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Chapter 13: Conducting Research for Decision Makers

1. Business decisions are made using accurate, timely, and objective information.
 The information used to help make a business decision or solve a business
problem in gathered through research.
2. Two basic form of research: primary and secondary
 Secondary research is the use of published research
 It is typically conducted before you engage in primary research.
 To conduct skillful research, you need to understand how to find relevant print
and online sources.
 You should plan a system for storing the secondary information you gather.
3. Primary (or empirical) research is firsthand research. It can be quantitative, qualitative, or
both. One can conduct primary research in four main ways:
 Conducting a survey
 Conducting an experiment
 Recording observations
 Conducting qualitative research with focus groups or interviews.
4. When doing firsthand research, one need to determine whether quantitative or qualitative
or both types of data are required to solve the business problem in hand.
 Quantitative researchers gather numerical data
 Begin by constructing a hypothesis to test or by developing a specific research
question to answer.
 Use primary research methods that generate numerical data, such as
experimentation, questionnaires reviews of company data, and surveys
 Qualitative researchers gather mostly verbal data
 Begin with a more general question about what they want to learn and then study
natural phenomenon to gather insights into the phenomenon or even to learn to
ask different questions.
 Use research tools that generate verbal data, such as personal interviews and focus
5. Use Google Scholar to search scholarly literature, which includes journals from academic
publishers, conference papers, dissertations, academic books, and technical papers.
 A good command of Boolean logic helps to extract the information quickly and
accurately: AND, OR, NOT
 Wikipedia can a useful place to start to learn about a subject that is new
 WorldCat is an online network of library content and services. One can search the
collections of both local libraries and libraries around the world for books, CDs,
videos, and digital content such as eBooks.
6. Websites must be critically evaluated to ensure that the information relevant and reliable.
7. Take the advantages of the social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
8. Libraries reference materials
9. Searching online databases gives you access to periodical literature such as articles
published in newspaper, magazines, and journals
10. Consulting reference materials can be a useful way to find existing business research.

How to Do New Research

When the secondary source information is not sufficient, one must go through the
primary research. Primary research includes four basic methods:
1. Survey
2. Experimentation
3. Observation
4. Qualitative Research

Conducting a survey: use sampling to conduct a survey. A sample is a group that is

representative of the whole group. The procedure for selecting the group is called sampling. A
good sample is controlled for sampling error. There are two main types of sample design:
probability and nonprobability sampling.

 Probability sampling is based on the principle that every member of a particular

population of interest has an equal chance of being selected for a sample.
- Simple random sampling gives every member of the group under study an equal
chance of being selected.
- Stratified random sampling involves proportionate and random selection from each
major subgroup of the group under study
- Systematic sampling involves taking selections at constant intervals (every tenth
one, for example) from a complete list of the group under study
- Area or cluster sampling involves dividing into parts that area that contains the
sample, selecting from these pats randomly, and continuing to subdivide and select
until you have your desired sample size.
 Non-probability sampling is not random. In other words, there is no guarantee that each
member of a population has the same chance of being selected for a sample group being
- Convenience sampling involves selecting members who are convenient, easy to
reach, appropriate as judged by the researcher
- Purposeful sampling requires that people selected for the sample meet certain
criteria or shares particular characteristics.
- Referrer sampling involves building your sample from other participants’ referrals.
 When conducting a survey you will need to construct a survey instrument or
 To ensure reliable and valid results, follow these guidelines
- Avoid leading questions and questions with absolute terms
- Focus on one concept per question (no double barreled questions)
- Make the questions easy to understand (avoid vagueness, difficult words, and
technical words)
- Avoid questions that touch on personal prejudice or pride.
- Ask only for what can be remembered (consider the laws of memory: recent,
significance and association)
 Plan the design and delivery of your survey with care.
- Don’t forget to include the demographic questions you need
- When possible, enable your respondents to check an answer (e.g: a range of years)
rather than having to enter a specific data
- Consider using scaling (ranking or rating) in your questions to gather more specific
information about respondents’ attitudes.
- Put your questions in the order that will generate the most complete and accurate
- Choose the survey channel that will yield the best sample and the best results at the
lowest cost.
- Develop a survey plan that will include the logistics of delivering your survey and
any additional materials you will need
- Pilot test your survey so that you can catch any problems before you conduct the
actual survey.
 An experiment is an orderly from of testing. It can be designed using the before-after design or
the controlled before-after design.
 The observation method may be defined as seeing with a purpose. It consists of watching events
related to a problem and systematically recording what is seen. The events observed are not
- One particular observation technique that can be used in business research is user testing. User
testing measures a person’s experience when interacting with a product such as a document, a
mobile device, a website, a piece of software, or any number of other consumer products.
 Quantitative researchers begin with a general question about what they want to learn and then
study natural phenomenon to gather insight into the phenomena or even to learn to ask different
- Focus groups bring together a group of people to find out their beliefs or attitudes about the
topic of a research project.
- Interviews encourage people to share stories and opinions that they might not be comfortable
sharing in a large group.
 Researcher must be ethical in their research. In particular, you should be aware of adhering to
guidelines for treating participants in an ethical manner and reporting your results accurately
and honestly.
 Report the information you’ve reached accurately and honestly.