Types of research
- Quantitative research – This research is also known as statistical research. In this research, data are measured and only such units are taken which are worth measuring. The research on physical science is generally quantitative. The most important utility of this is that it keeps subjective elements away from the field of research. If the statistics are correct, then the conclusions are bound to be correct. The objective of quantitative research is to develop and employ mathematical models, theories, and hypothesis pertaining to natural phenomena. Quantitative research seeks to minimize intervention in order to produce valid and reliable statistics. It is useful for describing social phenomenon, especially in large scale.
- Qualitative Research– It is one of the important methods for studying social problems to develop ways of going access into the life world of individuals and groups. Qualitative approaches help see, describe and understand human behavior and social phenomena with greater depth. Characteristically, qualitative research offers specialized technique for obtaining in depth responses about what people think and how they feel, and enable to gain insight into attitudes, beliefs, motives, and behaviors of the target population. It deals with the emotional and contextual aspects of human responses rather than the objective measurable behavior and attitudes.
Differences between qualitative and quantitative research:
Though research process is broadly, the same in both quantitative and qualitative research but both are differentiated in terms of the methods of data collection, the procedures adopted for data processing, and analysis and the style of communication of the findings. Following table summarizes the differences between quantitative and quantitative research.
|Differences with respect to||Quantitative research||Qualitative research|
|Philosophy||Rationalism: “The human beings achieve knowledge because of their capacity to reason.”||Empiricism: The only knowledge that human beings acquire is from sensory experiences.|
|Approach to inquiry||Structured/rigid/Predetermined methodology||Unstructured/ flexible/ open methodology|
|Main purpose of investigation||To quantify extent of variation in a phenomenon, situation, issue etc.||To describe variation in a phenomenon, situation, issue etc.|
|Sample size||Emphasis on greater sample size||Fewer cases|
|Focus of inquiry||Narrow focus in term of inquiry but assembles required information from greater no. of respondents.||Covers multiple issues but assembles required information from fewer respondents.|
|Dominant research topic||Explains prevalence, incidence, and nature of issues, opinion, and attitudes||Explores experiences, meanings, perceptions, and feelings.|
|Analysis of data||Subjects variables to frequency distributions, tabulations, or other statistical procedures||Subjects responses, narrative or observation data to identification of themes and describes these|
|Conclusions of findings||Organization more analytical in nature, drawing inferences and conclusions, and testing magnitude and strength of relationships||Organization more descriptive and narrative in nature|
- Pure research: Pure research, also called fundamental research, is concerned with quest for knowledge and knowing more about the phenomena without concern of practical use and development of theories. Such an approach, which often leads to knowledge for knowledge’s sake, is the approach of pure research. This research is academic in nature and deals with questions that are intellectually challenging to the researcher but may or may not have practical application immediately. This type of research, which generally has no immediate or planned application, may later result in further research of an applied nature. A person wishing to do pure research in any specialized area generally must have studied the concept and assumptions of that specialization enough to know what has been done and what remains to be done.
4. Applied research: Applied research is associated with particular project and problem. Such research, being of practical value, may relate to current activity or immediate practical situations. It aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society or an organization or an institution. Applied research has most of the characteristics of fundamental research, including the use of sampling techniques and the subsequent inferences about the target population. However, its purpose is to provide recommendations for improving the conditions of the problem under consideration. Most of the social sciences researches of Nepal are applied type, which helps formulation of policy.
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Research in Business Administration
Management initiates and determines the activities of an enterprise. It makes plants, offices, computers, materials and equipment productive through human effort. It gives competence and effectiveness to organizations in rendering goods and services to society. The aims of the management are to motivate the employees in the organization to achieve a high degree of work performance in competitive situations, utilize resources efficiently and had to provide high quality goods and services. In trying to achieve these aims, the manger faces many hurdles and problems, which he needs to overcome and solve. He does this by taking appropriate decisions. The decisions are made on the basis of recent information on the concerned field that is collected through scientific procedures. It is essential in every profession and similarly the same is needed in business administration to reduce risk in managerial decision-making. Business research is a systematic inquiry that provides basis for planning, acquiring, and analyzing data and helps decision-makers to take appropriate actions that maximize business performance.
For successful running of business, the manager should be familiar with external and internal environment that is influencing the business. The internal system relates with human, financial, physical, and technological setting of the organization while that of external system enables the manager to evaluate consumer behavior. The functional areas for research in business administration are production, marketing, financial, personnel, and general administration. Another area of research may be social and political environment in which business operates. This includes national policies, trade policies, labor relations, and security. Business administration research is the systematic and objective collection and evaluation of information about specific aspects of business problems in order to assist managers to make effective decisions. Its main purpose is to facilitate decision-making process and reduce risk and uncertainty. It helps identify the problems and find out more about the situation before the problem get out of control. Utilization of no or poor information for decision-making leads in developing problems. Followings benefits of research a manager do have in business administration:
- Identify and solve small problems timely.
