Category Archives: Research

Scientific Writing – How to Write the Cover Letter of a Scientific Research Paper

You would need to have interesting and new results to write about in order to publish a scientific research paper. However, this is not enough. You would have to write a convincing cover letter and address it to the editor of the journal to which you would be sending your article for publication.

Give a Good Introduction

Your cover letter should serve as an introduction to your scientific research paper. It is really important since it is the very first thing that the editor of the journal would go through. You should take time to carefully draft and present the research paper well. Then, based on the abstract of the write up and on the letter, the editor will determine whether your article is worth sending to peers for reviewing it scientifically. Make sure that the cover letter you write is not similar to the abstract. It should, however, sum up some of the main points from your article. The goal of each kind of write up is still totally different. In the abstract, you should concentrate on describing what has been done point to point.

Write a Second Cover Letter

The cover letter you are thinking of writing should have not only a good introduction, but also the kind of writing you intend to submit, contact information and the details of the research group, research institute, and all the authors, who have participated in your research paper, contact information of the different authors, details about the kind of research that is being carried on, reasons why the study is great, etc. If you are lucky, your paper will be sent to the peers of the editor for review. Then, the editor will get back to you with a detailed feedback. After that, you will have to edit your write up according to the feedback and send back your research paper with a second cover letter with the doubts of the reviewers addressed. Then, your research paper would be published.

Research Methodologies: An Essential Tool for Investigation

“Research” the name itself suggests that any result is concluded only after a thorough search and assuring the result through repetitive searches on any issue.  Research work is defined as writing a detailed description about any topic. It helps in building up the foundation of any dissertation and completes the study through factual analysis. Methodologies used here helps in finding out the logical and evaluative result of any study undertaken. The major ones are listed below –

  • Qualitative research –

o   This type of research is moreover based on the quality of the study.

o   Qualitative research is descriptive in nature.

o   Methodologies involved are – Interviews, case study, questionnaires, surveys and journals investigation.

  • Quantitative research –

o   It is logical approach of analyzing variables, numbers and hypothesis based research methodologies.

o   Preparing a list of questions on the basis of data’s, variables, hypothesis and its statistical calculation is a part of quantitative research.

o   Achieved result is compared with that of past data’s and changing trends are jotted down.

  • Regression analysis -

o   It is also known as correlation analysis and hence it is based on the bonding and strength of different data’s together undertaken in studies.

  • Quasi-Experiment –

o   Unlike regression analysis, quasi-experiment compares two different variables or groups on certain parameters like one are affected by external factors and other is not.

  • Experimental attempt –

o   Two groups are chosen by random selection of the sample.

o   One group is considered as experimental and other as controlled.

o   Experimental group undergoes all the investigations and study, but control is a silent group which never undergoes any investigation.

o   It helps in understanding the role and effect of testing on the group.

  • Meta-Analysis –

o   It helps in finding out the average of influence of hypothesis or studies commenced on the sample size.

  • Literature based, research –

o   Theoretical knowledge of the chosen topic helps in preparing a solid stuff on your own.

These were some essential tools for investigation.

Types of descriptive research designs

Designing a research project is an elaborate task, wherein you have to take into account several factors like the aim or objective of the study and subject domain. The main elements of a research design comprise the broad methodology, methods used for data collection and analysis and even style of presentation. When preparing your research design, you have to be very specific about all the elements. This requires that you get familiar with various types of design structures and methods that they use.

One of the most commonly used design structures is the descriptive style. As is understood by the name, the information considered for study, as well as the presentation of results will be descriptive in nature. These are mostly used for social science and humanities subjects, like management, psychology, education, anthropology, political science, languages, etc. Here we have listed the array of descriptive research designs:

• Case study: this approach is used to analyze a particular trend, event or condition. Here the researcher is supposed to narrow down a general subject of research and concentrate on a strategically chosen ‘case’ instead of randomly chosen participants. Case studies are a great way to develop a hypothesis.
• Observation based: this method of descriptive study is characterized by active participation of the researcher in the event of phenomenon that is being studied. The data collected through observation is descriptive and is in the form of notes, assimilated over a long duration, or recordings of behavior and communication of the group members. An essential factor to be remembered is that the researcher must not influence the behavior of the participants in any way.
• Survey: surveys are popular amongst management students, especially in the field of marketing. Even government authorities use surveys at the local as well as national level to accumulate important demographic information. These are easy to design and the cost involved varies according to the scale of research.

The presentation of results and conclusions in such studies is in narrative form and critical analysis of subjective information can be done.

Disadvantages of using statistical software tools

Every technology or a new invention has its own advantages and disadvantages. While advantages can be quickly understood and utilized, disadvantages cannot be found initially but can observed over a period of time. The same is with the software tools used for statistical analysis. Many of these tools are used by industry experts, academicians, researchers and students for research and analysis purposes. While many of the tools are accurate some tools might not produce accurate results. Also the decision of which tool to be used lies with the researchers and so every tool must be carefully selected. Some of the statistical tools require programming at basic levels or higher levels which every person might not be capable of. Other statistical tools which does not require coding has some limitations like model intervention which is limited. The main disadvantage of tools which use coding is that people require some time get trained and get expertise on the tool before using them.

