2 Business research methods: using questions and active listening 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: 4
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: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 this Unit, we are going to: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 informationThe 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 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
7 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 begin to look at the stages required to turn your research area into a specific set of research aims and objectives or questions.In this Unit, we are going to look at how we can use questions and active listening skills to further refine our research topic and work effectively with others to achieve your research goals.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.
8 Research Topic: Progress Presentations OrganisationWhat is the organisation you are focusing on in your research?Objectives or QuestionsWhat are the research aims and objectives?Existing KnowledgeWhat existing knowledge has your initial research ?Resources and MethodsWhat resources and methods will help you achieve your objectives?At the end of Unit 3, students were asked to work on the following Priority Actions and be ready to present back their findings: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?This information was going to help them to complete and submit their Learning Plan. Use this first slide to help facilitate a review of Unit 1-3 and how this has been reflected in the Learning Plan.Ask one student from each work group to present back using the following questions. This is information that should have been submitted in each student’s Learning Plan (via to by Unit 4.The purpose of this first part of the seminar is to:Give students an opportunity to develop their presentation and communication skills when discussing their goals, strengths and development areas with othersList the key skills that students will be focusing on in their study of this moduleExplore how the work groups have begun to learn together through the sharing of their research topicsReinforce the importance of students use of reflection and action planning of their continuous professional development
9 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 practiceWe have considered so far in this module the process of developing a research topic, then formulating a research aim and a set of research objectives or questions. Many of you will now be familiar with the non-linear nature of this process –through the discussion and investigation into existing knowledge, you are clarifying and redefining your key terms. Bryman and Bell (2007) argue that students and researchers will continue with this non-linear process throughout the duration of their research. A key point, however, to emphasise is that we need to ensure that we complete our plan (or research proposal) based on our best understanding of the features of our research subject.In this unit, we will focus on how we can use questions to:Think creatively in our research into existing knowledge to better refine our research aim and questionsBuild rapport with others who can assist us in the research process from problem definition through to gathering dataEnhance our concentration and understanding of the data that could be provided by participants in our researchYou 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 researchConsiderations 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
10 Problem Definition: Using Keywords To identify suitable references in online databases, you need to work out keywords to enter into the search engineUse Business dictionaries to define your area of research and identify changes in the language used to describe the subjectpersonnel management is now more commonly referred to as human resource managementThink of synonymsperformance management may be referred to in practitioner publications as ‘employee evaluation’ or ‘appraisal’Source:Bryman and Bell (2007)Some of the challenges in using literature searches can be:Finding too many sourcesNot finding enough relevant or appropriate sourcesOne of the key barriers that researchers find is that they can often be too restrictive or limited in their searches. Using a range of key words in your search can:Provide a range of insights from different authors on your topicProvide a diverse set of perspectives of looking at your topicGenerate new ways of looking at your topic and lead to redefining your research aims and objectivesAsk the group to brainstorm a set of alternative search words from a common topic from their previous presentations. An example could be APPRAISALS:Line management skillsFeedbackCommunication skillsMotivating othersGroup dynamicsConflict in teamsRestructuring criteriaDocumentationPromotionsTalent management
11 Problem Definition: Using Literature What is already known about this area?What concepts and theories are relevant to this area?What research methods and research strategies have been employed in studying this area?Are there any significant controversies?Are there any inconsistencies in findings relating to this area?Are there any unanswered research questions in this area?Source:Bryman and Bell (2007)One of the challenges of using a literature search is ‘when to stop?’. Bryman and Bell (2007) suggest that we can use this criteria or checklist to consider whether we have been able to identify the key features of our research topic.Key Question:What methods can you use to complete a literature search?Options include:Business Source Premierprovides comprehensive full text access to certain key business and management journalsincluding Harvard Business Review and Academy of Management Review,Indexing and abstracts for over 3,000 business journalsSocial Sciences Citation Indexwhich fully indexes over 1,700 major social science journals covering all social science disciplines dating back to 1981SSCI does not provide full text access to journals but does provide references, abstracts book reviews and editorial materialGeneral Market Information Database (GMID)contains marketing profiles, consumer market sizing, consumer lifestyle reports, data for over 200 countries, market forecasts to 2012, and information about 100,000 brands and 12,000 companiesMintelprovides comprehensive market research reports on the UK retail and leisure sectors and conducts its own market researchReuters Business Insightprovides access to hundreds of market research reports focused on: energy, consumer goods, finance, health care, and technology
