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Research Methods Q1: What is the purpose of reviewing the literature in relation to influencing the approach to an MBA project and its reporting? Literature is the collective body of literary productions, embracing the entire results of knowledge and fancy preserved in writing; also, the whole body of literary productions or writings upon a given subject, or in reference to a particular science or branch of knowledge, or of a given country or period.

(Anon n. d. ) The litarature is about the knowledge of certain perspective (industry) or organisation you focus on no matter you are working in it.

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Especially in a project of MBA programe, which might be out of your working environment, the academic knowledge is essential. MBS RSM Study Guide (n. d.

) argues that literature should be viewed to support to complete a good quality project in two ways: firstly, although the project is not academic job, literatue can provide learning for the substantive elements of the project. Secondly, the literature can demonstrate how to make sure the study is methodologically acceptable and conforms to the conventions of a research project.

Literature is not the stuff to giving firm answer but helping how to find the right clue out of the questions and how to establish the framework to the questins. Hofstee (2006) denonstrate that a good literature review serves several purposes: Credentials Credentials are established based on good organising, objective discussing after deep, broard reading and investigation. Most important is the reader must believe the topic is well investigated and there is no much points to be doubted.

Theory base The ideas/thoughts you developed must be based on a theory base what is the acdamic terms of the aspects of the project.

Only based on theory base, you would know what they are and why they work and you can explain why your thoughts would be likely to work. Even likely there will be conflicting theories, you should find the theories related to the topics and argue with the theories on the opposite side which can bring more ideas and background knowledge to suppoer completing the work. Context and Significance. The work shall be located in the work of others. The context of the work will be clear by the work of you are going to do and the work most closely related.

Context is related to signicance which means the readers shall have little doubt after reading the work that the work has some significance. Originality Your work must be original if it was not found the same has done before. This leads to the new knowledge to the readers for the topics you have discussed in your work. A good literature review is comprehensive, critical and contextualised. That means that it will provide the reader with a theory base, a survey of published works that pertain to your investigation, and an analysis of that work.

Saunders et al (2009) demonstrate the similiar thoughts that reviewing the literature will critically provide the foundation on which your research is built.

Its main purpose it to help you to develop a good understanding and insight into relevant previous research and the trends that have emerged. You would not expect a scientific researcher inquiring into the causes of cot death to start his or her research without first reading about the findings of other cot death research.

Likewise, you should not expect to start your research without first reading what other researchers in your area have already found out. The precise purpose purpose of your reading of the literature will depend on the approach you are intending to use in the research. The approach style will be discussed later. The purpose of literature review is not to provide a summary of everything of the the research topic, but to review the most relevant and significant research on the topic.

Based on Saunders et al (2009)’s theory, there are some other purposes: – to further refine the research questions and objectives – to highlight research possibilities have been overlooked implicitly in research to date – to discover explicitly recommendations for further research – to avoid simply repeating work that was already done – to sample current opinions to gain insights into research questions and objectives – to discover to provide an insight into research apporaches, strategies and techiniques. The precise purpsoe of literature review is related to the the appoach to be used.

Duffy and O’Donnell (1999) define research approach as ‘presents a basis for carrying out the research and acts as a template that is subject to alteration dependings upon the nature of the work. This was furthermore elaborated in general as a hypothesis of how to better support design is proposed based upon an analysis or understandings of design. This hypothesis is formulated into a research problem within the field of interest. A solution is then developed, evaluated and the overall results and appropriate documentation generated.

figure 1) Saunders et al (2009) define the research approach to deductive and inductive according to different research philosophies. Deductive approach owes much to positivsm and think of as scientific research. It involves the theory subject to rigorous test. Thus it is the dominant research apporach in the natural sciences. Robson (2002 cited in Saunders et al 2009) listes five sequential stages for the progress of deductive research: – deducing a hypothesis from the theory – expressing the hypothesis in operational terms testing the operational hypothesis – examing the specific outcome of the inquiry – modifying the theory in the light of the findings if necessary An alternative approach is using inductive apporach that collect interview data, analyse those datas and then come up with the theory. The purpose of using inductive approach are: – summarize raw data – link the objectives and findings with the raw data – develop framework evident in the raw data Deductive research can be quicker to complete and inductive research takes longer time.

