Aspects and Procedures in Business Research

Introduction

The business world has been constantly evolving due to the dynamic nature of the 21st century developments. This aspect can be attributed to the new trends of conducting business due to technological advancements of the modern world. Therefore, businesses need to keep up with the new changes in a bid to survive in the highly competitive market that is affected by diverse factors. Therefore, conducting research is important since knowledge about a particular aspect would be gained and be used to boost the profitability of the business. Managers can thus perform their tasks effectively through the implementation of scientifically proven ideas for the success of their organizations. In so doing, the problems that derail an organization’s move towards its goals are contained or alleviated, thus promoting efficiency. Similarly, the viability of new industries and the emergence of new markets can be fostered through business research. This paper will focus on the various aspects and procedures of carrying out business research.

Background

Traditional methods of carrying out research are outdated due to the advancements that have characterized the 21st Century societies. Businesses as well have adopted new strategies that are in line with the new industrial trends. Various areas of business operations such as accounting, finance, operations management, human resources, and marketing have evolved, thus requiring additional research to explore the fields further (Cooper & Schindler, 2011). For this reason, the change of an aspect of business requires research to investigate the underlying issues that have caused the changes and propose ways of adapting to the new developments. The number of scientists carrying out business-related research has increased over the last 50 years. Therefore, the background section entails investigating what other researchers have done in the field already.

Problem

Stating the issue that affects the operations of a business organization before embarking on research is critical. Choosing a research question may be difficult when various aspects of a business are affecting its operations (Sekaran & Bougie, 2013). For instance, an organization may not be performing well in terms of meeting its objectives. Therefore, breaking down the issue into concrete aspects such as declining sales and increased costs of production is required. This aspect ensures that the research process focuses on a particular area, hence investigating a problem comprehensively for accurate results.

A research problem in the business world could also be geared towards the investigation of facts about potential opportunities. An organization’s management team may see growth opportunities, and thus research to assist in decision-making towards the seizure of such opportunities strategically (Cooper & Schindler, 2011). A business research problem can be defined when the business management faces a dilemma that has implications on the operations. The problem is then defined clearly in a bid to give the research direction and focus on a particular area. A good research problem needs to specify the target population, be relevant to the business community and the public, and add value to the current knowledge on a particular business area.

Purpose of the study

Business research must be geared towards particular objectives and goals. Similarly, a business carries out its operations in a bid to achieve certain goals. However, the attainment of the goals could be inhibited due to new economic waves that may have adverse implications for its sales, thus resulting in inefficiencies (Cooper & Schindler, 2011). In this regard, research would be conducted in a bid to alleviate the organization from the inhibitors that prevent the achievement of the set targets. This aspect implies that actual problems or opportunities can be investigated to evaluate the underlying issues thereby equipping managers with the relevant information for decision-making.

The objective of the research is usually based on the research problem and hypothesis. In business, the purpose of the study is stated in the introductory part of the analysis after the business problem has been defined. Therefore, the aim of the study seeks to answer the particular research question. For instance, a new business venture may carry out market research to be familiar with customer needs and what other players in the industry have done on the same. In this case, an exploratory research design would be implemented to identify the significant market aspects and trends. Consequently, the business plans for its strategies of acquiring a share of the market to enable it to survive in the aggressive market. The purpose of business research is to assist a new business venture to be sustainable and the existing businesses to remain relevant despite various economic tides influenced by different factors.

Significance of the problem

The research question has to be meaningful to all the involved parties. This phase of business research is critical since the researcher convinces the affected parties that the study is worth undertaking. Therefore, the audience is persuaded to consider the findings of the studies in a bid to make them beneficial to the organization, related agencies, and the public (Kumar, 2014). For instance, a research problem could be used to persuade potential investors to inject funds into the business due to the potential for substantial growth. Additionally, describing how the results will be used adds substance to the research problem, thus enhancing the managers’ decision-making efficiency.

The research problem is significant since it answers numerous questions. It states the purpose of the study together with why it is important. The research question suggests the probable implications of the research, as stated in the hypothesis, thus facilitating a better understanding of the research objectives. Similarly, the research problem seeks to add value to the knowledge gained from previous studies by filling available gaps thereby providing more insights into the field. Furthermore, the research question answers how the findings will affect policy formulation. It also brings a new perspective into the business field under investigation, since variable methodologies could be used to arrive at reliable and valid results.

Supporting theories

When carrying out business research, the use of theories is essential for a better understanding of the problem. A theory is a model formulated to enhance the comprehension of reality or knowledge and the logic of the observations made. In this regard, the use of supporting theories in business research facilitates formal and logical explanations of the incidences thereby showing the correlation of variables. For instance, the scientific method could be used to support a study that tries to investigate the factors for efficient operations within a business environment.

