Project management research approaches
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1.1 Determine and validate appropriate areas for research ............................................. 3
1.2 Determine a suitable research approach....................................................................... 3-4
1.3 Develop suitable research questions/ hypotheses for selected area of research......... 4-5
2.1 Develop a detailed research proposal for chosen...........................................................5-6
2.2 Apply relevant research methods for area and type of research................................ 6-7
2.3 Analyse ethical issues relating to research.................................................................... 8-9
2.4 Analyse research findings and generate valid conclusions......................................... 9-11
3.1 Evaluate research methods, techniques........................................................................ 11-12
3.2 Present results and conclusions in a suitable format for audience............................ 12-13
Research is undertaken within most professions. It is a way of thinking, examining critically the various aspects of the professional work. It is the process of collecting analysizing and interpreting information to answer questioins.
- Determine and validate appropriate areas for research
The first task in a research work is to collect data and information about the topic. The researcher uses the data collected in the survey to find solution , within the boundry of random mistake.
Performance management can be defined as a process of taking systematic action to improve organizational, team and individual performance. Project management is the application of knowledge, skills and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficently. Project management process falls into five groups:
- Monitoring and Controlling
Every study has two aspects:
- Study population
- Subject Area
- Determine a suitable research approach
Generally there are two ways of reasoning used for research:
- Deductive approach
- Inductive approach
Deductive approach takes into account, developing a hypothesis which takes into account an already existing theory and then formulating a research strategy to check the hypothesis. ( Wilson, 2010, p.7)
Deductive means reasoning from the particular to the general. Deductive approach involves in developing a theory, which is subject to accurate test. This approach infers to generalisation. To make a generalisation through deductice approach, it is necessary to select samples of sufficent numerical size. (Collis and Hussey, 2003).
Snieder and Larner (2009) informs that in deductive approach reasoning starts with a theory and leads to new hypothesis, that will be confirmed or rejected as a result of research’
Theory ---—-- Hypothesis -------- Observation -------Confirmation/Rejection
The research using inductive approach is concerned with human’s behaviour and the context in which certain events take place. This approach allows one to provide subjective reasoning with the help of various examples. It lays emphasises on meaningful understanding of human attachment to the event. This is related to development of human resources in the organization (Ritchie and Lewis 2003).
Four approaches are
- Logical theoretical approach
- Quantitative approach - experimental research
- Qualitative approach – observational research
- Participatory – action research.
- Develop suitable research questions/ hypotheses for selected area of research
Generally interest in a specfic area starts the research process, but it is the familarity with the subject that helps to define an appropriate question for study. Knowledge of present trends and technological advances help in formulating research questions. All questions should be developed at the begnining and planning stage of study. Any additional question should never compromise on primary questions. The more the number of questions, more will be complexity of study and its analysis.
Hulley and colleagues have suggested the use of FINER ( Feasible, Interesting, Novel, Ethical, Relevant) criteria in preparing qustions for research.
The research question and hypothesis should be developed before start of study.
The formation of hypothesis results a study with focus. It guides as to which data is to be collected and which not. The hypothesis is developed from main research question and thereafter elements of study – sampling strategy, intervention comparision and outcome variables – are summarizedin the form that prepares ground for testing, stastical and finally clinical sagnificance.
The hypothesis should be stated at he begnining so as to guide the objective of study. Hypothesis bring clarity, specificity and focus to a research but are not compulsary for a study. A valid research can be conducted without constructing formal hypothesis.
As there are so many ways to ask questions, the questionnaire should be flexible, tested carefully before using on a large scale. Questions should be kept simple and short. Avoid leading questions.
Open ended questions allow for a larger variety of responses from participants but are difficult to anlyse statistically because data have to be coded or reduced in some manner.
Close ended questions are easy to analyse statistically, but they limit the responses that participants can give.
Combination of both beginning with a number of closed ended questions, it ends with a section of open ended questions for more detailed response.
2.1 Develop a detailed research proposal for chosen area of research
Research is a systematic investigation to find answers to a problem. Both qualitative and quantitative methoods be used appropriately in the research.
Research proposal reviewer will lookatthree primary criteria:
- Relevance of the research from both managerial and an academic perspective.
- Managerial: will the research bring added value to improve managerial practices?
- Academic: will your research bring new knowledge to your field?
2 Research feasibility
- Within specifiedperiod
- Data accessibilty
- Primary data collection
3 Proposal Quality
- Writing style
- Logical articulation of arguments
- Structure and organization
Some skills that need to be developed in areas of research:
- Decision making
- To respond to problems, experiences and opportunities and to learn from them
- To generate ideas without limits of policy ir structure or feasibility
- Involving other people
2.2 Apply relevant research methods for area and type of research
There are two types of data
- Primary Data – collected for the first time.
