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Preparing to Conduct Business Research Part One

In: Business and Management

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Preparing to Conduct Business Research Part One
Paul Steeves RES/351
6 May 2013

Part One: Research Problem ABC Company just purchased a new C-Store located in South Carolina, on a busy intersection that has been in the same place for 22 years. The well-established C-Store has a loyal and local customer base and steady profits from clientele. ABC Company paid $300,000 for the new C-Store, but when they bought the store they did not realized the C-Store only generated $285,000 per year. This created an unexpected dilemma for the company. ABC Company expected to see a return on investment within the year. ABC Company decided that it may be advantageous to use business research to allow their business to run more efficiently. They came up with some questions regarding how they could fix their financial problems: "What services could be implement to drive up revenues?" "Are there any cutbacks on inventory that require our attention?" "What changes can be implemented that would improve customer satisfaction?" "Should we focus on advertisement of a special product?" "What directives could be created to improve customer bonds?" Although these questions enveloped the main concerns, ABC Company decided to make some descriptive hypotheses for complete definition. ABC Company believes that they should open a liquor store in the rental area next to the convenience store. The C-Store should have additional services like an ATM and Check Cashing services. ABC Company considers that if we accomplish these two objectives, they would significantly increase revenues from the existing clientele. The increase in revenues could be enough to see returns on investment within the year. The C-Store will improve customer satisfaction by increasing the hours of operation. Previous to purchase, the C-Store’s hours of operation were open Monday through Saturday, 8 to 10 p.m. and was closed on Sundays because of the owner’s feeling about working on the Sabbath. Using variables to hypothesize a problem is a big part of business research. This type of research helps drive decisions relating to a company’s missions, goals, strategy, and tactics. The Chief Executive Officer of ABC Company wants to see solutions and by using variables we can paint a picture of the outcome our company is trying to obtain. Variables can be measured and be assigned numerical values to find the bottom line. Values that represent categories also can be utilized in business research. All in all, variables help us as researchers find solutions to a problem under a certain set criterion. While trying to find a solution to our company’s problem, there were many variables that needed to be addressed. In our research of ABC Company and its problem, we found we must come up with an independent and dependent variable. The independent variable (IV) is considered the stimulus, and the dependant variable (DV) is known as the response or outcome. In our case our IV could be the addition of supplementary services, this will lead to increase in customer satisfaction, which would be our DV. To make our hypothesis more specific and narrow down our possible outcomes, we can use a moderating variable (MV). Certain conditions are implemented with a MV to give our problem a more specific path for a solution. In our case our MV could be, especially among local residents. This gives us a final hypothesis for our situation that reads: Adding additional services, such as ATMs and check cashing services (IV) will lead to an increase in customer satisfaction (DV), especially among local residents (MV).

Part 2: Research Design To determine the most appropriate type of research design that our company is going to use, we first must understand research design. Essentially, our research design must be time based and have a plan based on the research question. It also must have a type of guide for selecting types of information, and an outline for all research activity. Therefore, our company has decided that the most appropriate type of research design would be a causal study. We decided to use a causal study approach due to our final hypothesis being a cause and effect type of situation. Our company wants to determine if the cause of adding more services for customers will in effect lead to an increase in customer satisfaction. The reasoning behind not choosing the other two research designs is especially simple. Exploratory studies are mainly utilized when the researchers do not clearly understand the problem in the situation. Our company clearly understands the problem we are facing so using an exploratory approach is not the correct research design. The other type of design, descriptive studies, is normally used when they need to find characteristics of a sample population. Our research problem just does not match with the objectives of a descriptive study research design. So to put it plainly, the causal study research design was just the best fit for what our company needs to figure out to become more successful. Next our company needs to determine which data collection instrument will be used in our study. We believe that a survey process of our customers would get the best sample size and reliable data for our causal study. After a certain trial period of our additional services has been established, we can target our sample of customers. To stay consistent with our research hypothesis, we would need to determine and target local residents for our sample. Our company would also need to provide an incentive program for participation in our survey process, in the form of some monetary value. To conduct a useful survey, the company would need to develop a new instrument that targets key data collection. Our survey would need to target key questions that relate to our research problem. Some examples of questions could be; "How do you feel about the additional services provided by our company?" Another one could be, "Do these additional services make you want to be a more frequent customer?" These types of questions will give our company good qualitative data that we can collect and analyze against our company’s quantitative data. Overall our research design of a causal nature that uses a survey as a data collection instrument is the best route for our company to solve our research problem. Part 3: Sampling and Analysis One of the simplest and easiest sampling types for this instance would be to utilize a population survey. Using this type of survey allows a company to target specific demographics, groups, or individuals of interest for the survey. One main part of this survey is the population values which is basically estimating specific characteristics of the population. We would establish an individual, a sampling unit in the target population, who fits the ideal model for the most desirable type of a customer. This one sample is a subset of the population selected for the study. It is preferable that the sample subject is one who is a regular customer of the C-store and then using their input to form a larger survey. But a well-defined public target population and sampling units must be identified before implementing the survey procedures. Another step in the process is called the sampling frame. This is how you select a sample according to the design and use it as sampling units of the population. A good way to accomplish this is have survey questioners outside of the C-store asking the local residents (IV) if they would be willing to answer some questions in regards to improving the services of the C-store to the community and then improving customer satisfaction (DV).

References Hair. (2013). Sampling: Theories, Designs, and Plans. Retrieved from http://answers.mheducation.com/marketing/marketing-research/sampling-theories-designs-and-plans

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