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The Research Process

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Life is a process. No one becomes a man before he attains youth age. Also, for a person who wishes to become a postgraduate student of ABSU, he has to follow certain processes. The process follows an inquiry on how much the form costs, payment of same amount into the bank to get the pin with which to register online, submission of credentials and forwarding of transcript, receiving a test message, down to paying of school fees and going from one office to another for the full registration. Just as life and becoming a student entail following certain processes, so is obtaining useful information in form of data for reliable decision making. Thus, we talk of “the Research Process”. Also, to obtain quality data, there is need for the use of effective tool of data collection (Techniques of Research). Before we look into the research process proper, it is necessary to understand what is meant by ‘Research’.
Definition of Research
Research is a way of solving problem, which the researcher has defined, in the subject area chosen. In general terms, according to Anyanwu (2000:1), research is concerned with finding or searching out something that can aid management in the solution of problems. That is to say that any research that cannot proffer solution to a problem is a waste of resources (time, money and energy). Research as a scientific inquiry calls for various activities. These series of activities are what give us the research process.
Meaning of Research Process
The research process, therefore, is defined as the series of activities that the researcher must perform in order to complete his/her work. To a large extent, these activities must follow step by step and in many cases, the successful completion of one is necessary in order to embark on the other. Thus, one cannot collect data for an undefined problem neither can he collect the data after defining the problem without formulating the hypotheses. It should be stated here that the entire process of planning, execution and producing a research report in most fields is multidimensional, in that of the stages, although different and beginning at different points, overlap in time, that is to say that several of these stages are being arrived on at the same time, each having its primary importance at some point in the research process.

The Research Process
Different authors have come up with different ways of researching a problem. For instance, according to Ikeagwu (1998:37) the research process is said to involve identifying a problem, translating the problem into a research problem, and collecting, analyzing and reporting the information specified in the research problem, each of the stages form part of the sequence of activities towards a solution to problems. Also, Fox (1969:30) suggested a 3 part 17 model, which calls for various dynamics. Also, other authors see the research process as a 4 stages activity, and include: i. Exploration of the situation; ii. Development of a research design that will facilitate data collection; iii. Actual collection of the data after deciding on the appropriate sciences and gathering techniques; and iv. The data analysis and interpretation of the result, terminates the research process.
Obviously, this 4 stage approach assumes that certain activities are embedded in one another. For instance, exploration will call for problem statement, which can only be possible with an initial review of literature. As Ikeagwu (1998:40-41) put it, problem definition is the most critical part of the research process. If a research problem is not properly articulated, it is unlikely that the information provided will not be of significant value. Therefore, to define a problem calls for four inter-related steps, which are not to be overemphasized as follows: a. Problem clarification; b. Situation analysis; c. Model Development and d. Specification of information required.
Ikeagwu (Ibid) concluded that a research process consists of a number of closely related activities that are designed to solve a problem. Thus, the purpose of every research is to follow a procedure that in the end will need to the answer to the problem stated. However, here, we are going to utilize the process that calls for seven steps. The seven-stage research process calls for the following activities and steps as briefly articulated: 1) The Problem Definition or Statement: A problem needs to be clarified and concisely stated. This is the first step in the research process and of course the most difficult. A researcher may have either read the problem; observed it or experienced it. (Anyanwu, 2000:8). As it is often said, a well defined problem is half solved”, the knowledge about the problem of a researcher gives him an edge into solving the problem. Thus, Ikeagwu (1998:37) put it clear that the research process is said to involve identifying a problem, translating the problem into a research problem, and collecting, analyzing and reporting the information specified in the research problem, each of the stages form part of the sequence of activities that are designed to solve a problem. 2) Research plan must be designed, stating the nature and purpose of the study. 3) Data collection decision has to be made. Types of data and their sources must be articulated. The data gathering techniques and procedures must be evaluated. 4) The instrumentation stage will call for designing the appropriate instrument observation, asking and experimenting instruments must be designed and in the case of questionnaires must be proofread and pre-tested with a pilot group. 5) The population and sampling therefore must be determined. Every research must have a target population and sampling process must determine whether to do a total population study or to use a sample of the population. The sampling process must statistically calculate the appropriate sample size and the procedure for selecting the sample. 6) Processing and analyzing the information procedure in the field work must be edited, processed and thoroughly analyzed with appropriate analytical tools. The job of a researcher is made light as large volume of research information can even be processed and analyzed with the help of a computer. 7) The Research report/presentation terminates the research process. The entire series of activities starting from the problem statement to the last aspect of the data analysis must be reflected in the research report. The research report in many instances needs to be presented, including orally defending the report.
Techniques of Research
From the seven steps research process, steps three (3) through seven (7) depict that every research study deals with collection, presentation analysis and interpretation of data for effective result. Once the data collection approach has been decided upon, the next consideration is the instrument to be used. Thus, research data are measured with the aid of research instruments, which therefore constitute the different methods of collecting research data. The types and methods of research are presented in the following figure, according to Anyanwu (2000:41):

