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Business Research Methods

Adopted From

Fourth Edition
Uma Sekaran

Instructor: Ahmad Sohail Lodhi


Chapter 2


After completing this chapter you

would be able to understand:
The Hallmarks of Scientific Research
Some obstacles to conducting
scientific research in the
management area
The building blocks of science in
The hypothetico deductive method
Other types of research

Definition of Scientific

Scientific Research
focusing on solving
problems and pursues a
step by step logical,
organized and rigorous
method to identify the
problems, gather data,
analyze them and draw

Why Scientific Research?

This research is not based on
hunches, experience and
It is purposive and rigorous.
Enables all those who are
interested in researching and
knowing about the same or
similar issues to come up with
comparable findings when data
are analyzed.
Findings are accurate and

Highlights the most critical factors at
the work place that need specific
attention to solve or minimize
Scientific Investigation and
Managerial Decision Making are
integral part of effective problem
It can be applied to both basic and
applied research.

The Hallmarks of Scientific


The hallmarks or main

distinguishing characteristics of
scientific research may be listed as

Precision and
6. Objectivity
7. Generalizability
8. Parsimony

Hallmarks of Scientific
1. Purposiveness
It has to start with a definite aim or
The focus is on increasing employee
Increase employee commitment will
translate into less turnover, less
absenteeism and increased
performance levels.
Thus it has a purposive focus.

2. Rigor
A good theoretical base and sound
methodological design would add rigor to the
purposive study.
Rigor adds carefulness, scrupulousness and the
degree of exactitude in research.
A manager asks 10-12 employees how to
increase the level of commitment. If solely on
the basis of their responses the manager
reaches several conclusions on how employee
commitment can be increases, the whole
approach to the investigation would be
unscientific. It would lack rigor for the following

1. Based on few employees

2. Bias and incorrectness
3. There might be other influences on
commitment which are ignored and are
important for a researcher to know
Thus, Rigorous involves good theoretical base
and thought out methodology.
. These factors enable the researcher to
collect the right kind of information from
an appropriate sample with the minimum
degree of bias and facilitate suitable
analysis of the data gathered.
. This supports the other six too.

3. Testability
After random selection manager and
researcher develops certain hypothesis
commitment can be enhanced, then
these can be tested by applying certain
statistical tests to the data collected for
The researcher might hypothesize
who perceive
greater opportunities for participation
in decision making would have a
higher level of commitment.



It means that it can be used again if

similar circumstances prevails.
The study concludes that participation
in decision making is one of the most
important factors that influences the
commitment, we will place more faith
and credence in these finding and
apply in similar situations. To the
extent that this does happen, we will
gain confidence in the scientific nature
of our research.

Precision and

Precision refers to the closeness of

the findings to reality based on a
It reflects the degree of accuracy
and exactitude of the results of the

Example: If a supervisor
estimated the number of
production days lost during the
year due to absenteeism at
between 30 and 40, as against the
actual of 35, the precision of my

Confidence refers to the
probability that our estimations
are correct.
That is, it is not merely enough
to be precise, but it is also
important that we can
confidently claim that 95% of the
time our results would be true
and there is only a 5% chance of
our being wrong.
This is also known as confidence

6. Objectivity
The conclusions drawn through the
interpretation of the results of data
analysis should be objective; that is,
they should be based on the facts of the
findings derived from actual data, and
not on our subjective or emotional
Example: If we had a hypothesis that stated
that greater participation in decision making
will increase organizational commitment and
this was not supported by the results, it
makes no sense if the researcher continues

7. Generalizability
It refers to the scope of applicability of the
research findings in one organization setting
to other settings.
Example: If a researchers findings that
participation in decision making enhances
organizational commitment are found to be
true in a variety of manufacturing, industrial
and service organizations, and not merely in
the particular organization studied by the
researcher, then the generalizability of the
findings to other organizational settings in
enhanced. The more generalizable the
research, the greater its usefulness and value.

8. Parsimony
Simplicity in explaining the phenomenon or
problems that occur, and in generating
solutions for the problems, is always
preferred to complex research frameworks
that consider an unmanageable number of
For instance, if 2-3 specific variables in the
work situation are identified, which when
changed would raise the organizational
commitment of the employees by 45%, that
would be more useful be more useful and
valuable to the manager than if it were
recommended that he should change 10
different variables to increase
organizational commitment by 48%.

The Building Blocks of Science in


Deduction and
Answers to issues can be
found either by the
process of induction or
the process of induction,
or by a combination of

Deduction is the process by which we
arrive at a reasoned conclusion by logical
generalization of a known fact.

Example: we know that all high performers

are highly proficient in their jobs.
If John is a high performer, we then
conclude that he is highly proficient in his

Induction is a process where we observe
certain phenomena and on this basis
arrive at conclusions.

In other words, in induction we

logically establish a general
proposition based on observed

To define or
describe the
Figure is a fivesided figure
enclosing two

The Hypothetico-Deductive

Observation is the first stage, in
which one senses that certain
changes are occurring or that some
new behaviors, attitudes and
feelings are surfacing in ones
environment (i.e., the work place).
How does one observe phenomena
and changes in the environment?

Preliminary Information
It involves the seeking of information in
depth, of what is observed.
This could be done by talking informally
to several people in the work setting or
to clients or to other relevant sources,
thereby gathering information on what
is happening and why. (Unstructured
Then it is followed by structured
Additionally by doing library research or
obtaining information through other
sources, the investigator would identify
how such issues have been tackled in

Theory Formulation
It is an attempt to integrate all the
information in a logical manners, so that
the factors responsible for the problem
can be on conceptualized and tested.
The theoretical framework formulated is
often guided by experience and intuition.
In this step the critical variables are
identified and examined as to their
contribution or influence in explaining
why the problem occurs and how it can
be solved.

It is the next logical step after theory
From the theorized network of
associations among the variables,
certain testable hypotheses or educated
conjectures can be generated.
Hypothesis testing is called deductive
research. Sometimes, hypotheses that
were not originally formulated do get
generated through the process of

Further Specific Data


After the development of

the hypotheses, data with
respect to each variable
in the hypotheses need to
be obtained.
Further data are collected
to test the hypotheses
that are generated in the

Data Analysis
Data gathered are statistically
analyzed to see if the
hypotheses that were
generated have been
Co relational method will be
used to analyze and determine
the relation ship of two or more
factors in the hypotheses for
example: stock availability and
customer satisfaction.

Deduction is the process
of arriving at conclusions
by interpreting the
meaning of results of the
data analysis.

Other Types of

Case studies and action

research are sometimes
used to study certain
types of issues.
1. Case Studies
2. Action Research

Case Studies
Case studies involve in depth, contextual
analyses of similar situations in the other
organizations, where the nature and
definition of the problem happen to be the
same as experienced in the current
Case study, as a problem solving
technique, is not often undertaken in
organizations because such studies
dealing with problems similar to the one
experienced by a particular organization of
a particular size and in a particular type of

Action Research
The researcher begins with a problem that
is already identified and gathers relevant
data to provide a tentative problem
This solution is then implemented, with
the knowledge that there may be
unintended consequences following such
The effects are then evaluated, defined
and diagnosed and the research continues
on an ongoing basis until the problem is
fully resolved.