Research is important to survive in business. Many organizations in Nepal have been unable to sustain themselves and have fallen simply because of neglecting research and not keeping abreast of market trends and innovations. The world of business is fast-paced and dynamic. It is always in a state of change. Environmental forces and information technology have and will continue to accelerate this change. In the present-day context, business organizations rely on research information to gain a competitive advantage and greater market share. Research skills are, therefore, essential to collect and analyze facts and statistics about an organization’s operating environment, customers, employees and competitors. On the basis of this research information, business organizations are able to make better responses and decisions. Hence, a good research mechanism is essential, irrespective of the size of the company and its client base.
Research methodology has now a due place in business education programs of universities in Nepal. Thesis, graduate research project work, fieldwork, internship, and term paper writing have been integral parts of the teaching and learning processes. Research orientation and activities are encouraged in colleges and universities in order to reinforce and improve learning, and to enhance analytical and research skills. Also, it is now widely accepted that an understanding of the concepts and methods of research is not just the concern of the university family, but is essential for other professionals working in different fields. Thus, over the past few decades, the level of interest in research methodology has exploded.
Target Group The contents of this book are based on the modules taken from the Masters course in research methodology offered by Nepalese universities. This book is therefore mainly focused on the postgraduate level students. It would particularly appeal to students who are pursuing their Masters and M. Phil. Courses in business and social sciences. Although the book has been written primarily within the context of business research, it is equally useful to social science research.
Content Coverage Social science research methods are presented in a highly readable format. The book includes such critical topics as the increasing role of social research, the research process, qualitative research, ethical issues, data mining, and how to conduct information-gathering activities more effectively in a rapidly changing organizational environment. The text thus provides students with a single source from which they can learn and develop the wide range of research skills. It also continues to show students the value of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to social science research.
Structure The book is divided into 13 chapters. The first four chapters provide the introduction to social and management research, literature survey, and formulation of research problems and hypothesis. The second two chapters deal with the issues related to quantitative and qualitative research designs. The next two chapters cover three vital components of research – scaling, attitude measurement, and sampling. Data collection methods, procedures, data presentation and analysis are the subject matters of the ninth and tenth chapters. Finally, chapters eleven, twelve and thirteen are devoted to thesis writing, topic selection, proposal preparation and research report writing.
Features of the Book This book has several features that add value to its practical orientation. My goal is to present the materials in a friendly, easy-to-read style, with plenty of examples to clarify crucial concepts and techniques. Students can use the following learning tools to help them understand the principles, guidelines and practices.
- Structure of the book. The structure is designed to be practical. The materials have been organized around the operational steps in the research process.
- Learning objectives. Each chapter begins with several well-defined, attainable learning objectives. These objectives provide a step-by-step process that guides the student through the chapter’s material.
- Examples and illustrations. Numerous charts, graphs, diagrams, and examples reinforce and explain concepts in the text. These examples and illustrations are designed to supplement and reinforce the student’s learning.
- Summary of learning objectives. The chapter summary is concise yet complete. These summaries are presented in a bullet-point format to reinforce key ideas discussed in the chapter.
- Readings and references. References are provided for each chapter. If students are interested to have greater and deeper insights into the subject, they can go through these reference materials.
Pedagogical Features A textbook is about teaching, and I have made a major effort to strengthen the learning-based features of this book. To maximize the learning value, the text includes the following main features:
- Glossary. An extensive glossary has been provided at the end of the text. Key terms and their definitions provide a review and handy summary of these terms used in the text.
- Key terms. All new terms are italicized when first mentioned. A list of key terms at each chapter’s end helps students identify and review important concepts.
- End-of-chapter questions. Students can use these questions to evaluate their understanding of the chapter.
- Exercises and projects. Each chapter includes some exercises, projects, and group assignments. Students are encouraged to think about what they have learned and apply the knowledge and research skills to solve the problem.