1. 2. 2 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Introduction Research T i P R h Topic, Purpose, Philosophy & Ethics Phil h Ethi Understanding The Research Question(s) A Review of the Literature Selecting The Design Information Needs Research Methods for Data Collection The Need for Measurement The Sampling Plan
3 4 16 29 34 46 55 78 92
10. 11. 11 12. 13. 14.
Sample Size Determination Questionnaires Q ti i The Research Report Planning the Research Project Writing The Research Proposal
104 112 126 133 145
ANNEX 1. 2. Assessment Recommended Reading g 158 169
1. 1 INTRODUCTION
The research methods module arrives towards the end of the MBA programme and is not only intended to integrate knowledge acquired on the programme but also to provide an understanding of how to plan programme, research and to write a research proposal. These are skill sets considered important for MBA students to have acquired. These guidance notes are intended to introduce to you the core subject areas needed to develop skills in conceptualising research, making use of available literature, designing a research strategy and to collect data & information in order to communicate answers to a series of well-conceived research questions questions. This in turn will prepare students for the final stage of the course in writing a thesis, a business development proposal or to attempt an i d l l integrated case study. d d These guidance notes are written to enable the students to prepare for the assessment of this module, which normally would be in the form of a written research proposal.
2. 2 RESEARCH TOPIC PURPOSE PHILOSOPHY AND ETHICS TOPIC, PURPOSE, The purpose of research is to achieve new discoveries about an identified subject or phenomenon so that new knowledge, information and data can be obtained. The essence of research is to have a clear sense of purpose about what is needed to be discovered and then approach the process of discovery in a systemic way using established conventions for data collection. collection This done then the process of interpretation of the data will yield answers for the field of done, inquiry. y g q Almost certainly research is designed to find answers to research questions and this we will deal with in the following section. In turn this implies that the outcome from the research will have outcomes for further (or future) action, overtime. At th most b i l l research i merely a process of extending th existing state of k the t basic level h is l f t di the i ti t t f knowledge, b t l d but management research is usually of a more applied nature because it may require potential action as an outcome. Management research is designed therefore to achieve understanding beyond mere facts and figures. Interpretation may often be required to offer solutions or to provide information to bridge existing knowledge gaps, b t usually with th f d k l d but ll ith the fundamental purpose i t answer a research question ( t l is to h ti (or questions). Page 4
One of the most challenging tasks is to firstly select and then refine the research topic so that it is meaningful, not too broad or narrow and yet is worthwhile for the purpose of conducting the research. Moreover, your chosen topic should meet the assessment criteria for the university and also be achievable within the time f hi bl i hi h i frame given. i Your own capability for completing the research must be considered and in particular your own ability to i t gain meaningful access t th required d t i f l to the i d data. It is important to note that the ambition for a research topic may be constrained by your ability to gain access to d data. Thi i where di This is h discussion with your tutor or supervisor will b h l f l to assist you i the i ih i ill be helpful i in h selection of a meaningful and purposeful research topic....