Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques

Category: Data, Statistics
Last Updated: 13 Oct 2022
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Table of contents

Research acts as a platform for all the statistical manipulations and filtration of data and interpreting the results thereof, solving the defined problem to be search upon.

The role of measurement and statistics in social science research is treated sensitively and competently. The term Research basically refers to search of knowledge is widely used in the area of Academics and various Industries as well. Our brain starts working and we feel that it is something related to finding new areas, collecting all related information’s and preparing a consolidated report.

As the management students we are expected to have good knowledge and practice of these topics. Hence before going into the technical knowledge of these topics let’s understand the basic meaning of the terms Research Methods.

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Research Methods includes the concepts as they relate to a particular discipline or field of inquiry is a collection of theories, concepts or ideas; comparative study of different approaches; and critique of the individual methods. Research methodology, as introduced in this book, is a means to understand the ways in which social science research produces multiple accounts of the world. Further, methodology specifies how the researcher may go about practically studying whatever he or she believes can be known. Regarding the organization, the study material consists of 8 chapters, well arranged in a coherent manner with an intention to serve as a study material for MBA students.

The different sections of this study material are:Introduction to Research Methods, which basically describes the role of Research, the steps in the process considered carrying out a research, the different types of research and brief information about ethics of a good research. Research Problem and Research Design, describing the concept, purpose and importance of a research problem, the steps involved in defining and selecting a research problem; meaning, need, features and elements of a Research Design and the various types.

Methods of Data Collection, giving out the introduction of two types of data-Primary and Secondary, their collection procedure and the different methods and techniques used in their collection. Data Processing and Analysis develops the understanding of collection of data, its arrangement and analysis. Measurement and Scaling Techniques describes various types of measurement scales with the important scale construction techniques. Sampling Design helps to understand the concepts of sampling and types of Sampling.

Testing of Hypothesis gives the detailed concept about developing a hypothesis, its testing using various tests and concluding the final result. Report Writing briefs various points to be kept in mind while compiling a report.

Introduction to Research

Role of Research in Business Decision‘s  Research is a process of using the methods of science to the art of management for decision- making. Every organization operates under some degree of uncertainty. This uncertainty cannot be eliminated completely, although it can be minimized with the help of research methods. Research is particularly important in the decision making process of various business organizations.

To choose the best line of action (in the light of growing competition and increasing uncertainty); it is very important that one should be able to gather all the data, analyze it and reach to the appropriate decisions. Research in common context refers to a search for knowledge. It can also be defined as scientific and systematic search for gaining information and knowledge on a specific topic or phenomena. In management research is extensively used in various areas.

Research provides a base for your business sound decision - making. There are three parts involved in any of your systematic finding: Implicit question posed, explicit answer proposed and Collection, analysis, and interpretation of the information leading from the question to answer Illustration. Research comprises of defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis?.

Market Research has become an important part in management decision-making. Marketing research is a critical part of such a Market intelligence system; it helps to improve management decision making by providing relevant, accurate, & timely information. Every decision poses unique needs for information gathered through marketing research.

Thus, we can say that marketing research is the function that links the Consumer, Customer, and the public to the marketer through information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; Generate, Refine, and evaluate marketing actions and monitor marketing performance; improve understanding of marketing as a process. 1. Research Process  1. 2. 1. Selecting A Topic: Topic is related to the area of interest.

Literature Search: A researcher should be aware of the current research in the related area and further scope of expansion.  1. 2. 3. Discussion with "Informants and Interested Parties"

Sampling (described in Chapter VI)

Formulating Your Hypothesis (described in Chapter VII)

Questionnaire Design -Translating the broad objectives of the study into questions that will obtain the necessary information.  1. 2. 7. Fieldwork - Collection of data through questionnaire or interview  1. 2. 8. Data Processing - coding and inputting the responses  1. 2. . Statistical Analysis (hypotheses testing)  1. 2. 10. Assembly of Results  1. 2. 11. Writing up the Results- drawing conclusions / interpretations and relating the findings to other research.

You will have been given separate notes on report writing.

Types of Research

A research can be classified as follows

  1. Exploratory Research
  2. Descriptive Research
  3. Analytical Research
  4. Causal Research
  5. Quantitative Research
  6. Qualitative Research
  7. Conceptual Research
  8. Modeling Research1.

Exploratory Research: The Exploratory Research structures and identifies new problems; it is an initial research which is commonly unstructured, informal  research that is undertaken to gain background information about the general nature of the research problem, without having any specific end-objective.

