UKCBC Unit 7 Research Skills

This Solution is part of UKCBC research Skills assignment, written in a way that suits the requirements as well as help scholar for the research work.

Introduction

In the competitive environment of business operation, business research skills have become very important to acquire and use towards useful strategic decision making. The usage of research has been widely useful in various fields including business, medicine, and academics arenas. Research is helpful in finding out hidden facts and exploring the past trends towards forecasting future pattern. The paper will examine various facets of conducting research in practical execution. The case which will be used as the background of the study is about examining the effect of social networks on personal relationships.

LO1. Understand different research methodologies

1.1 Assess different research methodologies

Broadly there are three types of research methodologies, which are experimental research project, non-experimental method and quasi-experimental research method (Kumar & Phrommathed, 2005). The usage of survey methodology is not as widely used in the other two methods of research as it is used in non-experimental method. Experimental research covers a number of random variable and it also takes care to keep a check on irrelevant variables in the process. This is a very useful methodology which results in giving the researcher a scope towards determining his or her predictions. A number of dependent variables and independent and variables are hypothesised while commencing the research work, and the experimental procedure helps in relating the hypothesis with the actual results in the form of conclusion. However this research method is not always viable to conduct and it faces problems hurdles in execution. Non-experimental method does not practice the manipulation of participants. The correlational methodology is a part of the method, which is helpful in finding out the dependence of dependent variables over the independent ones (Hague, 2002). Quasi-experimental method doesn’t consider random variables; it rather takes actual samples or groups into consideration. The researcher has the option to leverage and decide upon the consideration of samples in the actual group. This is helpful compared to the other two methods, in which rigidity and lack of control are characterised. Survey is a way of practicing the research methodologies, in which the random and scattered data are processed carefully into structured information. It is widely used across various streams of management in measuring market conditions and consumer’s choice. Various characteristics of human behaviour are covered in the study. The cause and impact logic is the fundamental of the method. It is helpful in capturing the qualities which are not easy to cover in secondary research or even in inference (Kothari, 2004).

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1.2 Justify the use of a research methodology to be used for the research proposal

Non experimental research methodology is helpful in finding out the trend of hidden impacts of social networking sites on the new generation users. The usage of survey will be perfect for the procedure, and it also offers descriptive way of doing research. Conducting survey is effective in overcoming the shortcomings of the indirect data collection and taking opinions from secondary sources. A vast range of components, which needs to be studied through collecting first hand data, can be observed. The attitude of the users and characteristics of usage can be derived from the non-experimental method (Lehmann, 1989). However keeping the huge number of internet users, especially users of the social network sites, it is important to choose a sample meticulously from the entire population. Age groups and lifestyle variables can be taken into consideration while selecting a sample from the universe. Moreover the attire activity of finding out the shortcomings of social networking needs a mixture of primary and secondary researches.

Primary research needs two different approaches combined together to arrive at conclusion, which are quantitative research and qualitative research. In quantitative research, the researcher needs to form a hypothesis and then follow the data collection process in order to verify whether the hypothesis is valid or invalid. Usage of mathematical techniques makes the primary research process more solid and simple. The data collection does not consider the attitude or behaviour of the users. On the other hand, the qualitative research is helpful in finding out the behavioural characteristics of the social network users. The qualitative research has very minimum usage of mathematical procedures; hence it provides an overall image of the sample. Secondary research is the procedure which takes other people’s findings into consideration. The research process covers extracting data from various already existing sources including the internet, books, journals, and report articles. It also follows a structured approach towards finding out the desired results from the procedure (Malhotra, Birks, Palmer, & Koenig-Lewis, 2003).

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1.3 Discuss the importance of both qualitative and quantitative data in research

Quantitative research follows the top down approach or better known as deductive method. It is important in terms of examining the hypothesis postulated at the beginning of the research process by the researcher. The fundamental of quantitative research is the deduction from data collection and then reaching at conclusion by using proper models of hypothesis. The methodology assumes that the human being exhibits similar type of characteristics, and hence the research process can be generalised in order to get an overall picture about the sample. Quantitative research is helpful in explaining the present set of data available, and the research objective can be illuminated with description of the sample behaviour. In forecasting the future trends and probabilities, quantitative research is very significant. The approach follows a constricted view with the fundamental as the hypothesis; hence the entire exercise of doing research is to test the validity of the hypothesis. For example, any pre conceived notion of organisation about the market and its customers can be verified through quantitative research. Variability of data and the uniformity in observer’s point of view make the research methodology important in testing the research variables (Graziano & Raulin, 1993). The mathematical application gives result of statistical models of findings, and those are necessary for the decision makers to decide strategic action plans (Brunt, 1997).

