MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION Research Methodology

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1 MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION Research Methodology Contact details: Regenesys Business School Tel: +27 (11) Fax: +27 (11)

2 Version Control: 15_e_f Date of Publication: July 2014 Publisher: Regenesys Management Place of Publication: Sandton Document Change History Date Version Initials Description of Change 23 December DL New Masters Research Study Guide 29 December KG Reviewed 2 January PL Reviewed 27 January _f FVS Formatting 30 January _e CJ Proofreading 31 January _e_f DL Incorporating suggested editing changes and addressing editing queries 4 February _e_f FVS Final formatting 5 February KG Reviewed 5 February _e_f FVS Addressing comments from SME 5 February _e_ LS Edited and proofread 6 February _e_f FVS Formatting 17 June _e_f TS Updated definitions This Study Guide highlights key focus areas for you as a student. Because the field of study in question is so vast, it is critical that you consult additional literature. Copyright Regenesys, 2014 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable for criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

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4 CONTENTS 1 WELCOME TO REGENESYS INTRODUCTION TEACHING AND LEARNING METHODOLOGY ALIGNING ORGANISATIONAL, TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL OBJECTIVES ICONS USED IN THIS STUDY GUIDE STUDY MATERIAL FOR THE MODULE RECOMMENDED RESOURCES RECOMMENDED READING RECOMMENDED ARTICLES RECOMMENDED MULTIMEDIA ADDITIONAL SOURCES TO CONSULT LEARNING OUTCOMES CONTENT SCOPE AND LEARNING GUIDANCE INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODS AN OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH THE PURPOSE OF RESEARCH THE CHARACTERISTICS OF RESEARCH TYPES OF RESEARCH RESEARCH ETHICS INTRODUCTION ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR RESEARCHERS THE RESEARCH PROBLEM, OBJECTIVES AND RATIONALE INTRODUCTION THE RESEARCH PROBLEM IDENTIFYING A RESEARCH PROBLEM GENERATING RESEARCH IDEAS IDENTIFYING AN ORGANISATIONAL ISSUE REFINING A PROBLEM STATEMENT CHARACTERISTICS OF A RESEARCH PROBLEM RESEARCH OBJECTIVES THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS THE RATIONALE FOR THE RESEARCH FORMULATING AND CLARIFYING THE RESEARCH TOPIC FORMULATING AND CLARIFYING THE RESEARCH TITLE CONDUCTING A CRITICAL LITERATURE REVIEW INTRODUCTION WHAT IS A LITERATURE REVIEW? THE PURPOSE OF THE LITERATURE REVIEW CRITERIA FOR A LITERATURE REVIEW STEPS IN THE LITERATURE REVIEW WRITING THE LITERATURE REVIEW THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK THE RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY AND APPROACH THE RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY DEDUCTIVE VERSUS INDUCTIVE RESEARCH THE QUANTITATIVE VERSUS QUALITATIVE RESEARCH APPROACH FORMULATING THE RESEARCH DESIGN THE RESEARCH DESIGN INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH DESIGNS THE TYPES OF RESEARCH STRATEGIES THE RESEARCH PROCESS SAMPLING DESIGN... 72

5 7.8.1 INTRODUCTION TO SAMPLING DESIGNS POPULATION VERSUS A SAMPLE SAMPLING CAUSES OF SAMPLING ERROR SAMPLING PROCEDURE TYPES OF NON-PROBABILITY SAMPLES TYPES OF PROBABILITY OR RANDOM SAMPLES COMBINATION OR MIXED PURPOSEFUL SAMPLING CONCLUSION PLANNING YOUR DATA COLLECTION DESIGN DATA COLLECTION METHODS VARIABLES IN THE RESEARCH PROBLEM QUESTIONNAIRES DATA COLLECTION TECHNIQUES CONSTRUCTING QUESTIONNAIRES SCALE DEVELOPMENT MEASUREMENT SCALES DATA ANALYSIS DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICAL ANALYSIS INFERENTIAL STATISTICAL ANALYSIS HYPOTHESIS TESTS HYPOTHESIS TEST USING THE ANOVA INFERENTIAL STATISTICAL ANALYSIS SIGNIFICANCE TESTS ANALYSING QUALITATIVE DATA REFERENCES APPENDIX 1: RESEARCH PROPOSAL AND MINI-DISSERTATION GUIDELINES GLOSSARY OF TERMS

