Understanding Business Research


thumbnail image: Understanding Business Research
  • Published: 21 September 2012
  • ISBN: 9781118134269
  • Author(s): Bart L. Weathington, Christopher J. L. Cunningham, David J. Pittenger
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Explore the essential steps for data collection, reporting, and analysis in business research

Understanding Business Research offers a comprehensive introduction to the entire process of designing, conducting, interpreting, and reporting findings in the business environment. With an emphasis on the human factor, the book presents a complete set of tools for tackling complex behavioral and social processes that are a part of data collection in industry settings.

Utilizing numerous real-world examples throughout, the authors begin by presenting an overview of the research process, outlining key ideas relating to the business environment, ethics, and empirical methods. Quantitative techniques and considerations that are specific to business research, including sampling and the use of assessments, surveys, and objective measures are also introduced. Subsequent chapters outline both common and specialized research designs for business data, including:

  • Correlational Research
  • Single Variable Between-Subjects Research
  • Correlated Groups Designs
  • Qualitative and Mixed-Method Research
  • Between-Subjects Designs
  • Between-Subjects Factorial Designs
  • Research with Categorical Data

Each chapter is organized using an accessible, comprehensive pedagogy that ensures a fluid presentation. Case studies showcase the real-world applications of the discussed topics while critical thinking exercises and Knowledge Checks supply questions that allow readers to test their comprehension of the presented material. Numerous graphics illustrate the visual nature of the research, and chapter-end glossaries outline definitions of key terms. In addition, detailed appendices provide a review of basic concepts and the most commonly used statistical tables.

Requiring only a basic understanding of statistics, Understanding Business Research is an excellent book for courses on business statistics as well as business and management science research methods at the graduate level. The book is also a valuable resource for practitioners in business, finance, and management science who utilize qualitative and quantitative research methods in their everyday work.

