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Chapter 4 Research Problem and Proposal

CHAPTER LEARNING OUTCOMES


When you have completed this chapter you will be able to: Discuss the importance of problem definition; Explain the process of defining research problem; Discuss the purpose and the Outline of research proposal.

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NATURE OF BUSINESS RESEARCH PROBLEM

As the decision maker you may be certain about the condition of decision making, while on the other hand, you are completely ambiguous about the situation, therefore further research is required for you to make a good decision. When confronted with such situation, the nature of the problem tends to be blurry, objectives are vague and alternatives are not clear. In most cases, you will fall between these two extremes situation when making a decision.

IMPORTANCE OF DEFINING RESEARCH PROBLEM


In determining the nature of business research problem, you must be able to define the problem clearly. A well-defined problem helps you to solve managerial problem. It determines the purpose of the research undertaken and subsequently the appropriate research design. An ill-defined research problem will lead you to have vague insights of a complex situation and thus you may end up drawing false conclusions from your research investigation. If research is conducted without defining the exact problem, you, the manager may make incorrect decisions based on the findings of the research. Zikmund (2003) defined problem as a specific business decision area that will be clarified by answering some research questions.

Step 2: Understand the Problems Background A preliminary investigation is required to familiarise you and the manager with the decision area when both of you are not able to identify the problem. This is known as situation analysis. Once again exploratory research is recommended to help you develop and well-defined a problem. Step 3: Isolate and Identify the Problems, not the Symptoms As a researcher, it is impossible for you to anticipate many factors or dimensions to the problem. You should isolate and determine the most likely factors that cause the problem. You should differentiate those factors that are only symptomatic and those that are truly contributing to the problem.

PROCESS OF DEFINING RESEARCH PROBLEM

Step 4: Determine the Unit of Analysis You need to determine whether the unit of analysis in your research is individuals, bodies of persons, an event, an object or a relationship. Step 5: Identifying Relevant Variables Must be careful to include all related variables that must be investigated in order to answer the research problem and omit irrelevant variables. Variable is a symbol or a concept that can assume any one of a set of values (Davis, 1996). A dependent variable (DV) is a variable whose values depend on or are associated with values of another variable. Independent variable (IVs) is a variable that explains the change in the dependent variable.

PROCESS OF DEFINING RESEARCH PROBLEM

Step 6: State the Research Questions and Objectives Research question is a translation of the research problem into a specific need (Zikmund, 2003). Research questions should be clear and specific and is translated into hypotheses (refer Figure 4.1). Research objective is derived from a well-defined research problem and should be decision-oriented. For instance, if the criterion being measured turns out to be A, then you will do X; if it is B, then management will do Z. In other words, you are certain with the decision made once the research is completed. Step 7: Amount of Time Spend in Defining the Problem You should not waste your time identifying all major and minor factors contributing to the problem. Remember one of the characteristics of a scientific research is to keep the research simple (i.e. parsimony).

PROCESS OF DEFINING RESEARCH PROBLEM

Step 6: State the Research Questions and Objectives Research question is a translation of the research problem into a specific need (Zikmund, 2003). Research questions should be clear and specific and is translated into hypotheses (refer Figure 4.1). Research objective is derived from a well-defined research problem and should be decision-oriented. For instance, if the criterion being measured turns out to be A, then you will do X; if it is B, then management will do Z. In other words, you are certain with the decision made once the research is completed. Step 7: Amount of Time Spend in Defining the Problem You should not waste your time identifying all major and minor factors contributing to the problem. Remember one of the characteristics of a scientific research is to keep the research simple (i.e. parsimony).

