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How to do research for the award of a doctoral degree in management studies?

The main objectives of doctoral research

The evaluators verify certain important research results for the Ph.D.

(a) The main objective of the effort to obtain a doctorate must be the creation of new knowledge.

(b) Ideas must be useful to the industry or academic community.

(c) It must bridge the gap between current knowledge and the knowledge that is required.

(d) It must clear suspicions or find answers to the main questions that have been haunting the minds of professionals and academics for a long time. These questions are called ‘dilemmas’ or ‘hypotheses’.

What does not qualify to be called ‘PhD research’:

1. Collecting material from different sources and writing a voluminous book do not qualify to be called ‘PhD research’. PhD research is not about writing a book.

2. Writing a thesis based on some books or articles from newspapers or internet sites is not doctoral research.

3. The doctorate is not a survey with some questions (like: Are you married? How many children do you have? How long have you been employed? Which soap do you prefer?) or some kind of feedback to fill out a form. The research must use standard instruments (also called measures, scales, standard scales, and published scales).

How to undertake research for the doctorate in management studies?

1. The researcher has to do an extensive review of the literature; he has to download up to 500 research articles from online libraries like: ebscohost, emeraldinsight, proquest, jostor, etc. The main objective of the literature review is: the identification of gaps in the research. It means that you need to understand where the existing investigation stopped or what remains uninvestigated. The gap thus found can be turned into a hypothesis.

2. Hypothesis: elaboration (hypothesis formulation or hypothesis identification) is the most critical part of the investigation. Hypotheses are the research questions or dilemmas facing the academic community that are waiting to be solved by a scholar like you.

3. A hypothesis looks like a question. For example, ‘Are women more satisfied than men with their jobs?’ it is a hypothesis. This is just an example. (This may already have been figured out by an academic researcher like you.)

4. The literature review reveals to you which hypotheses have already been resolved and you do not have to resolve them again. Literature does not mean anything you find in newspapers, magazines, websites, textbooks, etc. The literature should mainly include articles prepared based on empirical research. Empirical research is one that is carried out based on experiments, observations and data collected with scientifically developed research instruments. Research articles are found in academic journals, particularly online journals run by online libraries such as emeraldinsight, jstor, proquest, ebscohost, etc.

5. The literature review, if done diligently, will provide the researcher with a suitable background to their research for logical documentation. The background presented in the thesis will explain how the topic or research question evolved or was understood until now, where it is now and what the researcher is going to do about it.

6. The literature review provides: (1) research questions/hypotheses, (2) justification for the study/research topic.

7. It goes without saying that the research topic should be identified only after extensive literature review. It is quite sad that universities ask for the research topic and hypotheses at the time of application (at a time when the candidate has not yet read a single research paper). Ideally, universities should have identified research questions/hypotheses; but it is never the case of our universities here.

8. When reviewing the literature, important findings should be noted. These notes are the main part of the thesis under headings like: introduction, background, literature review, etc. All referenced articles must be duly listed under References. There must be cross-links between the articles annotated in the reference list and the thesis text. What you annotate in the main text is called an ‘in-text citation’. It means that if you have something in the reference list, it should appear in the main text. The in-text citation looks like this (for example): (Meesala, 2011). This should be expanded in the reference list. The way these references are annotated is called ‘academic reference style’, ‘academic format’, ‘academic style’ etc.

9. The referencing style follows a certain order when noting the names of the authors, the year of publication, etc. and also the score. Read the information by googling. There are many academic formats like Harvard style, APA style, MLA style, CMS style, etc.

10. Making references for your thesis is very easy if you are familiar with the use of ‘References’ in MS Word 2007.

What to do after identifying the assumptions?

If no hypotheses are identified, there is no research. Research on management issues is about solving hypotheses, not writing books, mind you. The formulation of assumptions is followed by the design of the investigation. The research design is about determining how to collect the data (raw data) and how it should be analyzed.

When the hypotheses are clearly identified, the constructs are clearly identified and available at your fingertips. (Examples of constructs are: personality type, job satisfaction, engagement, engagement, and innovative behavior.) In your research based on his hypothesis, you may have to deal with 15 to 20 constructs. For each construct, there is a specific, standard, published instrument (also called a ‘questionnaire’, ‘measure’ or ‘scale’). An instrument is a set of questions whose reliability and validity are already established. Visit this site to see some scales. This is an electronic manual of driving scales.

You can find many scales of marketing in one book if you are affiliated with a large library like the Indian School of Business. Google “Marketing Scales.”

What to do if no ready research scales are found in published journals/books?

It is not possible to find a scale for each construct related to your research.

You have to build the scale yourself.

The process is to: (1) hold a meeting of some experts and, with their help, generate as many statements as possible about that particular construct. Remove all duplicates. With the remaining items, conduct a pilot survey. Perform an item analysis by arranging all responses to an item in ascending order and finding the t-statistic for two groups of extreme responses. If the t-value is 1.75 or more, the item is good and can be kept. After that, for all elements of the construct, find out Cronbach’s alpha. If Cronbach’s alpha is greater than 0.60, the construct is reliable. Reliability means that the items (statements in the questions) are well correlated. It is the average of the item-to-item correlations. In addition, the researcher has to calculate the content validity index. If the index is greater than 4.00, the scale can be considered a valid scale. Google the content validity index.

It should be carefully noted that the questionnaire should relate to hypotheses but not to questions that occur to the mind of an innocent researcher.

The instrument, of course, must contain a section consisting of questions about the profile of the respondents, such as age, gender, income, length of service, etc. Data on these items can be checked later to determine their relationship to other builds.

Determination of sample size

Sample means the number of respondents from whom the answers to the questionnaires should be taken (with how many respondents the questionnaires will be administered).

The sample size must be large enough. The number can be in the range of 200 to 1,000. Only a large sample is valid and valuable. Research conducted on a large sample only earns the respect of scholars and the academic research community.

The sample size is determined by the population size, the expected standard deviation, and the confidence interval. There are formulas for the determination of samples. They are: the Cocheran formula and the Slovin formula. To find out more about them, search for those terms on Google and use the formulas.

An important point to note is that the validity of your research is improved by a random sample, but not by selecting respondents for convenience.

Tabulation and Analysis

All responses collected must be entered into an Excel sheet. A row must be assigned to enter the data provided in a questionnaire. For 500 completed questionnaires, 500 rows must be allocated. The data entered in the Excel sheet can be easily imported into SPSS for analysis.

Tabulation of data is facilitated with the use of MS Excel. For high-quality analysis, use SPSS (Statistical Procedures for the Social Sciences). Even without SPSS software, you can also use the data analysis toolkit in MS Excel. With the help of this, descriptive statics, regression analysis, intercorrelations, Anova tests, etc. Can be done.

written report

For report writing, paragraph writing skills, table of contents and thesis statement, link/transition sentences, link words, topic sentence, etc. are important. In particular, the English language must be idiomatically and grammatically correct.

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