It is usually conducted when the researcher does not know much about the problem and needs additional information or desires new or more recent information. A research that analyzes the data and explores the possibility of obtaining as many as relationships as possible between different variables of the study. Ex: - Literature Survey, Experience survey.

Descriptive Research:  Descriptive research is more rigid than exploratory research, this research carries out specific objectives and hence it results to a definite conclusion. Descriptive research is undertaken to provide answers to questions of who, what, where, when, and how – but not why.

For example, it describes users of a product, determines the proportion of the population that uses a product, or predicts future demand for a product or describes the happening of a certain 6  Market Research  ADL-10  phenomenon. As opposed to exploratory research, if you are doing descriptive research you should define questions, people surveyed, and the method of analysis prior to beginning data collection.

Analytical research:  - This type of research is used where information is already available, and analyzes these to make a critical evaluation of the material. Analytical research takes descriptive research one stage further by seeking to explain the reasons behind a particular occurrence by discovering causal relationships. Once causal relationships have been discovered, the search then shifts to factors that can be changed (variables) in order to influence the chain of causality.

Typical questions in analytical research are: What factors might account for the high drop-out rate on a particular degree programme?

Typical methods used in analytical research include:

Causal Research: - Casual Research seeks to find cause and affect relationships between variables. It accomplishes this goal through laboratory and field experiments.

Quantitative Research: - This research answers the questions about data that can be measured in terms of quantity or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity.

Qualitative Research: - This research involves analysis of data such as words (e. g. , from interviews), pictures (e. g. , video), or objects (e. g. , an artifact).

Answer questions about nature of phenomena in order to describe phenomena and understand it from the participant‘s point of view.1. 3. 7

Conceptual Research: - This type of research is related to some ideas or theory and generally used by philosopher.

Modelling Research: - This type of research is related to business situation where business situation is formulated into different types of model.Ex:-Mathematical model, simulation models1.

Criteria of good research

One thing that is important is the research work and the studies meet on the common ground of the scientific method. One expects scientific research to satisfy the following criteria. 1. The purpose of research should be clearly defined and common concepts be used.7  Market Research  ADL-10  2.

The research procedure used should be described in sufficient detail to permit another researcher to repeat the research for further advancement. 3. The procedural design of the research should be carefully planned to yield results that are as objective as possible. 4. The researcher should report with complete frankness, flaws in procedural designs and estimate their effects upon the findings. 5. The analysis of data should be sufficiently adequate to reveal its significance and the methods of analysis used should be appropriate. 6. Conclusion should be considered to those justified by the data of the research and limited to those for which the data provide an adequate basis. 7.

Greater confidence in research is warranted if the researcher is experienced, has a good reputation in research.  In other words we can state the qualities of a good research as under:

  1. Good research is systematic: it means that research is structured with specified steps to be taken in a specific sequence in accordance with well defined set of rules.
  2. Good research is logical: this implies that research is guided by the rules of logical reasoning and logical process of induction and deduction are of great value in carrying out research.
  3. Good research is empirical: it implies that research is related basically to one or more aspects of real situation and deals with concrete data that provides a basis for external validity to research results.
  4. Good research is replicable: this characteristic allows research results to be verified by replicating the study and thereby building a sound basis for decisions.

Ethics of Research

As a profound social activity, research connects us to those who will use it, to those whose research we used, through them, to the research that our sources used; Hence beyond technique, we need to think about ethics of civil communication. In addition to construction of bonds within any community, ethics deal with a range of moral and immoral choices; Research challenges us to define individual moral principles; Academic researchers are less tempted to sacrifice principle for a gain than commercial researchers.

Plagiarism, claiming credit for results of others, misreport sources or invent results, data with questionable accuracy, destroy or conceal sources and data important for those who follow beyond simple moral. Do not to what we should affirmatively do, i. e. concern for the integrity of the work of the community combined with narrow moral standards with the larger ethical dimension. Research done in the best interests of others is also in your own.