PROCESS OF DEFINING RESEARCH PROBLEM

RESEARCH PROPOSAL, BUDGET AND ACTIVITY PLAN

A research proposal is intended to convince your clients or sponsor that you have a worthwhile research project and that you have the capability and the work-plan to accomplish it. A research proposal is a written statement of the research design that explains the objective of the study, states the research problem, provides the research methods used, details the procedures to be followed and states the cost and timeline of the research (Cooper and Schindler, 2006). In short, a research proposal must address the following questions: What you plan to achieve? Why you want to do it? How do you go about doing it? Keep your research proposal precise, specific and concrete. At this stage, there should not be any ambiguities as to why and how the research will be done. Research proposal is a communication tool. It allows your clients or sponsors to evaluate the research design and determine if changes are

Components of a Research Proposal

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Title The title should be descriptive and concise. Avoid, the phrase, A feasibility study of ; An investigation of Try to have catchy title that not only catch the interest of the clients or sponsors but also influence them towards accepting your proposal. b. Executive Summary It is a brief account of the research undertaken and provides an overview of the research as well as information related to the study. It should include the objective of the study, description of the method such as design, procedures, the sample and instrument that will be employed. The aim of the executive summary is to enable the clients or sponsors to quickly understand the core of the proposal. C. Problem Statement In this part, you should include a statement of the purpose of the study and should specify its objectives. Problem statement should be stated as clearly as possible. When your clients/sponsors read this part, they should be able to know what the management dilemma is, the questions addressed, significance of the problem, why course of actions should be taken to rectify the situations.

Components of a Research Proposal

Components of a Research Proposal


d. Research Objectives This part describes what you as the researcher hopes to

achieve with the research. The clients/sponsors should be clear about the questions to be addressed, the kind of outcomes expected and nature of the information. e. Literature Review This part review published research related to the problem statement. When reviewing the literature, you should be able to relate them to your; research definition, hypotheses, methodology, and data analysis. It will help to convince clients/sponsors that your proposed research will make a significant and substantial contribution to solving the problem identified. f. Justification You should be able to convince the sponsor that such research needs to be pursued and that your plan will meet the

g. Research Design This section describes and justifies the research methods used. You need to show if your approach method is the most appropriate relative to the other methods and is the valid way to address your research questions. Typically, the section consists of the following parts: Type of research ( exploratory, descriptive or casual) Type of design (questionnaire study or laboratory experiment) Unit of analysis (individuals, groups, events) and detailed sampling design (probability or non-probability) Instruments used Procedure length of study and activities involved. If your research project is not large-scale, then data analysis will also be included in this part. It describes how your collected data will be analysed. You will have to highlight the statistical tools and procedures employed in order to answer

Components of a Research Proposal

h. Budget This section requires you to detail out the financial costs involved in executing the research. Among them are allowances for research assistants, professional salaries, accommodation, travel expenses, stationery, photocopying and postage, formulating and designing of questionnaire etc. i. Activity Plan This section describes the sequences of activities necessary to conduct the research. It gives you a clear understanding of what steps will be taken, the order in which they will occur and timing needed to complete the research process. A simple method of outlining the research schedule is the use of a Gantt chart.

Components of a Research Proposal

Chapter 5
Data Collection & Measurement

CHAPTER LEARNING OUTCOMES


After completing this chapter, the students will be able to: Understand the importance of data Understand the importance of literature survey Understand types of data and the differences of data Discuss the purpose of secondary data Discuss the advantages an disadvantages of secondary data Know the classification of secondary data Discuss global business research

INTRODUCTION
In the process of preparing research proposal the crucial stage is identifying the types of data needed in your study. Knowing the types of data is important because it determine the types of research that you need to carry out. Data are simply facts. In the process of research proposal, information on subject matter is important. Information refers to a body of facts in a format suitable for decision-making or in a context that defines relationships between pieces of data. Basically there are two types of data; secondary data and primary data.

IMPORTANCE OF DATA
The importance of data starts when planning a research proposal at the stages of Research design Sample design Data gathering and/or fieldwork techniques Data processing and analysis The basic questions typically asked while preparing the research proposal are: Who and what is the source of data? What types of questions need to be answered? Can the target population be identified? Is a sample necessary?