- Diagnosing and assessing problems and opportunities.
- Selecting and implementing a course of action.
- Evaluate the course of action.
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Nature of business research
The executives need specific studies of problems and opportunity areas. They may need a market survey, an employee survey, a product preference test, an analysis of financial statement or an environment analysis. The economic, political, social, legal, technological, and competitive factors affect the dynamics of doing business. The purpose of conducting research in business is to identify business problems or issues and to find out solutions to such problems. Research is also undertaken for other purposes like strategy formulation, business process reengineering etc. Operation research and marketing research are mostly focused in business research that assists in taking business decisions. Market research is the investigation of structure and development in business concern so that efficient policies about production, sales, and purchase can be made. Operation research refers to the application of mathematical, logical, and analytical techniques to the solution of business problems of cost minimization or profit maximization. Market analysis has become an integral tool of business policy. Management is another area of research in business and includes the study of different aspects like strategy formulation, organizational structure, staff policies and rules, system of job description and job analysis, employee participation, record management etc. The management research helps point out the managerial weakness and provides remedial measures to the weakness in order to increase administrative effectiveness.
Applying scientific thinking to business administration problem
Research is based on reasoning. Good researchers and good managers alike practice habits of thought that reflect sound reasoning—finding correct premises, testing the connections between their facts and assumptions, making claims based on adequate evidence. Scientific thinking is different from common way of thinking in the sense that it is careful, systematic, empirical and in-depth analysis of the phenomenon. It helps identify the variables involved and their relationships. Scientific thinking allows us to explain, interpret, defend, challenge and explore the meanings. In reasoning process induction and deduction, observation and hypothesis testing can be combined in a systematic way. Scientific thinking styles associated with the scientific method are generally regarded as the paramount means for securing truth, although that “truth” may not be permanent or enduring. Followings are the essential aspects of scientific methods-
- Direct observation of phenomenon.
- Clearly defined objectives, variables, methods and procedures.
- Empirically testable hypothesis.
- Statistically justified conclusions.
Induction and deduction are the products of scientific thinking which play important role in solving business administration problems. Deduction is a process of using information in order to understand a particular situation. Simply, it is the process of finding answers to the problem. Drawing conclusion about the phenomenon on the basis of proof and reason is called deduction. There is strong relation between reason and conclusion in deduction. Induction is an act of discovering general rules and principles from particular facts. It is the process of generalizing the research conclusion to the problem of similar situation. Here, the relation between reason and conclusion is not as strong as is in deduction.
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Role of research in business administration
Research in business is systematic activity directed towards investigating managerial or business problems and results in discovering the solution of problems. Managers need to understand factors that affect their organization and research helps to find the solutions of the problem. Managers have to decide that what policies and programs be adopted for betterment and how to execute them to get desired results. Therefore, manager should have certain skills of research, as research becomes a useful decision-making tool for professions. The benefit of research knowledge to manager may help for the identification of problem and formulation of policies to reduce risk that is likely to occur. Followings are the role of research in business administration.
- Identifying problems or opportunities
Before developing any strategy an organization must determine where it wants to go and how it will get there. Business research can help managers to plan strategies by determining the nature of situation or by identifying the existence of problems or opportunities present in the organization. It provides information about what is occurring within an organization or in its environment. The research gives clear picture of problem and opportunities about the organization and suggests the measures to be taken for improving the condition.
It involves in development and selection of plans to achieve the goal of the organization by removing the problems or by using opportunities. The planning is the process of seeking solution to what, when, where, why and how. The solution to these 4W+ H questions is only possible when sufficient knowledge about them is available. Research opens up details about the problem and provides information in detail to the audience.
- Policy formulation
Research plays an important role in formulating the policy of an organization. There is a tendency of organization to state their goal and objectives. Setting of goals and objectives helps to develop strategies. Policy is the outcome of the information delivered by the research activities and is effective to diffuse the conflict or for smooth running of the organization. Before selecting any strategy as policy, it is important to analyze its strength and weakness that is only possible through the process of investigation called research.
- Implementation and evaluation of a course of action
Even the best plan is likely to fail if it is not properly implemented. Business research if conducted with the people who will be affected by the proposed plan will indicate the specific tactics required to implement that particular plan. After the plan is implemented, the evaluation may serve as a tool to inform whether planned activities were properly executed and whether they accomplished what they were expected to accomplish. Evaluation examines the strength and weakness of the implemented plan and finds the measures to correct the weakness.
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