8 Market Research  ADL-10  End Chapter quizzes:

1. Research, in management, forms a base for

a) Gathering knowledge b) Interpretation of information c) Business decision-making d) Reaching to conclusions

2. In research process, what is the next step after Defining the problem definition?

a) Determine the Sampling design b) Review of Literature c) Hypotheses Testing d) Data interpretation and analysis

3. A research that analyzes the data and explores the possibility of obtaining as many as relationships as possible between different variables of the study, is known as: 

a) Exploratory Researchb) Analytical Research c) Quantitative Research d) Descriptive Research

4. Observations, case studies and surveys are methods which are implemented under: 

a) Quantitative Research b) Analytical Research c) Conceptual Research d) Exploratory Research

5.Mathematical and simulation models are examples of: 

a) Descriptive Research b) Conceptual Research c) Qualitative research d) Modeling Research

6. Which statement, out of the following, doesn‘t cater to the Research Ethics? 

a) Concern for the integrity of the work b) Define individual moral principles c) Plagiarism d) Work community with moral standards

7.Research, seeking to explain the reasons behind a particular occurrence by discovering causal relationships, can be defined as: 

a) Causal Research  b) Modeling Research c) Qualitative Research d) Analytical Research

8. A descriptive research describes the users of a product, determines the proportion of the population that uses a product, or predicts future demand for a product

a) Strongly agree b) Agree c) Disagree d) Strongly disagree 9. Quantitative Research does not deal in: a) Figures b) Amount c) Relationships d) Quantities

10. Complete the statement:

In addition to construction of bonds within any community, ethics deal with a range of

a) Sacrifice people for a gain b) Claiming credit for results of others c) Moral and immoral choices d) Concealing objections that cannot be rebutted 1

Research Problem and Research Design Contents: 2. 1 Introduction 2. 2 What is a Research Problem? 2. 3 How to Select the Problem 2. 3. 1 Sub-problem(S) 2. 3. 2 Statement of the Problem 2. 3. 3 Steps Involved In Defining A Problem 2. 4 Checklist for Testing the Feasibility of the Research Problem 2. 5 Meaning, Need and Features of a Research Design 2. 6 Different Research Designs 2. 6. 1 Research Design in case of Exploratory Research 2. 6. Research Design in case of Descriptive Research 2. 6. 2. 1 Longitudinal Studies 2. 6. 2. 2 Cross-sectional Studies 2. 6. 3 Research Design in case of Causal Research 11Market Research  ADL-10  2. 1 Introduction  Research forms a cycle.

It starts with a problem and ends with a solution to the problem. The problem statement is therefore the axis which the whole research revolves around, because it explains in short the aim of the research.  2. 2 What is a Research Problem?  A research problem is the situation that causes the researcher to feel apprehensive, confused and ill at ease. In other words, it refers to some difficulty which a researcher experiences in context of a situation and wants to obtain the solution for the same.

It is the demarcation of a problem area within a certain context involving the WHO or WHAT, the WHERE, the WHEN and the WHY of the problem situation. There are many problem situations that may give rise to research. Three sources usually contribute to problem identification. Own experience or the experience of others may be a source of problem supply. A second source could be scientific literature. You may read about certain findings and notice that a certain field was not covered. This could lead to a research problem.

Theories could be a third source. Shortcomings in theories could be researched.  2. How to Select the Problem  The prospective researcher should think on what caused the need to do the research (problem identification). The question that he/she should ask is: Are there questions about this problem to which answers have not been found up to the present? Research originates from a need that arises. A clear distinction between the PROBLEM and the PURPOSE should be made. The problem is the aspect the researcher worries about, thinks about, and wants to find a solution for.

The purpose is to solve the problem, i. e. , find answers to the question(s). If there is no clear problem formulation, the purpose and methods are meaningless.  Keep the following in mind:[pic] Outline the general context of the problem area. [pic] Highlight key theories, concepts and ideas current in this area. [pic] What appear to be some of the underlying assumptions of this area? pic] Why are these issues identified important? [pic] What needs to be solved? [pic] Read the subject to get to know the background and to identify unanswered questions or controversies, and/or to identify the most significant issues for further exploration.

The research problem should be stated in such a way that it would lead to analytical thinking on the part of the researcher with the aim of possible concluding solutions to the stated problem. Research problems can be stated in the form of either questions or statements.12  Market Research  ADL-10  [pic] The research problem should always be formulated grammatically correct and as completely as possible. You should bear in mind the wording (expressions) you use. Avoid meaningless words.

There should be no doubt in the mind of the reader what your intentions are.[pic] Demarcating the research field into manageable parts by dividing the main problem into sub- problems is of the utmost importance.


Sub-problems are problems related to the main problem identified. Sub problems flow from the main problem and make up the main problem. It is the means to reach the set goal in a manageable way and contribute to solving the problem.

Statement of the Problem

The statement of the problem involves the demarcation and formulation of the problem, i. e. , the WHO/ WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY. It usually includes the statement of the hypothesis.