6 List of Tables TABLE 1: PURPOSE OF RESEARCH TABLE 2: RESEARCH CONCEPTS AND TERMINOLOGY TABLE 3: REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS TABLE 4: POPULAR, TRADE AND SCHOLARLY PUBLICATIONS TABLE 5: DETERMINANT OF QUALITY OF INFORMATION SOURCES TABLE 6: THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH APPROACH TABLE 7: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE RESEARCH DESIGN AND THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY TABLE 8: TERMS COMMONLY USED IN THE RESEARCH PROCESS TABLE 9: TERMINOLOGY TABLE 10: EXAMPLE OF NOMINAL SCALE TABLE 11: EXAMPLE OF NOMINAL SCALE TABLE 12: TYPES OF SCALES TABLE 13: T-TESTS TABLE 14: T-TEST TWO-SAMPLE ASSUMING EQUAL VARIANCE TABLE 15: SUMMARY OF STATISTICAL TESTS TO EXAMINE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN VARIABLES List of Figures FIGURE 1: ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN RESEARCH FIGURE 2: THE RESEARCH ONION FIGURE 3: 10-STEP RESEARCH PROCESS FIGURE 4: RESEARCH PROCESS AND THE RESEARCH REPORT FIGURE 5: HISTOGRAM AREA 1 FIGURE 6: HISTOGRAM AREA 2 FIGURE 7: CORRELATION ANALYSIS

7 1 WELCOME TO REGENESYS Have a vision. Think big. Dream, persevere and your vision will become a reality. Awaken your potential knowing that everything you need is within you. Dr. Marko Saravanja At Regenesys, we assist individuals and organisations to achieve their personal and organisational goals, by enhancing their management and leadership potential. We approach education and development holistically, considering every interaction not only from an intellectual perspective but also in terms of emotion and spirituality. Our learning programmes are designed to transform and inspire your mind, heart and soul, and thus allow you to develop the positive values, attitudes and behaviours, which are required for success. Having educated over students based in highly reputable local and international corporations across over 100 countries since Regenesys' inception in 1998, we are now one of the fastest-growing and leading institutions of management and leadership development in the world. Regenesys ISO 9001:2008 accreditation bears testimony to our quality management systems meeting international standards. Regenesys is accredited with the Council on Higher Education. Our work is rooted in the realities of a rapidly changing world and we provide our clients with the knowledge, skills and values required for success in the 21 st century. At Regenesys, you will be treated with respect, care and professionalism. You will be taught by business experts, entrepreneurs and academics who are inspired by their passion for human development. You will be at a place where business and government leaders meet, network, share their experiences and knowledge, learn from each other, and develop business relationships. You will have access to a campus, in the heart of Sandton, with the tranquillity of a Zen garden, gym and meditation room. We encourage you to embark on a journey of personal development with Regenesys. We will help you to awaken your potential and to realise that everything you need to succeed is within you. We will be with you every step of the way. We will work hard with you and, at the end celebrate your success with you. Areas of Expertise Regenesys Business School 1

8 2 INTRODUCTION Welcome to the module on Research Methodology. This module will guide and assist you in understanding research philosophies, research methodology, research design, and conducting and analysing data to produce meaningful information. This will assist you and provide you with a sound basis for research, which can be, used both in your personal and work life. There are references to video clips, which are recommended to complete the Mini-dissertation and will assist in gaining more insight into this subject. The cases and exercises will reinforce the theoretical concepts and it is highly recommended that you do there exercises as you work through this study guide.the study guide consists of the main body of knowledge and is supported by two annexures which are specifically designed to allow you to gain insight into the marking and structure of a dissertations. 2.1 TEACHING AND LEARNING METHODOLOGY Regenesys uses an interactive teaching and learning methodology that encourages self-reflection and promotes independent and critical thinking. Key to the approach utilised is an understanding of adult learning principles, which recognise the maturity and experience of participants, and the way that adult students need to learn. At the core of this is the integration of new knowledge and skills into existing knowledge structures, as well as the importance of seeing the relevance of all learning via immediate application in the workplace. Practical exercises are used to create a simulated management experience to ensure that the conceptual knowledge and practical skills acquired can be directly applied within the work environment of the participants. The activities may include scenarios, case studies, self-reflection, problem solving and planning tasks. Training manuals are developed to cover all essential aspects of the training comprehensively, in a user-friendly and interactive format. Our facilitators have extensive experience in management education, training and development. Please read through this Study Guide carefully, as it will influence your understanding of the subject matter and the successful planning and completion of your studies. Regenesys Business School 2

