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MULUNGUSHI UNIVERSITY

SCHOOL OF BUSINESS STUDIES

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY: METHODS AND


TECHNIQUES - MODULE

MBA 851

2014

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

Table of Contents
1.

0 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................... 5

1.0 INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ................................................................. 12


1.1 Definition and Meaning of Research ................................................................................................ 12
1.1.1 Definition ..................................................................................................................................... 12
1.1.2 Meaning of Research .................................................................................................................... 12
1.2 Objectives of Research .................................................................................................................... 13
1.3 What is the Motivation for Research? .............................................................................................. 13
1.4 Types of Research ........................................................................................................................... 13
1.4.1 Basic Types of Research................................................................................................................ 13
1.5 Significance of Research.................................................................................................................. 16
1.6 Research Process ............................................................................................................................. 17
1.6.1 Formulating Research Problem .................................................................................................... 17
1.6.2 Extensive Literature Survey........................................................................................................... 18
1.6.3 Development of a Working Hypothesis .......................................................................................... 18
1.7 Determining Sample Design ............................................................................................................ 20
1.8 Collecting Data ................................................................................................................................ 25
1.8.1 Primary Data................................................................................................................................ 25
1.8.2 Secondary Data ............................................................................................................................ 30
1.9 Analysis of Data .............................................................................................................................. 30
1.10 Use of Statistics in Testing Data..................................................................................................... 32
1.11 Hypothesis Testing ........................................................................................................................ 32
1.12 Generalizations and Interpretation .................................................................................................. 33
1.13 Preparation of the Report or Thesis ................................................................................................ 33
1.14 Criteria for Good Research ........................................................................................................... 34
1.15 Problems Encountered by Researchers in Zambia........................................................................... 35
2.0 THE RESEARCH PROBLEM ........................................................................................................ 36
2.1 Defining a Research Problem ........................................................................................................... 36
2.2 Selecting the Problem ...................................................................................................................... 36
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

2.3 Techniques Involved in Defining a Problem..................................................................................... 37


3.0 RESEARCH DESIGN ..................................................................................................................... 39
3.1 Meaning of Research Design ........................................................................................................... 39
3.2 Need for Research Design................................................................................................................ 40
3.3 Features of Good Design.................................................................................................................. 40
3.4 Important Concepts Relating to Research Design ............................................................................. 41
4.0 RESEARCH PROPOSAL GUIDELINES FOR MASTERS PROGRAMME .................................. 43
4.1 General Outline ............................................................................................................................... 43
4.2 Detailed Outline .............................................................................................................................. 44
8.0 INTERPRETATION AND REPORT WRITING ............................................................................ 47
8.1 Meaning of Interpretation ................................................................................................................ 47
8.2 Why Interpretation? ......................................................................................................................... 47
8.3 Techniques of Interpreting Results ................................................................................................... 48
8.4 Significance of Report Writing ........................................................................................................ 48
8.5 Steps in Report Writing ................................................................................................................... 48
8.6

Lay out of the Research Report ................................................................................................... 49

8.6.1 Front Matter in Detail .................................................................................................................. 49


8.6.2 Main Text in Detail ....................................................................................................................... 50
8.6.3 End Matter ................................................................................................................................... 50
8.7

Types of Reports ........................................................................................................................ 51

8.9 Precautions for Writing Research Reports ........................................................................................ 51


Bibliography ......................................................................................................................................... 52

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

STUDY GUIDE/COURSE MODULE

CONTENTS
PART 1: GENERAL INFORMATION
1.

Introduction

2.

Objectives

3.

Assessments

4.

Recommended Reference Materials

5.

Contact Details

PART 2: COURSE CONTENT


Study Unit 1: Introduction to Research Methodology
Study Unit 2: The Research Problem
Study Unit 3: Research Design
Study Unit 4: Research Proposal Guidelines for Masters Programme
Study Unit 5: Measuring and Scaling Techniques
Study Unit 6: Methods used for Data Collection in Business Management
Study Unit 7: Processing and analysis of data
Study Unit 8: Interpretation and Report Writing
Study Unit 9: Use of computers in Research

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

PART ONE: GENERAL INFORMATION


1. 0 INTRODUCTION
Dear Student
We are pleased to welcome you to Mulungushi University Masters of Business Administration
(MBA) 851 module in Research Methodology. The Course is designed to enable you irrespective
of your interests or background to be familiar with and apply the art of using different research
methods and techniques and to develop appropriate research techniques for data collection,
analysis, interpretation and presentation. The content provided in this course outline will avail
you wit an opportunity to explore current techniques and applications to help you discover the
field of research as it is practised today. Your active participation in the module is encouraged.
General and administrative information regarding lectures and course assessments have been
included. It is hoped that you will find this module, enlightening and rewarding and a source of
guidance in discovering the unknown.
2.0 OBJECTIVES
The purpose of this module is to provide students with an understanding of research
methodology. Specifically, to understand and appreciate current research techniques and
methodologies used in business management.
At the end of this module, students are expected to be able to:1)
2)
3)
4)

Understand and apply appropriate research methodologies,


Design research, collect and analyze data.
Understand the role of computers in research and be able to use them effectively,
Understand and use various computer soft ware packages of data analysis and report
writing, and
5) Interpret data and write reports.
3.0 ASSESSMENTS
3.1 Formative Assessment
Formative assessments will comprise individual or group assignments. Group assignment may be
presented in class for a maximum of 40 minutes, followed by question and answer session.
Students are also required to submit a written executive report of between 6000 to 8000 words
long, highlighting salient points of the allocated topic. Reports are expected to be. Students are
also required to hand in a printed copy of the seminar paper and email a computer file of the
paper to the course lecturer(s) at least three working days before the presentation day. Verbal
presentation will account for 10 marks and the report 30 marks of the overall article presentation
mark. The mark of 40 shall constitute continuous assessment mark. Where necessary and
convenient, tests may be given in place of assignments.
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

3.2 Assessment Criteria


(i) The group presentations [10 Marks] will be assed based on the following criteria:
Organisation
[2 Marks]

Topic Knowledge
[2 Marks]

Audience
Adaptation
[2 Marks]

Ideas are clearly organised, developed, and supported to achieve a purpose;


the purpose is clear. The introduction gets the attention of the audience and
clearly states the specific purpose of the presentation. The main points are
clear and organised effectively. The conclusion is satisfying and relates
back to introduction.
The student has a clear grasp of information. Citations are introduced and
attributed appropriately and accurately. The supporting material is original,
logical and relevant. The student demonstrates full knowledge (more than
required) by answering all class questions with explanations and
elaboration. Speaking outline or note cards are used for reference only.

The presenter is able to effectively keep the audience engaged. The


material is modified or clarified as needed given audience verbal and
nonverbal feedback. Nonverbal behaviours are used to keep the audience
engaged. Delivery style is modified as needed. Topic selection and
examples are interesting and relevant for the audience and occasion.

Language
Use The language is familiar to the audience, appropriate for the setting, and
free of bias; the presenter may code-switch (use a different language
(Verbal
form) when appropriate. Language choices are vivid and precise.
Effectiveness)
[2 Marks]
Delivery
(Nonverbal
Effectiveness)
[2 Marks]

The delivery is extemporaneous -- natural, confident, and enhances the


message posture; eye contact, smooth gestures, facial expressions,
volume, pace, etc. indicate confidence, a commitment to the topic, and a
willingness to communicate. The vocal tone, delivery style, and clothing
are consistent with the message. Delivery style and clothing choices
suggest an awareness of expectations and norms. Articulation and
pronunciation are clear. All audience members can hear the presentation.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

(ii) Reports [30 Marks] will be assessed based on the following criteria:
Introduction
[5 Marks]

Purpose explicitly and concisely outlined. Captures reader's attention


and briefly provides an overarching view of the whole paper.

Body Content and The paper effectively captures and retains the reader's attention and
communicates purpose and provides details supporting the title of the
Communication
[10 Marks]
report. Provides good and recent data to support argument.
Organisation
[5 Marks]
Overall Cohesion
[2 Marks]

Ability to arrange data in logical order. Provides a smooth flow of facts


and information from one section of the report to the other without
disruption. Demonstrates connectivity of information between various
sections of the report.
Good use of the language, clear, readable and coherent. Avoids empty
and pretentious language and waffling.

Grammar and
Spelling
[3 Marks]

Good grammar and typographically error free

Figures and Tables


[3 Marks]
References
[2 Marks]

Figures and Tables properly labelled and not duplicated.


All literature cited properly acknowledged.

3.3 Summative Assessment


For this particular intake, the continuous assessment will be split between First and Second
Semesters. In the First semester; a test, group and individual assignments will be given. The
marks will be distributed as follows:
i.
ii.
iii.

Test First Semester - 10 Marks


Group Assignment First Semester - 5 Marks
Individual Assignment First Semester - 5 Marks

Students will be required to write an exam at the end of the semester or any suitable date as the
University may decide which will account for 60% of the total mark.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

The course will be assessed based on the following weightings:


Continuous Assessment (First and Second Semester)

40%

Final Exam at the end of the Second Semester

60%

Total

100%

4.0 RECOMMENDED REFERENCES


Greener, S. 2008. Business Research Methods. Ventus Publishing. Available as e book on
bookboon.com.
Saunders, M. and Lewis, P. 2007. Research Methods for Business Students. Prentice Hall,
Pearson Education.
Others as may be recommended by the Course Lecturer (s).
5.0 CONTACT DETAILS

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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PART TWO

COURSE CONTENT

Study Unit 1: Introduction to Research Methodology


-Meaning of Research
-Objectives of Research
-Types of Research
- Significance of Research
-Research Process
- Criteria for good research
-Problems encountered by Researchers in Zambia

Study Unit 2: The Research Problem


-Defining a research problem
-Selecting the problem
-Techniques involved in defining a problem.

