BTM7103-8, WEEK 8, RESEARCH DESIGN
BTM7103-8, WEEK 8, RESEARCH DESIGN BTM7103-8
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Date Created: 04/09/16
NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY ASSIGNMENT COVER SHEET Student: THIS FORM MUST BE COMPLETELY FILLED IN Follow these procedures: If requested by your instructor, please include an assignment cover sheet. This will become the first page of your assignment. In addition, your assignment header should include your last name, first initial, course code, dash, and assignment number. This should be left justified, with the page number right justified. For example: Save a copy of your assignments: You may need to resubmit an assignment at your instructor’s request. Make sure you save your files in accessible location. Academic integrity: All work submitted in each course must be your own original work. This includes all assignments, exams, term papers, and other projects required by your instructor. Knowingly submitting another person’s work as your own, without properly citing the source of the work, is considered plagiarism. This will result in an unsatisfactory grade for the work submitted or for the entire course. It may also result in academic dismissal from the University. BTM71038 John Halstead, PhD Research Design Assignment 8 Faculty Use Only <Faculty comments here> <Faculty Name> 2 Introduction Developing a methodology and design for a dissertation research topic based on the research problem, and purpose of a topic previously developed. After developing the methodology and design, a justification is provided for the use of the methodology and design and a discussion of why the alternative is less desirable. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed design will be provided. The topic that will be discussed herein is online business development. By understanding the various types of online businesses that become successful is a process that will take significant research and analysis. Everyday thousands of people begin an online business and many fail in the early stages. The Small Business Association states that 60% of small businesses fail within the first year (Frazer, 2015). The first step of this process includes identifying the types of businesses that are the most successful and subsequently analyze and comprehend the factors that make them successful. After determining which businesses are successful and further understanding the steps to make them successful, new business owners can be provided with a leg up in the online business world. In order to make an assessment of the types of businesses that are successful, an initial assessment through an online question and answer forum will be conducted. Upon vetting the various companies and their owners, the next step is to conduct facetoface interviews to further analyze best practices. The strategic area of focus is based upon American businessmen or women opening up a business in the AsiaPacific region. This region of the world is chosen based upon personal preference to also open a business in this area of the world. The following pages will include: (a) statement of the problem, (b) purpose statement, (c) research questions, (d) methodology selection, (e) advantages and disadvantages/errors and analyses, (f) validity, 3 and (g) strengths, challenges, and ethical considerations. Problem Statement The problem to be addressed in this proposed study is based upon failing online businesses and finding ways for new online business owners to become profitable. Over 60% of small businesses have failed to achieve a profitable position and subsequently shut down (Simmons, Wiklund, & Levie, 2014). This problem affects millions of individuals each year and can potentially be influenced by first understanding which type online business to begin. By helping individuals to understand the type of businesses that are successful, programs can be developed to help these individuals by developing a startup program. Online businesses are growing in a significant manner each and every day, and many people will not take the time to understand what works and what does not work prior to jumping in head first. Worldwide, there are about 300 million people trying to start about 150 million businesses. Of the 150 million, only approximately 50 million businesses make it to launch (Mason, 2016). To begin to identify whether a business has a high probability of becoming successful, one must look to other online business owners and the types of business strategies previously utilized. Understanding current online business owners’ perceptions and experiences, the most successful niche(s) can be identified. This type of work is applicable to the applied DBA by researching existing data in the online business environment and applying it to the future of the online business environment. Purpose Statement The purpose of this research is to discover the best possible online business types to achieve success. Groups of individuals in a variety of online business ventures will be studied to determine the most successful solutions to forming an online business. This process will save 4 time and energy for those that wish to move into the world of entrepreneurship. In this study, successful online businesses will be defined as those bringing in a net income of over $10,000 per month. With a solid understanding of the best types of businesses to begin online, an individual will be able to make an educated decision on the type of business to move into. Using a quantitative methodology for this study will allow a researcher to identify the spectrum of success by identifying profitability levels. The study will also identify the number of online business started, as well as the number of individuals and the gender of the individuals starting them. By identifying