9 2.2 ALIGNING ORGANISATIONAL, TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL OBJECTIVES This course will draw on a model developed by Regenesys Management, which demonstrates how the external environment, the levels of an organisation, the team and the components of an individual are interrelated in a dynamic and systemic way. The success of an individual depends on his/ her self-awareness, knowledge and ability to manage successfully these interdependent forces, stakeholders and processes. The degree of synergy and alignment between the goals and objectives of the organisation, the team and the individual determines the success or failure of an organisation. It is, therefore, imperative that each organisation ensures that team and individual goals and objectives are aligned with the organisation s strategies (vision, mission, goals and objectives, etc.); structure (organogram, decision-making structure, etc.); systems (HR, finance, communication, administration, information, etc.); culture (values, level of openness, democracy, caring, etc.). Hence, an effective work environment should be characterised by the alignment of organisational systems, strategies, structures and culture, and by people who operate synergistically. Regenesys Integrated Management Model Regenesys Business School 3

10 3 ICONS USED IN THIS STUDY GUIDE Icons are included in the study guide to enhance its usability. Certain icons are used to indicate different important aspects in the study guide to help you to use it more effectively as a reference guide in future. The icons in this study guide should be interpreted as follows: Definition The definitions provide an academic perspective on given terminology. They are used to give students a frame of reference from which to define a term using their own words. Examples The example icon is used to indicate an extra/ additional text that illustrates the content under discussion. These include templates, simple calculation, problem solution, etc. Video clip or presentation This icon indicates a URL link to a video clip or presentation on the subject matter for discussion. It is recommended that students follow the link and listen/ read the required sources. Interesting source to consult The source icon is used to indicate text sources, from the Internet or resource centre, which add to the content of the topic being discussed In a nutshell This icon indicates a summary of the content of a section in the workbook and to emphasise an important issue. Calculations This icon indicates mathematical or linguistic formulae and calculations. Self-reflection Students complete the action of selfreflection in their own time. It requires students to think further about an issue raised in class or in the learning materials. In certain instances, students may be required to add their views to their assignments. Tasks The task icon indicates work activities that contact students must complete during class time. These tasks will be discussed in class and reflected upon by students and facilitators. E-learning students can use these tasks simply to reinforce their knowledge. Note This icon indicates important information of which to take note. Regenesys Business School 4

11 4 STUDY MATERIAL FOR THE MODULE You have received material that includes the following: Study Guide Recommended reading Assignment These resources provide you with a starting point from which to study the contents of this module. In addition to these, other resources to assist you in completing this module will be provided online via the link to this module. Guidance on how to access the material is provided in the Academic Handbook that you received when you registered for this qualification. 5 RECOMMENDED RESOURCES A number of recommended and recommended resources have been identified to assist you in successfully completing this module. 5.1 RECOMMENDED READING The following textbook is highly recommended and must be used to complete the module: Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. 2013, Research Methods for Business Students, 6 th ed., Cape Town: Pearson Education. Please ensure you order, or download your textbook, before you start with the module. 5.2 RECOMMENDED ARTICLES Collins, J. and Hussey, R. 2003, Business Research: A Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students', 2 nd edition, Palgrave Macmillan, Humphrey, C. 2008, Auditing research: A review across the disciplinary divide, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, (21) 2, Hyde, K. F. 2000, Recognising deductive process in qualitative research, Qualitative Market Research, (3) 2, Regenesys Business School 5

12 Jack, E. P. and Raturi, A. S. 2006, Lessons learned from methodological triangulation in management research, Management Research News, (29) 6, McNamara, C. 2008, General guidelines for conducting research interviews, (accessed 7 January 2009). Woodside, A.G. and Wilson, E. J. 2003, Case study research methods for theory building, Journals of Business and Industrial Marketing, (18) 6/7, Additional articles that may prompt discussions and further assist you in completing this course will be saved on Regenesys Online under the relevant course. Please visit the site regularly to access these additional sources. 5.3 RECOMMENDED MULTIMEDIA Cranfield SoM. 2012, 'Management research: Delivering business results', [video clip], (accessed 16 January 2014). DrSamFiala. 2012, 'Research ethics, [video clip], (accessed 16 January 2014). Meeng Uofu. 2012, 'How to write a problem statement (review for ME1010), [video clip], (accessed 16 January 2014). Massey University. 2010, The literature review, [video clip], (accessed 16 January 2014). UELRDBS. 2013, Postgraduate research planning workshop Research process and philosophy, [video clip], (accessed 16 January 2014). Ignousohs. 2011, 'Sampling issues in research studies, [video clip], (accessed 16 January 2014). Regenesys Business School 6

