Day 64: Asking the Right Research Question

Last week I discussed how a train is the perfect metaphor for organizing research projects - and ultimately, what led me to complete my dissertation proposal. This week, I discuss the engine or the research question. My husband explained it best: In the train metaphor, the first car is the engine which represents the research …

Day 63: The Train: A framework to organize research

Somehow, I managed to achieve one of my biggest goals of this year in June: I defended my dissertation proposal. I spent almost three years working towards this point. I thought I would never reach this milestone. I had nightmares about being kicked out because I was taking too long. I thought that living in …

Tradeoffs

The last topic I will discuss in the Research Design section is the tradeoffs. One of the most important activities when designing a research approach is understanding the tradeoffs that we have to make. For instance, issues like sampling (including procedures and size), the precision of measures, and the number of variables are common. Sampling …

Method Variance

I will briefly discuss method variance, as I have mentioned it as a potential problem in previous posts. It is generally understood that research focusing on macro-level questions (such as strategy) rarely use laboratory experiments, and rarely have the problem of common method variance. However, each time a research question emerges and the research design …

Context or Setting

This discussion is an extension on the Lab, Field, and Survey post. The place where we conduct research on organizations can have a significant impact not only on how we conduct research but also on the results of our studies and investigations. This means paying attention to methodological fit, and how we match the type …

Qualitative Techniques

Qualitative techniques for data collection are suited for the exploratory studies when little is know about the phenomena. That is, these techniques are well suited for the early stage of the five-step logical path for the programmatic research (McGrath, 1964).  However, these techniques are not suited for the testing theories or making causal inferences, as …

Lab, Field, and Survey

In this post I will summarize lab, field, and surveys. The most important things to remember are the measures that are used and the inferences each approach allows us to make. Lab Experiment Requires IVs and DVs, pre and post testing, experimental and control groups. Does not recreate reality, but studies variables in highly controlled, …

Research Design and Time

In the previous post, I detailed a few different types of research designs. In this post I will talk about an important element in research design: Time. According to Mitchell and James, time is treated as a commodity that can be broken into meaningful segments or blocks. It flows evenly and consistently, it’s precise and …

Research Designs

In the Causality post, I discussed the Solomon four group design. This design addressed some concerns on internal and external validity. In this post, I will discuss other research designs, their advantages and disadvantages. Nonequivalent Control Group Design Advantages Controls for the main effects of history, maturation, testing, instrumentation, selection and maturation. Disadvantages We do …

Causality

A crucial part of research design is the ability to establish causality. In order to make a statement about causality, three conditions are necessary: the cause precedes the effect, the cause and effect covary, and there is no plausible alternative explanation for the covariation. In order to make these inferences, Campbell and Stanley (1963) discuss …

Internal and External Validity

In the previous post, I discussed the four types of validity. Here, I will discuss validity in terms of research design. As we create and design the way we are going to answer our research question, there are threats to internal validity and external validity that must be considered. Internal validity seeks to isolate the …

Hypothesis Testing

There are a few standard steps in hypothesis testing: State the hypothesis in general terms Exploratory approaches. Intentional search approaches. Extending-coupling approaches. Operationalize the hypothesis: What will be measures/observed? (Dependent variables) What will be manipulated?  (Independent variables) How are these tied to the hypothesis? What methods will be employed? How will you test your hypothesis? …

Validity

The most common definition of validity is typified by the question: are we measuring what we think we are measuring. There are four types of validity: face, content, criterion, and construct. First is construct validity. It focuses on measuring concepts that are not directly observable and that we try to infer. For instance intelligence, anxiety …

Reliability

Reliability is the consistency or stability of a measuring instrument.  Kerlinger defined it as "the proportion of the ‘true’ variance to the total obtained variance of the data yielded by a measuring instrument.”  Operationally, this translates to the proportion of error variance to the total variance yielded by a measuring instrument subtracted from 1.00 (the …

Measurement

Kerlinger and others have discussed measurement bias and measurement development. Measurement biases involve systematic error that can occur in collecting relevant data. Common measurement biases include: Instrument bias. Instrument bias occurs when calibration errors lead to inaccurate measurements being recorded, e.g., an unbalanced weight scale. (questionnaires, company records) Insensitive measure bias. Insensitive measure bias occurs …

Theory Evaluation

The cycle of theory building approach as discussed in the previous post allow us to see the big picture of theory building process. This way of theory building allows us to integrate the dichotomies in business academia between field-based research and large-sample data analysis; theoretical vs. applied research; between deductive and inductive theory building. Hence, …

Theory Building

There are different ways in which one can build a theory. However, a few things must be kept in mind: Completeness Are all relevant factors included? Parsimony Should some factors be deleted because they provide little value? Relationships Why are you selecting the various factors and why do they relate? Gets at assumptions of author …

Theory

According to Babbie, theory is: A systematic sets of interrelated statements intended to explain some aspect of social life (they attempt to explain what we see). It is tied to observable events and makes predictions about empirical findings. And it is a series of structures linking constructs to action, eventually linked to behavior. One way …

Paradigms

The word Paradigm is meant to be the fundamental frames of reference that underlie social theories and inquiry and provide ways of observing so that we are able to understand concepts and constructs. They are usually difficult to recognize since they are taken for granted and seem to be the way things “are”. Eventually, when …

Philosophy of Science: Alternative Approaches

Knowledge has traditionally been produced from the positivistic research tradition (Sandberg 2005). This research paradigm asserts that the rules governing social life can be studied through rational and objective scientific approaches (Babbie 2010). Rational scientific theory is grounded on the assumptions discussed in the previous post. In addition, it assumes that research objects and subjects …

Philosophy of Science

The scientific approach is best described as a process. Science is best described not by its output, but by its method (e.g., process).  What unites all scientific inquiry is its process of inquiry.  Science is a systematic process of developing theoretical structure, testing internal consistency, and empirically testing hypotheses. The process starts with doubt and …

Research Design

The reason Research Design is so important is that it ensures that the evidence collected can be used to answer the research question as "unambiguously as possible." Science in general and social science in particular have been subjected to increasing criticism with respects to practicality, significance, application and meaning.  A strong research design can help …