Week 1

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Week 1 - Assignment: Draft a Research Problem, Purpose and Research Questions

Your dissertation topic will need to be aligned with your degree program (Business Administration) and specialization (Financial Management). For the purposes of this assignment, consider how you could research your chosen dissertation topic through a quantitative lens, using quantitative methods and research questions that are aligned with quantitative research (even if you plan to pursue qualitative methods for your dissertation).

Develop a problem statement, purpose statement, and research questions for your intended dissertation research that will use a quantitative approach. You may want to use the Methods Map to provide an overview of a quantitative approach. When using the map, it is recommended that you begin with “Quantitative Data Collection” which will provide a list of the method on the right. You can click on any of these for more information. Remember to look at the top box for definitions of terms/concepts.

This is to be based on: (1) the review of the literature in your topic area; (2) the identification of a problem based on your analysis of this literature; (3) adherence to the criteria necessary for a research-worthy problem and well formulated research questions as discussed in the School of Business Prospectus Template; and (4) your understanding of the alternative types of quantitative research studies.

Length:  Your paper should be between 4-6 pages, not including title and reference page. 

References: Include a minimum of eight (8) scholarly resources.

Your paper should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts that are presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect graduate-level writing and APA standards.

Overview of Quantitative Research and Review of Problem Statements

There are four main designs that you can use with a quantitative methodology, including descriptive, correlational, quasi-experimental, and experimental. You will need to look at your research study to figure out which design will be most appropriate for you to answer your research question. For example, if your research question talks about a relationship between multiple variables, you will likely choose a correlational design. An example of this type of research is provided in the study by Sow et al. (2017). While some of the specifics may vary from what you are required in your dissertation research, overall, it is a good example of a completed research study. You need to choose the design to best test your hypotheses and answer your research question. The Methods Map is a fun and interesting tool that provides an overview of not only alternative approaches but aa number of methodological procedures.

As previously noted, before researchers can even think about the research design, it is essential to start at the foundation of the business research process and that is defining the problem. It is extremely important to define the problem carefully because the definition will determine the purpose of the research and the research design. In this course, the focus is on problems whose purpose involves the use of a quantitative approach.

Once you have examined the approaches to quantitative research, you need to present your problem statement, research purpose, and research questions making sure that the purpose is consistent with a quantitative study. (Yes…if you are thinking that the method stems from the purpose and the research questions, and not the other way around, you are correct. In this case, however, make sure you are developing research questions consistent with a quantitative study.

Research questions outline the problem to be investigated in a study, stated in the form of a question. Remember to use the same verbiage in the research questions that you did in the problem and purpose statements.  Research questions that describe data are called descriptive. Descriptive research questions typically ask “How,” or “What.”  Research questions that compare one or more groups are called comparative.  Comparative research questions typically ask “What is/are the difference(s).”  Research questions that examine relationships are called correlational (simple correlation) or relationship (multiple correlations or regression models) questions.  Correlation and relationship questions typically ask “What is the relationship.”

Each research question, with the exception of descriptive research questions,  contains a minimum of two hypotheses: the null hypotheses and the alternative  hypothesis. Hypotheses are declarative statements  that outline  relationships or comparisons to be tested  in your research study.   The null hypothesis is the core idea in hypothesis testing.  The null hypothesis is the hypothesis to be rejected, or nullified. Null hypotheses for comparative research questions typically state that two or more groups are not statistically the same. Null hypotheses for correlational and relationship research questions typically state that there is no statistically significant relationship between the variables or constructs of interest. The alternative hypothesis, sometimes termed research hypothesis, is the logical opposite of the null hypothesis.  Remember to use the same verbiage in the hypotheses that you did in the research questions. 

In your next class, you will work on qualitative studies. Consider this as an exercise to explore quantitative methods for your dissertation, even if qualitative methods, and research questions that are qualitative in nature, are best for you to explore your topic. In addition, explain which of the four quantitative designs would be appropriate for your study. Each of these is succinctly explained in the first resource for this week. You not only need to provide your rationale but want to make appropriate use of APA formatted headings to organize your paper.

It is important that you pay close attention to the School of Business Prospectus Template. The details of what is required to make a problem acceptable for your dissertation research specifically at NCU is noted here. For instance, you need to demonstrate that experts in the discipline believe the problem is worthy of scholarly research. This requires providing evidence from contemporary scholarly literature in the area. “Contemporary” is defined as studies that have been published within the past 5 years while scholarly sources as those that have undergone the rigors of peer review. 

Be sure to review this week's resources carefully.  You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.

Heads-Up to the Signature Assignment

Your culminating Signature Assignment (due in Week 8) will be a reflection of all that you have learned within the course, and it may require that you complete some work ahead of time. To ensure you are prepared and have adequate time to complete this assignment, please review the instructions by looking ahead to Week 8. You can contact your professor if you have questions. It is important that you apply feedback on your problem statement in the first assignment. You may need to work with your professor during the course if it needs considerable refinement.

For this Signature Assignment, you are required to write a research proposal involving quantitative research. The particular data collection design is dependent on the topic of your choice and what is appropriate given your problem and interest area.