Literature surveys
Sekaran (2003) defined literature surveys as the documentation of a comprehensive review of the published and unpublished work from secondary data in the areas of specific interest to the researcher. Library is a rich storage base for secondary data, sources of literature surveys can be gathered from varieties of sources such as, Books, Journals, Newspapers, Magazines, Conferences proceedings, Doctoral dissertation, Masters theses, Government publications, Financial and marketing report However, with the advancement of computer today, computerized databases are available and assessable which make the process of collecting literature reviews mush faster and easier.

Reasons for literature survey


A survey of the literature is important due to some reasons: To help the researcher to include all the relevant variables in the research. To facilitate the creative integration of the information gathered with what is found in previous study. To provides the foundation for developing a comprehensive theoretical framework from which hypotheses can be developed for testing.

Conducting the literature survey


Based on the specific research problems and factors identified during the research process, literature reviews are needs to be done on the variables chosen. There are three steps involves when conducting literature survey: 1. Identifying the relevant sources Almost every local and private university has computer online systems and subscribes to establish index such as Science Direct, EBSCOhost, Euro monitor and Proquest etc. You can locate and print out published information on various topics within split seconds.

Conducting the literature survey


Based on Sekaran (2003), basically there are three forms of databases come in handy while reviewing the literature, as indicated below:
The bibliographic databases which reveal only the bibliographic citations, that is, the name of author, title of the article (book),source of publication, year, volume, and page numbers. The same information as found in the bibliographic index books in the libraries. You can excess a lot of information based through online system in OUM digital library . The abstract database which in addition provide an abstract o summary of the articles. The full-text databases - which provide the full text of the article.

Conducting the literature survey


2.Extracting the relevant information The next steps are to extract the right information form the sources that you collect. You can choose hundreds or more listings, a glance of the article or book, abstract which one is relevant to your study. While you start reading the articles, you can systematically note all the detailed information on the problem that was researched, design sample (sample size and data collection methods) and the findings of the article. All the articles considered relevant to your study should be listed as references and using the appropriate referencing format.

Conducting the literature survey


Writing up the literature review The last step is writing up the literature review or the documentation of the relevant studies citing the author and the year of the study. Such documentation is important to be included in research proposal or final write up to convince the reader that: you has done a thorough investigation on the subject matter and knowledgeable about the problem area you are conducting. to fill the gap of knowledge with the existing theoretical framework and the current theoretical framework which you will developed. to avoid plagiarism

TYPES AND the differences of data


Secondary data Zikmund (2003) explained secondary data as data that are gathered and recorded by someone else prior to (and for the purposes other than) the current needs of the researcher. It is usually historical, already assembled, and do not require access to respondents or subjects. Secondary data are usually utilized in the economics and finance disciplines. For example, In Bursa Malaysia, International Statistical Data, such as composite index, and other financial data. In the economics discipline, the secondary data gathered from Department of Statistics, Malaysia and Bank Negara, and etc.

TYPES AND the differences of data


Primary data According to Zikmund (2003) primary data are gathered and assembled specifically for the research project at hand, and usually done by survey research. For example, if your research is on consumer perceptions on internet banking, so you have to construct a questionnaires asking people on their perceptions.(detail process of data collection will be elaborated in the next chapter)

PURPOSE OF SECONDARY DATA


1.Fact finding In order to solve some common business problems, secondary data are used in research as a fact finding. The objectives of the research are aiming at collecting descriptive information to support decision making to solve the business problems.

PURPOSE OF SECONDARY DATA


2.Model Building Model building is more complex than fact finding because it involves specifying relationship between two or more variables. However in the model development it usually starts with a descriptive or predictive equations and it does not involve a complex mathematical process. Managers use model building to estimate market potential and need information about the future to forecast sales.

PURPOSE OF SECONDARY DATA


Data mining Large corporations for example Malaysian Airlines System (MAS) support system often contain millions records of data. For example, number of route local and international, particulars of passengers, reservations of tickets, type of payment made by customer. With millions of customers and 5 years of data, its easy to see how records counts quickly grow beyond the comfort zone for most human. Sequence discover, the use of data mining to detect sequence patterns, is a popular application among direct marketers, such as catalog retailers, for example, IKEA. A catalog merchant has information for each customer, sets of products that the customer buys in every purchase order.

