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Defining Research Problem &

Framing Hypothesis
By: Prof. Monali Jani
The Process
• Identifying Management Dilemma
• Defining Management Question
• Defining Research Question
• Formulating Research Objectives
• Critically Reviewing the literature
• Formulating Hypothesis
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Why define the Research Problem?


• Defining your destination before beginning a
journey.
• It determines,
▫ what you will do,
▫ will it withstand scientific scrutiny,
▫ how you will do it, and
▫ what you may achieve!
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How is a research problem selected?


• Researchers interest in a topic
• National or agency priorities
• Urgency of an issue
• Availability of research funds
• Availability of supervision
Symptoms vs. Problems

• Symptom
▫ Consumers prefer the taste of competitor’s brand
• PD based on the Symptom
▫ What type of reformulated taste is needed?
• True Problem
▫ Old-fashioned package influenced taste perception
Symptoms vs. Problems

• Manufacturer of palm-size computers with


Internet access
• Symptom
▫ Distributors complain prices are too high
• PD based on the Symptom
▫ Investigate business users to learn how much
prices need to be reduced
• True Problem
▫ Distributors do not have adequate product
knowledge to communicate product’s value
Management Decision Problems vs.
Marketing Research Problems
• Management Decision • Marketing Research
Problems Problems
▫ Ask what the ▫ Ask what information
decision maker is needed and how it
needs to do should be obtained
▫ Action oriented ▫ Information oriented
▫ Focus on symptoms ▫ Focus on the
underlying causes
Translating Management Problems into
Research Problems (Questions)
• Management Problem
▫ Determine the best ways the firm can communicate
with potential purchasers of laptop computers

• Research Questions
▫ How familiar are consumers with the various brands
of computers?
▫ What attitudes do consumers have toward these
brands?
▫ How important are the various factors for evaluating
the purchase of a laptop computer?
▫ How effective are the communications efforts of the
various competitive marketers in terms of message
recognition?
Errors in Defining the Market Research
Problem Common
Errors

Problem Definition
Problem is too Narrow
Definition is too •May Miss Some
Broad Important Components
•Does Not Provide of the Problem
Guidelines for •e.g. Changing Prices in
Subsequent Steps Response to a
•e.g., Improving the Competitor’s Price
Company’s Image Change.
“Bad” vs. “Good” Research Questions

• Research questions should be stated as clearly as


possible
• “Bad” research question
▫ Is advertising copy X better than advertising copy
Y?
• “Good” research question
▫ Which advertising copy has a higher day-after
recall score?
Critically Reviewing the Literature
• Within the context of reviewing the literature,
the term ‘critical’ refers to the judgment you
exercise.
• The process of providing a detailed and justified
analysis of and commentary on the merits and
faults of the key literature within your chosen
area.
The structure of the critical review
• A single chapter
• A series of chapters
• Throughout the project report as you tackle
various issues.
Literature Sources Available
Primary Secondary Tertiary
Reports News Papers Indexes
Thesis Books Abstracts
Emails Journals Catalogues
Conference Reports Internet Encyclopedias
Company Reports Dictionaries
Unpublished Bibliographies
Manuscripts Citation Indexes
Literature Review
• Obtaining the literature
• Evaluating the literature
• Assessing Relevance
• Assessing Sufficiency
• Recording the Literature
Formulating Hypothesis
• Hypothesis is a proposition which can be put to
test to determine its validity.

• Hypothesis can be referred to as the


interpretation of certain facts which is just a
possible solution or a tentative answer to a
problem and is completely or partly unverified
in nature.
The Null Hypothesis
• Is the starting point of a scientific investigation

• It tries to account for patterns in the data in the


simplest way possible, which often means initially
attributing variation in the data to randomness or
measurement error.

• The statistical null hypothesis is usually one of “no


pattern”, such as no difference between groups or no
relationship between two continuous variables.

• Ex. H0: There is no significant relationship


between advertisement and sales.
The Alternate (research) Hypothesis
• In contrast, the alternative hypothesis is that pattern
exists.
• Once we state the statistical null hypothesis, we then
define one or more alternatives to the null hypothesis
• The alternative hypothesis is focused simply on the
pattern that is present in the data

Examples:
• H1: Increase in the advertisement campaign leads
to increase in the sales
• H2: A poor advertisement campaign leads to
decrease in the sales.
Role and Functions of Hypothesis
• Guides the direction of the study
• Identifies facts that are relevant and those are
not
• Suggest the form of most appropriate research
design
• Provides framework for organizing the
conclusions of that results
What is a Strong Hypothesis?
• Adequate for its purpose
• Testable
• Better than its rivals
Important Issues During Hypothesis
Formulation
• Identifying Variables
• Operationalization (Ex. Big Picture-Testable
Hypothesis, Population-Sample)
• Research Method and Measurement
• Choosing a significance test (which hypothesis is
right)
• Generalization (Conclusions applied to real world)
• Validity and Reliability
• Errors in Research (Type 1 : accept the research hypothesis
when null hypothesis is correct
Type 2: reject the research hypothesis even if the null hypothesis is
wrong)
Development of Research Questions &
Components of the
Marketing Research
Hypothesis
Problem

Analytical
Research Framework
Questions and
Models

Hypotheses
Analytical Framework & Models
• Research questions & hypotheses are developed
within analytical frameworks
▫ Basically, theories & models
• Theory suggests that satisfaction improves morale
& perceptions
• A sales manager who wants to increase market
share (management problem) may
▫ Ask how to encourage salespeople to generate more sales
(research question)
▫ State that (based on theory) higher job satisfaction leads
to greater sales productivity (hypothesis)
Research Ethics
• Ethics are norms or standards of behavior that guide
moral choices about our behaviors and our
relationships with others.

• The goal of ethics in research is to ensure that no


one is harmed or suffers adverse consequences from
research activities.

• Unethical issues involve violating nondisclosure


agreements, breaking participant confidentiality,
misrepresenting results, deceiving people, avoiding
legal liability, etc.
Ethical Treatment to Participants
• Benefits
• Deception
• Informed Consent
• Debriefing Participants
• Rights to Privacy
• Data Collection in Cyberspace
Ethics and the Sponsor
• Confidentiality (Sponsor, Purpose and Findings
non-disclosure)
• Right to Quality Research
• Sponsor’s Ethics
Researchers and Team Members
• Safety
• Ethical Behavior of Assistants
• Protection of Anonymity