Survey Experimentation Ex Post Facto
Methods Methods Methods

Personal Interview Laboratory Research after
Questionnaire Field (Nature) the facts have
Observations been known
Telephone Interview
Panel Technique

However, as managers who are not interested in experimental methods of data gathering, we are going to concentrate mostly on the survey methods of research in this study.

Survey Research
Survey research is a commonly used method of collecting information about a population of interest. There are many different types of surveys, several ways to administer them, and many methods of sampling. Here, we will be looking into the following survey methods of collecting research data: i. Questionnaire ii. Observations iii. Interviews and iv. Rating Scales

The Questionnaire
A questionnaire consists of a set of questions designed to gather information/data for analysis, the results of which are used to answer the research questions or used for test of relevant hypotheses beyond the easy physical reach of the researcher.

Types of questionnaire
The two most common types of questionnaires are structured questionnaire and unstructured questionnaire.

1. Structured questionnaire
In this type of questionnaire, the respondent is restricted to some response options. A question is asked and a number of response options are supplied. From these, the respondent is expected to choose any one that best suits his response. The following characteristics are inherent in a structured questionnaire: a) Have definite and concrete questions. b) Is prepared well in advance. c) Initiates a formal inquiry. d) Supplements and checks the data, previously accumulated. e) Used in studies of the economics and the social problems, studies of the administrative policies and changes etc. f) The questionnaire design presents closed-ended question.

Characteristics of Closed-Ended Questions * The respondents are given a list of predetermined responses from which to choose their answer. * The list of responses should include every possible response and the meaning of the responses should not overlap. * An example of a close-ended survey question would be, "Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statement: 'I feel good about my work on the job.' Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree?" * A Likert scale, which is used in the example above, is a commonly used set of responses for closed-ended questions. * Closed-ended questions are usually preferred in survey research because of the ease of counting the frequency of each response.

2. Unstructured questionnaire a) This form of questionnaire does not provide any response options for the respondents. b) Only questions pertaining to the problem are asked and the respondent is free to supply his response in his own words and in any manner he deems it. c) This type of questionnaire is very flexible in working and is mostly used in studies related to the group of families or those relating to the personal experiences, beliefs etc. d) The questionnaire design presents Open-ended question.

Characteristics of Open-Ended Questions
The following points tell us the nature of open-ended questions: a. Survey respondents are asked to answer each question in their own words b. Responses are usually categorized into a smaller list of responses that can be counted by the study team for statistical analysis) c. Respondent is free to express his views and the ideas. d. Used in making intensive studies of the limited number of the cases. e. Merely an issue is raised by such a questionnaire. f. Do not provide any structure for the respondent’s reply. g. The questions and their orders are pre – determined in the nature.