Study Unit 3: Research Design


-Meaning of Research design
-Need for research design
- Features of good design
- Important concepts relating to research design

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

STUDY UNIT
PROGRAMME

4:

RESEARCH

PROPOSAL

GUIDELINES

FOR

MASTERS

- Selection of title
-Introduction
-Statement of the problem
-Purpose/Objectives
- Significance of the study
- Literature review
- Research questions/Hypotheses
- Methods and Materials
- References
- Financial arrangements
- Duration
Study Unit 5: Measuring and Scaling Techniques
-Measurement scales in research
-Sources of error in measurement
-Tests of sound measurement
-Other
Study Unit 6: Research Methods for Business Students
- collecting quantitative data
- Collecting qualitative data
- Questionnaire design and testing
- Using secondary data
7.0 Processing and Analysis of Data
-processing and analyzing quantitative data
-processing and analyzing qualitative data
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

Study Unit 8: Interpretation and Report Writing


-Meaning of interpretation
- Why interpretation
-Techniques of interpretation
- Significance of report writing
- Steps in report writing
- Lay out of the research report
- Types of reports
- Precautions for writing research reports

Study Unit 9: The Role of Computers in Research


- Computer software programmes/packages
-Other computer applications in research

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

1.0 INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODOLOGY


1.1 Definition and Meaning of Research
1.1.1 Definition
The advanced learners dictionary of current English defines research as careful investigation
or inquiry especially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge.
It is also defined as a systematized effort to gain new knowledge. Research is a voyage of
discovery.
We all possess the vital instinct of inquisitiveness for almost anything particularly when the
unknown confront us, we wonder and our inquisitiveness makes us probe and attain fuller
understanding of the unknown.
This inquisitiveness is the mother of all knowledge and the method, which man employs to
obtain the knowledge of the unknown is what is termed Research.
1.1.2 Meaning of Research
1) Research is an academic activity and as such the term should be used in a technical sense.
Research comprises, defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested
solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data, making sense out of it and then
concluding; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the
formulating hypothesis.
2) Research is the manipulation of things or concepts for the purpose of generalizing to extend,
correct or verify knowledge, whether the knowledge aids in construction of a theory or in the
practice of an art.
3) Research is, thus an original contribution to the existing stock of knowledge making for its
advancement. It is the pursuit of truth with the help of study, observation, comparisons and
experiment.
In short, the search for knowledge through objective and systematic method of finding solution
to a problem is research.
As such the term Research refers to the systematic method consisting of enunciating/articulating
the problem, formulating a hypothesis, collecting the facts or data, analyzing the data/facts and
reaching certain conclusion either in the form of solution(s) towards the problem or in other
instances generalizations for some theoretical formulation.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

1.2 Objectives of Research


The purpose of research is to discover answers to questions through the application of systematic
and standard procedures. The main aim of research is to find out the truth which is hidden and
which has not been discovered yet.
Although each research study has its own specific purpose, we may think of research objectives
as falling into a number of broad categories as follows:
1. To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insights into it (studies with
this object in view are termed exploratory or formulative research studies).
2. To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or a group
(studies with this object in view are known as descriptive research studies).
3. To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated
with something else (studies with this object in view are known as diagnostic research
studies).
4. To test a hypothesis of a causal relationship between variables (such studies are known as
hypothesis-testing research studies).
1.3 What is the Motivation for Research?
What makes people undertake research? This is a question of fundamental importance.
Possible motives for doing research may be either one or more of the following broad
generalizations:
1. Desire to get a research degree along with its consequential benefits;
2. Desire to face the challenge in solving the unsolved problems such as concern over
practical problems initiates research.
3. Desire to get intellectual joy of doing some creative work;
4. Directives from government, employment conditions;
5. Curiosity about new things;
6. Desire to understand casual relationships, social thinking and awakening;
7. Desire to be of service to society; and
8. Desire to get respectability (being an authority).
1.4 Types of Research
1.4.1 Basic Types of Research
Basic types are as follows:
(i)

Descriptive Vs Analytical: Descriptive research includes surveys and fact finding


enquiries of different kinds. The major purpose of descriptive research is to describe
the state of affairs as it exists at present. In social science and business research the
term Ex post facto research.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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The main characteristic of this method is that the researcher has no control over the
variables; he can only report what has happened or what is happening. Most ex post
facto research projects are used for descriptive studies in which the researcher seeks
to measure such items as frequency of shopping, preferences of people, etc. In
analytical research on the other hand, the researcher has to use facts or information
already available and analyze these to make a critical evaluation of the material.
(ii)

Applied VS Fundamental/Basic: Research can either be applied (action) research or


fundamental (basis or pure) research. Applied research is aimed at finding a solution
for an immediate problem facing a society or and industrial/business organization.
Fundamental research is mainly concerned with generalizations and with the
formulation of a theory. Gathering knowledge for knowledges sake is termed pure or
basic research.
Research concerning some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics are
examples of fundamental research.
Similarly research studies, concerning human behaviour carried on with a view to
make generalizations about human behaviour are examples of fundamental research.
Research aimed at certain conclusions for instance a solution facing social or business
problem is an example of applied research.
Research to identify social, economic or political trends that may affect a particular
institution, or marketing research, evaluation research are examples of applied
research.
Thus the central aim of applied research is to discover a solution for some pressing
practical problem, where as basic research is directed towards finding information
that has a broad base of application and thus adds to the already existing organized
body of knowledge.

(iii)

Quantitative VS Qualitative: Quantitative research is based on the measurement of


quantity or amount. It is applied to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of
quantity.
Qualitative research is concerned with qualitative phenomena such as investigating
reasons for human behaviour, why people think or do certain things; quite often we
talk of Motivation Research, which is an important type of qualitative research. This
type of research aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires using, indepth interviews. Other techniques are word associated tests, sentence completion
tests, story completion tests, etc. Attitude or opinion research thus, research designed

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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to find out how people feel or what they think about a particular subject or institution
is also qualitative research.
(iv)

Conceptual Vs Empirical: Conceptual research is that related to some abstract


idea(s) or theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new
concepts or to reinterpret existing ones.
Empirical research relies on experience or observation alone, often without due
regard for system and theory. It is data based research coming up with conclusions
which are capable of being verified by observation or experiment. We can also call it
as experimental type of research. In such a research it is necessary to get facts first
hand, at their source, and actively to go about doing certain things to stimulate the
production of desired information. In such a research, the researcher must first
provide a working hypothesis. He then works to collect facts to prove or disprove this
hypothesis. He then sets up experimental designs which he thinks will manipulate the
materials concerned so as to bring forth the desired information. Such research is
thus characterized by the experimenters control over the variables under study and
his deliberate manipulation of one of them to study its effects. Empirical research is
appropriate when proof is sought that certain variables affect other variables in some
way. Evidence gathered through experiments or empirical studies is today considered
to be the most powerful support for a given hypothesis.

(v)

Other types of research: All other types of research are a variation of one or more of
the above, based on the purpose, or time required in accomplishing research. Some
of them are shown below:.
Based on time, there can be one-time research or longitudinal research, in onetime
research the research is confined to a single time period. In longitudinal research, the
research can be carried out over several time-periods.
Research can be field setting research or laboratory research/simulation research,
depending upon the environment in which it will be carried out.
Research can also be clinical or diagnostic research. Such research follows case study
methods or in-depth approaches to reach the basic causal factors. Such studies usually
go deep into the causes of things or events that interest us using very small samples
and very deep probing data gathering devices.
Historical research is that which utilizes historical sources like documents, remains,
etc. to study events or ideas of the past.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

1.5 Significance of Research


All progress is born of inquiry. Doubt is often better than overconfidence, for it leads to inquiry,
and inquiry leads to invention. Research inculcates inductive thinking and it promotes the
development of logical habits of thinking and organization.
1) The role of research in several fields of applied economics, whether related to business or to
the economy as a whole, has greatly increased in modern times. The increasingly complex
nature of business and governments has focused attention on the use of research in solving
operational problems. Research as an aid to economic policy has gained added importance
both for government and business.
2) Research provides the basis for nearly all government policies in our economic system. For
instance, governments budgets rest in part on an analysis of the needs and desires of the
people and on the availability of revenues to meet such needs and on businesses which
generate revenue. Through research we can devise alternative policies and can as well
examine the consequences of each of these alternatives.
3) Decision making may not be part of research, but research certainly facilitates the decisions
of the policy maker. Government is also confronted with programmes dealing with a myriad
of societal needs for instance; plight of peasant farmers, problems of big and small
businesses and industry, working conditions, trade union activities, problems of distribution
of goods and services, size of service sector of government such as the police, army etc. all
these matters require research in order to make good decisions.
4) Research has its special significance in solving various operational and planning problems of
business and industry. Operations research and market research along with motivational
research are considered crucial and their results assist in more than one way, in taking
business decisions. Market research is the investigation of the structure and development of a
market for the purpose of formulating efficient policies for purchasing, production and sales.
Operations research refers to the application of mathematical, logical and analytical
techniques to the solutions of business problems of cost minimization or profit maximization.
Motivation Research here would be concerned with determining why people behave as they
do as it relates to market characteristics. All these are of great help to people in business or
industry who are responsible for taking decisions.
In addition to the above, research can also be of benefit to individuals in the following ways:
1)
2)
3)
4)

Research is necessary for those who would like to pursue post graduate studies;
It is a source of income and livelihood to professionals in research methodology;
To philosophers and thinkers, research may mean the outlet for new ideas and insights;
To analysts and intellectuals, research may mean the generalization of new theories.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

1.6 Research Process


Before embarking on the details of research methodology and techniques it is appropriate to
present a brief overview of the research process. Research process consists of series of actions or
steps necessary to effectively carry out research and the desired sequencing of these steps.
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)

Define research problem


Review concepts and theories; review previous research findings.
Formulate hypothesis
Design research (including sample design).
Collect data
Analyze data (Test hypothesis if any).
Interpret and report.

These activities often overlap.


1.6.1 Formulating Research Problem
At the very beginning, the researcher must single out the problem he wants to study. He must
identify the general area of interest or aspect of the subject matter. Initially the problem may be
stated in a broad and general way and then the ambiguities if any relating to the problem can be
solved. Essentially two steps are involved in formulating a research problem;
(i)
(ii)

understanding the problem thoroughly, and


re-phrasing it into meaningful terms from an analytical point of view.

One way of understanding a problem is to discuss with people with expertise in that field. In
academic institutions the researcher can seek help from subject specialists or the supervisor. In
private business units or government, the problem is usually earmarked by the administrative
agencies with which the researcher can discuss as to how the problem originally came out and
what considerations are involved in its possible solutions.
The researcher must examine available literature to have an insight of the area chosen. He may
need to review two types of literature;
i)
ii)

conceptual literature concerning the concepts and theories, and


empirical literature consisting of studies made earlier which are which are similar to the
proposed study.