13 5.4 ADDITIONAL SOURCES TO CONSULT You are responsible for sourcing additional information that will assist you in completing this module successfully. Below is a list of some sources that you may consult to obtain additional information on the topics to be discussed in this module: Emerald: NetMasters: MindTools: Brunel Open Learning Archive: ProvenModels: 12manage.com: Alliance Online: The Free Management Library: The Charity Village: This is an online database containing journal articles that are relevant to your modules. Please refer to the attached Emerald manual to assist you to download required articles. Information on how to access Emerald is provided to you in your Academic Handbook. You will receive access to the database once you register as a student. This is one of several web addresses that provide a selection of Masters constructs and discussion. It is one of the better of these addresses. MindTools.com is a very useful source of ideas, constructs, management models, etc. with even more useful commentary and description. A Brunel University support-site that provides an easily accessible library of ideas, concepts, constructs techniques, tools, models, etc. ProvenModels' Digital Model Book presents digitalised management models categorised in a clear, consistent and standardised information structure to improve the usability and reusability of management literature. Management models are important generalisations of business situations when applied in context and are powerful tools for solving business issues. This is a website on which one can access numerous models as well as global comments on the models and principles. This could also serve as a place where you could voice your ideas and get feedback from all over the world. The Alliance for Non-profit Management's general introduction to strategic planning is built around 15 questions that cover just about all aspects in brief. (Click on Strategic Planning ) The Free Management Library can be used to improve your organisation, and for your own personal, professional and organisational development. This is by far the most comprehensive overview of all aspects of strategic planning covering all stages of the process. A series of twelve very short articles, by Ron Robinson, an independent Canadian consultant, appeared on Charity Village between November 2001 and October These articles are refreshing in that they do not advocate a one best way for all types of non-profit organisations. They discuss various way of approaching the strategic planning process. There are many more sites and articles available that can help you to successfully complete this module. You are encouraged to post the website addresses or URLs of any additional interesting sites that you come across on the Regenesys Learning Platform. In this way, you can assist other students to access the same wonderful information that you have discovered. A word of caution not all information available on the Internet is necessarily of a high academic standard. It is, therefore, recommended that you always compare information that you obtain with that contained in accredited sources such as articles that were published in accredited journals. Regenesys Business School 7

14 6 LEARNING OUTCOMES Upon completing this course, students should be able to: Critically explain research terminology, concepts and principles Evaluate and compare the various types of research philosophies Apply and critique various research methods Comply with ethical issues in business research Understand the relationship between information resources and the knowledge management process of a specific organisation Collect and analyse research data and demonstrate its value in business decision-making; Apply the research process in resolving a business problem Demonstrate the ability to apply advanced statistical and other scientific data analysis techniques Collect data by using the appropriate research methods, and Collate and analyse data by performing the relevant descriptive and inferential statistical analysis using appropriate tools and techniques Develop and present a professional research proposal Regenesys Business School 8

15 7 CONTENT SCOPE AND LEARNING GUIDANCE A number of topics will be covered to assist you in successfully achieving the learning outcomes of this module. It is important to study each of these sections to ensure that you expand your knowledge on the subject and are able to complete the required assessments. The sections that will be dealt with include: Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Section 6 Section 7 Section 8 Section 9 Section 10 Introduction to Research Methods Research Ethics The Research Problem, Objectives and Rationale Formulating and Clarifying the Research Topic Conducting a Critical Literature Review The Research Philosophy and Approach Formulating the Research Design Sampling Design Planning your Data Collection Design Data Analysis A more detailed framework of what is required for each of these topics follows under each section heading. A number of questions to initiate discussion and guide you towards better comprehension and greater insight are also provided. The timetable under each section heading provides guidance on the time to be spent to study each section. It is recommended that you follow the given timetable to ensure that you spend the appropriate amount of time on each section. Following the timetable will ensure that you have covered the required sections relevant to each assignment and have appropriate time to prepare for the examination. Regenesys Business School 9

