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

Increasing business students' Confidence in Questioning the Validity and Reliability of their Research  pp67-76

Teresa Smallbone, Sarah Quinton

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

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Abstract

Business students like to think that their research is of practical value but rarely have the confidence to question the validity of the data they have collected. Teachers expect that students will demonstrate a critical awareness of the limits of their own and others' research. The paper outlines different ways of teaching students how to recognise the key issues surrounding validity and reliability and how to make generalizations from their research.

 

Keywords: business, research methods, validity, reliability, teaching, learning

 

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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

Mixed Methods Research: The Five Ps Framework  pp96-108

Roslyn Cameron

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

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Abstract

Mixed methods research (MMR) is often referred to as the third methodological movement and has witnessed a rapid rise in popularity in the last 10 years. Prominent authorities in the field now refer to the MM research community which has developed its o wn philosophical, theoretical, methodological, analytical and practical foundations and constructs for the conduct of MMR. This paper provides a brief overview of some of the more common definitions of mixed methods research and methodology before introdu cing the conceptual framework of the Five Ps of mixed methods research. The Five P framework will be used to structure an exploration of some of the key challenges facing those who choose the innovative path of mixed methods research and some of the key a reas for capacity building. The Five Ps include: Paradigms; Pragmatism; Praxis; Proficiency; and Publishing. This Five Ps framework will be mapped against the contemporary landscape of the MMR movement as developed by some of the most prominent mixed meth odologists within the MMR community. These include: the overlapping components of an emerging map of MMR (Teddlie and Tashakkori 2010) and the domains of MMR (Creswell 2010). The Five Ps framework can provide those wishing to embark into mixed methods research with the essential components of a mixed methods starter kit, inclusive of a contemporary checklist of contentious issues, risks and traps that require consideration. Tashakkori and Teddlie (2010b: 29) refer to the need for MM researchers to become methodological connoisseur[s]Ž whilst Cameron (2011: 263) calls for the need to build methodological trilingualismŽ in those wishing to engage in MMR. Both these capacities require advanced research skill levels and competencies. As a conseque nce the framework also offers higher degree supervisors and educators with a pedagogic tool for guiding and teaching mixed methods.

 

Keywords: mixed methods research, paradigms, pragmatism, publishing, teaching research methods

 

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Journal Article

Learning Research Methods: How Personalised Should we be?  pp131-138

Martin Rich

© Nov 2014 Volume 12 Issue 2, ECRM 2014, Editor: Ann Brown, pp75 - 167

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Abstract

students. This influences a range of factors, spanning the expectations that students have of the learning environment, the styles and methods used by lecturers, the need to deliver very specialist material to students, and the type of technological infra structure that is adopted to support learning. For example, some viewpoints suggest that electronic resources to support learning should be delivered through a â personal learning environment⠒, as distinct from the currently familiar â virtual learnin g environment⠒, the implication being that personalisation is built into the learning environment as a core component. For teaching research methods, a personalised approach is attractive because students can be expected to vary in what approaches to re search they are likely to use in other areas of their studies. Typically students want to make clear choices about exactly what research methods they learn. Furthermore there are particular variations in the extent to which students already have some expe rience of conducting their own research, and in the ease with which student are likely to adapt to a research mindset where they can deal with the demands of independent inquiry. For many students research is an individual pursuit, and indeed for students on undergraduate or taught postgraduate courses which include a major project, a piece of independent research is the most significant item of individual work within their course. Therefore this paper raises the question of whether research training need s to be as personalised as research itself. If it appropriate to prepare students for a major piece of research, where they will be choosing their own research methods, through a didactic course which covers a standard range of methods? Is it ‑ in fact ‑ essential that students are exposed to a wide range of research methods including those that they have no intention of ever using? The need to provide a range of skills and knowledge, and the possibilities to adapt this to students⠒ requirements, consti tute only one facet of personalisation. Anot

 

Keywords: Keywords: personalisation, research methods teaching, student choice

 

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Journal Article

Innovative Methodologies in Qualitative Research: Social Media Window for Accessing Organisational Elites for interviews  pp157-167

Efrider Maramwidze-Merrison

© Nov 2016 Volume 14 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp71 - 167

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Abstract

Reflexivity is the nature of qualitative research (Lincoln and Guba, 1985; Morgan an Smircich, 1980); implying that through reflectivity exercises researchers are able to demonstrate their research's rigour and also create a treasure trove of ideas and strategies, share the pleasures and agonies of doing qualitative research. The ever‑growing body of knowledge on the strategies for accessing research participants that researchers share, evidences the gains of reflexivity (see the newly injected literature Cunliffe and Alcadipani, 2016; Blix and Wettergren, 2015; Mikecz, 2012). Well, this article does the same; it reflects on the access methodology employed for a PhD research (Maramwidze, 2015) carried out to explore the challenges faced by Foreign Direct Investors (FDI) in the South African banking sector, which involved sampling elite respondents. Similar to other researchers' views on accessing potential research participants, in this case organisational elites, the researcher faced challenges associated with gaining access; as well as the usually high cost of conducting face‑to‑face qualitative interviews.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Reflexivity in qualitative research, organisational elites, innovative and diplomatic access strategies, social media, LinkedIn, research students, teaching research methods

 