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Documentation can be a real problem for some of these software’s and the graphical user interfaces (GUIs) is also complicated in some software tools. Although many tools have multivariate graphical methods some of the features are limited in this area. Some tools cannot read or accept data from other packages or tools. The spreadsheet presentation may not be good and easy as that of excel and so people have to limit the beauties’ of the presentation to some extent. In some tools sophisticated and high level statistical tests are limited and some even might not have them. Some statistical tools require high level hardware tools or latest computers and might be slow on old computers. Use of any statistical tool requires basic knowledge of the tool and in-depth knowledge why such a particular process or analysis is required and being used. Without proper knowledge of statistics, these tools might not be helpful for layman.

Role of online databases for research

Technology transition from print media to digital technology has been helping students, scholars and teachers for their research and teaching purposes. Online databases have been playing a vital role helping students preparing dissertations and thesis. Earlier it was a difficult task of obtaining information from various books and journal running around libraries. With many online databases available students can get even more information within few minutes saving a lot of time and money. Some of the databases are free for students while some of them are paid sources. Some databases encourage students to share information thereby providing needed information for students in exchange. A lot of information on technology, arts, humanities, science and medical related information can be obtained from these online databases. Also students must check the authenticity and relevant source of information to avoid plagiarism. Especially when students are faced with time shortage online databases can quickly help students retrieve information.

The one problem with these online databases is that most of the students have limited access to journals and articles. Many of the databases provide limited access for students with free subscription. So in one way they might provide very limited information. Also with online databases students can quickly check the formats and structure of dissertation or thesis if they do not have an idea about them earlier. Some of the databases also provide sample dissertations, thesis proposals, dissertation topics which will help students in starting their thesis work initially. Many universities also provide database access to their teaching staff to support their teaching, research and development. Some of the databases provide information in audio format but such databases are very few. Still there are many students yet to utilize the fruits of technology which will help them reduce the burden and utilize the resources properly.

ETHICS IN BUSINESS RESEARCH

What role does values play in the research process has become a topic of concern?

The following are the areas around which the ethical issues revolve:

How should the people be treated on whom the research is conducted? Should such activities be designed where the researcher should involve the respondents?

The role of professional associations comes in the foreplay like American Academy of Management (AOM) and the Market Research Society (MRS), having formulated on behalf of their members.

Statements of professional principles could be could be easily accessed from the internet. The way ethical issues have been dealt within the social sciences by Social Research Association (SRA), the British Sociological Association (BSA) and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Writers differ in their opinion about ethical concerns. The main points in the debate do not seem to get carry forward to a larger extent. The ethical issues that were raised during the 1960s continue even today. Extreme cases of individuals or organisations not going by ethical norms are associated with specific research methods lie disguised observation and also the use of deception in experiments. This implies that ethical concerns are contained in few methods and not others. It could be taken that other methods like overt ethnography and questionnaires are aloof from ethical problems

Getting the most from your reading

A great amount of time is devoted to reading lot of literature during the early stages of research work. Therefore, while reading the existing literature the researcher should try to do the following:

The researcher should try to take good notes including details of the material the researcher reads. It’s difficult to find that the researcher forgets to record the volume number of an article he/she has gone through and not included in the bibliography.

The researcher should try developing critical reading skills. While reviewing the literature the scholar should do more than simply summarise what has been read and should be critical in his approach. This involves moving beyond mere description and putting up questions about the importance of the work.

The literature review should be used as a means of showing why the research questions are important.

The researcher should keep in mind that he/she would want to return to a lot of literature that he has gone through while discussing his findings and conclusion.

The researcher should try not to bring in what all material has been raed through in literature review. The literature review should help in developing an argument rather than undermining the ability to get arguments across.

Once the literature review is done, the reading should not stop there. It should continue for further enrichment of work.

Implications of research in the 21st century and building competencies

The drastic changes in the global environment aggravated by technological advancements in collecting data, its analysis and dissemination suggest that researchers need to enlarge their scope of capabilities in order to design, implement and interpret research in the 21st century. Since research efforts have been aligned to match with markets of high potential, researchers also need to enhance their capabilities and skills to conduct and define and design research in these crucial environments. Novel tools comprising of latest technology needs to be mastered and approaches that are creative to comprehend behaviour in varying cultural contexts developed.

For research to be comprehensive and result oriented to meet competition and keep pace with dynamic technology, few areas should be worked upon to like:

  •       Innovation capacity
  •       Environmental sustainability
  •       Adaptability and responsiveness
  •       Financial results
  •       Human capital
  •       Organisation capital

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The ability to completely understand, interpret and integrate cultural complicated data from different sources and environments will also be significant so as to provide meaningful recommendations for the organisation’s global working strategy. Information needs have changed in both developing and developed countries. In industrialised countries established markets have become more geographically close as direct information flows and vertical links have been established between retailers, suppliers and customers. This has resulted into growing need to conduct research across national boundaries so as to recognise global or regional market segments. This could also be done to find out opportunities for integrating and for better coordination of strategies across the boundaries of the country. As business expands further and further cutting across national boundaries, the role of accurate, timely research in various fields becomes imperative.