Both quantative and qualitative research can provide valuable data about the topic. Neither approach can be thought of better than another. They are better at different stages which shall be depends on how research emphasis lies. Q3: If you were going to use a survey instrument within your own organization what issues would you have to consider in order to manage the survey within the ethical guidelines for good practice? Ethics are defined as a concern “to formulate codes and principles or moral behaviour”. MBS Study Guide).

Bryman and Bell (2011) raise the similart thoughts by two questions: – How should we treat the people on whom we conduct research? – Are there activities in which we should or should not engage in our relations with them? The company the writer is working for is a worldwide company with total 60,000 staffs. The HR deprtment orgaise many times internal survey within the company every year. Some survey are glocal, some are regional, national or even local, depends on the requirement of the survey.

In Company’s Code of Conduct, it is clearly demonstrated that in a survey, some issued have to be achieved, for example: – anonymous – non-forcible – try to use local language – non-traceable Saunders et al (2009) describe it more theoretically: Research ethics therefore relates to questions about how we formulate and clarify our research topic, design our research and gain access, collect data, process and store our data, analyse data and write up our research findings in a moral and responsible way.

This means that you will have to ensure that the way you design your research is both methodologically sound and morally defensible to all those who are involved. Each normal organisation has its research guidelines to demonstrate research ethics which is fixed according to the actual situation of this organisation.

Per Saunders et al (2009) there are some general ethical issues: – privacy of possible and actual participants – voluntary nature of participants and the right to withdraw partially or completely from the process – consent and possible deception of participants maintenance of the confidentiality of data provided by individuals or identifiable participants and their anonymity – reactions of participants to the way in which you seek to collect data, including embarrassment, stress, discomfort, pain and harm – effects on participants of the way in which you use, analyse and report your data, in particular the avoidance of embarrassment, stressm, discomfort, pain and harm – behaviour and objectivity of you as researcher

Diener and Crandall (1978 cited in Bryman and Bell 2011) describe the ethical principles in business research into four main areas: – whether there is harm to participants – whether there is a lack of informed consent – whether there is an invasion of privacy – whether deception is involved The code of research is clearly decribed in the research guidelines. However sometimes in some inappropriate practices, there is some margin for unethical practices due to limited boundaries for both researchers and research participants.

This might lead to not completely correct research/survery report generated and presented to top management. Therefore the researchers within on organisation must be aware of those ethical issues to prevent inappropriate survey to be done. Q4: What are the characteristics of focus group and group interviews? Discuss these in relation to the advantages which might be attributed to focus group over groups interviews. Saunders et al (2009) describe group interview as the interviewers asks questions to a group of participants.

Group interview is used as a general term to describe all non-standardised interviews conducted with two or more people. In a group interview, all participants have the opportunities to state their opinions and then the organiser can record the information. Distinctive advantage of group interview concentrate on: – broad opinions from several participants – interaction between group members to generate more opinions – more efficient than one to one interview – identify key themes included in a survey questionnaire

Focus groups are a form of group interview that capitalises on communication between research participants in order to generate data. Although group interviews are often used simply as a quick and convenient way to collect data from several people simultaneously, focus groups explicitly use group interaction as part of the method. Instead of the researcher asking each person to respond to a question in turn, people are encouraged to talk to one another to ask questions, exchange anecdotes and comment on each others’ experiences and points of view.

The method is particularly useful for exploring people’s knowledge and experiences and can be used to examine not only what people think but how they think and why they think that way. (Kitzinger 1998) In a focus group, the participants can clarify, discuss and explore opinions in ways that be more difficult to be achieved in one to one interview. The group dymamics can encourge group members to generate more ideas. Focus group can alsp help researchers tap into different forms of communication that other methods can not reach.

Such interpersonal communication can also highlight the cultural value of the group norms. Focus group is popular with those conducting action research and those concerned to “empower” research participants because the participants can become an active part of the process of analysis.

Some researchers have also noted that group discussions can generate more critical comments than interviews. A method that facilitates the expression of criticism and the exploration of different types of solutions is invaluable if the aim of research is to improve services.

Such a method is especially appropriate when working with particular disempowered patient populations who are often reluctant to give negative feedback or may feel that any problems result from their own inadequacies. Some other sampling advantages with focus groups are identified as below: – not discriminate against people who cannot read or write – can encourage participation from those who are reluctant to be interviewed on their own – can encourage contributions from people who feel they have nothing to say or who are deemed “unresponsive patients” Reference Anon (n. d.

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