Leedy And Ormrod Mentioned That A Research Management Essay
Leedy Ormrod mentioned that a research process is cyclical; research has to be originated with a question or problem; the research has to require a clear goal, a specific plan; then the researcher normally divides the principal problem into more manageable sub-problems. Next step is to gather preliminary data that appear to bear close to the problem and point to a tentative solution of the problem, then a hypothesis is formed. Following is to collect the data more systematically, then the body of data is organized, processed and interpreted. When a discovery is made, a conclusion can be reached and the cycle is complete.
In the case of Sandlein Bank, the SIU 361 Research Team must start off by first determining the objective of their research project, which is to identify the problems in Sandlein Bank when it is now not as efficient and not proceeding as satisfactorily as it should be, the sub-problems could be employees performance, or the bank’s operational systems, or the bank’s motivational factors or management skills. Whatever the problems are, the research findings aim to know about why the people feel and behave as they do in the bank now, then it is for Sandlein bank to solve the problems and come up with ways to increase people’s performance and organizational effectiveness. SIU 361 Research Team have to identify the three levels of respondents, the supervisors, the clerks of all departments, and the tellers and plan for the time to conduct the research with each of them.
Similarly, Schermerhorn et al. (1997, pp.419-420) explains a research process involves four steps. First step is to start with a research question or problem is specified, which we have discussed above. Second step is to formulate one or more hypotheses of what the research parties expect to find, which may come from sources like previous experience and review of the literature on the problem area. Until here, SIU 361 Research Team needs to start reviewing public accessible studies of financial institution efficiency and requesting for Sandlein bank’s approval to review the bank’s annual reports of the past few years, performance appraisals of employees, monthly operational reports of various departments to seek for one or more hypotheses before starting the research project. Third step is the creation of a research design, which is an overall plan for conducting the research to test the hypothesis(es). With research design, Leedy & Ormrod (2010) suggested applying ethnography, phenomenological study, grounded theory study, and content analysis. Ethnography means conducting field work to look into the entire bank and understand the complexities of the working groups. Phenomenological study is conducting field survey to tap into the respondents’ attitudes and perceptions. Grounded Theory study uses multiple stages of data collection which is why the theory is ‘grounded’ on the data. As for content analysis, the research team has to examine the contents of a particular body of material, so as to identify patterns, themes, or biases within the material. Four concepts can be applied to Sandlein Bank to cross examine the bank’s developmental trends.
As for Step Four: the major research methods used for collecting data includes a) Observation to physically view the operations of the bank staff to understand their work culture; b) Interviews to fully understand the bank staff perceptions, viewpoints or experiences; c) Align Focus Groups to explore the staff’s common complaints and viewpoints openly through group discussion; d) Questionnaires, Surveys, to get the employees’ anonymous truthful responses quickly and easily in a non-threatening manner; e) Using the internet to collect questionnaire or survey data to overcome international boundaries or time frame so as to collect the feedback with spontaneity and anonymity.
Other than planning for the total research process, it is crucial that SIU 361 Research Team should have procedures to meet the issue of stress and anxiety among the bank employees. Jackson (2008, pp.43-45) pointed that research brings with it a variety of shifting psychological emotions towards informants, coworkers, researchers, and others, so a research team should have a clear basis and means of allocating tasks and provide appropriate supervision and support that takes account of the capabilities of the new researcher. Training to the research team is critical to the project, especially on the ethical approach before and during conducting the research because collecting the data requires conscious effort at objectivity. During any data collection activities, these ethical practices include telling the participant on the purpose of the research, getting consent from the person, the approximate amount of time required, what is expected from the participant, informing the person the expected risks and benefits, and that the participation is voluntary so that the person can withdraw with no negative repercussions, how confidentiality and privacy will be respected and protected, the name and contact information of the researcher for any questions raised by respondents. Besides, above information must be given in a language and academically comprehensible level that the participant can understand.
