the goals of your researchPractice using questioning techniques to build rapport with participants to encourage an open and honest sharing of information