Research Methods in MIS Instructor: Dr. Deepak Khazanchi.
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Research Methods in MIS Instructor: Dr. Deepak Khazanchi
Research Methods in MIS Research Problems, Preliminary Data Gathering, and Problem Definition
Sources of Knowledge Empiricists attempt to describe, explain, and make predictions through observation Rationalists believe all knowledge can be deduced from known laws or basic truths of nature Authorities serve as important sources of knowledge, but should be judged on integrity and willingness to present a balanced case
The Essential Tenets of Science Direct observation of phenomena Clearly defined variables, methods, and procedures Empirically testable hypotheses Ability to rule out rival hypotheses Statistical justification of conclusions Self-correcting process
Steps in The Research Process Research Problem Arises (Observation?) Recognition of Existing Problem Desire to Improve Status Quo Planning for the future (environmental scanning) Curiosity/Discovery Preliminary Information Gathering Interviews Literature Survey Determine the variables and operational definitions Review Research Ethics
Research Problem Arises (Observation) Broad problem area is identified by: Recognition of Existing Problem E.g., Why is the turnover if the marketing department higher? Why are end users dissatisfied with the student information systems at UNO? Most frequent source of research problems Reactive research; often the research occurs too late Wiser to conduct research before the problem occurred Desire to Improve Status Quo Proactive assessment of current situation to identify areas of improvement E.g., Would improvements in the user-interface design make the system easier to use? Much better approach than being reactive
Research Problem Arises (Observation) Broad problem area identified: (cont’d) Planning for the future Some problems originate from short and long-term planning Environmental scanning (critical corporate indicators recorded and monitored Environmental monitoring (maintain currency of information for use in planning) Curiosity/Discovery Some problems originate from people who become curious about certain phenomenon Some firms R&D departments allow researchers some flexibility in address problems like these; costs money though
The Decision to Conduct Research Two important factors: Research payoff Budgetary constraints Managers and Sponsors have competing projects— prioritization via payoff Cost/Benefit Analysis-mostly subjective assessment of monetary and/or societal benefits Feasibility of Conducting Research Availability of subjects, materials, time and competent researchers E.g., studying long-term effects of brand advertising might require following the same group of people over 5-10 year period.
Research Problem Defined An inquiry which asks to what degree or how two or more phenomena are related, usually stated in question form. E.g., Does a color computer make a difference in the number sold? Is customer service quality positively impacted by using web-based customer support knowledge bases? Problem must be clearly stated. Often, misstated problems result in results not being useful to research sponsor or manager. Manager-Sponsor should formally agree on the research problem prior to starting a project
Preliminary Data Gathering Information About: The Population (members of a defined category) Organizational context and systems Corporate philosophy, policies, structure, etc. Employees and employee attitudes & perceptions The Variables of Interest Begin with a list of potential variables of interest Theories Relevant to understanding of the research problem Literature survey is the key source for this information. Useful for explaining/justifying why one variable may be related to another
Preliminary Data Gathering Determine the Sources of Information Secondary Data is gathered from existing sources Internal organization reports & records Published government records (e.g., SEC filing) Statistical Data Census data Business documents Periodicals and journals (Literature Survey) Dissertations Unpublished manuscripts
Preliminary Data Gathering Determine the Sources of Information Primary Data is data gathered from the actual site at which the event or phenomena under investigation occurs Perceptions, attitudes and behavioral response of employees Nature of work, workflow, participation in decision making, reward systems, MIS, etc.
Preliminary Data Gathering Determine the Location of Information Libraries at universities, commercial information services, government agencies, employees, your organization, trade associations Determine how to retrieve the information Online Database Search EGDAR, ABI/INFORM, EBSCOHOST etc. Library Research (Manual search of databases) Interviews of employees: Semi-structured or Structured
Preliminary Data Gathering Review and examine materials to identify information that addresses your variables of interest Read the literature Record the information on index cards or word processor for later use Synthesize the information and determine next steps Abandoning the Project/Changing Directions If there is sufficient evidence in the literature that already addresses the research problem, do not hesitate to abandon or modify the project
Where you are now At this point you should recognize: Good vs. Bad research The steps in the research process Notion of a Research problem How research problems arise Ethical research practices Components of a proposal