An Introduction to Research Design

An Introduction to Research Design - AN INTRODUCTION TO...

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AN INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH DESIGN Daniel Ganster, Ph.D. Sam M. Walton College of Business University of Arkansas I. Introduction: What is Research Design? Most of this course focuses on what to do with data once you have them. So far we have learned how to display data so that it gives us a clear picture of what is happening. We have also learned how to use sample data to make inferences about populations. In this chapter we will begin to discuss ways of collecting that data that you are becoming so expert at analyzing. As we have seen, performing statistical analyses of data can help us understand many business processes and this understanding gives us insights into how to solve business problems. The whole process of collecting information (what we call data) and analyzing it is called research . Research design refers to the process of obtaining the data that we want to analyze. In short, it involves devising a plan for collecting data. Research design is actually a very complicated business. There are professionals whose entire career is devoted to designing research studies and carrying them out. The first image that most often comes to mind when they think of someone who designs and conducts studies is a scientist in a white lab coat working in a laboratory. But most professionals who design studies for a living don't look like that. Believe it or not, your instructor for this course is most likely one of those people. Most of you will probably not spend the majority of your time designing studies (that is conducting research) for a living, but you will very likely do some of it as part of your job, and you will certainly Sam M. Walton College of Business © 2003. WCOB 1033 Data Analysis and Interpretation 1
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use the results of others who conduct such research when making your own decisions. You have heard much talk about the information age. Well, you are in it and you're going to be even deeper in it as you pursue your career. My goal in this chapter is to arm you with enough knowledge to make you at least an educated consumer of such research, and even one who can actually design some research to solve actual business problems. We are going to discuss some of the major types of research design and will look at ways to critically evaluate these designs. In the end, good research design simply refers to designs that give us good data. If our data are no good, then all the sophisticated statistical analyses covered in your textbook are useless. As you have probably heard many times, "garbage in, garbage out." If your data are poor then even doing sophisticated statistical analyses of them will not yield useful insights into the problem you are trying to solve. II.
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This note was uploaded on 03/15/2011 for the course WCOB 1033 taught by Professor Jensen during the Spring '05 term at Arkansas.

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An Introduction to Research Design - AN INTRODUCTION TO...

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