Criteria of a good research

Good research generates dependable data, being derived by practices that are conducted professionally that can be used reliably for management decision making. Good research differs from poor research that is carelessly planned and conducted resulting in data that a manager can‘t use to reduce his or her decision-making risks. Good research follows the standards of the scientific methods. These include:

Purpose clearly defined
The purpose of the research the problem involved or the decision to be made should be clearly defined and sharply delineated in terms as unambiguous as possible. The statement of the decision problem should include its scope, limitations and precise specifications of the meanings of all words and terms significant to the research. Failure of the researcher to do this adequately may raise legitimate doubts in the minds of research report readers as to whether the researcher has sufficient understanding of the problem to make a sound proposal to attack it. This characteristic is comparable to developing a strategic plan before developing a tactical plan or an
action map for achieving an objective.

Research process detailed
The research procedures used should be described in sufficient detail to permit another researcher to repeat the research. Except when secrecy is imposed, research reports should reveal with candor the sources of data and the means by which they were obtained. Omissions of significant procedural details make it difficult or impossible to estimate the validity and reliability of the data and justifiably weaken the confidence of the reader in the research and any recommendations based on the research. This characteristic is comparable to developing a tactical plan.

Research design thoroughly planned
The procedural design of the research should be carefully planned to yield results that are as objective as possible. When a sampling of the population is involved the report should include evidence concerning the degree of representatives of the sample. A survey of opinions or recollections ought not to be used when more reliable evidence is available from documentary sources or by direct observation. Bibliographic searches should be as thorough and complete as possible. Experiments should have satisfactory controls. Direct observations should be recorded in writing as soon as possible after the event. Efforts should be made to minimize the influence of personal bias in selecting and recording data. This characteristic is comparable to developing detailed action plans for each tactic.

High ethical standards applied
Researchers often work independently and have significant latitude in designing and executing research projects. A research design that includes safeguards against causing mental or physical harm to participants and makes data integrity a first priority should be highly valued. Ethical issues in research reflect important moral concerns about the practice of responsible behavior in
society. Researchers frequently find themselves precariously balancing the rights of their subjects against the scientific dictates of their chosen method. When this occurs, they have a responsibility to guard the welfare of the participants in the studies, and also the organizations to which they belong, their clients, colleagues and themselves. Careful consideration must be given to research situations when there is a possibility for physical or psychological harm, exploitation, invasion of privacy, and loss of dignity. The research need must be weighed against the potential for adverse effects. Typically you can redesign a study, but sometimes you cannot. The researcher should be prepared for this dilemma.

Limitations frankly revealed
The researcher should report, with complete frankness, flaws in procedural design and estimate their effect on the findings. There are very few perfect research designs. Some of the imperfections may have little effect on the validity and reliability of the data. Others may invalidate them entirely. A competent researcher should be sensitive to the effects of imperfect design and his or her experience in analyzing the data should provide a basis for estimating their influence. As a decision maker, you should question the value of research where no limitations are reported.

Adequate analysis for decision makers need
Analysis of the data should be sufficiently adequate to reveal its significance and the methods of analysis is used should be appropriate. The extent to which this criterion is met is frequently a good measure of the competence of the researcher. Adequate analysis of the data is the most difficult phase of research for the novice. The validity and reliability of data should be checked
carefully. The data should be classified in ways that assist the researcher to reach pertinent conclusions and clearly reveal the findings that lead to those conclusions. When statistical methods are used the probability of error should be estimated and the criteria of statistical significance applied.

Findings presented unambiguously
Language that is restrained clear and precise; assertions that are carefully drawn and hedged with appropriate reservations and an apparent effort to achieve maximum objectivity tend to leave a favorable impression of the researcher with the decision maker. Generalizations that outrun the evidence on which they are based, exaggerations and unnecessary verbiage tend to leave an
unfavorable impression. Such reports are not valuable to managers wading through the minefields of business decision making. Presentation of data should be comprehensive easily understood by the decision maker, and organized so that the decision maker can readily locate critical findings.

Conclusions justified
Conclusions should be confined to those justified by the data of the research and limited to those of which the data provided an adequate basis. Researchers are often tempted to broaden the basis of induction by including personal experiences and their interpretations- data not subject to the controls under which the research data were gathered.

Equally undesirable is all too frequent practice of drawing conclusions from a study of a limited populations and applying them universally. Researchers may also be tempted to rely too heavily on data collected in a prior study and use it in the interpretation of a new study. Such a practice is sometimes prevalent among research specialists who confine their work to clients in a small industry. These actions tend to decrease the objectivity of research and weaken confidence in the findings. Good researchers always specify the conditions under which their conclusions seem to be valid.

Researcher’s experience reflected
Greater confidence in the research is warranted if the researcher is experienced, has a good reputation in research, and is a person of integrity. Were it possible for the reader of a research report to obtain sufficient information about the researcher, this criteria perhaps would be one of the best bases for judging the degree of confidence a piece of research warrants and the value of any decision on which it rests. For this reason, the research report should contain information about the qualifications of the researcher.

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