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Chapter 4: The Business Research Process: An Overview

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1 Chapter 4: The Business Research Process: An Overview

2 Decision Making Information reduces uncertainty
-It helps focus decision making Certainty Uncertainty Ambiguity

3 Types Of Research Exploratory Descriptive Causal
Initial research conducted to clarify ambiguous situations or discover potential business opportunities Does not provide conclusive evidence Subsequent research expected Useful in new product development Descriptive Describes characteristics of a population or phenomenon (who, what, when, where, and how) Some understanding of the nature of the problem Useful in describing market segment Causal Conducted to identify cause and effect relationships

4 Degree of Problem Definition
Exploratory Research Descriptive Research Causal Research (Unaware of Problem) (Aware of Problem) (Problem Clearly Defined) “Our sales are declining and “What kind of people are buying “Will buyers purchase more of we don’t know why.” our product? Who buys our our products in a new package? competitor’s product?” “Would people be interested “Which of two advertising in our new product idea?” “What features do buyers prefer campaigns is more effective?” in our product?” possible situation

5 Descriptive Research Example
Weight Watchers average customer Woman about 40 years old Household income of about $50,000 At least some college education Trying to juggle children and a job

6 Identifying Causality
Evidence of causality: 1. Temporal Sequence - the appropriate causal order of events – the cause must occur before the effect 2. Concomitant variation--two phenomena vary together systematically, i.e, when a change in the cause occurs, a change in the outcome also is observed . Correlation coefficient is used to represent concomitant variation. An absence of alternative plausible explanations 3. Non-spurious Association (eg. Icecream sales) Often Use Experiments in Causal Research

7 Uncertainty Influences The Type Of Research

8 Stages of the Research Process
P Defining Objectives Discovery and Definition and so on Research Design Conclusions and Report Sampling Data Processing and Analysis Data Gathering

9 Research Stages Cyclical process - conclusions generate new ideas
Stages can overlap chronologically Stages are functionally interrelated Forward linkages Backward linkages

10 Define objectives Selection of exploratory research technique
Sample Design Define objectives Problem Discovery and Definition Sampling Selection of exploratory research technique Probability Nonprobability Secondary (historical) data Experience survey Pilot study Case study Collection of data (fieldwork) Data Gathering Data Processing and Analysis Editing and coding data Problem definition (statement of research objectives) Data processing Selection of basic research method Research Design Conclusions and Report Interpretation of findings Experiment Survey Observation Secondary Data Study Report Laboratory Field Interview Questionnaire

11 Stages In The Research Process
Problem Discovery and Problem Definition Research Design Sampling Data Gathering Data Processing and Analysis Conclusions And Report

12 “The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution”
Albert Einstein

13 Problem Discovery And Definition
First and probably most important step Too often neglected leading to costly errors Provides direction for the project Problem, opportunity, or monitor operations Discovery before definition Must not mistake symptoms for problem

14 Exploratory Research Techniques Three Examples
Secondary data (historical data) Previously collected for another purpose Literature survey Databases (e.g., Pilot study A number of diverse techniques Focus Groups 6 to 10 people in group dynamics session

15 State the research questions and research objectives
Hypothesis: A statement that can be refuted by empirical data

16 Research Design Master plan Specifies methods and procedures
Framework for action

17 Basic Research Methods
Surveys Interview Questionnaire Experiments control conditions so that one or more variables can be manipulated to test a hypothesis Field Laboratory Secondary data study Observation

18 Selecting a Sample Sample: subset SAMPLE of a larger population.

19 Sampling Who is to be sampled? How large a sample?
How will sample units be selected? Probability Samples – every member of the population has a known, nonzero probability of being selected Nonprobability Samples

20 Data Gathering Stage Focus on error minimization Pretesting

21 Data Processing and Analysis
Editing Checking the data collection forms for omissions, legibility and consistency Coding Rules for interpreting, categorizing and recording the data

22 Conclusions And Report Writing
Effective communication of the research findings Usually includes making recommendations “What does this mean to management?”

