Business Research Process (Steps 1-3)

Chapter 4
Business Research
Process (Steps 1-3)
 Business Research Book of VU
 Research Methods For Business (Uma Sekaran)
 APA Manual (6th Edition)
Resource Person: Furqan-ul-haq Siddiqui
The Business Research Process
problem area
Preliminary Data
Identification and
analysis &
Generation of
Hypothesis 5
Research Question
"Well begun is half done.“
Choosing an interesting research topic is your first challenge.
1. Observation/Broad Problem Area
The process begins when a researcher observes a
problem/issue/opportunity/ change or a researcher
selects an area for research.
The broad problem area refers to the entire situation where
one sees a possible need for research and problem solving.
Broad problem area of study or issue may be HR,
finance, crime, social issues or marketing etc.
The specific issues that need to be researched
within the situation may not be identified at this
Such issues might pertain to
Problem currently existing in an organization that
needs to be solved
Areas that manager thinks need to be improved
Conceptual or theoretical frame work to
understand some phenomena
Answer empirically of some questions or to
determine relationships
Broad Problem Area
Examples , A manager/student could observe the
following in the workplace:
Training programs are perhaps are not as effective
as were anticipated.
The sale volume of a product is not picking up.
Minority groups are not making career progress in
Broad Problem Area
The broad problem area would
be narrowed down to specific
issues for investigation after
some preliminary data
This may take the form of
interviews and library
Its suggested to use funnel
approach for narrowing down
the topic.
2. Preliminary Data Collection
Nature of data to be collected
The nature of information that would be needed by the
researcher for the purpose could be classified under three
Background information of the organization (secondary
Managerial philosophy, company policies, and other
structural aspects
Perception, attitudes, and behavioral response of the
organizational member and client systems (if applicable) primary data.
1. Background Information on the Organization
The origin and history of the company - when it was
started, rate of growth, ownership and control and so
 Size-, in terms of employees, or assets or both.
 Location - regional, national or other.
 Resource - human and other.
 Charter - purpose and ideology
 Interdependent relationships with other institutions
and the external environment.
 Financial position.
Information on Management Philosophy and
Structural Factors
Employees role & position at each organizational level.
Extent of specialization.
Communication channels.
Control systems.
Coordination & Span of control
Reward systems.
Workflow systems and the like.
Employees Perception, Attitudes, and Behavioral
Responses towards their organization
Workflow interdependence.
Rewards provided by the organization such as pay and fringe
Growth opportunities
Participation in decision making.
Companies tolerance regarding taking time off the job by
These factors help researcher to determine employees
loyalty, performance, absenteeism, turnover, performance
intensions etc.
 Because:
- Knowledge accumulates.
- We learn from and build on
what others have done.
 Researchers
read other
people’s research.
 They learn, compare,
replicate, or critically
analyze the work by others.
Literature Survey
Literature survey is the documentation of a comprehensive
review of the published and unpublished work from secondary
sources of data
The library is a rich storage base for secondary data, and
researchers spend several weeks, and sometimes months, going
conference proceedings, ,
Thesis/dissertations/synopsis & abstracts
several government Publications
financial marketing and other reports.
Goals of Review of Literature
To demonstrate a familiarity with a body of knowledge
and establish credibility.
Demonstrates the researcher’s professional competence,
ability, and background.
To know the path of prior research and how a current
research project is linked to it.
To integrate and summarize what is known in an area
A good review points out areas where prior studies agree,
where they disagree, and where major questions remain
No reinventing the wheel. No wastage of effort.
To learn from others and stimulate new ideas.
Researcher benefits from others efforts.
Ready made techniques. Also difficulties. Replications to
overcome previous limitations.
Identification of variables. Important variables that are
likely to influence the problem situation are not left out of
the study.
Helps in developing theoretical framework.
Ready made theoretical models for research may be
Previous studies provide evidence for developing
theoretical argumentation for positing the relationship
among variables.
Problem statement can be made with precision
Review provides clarity of thought about the issue
under study.
Conducting the Literature Survey
It can be conducted in three steps.
Identifying the relevant sources.
Extracting the relevant information.
Writing up the literature survey
Organization of literature review
A general organization looks like a funnel
 Broader
 Subtopics
 Studies like yours
Writing up the Literature Review
The documentation of the relevant studies citing the author
and the year of the study is called literature review or
literature survey.
The literature survey is a clear and logical presentation of
the research work done thus for in the area of investigation.
The purpose of literature survey is to identify and
highlight the important variables, and to document the
significant findings from earlier research that will serve as
the foundation on which the subsequent theoretical
framework for the current investigation can based and the
hypothesis developed.
Write the Review
A literature review requires planning and good, clear
writing, which requires lot of rewriting.
What does a good review look like?
The author should communicate a review’s purpose to the
reader by its organization.
 The wrong way to write a review is to list a series of
research reports with a summary of the findings of each.
 The right way to write a review is to organize common
findings or arguments together. A well accepted approach is
to address the most important ideas first, to logically link
statements or findings, and to note discrepancies or
weaknesses in the present.
Making links between studies
 Similarly, author B points to…
 Likewise, author C makes the case that…
 Author D also makes this point…
 Again, it is possible to see how author E agrees with author
 However, author B points to…
 On the other hand, author C makes the case that…
 Conversely, Author D argues…
 Nevertheless,
what author E suggests…
Read the Material Closer
Step 1: read the abstract
Step 2: read introduction
Focus on participants, measures, procedures
Step 4: Evaluate results
It explains why the study is important
It provides review and evaluation of relevant literature
Step 3: read Method with a close, critical eye
Decide whether to read the article in detail
Do the conclusions seem logical
Can you detect any bias on the part of the researcher?