Precautionary Measures in Questionnaire Construction
In the construction of the questionnaire for the research, certain things need to be put into consideration. Thus: i. The questionnaire itself should not be lengthy. ii. The questions should be logically and sequentially arranged. iii. The questions and statements should be very clear, unambiguous, and straight to the point. iv. The questions and statements should be polite, modest and not offensive or controversial. v. Unclarified assumptions should not be made to avoid being misunderstood. vi. Efforts should be geared towards avoiding direct and emotionally loaded items since they could create bias. vii. Leading questions should be avoided because they tend to suggest the existence of only one answer. viii. Equally to be avoided are questions of complex nature and those that are sophisticated.

Qualities of a Good Questionnaire
The essential features of a good questionnaire r:
1. Questions should be relevant to the topic
2. Questions should be arranged in systematic format
3. Number of questions should b limited
4. Questions should be put in unambiguous language
5. Questions that hurt sentiments of respondents should b avoided
6. Multiple-choice type questions should be preferred
7. Few questions that allow cross-checking of imp data may b included [if u have noted, the survey people ask both your age & date of birth]
8. Lastly, a pilot survey should be conducted to bring to light the shortfalls of the draft.

Advantages of questionnaires
The main advantages of questionnaires are: * They are relatively easy to analyze * They are familiar to library staff and managers * A large sample of the given population can be contacted at relatively low cost; * They are simple to administer; * The format is familiar to most respondents; * They should be simple and quick for the respondent to complete * Information is collected in a standardized way * They are usually straightforward to analyze * They can be used for sensitive topics which users may feel uncomfortable speaking to an interviewer about * Respondents have time to think about their answers; they are not usually required to reply immediately.
Disadvantages of questionnaires
The main disadvantages of questionnaires are: * If you forget to ask a question, you cannot usually go back to respondents, especially if they are anonymous * It is sometimes difficult to obtain a sufficient number of responses, especially from postal questionnaires * Those who have an interest in the subject may be more likely to respond, skewing the sample * Respondents may ignore certain questions * Questionnaires may appear impersonal * Questions may be incorrectly completed * They are not suitable to investigate long, complex issues * Respondents may misunderstand questions because of poor design and ambiguous language * Questionnaires are unsuitable for some kinds of respondents, e.g. visually impaired students * There is the danger of questionnaire fatigue if surveys are carried out too frequently * They may require follow up research to investigate issues in greater depth and identify ways to solve problems highlighted.

Observation is a fundamental way of finding out about the world around us. As human beings, we are very well equipped to pick up detailed information about our environment through our senses. However, as a method of data collection for research purposes, observation is more than just looking or listening. Comparatively, this data collection technique is not popular as questionnaire distribution and interview. People, things or combination of people and things could be observed together. This method is particularly suitable in studies which deal with subjects (i.e. respondents) who are not capable of verbal report of their feelings for one reason or the other.
Researchers who use observation as a method of data collection either witness and record information while watching events take place or take advantage of some tracking system such as check-out scanners or Internet activity records. These tracking systems can observe and provide data such as whether or not a specific consumer purchased more products on discount or at regular price or how long an employee takes to complete a specific task.

Considerations in Planning the Observation
There are certain considerations that should guide the observation. They are summarized as follows: i. The aims and objectives of the research should be spelt out. ii. A list of the attributes to be observed should be listed. iii. All the attributes listed should be valid in the sense that they should be related to the problems of the research. iv. The mode of recording the attributes should be determined. One of the two modes of recording observations is tallying in which the number of times an event is taking place is reached. The second is the intensity in which the event is taking place – here rating scale is involved. v. Proper administration arrangements should be made to record the observation. vi. The researcher should strategically position him/self in such a way that he can see clearly, hear clearly, taste, smell, and feel uninterrupted. vii. Also, the researcher/investigator should feel related and possess friendly and pleasant disposition. His mode of dressing should be modest and not distracting. viii. The observation should be recorded.

