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Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University – The objective of the course is to acquaint the students with the process and techniques of conducting research. The course is expected to train the students to plan and execute the research studies in business.

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University contains following topics

Unit II: Problem Specification: Management problem specification, Formulating research problem, Developing research proposal – research objectives, research hypotheses, information needs; Determining research design: Explorative research – major techniques and their evaluation; Descriptive researches – case study, survey method and observation method; Causal research – major experimental designs and their evaluation; Reliability validity in experimentation; Quantitative vs qualitative research.

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University – Problem specification involves exercising moral imagination to specify the socio-technical system (including the stakeholders) that will influence and will be influenced by the decision we are about to make. Stating the problem clearly and concisely is essential to design problems; getting the problem right helps structure and channel the process of designing and implementing the solution. There is no algorithm available to crank out effective problem specification. Instead, we offer a series of guidelines or rules of thumb to get you started in a process that is accomplished by the skillful exercise of moral imagination.

Different Ways of Specifying the Problem

  • Many problems can be specified as disagreements. For example, you disagree with your supervisor over the safety of the manufacturing environment. Disagreements over facts can be resolved by gathering more information. Disagreements over concepts (you and your supervisor have different ideas of what safety means) require working toward a common definition.
  • Other problems involve conflicting values. You advocate installing pollution control technology because you value environmental quality and safety. Your supervisor resists this course of action because she values maintaining a solid profit margin. This is a conflict between a moral value (safety and environmental quality) and a nonmoral value (solid profits). Moral values can also conflict with one another in a given situation. Using John Doe lawsuits to force Internet Service Providers to reveal the real identities of defamers certainly protects the privacy and reputations of potential targets of defamation. But it also places restrictions on legitimate free speech by making it possible for powerful wrongdoers to intimidate those who would publicize their wrongdoing. Here the moral values of privacy and free speech are in conflict. Value conflicts can be addressed by harmonizing the conflicting values, compromising on conflicting values by partially realizing them, or setting one value aside while realizing the other (=value trade offs).
  • If you specify your problem as a disagreement, you need to describe the facts or concepts about which there is disagreement.
  • If you specify your problem as a conflict, you need to describe the values that conflict in the situation.
  • One useful way of specifying a problem is to carry out a stakeholder analysis. A stakeholder is any group or individual that has a vital interest at risk in the situation. Stakeholder interests frequently come into conflict and solving these conflicts requires developing strategies to reconcile and realize the conflicting stakes.
  • Another way of identifying and specifying problems is to carry out a socio-technical analysis. Socio-technical systems (STS) embody values. Problems can be anticipated and prevented by specifying possible value conflicts. Integrating a new technology, procedure, or policy into a socio-technical system can create three kinds of problem. (1) Conflict between values in the technology and those in the STS. For example, when an attempt is made to integrate an information system into the STS of a small business, the values present in an information system can conflict with those in the socio-technical system. (Workers may feel that the new information system invades their privacy.) (2) Amplification of existing value conflicts in the STS. The introduction of a new technology may magnify an existing value conflict. Digitalizing textbooks may undermine copyrights because digital media is easy to copy and disseminate on the Internet. (3) Harmful consequences. Introducing something new into a socio-technical system may set in motion a chain of events that will eventually harm stakeholders in the socio-technical system. For example, giving laptop computers to public school students may produce long term environmental harm when careless disposal of spent laptops releases toxic materials into the environment.
  • The following table helps summarize some of these problem categories and then outlines generic solutions.

Problem Type


Solution Outline



Type and mode of gathering information


Concept in dispute and method for agreeing on its definition


Moral vs. Moral

Value Integrative

Partially Value Integrative

Trade Off

Non-moral vs. moral

Non-moral vs. non-moral



Strategy for maintaining integrity

Strategy for restoring justice

Value integrative, design strategy

Social Justice

Value Realization

Intermediate Moral Value

Public Welfare, Faithful Agency, Professional Integrity, Peer Collegiality

Realizing Value

Removing value conflicts

Prioritizing values for trade offs

Determining the Research Design

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University – The research design is the methodology and procedure a researcher follows to answer their sociological question.

