Understanding business and management research methods
Research is a very important discipline for scholars. Scholars with superior research skills are always placed at an advantage because they can use these skills in their career fields (Creswell 1994, p. 3-15). It is therefore highly important to know that as a scholar and as a researcher it is important to incorporate good research qualities into any research that you intend to conduct to produce results that are highly objective, unbiased, and free of any errors. Therefore be it scientific, artistic, or historic research it is important to always be precise and on point. And, therefore, to be on point, it is necessary to formulate a good question, conduct a good literature review, gather data properly analyze this data well and test whatever hypotheses available and conclude the data based on the findings.
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The research intending to find out how marketing communications correlate to how business performance is a good example by which I will illustrate how strengths and weaknesses of research can be pointed out. Marketing communication is a process by which businesses send and receive messages to and from stakeholders (Duncan & Moriarty 1998, p.30-45). It is, therefore, logical to conclude such a process has an impact on business operations and outcomes. Professionals who tackle marketing strategy and planning usually assume that marketing communication activities and the frequency of communication is a key part of commercial business success (Hutt & Speh 1995, p.88). It is because marketing communication is used to persuade, inform, educate, and remind consumers to purchase a product (Kotler 2003, p. 44). Good research is therefore logical and a clear purpose, empirical, reproductive, replicable, creative, testable, well designed with a procedural research design, has a frank and objective nonbiased report/findings, Therefore, these will be used as the bases of either criticizing or complimenting this research carried out that was carried out by scholars from Slovenia who are students in the University of Maribor (Morse 1991, p. 4-17).
The nature of the research question in this research is highly appropriate and straight forward therefore highly logical the scholars are intending to investigate whether there exists a correlation between marketing communication activities such as advertisements, radio commercials mail PR activities, and so on and overall business performance. There, therefore, exists a good logic behind the research question that will give the scholars a good chance to build a good theoretical and conceptual framework by talking about issues that are only relevant to the research question. Furthermore, the research question has enabled the construction of 4 hypotheses that are to be tested that will at the end will assist in the process of interpretation and conclusion of the research by clearly bringing out any degree of correlation that exists (Strauss & Corbin 1990, p.16-34). Therefore the research has a good research question and good hypotheses that serve the primary purpose of the research.
The research methodology is a clear framework that is followed when carrying out research especially when gathering data (Creswell 2003, p.44). There are numerous research methodology techniques, in this case, the scholars were caring out empirical/scientific research that is correlational or prospective (Smith 1983, p.14). Such a kind of research tries to find out whether there exists a positive or negative relationship between certain variables. In this case, it is therefore appropriate because they are investigating whether the variables of organizational performance are influenced in any way by the various marketing communication techniques that exist. Such research design and methodology make it easy for future researchers to replicate or reproduce the same research if the need arises. Despite having a good design the method by which they selected companies that were to make the total sample is not suitable because it introduced some bias because it was not purely random (Tashakkori, & Teddlie 2003, p. 16-33; Morgan 1998, 52). It is because out of the 44 existing companies which were illegible only 37 provided data for this research, and we are not told the criteria that were used to disqualify the other remaining 7 companies (Hutt & Speh 1995, 168).
Data analysis of this research is highly appropriate and adequate to reveal valid and reliable data that examines the correlation between the variables involved. Furthermore, the results of the analysis go-ahead to complement the purpose and the research question by clearly testing the hypotheses. The researcher finds a highly significant and strong correlation between commercial performance and frequency of marketing activities that are carried out in a given period and goes a step further to test the other three hypotheses (Kotler & Keller 2006, 79). Furthermore by incorporating a diagrammatic figure to assist concerned parties in understanding the link between business success variables and frequency of marketing communication the process of data analysis therefore even becomes better. At the end of this research, a clear picture of all significant correlations that are existent between marketing communication activities and business performance is evident. Another good advantage and strength of this data analysis segment are that the presentation of data is comprehensive and extensive, and easy to understand for all those who choose to read the research itself.
The conclusion of this research is based on the results of the data analysis process furthermore the researchers go ahead to explain the validity and implication of the findings that arose from the data analysis process, therefore, maintaining a high level of objectivity (Onwuegbuzie & Leech 2004, p. 88; Mohr, J. and Nevin 1990, 48) In the conclusion itself the researchers clearly explain how the number of marketing activities, frequency of communication activities and business performance aggregates and variables is related and what their implications are for those companies who provide foreign language education services to their consumers. They suggest that it is not the number frequency of marketing communication is more important than the number of marketing communication variables that a business uses, and therefore to be successful it is necessary that companies considering to be successful businesswise need to concentrate more on increasing the frequency of communicating and also improve on communication strategy techniques and not necessarily dedicate their energy towards price wars (Doyle & Stern 2006, p. 60-78; Low 2000, 38)
The research is also replicable and reproductive because the researcher goes ahead to suggest any chances of carrying out future research, in other industries that exist within the same economy, this is because findings of such research can prove useful to other parties within the industry and can be used to the advantage of those who carry it out (Lancaster & Withey 2006, p. 223). Furthermore, other variables and marketing communication activities can be added or simply another related topic can either be tackled by a researcher.
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In my opinion, the quality of research that was carried out by the scholars who are from the University of Maribor is highly impressive because it had a clear purpose (i.e. that exists between Marketing Communications Correlates and Business Performance) that was accompanied by relevant hypotheses, the researcher furthermore made sure the research had a good literature review by gathering secondary data from good and trusted sources, data analysis was adequate and simplified in the form of tables, and lastly, conclusions and implications were within the confines of the findings. But in contrast, this research can be improved by conducting cross-industry research and making sure that all those companies that make the final the final sample are more randomly selected and also come from a larger universe consisting of companies that come from other related industries (Newman & Benz 1998, p. 44-70). By doing this the findings of the research will be of relevance to a much wider audience and therefore assist more professionals to use these findings to implement programs that will initiate change within the industry. Furthermore, it will be good to add a qualitative aspect to the quantitative data to make interpretation more easy and interesting (Smith 1983 p. 60-83; Lewis 2004, 291).
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Onwuegbuzie, A. J. & Leech, N. L. 2004. Enhancing the interpretation of significant findings: The role of mixed methods research.Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Educational Research Association, Clearwater, Florida.
Smith, J. K. 1983. Quantitative versus qualitative research: An attempt to clarify the issue.Educational Researcher, 12, 6–13.
Strauss, A. & Corbin, J., 1990. Basics of Qualitative Research, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA.
Tashakkori, A. & Teddlie, C. 2003. Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.