ADVANTAGES OF SECONDARY DATA


The primary advantages of secondary data to the business researchers are the use of others experience and data. In addition secondary data; Faster Less expensive Less activities such as field trip, survey etc

DISADVANTAGES OF SECONDARY DATA


1. Outdated information and gap of data Secondary data must be timely in order to predict the future. 2. Variation in definition of terms 3. Researchers frequently encounter secondary data that reports on a population of interest that is similar to, but not directly comparable to, the population of interest to the researcher. 4. Differing units of measurement 5. Differing units of measurement may cause problems if they are not identical to the researchers needs; often the primary study may dictate that the data be summarized, rounded, or reported in such a way that it is not useful to the secondary research needs. 6. Inaccurate or biased

External Sources
a. Market share data: Market tracking refers to the observation and analysis of trends in industry volume and brand share over time. Scanner data: Market tracking through optical character recognition such as the universal product code and other optical scanners provides a wealth of accurate and rapid product and brand sales information collectively known as scanner data. Demographic and census updates. Attitude and public opinion research: Specialized syndicated services report the findings of attitude research and opinion polls. Stock market sources: Numerous firms sell information on aggregate market and individual stocks.

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External Sources
1. Books and periodicals: Books and periodicals provide a wealth of information. Libraries stock many bibliographies, guides, directories, and indexes. Professional journals and commercial business periodicals can be especially valuable sources of data. 2. Government sources: Government agencies produce a prolific amount of data. Federal government data (e.g., the Census of Population) can be counted on for accuracy and quality of investigation. State, county, and local government data is often more current and structured to meet local needs than federal data.

External Sources
3. Media sources: Information on a broad range of subjects is available from broadcast and print media. The media like to show that their vehicles for advertising are viewed or heard by the advertising target market. Such information is generally free of charge and can be useful. However, it should be given careful evaluation as it often covers limited aspects of a topic. 4. Commercial sources: Numerous firms specialize in selling information

GLOBAL BUSINESS RESEARCH


Today business has always highlighted the importance of globalization. With the advancement of computer through internet, secondary data also has become global. Secondary data complied outside Malaysia have the same limitations as secondary data available in Malaysia. As an international researchers a few point should be seriously look into: data is not available in certain countries accuracy of data different term used An example of investigating global markets: The Asian Development Bank offers a wealth of data about foreign countries. The ADB Factbook and the ADB Trade Data Bank are especially useful. Both can be accessed using the Internet.

Chapter 6
Data Collection & Measurement: Primary Data Collection Methods

CHAPTER LEARNING OUTCOMES


Define the terms survey, sample survey, and respondent Explain the advantages of using surveys Discuss the errors in survey research Discuss the basic methods of communications Classify surveys according to the degree of structure and disguise

CHAPTER LEARNING OUTCOMES


INTRODUCTION The purpose of collecting primary data is to solve specific problems or research projects at hand. Primary data is usually needed in the discipline of management, marketing, human resources, behavioral economics and behavioral financial research. What is primary data? Data that is gathered and assembled specifically for the research project at hand (Zikmund (2003)) Information obtained firsthand by the researcher on the variables of interest for the specific purpose of the study (Sekaran (2003))

SURVEY
Survey is a research technique in which information or data are collected through questionnaires or interviews from a sample of people or respondents (Sekaran, 2003),. Survey objectives the purpose of conducting a survey The type of information gathered depending on the surveys objective whether to identify and explain a particular business activity or factual information. For example; in new product development the qualitative, objectives of a survey is often to test and refine new-product concepts. Respondent the person who answers interviews questions or questionnaires Sample survey representative sample of the target population.

