P R O F. J I M C O R N E R
MBM PROGRAMME 2015
What is research and why is it important?
Research Focus: What is a research question and what makes a good research question?
Developing research proposals and doing lit searches
What is research?
What is research?
A process of systematic inquiry that generates knowledge
Asking a meaningful question and doing everything you can to answer it.
Applied vs. Basic Research
Concerned with understanding of
Search for new knowledge for knowledge sake
Concerned with pragmatics, use,
Desire to improve things
Can be theoretically driven and yet the purpose isn’t for theory
Search for ways to change (which can involve new knowledge)
To complete MRP satisfactorily
Practical skills for managers
Design research to evaluate, answer questions
Interpret research-based recommendations
Essential skills for consultants
Provides a foundation for action—reduces risk & saves costs
Managers (and many other leaders) tend to be intuitive
Methodology and Methods
strategies for gathering and analysing information, data
e.g., interviewing, observation, analytical techniques Methodology
theory of, or philosophy of, methods
i.e., justification of choice of methods
Major approaches to business research: Research
Mostly quantitative methods Scientific methodology
Rigour through reliability & validity of measures Logic of replication and generalization Interpretive
Mostly qualitative methods Humanistic methodology
Rigour through reflexive accounting Logic of insight and situated understanding
Both require precisely articulated logic to establish rigour
Burrell & Morgan Paradigms
View of social order Regulation
Notions of reality Objective
Common Problems of Novice Researchers
Not differentiating fact and opinion
Lack of alignment of questions and method
Questions/method of convenience
Ignoring relevant literature
Not citing sources adequately
In general, thinking and writing that lack precision and development
Focusing the research
bj ec tiv es The general focus
General focus of the research, eg
Social media use by nonprofit organisations
serves as working title
Situation prompting the need for research
Eg, NPOs lack understanding of the potential of social media to achieve their goals
Broad purpose or overall goal, eg
Identify means for NPOs to take advantage of social media Research questions
Questions to be answered to achieve
How are social media currently used by NPOs?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of particular social media for NPOs?
How are social media uses implemented effectively in NPOs?
Usually 1-3 RQs for an MRP
Brainstorm, then pare down to basics
What makes a good research question? SMART
Developing a good research question
Is the question clear and precise?
Does it need further explanation?
eg, How do New Zealand cafes and restaurants create atmosphere “flair”?
Is the question researchable?
Can I imagine a means of gathering and analysing data to answer it?
eg, Are NZ NPOs cutting edge in their approach to quality? Usually, focus on present or past (since you can’t research the future!)
Eg, Will ERP (enterprise