Preface xiii

Part I: Overview of the Research Process 1

1 Research and Business 3

Introduction 4

Why is Understanding Research Methods so Important? 4

The Role of Science in Business and Everyday Life 4

The Scientific Method 5

Brief History of the Science of Behavior in the Workplace 6

Bacon’s Legacy 10

Other Important Historical Figures 10

Assumptions of Science 12

Requirements for Scientific Research 13

Chapter Summary 18

Chapter Glossary for Review 20

References 21

2 Ethics and Research 23

Introduction 23

What is Ethics? 24

Approaches to Ethical Analysis 26

Making Ethical Decisions 29

Ethical Business Research 30

Components of an Ethical Research Plan 32

Research in Action: Ethical Dilemmas 37

Chapter Glossary for Review 40

References 40

3 The Foundations of Research 41

Introduction 41

The Hypothesis in Research 42

Types of Hypotheses 46

Measurement 52

Reliability of Measurement 57

Validity of Measurement 59

Populations and Samples 61

Research in Action: Credit or Cash? 65

Chapter Summary 68

Chapter Glossary for Review 69

References 71

4 An Overview of Empirical Methods 73

Introduction 74

Internal, Statistical, and External Validity 74

Survey of Empirical Methods 83

Intact Groups Designs and Quasi-Experimental Studies 87

Surveys 90

Correlational Studies 90

Interviews and Case Studies 92

Meta-Analysis 93

Computers and Statistics 94

Research in Action: Price Matters 95

Chapter Summary 99

Chapter Glossary for Review 101

References 103

Part II: Nuts and Bolts of Research 105

5 Writing the Research Report 107

Introduction 107

What Do Readers Appreciate in Good Writing? 109

Elements of Style 109

Special Grammatical Issues 113

Academic Integrity 117

Parts of the Research Report 122

Chapter Summary 135

References 136

6 Reviewing the Literature and Forming Hypotheses 137

Introduction 138

Bibliographic Research 138

The Internet as a Source 141

Developing a Search Strategy 143

Searching the Literature: The Library 144

Research in Action: Does Listening to Mozart Make You Smarter? 148

Statistical Inference and Testing Hypotheses 150

Chapter Summary 154

Chapter Glossary for Review 155

References 156

7 Sampling: The First Steps in Research 157

Introduction 158

The Nature of Samples 159

Probability Sampling 160

Sampling Methods 162

Nonprobability Sampling 165

Central Limit Theorem 167

Applications of the Central Limit Theorem 170

Sources of Bias and Error: A Reprise 176

Research in Action: Sampling Matters 178

Chapter Summary 180

Chapter Glossary for Review 181

References 182

8 Creating and Using Assessments, Surveys, and Objective Measures 183

Introduction 184

Purpose of Measurement 184

Caveat Assessor 184

Creating a Measurement Scale and Developing a Data-Collection Strategy 186

Interviews, Questionnaires, and Attitude Surveys 187

Question Response Formats 190

Writing Good Survey Items 194

Determining the Sample Size for a Survey 199

Naturalistic Observation 201

Research in Action: Analysis of Assaults 207

Chapter Summary 212

Chapter Glossary for Review 212

References 215

9 A Model for Research Design 215

Introduction 216

A Model for Research Design 216

What is the Independent Variable? 221

What is the Dependent Variable? 223

Are There Confounding Variables? 224

What are the Research Hypotheses? 227

Mathematical Hypotheses 228

Evaluating Hypotheses 229

Evaluating Hypotheses: Practical Matters 232

Research in Action: Sex Differences and Shopping Behavior 236

Research in Action: Changing Attitudes by Writing Essays 236

Chapter Summary 237

Chapter Glossary for Review 239

References 240

Part III: Common Research Designs 243

10 Correlational Research 245

Introduction 246

Conceptual Review of Correlation 246

Pearson’s r 248

Interpreting the Correlation Coefficient 248

Factors that Corrupt a Correlation Coefficient 250

Sample Size and the Correlation Coefficient 253

Applications of the Correlation Coefficient 255

Regression Analysis 259

Introduction to Mediation and Moderation 261

Regression to the Mean 262

Research in Action: Education and Income 264

Chapter Summary 268

Chapter Glossary for Review 269

References 270

11 Between-Subjects Designs 271

Introduction 271

Student’s t-Ratio for Independent Groups 272

Review of Hypothesis Testing 274

Testing Statistical Hypotheses 276

Common Errors in the Interpretation of p 282

The Power of a Test 284

Estimating the Sample Size 289

Statistics Behind The Research 291

Chapter Summary 295

Chapter Glossary for Review 296

References 296

12 Single-Variable Between-Subjects Research 297

Introduction 298

Independent Variable 298

Cause and Effect 301

Gaining Control Over the Variables 301

The General Linear Model 303

Components of Variance 306

The F-Ratio 307

H0 and H1 310

F-Ratio Sampling Distribution 310

Summarizing and Interpreting ANOVA Results 312

Effect Size and Power 313

Multiple Comparisons of the Means 315

Research in Action 318

Chapter Summary 320

Chapter Glossary for Review 321

References 322

13 Between-Subjects Factorial Designs 325

Introduction 326

The Logic of the Two-Variable Design 326

Advantages of the Two-Variable Design 327

Factorial Designs: Variables, Levels, and Cells 331

Examples of Factorial Designs 332

Main Effects and Interaction 334

Designing a Factorial Study 342

Identifying Samples and Estimating Sample Size 344

Interpreting the Interaction: Advanced Considerations 346

Chapter Summary 348

Chapter Glossary for Review 348

References 349

14 Correlated-Groups Designs 351

Introduction 351

Logic of the Correlated-Groups Research Design 352

Repeated-Measures Design 353

Longitudinal Designs 362

Matched-Groups Design 365

Mixed-Model Design 367

Research in Action 368

Chapter Summary 370

Chapter Glossary for Review 370

References 371

Part IV: Special Research Designs 373

15 Research with Categorical Data 375

Introduction 375

Goodness-of-Fit Test 377

χ2 Test of Independence 381

χ2 Test of Homogeneity 384

Further Analysis of the χ2 385

McNemar Test 388

Research in Action: Gambling and Productivity 391

Chapter Summary 393

Chapter Glossary for Review 394

References 394

16 Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Research 397

Introduction 398

Qualitative Versus Quantitative Research 398

Theory and Perspectives Guiding Qualitative Research 399

Mixing Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative Combined 400

Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Data Collection and Analysis 402

Benefits and Challenges of Mixed-Methods Research 408

Sources of Published Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Research 411

Research in Action: Gender- and Job-Based Differences in Work Stress 412

Chapter Summary 414

Chapter Glossary for Review 415

References 415

Appendix A: Statistics Behind the Research, or, ‘‘What Was I Supposed to Remember from My Statistics Class Anyway?’’ 417

Appendix B: Statistical Tables 435

Index 485

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