16 7.1 INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODS Timeframe: Learning outcomes: Recommended reading: Recommended multimedia: Minimum of 4 hours Critically explain research terminology, concepts and principles Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A., 2013, Research Methods for Business Students, 6 th ed., Cape Town: Pearson Education. Collins, J. and Hussey, R. 2003, Business Research: A Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students', 2 nd ed., Palgrave Macmillan, Cranfield SoM. 2012, 'Management research: Delivering business results', [video clip], (accessed 16 January 2014). This section introduces you to the research concept and the research need. The characteristics of research are discussed to allow contextualisation of the research. This will allow you to understand the relevant research concepts and their definitions. Section overview: This section will cover the following: The research concept Conducting research Understanding the need for research as a core business driver to remain competitive How things (study objects) are defined i.e. to define the nature of the study object(s) Explaining why things (study objects) are the way they are and to explain the relationship between things (study objects) How to predict phenomena, such as human behaviour in the workplace, with the aim of using this information in future (e.g. for screening job applicants) The characteristics of research, and The purpose of research so as to apply it in a pragmatic and systematic manner to solve an organisational problem An Overview of Research To a certain extent, most of us have been exposed to the research process and we have often been research subjects, without actually realising it. We are often approached to participate in surveys, for example on our preferences or experiences with regard to services, holiday experiences and household products, or on our preferences with regard to magazines, newspapers and radio stations. These surveys are typical examples of market research in which the service provider aims to determine customer needs and/ or potential customers. A specific research process is followed and an appropriate research method (such as a survey) is employed to collect and analyse data in order to achieve the aim of the study. Regenesys Business School 10

17 In this Research Methodology module, you will come across a number of frequently used research concepts, with which you should become familiar. We will start by describing the research-related concepts so that you have a clear understanding of them. To increase your understanding on research. revisit the following descriptions from time to time. The term research is derived from the French word recherché, which means to travel through or to survey. Research is defined as follows: A systematic investigation to establish facts or collect information on a subject. (Collins English Dictionary, 2004:1379) The process of thoroughly studying and analysing the situational factors surrounding a problem in order to seek out solutions to it. (Cavana, Delahaye and Sekaran, 2001:4) a systematic, careful inquiry or examination to discover new information or relationships and to expand/verify existing knowledge for some specified purpose. (Bennett, 1991:68) A process that people undertake in order to find out things in a systematic way, thereby increasing their knowledge. (Saunders et al., 2013) From the above definitions, it is evident that research involves systematic investigation (Ghauri and Grønhaug, 2010). The term 'systematic' suggests that research is based on logical relationships and not just beliefs (Saunders et al. 2013). Research is not conducted haphazardly, but it is a systematic process with a specific purpose in mind. In other words, we can regard research as the systematic process of collecting and analysing information (data) to increase our understanding of the subject or phenomenon involved. As a researcher you will want to conduct research into your area of interest and this suggests that research involves enquiry or examination to find things out on what you want to study in your mini-dissertation (Ghauri and Grønhaug, 2010). In essence, research is a process that is followed in order to find answers or to come up with findings regarding a certain topic. In other words, research is a process of investigation: It examines a particular subject from a variety of different points of view considering a variety of assumptions, limitations and models proposed by various authors. The following authors definitions focus specifically on research in a business context: Undertaking systematic research to find out things about business and management. (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2003:3) An organised, systematic, data-based, critical, objective, scientific inquiry or investigation into a specific problem or issue with the purpose of finding solutions to it or clarifying it. (Cavana et al., 2001:5) Regenesys Business School 11