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Qualitative research on the other hand is more narrative in its approach. It provides circumstantial explanations of the sample’s behavioural pattern. The methodology is based on inductive approach which works in a bottom up manner. It offers postulating new hypotheses based on the research findings. The data collected from the field work helps in arriving at propositions and hence deciding the validity of earlier ideas. The methodology believes that human behaviour is not uniform, and social and personal factors play their part in affecting the decisions of individuals. The research process is not confined to any predetermined phenomena; as a result of which the findings through qualitative research come with wide range features. The objective which shows exploratory motive is helpful in finding out unknown data present in the sample. While surveying the users of social networking sites, it is helpful to explore various hidden things in the usage pattern and their potential impact on the sample as a whole. Although the two methodologies are different in terms of their approach towards finding the data and verifying the information, both the methods are helpful to the researchers in different situations (De Ruyter & Scholl, 1998).

1.4 Explain the problems that can arise when undertaking research

For success of any organisation, a thorough research plays a vital part in exploring and realising a number of facts which are important. However just like every coin have two sides, the process of doing a research also faces a number of problems. The first problem in research is the sampling selection. An appropriate group of samples for examination purpose is very important in terms of applying the hypotheses to the actual patterns. If the researcher is not qualified enough or experienced abundantly then the research procedure can not result in giving appropriate findings. The experience of the researcher is useful in deciding the samples and defining the research problems. The hypotheses must be followed by the proper research methodology; otherwise it will not be able to relate the findings with the propositions. Hence proper execution of research is as important as setting up research objectives. Another pitfall is the trade-off between choosing an independent researcher and doing it by the organisation itself. The cost involved may come in the path of deciding the better approach of towards taking the researcher decision. The bias of the researcher will also be present in the process. Being a human being, the interpreter may have his own inferences and logic towards executing the research exercise. The survey structure and content of questionnaires can be designed in order to suit the researcher’s bias. After the research is over, the data must be processed into helpful information. The tendency of false conclusions from the meticulously done research fieldwork will ruin the entire exercise. Above all the deductions and inferences based on the numbers and graphs have to be solid enough. However it cannot be guaranteed that the inferences will result in exact results expected by the organisations. The power to judge with longer vision and execute meticulously are the key to successful research exercise (Westgren & Zering, 1998).

LO2. Know how to conduct a literature review

2.1 Justify the use of research sources

The entire exercise of doing a market research is based on the examination of data to arrive at proper outcomes. In order to achieve the desired finding from the research, it is imperative to meticulously choose the sources. In some cases the sources should be primary, while in others secondary sources are helpful.

Primary sources are the original form of data which are also called first hand data collection. These can be in the form of original document, experiment findings, legal papers, statistical figures, or the original writing pieces. These sources represent the response of the original entities and opinions of the key persons. The primary source can also be the data collected while the actual event occurred in the process of observation (Gummesson, 2000). These are helpful in analysing the already present beliefs and composing a solid inference about the future trends on the basis of past events. However selection of primary sources can be delicate sometimes. The authenticity of the sources must be verified before deciding to include them in the research procedure. The sources provide better basis for proposition instead of hypothesising about a trend or behavioural pattern. Hence the actual events give a better view than the future forecast. On the other hand, secondary resources are the representation of primary sources. The primary data has already been examined and a third party has deducted particular inferences from the data; as a result of which the secondary data are the processed interpretation of primary data. By its very nature, secondary source can be explained as the second hand data. It can be in the form of observation articles, review literatures, journals written by the observers. The research can also make use of experimental sources, which are the views of the user who have already experienced the events. The researcher needs to form an appropriate sample and then proceed in order to examine their experiences. This is different from the observatory research process, which is the practise of observing the things in their original states and making inferences (Deshpande, 1982).

2.2 Evaluate the importance of using primary information sources

The first benefit of using the primary source is the scope offered towards development of critical thinking. The observer gets a chance to analyse the happenings in his or her own way of investigation. It also provides the power to the researcher in examining the credibility of the primary sources. The secondary sources provide the already interested side of the primary observation, which is not the characteristic of primary source of information. In order to make inference from the primary source, the researcher decides on his own about what he or she needs to infer. Primary sources offer a platform which gives a number of inferences from the same source. The intention of primary user is very crucial in understating the effects of social networks. While interacting with a number of social network users, the researcher can get variety of inferences from the same sample of individuals. The problems which are caused by the over exposure of personal data on the social networking platform might be myriad because of variety of user experiences. This pattern can only be explored when the users will be examined personally. Another major benefit which primary sources offer is the triangulation of data. It is important to combine the primary source of information with the secondary data sources and their respective inferences. Data triangulation offers the solidity in data verification and credibility of the research finding (Creswell & Clark, 2007).