each set of data collected in the research questions listed in the following section, an idea of the characteristics makes up a successful online business. Research Questions Asking the right questions that are effective in providing an answer to the problem the research is trying to solve, requires careful consideration. Questions are normally developed by utilizing one of three methods. The three methods are: logic, practicality, and accident (Locke, Spirduso, & Silverman, 2007). By utilizing logic and practicality, questions can be developed to answer a problem by developing a hypothesis in the beginning stages of the project. As the research study continues, questions will begin to arise by pure accident, allowing other avenues to be discovered. In the given project, identifying the most successful online businesses will require significant research. The following questions target current successful online business owners: (a) what makes your online business successful? (b) how does gender affect business startup and success? (c) which web tools are most effective in supporting online businesses? Conducting a research experiment in its natural environment has limitations. 5 The following will describe the hypothesis for each question: Question 1: What makes your online business successful? Hypothesis: Ten of the sixteen items listed below need to be met to identify as successful. The following are noted as making an online business a success (a) capital, (b) strong record keeping and financial control, (c) industrial experience, (d) managerial experience, (e) planning, (f) professional advice, (g) educational level, (h) personnel, (i) economic circumstances, (j) age of business, (k) election of appropriate time to provide products or services, (l) age of entrepreneur, (m) partners, (n) parents, (o) minorities, and (p) marketing Question 2: How does gender affect business startup and success? Hypothesis: Males are more successful in business than females. Overall most females are less likely to succeed in business as there are a smaller number of females starting up businesses. Females that startup businesses are more likely to startup businesses with a partner involved (Kodama & Odaki, 2011). Question 3: Which web tools are most effective in supporting online businesses? Hypothesis: Social media will be noted as the most effective online marketing tools. Five main platforms for social media that are extremely effective marketing tools. The tools include Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Linkedln and Twitter. Each of these tools can also be utilized to track competitor effectiveness (Aichner & Jacob, 2015). Methodology Selection Determining which type of study and methodology that will be utilized is vital to the research being conducted. First, a researcher must understand how to choose an appropriate research project and how to write in a scholarly way. Many new students to the research field 6 are unsure of not only how to write in a scholarly manner, but must learn quickly how write as well and choose the appropriate type of study, qualitative or quantitative. Understanding the details and the processes that develop a proper study is necessary to ensure research is conducted appropriately (Caffarella & Barnett, 2000). Quantitative methodology could potentially be utilized within the realm of descriptive research to identify a variable. In this study the variable could entail determining the level of success by dollar figure earned per month. The interviewees could be asked a question of how much their business earns per month, and those that have the highest totals would rank as the most successful. As a researcher conducts a quantitative study, the following should be clearly identified in the analysis (a) the statistical tests which were utilized in the study, (b) why the tests were chosen, and (c) the results of the study (Coughlan, Cronin, & Ryan, 2007). Alternatively, qualitative studies consist of collecting a large amount of data, organizing and analyzing that data to create a succinct statement to provide a prediction or insight into the purpose that is being studied (LeCompte, 2000). The primary element to the qualitative methodology involves descriptive research (“Key elements,” 2010). Upon review, the qualitative methodology is the best format for the selected research problem. By utilizing a strategy that incorporates the human element, a thorough analysis can be conducted on successful online businesses. Other strengths of a qualitative study involve the level of detail that can be acquired. The weaknesses involve the acquisition of too much data that a researcher could get bogged down in the amount of data collected. In addition, the data collected could potentially be skewed by researcher bias due to nature of the questions being asked. While the weaknesses for qualitative studies may cause extensive conflicts, a quantitative study would not 7 provide enough data to truly understand what makes a company successful. The research will require the ability to ask a variety of in depth questions that provides more description. By understanding current online business owners’ perceptions and experience, the most successful niche(s) can be identified. Now that the type of study that is the most appropriate and the types of data that will need to be collected, the next step is to create a record of the collected data for further interpretation (Gibbs, 2007). Surveys will be the collection method of choice and will be discussed further in the upcoming sections. Collection Methods There are several different methods that will be utilized in this study to collect data for analysis. The three types that will be utilized are surveys, field notes, observation, and interviews. Each method provides a unique way to collect data to interpret and