1 When Is Business Research Needed?

Learning Objectives

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • explain types of research and concept of research methodology.

Types of Research

On the basis of specificity of its purpose the research is divided into two

a) Basic or fundamental research

b) Applied Research

On the basis of decision situation or purpose the research is divided into

a) Exploratory

b) Descriptive

c) Causal

d) Empirical

e) Longitudinal

: It is mainly concerned with generalizations and with the construction of the theory. Many researchers do it for gathering knowledge for knowledge’s sake (Kothari, 2009) . The information or knowledge so founded has a broad base of applications and thus, advances the already present systematized body of scientific knowledge. It is used to test the validity of a general business theory (one that applies to all businesses) or to learn more about a particular business phenomenon. It includes research concerning

a) some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics

b) Human behavior carried on with a view to make generalizations about human behavior.

Basic research is mostly unrelated to a particular problem and the findings cannot be applied immediately.

 is done to tackle particular business decision/problem for a specific industry or organization. The emphasis is on determining a solution for an immediate problem facing the society, industry or a business organization.  It includes research to identify social, economic or political trends that may affect a particular institution. Market research or are few of the examples of applied research

Initial research conducted to clarify and define the nature of a problem or discover potential business opportunities. It does not provide conclusive evidence. It is frequently used to guide and improve the subsequent research efforts.  For Example: New Product Development. It uses Open Ended Interviews, Secondary Data, Pilot Study

A tries to o describe characteristics of objects, people, groups, organizations, or environments. It determines answers to the questions who, what, when, where, and, sometimes, how. It gives description of the state of affairs as it exists at present (Ex post facto research).  Usually it forms preliminary study of a research project. It comprises of surveys and fact-finding enquiries of different kinds.

Causal Research is done to establish cause and effect relationships. Before causal studies are undertaken, researchers should have a good understanding of the phenomena being studied. For example: Smoking causes cancer; Process Improvement enhances Operational Performance. The methodology adopted is Experiments, Test Markets etc. Three critical evidences of causality:

a) Temporal Sequence: The appropriate causal order of events

b) Concomitant Variance: two phenomena vary together

c) Nonspurious Association: An absence of alternative plausible explanations

Source: “Marketing Research and Analysis” by NPTEL is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

is established on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is used for activities/ studies that can be articulated in terms of quantity. It follows principles of strict research design. Statistical analysis is used in it.

is applicable with qualitative phenomenon, i.e., phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind. Mostly applied in Behavioral Science; investigating the reasons for human behavior. It focuses on discovering the underlying motives and desires, Attitude or opinion research. Few examples are in Depth interviews, word association tests, sentence completion tests, story completion tests and similar other projective techniques

is conducted on experience or observation. It is a data-based research, drawing conclusions which are capable of being verified by observation or experiment. It is also called as experimental type of research. It is appropriate when proof is required that certain variables affect other variables in some way. The methodology adopted is first provide himself with a working hypothesis and then get enough facts (data) to prove or disprove his hypothesis.

is related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It is majorly adopted by philosophers and thinkers to build new concepts or to reinterpret or advance the existing ones.

: Gather data at several points in time. Research is aimed on tracking changes over a period of time.  It is mostly trend or panel study. These are generally more time consuming and costlier than cross-sectional studies; they are more likely to identify causal relationships between variables.

Cross-sectional studies gather data at a single point in time. Research is aimed on understanding the current situation. They are planned to look at how things are now, without any going into whether there is a history or trend at work.

Research Methodology

Research methodology is an approach to systematically and scientifically solve the research problem. It may be understood as a science of studying how research is done scientifically as shown in fig 2.  The idea of science is to achieve a systematic interrelation of facts.

It is to study the different steps that are usually followed by a researcher in studying his research problem along with the reason behind using these steps. It is important for the researcher to develop research methodology for the research problem before embarking on actual research as the same may differ from problem to problem. Thus, when one talk of research methodology it includes the research methods along with the reason behind the methods in the context of the research study and explain why a particular method/technique   is being used. This aim is that peers, other researchers or the researcher himself are able to evaluate the findings of the research(Kothari, 2009).

 When the ideas/ thought can be stated in researchable terms, one gets to the hypothesis stage. In scientific method, logic aids in developing hypothesis clearly and accurately so that the possible alternatives become distinct. Further, the theory and logic help in developing the results of such alternatives.  The next step comprises testing the hypothesis against the facts from observation or experimentation. The results may either backs the hypothesis or might not backs the hypothesis. Thus, it becomes possible for the researcher or the scientist to state which alternative is most in harmony with the observed facts. From these findings, new knowledge is generated or helps in the formation of general laws about the phenomena. It also certifies objectivity in gathering facts and testing innovative ideas for alternative business strategies.

Chawla, D. & Sondhi, N., 2011. Research Methodology: Concepts and Cases. 2nd ed. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd.

Cooper, D. & Schindler, P., 2014.. Business Research Methods. 12th ed. Boston: .: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Creswell, J., 2008. Educational Research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

Kothari, C., 2009. Research Methodology: Methods & Techniques. (Second Revised Edition),, ed. New Delhi.: New Age International Publishers.

Zikmund, W., Babin, B., Carr, J. & Atanu Adhikari, &. M. G., 2013. Managerial Value of Business Research. In: Business Research Methods. Delhi: Cengage, pp. pp. 8-11.


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