The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods provides perspectives on topics relevant to research in the field of business and management
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Journal Article

Can Methodological Applications Develop Critical Thinking?  pp1-10

Deborah Blackman, Angela Benson

© Nov 2006 Volume 4 Issue 1, Editor: Arthur Money, pp1 - 66

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Abstract

This paper outlines how using research methods to develop critical thinking was explored in a workshop and then developed into a curriculum. An exercise showed how diverse methodologies led to different answers, which were explored to consider the nature of knowledge itself and the subsequent implications. The paper concludes that such an approach can (a) develop critical thinking skills at a level of deep, rather than surface learning and (b) effectively challenge some preconceived ideas held by students about how knowledge is developed and shared. The crucial element of success was the design and implementation of the assessment.

 

Keywords: Critical thinking, research methodology, learning, knowledge

 

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Journal Article

Research Methodology by Numbers  pp66-77

Graham Trevor Myers

© Jan 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, ECRM 2010 Special issue Part 2/Jan 2011, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp1 - 87

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Abstract

Research Methodology is a daunting subject for those who have to negotiate its vastness for the first time. Often the knowledge they gain is not coherent and lacks foundation. In this paper a structured system of incremental assignments given to students allows them to experience research by “doing” rather than learning vast amounts of theory. This model allows all students to grasp the process of research by doing a quantitative proposal and pilot study in seven steps. The result is the completion of a first research project which eventually culminates in a publishable paper at internal university level. From this universal foundation every discipline may expand and hone the skills learnt by students by examining the epistemology and ontology of the specific discipline. It also allows students from different disciplines to comprehend and discuss the research of other disciplines and foster inter‑disciplinary research. The model has been developed for Universities of Technology in South Africa over a period of 13 years. It started off as a very theoretical set of lectures which covered as many quantitative and qualitative methodologies as could be taught, but this left students rather bewildered. The simplification of the system to cover just one quantitative method, using the relationship between two variable, or constructs, taught through assignments, self chosen mentors and an e‑mail communication system has had remarkable success with high completion rates and high marks from students in large classes. Rubrics have been the main form of assessments and the final products of a proposal and pilot study, and a publishable paper have been of exceptionally high and uniform in standard.

 

Keywords: research methodology, teaching quantitative research, research in large classes, marking rubrics, research mentors

 

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Journal Article

Demystifying the Arduous Doctoral Journey: The Eagle Vision of a Research Proposal  pp130-140

Rahinah Ibrahim

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 2, ECRM 2011 Special issue, Editor: Ann Brown, pp87 - 197

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Abstract

In fast‑paced business organisations, there is critical need for conducting systematic research in order to explain and solve recurring problems in the industry. However, we find many building professionals losing their patience over the unknown end of a doctoral study as most of them practise problem‑solving in their jobs since they were so trained. The purpose of this article is to present a visualisation tool developed by a built environment faculty to explain a typical three‑year journey that mature building professionals are required to take for solving their own research inquiries. We claim that if these mature students are given a quick overview on how and what their doctoral journey would involve at the start of their studies, they will be less fearful of uncertainties and will accordingly fulfil the requirements of their doctoral studies successfully. The Eagle Research Design Table (Eagle Table) is a self‑filled tool guided by three research question’s constructs. The key to expanding the Eagle Table is identifying these constructs in a research inquiry first. We have established three constructs—“WHO”, “WHAT” and “HOW”—through prolonged participatory experience in teaching research methodology to building professionals. The “WHO” construct refers to the element or subject being used in, or impacted by, the study while the “WHAT” construct refers to the body of knowledge that is required to solve the research inquiry. The final “HOW” construct refers to the action to be taken on the element or subject during the study. In this article, we present how these three research question’s constructs, when presented in a table form, proved to be successful in providing a quick overview of a doctoral study’s journey. Hence, enabling many mature building professionals to persevere in their studies. Consequently, the academic community would benefit from the rich experience and wisdom of their industry partners in handling and tackling recurring problems in the built environment.