The outcome of this review is that the researcher will have the knowledge about the kind of data
and other materials for operational purposes which will enable the researcher to specify his own
research problem in a meaningful context. After this the researcher rephrases the problem into
analytical or operational terms.
The task of formulating or defining a research problem is a step of greatest importance in the
entire research process. This is because this is what initially determines the data which are to be
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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collected, characteristics of the data which are relevant, relations which are to be explored,
choice of techniques to be used in the explorations, and the form of final report.
1.6.2 Extensive Literature Survey
Once a problem has been formulated, a brief summary of it should be written down. For post
graduate students a synopsis of the topic chosen often have to be approved. At this point the
student needs to undertake extensive literature survey connected with the problem. For this
purpose, the abstracting and indexing journals and published an unpublished bibliographies are
the first place to go to. Academic journals, conference proceedings, government reports, books
and others must be tapped depending on the nature of the problem.
1.6.3 Development of a Working Hypothesis
After extensive literature survey, the researcher should state in clear terms the working
hypothesis (es). A working hypothesis is a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and
test its logical or empirical consequences. As such the manner in which research hypotheses are
developed is important since they provide the focal point for research. They also affect the
manner in which tests must be conducted in the analysis of data and indirectly the quality of data
required for the analysis.
The role of the hypothesis is to guide the researcher by delimiting the area of research and to
keep him on track. It sharpens the thinking and focuses attention on the more important facets of
the problem.
How can one develop a hypothesis?
The following approach may be useful:
1) Discussions with colleagues and experts about the problem, its origin and the objectives in
seeking a solution;
2) Examination of data and records, if available, concerning the problem for possible trends,
peculiarities and other clues;
3) Review of similar studies in the area or of the studies on similar problems;
4) Exploratory personal investigation which involves original field interviews on a limited scale
with interested parties and individuals with a view to secure greater insight into the practical
aspects.
It must be remembered that occasionally we may encounter a problem where we do not need a
working hypothesis particularly in the case of exploratory or formulative research which do not
aim at testing the hypothesis. But as a basic rule, specification of a working hypothesis is a basic
step in research process in most research problems.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

Worked example:
Start with Research question: a research question is a general question about a topic you want to
know about. It is usually a broad question for instance; what do people have for lunch? How do
people get to work? It is usually a good idea to break it down into sub-questions. You can do
this by thinking about factors which might affect your research question.
For instance, a tourist board wants to investigate the number of people that go to the Victoria
Falls. Suggest three possible sub-questions they could ask?
Think about factors that might affect whether people go to the Falls. They could be factors like
weather, the day of the week, or school holidays. Some of the possible sub-questions could be:
Do more people go to the Falls when the weather is warm?
Are the falls more popular on Sundays?
Do more people go to the falls when schools have closed?
Then think of a Hypothesis to test- A hypothesis is a statement that you think is true but you
have no evidence to support it yet. A hypothesis must be testable.
You can create a hypothesis (es) from your question(s).
For example: If you are investigating the sub-question from the above Do more people to the
Victoria Falls when the weather is warm?
First you decide what you expect the answer to the question to be I reckon more people go to
the Falls when it is warmer.
You can now turn this into a testable statement The higher the temperature the more people
go to the falls.
Once you have a hypothesis you can start to collect data. The data you collect will provide
evidence for or against your hypothesis.
1.6.4 Preparing Research Design
After the research problem has been formulated in clear terms, the researcher is required to
prepare a research design. He needs to state the conceptual structure within which research will
be done.
The research design minimizes effort, time and money. When preparing research design, it is
important it is important to have a research purpose, thus;
i)

exploration research,

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ii)
iii)
iv)

descriptive research,
diagnostic research,
experimental.

There are several research designs under experimental and non experimental.
Experimental designs can either be informal designs (such as before and after without control,
after only with control, before and after with control), or formal designs (such as completely
randomized design, randomized block design, Latin square design, simple and complex factorial
design), out of which the researcher can select one for the project.
Preparation of research design appropriate for a particular research problem involves usually the
consideration of the following:
1) The means of obtaining information;
2) The availability and skills of the researcher and his staff (if any);
3) Explanation of the way in which selected means of obtaining information will be organized
and the reasoning leading to the selection
4) Time available for research;
5) The cost factor relating to research, thus finances available for the purpose.
1.7 Determining Sample Design
All the items under consideration in any field of inquiry constitute a population. A complete
enumeration of all items in the population is called a Census Inquiry.
It can be presumed that in such an inquiry when all items are covered no element of chance is
left and highest accuracy is obtained. In practice this may not be true. Even the slightest element
of bias in such inquiry will get larger and larger as the number of observations increases.
Moreover, there is no way of checking the element of bias or its extent except through a
resurvey. This kind of survey involves a great deal of time, money, and energy.
Sampling is the commonest approach used. The researcher must decide the way of selecting a
sample or what is popularly known as the sample design. A sample design is definite plan
determined before any data are actually collected for obtaining a sample from a given
population. Thus a plan to select 20 shopping malls from a total of 200 of the citys shopping
malls in a certain way constitutes a sample design.
Samples can be; i) probability samples, or ii) non probability samples.
Probability samples: each element has a known probability of being included in the sample.
Probability samples are those based on simple random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified
sampling, cluster/area sampling.

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Non probability samples: do not allow the researcher to determine this probability. Non
probability sampling is those based on convenience sampling, judgment sampling, and quota
sampling techniques.
A brief mention of the important sample designs is as follows:
Non Probability Samples: Deliberate Sampling
Deliberate sampling is also known as Purposive or non probability sampling. This sampling
method involves purposive or deliberate selection of particular units of the population for
constituting a sample which represents the population. When population elements are selected
for inclusion in the sample based on the ease of access, it can be called convenience sampling. If
a researcher wishes to secure data from say; gasoline buyers, he may select a fixed number of
filling stations and may conduct interviews at these stations. This would be an example of
convenience sampling of gasoline buyers. At times such a procedure may give biased results
particularly when the population is not homogenous. In judgment sampling, the researchers
judgment is used for selecting items which he considers as representative of the population.
Advantage(s) it is easy to take the sample at a time and place that suits the interviewer. And
you do not need to list the whole population.
Disadvantage(s) The convenience comes at a price - there is no attempt to make the sample
representative of the population being surveyed so it can be very biased.
Probability Samples:
Simple Random Sampling
It is also known as chance sampling or probability sampling where each and every item in the
population has an equal chance of being included in the sample and each one of the possible
samples has the same probability of being selected. For example if we are to select 300 items
from a population of 15,000 items, then we can put the names or numbers of all the 15,000 items
on slips of paper and conduct a lottery. Using the random number tables is another method of
random sampling. To select the sample, each item is assigned a number from 1 to 15,000. Then
300 five digits random numbers are selected from the table.
Advantage(s) - every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected, so it is
completely unbiased.
Disadvantage- It is not always practical or convenient e.g. if the population is spread over a
large area, the researcher will have to travel a lot.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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Systematic Sampling
In some instances, the most practical way of sampling is to select every 15th name on a list,
every 10th house on one side of the street and so on. An element of randomness is usually
introduced into this kind of sampling by using random numbers to pick up the unit with which to
start. This procedure is useful when sampling frame is available in the form of a list. In such a
design the selection process starts by picking some random point in the list and then every ith
element is selected until the desired number is secured.
Example: Describe how you would create a systematic sample of 100 products from a batch of
10,000.
First: Number all products in the batch 1 to 10,000.
Second: Next divide your sample by your sample size 10,000 /100 = 100 and then choose a
random start number between 1 and 100 e.g. 53.
Third: Your sample would start with the 53rd product on the list, and then every 100th one after
that until you have 100 products (53rd, 153rd, 253rd, etc).
Stratified Sampling
If the population from which the sample is to be drawn does not constitute a homogenous group,
then stratified sampling technique is applied so as to obtain a representative sample. In this
technique, the population is stratified into a number of non overlapping subpopulations or strata
and sample items are selected from each stratum. If the items selected from each stratum is based
on simple random sampling the entire procedure first stratification, then simple random sampling
it known as stratified random sampling.
Advantage(s) If you have easy to define categories in the population (e.g. males and females)
this is likely to give you a representative sample.
Disadvantages(s) It is not useful when there are no obvious categories or when the categories
are hard to define. It can be expensive because of the extra detail involved.
Example Stratified sampling and proportional representation: sometimes the population might be
made up of groups or categories that contain members which are similar to each other in some
ways e.g. age, or gender.
In these cases you can use stratified sampling to give the different groups in the sample an
amount of representation thats proportional to how big they are in the population which means
big groups get more re[presentation and small groups get less.
Then you choose the right number from each group at random to make your sample.
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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The table below shows the distribution of students at High ridge Secondary School, Kabwe by
year and gender. Describe how you would stratified sampling to choose a sample of 50 from the
1,000 students using; a) a single category; b) two sets of categories.
Grade 9
Grade 10
Grade 11

