Research Methods for Graduate Business and Social Science Students

Article excerpt

Research Methods for Graduate Business and Social Science Students John Adams, Hafiz T A Khan, Robert Raeside and David White Response Books, A Division of Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2007, Pages: 270; Price: Rs. 395; ISBN: 978-0-7619-3589

This book is a fair attempt in comprehensively covering separate chapters with various topics related to research methods, including research problem formulation, research design, data collection, data analysis, advanced statistical analysis and easy-to comprehend snippets on report-writing.

The book is divided into eight sections. Section 1 is a general introduction with only one chapter. The authors provide answers to questions such as what is research, why research is conducted, who does research and how research is conducted. Three major research types, such as, descriptive, explanatory and predictive, are indicated. It is highlighted that the type of research approach selected depends on the nature of the research problem at hand.

Section 2 with its single chapter focuses on the research methodology. The authors differentiate between research method and methodology. While the former is a way of conducting and implementing research, the latter is the science and philosophy behind all research. The authors opine that it is the research methodology component that allows us to comprehend the process of knowledge creation. Apart from this, one can also find in this chapter different practices of conducting research: quantitative, qualitative, pure, applied, longitudinal, and empirical. Excellent piece of information on deriving logical conclusions based on inductive and deductive reasoning that is usually not focused heavily in other business research methods books is a plus point to the reader in understanding the nitty-gritty of evolving conclusions. A small description on research ethics decries the unethical practices of obfuscation (not highlighting the results that are important or those that the researcher does not like or hiding information by producing a verbose report full of technical jargon), and plagiarism (passing off someone else's work as one's own). It also provides the reader web-links of several professional bodies that have produced codes of conduct in research including that of Royal Statistical Society.

Section 3 contains two chapters. The chapter on Research Cycle outlines the systematic procedure in carrying out the research work and includes the usual paths such as formulating the research problem, generating hypothesis, collecting data, analyzing the data, and monitoring the research model. Excellent considerations are provided in a separate chapter about the importance of different types of literature review, viz., evaluative review, exploratory review and instrumental review and its significance in tracing the various designs used in approaching the topic, identifying the experts on the topic, dissecting the theoretical perspectives, distilling the major limitations and controversies of the earlier studies on this topic, exploring the avenues for other potential research problem and, so on. This is one of the very few books on business research methods laying adequate emphasis on Literature Review. This will benefit the reader in terms of the importance and the modus operandi of reviewing the earlier studies on the research topic.

Section 4 on Research Design comprises five chapters and is devoted exclusively to areas pertaining to data collection. Chapter 5 on Sampling encompasses sampling techniques under probability and non-probability, sample size determination, problems with random sample surveys which include nonresponse bias, sampling error, and sampling bias. Sample size determination is sufficiently covered. Though they are covered adequately, a separate discussion on Sampling Process including the various stages involved in selecting the ultimate sample elements will be useful to the reader. For unexplainable reasons, this chapter also focuses on classification of research designs (experimental, quasi-experimental and observational), and includes yet another discussion on scales of measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio). …