 

Keywords: research proposal design, research methodology, eagle table, dissertation, research framework, graduate study

 

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Journal Article

Book Review: Writing a Research Proposal – Practical guidelines for business students  pp197-197

Dan Remenyi

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 2, ECRM 2011 Special issue, Editor: Ann Brown, pp87 - 197

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Abstract

The new textbook Writing a Research Proposal – Practical guidelines for business students by Professor Pumela Msweli published by Juta ISBN 978‑0‑70218‑877‑0 is a professionally produced easy to access guide to a very important aspect of academic research. The research proposal is the first step in any important research project. It is the research proposal which sets the agenda for the research, indicates its feasibility and most of all it demonstrates the researcher’s ability to undertake the work required. It is therefore most important that a competent research proposal is developed. This short book which is only 120 pages is a good guide to the work involved when developing the research proposal. It is designed for the novice to have with him or herself during the early days of their research while they are finding their feet. Over the 8 Chapters the author addresses all the important issues in an easy to understand way. Another important aspect of the book is that many of the key concepts and terms which are used in academic research are explained. Useful diagrams and tables are supplied. The issue of research language is an important one. Many novice researchers find it very difficult to get started because they do not know the terms which are used by researchers. Novices stumble over issues like deduction and induction and non sequitur are explained. However a Glossary of terms would be a helpful addition to the next edition of this book. Books by their nature have a target readership and this one is written for the novice researcher in the business studies field. Books also have a pre‑determined scope and depth and this book is written as a starter‑book which is really needed and no doubt this book will be a great success. When considering a master degree more depth may be required even at MBA and MBL level. Perhaps the book would be fully adequate for those undertaking honours level research. Finally publishers are always optimistic about the utility of their books and on the back cover it is suggested that Research Proposal – Practical guidelines for business students would be of use to doctoral students. It is true that even doctoral students have to start somewhere but I would say that a doctoral degree candidate would need to move on to more detailed texts rather soon.

 

Keywords: research proposal design, research methodology, eagle table, dissertation, research framework, graduate study

 

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Journal Article

A Multi‑Methodological Framework for the Design and Evaluation of Complex Research Projects and Reports in Business and Management Studies  pp64-76

Hendrik Marais

© Dec 2012 Volume 10 Issue 2, ECRM, Editor: Ann Brown, pp53 - 153

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Abstract

The paper addresses the methodological commonalities linking quantitative and qualitative methodologies. It offers a three dimensional framework of research methodology that spans the assumed divide and shows that quantitative and qualitative research app

 

Keywords: research methodology, quantitative research, qualitative research, mixed methods

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 4 Issue 1 / Nov 2006  pp1‑66

Editor: Arthur Money

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Editorial

"This new edition of EJBRM once again offers readers a range of interesting ideas concerning various options available to the academic researcher working in the business and management field of study.

With regards to research methodology the business and management field of study has much to offer the researcher in a number of respects. The first reason for this is that this field of study is so broad and so many interesting topics fall within its ambit. This is of course and advantage as well as a major challenge for the academics who work in this field of study. Different topics have different research methodology potentials and so researchers have much to choose from.

There is also the question of the fact that there is a stream of new and interesting ideas being generate as to how to tackle both new as well as well established research topics.

For this issue papers of topics such as ""Can methodological applications develop critical thinking?"" (Blackman and Benson), ""Getting the most from NUD•IST/Nvivo"" (Dean and Sharp), ""Applying Multidimensional Item Response Theory Analysis to a Measure of Meta‑Perspective Performance"" (Kacmar et al), ""A few proposals for designing and controlling a doctoral research project in management sciences"" (Lauriol), ""Validation of Simulation based Models: a Theoretical Outlook"" (Martis), ""Motivators for Australian consumers to search and shop online"" (Michael), ""A case study on the selection and evaluation of software for an Internet organisation"" (van Staaden and Lubbe) have been accepted.

I trust that readers will find these papers as interesting as I have."

 

Keywords: Black Box testing, business process, CAQDAS, coding and reporting, commercial software system, consumer behaviour, critical thinking, dynamic models, evaluation, internet, interpreting data transcription, item response theory, modeling motivating factors, NUD*IST/NVivo, qualitative research reporting, request for proposal (RFP), research methodology, scale development simulation, software, validation process, validation schemes, validation, vendors

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 9 Issue 1, ECRM 2010 Special issue Part 2/Jan 2011 / Jan 2011  pp1‑87

Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary, Jose Esteves

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Editorial

These papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. The keynote paper by Eileen Trauth discusses the issues that gender research raise for business. Three papers offer advice on qualitative data analysis, of which the paper by Carcary deals with methods of collection using IT, Ryan and Ogilvie identify an unusual data source and the third (Reiter et al) deals with the problem of choosing the appropriate research method. The two papers on research methodology address entirely different types of issue. The paper by Knowles and Michielsens gives all a fascinating insight into research methods that top journals apparently prefer. Iacono et al demonstrate how effective case study methods can be in developing theory. The two final papers address the subject of teaching research methods but again offer widely different views.