develop a well rounded study. Each type of data collected will provide a portion of data which will more fully develop the bigger picture. Surveys can be utilized in (quasi) experimental data collection. The population and sample size for this study will need to be between 2550 online businesses covering a variety of online business types. Trying to survey the entire population of all online businesses would not be feasible and quite expensive. Conducting simple random sampling and focusing on a small sample size of the overall population will provide an equal opportunity for business selection. If the overall number of businesses in the AsiaPacific locale was 250500 businesses, a 10% ratio random selection could provide a fairly average response (Trochim & Donnelly, 2008). The small sample size is appropriate for this type of study due to the amount of information will need to be collected. The specific selection will include American based businesses operating in the 8 AsiaPacific region. By allocating limiting factors and vetting the selected interviewees, the data will become reliable and valid specifically for the identified factors. When collecting data, a survey must be valid and reliable. The location utilized to locate potential individuals for the survey is on the website Quora. Quora is a contemporary, webbased forum where users can post questions and acquire answers from other users. In addition, others can vote up or down the answer based upon the accuracy or quality of answer (Ovadia, 2011). This method of data collection will allow researchers to acquire a base for source identification. Surveys conducted through Quora may provide a base of individuals to choose from, the data collected may be less reliable than surveys administered facetoface. The advantage of using surveys allows researchers to target specific information required. The facetoface survey offers the ability to not only receive the answer to the question, but additional information that is naturally acquired through conversation. The disadvantages of utilizing surveys include (a) potential false information and answers, (b) gathering information that exaggerated or understated, (c) asks irrelevant questions, and (d) attracts only those who are willing to answer the survey (Cozby, 2012). Another relatable study to discuss utilized quantitative design involved online business courses. The study reviewed involved three online quantitative business courses that were taught over a period of 8 years. The study took place at the location of Athabasca University, and the data collected was done so by observation and experience (Lam & Khare, 2010). The study analyzed only three online businesses over the 8year period, and allowed the researchers to gather in depth data on a small sample size. By utilizing a small sample size, the researcher could collect an extensive amount of data. To collect the same amount of data on a much larger 9 sample size would have required a much larger number of individuals to collect the data. Field Notes and Observations Other data collection methods to utilize in this study are field notes and observations. Both types of data collection involve field research. Field research is the overall label that defines a particular type of collection method that includes direct observation of naturally occurring events. Field research is different from survey research. Field research records the actions are being conducted and recorded at that time rather than a survey taken after the event’s occurrence (Jane & Liz, 2002). Field notes are described as those that are written down in the field as the event takes place. In this study, fieldwork and observation can be used in the in the form of attending an online business conference. The conference type of forum could provide a solid foundation for successful online business. By learning from each entrepreneur as to what worked well versus those actions that did not work would be valuable information to analyze. The field notes collected at the conferences could provide a way to compare and contrast viable business strategies. The advantages of using field notes would allow for a log of questions asked to current online business owners. The disadvantages would be that only a certain number of online business owners would be able to attend the conference and the information collected may be biased as others in the room challenge the answers given (Cozby, 2012). Interviewing Interviewing is another data collection method to be used in this research study to answer the above research questions by speaking directly with selected online business owners. The preferred method for interviews would be facetoface. While electronic interviews may provide a well thought out answer that is written down, the value of facetoface interviews is priceless. 10 An interviewer can not only hear the answers to the questions, but also interpret body language and ask followup questions (Cozby, 2012). For this study, participants would be interviewed individually. A followup study could incorporate a group interview. This followup could be utilized to analyze the differences between the business types and address the challenges by comparing and contrasting the answers given. Advantages and Disadvantages/Errors and Analyses Identifying appropriate questions for the study can be both advantageous and disadvantageous. The data collected could potentially be skewed by the pure nature of the experiment. Data collected and potential factors that could be influenced by the analyses based upon the number of years a business has been active. The data could also be skewed by the ages of the individuals at the helm of the business. Older individuals may be less likely to utilize social media and electronic means to conduct business, but may be successful due to the length