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Research Methods

Research topic
Start by thinking of something that
interests you and take it from there
At early stages generating and refining
research ideas which later turn into
questions and objectives

Attributes of a good topic


Meets the requirements
Capability is it feasible?
Do you have the necessary research skills?
Can you complete the projects in the available
time?
Will you be able to gain access to data?

Appropriateness is it worthwhile?
Is the topic clearly lined with theory?
Are the aims and objectives clearly stated?
Does the topic match your career goals?

Generating ideas
Rational thinking
Examining your own
strengths and
weaknesses
Looking at past project
titles
Discussion
Searching the literature
Scanning the media

Source: Saunders et al. (2009)

Creative thinking
Keeping a notebook of
ideas
Exploring personal
preferences using past
projects
Relevance trees (similar to
mind maps)
Brainstorming

Turning ideas into research projects


Start with a general focus question
Use the Russian doll principle to reach
the essence of the question
Define areas of interest / knowledge
relevant to your project

Writing research questions

Ex.1 - your research question


Broad
Topic
Restricted
Topic

Narrowed
Topic

Research
Question

HR

Marketing

Banking &
Finance

Tourism

4GS and
recruitment

Innocent Drinks
and pricing

Barclays and
LIBOR

London and
attractions

4GS and
recruitment and
London 2012

Innocent Drinks
and
Pricing and
customer
perception

Barclays and
LIBOR and credit
quality

London and
attractions and
Madame Tussauds

What could 4GS


do to prevent
Recruitment
shortages in the
future?

What is the
impact
of price
discounts
on Innocent
Drinks customer
perception?

How did LIBOR


manipulation
influence
Barclays credit
quality?

What factors
contribute to the
success of Madame
Tussauds in
London?

Developing research objectives


The objectives of the research are the steps, or
the actions, the researcher takes in order to
accomplish the aim of the research
Evidence that the researcher has a clear sense
of purpose and direction
Breaking down the research question (or the
aim) of the project
ONE main research question

3-4 objectives
Turning ideas into actions

Phrasing research questions as objectives

Research question

Reseach objective

1. Why have organisations


introduced team briefing?

1. To identify organisations
objectives for team briefing
schemes

2. How can the effectiveness of


team briefing schemes be
measured?

2. To establish suitable effectiveness


criteria for team briefing schemes

3. Has team briefing been


effective?

3. To describe the extent to which


the effectiveness criteria for team
briefing have been met

Ex.1 - your objectives


Broad Topic

Restricted Topic

Narrowed Topic

Research Question

Writing research questions and objectives

Theory: a formulation regarding the cause and effect


relationship between two or more variables, which
may or may not have been tested
(Gill and Johnson, 2002, cited after Saunders, p.36)

Not theory:
References
Data
Lists of variables
Diagrams
Hypotheses or predictions
(Sutton and Staw, 1995, in Saunders)

References
Saunders, M., Thornhill, A. & Lewis, P.
(2009). Research Methods for Business
Students, Essex:Prentice Hall.

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