18 These definitions are essential as they establish a common understanding of what research means to you as the researcher. Research students should, therefore, follow a systematic process to investigate a management-related problem in order to compile their mini-dissertation. According to Saunders et al. (2013), there are three main factors which a researcher needs to take cognisance of when conducting research. These are as follows: Firstly, Saunders views the practice of management as being largely 'eclectic' as it is influenced by other disciplines and a variety of sources, such as physical sciences, pure sciences, social sciences, economics, statistics and maths. Students must be able to work across spiritual, emotional, technical, cultural and functional boundaries. They need to draw on knowledge from all modules, inter-alia, Leadership, Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence, Human Resources, Financial Management, Marketing Management, etc. The dilemma for any researcher, who attempts to compile a mini-dissertation, is whether to examine management from the perspective of one discipline, or whether to adopt an inter-disciplinary approach. Secondly, a researcher will most likely conduct research within organisations, either public or private. Note that, as a researcher, you may be constrained to access the organisation you want to research, unless such an organisation can see some intrinsic, commercial or personal advantage to be derived from the research study. Research can become challenging as it involves issues such as confidentiality, ethics, moral issues and consent from the organisation. Thirdly, as a researcher you will need to appreciate that research will require both critical analysis and theory application to resolve the research problem. The researcher must be able to critically compare the various theories and models in the context of the research objectives. The final research report should add value to organisations and society The Purpose of Research The purpose of our research is to conduct a research study in a pragmatic and systematic manner to solve an organisational problem. Welman and Kruger (1999:19) identify the purpose of research as follows: Table 1: Purpose of Research Describing Explaining Predicting To describe how things (study objects) are i.e. to define the nature of the study object(s) To explain why things (study objects) are the way they are and explain the relationship between things (study objects) To predict phenomena, such as human behaviour in the workplace, with the aim of using this information in future (e.g. for screening job applicants) Regenesys Business School 12

19 7.1.3 The Characteristics of Research Although research may vary in complexity and duration, Leedy and Ormond (2003:2 3) argue that research typically has the following eight distinct characteristics: 1. Research originates with a question or a problem. Research will usually begin with a problem statement, such as: Organisation X lost 10% per annum over the last three years in the area of technical skills. The researcher needs to ensure that the real problem (root cause) is identified and correctly defined, and not the symptoms of the problem, as this will lead to incorrect research with meaningless results. 2. The research goal requires a clear articulation because research is time consuming and usually costly to conduct. A research goal that is not clearly defined, may lead to research findings that differ from what is required by the researcher. This may nullify the research study conducted. 3. Research follows a specific format. Leedy (2013:75) views the basic format of the research process as having the following steps: Step 1: The researcher asks a question to which there is no (currently) known solution. Step 2: Convert the research question into clearly stated research problem that is researchable. Step 3: Based on the problem statement, state the research questions and hypothesis. The hypothesis is what the researcher believes may be causing the problem. Step 4: Select relevant literature and relevant secondary data, which already exists and is relevant to this problem. Conduct a critical analysis of the literature. Step 5: Once the literature review is completed and the secondary data analysis has been exhausted, collect primary data, specifically for where there are gaps in the secondary data. Collate the data and synthesised it into a logical structure to analyse through the appropriate data analysis tools and techniques, such as, hypothesis testing. Interpret the data and link it back to the previous steps to ensure a logical research flow and link back to the research objectives. Compare the data analysis and information produced from the data with the research problem statement and the extent to which the hypothesis tests, validates or solves the problem. 4. Research usually divides the principal problem into more manageable sub-problems. This allows the researcher to manage the research by focusing on more manageable areas to research. Regenesys Business School 13

20 5. Research is guided by the specific research problem, question or hypothesis. The researcher must ensure a clear link between the research goal, objectives, problem statement, research questions and the hypothesis. 6. Research accepts certain critical assumptions and limitations, as well as delimitations to ensure that the parameters of the research scope are clearly defined before any research is undertaken. 7. Research requires the collection and interpretation of data in an attempt to resolve the problem that initiated the research. 8. Research is, by its nature, cyclical. It is critical for the researcher to understand that his/her research may be influenced by the market, organisation, product or other relevant cycles Types of Research Before we discuss the types of research you need to read through some useful definitions to assist you in this section of the Study Guide. You should familiarise yourself with these definitions, as they will be referred to throughout the research module. Most of the commonly-used terms are explained in Table 2 below. Table 2: Research Concepts and Terminology Applied research Assumption Basic research Bias Concept Construct Correlate Deduction Dependant variable Descriptive statistics Empirical Epistemology Ethnography External validity Hypothesis Research conducted to find solutions for specific problems in real situations. A basic premise that we believe is true. Pure, theoretical or scientific research, with the main purpose of creating new knowledge. Prejudice or distortion. An abstract idea representing a real phenomenon. To create or build (verb). An association between two or more variables determined statistically. Going from the general to the specific. A variable that is influenced or changed. Mathematical techniques used to see underlying patterns of data. Based on observation and experience. A branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of knowledge. Comprehensively describing situations. The extent to which results can be generalised to other populations. A tentative, testable statement about the relationship between two or more variables. Regenesys Business School 14

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