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RESEARCH

METHODOLOGY
(Business Research Methods)

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 1


Surveys
• A Survey is a research technique in which data is collected from a
sample of people using an interview or questionnaire
• Surveys are a crucial tool of business research methods
• Surveys are undertaken using verbal or written means to obtain
primary data for the research project
• Surveys target individuals and/or organizations (respondents)
• Surveys are often quantitative, occasionally also qualitative in their
orientation
• Surveys are usually done for descriptive purposes and for
ascertaining the characteristics of a group, to measure attitudes and
determine behavioural patterns, and sometimes to explore ideas or
provide causal explanations

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 2


Advantages of Undertaking Surveys
• Surveys have a number of advantages in terms of collecting,
analyzing and assessing information from the sampled population:

– Quickness
– Inexpensiveness
– Flexibility
– Efficiency
– Accuracy
– Helpful in the decision-making process

The advantages are only evident when surveys are properly


conducted!

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 3


Potential Errors in Undertaking Surveys

Total Error
Acquiescence Bias
Extremity Bias
Interviewer Bias Random Systematic Error
Auspices Bias Sampling (Bias)
Social Desirability bias Error

Deliberate
Non-Response Error
Falsification
Respondent Error
Unconscious
Response Bias
Misrepresentation

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 4


Random Sampling Error
and Systematic Error
 Random sampling errors arise when the group selected out of a
population for the purpose of undertaking a survey is not totally
representative of the population, i.e. a variation exists. Technically, a
random sampling error is the difference between the results of a
sample and the result of a census conducted using identical
procedures. As the sample size is increased, the variation will
decrease

 Systematic error results from some imperfect aspect of the


research design which causes response error, or from a mistake in
the execution of the research

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 5


Respondent Error
 Surveys depend on individuals responding to the questions asked of
them in written or verbal form. Respondents must thereby fulfill two
preconditions:

– Be cooperative
– Be truthful

 If these two preconditions are not fulfilled, the survey is unlikely to


achieve its goal. Two major problems resulting from the non-
fulfillment of these two preconditions by respondents are:

– Non-response Error
– Response Bias

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 6


Non-Response Error and Causes of
Non-Responding
 Non-Response error is defined as the statistical difference between
the results of a survey that includes those individuals who
responded, and a perfect survey in which all individuals would have
responded

 A consequent problem stemming from non-response error is that


the survey-based research results may be unutilizable for decision-
makers if those individuals who did respond to the survey are not
representative of those who did not respond

 There are many reasons for not responding to surveys, for example,
lack of time and preoccupation with routine work, absence from
home, lack of interest in the survey, cultural factors (e.g. Middle
East)
MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 7
Response Bias

 A response bias occurs when survey respondents tend to answer


the questions posed to them in a certain direction, thereby
consciously or unconsciously, or intentionally and inadvertently,
misrepresenting the truth

 Response bias has been found to depend on factors such as the


income or social class of respondents and their ethnic background.

Example: Mayoral and gubernatorial elections in the USA (white


respondents and their supposed choice of candidates)

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 8


Deliberate Falsification by Survey
Respondents
 Deliberate falsification occurs when survey respondents deliberately
give false answers. There are many reasons for this, for example,
when respondents want to appear more intelligent, to avoid
embarrassment, and to conceal personal information

Examples: Survey about shopping habits (respondent has forgotten


expenses paid and does not want to admit this; employees are
asked to give their opinion about their employers and give false
answers because they fear adverse consequences; respondents
wants to please the interviewer and give answers they think will
bring this about; survey respondents want to appear ‘average’ so
that they don’t stand out too much)

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 9


Unconscious misrepresentation by
Survey Respondents
 Unconscious misrepresentation occurs because of the specific
situation or stimulus a survey respondent finds himself or herself in,
or because of the nature of the questions asked, even though the
respondent is trying to be truthful and cooperative

 Examples: Respondent has forgotten dates and details and gives a


“best guess” estimate, which may not be accurate; respondent
doesn’t have enough time to think about the answer to a question;
feelings often cannot be expressed accurately in words)

 International surveys are particularly susceptible to unconscious


misrepresentation by survey respondents due to cultural and
communicational differences
MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 10
Types of Response Bias (1)
 Acquiescence Bias –Tendency of survey respondents to agree
with the questions asked of them, especially in regard to surveys
relating to new or unfamiliar programs, products or ideas.
Acquiescence bias can, on the other extreme, result in a respondent
disagreeing with all questions asked of them

 Extremity Bias – Tendency of survey respondents to use extremes


when responding to questions, unlike other respondents who may
adopt a neutral stance