- Secondary Data – which has already been collected and analysed by some one else.
Primary data collection
It is collection of primary data by researcher’s own team under his observation, without asking from respondents. Observatons can give information which people are not willing or unable to provide.e.g. observing a large number of plates containing uneaten portions of same menu item indicates that food was not satisfactory.
But because of certain limitations, research is generally supplemented with survey research.
This approach is suited for collecting descriptive information.
Structured Survey- uses formal list of questions for all the participnts of the survey.
Unstructured Survey – in this process interviewer probes the participants and guide the participants according to their answers.
Research can be direct or indirect. In direct approach researcher asks direct questions about behaviour and thoughts, e.g., why don’t you eat at this restaurant? But in indirect approach the question asked will be, what kind of people eat at this particular restaurant?
Survey can be conducted by collecting information through mail, telephone, or postal interview.
Mail questionnaires is used to collect large amount of information at low cost. As no interviewer is involved to bias the respondents answers. In this case response rate is lw and there is no control over who answers.
Telephone interviewing is a quick method, allows greater sample control and response rate is higher than mail. Its cost is higher. Interviewer’s manner of talking maay effect answers.
Personal interviewing is very flexible and can be used to collect large amounts of information. It may cost more than telephonic survey. It can be biased by the interviewer.
The conclusions are genarally drawn by taking a group as a sample. A sample is a segment of popukation selected to represent as a whole.
Secondary Data Collection
Secondary data is others data, and is shared by other people as a view of their perception. Many researchers requires collection of primary data to support the secondary data. The secondary data is collected from existing sources e.g. official ststistics, annuak appraisals, journals, history and articles.
Types of Research
There are different types of research for different purposes
- Audience research
- Market research
- Production research
2.3 Analyse ethical issues relating to research
The collection of data through any methos involve some ethical issues relating to both the researcher and the participants.
Ethical issues concerning Participants
- Collecting Information: If one cannot justify relevance of the research, he is wasting his participants time ,which is unethical.
- Seeking Consent: In every field it is unethical to collect information without knowledge of participant and their expressed willingness and informed consent. Consent should be voluntary and without any kind of pressure.
- Providing incentives: Giving a present before data collection is unethical.
- Seeking Sensitive Information: Certain information is considered sensitive or confidential by some people. For most people questions on income, age, marital status, drug use, etc. are intrusive. It is not unethical to ask such questions, if we tell the participants type of information you are gong to collect clearly, and give him sufficient time to decide if he wants to participate.
- Possibility of causing harm to participants: Collection of data should not harm participants in any way. If the way information sought creates anxiety or harrashment, steps be taken to prevent it.
- Maintaining Confidentiality: Sharing information about a participant with others for purposes other than research is unethical. Information provided by participant be kept anonymous. It is unethical to identify an individual’s responses.
Ethical issues relating to Researcher:
- Avoid Bias: Bias is an attempt to either hide orhighlight something disproportionate to its true position. Bias on the part of researcher is unethical.
- Provision or deprivation of treatment: Both provision and deprivation of a treatment/ intervation may pose ethical dilemma for a researcher. Ensuring informed consent, minimum risk and frank discussions as to the implications of participation in the study will help to resolve ethical ssues.
- Using appropriate research methodology: It is unethical to use a method or procsedure known as inappropriate e.g. selecting a highly biased sample, using an invalid instrument or drawing wrong conclusions.
- Incorrect reporting: To change report findings in a way to serve your own or someone else’s interest is unethical.
- Inappropriate use of the information: The use of information in a way that it dirctly or indiretly affects the participants is unethical.
2.4 Analyse research findings and generate valid conclusions
When analysing data start from review of research goals, this will help organizing data and focus analysis. For example if one want to improve a programme by identifying its strengths and weaknessess, you can organize data into program strengths, weaknesses and suggestions to improve the program.
Processing and analysing data is based on a number of closely related operations performed for summing up the data collected and arranging these in a manner that they answer the research questions.
Data Processing operations are:
Basic analysis of quantitative information
- Make copies of data , and sore your master copy. Use copy for making edits,cuttings and pastings etc.
- Tabulate the information i.e. add up the number of ratings, rankings, yes’s, no’s for each question.
- For ratings and rankings consider computing a mean or average
- Cosider conveying range of answers e.g., 20 people ranked ‘1’, 30 ranked “2” etc.
Basic analysis of qualitative information
- Read through all data.
- Organize comments into similar catogeries, suggestions,strengths, weaknesses, similar expriences, program inputs, recommendations, outputs, outcome indicators.etc.
- Label the categories in themes, e.g., concerns or suggestions, etc.
