Research Methods

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Information about Research Methods

Published on October 31, 2008

Author: meenagoyal


Business research : Business research It can be defined as a systematic and objective process of gathering, recording and analyzing data that provides information to guide business decisions. It is used to understand the market trends. To find out the optimal marketing mix, devise effective HR policies, or to find the best investment options. Basic research : Basic research Basic research refers to focused systematic study or investigation undertaken to discover new knowledge and establish facts or principles in a particular field. It is primarily aimed at gathering knowledge. Eg: Understanding the consumer buying process Examining the consumer learning process. Applied research : Applied research It refers to investigation undertaken to discover the applications and uses of theories, knowledge and principles in actual work or solving problems. It is used to answer a specific question, determine why something failed or succeeded, solve a specific problem. For eg: Evaluating the impact of a training program on employee performance Examining consumer response to direct marketing programs Role of Business research in decision making : Role of Business research in decision making Problem / opportunity identification Problem / opportunity prioritization and selection Problem / opportunity resolution Implementing the course of action Factors affecting Business Research : Factors affecting Business Research Time constraint Availability of resources Nature of information sought Benefits versus costs Research Designs : Research Designs Exploratory Research Descriptive Research Cross Sectional research Exploratory Research : Exploratory Research Used to clarify thoughts and opinions about the research problem or the respondent population. often the researcher is new to the problem either because the product is new or the researcher is studying it for the first time. In such cases, the first few studies tend to be of exploratory nature. it is also done to generate hypotheses for further studies. eg: future of convenience goods in India. Descriptive Research 1) longitudinal studies2) cross-sectional studies : Descriptive Research 1) longitudinal studies2) cross-sectional studies Longitudinal studies: A sample of respondents are studied over a period of time – from a few months to a few years. Eg to measure the viewer ship of TV shows or readership of magazines. Cross – sectional studies : Cross – sectional studies A one shot research study at a given point of time and consists of a sample (cross section) of the population of interest. It can cover many variables if interest and is not affected by the movement of elements in the sample, because other elements can be substituted for them (atleast in consumer research) 3) Causal Research Designs : 3) Causal Research Designs Also known as experimental designs since they are similar to experiments done in a lab. A causal design seeks to establish causation as far as possible, by employing controls and conditions under which we can state with reasonable confidence or not Y is affected by X. Even other variables that effect the relationship between X and Y also form a part of causal designs. Developing the hypotheses : Developing the hypotheses It is a statement based on some presumption about the existence of a relationship between two or more variables that can be tested through empirical data. When a researcher is developing a hypothesis, he/she will assume an answer for a particular research questions and then test for its validity. Developing the hypotheses : Developing the hypotheses A hypothesis makes the research question clearer to the researcher. For eg: if the research question is “why are the sales of refrigerators going up during winters?” In this case the hypothesis could be “ the sales of refrigerators are going up during winters during off season discounts” Designing the Research Methodology: It depends on the target population and how easy or difficult it is to access it is. It consists of the following: : Designing the Research Methodology: It depends on the target population and how easy or difficult it is to access it is. It consists of the following: Research methods- primary and secondary Sampling plan Questionnaire design Field work plan [who and when] Analysis plan [Simple tabulation and cross tabulation] Primary sources: customers, dealers, buyers, users, etc.Data could be collected from respondents by many methods like : Primary sources: customers, dealers, buyers, users, etc.Data could be collected from respondents by many methods like Survey Observation Experimentation Qualitative techniques Other specialized techniques Survey : Survey Telephone  Mail  In person  Email Every method of survey has its merits and demerits. For example, in personal survey, the body language and facial reactions of the respondent can be observed. Telephonic surveys are of low cost. But, facial expressions cannot be observed. Similarly, in email survey, people not using computer will be left out. Observation : Observation It is a technique where a respondent’s behavior is recorded without his knowledge. For eg: a video camera in a retail store can be used to record customer behavior while she buys a garment. Advantage of this technique is that the actual consumer behavior gets recorded but it is doubtful whether a representative sample of consumers have been chosen as there is no control over who shops at a given time. Experimentation : Experimentation Here we try to measure the effect of one or more variables by changing the level of some variables and measuring the effects. For eg: if an advertisement is released, we measured the brand awareness of the advertised brand among a sample of target respondents. Qualitative techniques : Qualitative techniques Here indirect methods of questioning are used to probe the mind of respondents. Emphasis may be on free wheeling interview with open-ended, unstructured questions such as “what do you expect from a refrigerator ?” It may also include word associations where a respondent is asked to think of a word which comes to mind when he thinks of a brand. Qualitative techniques : Qualitative techniques Other variations include associating each brand with a person or celebrity or an animal and so on.. It requires a behaviourial specialist such as a psychologist or sociologist to analyze the findings . If done by non-experts, it may be misleading. It can also be used in combination with quantitative techniques. For eg: study done by T.V.S suzuki in 1989 to find out what people expected from TVS mopeds. Specialized techniques : Specialized techniques Consumer panel Retail audit TV audience measurement Budget and cost estimation : Budget and cost estimation Sample size How difficult it is to find the sampling units [respondents and their geographical dispersion] Who will do the field work. Presentation and report : Presentation and report Executive summary Table of contents Introduction Research objectives Research methodology - sample design - field work plan and dates - analysis Presentation and report : Presentation and report - questionnaire copy [as annexure] 6) Analysis - simple tabulation - cross tabulation - any special analysis 7) Findings 8) Limitations 9) Recommendations for action 10) Bibliography / list of references

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