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

Inductive theory generation: A grounded approach to business inquiry  pp37-44

David Douglas

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 77

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Abstract

Grounded theory has frequently been referred to, but infrequently applied in business research. This article addresses such a deficiency by advancing two focal aims. Firstly, it seeks to de‑mystify the methodology known as grounded theory by applying this established research practice within the comparatively new context of business research. Secondly, in so doing, it integrates naturalistic examples drawn from the author's business research, hence explicating the efficacy of grounded theory methodology in gaining deeper understanding of business bounded phenomena. It is from such a socially focused methodology that key questions of what is happening and why leads to the generation of substantive theories and underpinning knowledge.

 

Keywords: grounded theory methodology, qualitative, inductive, small business

 

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Journal Article

Issues in Online Focus Groups: Lessons Learned from an Empirical Study of Peer‑to‑Peer Filesharing System Users  pp121-136

Jerald Hughes, Karl R. Lang

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp47 - 170

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Abstract

The development of easy‑to‑use Internet tools for synchronous communications has made a new research method possible: online focus groups. Attempts to apply them to questions formerly addressed by face‑to‑face focus groups have resulted not only in promising avenues for research, but also in substantive criticism. We have chosen to adopt online focus groups as a research methodology for a qualitative study of user beliefs and attitudes concerning peer‑to‑peer filesharing systems. This project is still in its early stages, so herein we describe not confirmatory findings of rigorous research, but the issues raised by our exploratory study, and indications of important issues to address in the use of online focus groups. This paper also demonstrates a novel analysis method which visually maps one of the unique characteristics of such groups, multi‑threaded simultaneous conversations, and uses such maps to identify some notable tendencies and behaviors. We also identify some typical participant strategies we have observed, describe some skills and techniques for use in moderating such sessions, identify some powerful advantages provided by the instant and automatic transcript generation capabilities of chat session software, and characterize some important research questions to be addressed in future research.

 

Keywords: online focus groups, qualitative, focus group methodology, file-sharing, digital music, digital media

 

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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

Best Practices in Project Management Through a Grounded Theory Lens  pp43-52

Svetla Georgieva, George Allan

© Sep 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, ECRM 2008, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 94

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Abstract

Grounded Theory is still regarded with skepticism as a research methodology by many academics so this paper has been specifically constructed using recent research to illustrate the rigour of the Grounded Theory Methodology. An investigation into 'best practice amongst European Project Managers used the Grounded Theory Methodology to analyse interview data. This paper reports on that practical application of the Grounded Theory Methodology and contributes to the growing literature on the use of Grounded Theory as a research methodology. The three individual data analysis methods of Open‑Coding, Constant Comparison, and Memorising are shown in operation and can be seen producing the findings. These findings are then operated on with the Grounded Theory method of Theoretical Coding and some deeply influential conclusions come out of this data analysis. The whole Grounded Theory methodology can be seen in operation and the concepts and categories can be seen emerging from the data. The contribution to the discipline of computing will be published elsewhere in technical journals but the research method is the main aim of this paper in this conference.

 

Keywords: Grounded theory methodology, open coding, theoretical coding, conceptualization, project management

 

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Journal Article

Developing a new Perspective on Leadership Theory: From a Tree of Knowledge to a Rhizome of Contingencies  pp55-66

Chris Mortimer

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

Does the discursive formation of leadership theory hinder the development and practise of alternative leadership styles in the UK? This research question is in response to the issues summarised in the PriceWaterhouseCooper's 2008 report on Key Trends in Human Capital. Eight years into the new millennium, leadership is still at the top of the human capital agenda. Although companies invest considerable amounts of money in leadership development, the report suggests that there is limited evidence of leadership programmes delivering value for money, and that three in every ten leaders in the UK do not demonstrate essential leadership qualities. This indicates issues with the practical application of leadership research. The common denominator of all leadership research and application is the leadership theories. The theories are an easily comprehensible, continuous series of events that lead into the present of leadership, supporting all leadership research. Unquestioned assumptions support the theory framework, becoming commonly accepted truths. These suppositions include; the grounding of theory and research in reality; leadership is a fundamental component of the human condition; that social and economic progress has only been possible due to leadership, together with the unquestioned dismissal of alternative voices. Finally there is a notion that leadership theory evolves, drawing on a Darwinian event of natural selection, by evoking biological empirical science to explain a discursive structure. The research and the subject of this paper is to challenge the assumptions and framework of leadership theory through the creation of a research strategy based on Foucault's methods, creating a rhizome of contingencies rather than a progressive tree of knowledge. The paper will address definitions of the archive, archaeology and genealogy, as contextualised within the research.

 

Keywords: leadership theory, Foucault, methodology, philosophy, research strategies

 

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Journal Article

Mixed Methodology Approach to Place Attachment and Consumption Behaviour: a Rural Town Perspective  pp107-116

Maria Ryan

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

This paper discusses the use of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies in examining the influence people's attachment to their environment had on a number of consumption behaviours made by residents of a regional town in Western Australia. It discusses the concept of place attachment; its relationship with community attachment and the subsequent perceived value ascribed to living in the regional town of Narrogin, Western Australia. The use of a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods provided an opportunity to take a macro perspective in quantifying major place and community attachment influencers in the consumption decision‑making process, while understanding the meanings and sentiment behind these concepts from a micro perspective. In‑depth interviews were undertaken with thirty‑two residents of Narrogin. These interviews used a photo‑elicitation technique in which residents were given a camera and required to take photographs of important places, people and aspects of their lives. The photos were then used as prompts for personal interviews, as respondents discussed the meaning, sentiments and stories behind the chosen photographs. The interviews provided a richness and depth to our understanding of the value of respondents' attachment to Narrogin. The use of this technique as a forerunner to the quantitative phase is discussed and recommendations for future use are detailed. The second phase of data collection involved a telephone survey of residents from Narrogin and its surrounding area (Shire of Narrogin). This was designed to test a model and a number of hypotheses developed from the literature and the qualitative phase of the research. The model presented place and community attachment as separate, yet related constructs affecting the perceived value ascribed to living in Narrogin. Value was seen as a mediating construct between place and community attachment and consumption (shopping and staying in Narrogin) decisions. Shopping decisions included shopping for everyday grocery items, white goods, farm equipment and machinery and various services including educational, medical and aged care. Exploratory Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modelling were used to examine the prescribed model. The results identified different attachment weightings for the town and shire communities. In general, the model was a better predictor for the shire residents than it was for town residents. The results suggest different types of management strategies are required for businesses providing for the needs of town and for shire residents based on respective residents different attachment weightings. The paper discusses the use of the photo‑elicitation technique in the in‑depth interview stage of the research and its contribution to the development of the model as presented in the quantitative phase. Operationalising the constructs in this study has been, and still is, challenging for researchers. This paper provides valuable insights into the operationalisation process by utilising the combined methodologies approach. Uncovering stories, meanings and emotions can be integrated with an objective epistemology of attachment.

 

Keywords: mixed methodology, photo-elicitation technique, structural equation modelling, place attachment, community attachment, rural sustainability

 

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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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