Boys
179
196
119

Girls
221
204
81

Total
400
400
200

a) For one category you could find the proportion of students that are in each year group;
= number of students to be picked
Grade 9 will be 400/1000 x 50 = 20
Grade 10 will be 400/1000 x 50 = 20
Grade 11 will be 200/1000 x 50 = 10
Then for the second category you need to find the proportion of boys and girls from each year so;
Grade 9 will be 179/400 x 20 = 8.95 should be boys rounded off to 9 boys and 11 girls
Grade 10 will be 196/400 x 20 = 9.8 should be boys rounded off to 10 boys and 10 girls
Grade 11 will be 119/200 x 20 = 5.95 should be boys rounded off to 6 boys and 4 girls.
The correct number of students in each grade should then be picked at random. This should give
a representative sample. It has got the right proportion of students.
Quota Sampling
In stratified sampling, the cost of taking random samples from individual strata is often so
expensive that interviewers are simply given quota to be filled from different strata, the actual
selection of items for sample being left to the interviewers judgment. This is called quota
sampling. The size of the quota for each stratum is generally proportionate to the size of that
stratum in the population. Quota sampling is therefore an important form of non probability
sampling. Quota samples generally happen to be judgment samples rather than random samples.
Quota sampling - How to do it:
The population is divided up into groups- these groups could be based on age, gender, social or
economic background etc.
The interviewer is told to interview a certain number of people from each group e.g. 20 men and
20 women over the age of 40, 15 men and 15 women under 40.
This method of sampling is often used in interviews carried out on streets and the final choice of
the sample members is down to the interviewer- so it is not random.
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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Cluster and quota sampling are often used together when an organization like government,
councils, or research institution wants to do a large scale opinion poll. For example, government
might use cluster sampling to choose different towns to sample in and then quota sampling to
choose people from within each town.
Advantage(s) this is quick to use and any member of the sample can be replaced by one with
the same characteristics. If you have no sample frame (list of population) then the only way of
getting a sample may be quota sampling or convenience sampling.
Disadvantage(s) It can be easily biased, though the sample chosen often depends on the
interviewer. The people who refuse to take part may all have similar points of view on the topic
being surveyed. For example if the survey was on working hours , those with the longest
working hours might not have time to answer the questions.
Cluster Sampling and Area Sampling
It involves grouping the populations and then selecting the groups or the clusters rather than
individual elements for inclusion in the sample. Suppose some departmental store wishes to
sample its credit card holders. It issued cards to 15,000 customers. The sample size is to be kept
at for instance 450. For cluster sampling, this list of 15,000 card holders could be formed into
100 clusters of 150 card holders each. Three clusters might then be selected for the sample
randomly. The sample size might often be larger than the simple random sample to ensure the
same level of accuracy, because in cluster sampling procedural potential for order bias and other
sources of error is usually accentuated.
Area sampling: is close to cluster sampling and is often talked about when the total geographical
area of interest happens to be big. Under area sampling we first divide the total area into a
number of smaller non-overlapping areas, generally called geographical clusters, then a number
of these smaller areas are randomly selected, and all units in these small areas are included in the
sample. Area sampling is helpful where we do not have the list of the population concerned. It
also makes the field interviewing more efficient since interviewer can do many interviews at
each location.
Advantage(s) - It is fairly convenient it can save a lot on travel time when the population is
spread over a large area.
Disadvantage(s) - it is easy to get a biased sample though, e.g. people living in the same postal
district could have similar incomes or employment.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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Multi-stage sampling
This is a further development of the idea of cluster sampling. This technique is meant for big
inquiries extending to a considerably large geographical area like an entire country. Under
multistage sampling the first stage may be to select large primary sampling units such as
provinces then districts then towns, and finally certain families within towns. If the technique of
random sampling is applied at all stages, the sampling procedure is described as multi-stage
random sampling.
Sequential Sampling
This is somewhat complex sample design where the ultimate size of the sample is not fixed in
advance but is determined according to mathematical decisions on the basis of information
yielded as survey progresses. This design is usually adopted under acceptable sampling plan in
the context of statistical quality control.
In practice, several of the methods described above may well be used in the same study in which
case it can be called mixed sampling. It must be emphasized here that normally the researcher
should use random sampling so that bias can be eliminated and sampling error can be estimated.
Purposive sampling is considered desirable when the population happens to be small and a
known characteristic of it is to be studied intensively. Also there are conditions under which
sample designs other than random sampling may be considered better for reason of convenience
and low cost. The sample design to be used must be decided by the researcher taking into
consideration the nature of the inquiry and other related matters.

1.8 Collecting Data


1.8.1 Primary Data
The selection of appropriate method for data collection is determined by many factors. As such
the researcher must judiciously select the method(s) for the study, keeping in mind the following:
i)
ii)
iii)
iv)

nature and scope and object of inquiry,


availability of funds,
time factor,
level of precision required.

In dealing with any real life problems, it is often found that data at hand are inadequate, and
hence it becomes necessary to collect data that are appropriate. There are several ways of
collecting appropriate data which differ considerably in context of money costs, time and other
resources at the disposal of the researcher.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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Primary data can be collected either through experiment or through survey. If the researcher
conducts an experiment, he observes some quantitative measurements with which he examines
the truth contained in the hypothesis. In the case of a survey, data can be collected by any or
more of the following ways:
By observation: this method implies the collection of information by way of investigators own
observations, without interviewing the respondents. The observation is systematically planned
and recorded and is subjected to checks and controls on validity and reliability. Under the
observation method, the information is sought by way of the investigators own direct
observation without asking from the respondent. For instance, in a study relating to consumer
behaviour, the investigator instead of asking the brand of the mobile phone used by the
respondent, may himself look at the phone. In that way subjective biasness is eliminated.
Secondly, the information obtained relates to what is currently happening, it is not complicated
by past behaviour of future intentions or attitudes. Thirdly, it is independent of respondents
willingness to respond and does not depend on the cooperation of the respondent. This method
is no doubt an expensive one and the information provided is also very limited. As such this
method is not suitable in inquiries where large samples are concerned.
Disadvantages- i) it is expensive, ii) information provided is often limited, iii) sometimes
unforeseen factors may interfere with the observation, iv)At times some people may rarely be
accessible to direct observation which may prevent you to collect data.
Through interview
Personal interview: requires that the investigator/interviewer asks questions generally in a face to face contact with the interviewee. Sometimes the interviewee may also ask questions and the
interviewer responds to these. This method is suitable for intensive investigation.
Indirect oral examination: In certain cases it may not be possible or worthwhile to contact
directly the persons concerned on account of the extensive scope of the inquiry and so the
personal investigation technique may be inappropriate. In such cases an indirect oral examination
can be conducted under which the interviewer cross examines other persons who are supposed
to have knowledge about the problem under investigation and the information obtained is
recorded. Most of the commissions and committees appointed by government to carry out an
investigation use this method. There are also other forms of interviews used.
Interviewing is an art governed by certain principles. Every effort should be made to create a
friendly atmosphere of trust and confidence, so that respondents may feel at ease while talking to
and discussing with the interviewer. The interviewer must ask questions properly and
intelligently and must record the responses accurately and completely. At the same time the
interviewer must answer legitimate questions if any asked by the respondent and must clear any
doubt that the respondent may have. The interviewers approach must be friendly, courteous,
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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conversational and unbiased. He should tactfully discourage irrelevant questions and must keep
the respondent on track.
Through telephone interviews: this method of collecting information involves contacting the
respondent by telephone. This is not very widely used but it plays an important role in industrial
surveys in developed regions, particularly when the survey has to be accomplished in a very
limited time.
The main merits are as follows
i.
ii.
iii.

iv.
v.
vi.
vii.
viii.
ix.
x.

it is more flexible in comparison with mailing,


it is faster than other methods, it is a quick way of obtaining information,
it may be cheaper than personal interviews, the cost per response may be relatively lower
especially in instances of long distances (eg. it is easier and cheaper to call Livingstone
from Kabwe than to drive by road to go and interview a person,
recall is easy and call backs are simple and relatively economical,
there is a higher rate of response than in mailing,
replies can be recorded without causing embarrassment to respondents,
interviewer can explain requirements more easily,
access may be easier to respondents who otherwise cannot be physically approached
easily,
No field staff is required, and
Wider distribution of sample is possible.

Disadvantagesi.
ii.
iii.
iv.
v.
vi.
vii.
viii.

little time is given to respondents for considered answers,


respondents are restricted to respondents with telephones (through nowadays almost
everyone has a phone),
extensive geographical coverage may get restricted by cost considerations (mainly land
line),
not suitable for intensive surveys where comprehensive answers are required to various
questions,
respondent may not have time to look at files or other published materials neither can
they call or consult others,
possibility of bias of the interviewer is relatively high,
questions have to be short and to the point, probes are difficult to handle, and
respondent can decide to be uncooperative and hang up the phone, reconciliation is
difficult.

By mailing of questionnaires (by post or by email): the researcher and the respondent do not
come in contact with each other. This method of data collection is quite popular, particularly in
case of big inquiries. It is now being adopted by individuals, research workers, private and public
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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organizations, and governments. In this method a questionnaire is sent usually by post but also
by email for online completion, to the persons concerned with a request to answer the questions
and return the questionnaire.
The merits of this method are as follows:
i.
ii.
iii.
iv.
v.

there is low cost when the population is large and widely spread geographically,
it is free from bias of the interviewer; answers are in the respondents own words,
respondents have enough time to research and give good answers,
respondents who are not easily approachable can be reached conveniently, and
large samples can be collected and thus results can be more reliable.

Disadvantagesi.
ii.
iii.
iv.
v.
vi.
vii.

low rate of return of the dully filled in questionnaires,


bias due to non-response is difficult to determine,
it is only applicable when respondents are educated and cooperating,
the control over the questionnaire may be lost once it is sent,
there is inbuilt inflexibility because of the difficulty of amending the approach once
questionnaire have been dispatched,
there is a possibility of ambiguous replies or omission of replies altogether to certain
questions, interpretation of omissions is difficult,
This method is likely to be the slowest as you cannot persuade the respondent to return
the questionnaire.

It is the most extensively used method in various economic and business surveys. Before
applying this method usually a pilot study for testing the questionnaire is conducted which
reveals the weaknesses, if any of the questionnaire. Questionnaires to be used must be prepared
very carefully so that it may prove to be effective in collecting the relevant information.
Through schedules: under this method, enumerators are appointed and given training. They are
provided with schedules containing relevant questions. These enumerators go to respondents
with these schedules. Data are collected by filling up the schedules by enumerators on the basis
of replies given by respondents. Much depends upon the capability of enumerators so far as the
method is concerned. Some occasional field checks on the work of the enumerators may ensure
sincere work.
The researcher should select one of these methods of collecting the data taking into
consideration the nature of the investigation, objective, and scope of the inquiry, financial
resources, available time and the desired degree of accuracy.
In collecting data common sense is the chief requisite and experiences the chief teacher.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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Difference between questionnaire and schedule


Both questionnaire and schedule are popularly used methods of collecting data in research
surveys. There is much resemblance in the nature of these two methods and this fact has made
many people to remark that from the practical point of view, the two methods can be taken to be
the same. However, the two are different based on the following considerations:i.

ii.

iii.
iv.

questionnaire is generally sent through mail to respondents to be answered as specified in


a covering letter without further assistance from the sender. The schedule is generally
filled in by the research worker or the enumerator who can as well interpret questions
when necessary,
non response is usually high with questionnaire as many people do not respond and
others return them without answering at all. In schedules no response is generally low as
because they are filled in researcher or enumerator,
personal contact is usually not possible, but in schedules there is direct contact,
along with schedules observation method can also be used which is not possible under
questionnaires.

There are many other differences but these are among the main ones.
Other methods not explained here include the following;
i)
ii)
iii)
iv)
v)
vi)
vii)
viii)

warranty cards,
distributor of store audits,
pantry audits,
consumer panels,
use of mechanical devices,
projective techniques,
depth interviews,
content analysis.