- Attempt to identify patterns or associations and casual relationship in themes.
- Keep all commentry for a long period after completion in case need arise for future reference.
Qualitative research involves collectiuon, analysis and interpretation of data that can not be easily rsduced to numbers., as this data relate to social world and the concepts of the behaviors of people within it. It can be found in all social sciences and all applied fields that derive from them.
The initial phase of data analysis is to examine the quality of data ( presence or absence of extreme observations), the quality of measurements and if the implementation of study was in line with research design. In main phase of analysis either an exploratory or confirmatory approach can be adopted.
Both approaches have their place in reserch, both have their strengths and weaknesses. In some studies one has to combine both approaches.
For example to find types of cuisine/accomodation available in a city and extent of their popularity in the city. Types of cuisine is a qualitative aspect of study and extent of popularity is a quanititative aspect as it is based on finding the number of people who visit restaurant.
Quantitative data can be analysed by regression analysis, where relationship between dependent and independent variable is measured. It help one to find out how the value of dependant variable changes when one of the independent variable is varied, and other independent variables are held fixed.
Qualitative data can involve coding, key concepts and variables are assigned a shorthand and data gathered is broken downinto those concepts of variables. Coding is the process of categorizing the qualitative data so that data becomes quantifiable and thus measureable. How data is coded depends on researchers, the same qualitative data can be coded in so many different ways giving attention to different aspects of the data. One such example is given in the figure below.
Without a valid design, valid scientific conclusions cannot be drawn. Internal validity concerns the degree to which conclusions about the casuality can be drawn. External validity concerns the extent to which results of the study are generalizeable.
3.1 Evaluate research methods, techniques and findings and comment on validity of research.
Evaluation of the project is planned for right from the onsetand is going on as the different milestones are tackled. Type of evaluation that goes on during the project is referred as formative evaluation, because the project is being formed. The evalustion conducted at the end commonly referred as summative evaluation, because the project is being summed up.
All research, no matter how well they are controlled, carries the potential to be wrong. Most
After conducting research, analyzing it and evaluating the results is an important work. Statistics are manuplated everyday to change the conclusions drawn.
Before accepting the results of a study one must evaluate the research techniques used, the study protocol and other factors to determine if the study’s claims are valid.
There must be randomization of the sample groups and necessary care and intelligence shown in allocation of controls.
Internal validity and trustworthness are at the core of any research design.
External validity is the process of examining the results and questioning whether there are any possible casual relationship.
Any scientific study only puts forward a possible cause for the studied effect. There are always chances of another unknown factors contributing to the results and findings.
If the study was designed to contain validity and reliability then scientific community is more likely to accept the findings. The high degree of validity and reliability provides not only confidence in data collected but trust in successful application and use of results.
The validity of a research settles down to whether the study is giving results what it was claiming to do. For example if someone is buying a research report from an organization claiming to calculate how people prefer marketer’s production than its competitors’ products, the marketer should know how the data was secured to help knoiw if the research really gives the information the way the research company wants it to do.
Since most analysis are based on observational studies rather than on results of a controlled experiment, avoid drawing results concerning casuality.
When studying changes over time, short term trends should not be focused without checking them in light of medium and long term trends.
Where possible avoid arbitrary time reference points.
3.2 Present results and conclusions in a suitable format for audience
Information on how the survey was done, as anyone may want to repeat it. This information is often included in the appenixes to the main report. It includes full questionnaire, detailed sample design, fieldwork procedures, interviewer’s instructions, data entry instructions and recommendations for futures study- as how to do better next time.
This report should containall the details given below.
- Focus the article on important variables and topics.
- Arrange ideas in a logical order.
- Keep languge as simple as possible.
- Use graphs in additiuon to text and tables to communicate the message.
- When tables are used take care that overall format adds to clarity of data and prevents misrepresentation.
- Explain rounding practices and procedures.
- Satisfy confidentiality requirements of the source whose data isbeing analysed.
- Include information about data sources used and shorcomings in the data that may have affected the analysis.
- Include information about analytical method and tools ysed.
- Include information regarding quality of results.
- Ensure that all refercences are accurate.
- Check for errors in the article. Check accuracy of external data and simple arithmatics.
- Ensure that intentions stated in the introduction are fulfilled.
- Get the results reviewed by others for relevance, accuracy and comprehensibility.
- As a good practice consider presenting the results to peers prior to finalizing the text.
- Refer to available documents that could provide further guidance for improvement.
Stolley, Karl."Primary Research". Purdue Online Writing Lab. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
Snieder, R & Larner, K, 2009, The Art of Being a Scientist: A Guide for Graduate Students and their Mentors, Cambridge University Press http://www.ihmctan.edu/PDF/notes/Research_Methodology.pdf
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