Selecting and Defining a Problem This marks the beginning of a research study and is the most difficult and important step. This involves : (1). identifying and stating the problem in specific terms; (2). identifying the variables in the problem situation and defining them adequately; (3). generating tentative guesses (hypotheses) about therelation of the variables or in other words the solution of the problem, or writing explicitly the questions (research questions) for which answers are sought; and (4). evaluating the problem for its research ability.
Selecting and Defining a Problem • To achieve this, you review the literature related to the problem to know what other researchers have done and discovered and to identify the possible methodology for conducting the research.
Overall Research Questions • They tell you what you want to focus on and what you want to know • They set the rough boundaries of the research: you will study some issues in some context with some actors • They are oriented towards action and process • The way they are (implicitly) formulated will determine research strategy later on • They set the vision for the research project and helps focusing activities
MyOverall Research Questions • How does the emergence of new industrial principles take place in expert supplier firms? • What is the place and role of expert suppliers in the automotive supply chain? • What lean production techniques are used and how are they adopted for satisfying the needs of the organisation? • How in practice takes integrated component development place? • How are organisations and processes designed to support integration?
Research Objective One can distinguish between mainly three objectives or purposes with a research project: • To explain the causality between different observations or the reasons behind a certain situation concerning the phenomenon • To explore a vague problem or a new area of research • To describe, i.e., observe and visualise the situation of certain phenomena The research objective does not automatically define a quantitative or qualitative logic
Research Objective The research questions implicitly determine the research objective, and together they indicate quantitative vs. qualitative research: • WHAT questions of descriptive nature in the sense “how much” or “how many” call for a quantitative approach • WHAT questions of explanatory or exploratory nature call for a qualitative approach • HOW questions and WHY questions call for a qualitative approach Qualitative research is needed when we want to come to terms with the meaning, not the “right” or “wrong” with the phenomena under investigation
Research Strategy Five Basic Strategies: • Experiment • Survey • Archival Analysis • History • Case Study
Sources • Van Maanen, J., (1983), Qualitative Methodology, Beverley Hills, CA: Sage Publications. • Yin, R., K., (2003), Case Study Research, Design and Methods, 3rd edition, Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.