Data Analysis

What is Business Research?

‘Research’ has been defined in a number of ways, depending upon peculiar interests and demands of the researcher, his professional training and skills and, of course, the nature of the problem being examined or analysed. In this sense, there is no one standard definition of research (same is true of the dictionaries defining research). Similarly, there is no one way of doing research. Research can be done in numerous ways, from chronological to descriptive to analytical, from qualitative to quantitative, from explanatory to predictive, from exploratory to evaluative (cost - benefit analysis) to instrumental and action-oriented, to theoretical to applied research. There is a whole variety of research possible.

In a similar vein, the term ‘methodology’ has been defined in various ways, indeed ‘normatively’ and ‘structurally’. Normatively, it has been defined in the sense of theory of knowledge (epistemology) or philosophy of science. The dominant theory, of course, is ‘logical positivism’, a philosophical tradition that holds that all ‘facts’ are derived from ‘experience’, defined minimally in terms of senses, and that all knowledge is based on experience. Judgments of ‘values’ cannot be accepted as knowledge.

The main argument of the empiricists as a whole remained, as always, their emphasis on experience, empirical experience. That is, an experience brought forth by facts which could be ‘observed’ and ‘verified’. In operational terms today, it means identification of the problem (research problem), formulation of hypotheses (the relation of ‘independent’ variables to one or more ‘dependent’ variable/s), collection and analysis of data to test the variables in a measurable relation, rejection or validation of hypotheses suggesting a relationship (ideally ‘causal’, that is, ‘cause and effect relationship’), and generalization of the findings or conclusions into a ‘theory’, ‘model’, ‘system’, or an ‘approach’. This process of...