12 Business Skills: Types of Questions OPEN: “Tell me about…”PROBE: “Exactly what happened next?CLOSED: “How old were you then?”REFLECTIVE: “You feel upset about the move?”LEADING: “I suppose you are sorry now, are you?”HYPOTHETICAL: “What would you do if...?”MULTIPLE: “What about… and what did you think… and could you tell me…?”RHETORICAL: “After all, isn’t it the case that…?”RELAY: “What do other people think?”REVERSE: “What do you think we should do?”Completing your research into an organisational issue is going to require you to use good questions. This could include:Working with colleagues to help define your own research topic and strategyWorking with colleagues to help define their research topic and strategyDiscussing your progress with colleagues and TutorsAsking for help and advice on how to proceed or handle specific concernsYou will also need to use questions to gather data as part of your investigation. This could include:Gathering primary dataClarifying your understanding of secondary dataGaining access to further sources of dataThere are a range of questions or question styles that we can use. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. For may of us, we are not aware of the types of questions we use – often until we are in situations where a rapport was not built effectively or that the required information was not acquired (or acquired easily).
13 Business Skills: Using Questions QUESTION TYPEUSEFULNOT USEFULOPEN: “Tell me about…”Encourages individuals to talkStarting a conversationExploring new areasGathering informationWith talkative peopleWhen you need to clarify informationPROBE: “Exactly what happened next?Follows an open question to find out more detailChecking for more detailed informationWhen exploring sensitive subjects where emotions could be involvedCLOSED: “How old were you then?”Narrows context and establishes factsProbing single factsWith people who are not talkative.REFLECTIVE: “You feel upset about the move?”Very powerful. Repeats back the emotional content of an individual’s statement.Establishing empathyManaging emotionally charged situationsChecking the meaning of information and factsWhen planning any communication, we therefore need to consider how we can use questions to:Build rapport with key stakeholdersFocus our attention on our purpose for communicationClarify and improve our understandingAcquire the desired data whilst improving the quality of the relationship with othersStudents will be asked to complete an audit on their listening and questioning style in advance of Unit 5.
14 Business Skills: Active Listening Active listening is a key business skill for managers because it can help you:build relationshipslearn from othersdevelop ideaswork well in a teamdo well in interviewssell ideas - and yourself – in the workplaceSource:Cameron (2009: 216)Cameron (2009) suggests that a key link in effective communication skills is the role of assertiveness – the link between talking and listening. Assertiveness requires you to:believe in your rights and your purposeexpress them calmly but firmlyaccept and express feelingsprepare for anticipated conflictspersist until you are ‘heard’
15 Business Skills: Active Listening Why don’t managers listen to other people?lack of interest in the speakerworrying about what you will say nextinability to concentrateinability to understandinsensitivity to underlying emotionsactive desire not to listenSource:Cameron (2009: 215)Key Question:Think of an example when you were not able to build a rapport with a person who you wanted help or support from, or that the conversation was more difficult and frustrating than it should have been.Consider the types of questions you used, and their clarity?To what extent were you actively listening?Ask the group to share an example, and what are their key learning points?
16 Business Skills: Active Listening Active Listening requires you to listen at 3 levelsThinking – listening to the wordsFeeling – listening to the emotionsWilling – listening for the real meaningListening is a complex activity which requires a high level of commitment, concentration and genuine concern. It is not, as we tend to think, a passive role just because the speaker is doing most of the obvious input. Active listening requires the listener to develop and employ a number of key skills. Listening at different levelsThere are three levels of listening:-1. THINKINGThis is listening to the words used, the more logical overt sentences orphrases used by the speaker. Transcripts of conversations or speechesmainly convey messages at this level.2. FEELINGThis is listening at the emotive level. Looking for the feelings which oftenaccompany the spoken words. It requires the listener to focus on voicetones, hesitations etc., together with all aspects of non-verbalcommunication. 3. WILLINGThis means listening for the 'intent' behind what people say - even if theydon't actually speak about any actions they might take. The listener shouldbe able to sense whether the speaker would be prepared to act on what theyare saying or what level of real commitment they have.