Types of Observation 1. Participant Observation: Here, the investigator participates and observes whatever behaviour he may wish to study. The observer is a member of the setting in which the observation is taking place. 2. Structured Observation: This is usually applied within an experimental setting, when the variables affecting a particular behaviour of the respondents are identified and all but one controlled to enable the effect of that one variable on behaviour manifests itself sufficiently. 3. Direct and Indirect Observation: This brings the investigator face-to-face with what is being observed. It also involves the use of cameras or video tape recorders as device for recording observations. If the observation takes place in a natural environment, we talk of uncontrolled observation, but when it take place according to definite pre-arranged plans, involving experimental procedure, the same is then referred to as controlled observation.

Advantage of Observations i. The main advantage of observational research is flexibility. ii. The researchers can change their approach as needed. iii. Also it measures behavior directly, not reports of behavior or intentions.

Disadvantage of Observations i. The main disadvantage is it is limited to behavioral variables. ii. It cannot be used to study cognitive or affective variables. iii. Another disadvantage is that observational data is not usually general.

This method involves eliciting information from the respondent through some verbal interaction between the researcher and the respondent. A great deal of communication skill is required for this kind of research technique. It implies fact-to-face discussion between the investigator and the interviewee.

Types of Interview
There are two types of interview. They are: i. Personal Interview or Face-to-Face (FtF) Interview and ii. Telephone Interview.
Face-to-face interviews: Synchronous communication of time and place

This requires a person known as the interviewer asking question, generally in a face-to-face contact with the other person or persons. There are two aspects of this type of interview thus: i. Direct personal investigation whereby the interviewer has to collect the information personally from the sources concerned. ii. Indirect oral investigation calls for the interviewer conducting an indirect oral examination by cross-examining other persons who are supposed to have knowledge of the problem under investigation and the information obtained is recorded.
Telephone interviews
This method of collecting information consists of contacting respondents on telephone. Because of the manner in which the respondents are selected, bias in sampling becomes forthcoming.
Other Types of Include
Focused Interview: Here the aim is to focus attention on the given experience of the respondent and its effect.
Clinical Interview: This is involved with a broad underlying feeling of motivation or with the course of individual’s life experience. This method of eliciting information under it is generally left to the interviewers’ discretion.
Non-directive Interview: The interviewer’s function is simply to encourage the respondent to talk about the given topic with a bare minimum of direct questioning. The interviewer often acts as a catalyst to a comprehensive expression of the respondent’s feelings and beliefs and of the frame of reference within which such feelings and beliefs take on personal significance.
It should be noted that recording interview is an important task facing the interviewer. If he fails to record the responses correctly, the entire exercise is invalidated.
Rating Scales
Rating scales is one of the more common ways of collecting data in the social sciences. Scales can represent any of a number of concepts. For example, illness terms can be rated on their degree of severity, cars can be rated on “likelihood to purchase” scales, and political candidates can be rated on how well liked their policies are. Items can be rated on a single conceptual scale or each may be rated on a series of scales representing a variety of concepts or attributes. Rating scales are the most widely used technique for questionnaire data collection.

Types of Scales
Three major scales exist for the measurement of social and psychological variables. They include: i. The summated rating scale or Likert-type scale deviced by Rensis Likert; ii. The equal appearing interval scale or the Thurstone Scale; and iii. The Cumulative Scale or Guttman Scale.
Our main focus in this study will be on the first one which is the Likert-type scale deviced by Rensis Likert.