You are encouraged to research about these methods during your free time.
Execution of the project
Execution of the project is a very important step in the research process. The researcher should
ensure that the project is executed in a systematic manner and time. If you intend to use
questionnaires then questions and answers can be coded. If the data is to be collected through
interviews, arrangements should be made for proper training of interviewers. Occasional field
checks should be made to ensure that the interviewers are doing their job sincerely. Steps should
be taken to ensure that the survey is under statistical control so that the collected information is
in accordance with the predefined standard of accuracy. If some respondents do not cooperate,
some suitable methods should be designed to tackle this problem. One method of dealing with
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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the non response problem is to make a list of the non respondents and take a small subsample of
them, and with the help of experts vigorous efforts can be made for securing response.
1.8.2 Secondary Data
Secondary data are data someone else has collected.
There are many ways you can get secondary data. For example; newspapers, magazines,
internet, databases, and historical records.
One can also get secondary data from government through for instance the Central Statistical
Office (CSO), which gathers data about the economy, social trends and the environment.
Advantages i) it can be easier to get hold of, ii)it may be free of charge, iii)a lot of work has
already been done for you which makes investigations quicker, iv) you can user bigger sets of
data than you could collect on your own.
Disadvantages i) it will often be processed and sometimes not in the format you want, ii) the
data may not represent the thing you want to research exactly. It might be out of date or from the
wrong geographical area, iii) it is hard to know how accurate the data the data is because you
were not involved in its collection, and iv) the researcher may have gathered data to try to show a
particular outcome. This would make the data biased.
1.9 Analysis of Data
After data have been collected, the researcher must analyze using appropriate tools. The analysis
of data requires a number of closely related operations such as establishment of categories,
application of these categories to raw data through coding, tabulation and then drawing statistical
inferences.
Data should be condensed into few manageable groups and tables for further analysis. The
researcher should classify raw data into some purposeful and usable categories.
Editing-is the procedure that improves the quality of the data for coding. With coding the stage
is ready for tabulation. It is a process of examining the collected data to detect errors and
omissions and to correct these. As a matter of fact editing involves a careful scrutiny to ensure
that the data are accurate, consistent with other facts gathered, uniformity entered, to facilitate
coding and tabulation.
Editing can be done in two phases: i) field editing-is the review of the reporting forms by the
investigator for completing (translating or rewriting) what the latter has written in abbreviated
and / or in illegible form at the time of recording the respondents responses. Field editing is
necessary in view of the fact that individual writing styles often can be difficult for others to
understand. This should be done as soon as possible after the interview, prefaerably on the very
day or next day. While doing field editing, the investigator must restrain himself and must not
correct errors or omissions by simply guessing what the informant would have said if the
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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question had been asked; ii) central editing- should take place when all forms or schedules have
been completed and returned to the office. All forms get a thorough editing by a single editor in a
small study or by a group of editors if the study is large. In case of inappropriate or missing
replies, the editor can sometimes determine the proper answer by reviewing the other informants
in the schedule, but can also contact the respondent for clarification. The editor must strike out
the answer if the same is inappropriate and he has no basis for determining the correct answer. In
such a case an editing entry of NO ANSWER is entered. All wrong replies which are quite
obvious must be dropped from the final results.
Coding-this refers to the process of assigning numerals or other symbols to answers so that
responses can be put into a limited number of categories or classes. Thus there must be a class
for every data item.
Coding is important for efficient analysis and through it several replies may be reduced to a
small number of classes which contain critical information required for analysis. is an operation
done at this stage through which the categories of data are transformed into symbols that may be
tabulated and counted.
Classification- most research studies result in large volumes of raw data which must be reduced
into homogenous groups if we are to get meaningful relationships. It is a process of arranging
data in groups or classes on the basis of common characteristics. Data having common
characteristics are placed in one class and in this way the entire data gets divided into a number
of classes.
Tabulation- is part of the technical procedure where the classified data are put in the form of
tables. A great deal of data especially large number of variables is tabulated by computers. The
investigator arranges the data in some kind of concise and logical order. Raw data is summarized
and put in compact, orderly arrangement in rows and columns.
Tabulation is essential for the following reasons:
1)
2)
3)
4)

Conserves space and reduces explanatory and descriptive statements to a minimum.


Facilitates the process of comparison.
Facilitates the summation of items and the detection of errors and omissions.
Provides a basis for various statistical computations.

Analysis work after tabulation is generally based on the computation of various percentages,
coefficients, etc. by applying various well defined statistical formulae. In the process of analysis
relationships or differences supporting or conflicting with original or new hypothesis should be
subjected to tests of significance to determine with what validity data can be said to indicate any
conclusion(s). For example; if there are two samples of weekly wages, each sample being drawn
from factories in different parts of Kabwe, giving two different mean values. Then the
researchers problem will be whether the two mean values are significantly different or the
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difference is just a matter of chance. Through the use of statistical tests we can establish whether
such difference is real one or is a result of random fluctuation.
1.10 Use of Statistics in Testing Data
The role of statistics in research is to use as a tool to design and analyze data and drawing
conclusions from it. Most research studies result in a large volume of raw data which must be
suitably reduced so that the same can be read easily and can be used for further analysis. Clearly
the science of statistics cannot be ignored by any research worker, even though he may not have
occasion to use statistical methods before. There are two major areas of statistics; i) descriptive
statistics, and ii) inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics is concerned with the development of
certain indices from the raw data. Inferential statistics is concerned with the process of
generalization it is also known as sampling statistics and are mainly concerned with; estimation
of population parameters and the testing of statistical hypothesis(es).
The important statistical measures that are used to summarize the survey/research data are:
i)
ii)
iii)
iv)
v)

Measures of central tendency or statistical averages,


measures of dispersion,
measures of asymmetry (skewness),
measures of relationships, and
other measures.

1.11 Hypothesis Testing


After analyzing the data stated above, the researcher is in a position to test the hypothesis(es), if
any, he had formulated earlier. Do the facts support the hypothesis (es) or are contrary? This is
the question that should be answered while testing the hypothesis(es). Various parametric and
non parametric tests such as Chi square test, t-test, F-Test, etc. have been developed by
statisticians for the purpose. The hypothesis(es) may be tested through the use of one or more of
such tests, depending on the nature and objectives of the research inquiry. Hypothesis testing will
result in either accepting the hypothesis or rejecting it.
If the researcher had no hypothesis (es) to start with, generalizations established on the basis of
data may be stated as hypothesis(es) to be tested by subsequent researchers in times to come.
Null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis: If we are to compare business A with Business B
about its superiority and if we proceed on the assumption that both businesses are equally good,
then this assumption is termed as the null hypothesis. Against this we may think that business A
is superior or business B is inferior, we are then stating what is termed the alternative
hypothesis. The null hypothesis generally symbolized H0 and the alternative hypothesis Ha.
The alternative hypothesis is usually the one we want to prove and the null hypothesizes the one
we wish to disapprove.
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Thus the null hypothesis represents the hypothesis we are trying to reject.
If you reject null hypothesis when it is true you make error type I (wrong decision). If you
accept it when it is wrong then you make error type II (wrong decision)
1.12 Generalizations and Interpretation
If a hypothesis is tested and upheld several times, it may be possible for the researcher to arrive
at generalizations such as to build a theory. As a matter of fact, the real value of research lies in
its ability to arrive at certain generalizations. If the researcher had no hypothesis to start with, he
might seek to explain his findings on the basis of some theory. This is known as interpretation.
The process of interpretation may quite often trigger off new questions which in turn may lead to
further researches.
1.13 Preparation of the Report or Thesis
Finally the researcher must prepare the report of what has been done. Writing of report must be
done with great care keeping in view the following:
1. The layout of the report should be as follows- i) preliminary pages, ii) the main text, and iii)
the end matter.
In preliminary pages the report should carry title (length of title may be indicated for thesis)
date and acknowledgements and foreword. There should be a table of contents followed by a
list of figures and tables if any.
The main text of the report should have the following parts: i) an introduction, which should
contain a clear statement of the objective of the research and an explanation of the
methodology adopted in accomplishing the research. The scope of the study along with
various limitations should as well be stated in this part.
Summary of findings: After introduction there would appear a statement of findings in ontechnical language. If the findings are extensive they should be summarized.
Main report: the main body of the report should be presented in logical sequence and broken
down into readily identifiable sections.
Conclusion:-towards the end of the main text, the researcher should again put down the
results of his research clearly and precisely. In fact it is the final summing up.
At the end of the report, appendices/annexes should be listed in respect of all technical data.
Bibliography/References/Literature cited, consulted or directly cited in the text should be
given at the end.
The report should be written in a concise and objective style in simple language avoiding
vague expressions such as it seems there may be and the like.
Charts and illustrations in the main report should be used only if they present the information
more clearly.
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Calculated confidence limits must be mentioned and the various constraints experienced in
conducting research operations may as well be stated. Additional details will be provided in
Unit 4.
1.14 Criteria for Good Research
Whatever type of research, it is expected that it satisfies one of the following:
1) The purpose of the research should be clearly defined and common concepts used.
2) The research procedure used should be described sufficiently to permit another researcher
to repeat the research for further advancement, keeping the continuity of what has already
been attained;
3) The procedural design of the research should be carefully planned to yield results that are
as objective as possible.
4) The researcher should report with complete frankness, flaws in the procedural design and
estimate their effects on the findings;
5) The analysis of data should be sufficiently adequate to reveal its significance and the
methods of analysis used should be appropriate. The reliability and validity of the data
should be checked carefully.
6) Conclusions should be confined to those justified by the data of the research and limited
to those for which the data provide an adequate basis.
7) Greater confidence in research is warranted if the researcher is experienced, has a good
reputation in research and is a person of integrity.
In summary therefore;
1. Good research is systematic: it is structured with specified steps to be taken in a
specified sequence in accordance with well defined set of rules. Systematic characteristic
of research does not rule out creative thinking but it certainly does reject the use of
guessing and intuition in arriving at conclusions.
2. Good research is logical: It is guided by the rules of logical reasoning and the logical
process of induction and deduction which are of great value in carrying out research.
Induction is the process of reasoning from a part to the whole where as deduction is the
process of reasoning from some premise to a conclusion which follows from that very
premise. Logical reasoning makes research more meaningful in the context of decision
making.
3. Good research is empirical: Research is related to one or more aspects of real situation
and deals with concrete data that provides a basis for external validity to research results.
4. Good research is replicable: This characteristic allows research results to be verified by
replicating the study and thereby building a sound basis for decisions.

