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UNIT – II

TECHNOLOGY & BUSINESS RESEARCH

INFORMATION NEEDS OF BUSINESS

Managers require timely and accurate information from around the globe to maintain
competitive advantages. In today’s world managers can access a wealth of information instantaneously.
This has changed the way they do business. Increased global competition and technological advances
involving interactive media have promoted the development of global information systems.
Global information systems combine satellite communications, high speed micro
computers, electronic data interchange, fiber optics, CD ROM data storage, FAX machines and other
advances in interactive media technology. A global information system is a tool for providing past,
present and projected information on internal operations and external activity. It organizes and
integrates data from production, operations, marketing, finance, Accounting and other business
functions.

TECHNOLOGIES USED IN BUSINESS RESEARCH

Internet
The internet is a world-wide net work of computers that supports electronic
communications and gives users access to information and documents from distant sources. Because it
is combination of the world-wide communication systems and the world’s largest public library
containing endless range of information. Many people believe that the internet is the most important
communication medium.
Computer communication and Resource discovery are two central functions of the
internet. Electronic mail (E-mail) or messaging is the wider spread communication function. For
example, users send messages on the internet by E-mail to ask questions of experts, communicate with
individuals who share similar interest. Just as a letter delivered by a postal worker requires an address,
so does E-mail. An E-mail address consists of two parts, separated by ‘@’ symbol. ‘.Com’ indicates
that it is a commercial site. Educational sites end in ‘edu’ or ‘ac.in’, Government sites end in ‘gov’ and
other types of organizations end in ‘.org’.

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The internet allows users instantaneous and effortless access to a great deal of
information. Non-commercial and commercial organizations make a wealth of data and other resources
available on the internet.
The internet began in 1969 as an experimental hook-up between computers at Stanford
University, The University of California at Santabarbara and the University of Utah in conjunction with
the department of Defence, America. The defence department was involved because it wanted to
develop the communications network that would avoid being destroyed under severe battle conditions.
The internet gradually groom into a Nation-wide network of connected computers. Now, it is a world-
wide network often referred to as Information super high-way.
World-wide Web
The ‘WWW’ refers that portion of the internet made up of servers that supports a
retrieval system that organizes information in to documents called web pages. WWW documents which
may include graphic images, video clips and sound clips are formatted in special programming
languages such as HTML and Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) that allow for displaying to linking
and sharing of information on the internet.

ETHICS IN SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH

Introduction
Research in social science often involves use of unethical practices. Issues arise
primarily out of researcher’s relations with (a) Sponsors of Research (b) those who permit access to
sources of data and (c) research participants.
Ethical issues of research sponsorship
Research may be funded by either research promotional bodies like research foundations,
Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and similar councils and University Grants
Commission (UGC) or research-users like Planning Commission, Government departments and
Business undertakings and Financial Institutions. In the former case, the funding take form of research
grant and initiative is taken by the researcher himself. He forwards his research proposal to the
promotional body for research grant. The granting agency does not prohibit the publication of the
results for consumption by the scientific community.

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A contracted research undertaken for a sponsoring user organization specifies the nature
of the work to be done, the time period for its completion and conditions relating to the use of results.
Given the highly structured and restricted nature of contract research and the open stated
intention of the sponsor, the primary ethical questions posed are: whether the researcher wants to operate
within the confines (boundaries) of such restrictions and whether he is willing to accept the restrictions
regarding the publication of the research findings. The researcher must decide these issues before
accepting the assignment.
Ethical issues relating to the respondents/subjects
Of all the ethical issues, the issues concerned with the respondents are far more
important. The respondents constitute the research subjects. They are individuals from whom data are
obtained. The major categories of ethical issues relating to the research subjects are:
1. Sometimes, people are made to participate in a research project without their knowledge
of consent.
2. In some researches, the consent of the respondents is obtained without informing them of
the purpose of the research.
3. In some researches, the researcher may find it necessary to give incorrect information
about the proposed research to potential subjects in order to manipulate their perceptions and
behaviour.
4. In studies relating to human values, the social scientists may create opportunities for
research subjects to lie, steal or cheat. Is it appropriate to expose research subjects to such moral
hazards? – Opinions differ.
5. Another questionable/non-ethical practice is to expose participants to physical or mental
stress with a view to studying their reactions. Foe example, in a mock-hijacking of an aircraft or
a mock-panic situation in a crowd without a fore-warning, people are subject to physical or
mental stress.
6. Some researchers may dig out information from respondents on private or personal
matters such as marital life or religions faith etc., by employing techniques of participant
observation, in depth interviews or hidden projective test such practices amount to invasion of
privacy.
7. Finally, there is the ethical issue relating to the obligation of maintaining the anonymity
of the research respondents and keeping research data in confidence.

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Ethical dilemmas in research
The above categories of ethical difficulties arise in social science research. The crucial
question that arises is “should a social scientist adopt some un-ethical practices out of necessity or
abandon his proposed research?” It is not each to decide this question. One of the alternative-ethics or
research has to be sacrificed. However, in the larger internet of developing useful knowledge, it is
desirable to strike a balance between the moral cost of un-ethical practices and the potential benefits of
research. No doubt those researchers have an obligation to the research subjects. But they have a
greater social responsibility to find facts relevant to the solution of pressing human problems and thus to
promote social welfare. An evaluation of such potential benefits of research and the moral cost of un-
ethical practices will provide the clue to the choice. When the benefits far exceed the moral cost, it is
desirable to go ahead with the research; even it calls for some un-ethical practice like concealing facts,
invasion of privacy of respondents, etc. However, participants should not be exposed to physical or
mental stress. Professional association must devise codes of ethics to be followed while obtaining
information from individuals.