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

Getting results from online surveys — Reflections on a personal journey  pp45-52

Rachel A. McCalla

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

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Abstract

In this paper we present a personal reflection on the implementation of an online survey, highlighting the tradeoffs between the potential benefits and pitfalls. It is argued that casting your net out too wide, in a bid to maximise responses can result ultimately in a low response rate. We evaluate the experience of completing an online survey from the perspective of both the researcher and the respondent to outline the dynamics of the completion and submission process. Finally, in a bid to assist those interested, a review of some of the online survey tools is presented.

 

Keywords: Questionnaires, Surveys, Research Design, Research Process, Design and Implementation, Stakeholder Perspectives

 

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Journal Article

A Generic Toolkit for the Successful Management of Delphi Studies  pp103-116

Jacqueline Day, Milena Bobeva

© Nov 2005 Volume 3 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp93 - 148

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Abstract

This paper presents the case of a non‑traditional use of the Delphi method for theory evaluation. On the basis of experience gained through secondary and primary research, a generic decision toolkit for Delphi studies is proposed, comprising of taxonomy of Delphi design choices, a stage model and critical methodological decisions. These research tools will help to increase confidence when adopting the Delphi alternative and allow for a wider and more comprehensive recognition of the method within both scientific and interpretivist studies.

 

Keywords: Research method, Delphi, Research Design, Research Evaluation

 

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Journal Article

Project Management Bodies of Knowledge; Conjectures and Refutations  pp152-158

Miles Shepherd, Roger Atkinson

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

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Abstract

The traditional view of a profession is that of a discipline with a distinct set of skills and knowledge that define the area of practice and characteristics of the practitioners. This nature and area of practice of a profession is sometimes defined as its body of knowledge or ‘BoK’. In the case of project management, as the discipline moves towards professional recognition, this BoK becomes a significant device that serves the needs of many stakeholders in addition to those of the practitioner or academic. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of research in the development of project management Bodies of Knowledge. As project management emerges from the ghetto of engineering and develops its trajectory towards recognition as a profession, its knowledge area becomes even more significant because it needs to be seen to define a distinct knowledge domain that sets out the limits of the ‘profession’. However, the knowledge domain can be said to have shifted so that it is still under constant review and improvement to respond to continual change. New areas of practice have emerged, such as programme management and portfolio management, that are considered to be part of the discipline hence the knowledge area requires refinement. In this paper we show that current versions of project management BoKs are poorly served by underpinning research. We contend that evidence based research should play a part in the construction of BoKs, and that other research approaches should be also seen as relevant and effective. This paper draws on experiences of updating a formal Body of Knowledge, reviews the context of a range of project management bodies of knowledge and identifies a number of issues concerning the nature of project management knowledge and how it can be represented. We conclude that BoKs serve a valid purpose but conflicting priorities affect the development process and undermine their usefulness. From the epistemological issues identified, we add our conjecture that the capacity of bodies of knowledge to represent the broader understanding of the discipline is limited.. The paper concludes with a review of some methodological implications of the interaction of stakeholder interests and BoK development practice.

 

Keywords: profession, body of knowledge, research design, knowledge representation, certification

 

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Journal Article

Eating our own Cooking: Toward a More Rigorous Design Science of Research Methods  pp141-153

John Venable, Richard Baskerville

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

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Abstract

This paper argues that Design Science is an appropriate paradigm for research into Research Methods. Research Methods (along with their tools and techniques) are purposeful artefacts, designed and created by people to achieve a specific purpose – i.e. to create new, truthful knowledge. Like other artefacts, research methods vary in their fitness to purpose, i.e. in their utility, depending on their fit and appropriate application to the particular purpose, contexts, and contingencies for which they were developed. Design Science Research aims at developing new purposeful artefacts with evidence of their utility. Applying a DSR perspective to research methods should yield increased utility in the application of research methods, better guidance in applying them and greater confidence in achieving the desired outcomes of applying them. Based on these premises, this paper reviews the basic concerns and issues in Design Science Research (using the balanced scorecard as an example purposeful artefact), then analyses the logical consequences of taking a Design Science perspective on research methods (using the Partial Least Square approach as an example research method purposeful artefact). First, it analyses the various purposes of research methods to clarify the alternative and competing design goals of research methods. Second, it analyses and characterises the types of purposeful (design) artefacts that comprise research methods. Third, it considers issues of the evaluation of research methods. Fourth and finally, it considered the development of design theories of research methods.