of time and the experience they have been in business. Identifying the reasoning behind a company’s success will be useful information to acquire. Appropriate background data on each of the companies and the key managers will need to be collected to ensure the data is reviewed for accuracy. According to Fink (2003), statistical analyses provide descriptions, relationships, comparisons, and predictions. Another potential issue is to ensure an appropriate target is selected and it represents the entire population. A study was conducted to detect alcoholism amongst the Delhi High Court’s attorneys. The study showed that 5% of the targeted market were alcoholics. The issue was then attempting to apply this across the board for all lawyers, which was certainly was not the case. A study as detailed above can only be applied to the particular sector located within the study. 11 Attempting to apply the same criteria to the lawyer population in a small town with limited stress would most likely be significantly lower (Banerjee & Chaudhury, 2010). For the study of online business, the target market may not apply across the board. Successful online trading business may not all be successful for the same reason. To develop an understanding, a more in depth analysis must be conducted to ensure the data collected is analyzed for validity in the Asia Pacific region. Validity Validity is a concept that needs to be reviewed to ensure that is in place for each study. The three different types of validity that each study needs to be evaluated for are construct validity, internal validity, and external validity. It is important to ensure that the study being conducted is valid for each of the three types will help to determine the appropriateness of the study. Each area will be discussed in the sections below. Construct Validity Construct validity involves a specific sample size and the accuracy of the involved variables. As the defined variables are reviewed and measured within the study, inferences are developed. Construct validity essentially reviews how closely the data inferences are to the reality of the concept (Braun & Kuljanin, 2015). With the study at hand, the data collected involves the number of businesses making over $10,000 per month. A sample inference based upon the 10% of the population, could show that the type of business with the highest success rate of 50% are in electronics sales. If applied across the board, this would imply that 50% of all AsiaPacific companies’ electronic companies would be successful if this were the case. Internal Validity 12 Internal validity is a bit different than construct validity due the nature of cause and effect. If the current study changed but one factor in the study based upon the current conclusions, a researcher would be able to predict cause and effect relationships (Cozby, 2012). An example of this could be determining that an online company could make $2,500 in sales on average by completing $500 in marketing each month. If marketing efforts were increased to $1,000 each month, the logical step would be to say that the company would double its sales. External Validity External validity focuses on whether the findings of a study can be analyzed and allocate them in other settings (Cozby, 2012). External validity serves to provide a sense of truth to a given conclusion in a variety of circumstances. Stereotyping could be a way to define external validity. An example of this type of validity could be something like the following: If the conclusion is that it will take 2 years for a tech online business to become successful in the U.S., a tech online business will take 2 years to become successful in France. Threats to Validity The types of validity discussed above are in place to ensure the highest level of accuracy within a study. When a study is conducted, a researcher must identify the threats to internal and external validity. The threats begin to infiltrate procedures, treatments, or experiences of participating individuals (Creswell, 2013). By identifying the potential threats, mitigating processes can be put into place. Threats to validity could include something as simple as a researcher injecting a bias into the facetoface interview simply by asking questions that push an interviewee to answer a question in a certain manner. Strengths, Challenges, and Ethical Considerations 13 The strengths associated with this qualitative study would start with providing access to a significant number of individuals currently owning online businesses. The online environment will certainly allow for ease of access to the type of individuals that will be interviewed. While conducting the study in the online environment with online business owners is considered a strength, the challenge associated with finding the successful online business owners may be more difficult. Huberman and Miles (2002) discussed Campbell and Stanley’s attack on the “oneshot case study”. An ethical issue that evolved from this study was the thought that one observation, from one group, only one time, does not allow for other alternative outcomes. If only one possible outcome is analyzed, the data can be skewed. Reporting that observed data of only one test as true across the board in every similar situation will certainly lead to an ethical dilemma. A strategy will need to be formulated to account for the other possible results and outcomes. During this study, the questions will be asked from a variety of business owners allowing for open ended discussion. Another ethical issue to consider within this study will be how business owners will be found, interviewed, and protection of interviewees and information provided. If individuals are not responsive, a fee may be required to acquire the interviewees. By providing a fee, this may attract an unintended and unethical