 

Keywords: autodriving, building theory from case studies, CAQDAS, case study research, categorisation, coding, critical theory, diversity, epistemology, feminism, gender and IT, gender differences, grounded theory, individual differences, interpretive research, interpretivist research, interviews, iterative process, marking rubrics, memos, N-vivo, phenomenology, photoelicitation, positivist research, primary data, projective prompts, qualitative, qualitative data analysis, qualitative research, quantitative, RAE 2008, REF 2013, research audit trail, research in large classes, research mentors, research method selection, research methodology, research methods, research outcomes, research training, social inclusion, teaching quantitative research, theory, theory of gender , Web 2, women and IT workforce,

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 9 Issue 2, ECRM 2011 Special issue / Sep 2011  pp87‑197

Editor: Ann Brown

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Editorial

The subject of research methods in business is showing an extra‑ordinary level of activity and innovation and this conference (the 10th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management) reflected this. These papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. Many Papers offer help in applying new methods such as Mixed Methods and Design Science and introduce new ideas such the use of visual imagery as stimuli in research interviews. The final selection of papers was agreed by the senior editor of the Journal and the guest editors. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for this issue of the EJBRM. The papers selected were chosen for their quality of writing, their relevance to the Journal’s objective of publishing papers that offer new insights or practical help in the application of research methods in business research and the degree of innovation in the subject matter.

The chosen Papers

Two papers constitute a useful introduction to mixed methods – one used case examples to illustrate the potential value of the method (Stefan Cronholm and Anders Hjalmarsson) and one assessed the challenges facing the researcher who opts for this approach.(Roslyn Cameron)

Design Science seems to be acquiring more supporters – particularly for research into Information technology. One paper explains the technique illustrating with a detailed description of an ongoing study (Carcary). The paper by Venables suggests that few research methods courses currently include this method.

The conference received a surprisingly large number of papers on the teaching of research methods and on Project Management. This issue includes three papers on teaching research methods. One addressed the issue of the expanding range of research methods available to business researchers and proposed a framework that would help teachers to introduce the full set of options (Venables). A growing trend is that of doctoral candidates coming forward from industry and the professions. Two papers offer some extremely valuable ideas on how supervisors can support the special needs of this group of doctoral candidates – One paper argues for choosing research methods that specifically exploits this experience for the empirical research work (Caroline Cole, Steven Chase, Oliver Couch and Murray Clark). The other paper offers a framework that could help such students to work through the bewildering first few steps in the research journey that often proves too confusing and time consuming for mature candidates (Rahinah Ibrahim). The papers on Project Management while of great interest to managers tended to focus on Project Management issues rather than research methods. However one paper identified the lack of research support for the existing sets of Project Management standards produced by the professional societies (BoK) and discussed the implications.(Miles Shepherd and Roger Atkinson)

An interesting paper presents a visual technique, infographics to aid interviewers in the elicitation of relevant experiences from interview subjects (Robert Campbell, Gillian Green and Mark Grimshaw ). Pearse contributed an unusual paper on the Likert scale. This is widely used but at low levels of granularity (no of scales) and this paper presents research suggesting that we should consider using a much wider range of scales.

The PhD paper that won the award for best PhD paper was by Nicola Swan. This dealt with the problems faced by researchers collecting data in the emerging countries where facilities and attitudes differ markedly from the developed countries.

I would like to thank the help given in the reviewing of the papers from the conference from Marian Carcary, Marie Ashwin, Martin Rich, Roslyn Cameron, Gill Green, Gary Bell and John Warwick.

Ann Brown

September 2011.

 

Keywords: body of knowledge; business research; case study; certification; critical reflexivity; critical discourse analysis; critical research; curriculum design; design science research; dissertation; eagle table; graduate study; graphic elicitation; hermeneutics; inductive profession; inter-disciplinary; IS; IT CMF; knowledge representation; likert scale; maturity models; method combinations; mixed approaches; mixed methods; paradigms; pragmatism; publishing; qualitative methods; qualitative research; quantitative methods; questionnaire design; research design; research framework; research into professional practice; research methodology; research methods; research proposal design; scale construction; scale granularity infographics; teaching design science; teaching research methods

 

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