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Research Methods for Business

A Skill Building Approach

By Uma Sekaran and Roger Bougie

The broad problem area and defining the problem statement
Problem? A gap between the actual and the desired ideal states.
Examples of problems :
1. Staff turnover is higher than anticipated
2. The introduction of flexible working hours has created more
problems than it has solved
3. The newly installed information system is not being used by the
managers for whom it was primarily designed.
Preliminary Information Gathering
Nature of information to be gathered:
Background information of the organization
Such as : the origin and history of the company, financial position, human
resources, etc.
what is already known and written down that relevant to your research
Such as : textbooks, journals, other published materials, etc.
Data sources :
1. Primary data sources
Ex : surveys, questionnaire, observation, interviews
2. Secondary data sources
Ex : previous research, case study, library records, online data
Defining the problem statement
Problem statement consist of :
1. Research objective
It should be brief and clearly focus of the project.
-Fundamental research is to expand knowledge
-Applied research is to solve specific problem in the work setting
2. Research questions
Specify what you want to learn about the topic
Example :
Problem : Long and frequent delays to much frustration among airline
passengers. These feelings eventually lead to switching behavior, negative word
of mouth communication and customer complaints. These will have negative
effects on the performance and profitability of the firm.
Research objective :
The purpose of this study is to 1.) Identify the factors that influence the passengers
waiting experience 2.) to investigate the possible impact of waiting on customer
satisfaction and service evaluations.
Research questions :
1.) What are the factors that affect the perceived waiting experience of airline
2.) What are the affective consequences of waiting and how does affect mediate
the relationship between waiting and service evaluation?
3.) How do situational variables (such as filled time) influence customer reactions
to the waiting experience?
The Research Proposal
1. A working title
2. Background of the study
3. The problem statement :
a.) the purpose of study
b.) Research questions
4. The scope of the study
5. The relevance of the study
6. The research design :
a.) Type of study
b.) Data collection methods
c.) The sampling design
d.) Data analysis
7. Time frame of the study
8. The budget
9. Selected bibliography