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Chapter 19: Business Research Methods 1

Chapter 19: Business Research Methods


Upon completing this chapter, you will be able to design and implement a plan for
conducting the research needed for a business report. To reach this goal, you should be able to

Contents
Explain the difference between primary and secondary research. ...................................................................... 2
Secondary Sources of Data ............................................................................................................................... 2
PRIMARY RESEARCH ......................................................................................................................................... 3
Observation .................................................................................................................................................. 3
EXPERIMENT ................................................................................................................................................ 3
Survey .......................................................................................................................................................... 3
Probability sampling ......................................................................................................................................... 4
Data Analysis Methods: .................................................................................................................................... 5
Quantitative and qualitative research ............................................................................................................... 6
Quantitative research ................................................................................................................................... 6
Qualitative research ..................................................................................................................................... 7
Data Presentation Method: .............................................................................................................................. 7
Hard Copy .................................................................................................................................................... 7
Soft Copy ...................................................................................................................................................... 7

Types

Primary Secondary
Data Data

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Chapter 19: Business Research Methods 2

Explain the difference between primary and secondary research.

Basis For Primary Research Secondary Research


Comparison
Meaning Research conducted to gather Secondary Research is one that
first-hand information, for the involves use of information
current problem is called Primary gathered originally by primary
Research. research.
Based on Raw data Analyzed and interpreted
information
Carried on by Researcher himself Someone else
Data Specific to the needs of May or may not be specific to
researcher. the needs of researcher.
Process Very Involved Rapid and Easy
Cost High Low
Time Long Short

Secondary Sources of Data

Secondary sources describe, analyses, interpret or draw conclusions from a primary


source. Secondary sources are created after the studied event/work took place or the
studied work was created. They can therefore take into consideration other events
and place a primary source in its historical context. Secondary sources are not
evidence but rather commentary on and discussion of evidence.

Library: Library is the best source for collection of secondary data. All kinds
of books, all publications, research oriented deeds, researched publications,
useful materials, magazines, newspapers, official publication etc. can be
found in libraries. Secondary data can be easily collected from such sources.
Central Library, Keshar Library, British Council, American Library etc. are the
major libraries of Nepal.
Dictionaries: Dictionaries are helpful for looking up meanings, spellings, and
pronunciations of words or phrases. Dictionaries are available in both general
and specialized versions. Also, dictionaries often include added features such
as style manuals, signs, symbols, and weights and measures. Because
dictionaries reflect usage, you want to be sure the one you use is current
Magazines/Newspapers: Magazines are also effective but not very reliable.
Newspaper on the other hand is more reliable and in some cases the
information can only be obtained from newspapers as in the case of some
political studies.
Websites: Generally, websites do not contain very reliable information so
their content should be checked for the reliability before quoting from them.

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PRIMARY RESEARCH
Primary research (or field research) gathers original information directly for your
purpose, rather than being gathered from published sources. Primary research
includes:

Observation
Observation: Collecting data by observing activities of persons is called observation
method. Observation may be personal or mechanical. Complete and accurate data
can be collected through observation method.
Personal observation: This method is more useful to collect data about
sellers performance and their priority given to the brand.
Mechanical observation: Mechanical observation can be done in various
forms. For instance, scanner can be used in retail stores for keeping purchase
record. Similarly, camera can be used to keep persons reaction in video form.

EXPERIMENT
Experimental method: Primary data can be collected through experimental method.
Experimental works are done in lab and field for collection of primary data.
Laboratory experiment: The testing or trying out in lab is called laboratory
experiment. Laboratory is used to taste/examine the components of
marketing strategy.
Field experiment: The other method used to understand the consumers
reaction is field experiment. This is also like a laboratory, but it is done
remaining in real situation. Test marketing is a field experiment

Survey
The premise of the survey as a method of primary research is simple: You can best acquire
certain types of information by asking questions. Such information includes personal data,
opinions, evaluations, and other important material. It also includes information necessary to
plan for an experiment or an observation or to supplement or interpret the data that result.

Face to Face Interview:

Getting information in person may be the most personal approach and most
effective way of gaining trust and cooperation from the respondent.
It is easier to react to puzzled facial expressions, answer questions, probe for
clarification or redirect responses.
Face to face contact is particularly useful to detect respondent discomfort
when discussing sensitive issues or attempts to respond in a socially desirable
way.

Questionnaire

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This method research involves getting feedback from potential customers


through a structured, multi-question survey.
Questionnaires can be done over the phone, through mail/email or in person.
You may need to conduct several surveys to several groups in order to get
feedback from all possible types of customers.
One note about surveys if you dont have the resources to conduct a large
amount of them, small sample groups are okay but be cautious of making
major business decisions based on this small amount of feedback.

Focus Groups
Focus group research means assembling a small group of eight to 12 potential
customers to gather information and opinions about your product or service.
These groups are led by an objective discussion moderator.
Focus groups are a great way to get feedback on a product or service idea
directly from several potential customers.

