Introduction to Research

Learning Objectives

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • define and describe the word  “Research”.
  • explain the significance of Research in business.

Meaning and definition of Research:

Research in layman language means a search for knowledge.  The word “Research” (re-search) itself says “to search again.” Thus, the research is conducted in pursuit of discovering something new.

Research as defined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is, “Any creative systematic activity undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, society and culture. This knowledge is then used to devise new applications.” This stock of knowledge is used to develop new applications, products or improve upon the same. It establishes or confirm facts, reiterate the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theories, or cultivate new theories. According to Clifford Woody research consist of defining and redefining problems, constructing hypothesis or proposed solutions; collecting and analyzing data; getting conclusions; and judiciously testing the conclusions to find if they fit the formulated hypothesis (Kothari, 2009).

(Creswell, 2008), defines research as a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue”. Thus, as per him research has three steps: ask a question, collect data and analyze the data to find the answer to the question. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary states research as “studious inquiry or examination; especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws”

The Researcher needs to be objective and neutral while conducting and presenting the research results. The goal of research is to determine answers to questions through the application of scientific techniques. The purpose of research is to find out the truth which has not been discovered as yet. It could be an idea, theory or strategy in abstract form or can be a product, method or service.

Relevance and significance of Research in business

In businesses there is need for information to make informed business decisions. Managers whether marketing or HR, finance or production are relentlessly being challenged by decision dilemma which require additional information for reducing risks and effective decision making. This need can be catered by research.  Business research is conducted with the aim of delivering knowledge regarding the economy, the organization, the environment, the competitors, or another area of problem. Purpose of Business research includes identifying and defining opportunities and problems; defining monitoring and refining strategies/tactics with the aim of improving the understanding of the various fields of management.

(Cooper & Schindler, 2014.) defines business research as a systematic enquiry that provides information to guide managerial decisions. The research process comprises development of idea / theory, defining problem, collecting data, analyzing data, and present the findings and their implications.  For (Zikmund, et al., 2013) it is application of scientific method in searching for the truth about business phenomena. Thus, Business research is systematic and objective process of gathering, recording, and analysing data facilitating business decisions. It includes:

a) Defining business opportunities & problems

If car rental business is not doing well during Covid time. What are the alternatives?

Turnover rate in ABC is higher than the industry average. Why?

Improving quality of products/services.

Failure of a product

b) Generating and Evaluating Ideas

If you want to open an online education platform for Medical Aspirants, will it be successful?

Who is my target market? What do my customers will want? Will it be successful?

Enter new Market

Tax incentives/regulation by government.

c) Monitoring Performance

My target is to achieve six sigma. Currently I am at 4 sigma. How should I improve to reach six sigma?

Continuously monitor wholesale and retail activity to warrant early finding of drops in sales etc.

d) Understanding Business Process

I wanted to implement ERP instead of leagacy system. Do I need to first revamping my business processes? How Should I do it?

Analysing the past data for trend, patterns or relationships.

Technology Innovation

Business research is a vital instrument for management in problem-solving and decision-making activities, decreasing the risk of making a wrong decision. But it acts as an aid for decision making not a substitute for it. (Zikmund, et al., 2013). Business Research is used as a Decision-Making Tool too. Decision making is always a critical part of any organization. In the field of business research, this valued information is attained using the following interconnected steps:

a) Identification of problem or opportunity

b) Analysing the problem or opportunity

c) Conducting business research to evaluate the solutions

d) Implement presented solutions

e) Evaluate the effectiveness of decision making

Thus, Business Research’s Functions in Business encompasses:

  • Foundational—answers basic questions. What business should we be in?
  • Testing—evaluate new product or promotional ideas. How successful will they be?
  • Issues—studies how specific items influences the firm. How employee job satisfaction and turnover is impacted by peer relationship?
  • Performance— Keep an eye on particular metrics like profitability, delivery times, productivity etc. They are crucial in real-time management and in “what-if” analysis. Evaluating the impending effect of a change in policy.

Research leads to effective management. The area of the research any organisation focuses depends upon the business orientation. A product-oriented organization concentrates on technical superiority in the product during decision making. Production orientated businesses means emphasizes on efficiency and effectiveness of the production processes in making decisions. These are mainly large firms with an aim to bring costs down. The third is marketing-oriented, which prioritizes on providing value to customers. Research mainly focuses on consumer desires, beliefs, and attitudes.

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Business Research Methods by Icfai Business School is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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