Step 5: Take discussion with a grain of salt
Edges are smoothed out
Pay attention to limitations
(Carroll, 2006)
Copying and pasting text from internet
Using photographs, video or audio without
permission or acknowledgement
Using another’s work and claiming
it as your own even with permission
Using your own work without properly citing it!
Quoting a source without using quotation marks-even
if you do cite it
Citing sources you didn’t use
Getting a research paper, story, poem, or article off
the Internet
Turning in the same paper for more than one class
without the permission of both teachers (this is
called self-plagiarism)
Getting Started…
What is a Citation?
 References
and citations in text are the formal methods
of acknowledging the use of a creator’s work.
Is it Plagiarism?
You read:
"Students are studying about
one-third as much as faculty
say they ought to, to do well,"
said George D. Kuh, director
of the survey and a professor
of higher education at Indiana
University at Bloomington.
From: Young, Jeffrey R. Homework? What
Homework? Chronicle of Higher Education, 49
Yes! You must
credit your source
if you paraphrase
You write:
Most students spend
about one-third as much
time studying as faculty
say they should.
Is it Plagiarism?
You read:
"Students are studying about onethird as much as faculty say they
ought to, to do well," said George
D. Kuh, director of the survey and
a professor of higher education at
Indiana University at
From: Young, Jeffrey R. Homework? What
Homework? Chronicle of Higher Education,
49 (15).12/6/2002
No. As long as you have
included the Young
article in your reference
list, you have properly
cited your source.
You write:
According to George D.
Kuh, Indiana University at
Bloomington, students
study about one-third of
the time that is expected
by faculty. (Young, 2002)
Is This Plagiarism?
Copying a direct quotation into your paper,
placing quotation marks around it, and crediting
the source.
This is not plagiarism.
How about this?
Taking someone’s ideas or words, putting them
into your own words, and crediting the source.
This is not plagiarism.
It’s Paraphrasing!
What is Paraphrasing?
A paraphrase uses an author's idea, but expresses
it in your own words, without the use of
quotation marks.
Just changing a few words from the
original is plagiarism.
Paraphrasing is permitted as long
as you credit the source.
When Should You Use Paraphrasing?
When summarizing facts and ideas
from a source
 Summarizing
means to take ideas from a
large passage of another source and
condense them, using your own words
When paraphrasing a source
 Paraphrasing
means to use the ideas from
another source but change the phrasing into
your own words
Examples of Paraphrasing
The original passage:
Students frequently overuse direct quotation [when] taking notes,
and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research]
paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript
should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you
should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source
materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers.
2nd ed. (1976): 46-47
A legitimate paraphrase:
In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep
quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually
originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material
recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).
What is Quoting?
A quotation uses exactly the same words and
puts them in quotation marks.
- If the quotation is more than 2 lines you should put
it in a separate paragraph and indent it from both
“Leprosy was eradicated in the west by the end of
medieval times” (Foucault 3).
What is a Summary?
A summary should contain the main points
from the author's text. Don't forget to
reference it with the author's family name,
date of publication and page number.
When Should I…
1. The author’s words will be
difficult for your reader to
1. Everything the author
writes is important
1. Not all the author’s
words are necessary
e.g. If the author gives
examples or explanations
that you don’t need to put
in your text
2. Your instructor wants to
know if you understand the
author correctly
2. The quotation will not
make your text too long
2. If paraphrasing or quoting
will make your text too long
3. You haven’t used many
quotations already
Common Knowledge
Things that are considered “common knowledge”
do not need to be cited.
-Canadian Confederation began in the year 1867.
-John A. Macdonald was Canada’s first Prime
-William Shakespeare was born in England in the
16th Century.
Why Use APA Format?
Allows readers to crossreference your sources easily
 Provides consistent format
within a discipline
 Gives you credibility as a writer
 Protects yourself from
The primary source of information regarding APA
formatting should be the APA Manual (Publication
Manual of the American Psychological Association,
Sixth Edition)
Who Should Use APA?
APA Style describes rules for the preparation of
manuscripts for writers and students in:
Social Sciences, such as Psychology, Linguistics,
Sociology, Economics, and Criminology
Before you adopt this style for your paper, you should check
to see what citation style your discipline uses in its journals
and for student research. If APA Style is appropriate for
your writing project, then use this workshop to learn more
about APA and how to follow its rules correctly in your
own work.
APA References
Journal Article
Please visit:
for automatically generating citations in MLA, APA, Chicago,
Turabian, and Harvard style.
3. Problem Definition
From broad to specific concern
After having preliminary data gathering , the researcher
is in a position to narrow down the problem from its
original broad base and define the issue clearly.
Present problem statement in clear and precise manner.
Problem could be
An existing business problem identified by the
Scope for future improvement
Areas needing conceptual clarity
Curiosity of the researcher
Problem Definition
A “problem” could simply indicate an interest in an
issue where finding the right answers might help to
improve an existing situation.
A clear, precise and brief statement of the question
or issue that is to be investigated with the goal of
finding an answer or solution.
Examples of well defined problems
1. To what extent do the structure of the organization and type of information
systems installed account for the variance in the
perceived effectiveness of managerial decisions?
2. What is the influence of information on price and quality on consumer
evaluation of competing brands?
3. Does the income statement in the balance sheet elicit the same kinds of reader
reactions toward the company as the cash flow statement?
4. Does better automation lead to greater asset investment for dollar of output?
6. Does international expansion result in an increase in the firm’s value.
7. What are the effects of downsizing on the long range growth pattern of
9. What are the components of “quality of life”?
10. Effects of IMF lending upon Pakistan.
11. Effects of T&D in increasing employees contribution.