There are several major approaches to research, each of which is particularly suitable for the specific purposes of different scholarly investigations. The main groups of methods available are qualitative, quantitative, and mixed. Quantitative research utilizes data collected with the help of quantitative methods, such as numerical data (Johnson & Christensen, 2016). Qualitative studies involve non-numerical data, which can be gathered using interviews, surveys, and other approaches. Typically, qualitative data are considered less objective than quantitative since respondents express their personal views and opinions on researched notions (Johnson & Christensen, 2016). Meanwhile, quantitative research is regarded as more reliable since it utilizes statistical data analyses, which implies a low level of bias. Finally, mixed methods research presupposes an equal focus on qualitative and quantitative approaches.
The proposed final study is titled “Military leadership traits’ migration into business.” Given the selected topic and the peculiarities of data needed for its analysis, the most suitable study design is action research. By its nature, action research may be regarded as a mixed-method since it incorporates both the process of doing research and the procedure of taking action about the study (Adams et al., 2014). Action research is a type of applied research, the latter being related to specific real-life issues (Adams et al., 2014). The main goal of researchers dealing with applied research is to enhance human conditions. However, the results of such studies may also bear commercial significance. Action research as a type of applied research involves the implementation of fact-finding to functional problem-solving in various social situations to improve the quality of action within the situation. Such a result can be gained with the help of collaboration between practitioners, researchers, and study participants (Adams et al., 2014). Action research is vigorously utilized in planning policy changes and monitoring research expertise.
Mixed methods are especially valued in social sciences due to the increased possibilities provided by both types of research combined. According to Harrison (2013), the mixing of two research types is not an entirely new idea in business scholars’ work, whereas the use of the mixed design is a relatively new notion. The power of action research is in the integration of data received from both qualitative and quantitative research rather than merely the combined use of different methods. That is why the selected design is likely to produce the most beneficial effect on the proposed final study.
Action research incorporates a combination of research (understanding) and action (change). Furthermore, as Dick (2002a) argues, action research should be participative. The scholar suggests several descriptions of action research, the most typical one being of a cyclic nature. A common cycle of action research is the so-called Deakin model, when the researchers first plan, then utilize action, then observe, reflect, and start all over again (Dick, 2002a). In such a case, the spiral looks as follows: plan – act – observe – reflect – plan.
The proposed research design inevitably involves the process of change. Generally, action research can be described via the following stages:
- entry and contracting, during which, the researchers enter the client system and discuss the roles each of them should perform;
- diagnosis, during which, the researcher determines what should be altered or fixed (this may be carried out with or without the participation of the client);
- intervention, the stage at which the process of treatment is carried out;
- closure, during which, the researcher and client are withdrawn from the system (Dick, 2002b).
Action research is amply utilized in business and management studies. In the analysis of action research in management studies, Perry and Zuber-Skerritt (1992) note that the selected study design has three major features:
- there is a group of people collaborating on an issue;
- researchers are involved in the cycle of “planning, acting, observing and reflecting on their work more deliberately and systematically than usual” (p. 197);
- at the end of their collaboration, researchers produce a public report on their experience.
For the final study, it is planned to collect data from former military personnel and businesspeople via interviews, surveys, and case studies. Further, researchers will analyze the data by reflecting on them together with the participants. Education plays a crucial role in gaining the success of action research endeavors (Ferrance, 2000; Sankaran & Hou, 2003). The most evident strength of action research is that it enables scholars to pursue a double purpose: “to yield change (the “action”) and understanding (the “research”)” simultaneously (Dick 2002b, para. 1). Other benefits of the chosen design include the integration of theory and practice and the enhancement of practice at the local level. Meanwhile, the main weakness of action research is its small scale, which eliminates the amount of knowledge and information obtained. Other vulnerabilities of the design are the low scientific objectivity and the lack of rigor in research validity. Taking into account all the benefits and limitations of the selected research design, action research is a suitable way of investigating the migration of military leadership traits into business.
Adams, J., Khan, H. T. A., & Raeside, R. (2014). Research methods for business and social science students (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications.
Dick, B. (2002a). Applications. Session 1 of Areol – Action research and evaluation on line. Web.
Dick, B. (2002b). The change process and action research. Session 2 of Areol – Action research and evaluation on line. Web.
Ferrance, E. (2000). Action research. Web.
Harrison, R. L. (2013). Using mixed methods designs in the Journal of Business Research, 1990–2010. Journal of Business Research, 66(11), 2153–2162. Web.
Johnson, B., & Christensen, L. (2016). Educational research: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches. (6th ed.). Sage Publications.
Perry, C., & Zuber-Skerritt, O. (1992). Action research in graduate management research programs. Higher Education, 23(2), 195–208. Web.
Sankaran, S., & Hou, T. B. (2003). Action research models in business research. ANZSYS Conference, Melbourne, Australia. Web.