The goal of supporting theories in business research entails enhancing the understanding of different phenomena. In so doing, a theory enables the audience to create images that portray the linkages between varying concepts, thus assisting managers to understand how one concept affects the other. Additionally, supporting theories seek to facilitate the prediction of the relationship between concepts. Therefore, managers can forecast what will happen if the management makes a decision that changes one factor, and thus it enhances planning and strategy. For instance, the human relations theory outlines the relationships between the employees’ motivation and performance. In this light, the concept of human relations and productivity can be attributed to the level of motivation in an organization, thus portraying the relationship between the two aspects of business operation. Similarly, the theory assists the researcher and the participants to make linkages between the two concepts and predict the level of output.

Analysis

The business research process entails several processes that are necessarily not sequential depending on the nature of the problem under study. The activities at each stage are usually interrelated and they tend to overlap in some cases, thus making every research unique since different steps could be taken. The general pattern of events when conducting business research follows the following procedures, viz. defining the objectives of the study, planning a research design, sample planning, data collection, analyzing the data, formulation of conclusions, and preparation of the report. The data analysis stage of the research process is significant since it determines how the results will be after analysis. For this reason, all other processes should be carried out accurately to obtain valid and reliable results after analyzing the data.

In business research, data analysis entails the use of tools to build patterns that exist in the collected data through statistical or discursive means. For this goal to be attained, the process of data collection should be efficient in a bid to arrive at meaningful results that determine the conclusions (Sekaran, & Bougie, 2013). Therefore, collecting original data through various methods such as direct communication with the sources of data is essential for deriving primary data. This aspect can be further reinforced by the use of questionnaires, observation, interviews, and written exchanges between the researcher and the participants. Secondary data can also be collected and organized in a useful way to the study. This goal can be facilitated by collecting data from organizations that had carried out similar studies that could help in comprehending the research problem. Secondary sources of data entail financial reports, publications, reliable Internet sources, and analysts’ reports about a particular business field (Patton, 2014).

In data analysis, the use of established analytical tools is essential for enhancing efficiency. Various research methodologies require different analytical tools due to the uniqueness of every study. For instance, in qualitative research, oral communication is usually analyzed textually whereby analytical tools are derived from discursive methods. This aspect includes a narrative analysis of the recorded speech to analyze the text. With technological advancements, data analysis has become more sophisticated due to the use of software such as Nivvo-9 for coding and thematic analysis of thematic data.

The statistical analysis of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies requires a range of elementary and sophisticated tools for the examination of the relationships between variables. The complexity of the variables being tested determines the analytical tools that would be used to find out the correct relationship. Software programs such as SPSS (Statistical Program for Social Sciences) are used to analyze huge data sets like financial reports through the application of both fundamental and advanced analytical tools (Kriauciunas, Parmigiani & Rivera-Santos, 2011). In this regard, the sophistication of business research findings could be enhanced by analyzing techniques that test the hypothesis directly.

Proposed Research Methodology

Businesses mainly carry out researches to understand the various aspects of the industry in a bid to enhance their attainment of the set goals. Aspects of business research such as market research entail a social approach to the customers to gain knowledge about their preferences, satisfaction, perceptions, and attitudes towards a particular product or service. In this sense, conducting a qualitative research methodology is appropriate for business research.

Qualitative research is not only geared towards finding out the people’s perceptions, but also the rationale behind their perceptions. Managers who want to get into the customers’ mind needs to carry out qualitative research with methods such as face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions. The application of face-to-face and focus group discussions in qualitative research is beneficial to business researches since they facilitate in-depth feedback from the interviewees. Consequently, managers would be in a position to get valuable insights about their products, market, and customers. Additionally, managers can find out why customers have different perceptions about their products, and thus strategize on ways of improving the quality of their products (Patton, 2014).

When carrying out business research in the field of marketing, managers can comprehend how customers perceive their products or services. The researcher can understand why clients choose particular products over others and what motivates them to make their decisions. Implications of branding, packaging, and can be identified and their influences on customers. How the price of the products and services affects the decisions made by the customers is also easily facilitated through qualitative research. Additionally, managers can be in a position to determine whether there is increased demand for their products or not (Kasapoglu, 2008).

Justification for the choice of methodology

The utilization of qualitative research methods in business research must have an edge over other methodologies for it to be considered. This aspect implies that the methodology is selected due to numerous advantages over other techniques like quantitative methods.

