Weblecture - Day 2 (Chapter 3)
Read Chapter 3 of the textbook and review the PowerPoint presentation on Chapter 3.
This chapter has four learning objectives as listed on p.62 of the text. After reading this chapter, you should understand that 1) research is decision- and dilemma-centered, 2) the research questions is the result of careful exploration and analysis, and sets the direction for the research project, 3) planning research design demands an understanding of all the stages of the research process, and 4) that reality testing at each stage of the process is critical to successful implementation of a research proposal. Next chapter will discuss specific components of a research proposal.
This chapter facilitates problem formulation using a systematic "hierarchy of research questions" approach. The question hierarchy becomes an organizing principle that is referred to throughout the book. The chapter introduces the research process and provides an overview of the entire process of concluding empirical research. This process largely guides the organization of remainder of the book.
Exhibit 3-4 on p. 66 of the text shows the management-research question hierarchy as follows.
1. Management Dilemma: a symptom of an
actual problem (examples: decreasing sales, rising costs, high employee
It may be not difficult to identify management dilemmas, but choosing the most importance one to focus on may be difficult.
2. Management Question:
restatement of the management dilemma in question form (examples : how to
increase sales?, how to reduce costs?, how to
reduce employee turnover?)
3. Research Questions: more specific management questions that must be answered.
They are generally fact-oriented and information-gathering questions and hypotheses that best state the objective of the research study. See p. 77 for
specific research questions in the MindWriter case.
4. Investigative Questions: fractionated research questions to arrive at a
conclusion about the research questions. The researcher typically break a
research question into more specific questions about which to gather data. See examples of investigative questions in the BankChoice case on p.75
and examples of investigative questions in the MindWriter case on p.77.
5. Measurement Questions: questions that are asked to the respondents on the
survey or questionnaire or answered from extraction of the data. See
p. 359-360 for examples of measurement questions in the MindWriter case.
After collection of data and information with measurement questions, the researcher analyzes the data and information and recommends a course of action, given the research findings, to the manager to make decisions. There may be one management question, but there are usually several research questions, investigative questions and measurement questions. As we move down to lower hierarchy, questions are further broken down. Because research questions state the objective of the research study, fine-tuning of research questions are necessary after review of literature and a brief exploratory study. Fine-tuning can done by 1) examining the concepts and constructs to be used in the study, 2) breaking research questions into specific second- and third- level questions, 3) verifying hypotheses to be used, with quality tests, 4) determining what evidence answers the various questions or hypotheses, and 5) setting the scope of the research study appropriately.
Research proposal is an activity that incorporates decisions made in early planning phases of the study. It usually includes 1) statement of the research question, 2) brief description of research methodology, and 3) brief discussion on data collection, preparation and analysis. Depending on the size of research project, a pilot testing may be necessary to detect weaknesses in design and instrumentation and to provide proxy data for selection of a probability sample. The size of the pilot group may range from 25 to 100 subjects drawn from the target population, but the subjects do not have to be selected statistically. Research proposal will be further discussed in Chapter 4 and Exhibit 4-3 shows typical proposal modules according to the types of proposal.
The most important topic of this chapter is the management-research hierarchy discussed above. You can easily understand the rest of chapter materials by reading the text. Designing the study on p. 81 and sampling design on p. 82 will be further discussed in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 respectively.