 Interviewer Bias – Tendency of survey respondents to give untrue


answers because of the presence or influence of interviewers on
them and their interest in appearing intelligent, more affluent or just
willing to please

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 11


Types of Response Bias (2)
 Auspices Bias – Tendency of survey respondents to give answers
to questions based on their perception of the organization which is
undertaking the survey. For example, employees of CIIT may give
quite different responses to an in-house CIIT survey than they
would, were they asked by a neutral or unrelated organization

 Social Desirability Bias – Tendency of survey respondents to give


answers that put them in a favourable light with the interviewer. For
example, people may claim to be more socially active than they
really are because being socially active is considered a positive
activity, or inflate their education and income levels to save face and
gain prestige

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 12


Potential Errors in Undertaking Surveys

Total Error

Random Sampling Systematic Error


Errror (Bias)

Data Processing Error


Sample Selection Error Administrative Error
Interviewer Error
Interviewer Cheating

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 13


Administrative Errors (1)
 Administrative Errors are the consequence of the improper
administration or execution of the research task

 Administrative errors can reduce the value of the research and


hence, its usefulness as a tool for decision makers

 There are many causes of administrative errors, including, for


example, carelessness, confusion, neglect or omission

 Four major types of administrative errors are data-processing errors,


sample selection errors, interviewer errors and interviewer cheating

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 14


Administrative Errors (2)
 Data-processing Errors occurs when data are inaccurately entered
by people into the computer. Such errors can be reduced or
minimized by creating and applying careful processes and
procedures for verifying each stage of data computerization

 Sample Selection Errors occur due to an improper – or non-


representative - sampling of individuals for the survey

 Interviewer Errors occurs when interviewers misrecord or fail to


record responses due to inability, lack of experience, personal
biases and preferences or some other reason

 Interviewer Cheating occurs when an interviewer falsifies


questionnaires or fills in the answers himself or herself to selected
questions or skips questions to avoid asking sensitive questions

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 15


Techniques for Estimating Systematic Error
 Estimating systematic error can be quite a difficult undertaking. In
practice, many business researchers use the rules-of-thumb
method, meaning that they use past experience to try to quantify
how much survey results differ from actual results

 Example: Approximately 40% of survey respondents who claim they


will definitely purchase Products X,Y and Z within the next 7 days
will actually go out to the market and carry out this purchase, while
only 10% who stated that they may purchase Products X, Y and Z
will actually do as they have said

 To reduce the likelihood and extent of systematic errors, much care


has to be given to designing a proper questionnaire, adequate
training of interviewers and selecting the appropriate samples

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 16


Types of Survey Research Methods (1)
 Surveys can be classified according to the mode of communication
with the respondent (personal interviews, telephone interviews, mail
surveys, internet surveys etc.)

 Surveys can be classified according to the type of questions asked


of respondents (structured questions, disguised questions).
Structured questions impose a limit on the number of permissible
responses, while disguised questions try to hide the purpose of the
study from the respondents and get information that respondents
may otherwise be reluctant to give. Surveys often incorporate both
structured and disguised questions

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 17


Types of Survey Research Methods (2)

• Surveys can be classified according to their time frame (cross-


sectional studies, i.e., where data is collected from respondents at
a single point in time, and longitudinal studies, i.e., where data is
collected from a group of respondents over a time interval, with a
view to examining the level of continuity or change over time

• If data is collected from the same sample of individuals, the


longitudinal study is called a panel study. A method for
documenting data in panel studies is to use diaries for tracking

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 18


Personal Interviews
 A personal interview is a form of direct communication in which an
interviewer asks respondents in a face-to-face conversational
situation

 Personal interviews can take place in various locations, often at the


respondents place of residence or in their workplaces (door-to-door
interviews), in shopping malls and in supermarkets (mall intercept
interviews) and in other high-traffic areas (this has the advantage of
lower cost but, on the downside, it has a higher refusal rate due to
the respondents time limitation and there may be sampling issues to
consider)

 Personal interviews have a number of advantages and


disadvantages for business researchers

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 19


Advantages of Personal Interviews (1)
 Opportunity for Feedback – Interviewer can provide direct
feedback to the respondent, give clarifications and help alleviate any
misconceptions or apprehensions over confidentiality that the
respondent may have in answering the interviewer’s questions

 Probing Complex Answers – Interviewers can probe if the


respondent’s answer is too brief or unclear. This gives interviewers
some flexibility in dealing with unstructured questions and is
especially suited for handling complex questions

 Length of Interview – If the questionnaire is very lengthy, the


personal interview is the best technique for getting respondents to
cooperate, without overtaxing their patience