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Journal Article

Improving the Pedagogy of Research Methodology through Learning Analytics  pp43-53

Ben Kei Daniel

© Mar 2019 Volume 17 Issue 1, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 54

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Abstract

Teaching research methodology is complicated because students often come from a wide range of disciplines, with different prior knowledge, diverse interests and expectations, as such, employing a pedagogical approach that appeals to all students is difficult to achieve. Subsequently, students experience many challenges when learning research methods, to the extent that courses on research methods are increasingly becoming unpopular. The current article presents the design, development and testing of iMethod; a digital learning environment for students to access various forms of online resources (e.g. text, video and audio) on research methods. iMethod tracks and captures student learning analytics, and present the teacher with a dashboard on students’ learning trajectories, to enable teachers to identify challenges students face in learning research methods. The learning analytics harvested from iMethod were used to inform the design of a pedagogical programme—analytics and research methods (ARM) that brings together a variety of workshops to support student learning. The article contributes to the growing need to improve the quality of teaching research methods courses.

 

Keywords: Research methodology pedagogy, learning analytics, dashboards, iMethod, teaching research methods

 

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Journal Article

Addressing The Challenge of Building Research Capabilities in Business Management Undergraduate Students  pp130-142

Martin Rich, Ann Brown, Aneesh Banerjee

© Sep 2019 Volume 17 Issue 3, Editor: Ann Brown, pp102 - 191

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Abstract

The research process is complex, involving many conceptually different steps that require a variety of skills. For instance, early on in the research process the task of identifying and articulating a suitable research problem often involves, amongst other skills, a high level of creativity and critical thinking, whereas later on in the process, application of a suitable research method would require deep knowledge of the state of art in that methodology. As the techniques used by researchers to iterate between current discipline theory, subject knowledge and research methodology gets increasingly specialized, it is also becoming more opaque to people outside the research community. Management students with little or no exposure to research find this puzzling because they are being encouraged to do something creative and original, and at the same time they are expected to build on existing knowledge using a set of conventions associated with the chosen methodology. Business students in their 1st year face many new situations. Most of them have little experience of what research is about or the various elements that are necessary for a successful project. The teaching at school level mostly focuses on imparting subject knowledge and instilling basic numeracy and literary skills. It does not prepare them so well for setting their own goals and working independently ‑ the core of research. Traditional teaching methods can help them acquire the relevant subject knowledge and basic research methods. But putting these together in a piece of practical research requires in depth understanding and creative thinking. Problem‑based learning (PBL) is a way to help UG students at the beginning of their research attempts to develop the mindset and skills needed. This paper makes the case for introducing Critical Thinking skills to Business Management students in their 1st year, using a problem‑based Learning (PBL) approach. It assesses what was involved in developing and delivering such a course. Both staff and students found the experience challenging, but the overall response was positive establishing that the approach taken was fundamentally effective.

 

Keywords: Problem-based learning, teaching research methods, first year UG business students, business research process

 

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Journal Article

Incorporating Design Science Research and Critical Research Into an Introductory Business Research Methods Course  pp119-129

John R Venable

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

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Abstract

Research in business can address a variety of goals, including explanation or evaluation of extant business practices, development of new business practices, critiquing business practice, and examining business goals other than profit. Empirical research about extant business practices is conducted in one or both of the positivist and interpretive research paradigms. Development of new business practices, rather than simply examining existing ones, is conducted by research within the Design Science Research (DSR) paradigm. The DSR paradigm emphasises the invention, design, and development of new technologies, techniques, and methods, yet still achieving research rigour. Critically examining organisational practices and goals other than profit, such as business ethics, sustainability, and the triple bottom line, is much better conducted within the Critical Research (CR) paradigm, which critically examines the purpose, goals, and social and societal impacts of business and other practices. Unfortunately, the Introduction to Business Research Methods courses and textbooks that develop the business research community’s fledgling members’ ability to conduct, interpret, and critique and develop high quality research typically place heavy if not exclusive emphasis on positivist and interpretive research paradigms and methods at the expense of other research paradigms and methods. Such exclusive emphasis on positivist and interpretive research at the expense of other paradigms handicaps new researchers and severely limits their future ability to conduct, interpret, critique, and develop high quality research. To address this problem, this paper describes how DSR and CR have been successfully incorporated within an introductory business research methods course, which introduces students, regardless of their specific business discipline, to business research. The paper describes how it (1) deals with textbooks that have a limited perspective on business research paradigms and methods and (2) provides a needed, holistic perspective on business research, regardless of the specific discipline. To accomplish the above, the new course does four specific things. First, it situates business research as an applied discipline, along with other applied disciplines, such as medicine and engineering, and in contrast to non‑applied disciplines, such as physics or psychology. Second, it includes a key new framework that contrasts the assumptions and perspectives of different research paradigms, including business research knowledge goals, the role of values in research, and epistemological issues. Third, it modifies and extends frameworks and figures from a popular business research methods textbook to supplement the limited perspective of the textbook with alternative research goals and paradigms. Fourth, the new course adds relevant introductory readings. The paper presents these extensions to the course, including how and where they are included within the course presentation, materials, and assessments, as a model for others wishing to enhance their introductory business research methods courses.

 

Keywords: business research, research methods, design science research, critical research, curriculum design, teaching

 

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