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Formulation of the research problem

Formulating a research problem is the first and most important step in the research process. It involves identifying an issue or a gap in knowledge that needs to be addressed through research. The research problem provides the foundation for the research question or hypothesis and guides the entire research process. Here are some key steps in formulating a research problem:

Identify the area of interest: The first step is to identify the broad area of interest that you want to study. This could be a particular field, topic, or issue.

Review the literature: Conduct a thorough review of existing literature to identify gaps in knowledge or areas that need further investigation. This will help you to refine your research problem and make it more specific.

Define the problem: Clearly define the problem or issue that you want to investigate. This could involve framing a question or hypothesis that you want to test through research.

Evaluate the significance of the problem: Determine the importance of the problem or issue you have identified. Ask questions such as: Why is this problem worth investigating? Who will benefit from this research? What impact will this research have on the field?

Consider feasibility: Assess the feasibility of conducting research on the problem or issue you have identified. Consider factors such as access to data, time, and resources.

Refine the problem: Based on the above steps, refine the research problem to make it more specific, manageable, and relevant.

Management Question Research Questions and Investigation Questions

Research questions are broader in scope and are used to guide the entire research process. They typically seek to answer a research problem or investigate a gap in knowledge. Research questions are usually more general and abstract, and are used to guide the selection of research design, methods, and data analysis.

Investigation questions, on the other hand, are more specific and focus on a particular aspect or subtopic of the research problem. They are used to guide the collection and analysis of data and are often derived from broader research questions. Investigation questions are usually more concrete and tangible and are used to guide the selection of research methods and tools.

For example, let’s say the research problem is to investigate the impact of leadership style on employee satisfaction in a particular organization. A research question could be “What is the relationship between leadership style and employee satisfaction in the organization?” This question guides the entire research process and is used to develop investigation questions such as:

How does the autocratic leadership style impact employee satisfaction?

How does the democratic leadership style impact employee satisfaction?

How does a laissez-faire leadership style impact employee satisfaction?

These investigation questions focus on specific leadership styles and their impact on employee satisfaction, and are used to guide the data collection and analysis process.

Overall, research questions and investigation questions are both important in management research, and work together to guide the research process and provide answers to research problems.