Steps involved in defining a Problem

  1. Statement of a problem should be given in broad general way: For example in case of a social research it is advisable to perform some field operations, collect the survey, study it, and then phrase the problem in operational terms.
  2. Understanding the origin and the nature of the problem clearly: It is essential to know the point of origin of the problem and discuss the problem with those who has a better knowledge of the concerned area.
  3. Survey all the literature available and examine them before defining a research problem.
  4. Finally rephrase the research problem in to a walking proposition.

Checklist for Testing the Feasibility of the Research Problem YES  NO

  1. Is the problem of current interest? Will the research results have social, educational or scientific value?
  2. Will it be possible to apply the results in practice?
  3. Does the research contribute to the science of education?
  4. Will the research opt new problems and lead to further research?
  5. Is the research problem important? Will you be proud of the result?
  6. Is there enough scope left within the area of research (field of research)?
  7. Can you find an answer to the problem through research? Will you be able to handle the research problem?
  8. Will it be practically possible to undertake the research?
  9. Is the research free of any ethical problems and limitations?
  10. Will it have any value?
  11. Do you have the necessary knowledge and skills to do the research?
  12. Are you qualified to undertake the research?
  13. Is the problem important to you and are you motivated to undertake the research?
  14. Is the research viable in your situation?
  15. Do you have enough time and energy to complete the project?1
  16. Do you have the necessary funds for the research?
  17. Will you be able to complete the project within the time available?
  18. Do you have access to the administrative, statistic and computer facilities the research necessitates?

16  TOTAL: 2. 5 Meaning, Need and Features of a Research Design A research design is the plan or strategy, which helps in arranging the resources required for research purpose. It acts as a path or blueprint for the researcher. In other words, it is the advanced planning of the steps to be adapted for collection of relevant data and techniques to be used in their analysis keeping different time and budget constraint in mind.

Along with the population to be surveyed, size of sample, tools for analyzing data, interpretation of data, it also includes the budget and the time constraints too. 14Market Research  ADL-10  The Design decision is in respect to following terms: What is the study about? Why to study a particular topic? Where the study will be conducted? Techniques to collect the relevant data? What will be the sample design? How will the data be analyzed? What is the time required? What is the allocated Budget? Need for Research Design: It helps for a smooth running of various research operations thereby making the research efficient, gaining maximum information with the minimum expenditure of time, effort, and money.  The Research Design is divided into following parts:-  Research

Design  Operational Design Sampling Design  Observational Design Statistical Design (Sub-divisions of a Research Design)  Sampling Design: It deals with method of selection of samples to be collected /observed for a given study.  Observational Design: It deals with the constraints and exceptions under which the observations are to be made.  Statistical Design: It deals with the editing, coding and analysis of the data gathered.  Operational Design: It deals with the techniques by which the procedures specified in the above designs can be carried out.

15 Market Research  ADL-10 Features of a Good Design  It should define the objective of problem to be studied It should minimize the biasness and maximize the reliability of data It should give smallest experimental error It should be flexible enough to permit the consideration of many different aspects of a phenomenon.Elements of a Research Design:  The important elements of a research design are: [pic] Introduction: The Research proposal should define the research problem and the researcher‘s precise interest in studying it. In other words it deals with the scope of study.  [pic]

Statement of the problem: It includes the formulation of problem which actually explains the objective of research.[pic] Literature Review: It includes a review of different literatures and articles related to objective of study. It is performed to get all the information‘s and researches done on the topic earlier. [pic] Scope of Study: A complete study of any problem is difficult to study as it would entail an overwhelming amount of data.

Therefore, the scope and dimensions of the study should be delimited with reference to its depth, length, and geographical area to be covered, reference period, respondents to be studied and many other different issues. We should consider the time frames decided for the study and should finish it within the same tome slot.[pic] Objective of Study: The questions to which the researcher proposes to seek answers through the study, comes under objectives. It should be stated clearly.

For example:

  • I.To study the nature of …………………
  • II. To investigate the impact of ……………………..
  • III. To examine the nature of relation between ………… and …………………
  • IV. To identify the causes of ………………………

The objective statements should not be vague like ? to explore unemployment in India?[pic] Conceptual Model: After completing the above steps the researcher formulates and develops the structure of relationships among the variables under investigation.  [pic] Hypotheses: A hypothesis is a specific statement of prediction.

They refer to different possible outcomes.  16 Market Research  ADL-10  [pic] Operational definition of concepts: It involves the different techniques used in exploratory and descriptive research in operational terms. [pic] Significance of study: It is a careful statement of the value of the study and the possible applications of its findings which helps to justify purpose of study, its importance and social relevance.  [pic] Geographical area to be covered: The territorial area to be covered depends on the purpose, nature of study and availability of resources.