Since the bank employees are scared of this research, they show anxiety, nervous and tension, for this particularly project, the research team should requests support from the top management by first giving an upfront orientation to all staff before any data collection activities start. A letter from the Vice President to all staff would be almost imperative to explain the purpose and nature of the research for the benefit of all and that the research will be carried out by a professional outside consultant research team, the research data will be guaranteed to be treated confidentially and will not harm anyone who voice their opinions, and call for support and participation yet responses is still on voluntary basis, last is to inform all staff that a summary of findings upon the research completion will be open to all. Staff meetings should first be held with the supervisors to explain the above, as supervisors always transfer the message to their team members, then an overall staff conference should be held so that staff concerns and doubts can be addressed and answered instantly and on the spot. The Research team can always be present in the staff meetings to start the networking relationship with the employees.
Furthermore, the interviews and focus groups should be based on developing relationship with the interviewees and researchers should be asking ‘open-ended’ questions to small group samples, and make the interviews unstructured to get to the depth of information. Besides, the construction of a questionnaire has to be cautious when formulating sensible questions, the wordings and sequence of questions are clear to avoid misinterpretation, and the questions must stay away from excessive complexity, faulty assumption or vague concepts.
(Example) Subhash C. Ray of University of Connecticut studied on the “Labor-Use Efficiency in Indian Banking” in March 2005 where the human resource management environment, overview of the work culture were closely examined. However, what is not recommended is that the bank had eliminated labor of inefficiency in order to enhance overall efficiency.
Researchers have the commitment or a general obligation to complete the research and are responsible on planning the project, determine how the material is written up, disseminated and its future usage. In doing so, while observing the legal obligations, the moral rights of people must be considered and respected as well.
The purpose of a research proposal is to communicate clearly, as Leedy & Ormrod (2010) said, a proposal describes a future research project with an economy of words and precision of expression. Inevitably, compiling the details for a research proposal needs a great deal of energy and time, but the necessity of the proposal is for the comprehension of the funding sponsor and then await for the response from the funding body while in the case of Daphne, the funding body would mean the new racially diversified preschoolers to be studied. To other researchers, failing to gain the grant could be a big blow, although to Daphne, it does not matter much as she already has a bank of volunteer mothers who bring their children to the university lab for formal observations.
The reason why Daphne thought it was cumbersome to write up the research proposal because a formal research proposal comprises of various details. A research proposal calls for a plan, an outline, a statement, which includes a clearly stated problem and sub-problems, articulated hypotheses, purpose of the study, background and importance of the study, the methodology including specific details about all aspects of data collection, the means for obtaining the data, the strategies of data analysis, how the data will be needed, selection and description of the site and participants, explain the role and qualifications of the researcher and any assistants, methods of achieving validity, timeline, feasibility, references and appendixes.
Whether Daphne is safe to proceed without a formal proposal depends on whether she wants to explore some new insights from a new participating group, especially on how a racially diverse sample group will be different from the neighborhood school district she is studying. Daphne should know that data are always transient and volatile, what seems to be true at one point of time is not necessarily true the next so even the most carefully collected or observed data she already has may have an elusive quality so exploring new samples would sustain the data validity. In research, bias is a condition that may distort the data, sample selection itself is biased because not everyone in the population has an equal chance of being selected and sampling error often occurs when responses from a selected sample may not necessary represent that of the total population. (Example)Suppose a researcher decides to use a telephone directory as a source for selecting a random sample for a telephone interview, the researcher should open to a page at random, close eyes, put the point of pencil down on the page and select the name that comes closest to the pencil point. So if Daphne can now expand her sample size with a new group of heterogeneous nature, then more data can be observed, sampling bias can be avoided and would help her to draw a clearer conclusion with a wider coverage and higher reliability.
It is also not ethical as an experienced practitioner to proceed without a research proposal especially the new participants that Daphne will be observing comes from an unusual racially diversified group, and a research proposal would just help them to understand the importance of the project. If we assume that the readers of the proposal cannot comprehend the proposal, it is even more worthwhile to communicate to them with an open mind about what the research will find out. It is more meaningful to describe the proposed methodology with as much detail as possible, and describe how to use the data. The appendixes can include informed consent letters from the new parent group, measurement instruments, and other detailed materials. Without the explanation, the parents of the preschoolers would hesitate and may be reluctant to join, hence it is therefore not safe for Daphne to proceed without a research proposal.