Probability sampling

Probability sampling is based on chance selection procedures. Every element in the


population has a known nonzero probability of selection. Some of the techniques are
described below.
Simple random sampling: Simple random sampling involves chance
selection, giving every member of the group under study an equal chance of
being selected.
Stratified random sampling involves proportionate and random selection
from each major subgroup of the group under study.
Systematic sampling involves taking selections at constant intervals
(every fifth one, for example) from a complete list of the group under
study.
Area or cluster sampling involves dividing into parts the area that
contains the sample, selecting from these parts randomly, and continuing
to subdivide and select until you have your desired sample size.
Nonprobability sampling: Nonprobability sampling is based on an unknown
probability of any one of a group being studied. Some of the techniques are
described below.
Convenience sampling involves selecting members that are convenient,
easy to reach, and appropriate as judged by the researcher.
Quota sampling requires that you know the proportions of certain
characteristics (sex, age, education, etc.) in the group under study. You
then select respondents in the same proportions.

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Referral sampling involves building your sample from other participants


referrals.

Data Analysis Methods:

Data analysis is the step between collecting your data and reporting your data. Analysis is
the process of turning your raw data into useful information. This information can be used to
inform project design, monitor a project, or evaluate a project.

The use of qualitative or quantitative methods in evaluation depends on your


research or evaluation question.
Often times the terms qualitative methods and quantitative methods can be
referring to either data or analysis.
The chart below provides examples of studies and outputs when mixing and
matching qualitative and quantitative data and analysis methods.

Data Analysis Example


Qualitative Focuses on options, Ask and replies to Focus group
attitudes and questions of: why? discussions and in-
beliefs Would? How? depth interviews
with market actors
or consumers.
Quantitative Focuses on data Ask and replies to Surveys and data
and hard numbers questions of: How tracking forms,
many? .who? such as sales, profit
where? How often? and loss reports.

Quantitative data analysis involves the following steps: Mixed methods approaches
use more than one data collection method (such as in-depth interviews and surveys).
They use rigorous quantitative research methods to answer questions of
frequency/magnitude and rigorous qualitative methods to explore the meaning.
They also intentionally integrate these methods to comprehensively address the
evaluation questions. Mixed methods approaches are more than simply collecting
multiple forms of qualitative data (interviews) and pairing them with quantitative
data (diagnostic tests). What makes these approaches unique is that they involve the
intentional collection of both quantitative and qualitative data and the strengths of
each to answer research and evaluation questions.
1. Prepare the data. Dedicate time to review and clean data, and always analyze
data according to the sampling design. Use survey settings in analysis programs
to indicate features of the sampling strategy, such as stratification and cluster
sampling.

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2. Prepare for analysis. Stay focused on key questions and variables, and outline
your dummy tables. Identify the variables that you will use to populate dummy
tables, and create new variables as necessary.
3. Produce summary information. Always provide a clear picture of study
participant demographics and basic study results.
4. Produce key comparisons. Compare frequencies or means for measures of
impact, outcome, and output variables of interest across levels, such as groups
or survey rounds. Use multivariate analysis to adjust for factors that could
influence impact, outcomes, or outputs besides your intervention.
5. Interpret results. Consider both statistical and practical significance of results,
and proceed with caution to avoid making claims of causation without enough
evidence to do so.

It is important to remember that quantitative and qualitative data analyses are


rigorous undertakings and involved a highly technical skill set to complete. We have
provided an insight into the process above but suggest if you have questions or seek
guidance designing and implementing either evaluation method that you reach out
to an established and reputable research firm for further assistance.

Quantitative and qualitative research

Quantitative and qualitative research defines the type of information you gather.

Quantitative research
Quantitative research gathers numerical data. Quantitative research includes:
surveys on customer return frequency
sales figures
industry product sales numbers
online or phone questionnaires
financial trends.
You can use this approach to identify the size of your market and how much it might
be worth to your business, and to find areas for sales growth. Quantitative research
can also help you understand the demographics of customers, such as their age and
gender.
Quantitative research often produces a lot of statistics. These are useful as an
overview of your market, but make sure you don't rely solely on statistics in your
research. Consider all of the information you have. For example, the 'average' price
your target market suggested it would pay for a product could be distorted if a few a
participants selected a very high amount (i.e. not reflecting the high number who
would not pay that much).

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Qualitative research
Qualitative research gathers views and attitudes. Qualitative research includes:
focus groups with customers and potential customers to understand their
feelings and attitudes towards your products and services
formal and informal conversations with customers about their satisfaction
with your business
visits and reviews of competitors to understand their products and customer
service practices.
You can use this approach to get a better understanding of your customers' interests,
needs and habits, and identify opportunities for growing sales and improving
customer service. Analysing qualitative data requires a different approach and can
take longer to interpret than quantitative data because of the nature of the
information.

Data Presentation Method:

Hard Copy

The term hard copy itself describes something touchable, physical and tangible. And
copy means the result of a production or information.
So the collective meaning of hard copy is production of any record or information in a
physical object or form.
Printed books, newspapers, magazines, documents, etc. all are kinds of hard copy.
Hard copy is an older way of keeping the record in physical form.

Soft Copy

Soft copy means a data or information which can be stored in any kind of digital
memory.
Monitors or others display screens are used to see the soft copy results.
Soft copy is a latest form of preserving the material and information in a digital form.
Among lot of advantages of having soft copy two main advantages of soft copy are
that you can anytime send the data via email and can preserve the data without
having actual physical place.

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