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The book presents a collection of essays addressing a perceived need for persistent and logical thinking, critical reasoning, rigor and relevance on the part of researchers pursuing their doctorates. Accordingly, eminent experts have come together to consider these significant aspects of the research process, which result in different knowledge claims in different fields or subject areas. An attempt has been made to find a common denominator across diverse management disciplines, so that the broadest range of researchers can benefit from the book. The topics have been carefully chosen to cover problem formulation, contextualizing, soft & hard modeling, qualitative and quantitative analysis and ethical issues, in addition to the design of experiments and survey-based research.

The distinguishing feature of this book is that it recognizes the diverse backgrounds of scholars from different interdisciplinary areas as well as their varying needs with regard to modeling, observations, measurements, aggregation, data analyses, etc. After all, researchers are expected to deepen our understanding, expand on existing information, introduce fresh insights, present new evidence and/or disprove accepted theories, hypotheses etc. More importantly, the book cautions against the over-reliance on software packages and mechanical interpretation of results based on the size, sign and significance of the coefficients obtained. Instead, the focus is on the underlying theories, hypotheses and relationships and on establishing new ones. In doing so, due care is taken to clearly enunciate what exactly constitutes a knowledge claim and what is methodology as distinct from methods, tools and techniques.



Chapter 1. Introduction

The genesis of this work goes back to the time when I began teaching a course on Research Methodology to fellow (doctoral) programme students at NITIE. That was way back in 2003, a good 11 years ago. That was when the Applied Statistics forming half of the course was taken out at my insistence and began to be taught as a separate course in addition to the stream-specific courses in the first module, with the sole objective of strengthening the methodology part without neglecting the statistical tools/techniques widely used by research scholars. That my colleagues on the Board of Research concurred with my long-held view and agreed to such a change was a big step indeed, for it was only then that as the Chair I could convince the Director. Perhaps, by then it had become increasingly clear to all concerned that in most credit seminar presentations, there was confusion among students as between methodology and methods and that they took the latter for the former, thus came the opportunity to strengthen the research methodology course with some theoretical perspectives, especially from the logical and philosophical viewpoints associated with creation, dissemination and advancement of knowledge. It felt good to experiment with new topics like knowledge claims, formal logic, dialectics, theory, empiricism, positivism, phenomenology, quantitative and qualitative paradigms and models, verification and falsification modelling, etc. More importantly, the students seemed interested and receptive, often expressing the view that this was something totally new to which they were exposed to and that it would immensely benefit them in their research work. Yet, I would increasingly feel something was amiss, and this was despite the fact a significant proportion of the batch admitted happened to come with fairly sound academic background, albeit from diverse disciplines ranging from science and technology, economics, finance, behavioural sciences to social and management sciences, IT, environment, ergonomics, etc. Admittedly, their proposed areas/topics of research were as diverse; some entailing conceptualization, modelling, testing, others involving laboratory work, others relying on primary data obtained from fieldwork/surveys and yet others taking recourse to library research using published data sources. Further, some were quantitative in their approach, others were qualitative and some others adopted a mixed type. Also, the composition of the successive batches would change.
Dinesh S. Hegde

Chapter 2. Knowledge Claims: Approaches and Perspectives

The paper provides an overview of what, why and how of knowledge claims that are made during the course of research or as outcomes of research. The objective is to familiarize budding scholars with some key concepts, frameworks and salient features of knowledge claims as generally understood in the realm of the philosophy of science, with a view to bring about clarity on what is involved in the search for knowledge or intellectual endeavours of inquiry and its advancement and progress. It would be of immense value if such deeper issues and larger perspectives inform the researcher’s investigation, analysis and interpretation, contributing, in effect, towards enrichment of the overall quality of such research. In this attempt, the focus has been on the nature, basis, types and methodologies of knowledge claims.
Dinesh S. Hegde

Chapter 3. Logical and Epistemological Norms in Scientific Theory Construction

Since the formative period of science in the antiquity, the logic of induction and deduction and the role they play in formulating scientific theories have been the concern for both the practicing scientists and the philosophers of science. It is commonly believed that science (and specifically a scientific theory) does not consist of discrete and random collection of factual statements, but comprises a network of both empirical and theoretical, particular and general, and observational and law statements in a coherent structure and framework. The role of logic in science, especially the job of the construction of scientific theories, essentially relates to spelling out the nature of these connections and relationships among the various types of statements in this network, explaining what entitles the scientists to move from one type of statement to another or justifying on what basis they do so.
Amitabha Gupta

Chapter 4. Problem Formulation

The present chapter brings out the importance of clearly specifying the problem for effectiveness of the research study. It discusses clearly the manner of identifying ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of a problem situation and specifies methods of problem structuring. The need for clear specifications of both primary and secondary problems is stressed. The manner of identification of relevant variables through forward, backward and combined backward/forward formulation is also discussed. The chapter deals with methods of exploring alternatives and designing a modelling framework for solving the problem under study. All concepts and ideas are illustrated by a number of real-life case examples.
R. Bandyopadhyay

Chapter 5. Systems Approach and Soft Systems Methodology of Organization and Management Studies