audience. Another potential solution would be to locate forums that allow individuals to respond to the masses, such as Quora. By utilizing a database such as Quora, an ethical issue of whether or not the individual is actually a business owner or someone more or less pretending to be a business owner could develop. Time will need to be taken to validate the accuracy of the person’s claims. By asking what the name of the associated 14 business, further research can be conducted to validate the individual’s statements. The research can then be furthered by locating the business and the individual’s association with that business by validating the relationship between the individual and the company. Upon validation, the information provided will then need protection. The interviewee would need to sign a release of information as well as confidentiality agreement that specifies which portions of information would be authorized for release. In addition, names and addresses of would be withheld and how the information would be stored and disposed. Conclusion This week’s final assignment was focused on selecting a research method for a previously developed study. The topic of discussion for this hypothetical study is proposal online business development. By understanding the various types of online businesses that become successful is a process that will take significant research and analysis. Everyday thousands of people undertake starting an online business and many fail in the early stages. The first step of this process included identifying the types of businesses that are the most successful and subsequently analyze and comprehend the factors that make them successful. By choosing a study method that involves collecting an extensive amount of data. The qualitative study provides a vehicle to ask questions that allow for more fluent and descriptive data collection. While the qualitative method allows for the a more thorough picture of the problem, the method may also hinder the study by acquiring too much data. The strategic area of focus for this assignment was based upon American businessmen or women opening up businesses in the AsiaPacific region. This region of the world is chosen based upon personal preference to also open a business in this area of the world. The above pages included a discussion of each of the 15 noted points: (a) statement of the problem, (b) purpose statement, (c) research questions, (d) methodology selection, (e) advantages and disadvantages/errors and analyses, (f) validity, and (g) strengths, challenges, and ethical considerations. 16 References Aichner, T., & Jacob, F. (2015). Measuring the degree of corporate social media use. International Journal of Market Research, 57(2), 257275. doi:10.2501/IJMR2015018 Banerjee, A., & Chaudhury, S. (2010). Statistics without tears: populations and samples. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 19(1), 60–65. doi.org/10.4103/09726748.77642 Braun, M. T., & Kuljanin, G. (2015). Big data and the challenge of construct validity. Industrial & Organizational Psychology, 8(4), 521527. doi:10.1017/iop.2015.77 Caffarella, R. S., & Barnett, B. G. (2000). Teaching doctoral students to become scholarly writers: the importance of giving and receiving critiques. Studies in Higher Education, 25(1), 3952. doi:10.1080/030750700116000 Coughlan, M., Cronin, P., & Ryan, F. (2007). Stepbystep guide to critiquing research. Par 1: quantitative research.http://keiranhenderson.com/articulate/critiquing_research/ data/downloads/ critiquing_quantitative_research_bjn.pdf Cozby, P. C. (2012). Methods in behavioral research. Boston, MA McGraw Hill Higher Education Fink, A. (2003). What statistics do for surveys. (2003). In a. fink (Ed.), how to manage, analyze and interpret survey data. doi:10.4135/9781412984454 Frazer, L. (2015). Failure to Launch. CPA Journal, 85(5), 3436 Huberman, M. & Miles, M. (2002). Understanding and validity in qualitative research. The Qualitative Researcher's Companion. doi: 10.4135/9781412986274.n2 Key elements of a research proposal quantitative design. (2010). Retrieved from http://www. bcps.org/offices/lis/researchcourse/develop_quantitative.html Kodama, N., & Odaki, K. (2011). Gender difference in the probability of success in starting business turns negligible when controlling for the managerial experience. Applied Economics Letters, 18(13), 12371241. doi:10.1080/13504851.2010.532097 Kristandy, S. J., & Aldianto, L. (2015). Factors that influence student's decision in startingup service franchise business in Bandung. Procedia social and behavioral sciences, 169(The 6th Indonesia international conference on innovation, Entrepreneurship, and small business (IICIES 2014), 318328. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.316 Lam, H., & Khare, A. (2010). Effective practices for online Delivery of quantitative business courses. International Journal on ELearning, 9(2), 229250 17 LeCompte, M.D. (2000). Analyzing qualitative data. Theory into Practice, 39 (3), 146154 Locke, L.F., Spirduso, W.W. & Silverman, S.J. (2007). Developing the thesis or dissertation proposal: Some common problems. Retrieved from http://www.sagepub.com/upmdata/ 14135_Chapter3.pdf Mason, M. (2016). Worldwide Business StartUps. Retrieved from http://www.moyak.com/ papers/businessstartupsentrepreneurs.html Ovadia, S. (2011). Quora.com: another place for users to ask questions. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 30(3), 176. doi:10.1080/01639269.2011.591279 Simmons, S., Wiklund, J., & Levie, J. (2014). Stigma and business failure: implications for entrepreneurs' career choices. Small Business Economics, 42(3), 485505. doi:10.1007/s1118701395193 Trochim, W., & Donnelly, J. (2008). The research methods knowledge base. 3rd. ed. Mason, OH Cengage
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