A research design encompasses the methodology and procedure employed to conduct scientific research. Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methods of obtaining knowledge.

The design of a study defines the study type, research question and hypotheses, independent and dependent variables, and data collection methods . There are many ways to classify research designs, but some examples include descriptive (case studies, surveys), correlational (observational study), semi-experimental (field experiment), experimental (with random assignment), review, and meta-analytic, among others. Another distinction can be made between quantitative methods and qualitative methods.

Business research Scientific method

Quantitative Methods

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University – Quantitative methods are generally useful when a researcher seeks to study large-scale patterns of behavior, while qualitative methods are often more effective when dealing with interactions and relationships in detail . Quantitative methods of sociological research approach social phenomena from the perspective that they can be measured and quantified. For instance, socio-economic status (often referred to by sociologists as SES) can be divided into different groups such as working-class, middle-class, and wealthy, and can be measured using any of a number of variables, such as income and educational attainment.

Qualitative Methods

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University – Qualitative methods are often used to develop a deeper understanding of a particular phenomenon. They also often deliberately give up on quantity, which is necessary for statistical analysis, in order to reach a greater depth in analysis of the phenomenon being studied. While quantitative methods involve experiments, surveys, secondary data analysis, and statistical analysis, qualitatively oriented sociologists tend to employ different methods of data collection and hypothesis testing, including participant observation, interviews, focus groups, content analysis, and historical comparison .

Exploratory Research Definition, Methods

Exploratory research (or ER) is an examination into a subject in an attempt to gain further insight. With ER, a researcher starts with a general idea and uses research as a tool to identify issues that could be the focus of future research.

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University – There are several methods that are used in exploratory research. Researchers may use primary or secondary research, or a combination of both types of research.

Primary research is data that someone collects personally, usually from a group of people gathered specifically for the study. Primary research is collected through the use of interviews, focus groups, customer surveys, or any way that organizations are able to obtain feedback. For instance, social media and blogs are a great way for business owners to obtain customer feedback.

Secondary research is the analysis and synthesis of primary research that was compiled at a previous date. Secondary research can be gathered from marketing research data, magazines, old reports, or any other source where relevant information has been stored.

Causal Research: Identifying Relationships and Making Business Decisions through Experimentation

What is Causal Research, and Why is it Important?

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University – Causal research falls under the category of conclusive research, because of its attempt to reveal a cause and effect relationship between two variables. Like descriptive research, this form of research attempts to prove an idea put forward by an individual or organization. However, it significantly differs on both its methods and its purpose. Where descriptive research is broad in scope, attempting to better define any opinion, attitude, or behaviour held by a particular group, causal research will have only two objectives:

  1. Understanding which variables are the cause, and which variables are the effect. For example, let’s say a city council wanted to reduce car accidents on their streets. They might find through preliminary descriptive and exploratory research that both accidents and road rage have been steadily increasing over the past 5 years. Instead of automatically assuming that road rage is the cause of these accidents, it would be important to measure whether the opposite could be true. Maybe road rage increases in light of more accidents due to lane closures and increased traffic. It could also be the case of the old adage ‘correlation does not guarantee causation.’ Maybe both are increasing due to another reason like construction, lack of proper traffic controls, or an influx of new drivers.
  2. Determining the nature of the relationship between the causal variables and the effect predicted. Continuing with our example, let’s say the city council proved that road rage had an increasing effect on the number of car accidents in the area. The causal research could be used for two things. First measuring the significance of the effect, like quantifying the percentage increase in accidents that can be contributed by road rage. Second, observing how the relationship between the variables works (ie: enraged drivers are prone to accelerating dangerously or taking more risks, resulting in more accidents).

Unit II Problem Specification for Business Research Mcom sem 4 Delhi University

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