This chapter consists of three parts. The first part discusses the need and importance of systems approach in management and social research. It attempts to specify the pitfalls of standard analytical and reductionist methods in tackling complex social and management issues. It then defines and illustrates the use of various concepts, theories, and laws relevant to systems approach.
Part II of the chapter deals with tools and techniques. Both diagrammatic and non-diagrammatic tools and techniques relevant to soft systems methodology are discussed. Such discussions include strategic option development analysis (SODA), cognitive mapping, strategic choice approach, and sociograms. The chapter describes the various areas of application and steps to be followed in carrying out research according to soft systems methodology. The third part of the chapter deals with a number of case studies. Most of such case studies utilized soft systems methodologies along with appropriate hard systems methodologies to tackle complex social, developmental, and management problems.
R. Bandyopadhyay

Chapter 6. Qualitative Research and Its Application in Organizational Management and Social Research

This chapter deals with all relevant aspects of qualitative research. Initially, the need and importance of qualitative research in tackling complex organizational and management problems are explained. It then goes on to discuss the relevant concepts, ideas, and theories of qualitative research.
Various methods, processes, and steps used in qualitative research are then elaborated. The chapter brings the distinguishing characteristics of qualitative research as compared to quantitative research. It deals in detail various aspects of ethnographic research.
Usefulness of computers and the Internet in qualitative research is explained. Focus group studies, case studies, and action research studies are also adequately covered.
Various case examples from real-life problem situations are provided to illustrate principles and methods discussed.
R. Bandyopadhyay

Chapter 7. On the Role and Significance of Contextualization in Economic Research

This chapter attempts to highlight the need for contextualization in research with particular reference to research in economics. The purpose is to help connect the missing links between rigour and relevance to strengthen analysis so as to yield an improved and comprehensive understanding of the topic under study, the associated problems and, perhaps, better solutions/recommendations. Towards this end, the researcher is made aware of the surrounding/connected issues, events, processes, phenomena and organizational and social settings including those relating to gender, ethnic, technologies and their spillover effects, so that such issues and perspectives, as may be relevant, be brought to bear upon the analysis. The discussion is taken up at three levels – macro, sectoral and micro – and discussed with the help of a few illustrations thrown up in the light of some recent developments and the need to revisit the conventional assumptions held hitherto. It is shown how our understanding of the problem under study improves substantially as compared to relying merely on quantitative accuracy.
Dinesh S. Hegde

Chapter 8. On Using Experimental Designs

Experiments and the experimental method form an important part of the repertoire of research methods that can be used in behavioral science research. However, problems ensue mainly because of the complex nature of the human subject vis-à-vis that of nonliving matter on which experiments are conducted in the natural sciences. It is to take care of such problems that specific experimental designs have been formulated, the use of which helps to control unwanted variance due to intervening and extraneous factors. Though a wide variety of experimental designs are available, a thorough understanding of each of them is imperative. While the right choice by a discerning researcher helps to bridge the gap between conceptual validity and statistical validity, a faulty selection of experimental design will lead to the obtaining of data which may be low on both reliability and validity.
V. K. Kool, Rita Agrawal

Chapter 9. Questionnaire Design for Survey Research

Questionnaire design in itself is a methodology as well as a technique for assessing a variety of organizational and social system processes through individual-level perceptions. Assessing people calls for in-depth understanding of mental- and behavioral-level processes. Mapping personal attributes through MBTI, Personal Orientation Inventory (POI), Big Five Personality Scale, and also FIRO-B all required rigorous longitudinal design, and such questionnaire-based procedures that may take years before the inventory are finally used for assessment or predictive purposes. On the other hand, there are a variety of questionnaires on Leadership, Societal, and Community Analysis, Cultural Assessment Surveys of Organization, QWL Indices, and Job Satisfaction Surveys which followed steps suggested by psychometric experts, yet it is an easy way out requiring lesser amount of time, effort, and material resources to define and validate the latter sets of questionnaires for a given purpose. This chapter explained several steps involved in questionnaire design for survey-based researches, starting with operational definition of a domain of a study to more sophisticated measureable dimensions for which statements or semantic categories can be created for rating purposes. Thus, from operational definitions as to what are measurable, the intended questionnaire design is expected to evolve a first rudimentary form of the questionnaire with sizable number of items (statements) that are prepared tentatively. As a next logical step, there is a need to establish item validities (from simple assessment of items in terms of means and SDs and item to total correlations to more rigorous statistical tests that establish relevance of items within a domain of the study). It is also imperative to verify reliability and validity of the questionnaire establishing that what is being measured taps to the reality being observed by researchers and others alike. A few procedures as to how to calculate reliability and validity are highlighted with examples. A practical approach in designing non-psychometric questionnaire was elaborated by way of writing statements based on essay writing method and demonstrated ways of writing statements from various essays on certain defined domains of the study. Details were provided with regard to how item validities were calculated and then how construct/predictive validity of the questionnaire was finally verified. Three case examples were included in the paper describing the detailed process required in a questionnaire design methodology.
Omer Bin Sayeed

Chapter 10. Ethics in Research with Special Reference to Social Sciences

There has been a great spread of research at all types and at all levels. At the same time, the unethical conduct also has increased among the researchers. For example, we so often hear about the plagiarism. The ethical issues have become more important these days. The objective of this paper is to sensitise and to increase the ethical awareness of those engaged in research activities. In other words, this paper seeks to discuss the matters relating to the ethical sensibilities of the appropriate groups. Some of the questions discussed in this paper are as follows. What is research? What is ethics? Is ethics needed, i.e. what is the importance of ethics in research? Can some areas of research activity be ethics-free? What are the special ethical issues particularly in social sciences? Ethical codes, principles, rules regarding research also are discussed.
L. M. Bhole


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