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1.15 Problems Encountered by Researchers in Zambia


Researchers in Zambia, particularly those engaged in empirical research face many problems.
Common problems are as follows:
1) Lack of training in research methodology: There is a small number of competent
researchers. Most of the work which goes in the name of research is not methodically
sound and is often compilation of secondary data which is then presented in unpublished
reports. Efforts are required to provide short duration intensive courses to meet this
requirement.
2) Insufficient interactions between researchers: Usually there is no interaction between
universities, university research departments on one side, and business establishments,
government departments and research institutions on the other hand. A great deal of
primary data of non confidential nature, remain untouched/unprocessed by researchers
for lack of proper contacts. There is need for developing some mechanism of an intra
and interuniversity collaboration on one hand and a university industry interaction
programme so that academicians can get ideas from practitioners on what needs to be
researched and practitioners would then apply the research results supplied by
academicians.
3) Most business units and government do not have confidence that the material supplied by
them to researchers will not be misused and as such they are often reluctant in supplying
information to researchers. The concept of secrecy seems to be sacrosanct to business
organizations so that it proves to be an impenetrable barrier to researchers. There is need
to open up communication channels and build confidence that information supplied to
researchers will not be misused.
4) Research studies overlapping one another: This often results in duplication of work and
waste of resources. There is no where to get a list of work done and places where the
work was done.
5) Lack of a code conduct for researchers: There is no code of conduct for researchers
and intra/inter university and inter-departmental rivalries are common. A code of conduct
can help address this problem.
6) Many researchers in Zambia face challenges of access to secretarial, technical (e.g. GIS)
services, computer assistance, etc. this contributes to the delay in completion of research
studies.
7) Library management: Library management and functioning is not satisfactory in many
places. Researchers have to spend a lot of time and energy to find, books, journals,
reports etc. Internet in many places is also costly and often slow. Zambia does not have
High Processing Computers, so the processing of high volumes of data is a challenge.
8) Lack of grants/funds in general: There are usually no grants to support research or even
to support publication fees particularly for students in tertiary institutions.

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2.0 THE RESEARCH PROBLEM


2.1 Defining a Research Problem
In research process, the first and foremost step is that of selecting and properly defining a
research problem. A researcher must find a problem and formulate it so that it becomes
susceptible to research. To define a problem correctly, a researcher must know what the problem
is. Like a medical doctor, a researcher must examine all symptoms concerning a problem before
he can diagnose correctly.
What is a research problem? it refers to some difficulty which a researcher experiences in
the context of either a theoretical or practical situation and wants to obtain a solution for
the same.
(Problem is a difficulty, a puzzle to be solved, something requiring a solution. An issue is a
subject of concern, something for discussion or something of general concern).
Components of a problem: Generally the following are the main components of research
problem1) There must be an individual or group which has/have some difficulty or the problem.
2) There must some objective(s) to be attained. If one wants nothing, then one cannot have a
problem.
3) There must be alternative means (or the courses of action) for obtaining the objective(s)
one wishes to attain. This means that there must be at least two means available to a
researcher for if he has no choice of means he cannot have a problem.
4) There must remain some doubt in the mind of a researcher with regard to the selection of
alternatives. This means that research must answer the question concerning the relative
efficiency of possible alternatives.
5) There must be some environment (s) to which the difficulty pertains.
Thus a research problem is one which requires a researcher to find out the best solution for the
given problem thus; to find out which course of action the objective can be attained optimally in
the context of a given environment.
2.2 Selecting the Problem
The research problem undertaken for a study must be carefully selected. The task is difficult one,
although it may not appear to be so. Every researcher must find out his own salvation for
research problems cannot be borrowed. A problem must come from the researchers mind like a
plant springs from its own seed.
The following points may be of help:
1) A subject which is overdone may not be an appropriate one, for it will be difficult task to
bring any new light in such a case.
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2) Highly controversial subject(s) may not be a good choice for an average researcher.
3) Too narrow or too vague problems should be avoided, because you may fail to collect
good data.
4) The subject selected for research should be familiar and feasible so that the related
research material or sources are within reach.
5) The importance of the subject, the qualifications and training of a researcher, the costs
involved, and the time factor are some factors that must be considered in selecting a
problem. Thus before a researcher makes a final selection of a problem it is important to
examine the following- i)is the researcher equipped in terms of background to carry out
that research?, ii) will the research fit with the budget available? iii)is there likely to be
cooperation from those who must participate in research as subjects? If the answers to
these general questions are positive one may be sure so far as the practicality of the study
is concerned.
6) The selection of the problem must be preceded by a preliminary study. This may not be
necessary when the problem requires the conduct of a research closely similar to one that
has already been recently done. But when the field of inquiry is relatively new and does
not have available set of well developed techniques, a brief feasibility study must always
be undertaken.
If the subject for research is selected properly by observing the above, the research may not be a
boring activity.
2.3 Techniques Involved in Defining a Problem
Defining a problem: Quite often we all hear that a problem clearly stated is a problem half
solved. This statement signifies the need to define a research problem. The problem to be
investigated must be defined unambiguously. This will help to discriminate relevant data from
irrelevant ones. Questions like what data are to be collected? What characteristics of data are
relevant and need to be studied? What relations are to be explored? What techniques are to be
used for the purpose? etc. Answers to these questions can only be found if the research problem
has been well defined. In fact formulation of a problem is often more essential than a solution.
Techniques that may be used to define a problem
The following steps may be useful: i) statement of the problem in general, ii) understanding the
nature of the problem, iii) surveying the available literature, iv) developing ideas through
discussion, v) rephrasing the research problem into a working proposition.
(i) Statement of the problem in general
State your problem in a general way, keeping in view some practical concern, scientific or
intellectual interest. In case of social research it may be advisable to do some pilot survey. The
researcher can then state the problem or at times seek guidance of experts.
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(ii) Understanding the nature of the problem


Understand its origin and nature clearly. The best way to understand the problem may be to
discuss it with those concerned or who first raised it in order to appreciate how it came about. If
the researcher thought about the problem himself, he should consider once again the points
which induced him to make a general statement. For a better understanding of the nature of the
problem involved, it would be advisable to discuss with those people with knowledge and
expertise.
(iii)Surveying the available literature
Survey all available literature concerning the problem. This will enable the researcher to
understand the relevant theories, reports and records etc. this will help the researcher to know if
there are gaps in the theories, or whether the existing theories are consistent with each other or
whether the findings of different research studies do not follow a pattern consistent with the
theoretical expectations. Studies on related problems are useful because they may highlight
difficulties that may be encountered in your proposed study. Quite often such studies may also
suggest useful and even new lines of approach to the present problem.
(iv) Developing ideas through discussion
Discussions often produce useful information including new ideas. The researcher must be open
enough to discuss his problem with colleagues and subject experts. People with experience are
likely to enlighten the researcher on different aspects of his research. They help sharpen his focus
on specific aspects.
(v) Rephrasing the research problem into a working proposition
Once the nature of the problem has been clearly understood, and the environment in which it will
be executed has been defined, discussions of the problem has taken place, available literature has
been surveyed and examined, rephrasing becomes an easy task.
The following should also be noted in defining a research problem:
i.
ii.
iii.
iv.
v.

Technical terms and words or phrases with special meaning used in the statement of the
problem should be clearly defined.
Basic assumption or postulates (if any) relating to the research problem should be clearly
stated.
A straight forward statement of the value of the investigation should be provided.
The suitability of the time period and the sources of data available must also be
considered by the researcher in defining the problem.
The scope of the investigation or the limits within which the problem is to be studied
must be mentioned explicitly.

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Example: Let us assume that a research problem in a broad and general way is as follows:
Why is productivity in Zimbabwe so much than Zambia?
This question has several ambiguities. i)what sort of productivity? ii)What industries is the
question referring to? iii)what period of time is this productivity referring to?
With much thought this question could be rephrased to read:
What were the factors responsible for higher labour productivity of Zimbabwes industries
during the period 1980 1990 relative to Zambias manufacturing industries?
This is of course a better statement which can later be rephrased and improved to read as
follows:
To what extent did labour productivity during the period 1980 1990 in Zimbabwe exceed that
of Zambia with respect to five (5) selected manufacturing industries? What factors were
responsible for the productivity differentials between the two countries industries?
With this kind of formulation, terms such as labour productivity, productivity differential
must be explained. After carrying out the steps shown above, the researcher can now rephrase
and have a focused research question and problem.
Defining a research problem therefore follows a sequential pattern.
3.0 RESEARCH DESIGN
3.1 Meaning of Research Design
The formidable problem that follows the task of defining the research problem is the preparation
of the design of the research project, particularly known as the research design. Decisions
regarding what, where, when, how much, by what means concerning the inquiry or research
study constitute a research design. A research design is an arrangement of conditions for
collecting and analyzing data in a manner that aims to combine relevance to the research purpose
with economy in procedure. It is the conceptual structure within which research is conducted; it
constitutes the ble print for the collection, measurement and analysis of data. It is an outline of
what the researcher will do from writing the hypothesis and its operational implications to the
final analysis of data.
It is based on the following:
1)
2)
3)
4)

What is the study about?


Why is the study being conducted?
What type of data is required?
Where can the required data be found?

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5)
6)
7)
8)
9)

What periods of time will the study include?


What will be the sample design?
What techniques of data collection will be used?
How will the data be analysed?
In what style will the report be prepared?

Keeping in mind the above; the research design can be split into parts: i) Sampling design which
deals with the method of selecting items to be observed for the study, ii)observational design
which relates to the conditions under which the observations are to be made, iii) statistical
design- which concerns the question of how many items are to be observed and how the
information and data gathered are to be analyzed, iv)operational design-which deals with the
techniques by which the procedures specified in the sampling, statistical and observational
designs can be carried out.
In brief a research design should contain; i) a clear statement of the research problem,
ii)procedures and techniques to be used for gathering information, iii)the population to be
studied, iv)methods to be used in processing and analyzing data.
3.2 Need for Research Design
Research design is needed because it facilitates the smooth sailing of the various research
operations, thereby making research as efficient yielding maximum information with minimum
expenditure of effort, time and money. Research design stands for advance planning of the
methods to be adopted for collecting the relevant data and techniques to be used in the analysis,
keeping in view the objective of the research and the availability of staff, time and money.
3.3 Features of Good Design
A good design generally, is one which minimizes bias and maximizes the reliability of data. A
design which yields maximal information and provides an opportunity for considering many
different aspects of a problem is considered appropriate and efficient design. Thus the question
of good design is related to the purpose or objective of the research problem and also with the
nature of the problem being studied.
A research design appropriate for a particular research problem, usually involves the
consideration of the following factors:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)

The means of obtaining data.


