You might automatically think of scientists or scholars when you hear the word “research”. Individualsin these professions make their careers by conducting research to support their hypotheses and theories. In the age of information overload, it is essential to make claims with valid evidence to back them up. The data is out there; it is just a matter of finding what you are looking for.
Just asresearch needs to be conducted to support scientific claims, research also has a place in formal business settings. To make sound decisions, you need to do your homework to ensure that you are choosing the best possible option.
Being able to conduct research effectively is a skill; it takes practice and time to be a good researcher. For those who are working in or entering the corporate world, where do you begin? What kinds of research are most valuable to learn, and how canyou learn to do something as broad as researching? Althoughit may be a daunting question to ask, there are clear-cut answers that can have you on your way to becoming a successful researcher.
Many research methods are relevant for business administration, with the most prominent including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research.
Qualitative research involves collecting and analyzing non-numerical data, such as words, images and sounds. A popular form of qualitative study that you will likely be familiar with is recording information about the customer experience.
Capturing how your customers experience your business is not exactly zeroes and ones. Humans have a broad range of emotions and thoughts, and everyone’s experience is unique. Given the great variety in the answers you can receive, qualitative research isa powerful method to extract data.
This type of research is often used to explore and understand people’s experiences, motivations and perspectives. Examples of qualitative research methods include focus groups, which are small, semi-structured group discussions led by a moderator. Focus groups are used to explore participants’ thoughts, feelings and opinions about a particular topic.
There are many ways of identifying people’s views, and it is often a case of finding the method that suits how your business functions. For example, if you are part of a business that functions mainly online, an online review platform may be the best way to reach your clients. In-depth interviews can be conducted to explore a participant’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences in detail.
Case studies may also be helpful. These are in-depth examinations of a single case or a small number of cases. Case studies are used to understand a particular phenomenon in depth and will likely not be as influenced by bias as a focus group or interview may be.
Quantitative research involves collecting and analyzing numerical data. Unlike qualitative studies, quantitative research is black and white, with more apparent results to glean from the information you receive. This type of research is often used to test hypotheses and make predictions.
Examples of quantitative research methods include surveys, which are a method of collecting data from many people using a structured questionnaire. Surveys are used to gather information about people’s attitudes, opinions and behaviors.
Experiments are also an effective research method in which the researcher manipulates one or more variables and measures the effect on one or more other variables. Experiments are used to test hypotheses and make causal inferences.
Another example is statistical analysis, the process of using statistical techniques to analyze and interpret data. This is acommon type of research in business environments. Statistical analysis is used to draw conclusions from data and make predictions. Itcan be used in measuring customer engagement, sales or employee progress.
Mixed methods research involves combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. This type of research is useful for gaining a more comprehensive understanding of a research problem. This allows researchers to triangulate their findings or validate them using multiple methods. Having more data can yield more insightful results.
Learning how to research
To learn how to best use these research methods, there are various paths you can take. Earning one or more degrees in business administration will give you the foundational base neededto be a good researcher. If you are someone who has been in business for a while and arelooking to advance your skills, pursuing your online DBA with a school like Aston University is an excellent option. They offer a wide range of courses online, enabling you to build up advanced knowledge in any area you are interested in, including research.
Outside of learning through the classroom, another avenue is learning through books or online resources. There are many tools and examples to draw from if you are looking into starting research for a new project. Chances are that someone has attempted something similar to the project you’re undertaking, so it is certainly helpful to see how others collected their data and information.
It is also helpful to work with a mentor or supervisor who has experience with these methods. Sometimes our best resources for learning are the people around us every day, and it can be valuable to get another perspective on things. It may be tough at first to know how to effectively research, especially if you are at a niche company where there may be a limited amount of information at your disposal. Understanding how your colleagues accomplish their tasks can open your eyes to what is needed to be a successful researcher in your role.
With so much data and information accessible today, it is a common misconception that it is easy to find the answers you are looking for. However, there are times when we need to ask a question that only some have asked before. When the wheels in our brains start turning, we need to know how to research the topic that has captured our curiosity. Knowing where to find your information and how to acquire it properly is just as important as the answers themselves. Asmore people developthis sought-after skill, society can grow and evolve even further.