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Res 341 - Defining Research Process and Data Measurement

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RES/341 Week One


Welcome to Week One of Research and Evaluation I. Why should we study research and statistics? We will definitely be using research and statistics while in school in the different courses that we take. This is the short-term reason for us to study the two topics. The long-term reason is that we may not be directly doing research and statistics after we graduate from school, but we will still need to be able to "speak" the language. We will be given a number of reports that will contain research and statistical information. We need to be able to interpret the information and make sound decisions based on what we are reviewing.

Research Concepts

We often think of research as the polls that we read in the newspaper, or that we see on television. Research is often "painted" with a broad-brush stroke, and we believe that all of it is the same. This is not true. There are many factors that need to be considered before doing a research study. How much information should be included in the study? How much money is there to spend on the study? What is the focus of the study? What expectations does management have about the outcome of the research study? How long do we have to conduct the research? The best way to get started in a research study is to create a simple problem statement or concept to study. Once we have this general problem statement we should create a conceptual definition to define the parameters of the research study. The final step in defining this problem or concept is the operational definition. The operational definition will "give meaning to a concept by specifying the activities or operations necessary to measure it" (Zikmund, 1994). An example would be the concept of "job challenge."

Concept Conceptual Definition Operational Definition

Job Challenge This dimension reflects a Please tell me how true each statement is

worker's desire for stimulation about your job. Is it very true, somewhat

and challenge on his/her job true, not very true, or not at all true.

and the ability of exercise skills 1. The work is interesting

in his/her job. 2. I have an opportunity to develop my

own special abilities

3. I am given a chance to do the things I

do best (Zikmund, 1994)

There are a number of parameters that we could have used in our conceptual and operational definitions. We decided to focus on the ideas of a desire for stimulation and challenge on the job. We could have also picked concepts, such as on-going education, or expanded responsibilities to define the parameters of our study. You can see how much this would have changed the focus of our study.

The Science of Research

Research studies are conducted based on scientific techniques. A special language applies to research, and anyone utilizing or analyzing research needs to know these terms. Terms such as exploratory, descriptive, causal, cross-sectional, and longitudinal are part of the research "language." The relationship between science and research has been defined by Murdock and Cooper as follows:

At first glance the business practitioner or student might think that discussion of science and knowledge is rather far a field from business research. The relationship among science, research, and effective business management is surprisingly close in modern times. Although in the past businessmen could make adequate



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