Afterall, the code of ethics that a researcher should comply with is to protect the rights of the participants. In Daphne case, the parents of the new group possess the right to informed consent, so that after understanding the purpose of the research, they can decline or withdraw at any time without negative consequences; they also have the right to be informed of any risks associated; the right to privacy that Daphne should limit the amount of information they reveal about themselves; their right to confidentiality and by guaranteeing participants’ confidentiality, Daphne may be able to obtain more honest responses; their right to protection from deception meaning being misled about the real purpose of the research; and lastly their right to debriefing after the study is completed on how the results of the study may be applied. Regardless of race or education of the participants, their rights, dignity and freedom to participate must be well respected by Daphne, the researcher.
Structured interviews are used commonly in survey research, for example in telephone interviews on a vast population and it is also a format for some job interviews in which the questions are consistent across all candidates. In a structured interview, the researcher asks a standard set of questions, uses predefined independent variable which is a variable that the researcher directly manipulates. Structured interview is most appropriate when used to test a formal hypothesis where data gathered can be readily and meaningfully quantified; and the researcher can predict the kind of information participants will give. Due to the uniformed and standardized questions, structured interviews are fairly in-flexible because researchers ask all participants the same questions in the same sequence and participants may only choose “closed-ended” or fixed responses, in the process, researchers remain a detached objective investigator, then they will assess and establish correlations between the variables. The strength of this regulatory method is its reliability, it allows for easy and meaningful comparison of responses among all respondents and locations, and the same measurements would yield the same results time after time, besides, it is easy to administer. In job interviews where expected job characteristics and skills are pre-defined especially for jobs that require high level of accuracy, structured interviewing methods would be suitable. However, there may be a tendency of interviewer bias when the person asking the questions, can influence the participants’ answers, this can be achieved simply by the researcher’s set questions or by his/her body language in nodding for the expected answer or frowning when participants give unexpected answers.
As opposed to structured interviewing research method, unstructured interviewing method is usually exploring, it requires the researcher to be more personally involved in the entire investigation process, more flexible in a sense to allow interaction between the researcher and the participant hence the relationship of the researcher and participant is closer and less formal, asking “open-ended” questions for free and unlimited responses, allowing the researcher to collect more spontaneous responses which will provide valuable insights into the overall perspectives of the subject. As for unstructured interviews, Silverman (2006, pp. 43-45) stated its strength counts on its ability to study phenomena which are intangible and not disclosed in the surface, its closeness to the truth, touching the core of the situation, identifying the patterns, or causal relationships in the themes. Unstructured interviews are best used to address behavioral attributes in culture, ethnic backgrounds, gender norms, and socio-economic status. The drawbacks, however, are they are unsystematic and the data collected may be too diverse, hence making it less reliable.
(Example)In a highly structured interview, the interviewer asks standard questions of to all job applicants in a similar fashion, for instances, on past work experiences or future career goals. It is a common human resource practice in the first screening interview for the human resource interviewer to use a standardized rating scale to assess the answers given by each candidate. In reality, most employment interviews fall somewhere along the continuum between the highly unstructured and the highly structured interview, making it semi-structured. However, research results indicate a higher validity for the structured interview than for the unstructured type, the predictors are mainly on education, personality traits, job skills knowledge, interpersonal relationship, team workmanship and problem solving; whereas highly unstructured interviews often focus more on seeking the candidates’ intelligence, case interpretation and interests. It is recommendable to have multiple interviewers or few times of interviews per candidate (Muchinsky, 2006, p.115).
A karma cause-and-effect relationship exists because one variable (the cause) will influence another variable (the effect), so a researcher has to be cautious when determining job characteristics from those interviewed, say for example, when assessing ‘job satisfaction’ from the responses, the term can be used by researchers as either a dependent or an independent variable, it all depends on its place in the hypothesis. In the statement such as “increases in job satisfaction lead to reduced turnover,” job satisfaction is an independent variable, but in another statement, “increases in money lead to a higher job satisfaction,” then job satisfaction becomes a dependent variable which is influenced by “money” being the independent variable. My point is no matter the investigation is based on structured or unstructured methods, it all relies on the hypothesis and the interpretation that follows, besides, regardless which methods researcher applies, it still requires distinctive techniques and separate skill sets from the researchers.