Advantages of survey
Survey is a very convenient method. When you conduct a survey in a structured and proper manner, it will produce accurate results and extremely valuable to business research. Survey provides quick, inexpensive, efficient, and accurate method of assessing information about population. However, if a survey is poorly conducted, errors can occur.
Errors in survey research

When conducting business research, the quality of a survey-based research often shows the accuracy of the survey. Exhibit 6.1 outlines the various forms of survey error.

Advantages of survey
Survey is a very convenient method. When you conduct a survey in a structured and proper manner, it will produce accurate results and extremely valuable to business research. Survey provides quick, inexpensive, efficient, and accurate method of assessing information about population. However, if a survey is poorly conducted, errors can occur.

Errors in survey research


There are 2 types of error: 1. Random sampling error The difference between the result of a sample and the result of a census conducted using identical procedures; a statistical fluctuation that occurs because of chance variation in the elements selected for a sample (Zikmund, 2003).

Errors in survey research


2. Systematic error
Systematic error results from some imperfect research design or from a mistake in the execution of a research. These errors are also called non-sampling method. A sample bias exists when the results of a sample show a persistent tendency to deviate in one direction from the true value of the population parameter. The two general categories of systematic error are respondent error and administrative error.

Types of response bias


Extremity bias: some respondent tend to use extremes when answering questionnaires. Interviewer bias: the presence of interviewer influences the respondents answer. Auspices bias: influence from the organization that conducting the survey, respondent answer may be deliberate and unintentionally misrepresented. Social desirable bias: respondent wanted to show prestige in the interviewers mind.

Administrative error
Administrative error: The results of improper administration or execution of the research task or examples of administrative error. They are four types of administration error: 1. Data processing error: Data is wrongly keyin into the system or some programming error. 2. Sample selection error: Error results from unrepresentative sample on sample design or execution of the sample procedure.

Administrative error
3. Interviewer error: Interviewers may record an answer incorrectly or they made selective perception based on their own judgement. 4. Interviewer cheating: To avoid possible cheating, it is wise to inform the interviewers that a small sample of respondents will be back to confirm that the interview actually took place.

CLASSIFYING SURVEY RESEARCH METHOD Survey may be classified according to; 1. method of communication 2. structured 3. disguise questions

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CLASSIFYING SURVEY RESEARCH METHOD

Survey may be classified according to; method of communication a. Personal interview face to face situation, can be held anywhere that is convenient to both parties setting; usually depends on the level of complexity of the issues involved, the duration of the interviews, convenience of both parties and the geographical area covered by the survey.

CLASSIFYING SURVEY RESEARCH METHOD


Advantages of personal interviews: Clarify doubts, and the questions are properly understood by the respondent and opportunity for feedback is immediate Obtain complete and precise information needed High participation rate with involvement of interviewers Able to notice nonverbal cues from the respondent.

CLASSIFYING SURVEY RESEARCH METHOD


Disadvantages of personal interviews: Geographical limitations that require wide area of survey (nationally and internationally) Cost of training interviewers to reduce interviewer biases Respondents might feel uneasy to respond to any sensitive issues

Method of communication
Telephone interviews Telephone interviewing is another method of survey research that has been a mainstay of commercial survey research. Many market surveys have been conducted through structured telephone interviews.

Method of communication
Advantages of telephone interview Big number of different people can be reached in a relatively short period of time Costs of telephone interviews are becoming relatively inexpensive Reduce or eliminate discomfort that some might feel in facing the interviewer Respondents will feel less uncomfortable disclosing personal information through the phone

Method of communication
Disadvantages of telephone interview Length of interview is limited Respondent refuse to cooperate with interviews if he feels that the interview might take long time Visual aids cannot be utilized in telephone interviews With the development of the technological advances, computerized, voice activated telephone can be utilized by the researchers to conduct interviews without human interactions (Zikmund, 2003)

Method of communication
Self-Administered Questionnaires In many occasions, an interviewers presence is not essential. Selfadministered questionnaires will be given to respondents from all backgrounds. They will insert the questionnaires in the envelope, packages, and magazines and place it at points strategic enough. Selfadministered questionnaires deal with the power of written word rather than the skills of the interviewer.