23 Chapter 6: Problem Definition: The Foundation of Business Research

24 A Sea Horse’s Tale

25 Problem Discovery and Definition
First step Problem, opportunity, or monitor operations Discovery before definition Problem means management problem

26 “The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution.”
Albert Einstein

27 Problem Definition The indication of a specific business decision area that will be clarified by answering some research questions. Problems Mean Gap Business performance is worse than expected Actual business performance is less than possible Expected business performance is greater than possible business performance

28 Defining Problem Results in Clear Cut Research Objectives
Symptom Detection Analysis of the Situation Exploratory Research (Optional) Problem Definition Statement of Research Objectives

29 The Process of Problem Definition
Ascertain the decision maker’s objectives Determine unit of analysis Understand background of the problem Determine relevant variables Isolate/identify the problem, not the symptoms State research questions and objectives

30 Ascertain the Decision Maker’s Objectives
Managerial goals expressed in measurable terms.

31 The Iceberg Principle The principle indicating that the dangerous part of many business problems is neither visible to nor understood by managers.

32 Understand the Background of the Problem
Exercising judgment Situation analysis - The informal gathering of background information to familiarize researchers or managers with the decision area.

33 Isolate and Identify the Problems, Not the Symptoms
Symptoms can be confusing

34 Symptoms Can Be Confusing
Twenty-year-old neighborhood swimming association: Membership has been declining for years. New water park -residents prefer the expensive water park???? Demographic changes: Children have grown up

35 Problem Definition Organization Symptoms Based on Symptom True Problem Twenty-year-old neighborhood swimming association in a major city. Membership has been declining for years. New water park with wave pool and water slides moved into town a few years ago. Neighborhood residents prefer the expensive water park and have negative image of swimming pool. Demographic changes: Children in this 20-year-old neighborhood have grown up. Older residents no longer swim anywhere.

36 What Language Is Written on This Stone Found by Archaeologists?

37 The Language Is English: To Tie Mules To

38 Determine the Unit of Analysis
Individuals, households, organizations, etc. In many studies, the family rather than the individual is the appropriate unit of analysis.

39 Determine the Relevant Variable
Anything that may assume different numerical values

40 Types of Variables Categorical Continuous Dependent Independent

41 Hypothesis An unproven proposition A possible solution to a problem

42 State the research questions and research objectives

43 If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there.

44 Broad research objectives Statement of business problem
Exploratory research (optional) Specific Objective 1 Specific Objective 2 Specific Objective 3 Research Design Results

45 Research Proposal A written statement of the research design that includes a statement explaining the purpose of the study Detailed outline of procedures associated with a particular methodology Normally a schedule of costs and deadline is included

46 Basic Questions - Problem Definition
What is the purpose of the study? How much is already known? Is additional background information necessary? What is to be measured? How? Can the data be made available? Should research be conducted? Can a hypothesis be formulated?

47 Basic Questions - Basic Research Design
What types of questions need to be answered? Are descriptive or causal findings required? What is the source of the data?

48 Basic Questions - Basic Research Design
Can objective answers be obtained by asking people? How quickly is the information needed? How should survey questions be worded? How should experimental manipulations be made?

49 Basic Questions - Selection of Sample
Who or what is the source of the data? Can the target population be identified? Is a sample necessary? How accurate must the sample be? Is a probability sample necessary? Is a national sample necessary? How large a sample is necessary? How will the sample be selected?

50 Basic Questions - Data Gathering
Who will gather the data? How long will data gathering take? How much supervision is needed? What operational procedures need to be followed?

51 Basic Questions - Data Analysis
Will standardized editing and coding procedures be used? How will the data be categorized? What statistical software will be used? What is the nature of the data? What questions need to be answered? How many variables are to be investigated simultaneously? Performance criteria for evaluation?

52 Basic Questions - Type of Report
Who will read the report? Are managerial recommendations requested? How many presentations are required? What will be the format of the written report?

53 Basic Questions - Overall Evaluation
How much will the study cost? Is the time frame acceptable? Is outside help needed? Will this research design attain the stated research objectives? When should the research be scheduled to begin?

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