Literature review describes theoretical perspectives and previous research findings regarding the problem at hand. Conducting a literature review has many benefits, it can offer new ideas, perspectives, and approaches that may not have occurred earlier, reveal sources of data that we may not have known. Throughout the review, we know about what other researchers had invested considerable time, effort, and resources in studying the same area and how they have handled methodological and design issues in studies similar to our own, reveal methods of dealing with problem situations similar to the difficulties we face, introduce measurement tools that others have developed and used effectively. It can help us interpret and make sense of the findings and ultimately, help to tie our results to the work of those who have preceded us. In short, the more we know about investigations and perspectives related to our topic, the more effectively we can tackle our own research problem (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010, p.66).
Kirby is on the right track looking for literature review in preparing for his study. He can find literature from various sources, in books, periodicals, publications, journals, conference and seminar presentations, and the majority of above resources nowadays can be most efficiently searched from numerous accessible internet websites. Since information can be found in a magnitude of resources, it is recommended to commence the search by identifying one or more keywords that summarizes the research topic. The title of Kirby’s topic is a lengthy one, and the words “couples” and “responsibility” he chose to search are very generic, no wonder he finds it wearisome on the lengthy list of articles and may have different intentions or directions not directly related to Kirby’s topic. The set of chosen keywords is apt to change as the literature review progresses, so instead of being selective by eliminating all articles that were not published in prestigious research journals, Kirby may adopt a phase-by-phase strategy, continue his second phase of searching by elaborating his keywords, such as, “financial responsibility” instead of “responsibility” alone, and go for “married couples”, “cohabiting couples” versus a single word of “couples” out of his lengthy list of articles. He can even include additional search for the keyword of “ages of 20 and 29”; by doing so, he would undoubtedly shorten the list of sources without eliminating or putting bias onto the prestigious journals and locate relevant resources that closely capture the information relating to his study.
Rather than staying away from utilizing the lengthy list of articles, Kirby is suggested to utilize several searching methods: a) reading the abstracts, that is, summary of an article or research study, to help him shortlist the materials he wants. Abstracts related to his topic can be retrieved from indexes such as social science, wall street journal, dissertation abstracts international, PsycINFO (a database which consists of psychology and other disciplines e.g. physiology, sociology, anthropology, education, medicine, business) and sociological abstracts. b) Kirby can also refer an excellent resource known as JSTOR which contains electronic copies of journal articles in social sciences, humanities, business, law and education. c) Referring to government publications for statistical information may be helpful to Kirby on some formal statistics data that supports his study. d) Browsing at the world wide web sites, such as google, yahoo, msn with the input of one or more keywords can offer a variety of alternative information. A little skill to limit the scope of findings to what he wants is by typing a plus sign (+) before the keyword and type “and” between the string of two keywords, in Kirby’s case, it would be “+married couples and +ages of 20 and 29”. e) One additional and essential resource is to look into the reference list used by other researchers in their article writings and as a rule of thumb, it would be best to track down any references that was cited by three or more researchers. The philosophy is to make haste slowly, then Kirby would be able to trace what he needs instead of making his own bias selection of prestigious articles.
The reason of repeating the message that Kirby’s decision of eliminating all articles that were not published in the prestigious research journal is inappropriate because plenty of literature reviews printed may do nothing more than reporting what other people have done and said, e.g. “In 1995, Jones found ….furthermore, Smith (1998) discovered also that…., Black (2006) proposed so-on and so-forth…” which Kirby will learn nothing from. In a good literature review, Kirby should not just report the related literature, he should read the original articles by himself, and also evaluate, organize and synthesize what others have done, critically evaluate their research methodologies and conclusions, identify discrepancy or contradictory findings and suggest possible explanations.
To conclude, Kirby’s decision is not recommended, since the rule of chosen keywords is apt to change as the literature review progresses, he could apply a phase-by-phase strategy by continuing and elaborating his keywords, furthermore, Kirby could utilize several searching methods and skills to identify the general themes that run throughout the literature review. Consequently he should be able to pull together the diverse perspectives and research results he has read into a cohesive whole of his own.