Different scholars have interpreted the term ‘research’ in many ways.
For instance, Fred Kerlinger (1986) stated that ‘Scientific research is a systematic, controlled and critical investigation of propositions about various phenomena.’
Grinnell (1993) has simplified the debate and stated ‘The word research is composed of two syllables, ‘re’ and ‘search’.
The following are steps in Research study
The management dilemma
The need might be purely academic (basic or fundamental research) or there might be an immediate business decision that requires an effective and workable solution (applied research).
Defining the research problem
This is the first and the most critical step of the research journey. If a business man wants to do some changes in his business means he has to define the problem correctly firstly.
Formulating the research hypotheses
The reason is that every research study might not always begin with a hypothesis; in fact, the task of the study might be to collect detailed data that might lead to, at the end of the study, some indicative hypotheses to be tested in subsequent research.
Developing the research proposal
Once the management dilemma has been converted into a defined problem and a working hypothesis, the next step is to develop a plan of investigation.
Research design formulation
Based on the orientation of the research, i.e., exploratory, descriptive or causal, the researcher has a number of techniques for addressing the stated objectives.
It is not always possible to study the entire population. Thus, one goes about studying a small and representative sub-group of the population.
Planning and collecting the data for research
The data collection methods may be classified into secondary and primary data methods. Primary data is original and collected first hand for the problem under study.
Data refining and preparation for analysis
Once the data is collected, it must be refined and processed in order to answer the research question(s) and test the formulated hypotheses (if any).
Data analysis and interpretation of findings
There are a number of statistical techniques available to the researcher—frequency analysis, percentages, arithmetic mean, t-test and chisquare analysis.
The research report and implications for the manager’s dilemma
The report preparation, from the problem formulation to the interpretation, is the final part of the research process. As we stated earlier, business research is directed towards answering the question ‘what are the implications for the corporate world?’ Thus, in this step, the researcher’s expertise in analysing, interpreting and recommending, is very important.