2.3 Describe a recognised system for referencing

It is important to use the referencing in order to give the required credit to the original authors of a literature piece. Usage of referencing increases the intellectual honesty among the literature space. The references are also used to enable the reader in finding out the original sources easily. Even if the writer of the literature piece has used his own words to explain the findings and inferences, it is important to give credits to the author. It also takes care that the writer has tried to discover a number of resources in the course of research.

One of the major referencing systems is Harvard reference. Harvard style is primarily characterised as the practise of disclosing author and date. It is widely used across the academic field and research arena. The referencing done in between the paragraphs is known as in texting. With the usage of in texting, the author tries to acknowledge the original source and mention the borrowed ideas which are used as secondary sources. Even if the writer chooses to paraphrase (a practice of rephrasing the original quotes and republishing in order to express personal interpretation), he or she has to disclose the source so that the original idea gets its credit.

Example of in texting in Harvard format:

  1. The writer can start his argument while mentioning the author’s name. For example, the writer wants to give credit to an imaginary author Mr P Johnson who wrote some important theories about some important ideas in 1995. The author can start quoting the original author’s name as: Johnson (1995) stated that the systems in the human resources…..
  2. After paraphrasing an idea, the author can write the original sources in parentheses. For example, in the previous scenario the author can complete his sentence and mention the last name of the author and then the year of publication after comma: (Johnson, 1995)

All the works referred must be mentioned at the end of the document in alphabetical order. The reference must start with the last name of the author followed by the first letter of his or her first name. The year of publication should follow the author name without parentheses. If a book is being referred then the book name should be italicised, and in case of journals the journal name should be italicised. The volume of publication should be followed by the name of the publisher and the location of the publication should be present (Dwyer, 1994).

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LO3. Be able to present a research proposal

3.1 Present a research proposal to a defined audience utilising appropriate survey techniques

Title: to examine the effect of social media on the life of individual and his family

Background: With increasing number of internet user, the presence of students and youth on the social networking sites have also increased. The social networking platforms encourage the users to share their personal information on the public forum with friends. The usage pattern has also been increasingly affecting the lifestyle of the new generation.

Research problem: It is high time to examine the impacts of increasing usage of social networks among the new generation. The exposure of personal lives with wider audience has made the individuals more vulnerable about online harassment and cyber-crimes. The time spent on social networks and the importance given to the virtual world has started impacting the social relation and the personal lives.

Objective of the research: the main objective of the research is to find out the potential and actual impacts of over-exposure of individual lifestyle on the social networks.

Methodology: Non-experimental research methodology will be used in the process of finding out impact of social networking sites on personal life. The method is useful in finding out the trend of hidden impacts of social networking sites on the new generation users. A descriptive approach is required for the method, and survey techniques will be used for finding out personal experiences of the users. Primary sources are the ideal medium of data collection. Through survey, various aspects of social networks will be explored. The hype over the usefulness and effectiveness of social networks will be covered in the survey process. A sample of students in the age group 15 to 21 will be considered for the survey purpose. The reason behind choosing the sample is the high usage rate among the age group. The process of research will be to find out the hidden impacts and uncovered properties exhibited by the users. Hence the qualitative research id appropriate for the research purpose. The process will be more narrative in its approach and it will have a wider view towards finding out new trends and patterns. Exploratory approach will be followed in order to find out the personal facts which are subjective in nature. The hypothesis will be postulated after the findings are done. The questionnaires will be a mix of open ended and specific set of questions.

Ethical issues: The research process will be including the personal choices of people with their consensus. However utmost care will be given towards keeping the personal data secret and the data will be used only for the research purpose.

Access issues: Exposing personal problems is not an easy task. The access to personal lives will be a challenge in the course of the research.

Time line: the entire exercise should take ideally one month (four weeks) for completion. The first week will be the finalisation of research preparation. The second and third week will be for collection of data through primary sources in the form of conducting survey (Saunders, Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2011).

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3.2 Discuss the role of ethics in research

Role of ethics in research is very crucial. The researcher must have a sense of deciding what is right and what is right. Ethical conduct in any professional and practice is absolutely important. Ethical conflict arises when the researcher is not decisive about the protection of respondent’s profile and the need of the research procedure. The research work needs a lot of efforts in uncovering new things and examining sensitive information and the need for principled attitude is necessary in a researcher (Mariampolski, 2001). The ethical issues in research work can be broadly categorised in three types:

Respect for persons: By their very nature, each individual is different from each other in terms of attitude and behavioural characteristics. The individuals are gifted with their natural capacity to decide upon their personal choice. They must be given ample scope to take their own calls whether to answer the survey questions or not. In the survey of impact of social networks on personal life, the sensitivity of information may be high for some individuals to share with the researcher. They must be given the freedom to express their views about their personal lives. The data will be collected only from the people who give their consent to the interview.

