Exemplary business research problem identification
Exemplary business research problem identification
(This is a four paged paper written in APA format, relying on four sources explaining the process of conducting research on social phenomena-behavior. Quantitative research approach is appropriate for measuring of variables that are objectively determined and for statistically examining the relationship between these variables.)
Research priority and justification
The study of behavior is involved with the application of individuals and groups knowledge in an organization. A systematic approach is required to be able to the main purpose of the research; investigating how behavior is influenced in building better relationships in organizations hence achieving the objectives of the organization, of its people and the society. Researching organization behavior is a complex and dynamic attempt that requires a systematic and comprehensive understanding of a myriad of variables in both the internal and external work environments. For instance, when employees are committed to an organization, then, top performers are most likely to be retained by the organization resulting in increased productivity, customer satisfaction, and a significant increase in the organization’s skill sets through learning and training. However, it is paradoxical that HR managers are aware of these facts yet they still cannot effectively influence employee behavior. Organization behavior cannot be understood in entirety, probably because of the uniqueness of each organization and organizational behavior is inherently intricate as it encompasses a tapestry of factors such as compensation, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment inter alia. Therefore, organization behavior is in itself a complex phenomenon that is yet to be comprehensively understood as it is affected by many variables in both the internal and external work environments.
Research question and hypothesis- testing
A researcher’s main aim is to give the most accurate answer to the research problem through careful analysis of the relationship between the independent variables (such as occupational stress, job satisfaction, motivation, organizational commitment, compensation, and perceived alternative job opportunities) and the independent variables such as performance. Thus, in order to successfully define the research problem, a researcher should carefully consider a number of factors:
ü The main purpose of the research,
ü The theoretical relationships between the defined variables that the research is seeking to investigate,
ü The research setting from which the researcher intends to obtain the required information,
ü The relevance of the findings to the people whom the research is meant for, and
ü The validity and credibility of the research (Baker, 2003).
The rationale of considering the above factors is that in behavioral sciences, some phenomena are difficult to define or even quantify. In addition, it is important to consider is the availability of resources for carrying out the research on the phenomena (Mugo, (n.d). For that reason, when forming good questions and hypothesis, a researcher has to base on the decisions that may be made based on the research findings, the effect of these decisions and the consequences of making wrong conclusions (Hutchinson, (n.d).
Behavioral science is based on logical and empirical observations. Therefore, in constructing social research, it is important to clearly outline the interaction between ideas and evidence. The ideas are meant to help researchers make sense of the evidence; for testing, revising and extending ideas. Thus, behavioral research should serve the purpose of creating and validating theories through data collection and analysis-through exploration, explanation and presentation. A clearly stated research question directs the research in avoiding general philosophies or beliefs. Conducting research on behavior helps to establish social patterns of reliability in the social context and in dealing with both individuals and social. In general, research on behavior (as in social research) involves creation of a theory, operationalization of variables (measurement) and empirical observation (where actual collection of data and testing of hypothesis is performed). This is where the researcher writes social theories in terms of variables; basically, theories are logical descriptions of relationships between variables, whereas, variables are rational representations of attributes, while people are the ‘carriers’ of these variables (for instance, gender is a variable with two attributes: male and female). Furthermore, variables are divided into independent variables (as occupational stress, compensation, job satisfaction, motivation, and organizational commitment) that influence the dependent variables (such as productivity). Ideally independent variables are the data while dependent variables are the theories/concepts which the researcher is trying to explain.
A researcher may opt for qualitative, quantitative or mixed approach when designing the study. Quantitative designs approach is preferred in when it comes to studying social phenomena particularly where quantifiable evidence can be found, and often relies on statistical analysis so as to create valid and reliable conclusions. The use of quantitative approach views human phenomena as being amenable to objective study i.e. a factor that can be easily measured, it is rooted in positivism. However, quantitative approach has its limitations. For instance, in reality, it is difficult to understand human phenomena; one can only explore what is observable, hence phenomenon is revealed in only in part. Quantitative research is also not purely objective, as some individuals responses are biased. In addition, some standardized measurement scales are interpreted differently by the participants (Figley, 2008). Further, quantitative measures are limited to questions like “on a scale of 1-5, to what degree do you support or oppose this idea? If you don’t agree, what would like changed?” Another major limitation of quantitative research is it requires relatively large samples for purposes of reliability. This may create logistical huddles in collection of data, a factor that can sabotage the study even before it takes off. Further, quantitative research, uses short-structured interviews and closed-ended questions, a technique that makes it rigid when it comes to studying behavior, making it greatly vulnerable to statistical error (Baker, 2003). Quantitative researchers are also likely to undermine research validity and reliability through misuse of sampling and weighting techniques (Mugo, (n.d).
Quantitative designs explore social phenomena through quantifiable data, and rely on empirical analysis to create valid and reliable conclusions. Quantitative research is designed in a manner that is begins by stating the research questions and the hypothesis. Data collection methods include observation, structured questionnaires and interviews in addition to other tools (Baker, 2003). Questionnaires contain closed ended questions to measure the relationship between independent and dependent variables using a rating scale. Information on demographic variables (including age, sex, years of experience, number of organizations worked with before and job title) is also gathered from the respondents. Findings are presented using statistical language. On the other hand, qualitative research utilizes methods such as unstructured interviews and questionnaires. In studying behavior, the benefit of selecting the quantitative approach is that it utilizes a series of tests and techniques to give findings that are projectable to a larger population. The logic behind this is that, quantitative research is deeply rooted in numbers and statistics; has the ability to effectively translate data into charts and graphs. This makes the information to be applicable in the real-world. In general, a researcher should choose the most appropriate approach that will answer the research question and successfully test the hypothesis (Baker, 2003).
Baker, S. (2003). The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Statistics.
Figley, C. (2008). Impact of Event Scale Revised. Retrieved April 17th, 2011 from http://www.atft.org/research/Impact%20of%20Event%20Scale%20-%20Revised.htm
Hutchinson, P. (n.d). Discussion on the process of doing research. Retrieved April 17th, 2011 from http://www.angelfire.com/biz/rumsby/ARES.html
Mugo, F. (n.d. ). Sampling in research. Retrieved April 17th, 2011 from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/tutorial/Mugo/tutorial.htm