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6…Business Research and the Internet

6…Business Research and the Internet

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1.6 Business Research and the Internet

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• Although there are several advantages in using the Internet, there are certain
drawbacks as well. Online surveys lack face-to-face interaction. Also, lack of
accessibility of the Internet among the population compared with other media is
a major limitation.

1.6.2 Secondary Research
Secondary data are the data that already exist which have been collected by some
other person or organization for their use and are generally made available to other
researchers free or at a concessional rate. Major use of the Internet in business
research is in the area of secondary research. The research reports and databases
maintained by major research companies are also available on the net. This makes
it faster, economical and reliable for companies to know about competitor activities. The very essence of the Internet as a major source of secondary information
probably springs forth from the advantages of its broad scope, covering virtually
every topic and the reasonable cost in acquiring them.

1.7 Summary
Business research can be defined as a systematic and objective process of gathering, recording and analysing data to guide business decision-making. Business
research is mainly used to reduce the uncertainty of decisions. Business research
encompasses various facets of business in an organization including marketing,
finance, human resources and manufacturing. Three types of business research
studies are mainly employed by organizations: market research, operations
research and motivational research. Business research studies can be classified into
two categories—basic research and applied research. Basic research refers to a
focused, systematic study or investigation undertaken to discover new knowledge
or interpretations and establish facts or principles in a particular field. Applied
research refers to investigation undertaken to discover the applications and uses of
theories, knowledge and principles in actual work or in solving problems. The key
objective of any business research is to provide accurate, relevant and timely
information to the top management, so that they can make effective decisions.
In business, decision-making goes through four key interrelated stages: problem/opportunity identification, problem/opportunity selection, problem/opportunity resolution and implementing the course of action.
Business research helps the management in each of these stages by providing
useful and timely information. Organizations should decide upon the option of
conducting business research after considering various factors. These include time
constraints, availability of resources, availability of data, nature of information that
the organization expecting and the costs involved.

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1 Introduction to Business Research

Globalization of business and the formation of regional trading blocks have had
a major impact on all aspects of business and especially, on business research.
Companies are increasingly looking out for international markets. As firms
overcome the geographic barriers of their operations to cash in on the opportunities
in the global market, the need for timely and relevant information from a broader
and more diverse range of markets is increasing. The role of the Internet in
business research studies has also been discussed in the chapter. The declining
costs of conducting online research activities coupled with the increasing number
of Internet users have made the Internet an attractive option for business research
organizations.

Chapter 2

Business Research Process

The business research process involves a series of steps that systematically
investigate a problem or an opportunity facing the organization. The sequence of
steps involved in the business research process are as follows: problem/opportunity
identification and formulation, planning a research design, selecting a research
method, selecting the sampling procedure, data collection, evaluating the data and
preparing the research report for presentation. The above steps provide a broad
outline applicable to any business research project. However, the number and
sequence of activities can vary as per the demand of an individual research project.
The process of business research can be primarily divided into three phases—
planning, execution and report preparation. The planning phase begins from
problem/opportunity identification and leads to selection of the sampling procedure. Data collection and evaluation can be described as the execution phase of the
business research process, while report preparation can be considered as the last
phase. In this chapter, we will discuss each of these phases in detail.

2.1 Steps in the Research Process
The steps in the research process, namely identification and definition of the
problem or opportunity, planning the research design, selecting a research method,
selecting a sampling procedure, data collection, evaluating the data and finally
preparing and presenting the research report have been shown in the Fig. 2.1. Each
of these steps in the research process is discussed below.

2.1.1 Identifying and Defining the Problem/Opportunity
The initial step in the research process is the identification of the problem or
opportunity. As businesses today operate in a highly volatile environment governed by various macro environmental factors, they need to constantly assess their
S. Sreejesh et al., Business Research Methods,
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-00539-3_2,
Ó Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

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Fig. 2.1 Steps in the
Research Process

2 Business Research Process
Identifying and Defining Problem/Opportunity

Planning the Research Design

Selecting a Research Method

Selecting a Sampling Procedure

Data Collection

Evaluating the Data

Preparing and Presenting the Research Report

relative position and identify the various problem areas or opportunities they need
to work upon in order to sustain themselves competitively in the market. The
managers need to analyse the changing dynamics of business and to evolve a
strategy to adapt to the changes taking place in the external environment. Whether
these are potential problem areas or opportunities, it is very important for the
manager to identify them accurately and at the earliest. Problem identification
precedes the problem definition stage. For instance, a company producing cell
phone wave protectors (devices that protect the cell phone from harmful radiations) may realize that its new product is not selling, but it may not know the
reason for this at the outset. Although it has identified the problem in a broader
perspective, it needs to define the problem specifically in terms of what is to be
researched.
It is important to define the problem in a precise manner. A well-defined problem
gives the researcher a proper direction for carrying out investigation. It also helps in
utilizing the resources provided for the research effectively. A researcher can focus
his efforts on collecting relevant information, if the problem is defined properly.
Some research problems such as conducting a survey on the newspaper reading
habits of a given set of the population can be clearly defined. But if a company
wants to define a research problem such as declining sales, it needs to explore the
research problem further through exploratory research.

2.1.2 Exploratory Research
Exploratory research aims at understanding the topic being researched. Through
exploratory research, one arrives at a set of questions that are to be answered in