Method of communication
Advantages of mail survey Can cover wide geographic area It is relatively inexpensive compared to personal interviews and telephone surveys Respondents can complete the questionnaires at their convenience

Method of communication
Disadvantages of mail survey The rate of returning the mail questionnaires are typically low Respondents are not able to ask questions if they need clarification Difficult to establish the representatives of the sample due to low returns rate of questionnaires

Method of communication
1) 2) 3) 4) Self-Administered Questionnaires that Use Other Forms of Distribution Fax Surveys E-mail Surveys Internet Survey Interactive Kiosks Surveys Computers that are installed at shopping malls, conferences, exhibitions, airports or other strategic location to administer an interactive survey.

STRUCTURED AND DISGUISE QUESTIONS


A structured question limits the number of responses available; whereas unstructured questions tend to be open-ended which allows the respondent considerable freedom in responding. The researcher can also disguise the questions which is particularly advisable if the subject matter is of a threatening nature. Questions can be categorized according to their degree of structure and disguise. This helps in the selection of the appropriate communication medium for conducting the survey.

TEMPORAL BASIS
1. Cross-sectional study This is the most common type of study in which the data is collected at a single point in time. In such a study, various segments of the population are sampled so that relationships among variables may be investigated by crosstabulation. 2. Longitudinal study In longitudinal studies, respondents are questioned at different points in time so that changes occurring can be observed over time.

TEMPORAL BASIS
Cohort Study Longitudinal studies involve two or more samples at different times. This is because similar people are expected to be in each sample over time. Such studies can also be called tracking studies because they are designed to compare aggregate trends and identify changes. Having two or three different sample groups avoids response bias which might normally result from prior interview, but the researcher can never be sure that the changes in the variable being measured are not actually due to having different people in the sample.

TEMPORAL BASIS
Panel Study This is a longitudinal study which includes gathering data from the same sample over time. The panelists record their purchasing habits in a diary for a set period of time. Panels are generally expensive and, thus, are usually managed by contractors which specialize in maintaining consumer panels. Such panels enable the investigator to keep track of repeat purchases, behavior habits affected by changes in price, special promotions, or other aspects of business strategies.

CLASSIFYING SURVEY RESEARCH METHOD


OBSERVATION METHOD Researchers can collect data from the respondents through observation in their natural work environment or in the lab setting, and during their daily activities and behaviors or other items of interest. When using this method of data collection, the researchers can play one of the two roles while gathering field observational data.

CLASSIFYING SURVEY RESEARCH METHOD


1. Nonparticipant observer the researcher collect the needed data without becoming the integral part of the organizational system. 2. Participant observer enters the organization or the research setting, and becomes a part of the work team.

CLASSIFYING SURVEY RESEARCH METHOD


Observational studies could also be divided into: 1. Structured observational studies The researcher has lined up number of areas that he would like to observe and record the findings.

CLASSIFYING SURVEY RESEARCH METHOD


2. Unstructured observational studies The researcher does not have definite ideas of the particular aspects that need to be focused. He will record practically everything that is observed. planned systematically recorded systematically and related to general propositions rather than being presented as reflecting a set of interesting curiosities, and is subjected to checks or controls on validity and reliability

CLASSIFYING SURVEY RESEARCH METHOD


Advantages of observational studies The data obtained through observation are generally more reliable and free from respondent bias It is easier to note the effects of environmental influences on specific outcomes It is easier to observe certain groups of individuals

CLASSIFYING SURVEY RESEARCH METHOD


Disadvantages of observational studies The observer is necessary to be physically present during the observations. The method of collecting data is slow, tedious and expensive. Due to the long periods from which subjects are observed, observer fatigue could easily set in, which might bias the recorded data. Observers have to be trained in what and how to observe, and ways to avoid observer bias.