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  1. ACCT6193 – Research Methodology in Accounting Week 2 – Session 3 The Broad Problem Area and Defining the Problem Statement
  2. The General Objectives • Explain the concepts of research methodology and its elements, such as problem statement, literature review, conceptual framework, research variables and hypothesis development. • Differentiate the qualitative and quantitative research approach.
  3. Chapter 3 Defining and Refining the Problem Slide 3-3
  4. First Steps Research Process FIGURE 3.1 Three important first steps in the research process: Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Identification of the Broad Management Problem Preliminary Research Definition of the Research Problem Slide 3-4
  5. Problem • Problem: any situation where a gap exists between an actual and a desired ideal state. Slide 3-5
  6. The Broad Problem Area • Examples of broad problem areas that a manager could observe at the workplace: – Training programs are not as effective as anticipated. – The sales volume of a product is not picking up. – Minority group members are not advancing in their careers. – The newly installed information system is not being used by the managers for whom it was primarily designed. – The introduction of flexible work hours has created more problems than it has solved in many companies. Slide 3-6
  7. Symptoms versus Problems • It is important that symptoms of problems are not defined as the real problem. • One way of determining that the problem, rather than the symptom, is being addressed is a technique called ‘5 Whys’ or ‘5 times why’. • This approach will help you to get to the root cause (the most basic cause) of a problem. Slide 3-7
  8. Symptoms versus Problems • Keep asking “Why?” until the most basic cause is arrived at. • Example: My best employees are leaving the organization. – Why? They are not satisfied with their jobs. – Why? They don’t find a challenge in their jobs. – Why? They don’t have control over their work. – Why? They don’t have enough influence over planning, executing, and evaluating their work. – Why? We have been reluctant to delegate. Slide 3-8
  9. From Problem to Feasible Research Topic • We need to transform the broad problem into a feasible topic for research by: a) making it more specific and precise; b) setting clear boundaries; c) selecting a perspective from which we investigate the subject (Machi and McEvoy, 2012). • Preliminary research will help us to make these transformations. Slide 3-9
  10. Preliminary Information Gathering Nature of information to be gathered: 1. Information on the organization and its environment – that is, the contextual factors. 2. Information on the topic of interest. Slide 3-10
  11. First Review of the Literature • Helps the researcher to: – Structure research on work already done – Develop problem statement with precision and clarity • Is beneficial in both basic and applied research projects Slide 3-11
  12. What Makes a Good Problem Statement? • Good problem statement includes both: – The research objective – Research questions Slide 3-12
  13. A Good Problem Statement • Research objective: why of the research • Research objective applied research: – to solve a specific problem in a work setting; – to change something. • Example: – To determine factors that increase employee commitment to the organization; • Allows manager to increase commitment and hence to decrease turnover, absenteeism and increase performance levels. Slide 3-13
  14. Example The purpose of this study is twofold: 1. to identify the factors that influence the passenger’s waiting experience and 2. to investigate the possible impact of waiting on customer satisfaction and service evaluations. Slide 3-14
  15. A Good Problem Statement • Research questions: – what of the research (what do you want to learn?) – Translates problem into a specific need for information • Research questions: – Are related to the objective – If objective is unclear we will not be able to formulate research questions Slide 3-15
  16. • Example: – What are the factors that affect the perceived waiting experience of airline passengers – To what extent do these factors affect the perception of waiting times? – What are the affective consequences of waiting – How does affect mediate the relationship between waiting and service evaluations? – How do situational variables (such as filled time) influence customer reactions to the waiting experience?
  17. Good Problem Statement • Relevant – for the organization • Feasible – you are able to answer the research questions within the restrictions of the research project. • Interesting – to you! Slide 3-17
  18. Basic Types of Questions • Exploratory • Descriptive • Causal Slide 3-18
  19. Basic Types of Questions • Exploratory questions: – not much is known about the situation at hand, or no information is available on how similar problems or research issues have been solved in the past. • Example: – A service provider wants to know why his customers are switching to other service providers? Slide 3-19
  20. Basic Types of Questions • Descriptive questions: – Enable the researcher to describe the characteristics of the variables of interest in a situation. • Example: – What is the profile of the individuals who have loan payments outstanding for 6 months and more? – The profile would include details of their average age, earnings, nature of occupation, full-time/part-time employment status, and the like. This might help him to elicit further information or decide right away on the types of individuals who should be made ineligible for loans in the future. Slide 3-20
  21. Basic Types of Questions • Causal questions: – Delineating one or more factors that are causing a problem. • Example: – Will the sales of product X increase if we increase the advertising budget? Slide 3-21
  22. The Research Proposal • The research proposal drawn up by the investigator is the result of a planned, organized, and careful effort. Slide 3-22
  23. Research Proposal Contains (1) • Working title. • Background of the study. • The problem statement. - The purpose of the study. - Research questions. • The scope of the study. • The relevance of the study. Slide 3-23
  24. Research Proposal Contains (2) • The research design offering details on: a. Type of study b. Data collection methods c. The sampling design. d. Data analysis. • Time frame of the study • Budget • Selected bibliography. Slide 3-24
  25. Thank You