605 U1 CA – Research Methods
Business research can be defined as a systematic and organized process that attempts to
investigate a particular problem encountered or experienced in a work setting that requires a
solution. It consists of a series of steps that are formulated, designed and executed with the sole
goal of finding the solution to the issues raised by the management. Identifying the problem in an
organization is the first step in research methods. Information is gathered, analyzed and factors
connected with the problem determined. The problem is solved after taking the necessary
measures to correct the problem.
The whole process of attempting to solve the problem is known as research. It involves
a series of structured, well thought out and well executed activities that assist the manager to
solve organizational problems or how to minimize the problem. Research is therefore the
processes of enquiry, definition, investigation, examination and finally experimentation. The
processes are systematic, diligent, critical, objective, and logical. The result would finally be a
discovery that assists the manager to deal with the challenges facing him. Gathering the relevant
information, critically analyzing the data in ways that facilitate decision making and
605 U1 CA – Research Methods 2
implementation of the right decisions and courses of action all help in understanding the business
research processes. (Sekaram and Bougle, 2009)
Decision making is just a process of making a choice between alternative solutions in
resolving problems while research generates suitable and viable alternatives for an effective and
final decision. The research knowledge obtained drives the manager to undertake several
research options when solving similar, smaller or bigger problems while undertaking his job i.e.
may be as an accountant, auditor, brand manager or operations manager among other positions.
Research methods also assist in identification and discrimination of good and bad studies
conducted by other research organizations assists in effective interactions between other
researchers and consultants in related fields. There is a very big difference between a manager
who makes decision through common sense analysis and one who uses a detailed scientific
research process is that the latter involves a secured process that effectively describes, explains
the issue based on data that has been carefully collected and analyzed for that specific problem
facing the manager. (Sekaram and Bougle, 2009)
Research provides the required information that guides and facilitates the managers to
make well informed decisions that solves the problem effectively. The source of the information
provided could be the results of a careful and well researched data that have been analyzed and
adequately cross checked with other researchers in the same field or from other sources such as
company archives or other reliable sources. Data can be summarily quantified such as the data
collected through structured questions or the data can be qualitative i.e. data gathered through
questions answered in specific interviews or from responses obtained from open questions such
as those ones in a questionnaire or from direct observation.
605 U1 CA – Research Methods
For instance, in accounting, the budgetary control systems, the practices and control procedures
are routinely examined to check their accuracy and reliability. Others are the cost controls and
the inventory costing systems, the accumulated and accelerated depreciation, taxation methods,
and behaviors of the stock exchanges, financial operations and historical records of financial
institutions, employee attitudes and behaviors, yields on mortgages and other management
practices like strategy formulation, product development and other marketing options.
Scientific research concentrates on finding solutions to problems and it involves step by
step, organized, careful and rigorous methods to identify the problematic issues, gather the
relevant data, analyze them and reach and draw a conclusion from the information obtained.
Scientific research is purposive and rigorous; it’s not based on intuition, experiences or hunches.
Because of its rigorous nature, it enables and encourages comparable findings among interested
parties when analyzing data. This process of sharing information assists various organizations to
utilize and apply those solutions in real problematic situations and in challenges they are facing.
Its investigations and findings are both objective and subjective and assist managers in
highlighting critical issues and factors that require particular attention to avoid the problem or
solve it. Scientific research involves basic and applied research. (Sekaram and Bougle, 2009)
Applied research may be generable to other organizations or not, depending on the
existence of differences and the extent to which they affect the nature and size or quantity of
work involved, the characteristics of employees and the general structure of the organization.
Applied research has to be well organized, systematic and accurate where problems are carefully
605 U1 CA – Research Methods 4
identified, data is gathered scientifically, analyzed and a conclusion drawn in a manner that’s
effective, objective and adequate in solving the problem. Most organizations do not follow all the
rigorous processes involved in applied scientific research processes especially when solving
simple tasks that don’t require elaborate procedures.
The major hallmarks of scientific research are purposiveness, Rigor, testability, the
replicability and precision, confidence, the objectivity, Generalizability and the Parsimony. The
research is for a specific and definite purpose, for instance if its aim is to increase the
commitment of employees then it will require less absenteeism and reduced turnover rates these
will eventually add the performance of the employees. Thus it will have a purpose. The others
are critical but it’s not always possible to meet all the hallmarks of science in full. Comparability,
consistency and generalizability are mostly difficult to achieve in the research process. The
scientific method is one of the favorable research methods in most business undertaking as its
results are based on facts which are often based on real issues and formulated methodology
followed to their conclusive ends.
605 U1 CA – Research Methods
Sekaram, U., Bougle, R. (2009) Research Methods for Business; A Skill Building Approach, 5 th
Edition. West Sussex, UK. John Wiley & sons.