Qualitative research facilitates the provision of a realistic feel of the business environment, which cannot be attained easily via qualitative research. Quantitative research provides business managers with relevant information about the market since customers give their personal views about a particular product or service. On the contrary, quantitative research methodologies only represent findings in numerical forms that depict the perceptions of customers (Patton, 2014). For this reason, qualitative business research is justifiable since it mostly deals with the social aspects of the business world to get views about products and services.

Qualitative research allows flexibility throughout the business research process. This assertion holds because the researcher can adjust the various processes during the research to suit the problem being studied and facilitate the comfort of the respondent. The process of collection, analysis, and interpretation of data becomes easy, thus satisfying the objectives of the research (Kumar, 2014). For instance, flexibility in data collection can be achieved through the implementation of tools such as narratives together with focused group discussions to gather the intended data efficiently. In this case, the respondents’ behavior, attitudes, and beliefs can be analyzed to understand their culture.

A descriptive capability of the research findings is easily attained through qualitative research. According to Kumar (2014), conducting interviews, focus group discussions, and case studies can be used to collect descriptive data that enhances intensive analysis of an event that affects the operations of a business. Additionally, gathering information from smaller sizes to describe a situation is quick and affordable. Consequently, this aspect allows the business organization to research within a short period in a cost-efficient manner, thus fostering timely decision-making.

Recommendations for future research

The future of business research is dependent on the current developments and strategies that intend to develop studies on various aspects of the business. In a bid to facilitate efficiency, it is important to recommend measures that would assist in improving the way business research is carried out in an attempt to obtain reliable and valid results. The proposed application of qualitative methodologies is somehow limited since the approach is subjective. To promote objectivity in the research processes, quantitative methods can be incorporated into qualitative methods. In this regard, the incorporation of interviews and focus group discussions with surveys and experiments tends to yield good results that enhance the managers’ decision-making (Davis, Golicic & Boerstler, 2011).

The exploration of a problem could be done using qualitative methods and then analyzed through quantitative tools in a bid to get comprehensive results that cover all the aspects of the problem. A broad perspective of the problem is also attained through the application of mixed research methodologies (Creswell, 2014). For instance, qualitative methods facilitate the understanding of a problem due to the occurrence of certain events that can be analyzed quantitatively through experiments to evaluate the causal relationships between variables. Therefore, a mixed approach utilizes the strengths of different methodologies to gain a broad perspective on the issue. More data is also collected through a mixed methodology approach, thus resulting in different answers for a particular problem. Quantitative methods seek to identify a single solution to an individual problem. Therefore, incorporating qualitative methods provides the business researcher with different accurate information (Creswell, 2014). Therefore, good business researchers should put efforts towards the use of mixed research methodologies that seek to enrich the process through enhancing objectivity, creating a broad perspective, collecting more data, and providing more solutions to the problems affecting the business organization.

Conclusion

Various problems affect organizations, and thus they need to be investigated in a bid to promote efficiency. Viable opportunities need to be studied in a bid to guide managers in decision-making towards the implementation of strategies geared towards growth. The business research process follows certain steps, which are consistent with various studies given the nature of the problem and methodologies applied. The problem under study should be significant to the business organization and relevant parties for the research to be purposeful. Theories can be implemented to give the research process more substance and enhance comprehension of the problem with the business field being investigated. Efficient data collection methods should be employed to improve data analysis, which can be enriched with analysis software. Quantitative research methodologies are proposed for business research processes in a bid to capture the numerous aspects of the business environment. Therefore, a mixed approach for business research is recommended whereby qualitative methods are incorporated into quantitative methods to obtain reliable and valid results.

References

Cooper, R., & Schindler, P. (2011). Business Research Methods. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

Creswell, J. (2014). A Concise Introduction to Mixed Methods Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Davis, F., Golicic, L., & Boerstler, C. (2011). Benefits and challenges of conducting multiple methods research in marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39(3), 467-479.

Kasapoglu, A. (2008). A content analysis of the papers published in the journal of the school of business administration: Operations research and operations management (1972-2007). Istanbul University Journal of the School of Business Administration, 37(2), 121-136.

Kriauciunas, A., Parmigiani, A., & Rivera-Santos, M. (2011). Leaving our comfort zone: Integrating established practices with unique adaptations to conduct survey-based strategy research in nontraditional contexts. Strategic Management Journal, 32(9), 994-1010.

Kumar, R. (2014). Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Patton, M. (2014). Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods: Integrating Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Sekaran, U., & Bougie, R. (2013). Research Methods for Business: A Skill-Building Approach. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.