The availability and skills of the researcher and his staff, if any.
The objective(s) of the problem to be studied.
The nature of the problem to be studied.
The availability of time and money for research work

If the research study is an exploratory or formulative one, where in the major emphasis is on
discovery of ideas and insights, the research design most appropriate must be flexible enough to
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permit the consideration of many different aspects of a phenomenon. But if the purpose of a
study is accurate description of a situation or of an association between variables, accuracy
becomes a major consideration. Studies involving the testing of a hypothesis of a causal
relationship between variables require a design which would permit inferences about causality.
3.4 Important Concepts Relating to Research Design
The following concepts relating to research designs are important:
(i) Dependent and independent variables
A concept which can take on different quantitative values is called a variable. Examples are;
weight, height, income etc. Qualitative phenomena (or attributes) are also quantified on the basis
of the presence of the attributes. Phenomena which can take on quantitatively different values
even in decimal points are called continuous variables. But not all variables are continuous. If
they can only be expressed in integer (a positive or negative whole number or zero) values, then
they are non-continuous variables or in the language of statistics discrete variables. Age is an
example of a continuous variable, but the number of children is non-continuous.
If a variable depends upon or is a consequence of the other variable, it is called a dependent
variable. A variable that is antecedent (preceding something in time) to the dependent variable is
called independent variable. For example, if we say that height depends on age, then height is a
dependent variable and age is an independent variable. If we additionally say that height also
depends on the individuals sex, the height is dependent variable and age and sex are
independent variables.
(ii) Extraneous variable
Independent variables that are not related to the purpose of the study, but which may affect the
dependent variable are called extraneous variables. Suppose the researcher wants to test the
hypothesis that there is a relationship between students gains in business studies achievement
and their family background of entrepreneurship. In this case entrepreneurship is an independent
variable and business studies achievement is a dependent variable. However, intelligence may as
well affect the business studies achievement, but since it is not related to the purpose of the study
undertaken by the researcher, it will be termed an extraneous variable. Whatever effect is noticed
on dependent variable as a result of extraneous variable is technically described as an
experimental error. A research study therefore, must always be designed that the effect upon
dependent variable is attributed entirely to the independent variable(s), and not to some
extraneous variable(s).
(iii) Control
One important characteristic of a good research design is to minimize the influence or effect of
extraneous variable(s). The technical term control, is used when we design the study
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minimizing the effects of extraneous independent variables. In experimental design, the term
control is used to refer to restrain experimental conditions.
(iv) Confounded relationship
When the dependent variable is not free from the influence of extraneous variable(s), the
relationship between the dependent and independent variables is said to be confounded by an
extraneous variable(s).
(v) Research hypothesis
When a prediction or hypothesized relationship is to be tested, it is termed as a research
hypothesis. The research hypothesis is a predictive statement that relates an independent variable
to a dependent variable. Usually a research hypothesis must contain at least, one independent and
one dependent variable. Predictive statements which are not to be objectively verified or the
relationships that are assumed but not to be tested are not termed research hypothesis.
(vi) Experimental and non experimental hypothesis testing research
When the purpose of research is to test a research hypothesis, it is termed a hypothesis testing
research. It can be of the experimental design or of non-experimental design. Research in which
the independent variable is manipulated is termed experimental hypothesis testing research.
Research in which an independent variable is not manipulated is called non-experimental
hypothesis testing research.
For example: suppose a researcher wants to study whether intelligence affects reading ability for
a group of students and for this purpose he randomly selects 50 students and tests their
intelligence and reading ability by calculating the coefficient of correlation between the two sets
of scores. This is an example of non-experimental hypothesis testing research, because herein the
independent variable, intelligence was not manipulated.
In the other case the researcher randomly selects 50 students from a group of students who are to
take a course in statistics and then divides them into two groups by randomly assigning 25 to
Group A, the usual studies programme, and 25 to Group B, the business studies programme. At
the end of the course he administers a test to each group in order to judge the effectiveness of the
training programme on the students performance level. This is an example of experimental
hypothesis testing research because in this case the independent variable thus the type of training
programme is manipulated.
(vii) Experimental and control groups
In an experimental hypothesis testing research, when a group is exposed to usual conditions, it is
termed control group. But when the group is exposed to some novel or special condition, it is
termed experimental group. In the above example, the Group A can be called a control group and
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Group B experimental group. If both groups A and B are exposed to special studies programmes,
then both groups would be termed experimental groups. It is possible to design a research design
which include both experimental and control groups.
(viii)

Treatments

The different conditions under which experimental and control groups are put are usually called
treatments. In the example given above, the two treatments are the usual studies programme and
the business studies programme. Similarly, if we want to determine through an experiment the
comparative impact of three types of fertilizers on the yield of soya beans, in that case the three
types of fertilizers will be treated as three treatments.
(ix) Experiment
The process of examining g the truth of a statistical hypothesis, relating to some research
problem, is known as experiment. For example, we can conduct an experiment to examine the
usefulness of a certain newly developed drug. Experiments can be of two types; absolute
experiment and comparative experiment. If we want to determine the impact of a fertilizer on the
yield of soya beans, it is a case of absolute experiment. But, if we want to determine the impact
one fertilizer as compared to the impact of some other fertilizer, our experiment then will be
termed comparative experiment. Often we undertake comparative experiments when we talk of
designs of experiments.
(x) Experimental unit(s)
The predetermined plots or the blocks, where different treatments are used, are known as
experimental units. Such experimental units must be selected (defined) very carefully.
4.0 RESEARCH PROPOSAL GUIDELINES FOR MASTERS PROGRAMME
4.1 General Outline
1. Name of candidate
2. Name of supervisor,
3. School or Department
4. Proposed Degree
5. Title
6. Introduction
6.1 General introduction
6.2 Statement of the problem
6.3 Purpose/Objectives
6.4 Significance of the study
6.5 Literature review
6.6 Hypothesis (es)/Research questions
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7. Methods and Materials


8. References
9. Other relevant information
9.1 Financial arrangements
9.2 Duration
4.2 Detailed Outline
Selection of title
The researcher should give a comprehensive title to the thesis problem. The title should be
concise and clear. From the title, the reader should be able to predict fairly accurately what the
thesis will be about.
Introduction
A thesis should contain an introduction section which gives the back ground information and
setting to the problem of the proposed research. It is in this section that the researcher
comprehensively reviews the literature pertinent to the problem: to show what other people have
published on the problem (citing specific authors where appropriate), what gaps of knowledge
still exist, and what additional research needs to be done. It is also in this section that the
candidate demonstrates his/her mastery of the theoretical subject matter in the research area
chosen, and where he/she presents the hypotheses to be tested in the proposed research. Often it
is useful for the researcher to divide the introduction section into sub-headings to include;
General introduction - defining the problem area
Statement of the problem - delineation or identification of the problem
Purpose and Objectives - Spelling out the specific objectives (Objectives should be
SMART)
Significance of the study - elaboration of the importance of the study and advantages
to be derived
Literature review - Focusing attention on the relevant literature on the problem,
including findings by other researchers
Hypothesis (es)/Research questions - questions and propositions summarizing the
researchers expected findings in the proposed research and presenting a clear
rationale for each hypothesis or research question. For every hypothesis, variables to
be measured /tested should be clearly stated.
What is a hypothesis? Ordinarily when one talks about a hypothesis, he simply
means a mere assumption or some supposition to be proved or disproved. But for a
researcher, a hypothesis is a formal question that he intends to resolve. Thus a
hypothesis may be defined as a proposition or a set of proposition set forth as an
explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena either asserted
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merely as a provisional conjecture to guide some investigation or accepted as highly


probable in the light of established facts. Quite often a research hypothesis is a
predictive statement, capable of being tested by scientific methods, that relates an
independent variable to some dependent variable. For example: Mulungushi
University students who receive counseling will show greater increase in class
performance than students not receiving counseling. This hypothesis can be tested.
Thus we can conclude that a hypothesis states what we are looking for and it is a
proposition which can be put to test to determine its validity.
The following are the characteristics of a hypothesis:
i)
it should be clear and precise. If the hypothesis is not clear and precise, the
inferences drawn on its basis cannot be reliable,
ii)
it should be capable of being tested. A hypothesis is testable if other
deductions can be made from it which in turn can be confirmed or disproved
by observation,
iii)
it should state relationship between variable, if it happens to be a relational
hypothesis,
iv)
it should be limited in scope and must be specific. A narrower hypothesis is
more testable,
v)
it should be stated in simple terms as far as possible so that it is easily
understood,
vi)
it should be consistent with the most known facts thus it should be consistent
with a substantial body of established facts,
vii)
it should be amenable to testing within reasonable time. One cannot spend a
lifetime collecting data to test it, and
viii) must explain facts that give rise to the need for explanation. It must have
empirical reference.

Methods and Materials


A thesis proposal should contain a section giving details on the materials and methods
proposed to be used when conducting research. The location(s) where the proposed
research will be carried out should also be given in this section. If particular instruments
are to be used, their details and specifications should be presented. If the data are to be
collected through sampling, then the research design and sampling procedure should be
described. If questionnaires will be used, samples of the proposed questionnaire should
be presented. If standard methods will be used, then full references to them should be
given. In case new methods have been developed by the researcher, these should be
described in sufficient detail. In all cases, the data analysis plan should also be included.
If any limitations to the proposed methods are known, then these should be pointed out.
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References
At the end of the proposal there should be a section where all references cited in the text
are listed. The references should be presented in an acceptable manner thus, beginning
with the authors surname and arranging them in alphabetical order, and giving full
details of the publication such as the year of publication, the title for the work, the pages,
the publisher etc. Schools of the University may vary the way they would like the
literature cited, but there should be consistency in each School and students should
consult their supervisors on this.