Likert scale
A Likert scale is a psychometric scale commonly involved in research that employs questionnaires. It is the most widely used approach to scaling responses in survey research, such that the term is often used interchangeably with rating scale, or more accurately the Likert-type scale, even though the two are not synonymous. The scale is named after its inventor, psychologist Rensis Likert.
Likert distinguished between a scale proper, which emerges from collective responses to a set of items (usually eight or more), and the format in which responses are scored along a range. Technically speaking, a Likert scale refers only to the former. The difference between these two concepts has to do with the distinction Likert made between the underlying phenomenon being investigated and the means of capturing variation that point to the underlying phenomenon.
A Likert scale pertaining to Wikipedia can be calculated using these five Likert items. An important distinction must be made between a Likert scale and a Likert item. The Likert scale is the sum of responses on several Likert items. Because Likert items are often accompanied by a visual analog scale (e.g., a horizontal line, on which a subject indicates his or her response by circling or checking tick-marks), the items are sometimes called scales themselves. This is the source of much confusion; it is better, therefore, to reserve the term Likert scale to apply to the summed scale, and Likert item to refer to an individual item.
A Likert item is simply a statement which the respondent is asked to evaluate according to any kind of subjective or objective criteria; generally the level of agreement or disagreement is measured. It is considered symmetric or "balanced" because there are equal numbers of positive and negative positions.[6] Often five ordered response levels are used, although many psychometricians advocate using seven or nine levels; a recent empirical study[7] found that items with five or seven levels may produce slightly higher mean scores relative to the highest possible attainable score, compared to those produced from the use of 10 levels, and this difference was statistically significant. In terms of the other data characteristics, there was very little difference among the scale formats in terms of variation about the mean, skewness or kurtosis.
The format of a typical five-level Likert item, for example, could be: 1. Strongly disagree 2. Disagree 3. Neither agree nor disagree 4. Agree 5. Strongly agree
Likert scaling is a bipolar scaling method, measuring either positive or negative response to a statement. Sometimes an even-point scale is used, where the middle option of "Neither agree nor disagree" is not available. This is sometimes called a "forced choice" method, since the neutral option is removed. The neutral option can be seen as an easy option to take when a respondent is unsure, and so whether it is a true neutral option is questionable. A 1987 study found negligible differences between the use of "undecided" and "neutral" as the middle option in a 5-point Likert scale.
The seven activities in the research process complete the research and must be reflected in the research report, including the financial implication. Usually added also are such things as suggestions for solving the problem or what is referred to as general recommendations. In academic reports, there are suggestions for further studies. It should be noted that the research is usually evaluated on the basis of the extent to which the researcher follows an acceptable research procedure (process). Thus, the commonest questions used in evaluating the research will include: i. Did the research accomplish its objectives? ii. Was it done with the design timeliness and budget? iii. Where assumptions and limitations made? iv. How was the field work supervised? v. Was there any cleaning of the data and how was it carried out? vi. How was the validity of the instrument done? vii. Were the recommendations realistic and was it logical extension of the conclusion of the study? viii. How were the costs and benefits assessed?
All the information contained in this study, except mentioned were summaries of chapters twelve and nine of two different texts respectively as follows:
Udeze, J. O. (2005) Business Research Methodology: A simple Learn it and do it Yourself Text, Enugu: Chiezugo Ventures (Printing and Publishing).
Ukandu, C. N., Azubuike, C. R., Chukwu, M. K., Emelike, N. O. and Nwachukwu, A. N. Research Methodology. Aba: Okeson publication (nig)…...

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...RES/ 351 – Business Research Assignment: Stages of the Research Process. Professor: Stages of the Research Process Research is investigation a study to basically establish facts in a particular area of study; the main goal is to get as much as information, in this case “ facts”, that can be set until you are able to come into a conclusion. In the reading passage it states, “ that a useful way to approach a research process is to state a basic dilemma that prompts the research and then try to develop other questions by progressively breaking down the original one into more specific ones”, (Donald R Cooper and Pamela S. Schindler; page 77), with this being stated in the reading passage. There are particular areas in which really must be focus during the stages of the research process these stages are: Clarifying the research question, Proposing research, designing the research project, collecting data and preparation, Data analysis and interpretation, Reporting the results. All of these must be involve during the research process, with out these there can’ be a exact or in other words accurate results for the research that is being done, otherwise the results of the research can be misleading to false result. I have chosen three particular articles with specific topics, “ Marketing and Business Research”, “Business Research Methods”, and “ Marketing Research and Business Management”. Purpose of business research 1st Article, “......