 

Keywords: research method, research design, design science research, evaluation, design theory, research rigour

 

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Journal Article

Pragmatic Research Design: an Illustration of the Use of the Delphi Technique  pp133-140

Trevor Amos, Noel Pearse

© Nov 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp123 - 216

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Abstract

The creation of wealth is an important issue in any society, and entrepreneurship is regarded as an important catalyst in the creation of new wealth. This presents a challenge to develop entrepreneurship successfully. An important site for the development of entrepreneurship is higher education. The challenge however, is that there is a lack of a general understanding on how to educate students for entrepreneurship. In addition, current thought and practice on entrepreneurship education is historically biased, implying that graduates are essentially prepared for the past instead of for the future. From the perspective of higher education, the problem is how to develop current students to be entrepreneurial in the future. What is needed is to project into the future and then to develop an understanding of what should be taught as well as how it should be taught today. A versatile research technique that can assist in achieving this objective is the Delphi technique, as it is used to conduct futures research or research into areas where knowledge is incomplete. The Delphi method is a type of group interview, using the collective opinion of knowledgeable experts. The technique makes use of several rounds of data collection and feedback to create a consensus of opinion. Making use of the Delphi technique, research is being designed that will formulate expert‑based strategic guidelines on entrepreneurial education within the South African higher education sector. The aim of this paper is to illustrate the research design considerations that arise in the use of the Delphi technique for this purpose and how they are addressed. The main characteristics of the Delphi are presented and arguments for the use of the Delphi within a constructivist paradigm are discussed. Practical issues related to the design of the Delphi, panel‑member selection, and the formulation of panel questions, are examined. In illustrating these design considerations, the paper demonstrates a pragmatic approach to research design as well as the importance of creating coherence between the research question, the research paradigm, the research method and its use, encouraging research practitioners to adopt a more systematic, deliberate and philosophically‑based approach to research design.

 

Keywords: entrepreneurship, Delphi technique, higher education, entrepreneurial education, innovation, research design

 

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Journal Article

Researching Organizational Culture Using the Grounded Theory Method  pp67-74

Noel Pearse, MacDonald Kanyangale

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

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Abstract

Researching organizational culture using the grounded theory method is intuitively logical, given the ease of conceptualising organizational culture as a basic social process. In spite of its intuitive appeal, there are numerous challenges along the research voyage that could facilitate or jeopardise the unsuspecting researcher's investigation. The aim of this paper is to alert prospective researchers, to some of the critical considerations that arise when designing and conducting research of this nature. The paper first tackles issues that are related to the conceptualisation of organizational culture as the phenomenon of interest, before turning to the research design implications. Research considerations that are related to the conceptualisation of organizational culture and the formulation of the research, include (1) the school of thought that the researcher embraces and the implications of its research traditions; (2) the assumptions made about the nature of organizational culture (such as its degree of uniformity or variation, its definition and construction, and its stability and development over time) and the implications for its investigation; (3) the contextual characteristics of the study (such as the size of the organization being investigated) and their implications for the manifestation of organizational culture; and (4) the researcher's values and interests and their implications for accessing credible data. Other than the implications of conceptualisation of organizational culture on the formulation of the research problem, further research design considerations discussed include (1) aligning the researcher's ontological and epistemological assumptions with the assumptions made about organizational culture; (2) identifying sources of data and techniques for its collection, that are appropriate to the conceptualisation of culture and its temporal characteristics in particular; and (3) reconciling the level of data collection with its level of analysis in order to aggregate and reconcile various individual perspectives of a collective social construct.

 

Keywords: grounded theory, organizational culture, research design

 

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Journal Article

Contextual Sensitivity in Grounded Theory: The Role of Pilot Studies  pp73-84

Miguel Baptista Nunes et al

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp63 - 162

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Abstract

Grounded Theory is an established methodological approach for context specific inductive theory building. The grounded nature of the methodology refers to these specific contexts from which emergent propositions are drawn. Thus, any grounded theory study requires not only theoretical sensitivity, but also a good insight on how to design the research in the human activity systems to be studied. The lack of this insight may result in inefficient theoretical sampling or even erroneous purposeful sampling. These problems would not necessarily be critical, as it could be argued that through the elliptical process that characterizes grounded theory, remedial loops would always bring the researcher to the core of the theory. However, these elliptical remedial processes can take very long periods of time and result in catastrophic delays in research projects. As a strategy, this paper discusses, contrasts and compares the use of pilot studies in four different grounded theory projects. Each pilot brought different insights about the context, resulting in changes of focus, guidance to improve data collection instruments and informing theoretical sampling. Additionally, as all four projects were undertaken by researchers with little experience of inductive approaches in general and grounded theory in particular, the pilot studies also served the purpose of training in interviewing, relating to interviewees, memoing, constant comparison and coding. This last outcome of the pilot study was actually not planned initially, but revealed itself to be a crucial success factor in the running of the projects. The paper concludes with a theoretical proposition for the concept of contextual sensitivity and for the inclusion of the pilot study in grounded theory research designs

 

Keywords: pilot studies, grounded theory, context, research design

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 3 Issue 2 / Nov 2005  pp93‑148

Editor: Arthur Money

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Keywords: Argument, Decision support, Delphi study, Evaluation, Model, Experience, Experiential learning, Frameworks, Information systems, Interpretive case study, IS design, Learning logs, Learning, Legitimisation, Narrative, Qualitative research, Quantitative research, Real-time data collection, Reflection, Research design, Research method, Research method, Rhetoric, Rules Simulation, Story telling, Web technology, electronic journal, papers, articles, research methods business studies, management studies

 

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