Other relevant information


Usually has/ have the following sub titles:
Financial arrangements
This section should give the sources of funds required for the proposed research and
also the proposed budget.
Duration
This section should give the total time within which the research is expected to be
completed and also a time table showing the sequence of the research activities, in the
form of a time activity chart.
DateName..Signature..
Candidate

Comments by supervisor

.
DateName.Signature
Supervisor
(Please note that the School or Department can change/vary the lay out,
structure and arrangement of the above)
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Study Unit 5: Measuring and scaling techniques (Notes will be provided separately)
-Measurement scales in research
-Sources of error in measurement
-Tests of sound measurement
Study Unit 6: Methods used for data collection in business management (Notes will be
provided separately)
Study Unit 7: Processing and analysis of data (Notes will be provided separately)
8.0 INTERPRETATION AND REPORT WRITING
8.1 Meaning of Interpretation
Interpretation refers to the drawing of inferences from the collected data after an analytical
and/experimental study. It is a search for broader meaning of the research findings. It has two
major aspects:
1) To establish continuity in research through linking the results of a given study with those of
another.
2) To establish some explanatory concepts.
Interpretation extends beyond the data of the study to include the results of other research theory
and hypothesis.
8.2 Why Interpretation?
Interpretation is necessary because, the usefulness and utility of research findings lie in proper
interpretation. Some of the reasons are given below:
1) It is through interpretation that the researcher can understand the abstract principle behind his
findings. Through interpretation the researcher can link his findings with those of other
studies, having the same abstract principle, and thereby can predict about the concrete world
of events. Fresh inquiries can test these predictions later on. This way the continuity in
research can be maintained.
2) Interpretation leads to the establishment of explanatory concepts that can serve as a guide for
future research studies, it opens new avenues of intellectual adventure and stimulates the
quest for more knowledge.
3) The researcher can better appreciate only through interpretation why his findings are what
they are and can make others to understand the real significance of his research findings.
4) The interpretation of the findings of exploratory research study often results into hypothesis
for experimental research. Since an exploratory study does not have a hypothesis to start
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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with, the findings of such a study have to be interpreted on a post factum


case the interpretation is technically described as post factum interpretation.

basis in which

8.3 Techniques of Interpreting Results


Interpreting results of a research study is not easy. It requires great skill and dexterity on the part
of the researcher. It is an art that is learnt through practice and experience.
The technique for interpretation often involves the following steps:
1) The researcher must give reasonable explanation of the relations which he has found and he
must interpret the lines of relationship in terms of the underlying processes and must try to
find out the thread of uniformity that lies under the surface layer of his diversified research
findings.
2) Extraneous information if collected during the study must be considered while interpreting
the final results of the research study, for it may prove to be a key factor in understanding the
problem under consideration.
3) It is advisable before embarking on final interpretation to consult someone with insight into
the study and who is frank and honest and will not hesitate to point out omissions and
errors in logical argumentation. Such a consultation will result in correct interpretation
and, thus, will enhance the utility of research results.
4) Researcher must accomplish the task of interpretation only after considering all relevant
factors affecting the problem to avoid false generalizations. He must be in no hurry while
interpreting results, for quite often the conclusion which appear to be all right at the
beginning may not all be accurate.
It is important to note that even if data were properly collected and analysed, wrong
interpretation would lead to inaccurate conclusions. It is therefore absolutely essential that the
task of interpretation be accomplished with patience and impartiality.
8.4 Significance of Report Writing
Research report is considered a major component of the research study for the research task
remains incomplete until the report has been written or presented. As a matter of fact, even the
most brilliant hypothesis, highly well designed and conducted research study and the most
striking generalizations and findings are of little value unless they are effectively communicated
to others.
The purpose of research is not well served unless findings are made known to others. Research
results must invariably enter the general store of knowledge. All this explains the significance
of writing research report. Writing of the report is the last step in research study and requires a
set of skills somewhat different from those called for in respect of earlier stages of research.
8.5 Steps in Report Writing
The usual steps involved in report writing are as follows:
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)

Logical analysis of the subject matter.


Presentation of the final outline.
Preparation of the rough draft.
Rewriting and polishing.
Preparation of the final bibliography or Literature cited.
Writing the final report.

8.6 Lay out of the Research Report


A proper lay out of the report should contain the following sections:
(a) Front matter/Preliminary pages
(b) Main text
(c) End matter
Preliminary pages/Front matter: The preliminary pages of an ordinary report should carry title
and date, followed by acknowledgements in the form of preface or foreword. Then there should
be a table of contents followed by list of figures, tables and appendices so that the decision
maker or anybody interested in reading the report can easily locate the required information. For
a thesis or dissertation; the preliminary or front matter will contain; title page, declaration,
dedication, contents, list of figures, list of tables, list of glossary (optional), list of acronyms and
abbreviations (optional) abstract, acknowledgement. The exact arrangement of these titles can
vary from schools/faculties to school or between universities.
Main text: Will start with introduction that covers theoretical framework, objectives and
justification. Study area and methods, analysis of data and presentation of results.
Interpretation/discussion, conclusion, recommendations.
End matter: References, Bibliography (optional), appendices.

8.6.1 Front Matter in Detail


Title page
This is an extremely important page which shows details on the following; Title of the project,
Full names of the candidate. It must also be indicated if the dissertation/thesis project is done in
partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of that particular degree, the names of the
Department/School and institution (optional) and month and year of submission.
If the thesis has any figures and tables a list showing the location of these come immediately
after the table of contents page.
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List of accompanying materials (if any optional)


If other materials besides the main text accompany the report (e.g. separate maps, diskettes,
photographs, etc), a list showing such should be provided, and this page should follow a list of
figures and tables page.
Acknowledgement
Acknowledgement are treated separately, and they should come after the list of accompanying
material.
Declaration
The declaration page should follow the acknowledgement and must be written under a separate
heading. The declaration must state whether the work is your original work, or there exists
previous research undertaken on the same in that university or other academic institution. There
should be a provision for the signature of the researcher.
8.6.2 Main Text in Detail
The main text is that body of the thesis forming the major part of the discussion and flows in
chapters, sections and sub-sections. It mainly contains the introduction; study area and methods,
statements of the findings, discussions, conclusion and recommendations. Sometimes it also
embraces references and bibliographies. Arrange each chapter on a new page. In the course of
preparing a thesis project one is required to consult other works related to his investigations.
These should be cited in the appropriate manner. Failure to cite reference is a serious offence of
plagiarism. The source of information should always be acknowledged. The Harvard system is
recommended.

Additional notes will be given after presentation


Nature of the Report
The report must be neat and durable and bound in material and colour approved by the
university. The copy to be deposited in the library will be used by other students in future, and
for that reason, it must be produced in such a way that it can handle the consultation pressure
over a long period of time, usually hard cover binding is allowed.
8.6.3 End Matter
End matter as the term denotes refers to that type of information coming after the main body or
text of the report.

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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8.7 Types of Reports


(a)Technical report
The emphasis of a technical report is; i) the methods used, ii) assumptions made in the course of
study, iii) detailed presentation of the findings including their limitations and supporting data.
(b) Popular Report
Gives emphasis on simplicity and attractiveness. It minimizes technical jargon particularly
mathematical, charts and illustrations. In such a report, emphasis is given to practical aspects and
policy implications.
(d) Oral Presentation
At times oral presentations of the study is considered effective, particularly in cases where policy
recommendations are indicated by research results. The merit of this approach is that it provides
an opportunity for give and take decisions which generally lead to a better understanding of the
findings and their implications. This method can be combined with any two of the above.
8.9 Precautions for Writing Research Reports
Research report is a channel of communicating the research findings to the readers of the report.
A good research report is one which does this task efficiently and effectively. As such, it must be
prepared keeping the fallowing precautions in view:
1) While determining the length of the report one should keep in view the fact that it should be
long enough to cover the subject but short enough to maintain interest. In fact report writing
should not be a means to learning more and more about less and less.
2) A research report should not, if it can be avoided, be dull; it should sustain the readers
interest.
3) Abstract terminology and technical jargon, should be avoided in a research report. The report
should convey the matter in a simple manner. It should be written in an objective style and
simple language, avoiding expressions such as it seems there may be and the like.
4) Readers are often interested in acquiring a quick knowledge of the main findings and as such
the report must provide a readily availability of findings. For this purpose, charts, graphs and
statistical tables may be used for various results in the main report in addition to the summary
of important findings.
5) The layout of the report should be well thought out and must be appropriate and in
accordance with the objective of the research problem.
6) The report should be free from grammatical mistakes and must be prepared strictly in
accordance with the techniques of composition of report writing such as use of quotations,
footnotes, documentation, proper punctuation, and use of abbreviations.
7) The report must present the logical analysis of the subject matter. It must reflect a structure
where in the different pieces of analysis relating to the research problem fit well.
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
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8) The research report should show originality and should necessarily be an attempt to solve
some intellectual problem. It must contribute to the solution of a problem and must add to the
store of knowledge.
9) Towards the end the report must also state the policy implications relating to the problem
under consideration. It is usually considered desirable if the report makes a forecast of the
probable future of the subject concerned and indicates the kinds of research still needed to be
done in that particular field.
10) Appendices should be enlisted in respect of all technical data in the report.
11) Bibliography or Literature cited must be given, often presented in alphabetical order.
12) Index is also considered an essential part of a good report and as such must be prepared and
appended at the end (for some reports not all).
13) Report must be attractive in appearance, neat and clean, whether typed or printed.
14) Calculated confidence limits must be mentioned and the various constraints experienced in
conducting the research study may also be stated in the report.
15) Objective of the study, the nature of the problem, the methods used and the analysis
techniques adopted must all be clearly stated in the beginning of the report in the form of
introduction.
Study Unit 9: The role of computers in Research (Notes will be provided separately)
- Computer software programmes/packages
-Other computer applications in research
Bibliography
Bailey, N.T.J. 1995. Statistical methods in biology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Burrows, C. Hickinson, D and Kang, D. (Eds). 2010. Complete revision and practice, statistics,
Elander Ltd. Newcastle.
Davies, O. W. and Goldsmith, P. 1982. Statistical methods in research and production. Longman,
London.
Dytham, C. 2004. Choosing and using statistics. Blackwell Publishing, Malden.
Fowler, J. Cohen, L. and Jarvis, P. 1998. Practical statistics for field biology. John Wiley and
Sons, New York.
Kothari, C.R. 2009. Research methodology, methods and techniques. New Age International
Publishers, New Delhi.
Onyango, P.J. and Plews, M.A. 2005. A textbook of basic statistics. East African Educational
Publishers, Nairobi.
[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]

[Chansa Chomba (Ph.D.)] Draft Notes on Research Methodology Guidelines- August 2014. [Being edited and revised. Typing errors have not
been checked yet]