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The Research Process

...The Research Process   Research is defined as “careful study to find and report new knowledge about something” (Merriam-Webster, 2015).  The research process is the “systematic inquiry that uses disciplined methods to answer questions and solve problems” (McEwen & Wills, 2014, p. 432).  Most elementary students start learning about the scientific method by questioning and hypothesizing in regards to their environment.  As students grow older and continue in the academia setting, they build on that fundamental foundation by expanding into the research process.  There are a variety of structured research processes and they differ on the number of components; however, the very basic steps are the same: identify a topic or question of interest, review literature for information, plan the method of investigation, collect data, analyze and interpret the data, and disseminate findings.  It is the additional break-down of the steps within the basic outline that creates a more detailed and longer process such as determining methods of measurement, defining the population sample to be studied, addressing legal/ethical issues related to human/animal rights, and developing a plan for data collection and analysis.  Regardless of how many steps a research process contains, it is critical to ensure the validity of the research itself. Validity encompasses the entire experimental concept and establishes whether the results obtained meet all of the requirements of the research method. ......

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Cja 334 Research Process

...Research Process and Terminology CJA 334 University of Phoenix HOPE TYEHIMBA Different research methods used today play a very important role in the criminal justice system. Using effective methods gives people the ability to open and close cases. People interested in the criminal justice field have the ability to use wide ranges of research methods at their disposal. Research Process and Terminology I. The research process consists of multiple steps and sub-steps for an effective outcome. For an accurate result, one must try to avoid biases and pursue accuracy in his or her research to produce an accurate result. The research process begins with a theory. According to Hagan (2010), theories “are usually general or broad statements regarding the relationship between variables. A theory does not necessarily have to have proof to back it up, following steps in the research process can give credence to a theory and may be able to prove the theory to be fact. A theory can transition into a hypothesis, which according to Hagan (2010), “are specific statements regarding the relationship between variables and are derived from more general theories”. The next steps in the research process are research design and data gathering (Hagan, 2010). A researcher can choose between an experimental and a non-experimental approach, whether to examine individuals or...

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Research Process

...RESEARCH PROCESS A PAPER WRITTEN BY : IVIE ELOGHOSA OGBEIDE(ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT,UNIBEN) INTRODUCTION. Research process has been conducted from the time since human being was first created and it is a never ending process. More than hundreds of definitions of research have been available in written form in different books, encyclopedias, dictionaries and in research literature. These definition may have difference in wordings but meanings are similar.This paper is going to look at the meaning of research,its aim and purpose,types,characteristics and the processes or steps involved in a research. The word "research" is used to describe a number of similar and often overlapping activities involving a search for information.It is a systematic investigation to establish facts. Research can be defined as the search for knowledge or as any systematic investigation, with an open mind, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories. The primary purposes of basic research are documentation,discovery,interpretation,or the research and development of methods and systems for the advancement of human knoledge.Research is the seeking of knowledge in systematic, organized manner. The system that a researcher follows to find out the facts that are hidden and not known to people, determines the validity, genuineness and reliability of research. A research is biased or fake if there is no validity or reliability in the research......

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Research Process

...Research Process The ultimate goal of the student data collection is to determine the average monetary expense of furthering one’s education for one calendar year. The subjects of this paper are students of the University of Phoenix’s Bucks County Campus. The cost of obtaining a higher education at this university is approximated by using a focus group, consisting of four learning team members. Constructs, such as tuition cost, travel expense and resource expense data from each subject will be explored. In order to effectively measure the information obtained from the focus group, controls are implemented on the data. This study assumes that each student travels to and from the campus twice a week. The first trip is made to attend class and the second trip is made so that each student can participate in a physical learning team meeting. Since the duration of each class is five weeks in length, the analysis used is based on 10 trips to the University of Phoenix campus. Each student will complete 10 courses per calendar year. The distance involved in traveling to the campus will be measured by mileage, price of gasoline, and tolls. Another measurement is tuition cost per course. The constructs for the tuition cost include tuition reimbursement and out-of-pocket expense. Travel expenses were calculated based on current gasoline average cost of $2.69 per gallon. Mileages per gallon calculations were based on 17 miles per gallon of gasoline from participant’s home to......

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