17 4 Active Listening Techniques SummarisingShows you have been listeningAllows you to clarify what you heardAsking QuestionsDevelops rapportGathers more informationRemove Any Mental DistractionsFocus your thoughts on the other personUse Body LanguageBe relaxed and openSummarisingThis means pausing occasionally to reflect back to the listener your understanding of what has been said. This indicates to the listener that you have actually been listening. It also enables correction of miscommunication and allows the speaker to 're-read' their conversation before moving on.(Paraphrasing is a useful form of summarising by which the listener uses more of their own words to reflect back.)Asking questionsAsking questions is another way of demonstrating listening (providing it is not the type of question which simply moves the conversation towards the listener's interests). Open questions develop rapport and encourage the speaker to explore themes and issues. Probing questions can be used to get people to examine things more closely, or to look at inconsistencies. Acknowledging noises such as 'uhum' or repeating key words or phrases can also serve as 'questions'.Clearing your mind of distractionsVery often people talk about subjects which have strong parallels with our own experiences or feelings. It becomes easy to wander off into our own thoughts and lose the thread of what the speaker is saying. It is important to push these things to one side as soon as you become conscious of them.Using your body languageYour listening posture is very important. It should be relaxed, open and achieve the correct balance between rigidity or stuffiness and shuffling about.Eye contact and facial expression should also indicate appropriate responses. 'Mirroring' is a more advanced skill which requires the listener to subtly reflect the posture and gestures of the speaker. (It can also be applied to voice tone, volume, concern etc.)Some other things to avoidGeneral distractions - noise; windows to look out of; papers on a desk; telephones; people walking in and out etc.Trying to think up your next 'clever' response.Pre-judging the person or what they might say.Filling an uncomfortable silence - a short silence might be helpful for the speaker to think things through.Excessive note-taking - may damage the atmosphere of the conversationListening with the “hand on the door” syndrome.
18 Business Skills: Project Work Unit 4 Priority Actions:Submit your final Learning Plan to by Unit 5Submit your draft Research Proposal to by Unit 5Complete the Good Listener AuditBe ready to present back in Unit 5xxx
19 Knowledgecast Summary Assess how the use of questioning techniques can be used to gather primary and secondary data in support of a research questionPractice using questioning techniques to build rapport with participants to encourage an open and honest sharing of informationCreatively use the keyword search in research databases to identify a broad range of secondary sources in relation to the goals of your research
21 Seminar: My Best Learning Experience Person A – Person BPerson B – Person AWhere did it take place, when was it?What did you learn?How did you learn?How have you used what you learned?Person B can only listen to the answersPerson B cannot ask questions or make notes.Person A listens to Person B and can:Take notesTake an active role in the conversationAsk questions to clarify detailsPerson B presents back to Person A what they heard.How accurate was this?How much detail was remembered,Was it accurate?Person A presents back to Person B what they heard.Use this short exercise to allow students to practice using a range of question styles and using active listening to interview others and build a successful rapport.
22 Business Skills: Project Work Unit 4 Priority Actions:Submit your final Learning Plan to by Unit 5Submit your draft Research Proposal to by Unit 5Complete the Good Listener AuditBe ready to present back in Unit 5xxx
23 What are we going to cover next? In our next Unit, we will:Review our progress on developing your research strategyIdentify the key project management techniques to support the delivery of your project on time and with available resourcesProduce an action plan to prepare for your workplace and workbased studyIn our next Knowledgecast, we will:Review our progress on developing your research strategyIdentify the key project management techniques to support the delivery of your project on time and with available resourcesProduce an action plan to prepare for your workplace and workbased study