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 20


Advantages of Personal Interviews (2)
 Complete Questionnaires – Personal ensures ensure that the
respondent will answer all questions asked, unlike in telephone
interview where the respondent may hang up or in mail
questionnaire where some questions may go unanswered

 Props & Visual Aids – Interviewers have the opportunity of


showing respondents items such as sample products, graphs ands
sketches, which can aid in their answers

 High Participation – Interviewing respondents personally can


increase the likelihood of their participation, as many people prefer
to communicate directly verbally and sharing information and
insights with interviewers

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 21


Disadvantages of Personal Interviews (1)
 Cost – Personal interviews are usually more expensive than mail,
telephone and internet surveys. Factors influencing the cost of the
interview include the respondents’ geographic proximity, the length
and complexity of the questionnaire, and the number of non-
respondents

 Lack of Anonymity – Respondents are not anonymous in a


personal (face-to-face) interview and may be reluctant to disclose
certain information to the interviewer. Hence, considerable must be
expended by the interviewer when dealing with sensitive questions
to avoid bias effects on the respondent’s part

 Necessity for Callbacks – When a person selected for interview


cannot be reached the first time, a callback has to be scheduled
which result in extra cost and time spent
MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 22
Disadvantages of Personal Interviews (2)
 Variance Effects – It has been shown that the demographic
characteristics of the interviewer can influence the answers of the
respondents. In one study, male interviewers had a much larger
variance of answers than female interviewers in a sample of most
female individuals

 Dishonesty – Interviewers cheat to make their life easier and save


time and effort

 Personal Style – The interviewers individual questioning style,


techniques, approach and demeanor may influence the
respondents’ answers

 Global Considerations – Cultural aspects may influence peoples’


willingness to participate in an interview (e.g. repressive Middle
Eastern cultures discourage females from being questioned by male
interviewers)
MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 23
Telephone Interviews

 In telephone interviews, respondents are contacted by


telephone in order to collect data for surveys

 Telephone interviewing has been used for decades and,


in some ways, has advantages over other methods of
undertaking surveys

 With improvements in the IT-field, computers can be


used to assist in telephone interviewing, and answers
given by respondents can be entered by interviewers
directly into the computer, saving effort, time and cost

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 24


Advantages of Telephone Interviews (1)
 Speed – Speed is a major advantage of telephone interviewing,
enabling data to be collected on very short notice (example: a union
decides whether to organize a strike by telephone-interviewing
members over a one-day period)

 Cost – Telephone interviews are comparatively cheaper to conduct


than personal interviews. No travel time and travel cost is involved.

 No Face-to-Face Contact – Because telephone interviews lack the


direct element of interaction, respondents may be more willing to
provide certain information that they would be reluctant to disclose
in a personal (face-to-face) interview

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 25


Advantages of Telephone Interviews (2)
 Cooperation – People may be reluctant to allow interviewers into
their homes, but they may be willing to cooperate by letting
themselves be interviewed over the telephone

 Callbacks – Telephone callbacks are easier to perform than


personal interview callbacks

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 26


Disadvantages of Telephone Interviews (1)
 No Face-to-Face Contact – Interviewer may not be able to record
the respondent’s data fast enough and the respondent, who cannot
see this, may continue to add data. Also, due to the visual
communication gap, there is a greater tendency for interviewers to
record no-answers and incomplete answers than in a personal
interview

 Cooperation – Research shows that response rates in telephone


interviews are declining with the passage of time and the availability
of respondents has also declined for various reasons. Also,
reaching executives in workplaces can be very difficult due to tight
schedules and the work load

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 27


Disadvantages of Telephone Interviews (2)
 Lack of Visual Mediums – Visual aids cannot be used by
interviewers in telephone interviews, hence, surveys which need
visual aids to help respondents cannot be undertaken with this
survey method

 Limited Duration – Length of interview time in a telephone


interview is limited. Too long interview times may result in
exasperated respondents hanging up the telephone or refusing to
answer questions

 Representative Samples – Using the telephone directory as the


basis for sampling can be problematic in the sense that many
persons are unlisted or do not have telephones, but whose opinions
are nevertheless important

 Global Considerations – In many countries, people are reluctant to


divulge information over the telephone
MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 28
Self-Administered Questionnaires
Self-Administered
Questionnaires

Printed Questionnaires Electronic Questionnaires

Mail E-Mail

In-Person Drop-Off Internet Website

Inserts Interactive Kiosk

Fax

MBA III (Research Methodology) Course Instructor: Dr. Aurangzeb Z. Khan 29