It should be decided and specified in the research plan. [pic] Reference Period: This refers to the time period of which the data is analyzed. Also it depends on the availability of data.  [pic] Sampling Plan: It is the study that requires collection of data from the fields, then we should decide the population to be selected for study and the sampling design.  [pic] Tools for Gathering data: Personal and Telephonic Interviews, Questionnaire, checklist are different tools for data collection.[pic]

Plan of Analysis: This includes the statistical techniques used for editing, coding and analysis of data.  [pic] Chapter Scheme: The chapter scheme of report or dissertation should be prepared to give the outlines and the studies of the research conducted.  [pic] Time Budget: The time period of research should be decided in advance and the research work should not exceed the time limits. This leads to loss of resources and extra cost is involved. [pic] Financial Budget: The cost of the project includes major categories like salary, printing, stationery, postage, travel expenses etc.

2. 6 Different Research Designs:2. 6. Research Design in case of Exploratory Research: -It is also termed as Formulative Research Studies. In this case we do not have enough understanding of the problem. Its main purpose is more precise investigation about the objective of study. It is particularly useful when researchers lack a clear idea of the problems they will meet during the study. Through this the researcher develops more clear concepts, establishes priorities, develop operational definitions also. This means that a general study will be conducted without having any end-objective except to establish as many relationships as possible between the variables of study.

The Research Design in such studies must have inbuilt flexibility because the research problem broadly defined initially, is transformed into one with more precise meaning. This type of research lay the foundation for formulation of different hypotheses of research problems. It involves the study of 17  Market Research  ADL-10  secondary data. It rarely involves structured questionnaire, large samples and probability sampling plans.

Different types of Exploratory Research [pic] Literature Survey: It is a study involving a collection of literatures in the selected area in which the researcher has limited experience, and critical examination and comparison of them to have better understanding. It helps in updating the past data related to the topic of research. It also helps in formulation of relevant hypothesis if it is not formed.[pic] Experience Survey: It is a survey of experiences of experts/specialists related to the field of research which acts as a database for future research.

This helps in generating ideas with minimum data collection. The decision making in the probabilistic situations is a complex process therefore the study of the experiences of the executives/researchers can be carried out using experience survey. Bidding of Tenders, Technology forecasting, Manpower and Materials planning, Production Scheduling, Portfolio Decisions etc. are examples of experience survey.2. 6. 2 Research Design in case of Descriptive Research : - It is carried out with specific objectives and hence a definite end-result.

It is structured research with clearly stated hypothesis or investigative questions. It deals with describing the characteristics associated with the population chosen for research, Estimates of the proportions of a population that have these characteristics and discovery of relationship among several variables. It is based on large representative samples. The design in such studies must be rigid and focus attention on the following: What is the study about and why is it done? Designing methods of data collection. Selecting the sample. Processing and analysis of data. Interpretations of Results. Budget and Time Constraints.  For example: to describe characteristics of consumers, sales people, market areas or organizations.

Longitudinal Studies

Longitudinal studies are time series analyses that make repeated measurements of the same individuals, thus allowing you to monitor behavior such as brand switching. However, longitudinal studies are not necessarily representative since many people may refuse to participate because of the commitment required.

Market ResearchADL-10 cross-sectional analysis is a cohort analysis, which tracks an aggregate of individuals who experience the same event

Cross-sectional Studies

Cross-sectional studies sample the population to make measurements at a specific point in time. A special type of within the same time interval over time.

You can use Cohort analyses for long forecasting of product demand. 2. 6. 3 Research Design in case of Causal Research: -When it is necessary to determine that one variable determines values of other variables, causal research design is used. Thus the relationship between different variables is established. It is a research design in which the major emphasis is on determining a cause-and-effect relationship.

When we start the research work it is not necessary that only one type of research is used, we can use a combination of two or all the three types of research. Also research is an unending process, so there may be a clue left, which can initiate a research objective for other researchers. 19 Market Research  ADL-10  End Chapter Quizzes

1. For an appropriate research, there should be a clear distinction between a. Methods and Tools b. Purpose and Techniques c. Problem and Methods for implementation d.

Problem and Purpose **

2. Which one of the following does not state the components of a research problem?

a. An individual or group having some difficulty b. There shouldn‘t be any doubt in the mind of researcher with regard to selection of alternatives** c. There must be some environment to which the difficulty pertains d. There must be some objectives to be attain

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