Non exploitation: It is important to protect the information and use them only for research purpose, as the research process involves personal matters. Each participant will be given the facility of having mental peace in terms of personal information sharing. A number of data will be uncovered which are confidential in their very nature. The data protection is the duty of the researcher.  Any mishap in handling the sensitive information will result in harm for the respondent both mentally and may be even physically. The social risk involved in revealing the information is also high.

Beneficence: it is very important for the researcher to treat the respondent fairly. The enticement towards asking very sensitive data should not be encouraged. The anonymity protection of the individuals is another important aspect of giving required respect to the individuals. Careful approach must be followed while deciding between the need of the research process and the required sensitivity for the respondent. Overall motive of the research is to do more good than doing any harm (Zikmund, Babin, Carr, & Griffin, 2012).

LO4. Be able to contribute to a research seminar

4.1 Prepare an extract from the research proposal appropriate to a seminar environment

The following is an overview of the research proposal which can be presented to a seminar environment.

Title of the proposal: To study the influence of social networking platform on personal life the new generation

Brief background: The study is intended to address the anxieties regarding the increasing influence of the over usage of social networks and over exposure of personal information on the social platforms. The research is a social study exercise to examine the impact of technology on the social scenario. A number of students and youth in the age group of 15 to 21 are active on the social networking sites. At the same time, the social networking sites are encouraging youngsters to share personal information with friends on a more visible and rather vulnerable platform. It is important to verify whether the increasing exposure of personal information on the web has resulted in depleting relationship within the personal circle.

Significance of the problem: The question is significant because of we all are using social networks as an integral part of communicating with friends; hence the findings will throw light on the actual occurring in the personal lives due to the social media indulgence. The research question came to my mind while going through a number of observations in the recent times in both personal friend circle and by reading news articles. A number of incidents have been reported to have occurred due to the vulnerable status on the social networks. Indulgence in the virtual world in the form of chatting and status posting may have impacted on the real life relationships.

Issues to be explored: I think we should spend some time in scrutinising the influences of growing habit of social networking in our generation. The exposure of personal lives with a wider audience has made our personal information more vulnerable than ever. The time we spend on social networks and the importance we give to the virtual world seems to have started impacting our social and personal relationships in real life. This research has the core objective to find out the probable and tangible impacts of social networks on our lives.

Research methodology: The research will be in the framework of social behaviour and the impact of technology on our lives. It is important to find out the trend of hidden impacts of social networking sites on the new generation users. We need a descriptive approach and personal survey to find out experiences of the social network users. A sample of students in the age group 15 to 21 will be considered for the survey. The reason behind choosing the sample is because of the high usage rate among this age group. The process in its approach will have a wider view towards finding out new trends and patterns. The research process includes personal information of respondents with their consensus. Hence utmost care will be given towards keeping the personal data secret and the information will be used only for the research purpose. The entire exercise will take about four weeks for its completion.

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4.2 Provide constructive feedback on proposals presented within the seminar environment

The proposals should follow some standard procedures and guidelines in order to meet up to the expected level of quality. The idea should be more relevant in terms of its applicability to the wider audience. It is advisable to take peer feedback while deciding on the topic and the process should be under the guidance of an experienced person who can be a peer or a seminar proposal committee member. The presentation should have been stored in the cloud computing service (e.g. – Dropbox, Google drive, Skydrive, etc.) in a final presentable format. The proposal could have explained more about the problem statement by briefing clearly about the significance of the problem and issues pertaining to it. The bibliography should have followed a prescribed format according to Harvard style of referencing. Better usage of in text referencing and quotations from notable researcher’s findings could have made the subject content more solid. The presenter could have used brighter colour schemes for better visibility of the important points in the presentation. The gesture and posture of the presenter could have been better with more audience involvement and better confidence while delivering the talk.

Conclusion

Research process uses a number of methodology and sources to execute successful procedure of finding information. Usage of primary resources and secondary resources are equally important in research method in order to get access to solid data. The study covered a number of facets of conducting a successful research and usage of various methodologies of research process. Presenting research findings at proper platform such as seminars is also as important as the entire research procedure.

References

Brunt, P. 1997. Market research in travel and tourism. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd. Creswell, J. W., & Clark, V. L. P. 2007. Designing and conducting mixed methods research (p. 275). Thousand Oaks: Sage publications. De Ruyter, K., & Scholl, N. 1998. Positioning qualitative market research: reflections from theory and practice. Qualitative market research: An international journal1(1), 7-14. Deshpande, R. 1982. The organizational context of market research use. The Journal of Marketing, 91-101. Dwyer, M. 1994. A guide to the Harvard referencing system. British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)4(10), 599-602. Graziano, A. M., & Raulin, M. L. 1993. Research methods: A process of inquiry. New York: HarperCollins College Publishers. Gummesson, E. 2000. Qualitative methods in management research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

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