State the purpose of the business research
“Exploration is particularly useful when researchers lack a clear idea of the problems they will meet during the study. Through exploration researchers develop concepts more clearly, establish priorities, develop operational definitions, and improve the final research design” (Cooper & Schindler, 2011). This can be applied to the Yahoo Consumer Direct case study and Books R Us because exploration or research is the key to discovering ways to improve the profitability of the companies. In the Yahoo Consumer Direct case study, Yahoo partnered up with ACNielsen’s Homescan to conduct research to determine the success of using banner advertisements in relation to clicking on the advertisement leading to a sale. Research through this partnership allowed them an opportunity to track the effectiveness of the ad targeting and the persuasiveness of the advertising.
This type of business research is something that Books R Us seems to be lacking. First Books R Us would need to develop a management question as to a dilemma that the company is facing. Then they need to conduct exploratory research by gathering information on the topic, identify information that should be gathered to formulate investigative questions, identify sources and questions that could be used as measurement questions and actual sample frames that might be used in the sample design.
Develop appropriate research questions and hypotheses
Based on the data from Yahoo Consumer Direct and Books R Us case studies, the main dilemma is how to improve profitability. The appropriate research questions and hypotheses will vary with each company. Yahoo Consumer Direct began their research regarding the effectiveness and persuasiveness of banner advertising (Cooper & Schindler, 2011). The null hypothesis was that banner advertisement was no longer useful. The alternate hypothesis was that it could still be effective and persuasive. Until the questions were asked and the survey completed, one would never know. The questions used in the testing included the participants’ remembrance of specific advertisements, brands used in the advertisements, and the periods they saw them. They were then asked which advertisements they preferred, specific brand names they saw, and whether they would buy the products.
Books R Us could do something similar, using banner advertisements on Yahoo, to gather the data they would need to increase sales. The questions could include if the participants had seen a specific book or author advertised. They could also be questioned about their preference of hardcopy or online reading. The questions that would be key are which advertisements captured their interest and attention and did it increase their interest in making a purchase. These exploratory questions will give the researchers a clearer understanding of what the consumers may want and what they might purchase.
The “research question is the most important aspect of a research project” (Farrugia, Petrisor, Farrokhyar, Forough, & Bhandari, 2010, p. 281). The objective and hypothesis must be focused and developed. The objective defines what the research is about and should be stated at the beginning. Objectives state exactly which outcome measures will be used and how the study will answer the questions. The hypothesis “is developed from the research question and then the main elements of the study – sampling, strategy, and intervention, comparison, and outcome variables” ((Farrugia, Petrisor, Farrokhyar, Forough, & Bhandari, 2010, p. 280).
Identify dependent and independent variables in business research
An independent variable, also known as the predictor variable, is manipulated by the researcher. The manipulation causes an effect on the dependent variable. The name is appropriate in that this variable stands alone and is not changed by other variables. The dependent variable, also known as the criterion variable, is measured, predicted, and monitored based on the independent variable applied. Again the name is appropriate in that this variable could change based on other factors or variables. Independent variables such as cold calls placed by the telemarketers at Books R Us or advertisements seen on yahoo web pages are independent variables of influencing product purchases. Radio and television commercials could be independent variables to the dependent variable of influencing product purchase as well (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 59).