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The Problem, Purpose and Research Question. The Research Question. Is the research problem in question form? How do first line manufacturing supervisors decide whether or not to participate in employee engagement programs?

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the research question
The Research Question

Is the research problem in question form?

  • How do first line manufacturing supervisors decide whether or not to participate in employee engagement programs?
  • To help think about the research question, consider subquestions (these do not go into the proposal, but rather serve as a resource for narrowing the research question). It could include:
  • What are the barriers to participation?
  • What are the facilitators for participation?
  • One central research question is all that is needed
the problem
The Problem

Practical Problems and Research Problems

The practical problem-research problem distinction is taken from Booth, W., Colomb, G., & Williams, J.(1995).The craft of research. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. It is highly recommended that you see this book.

research
Research

Starts with a problem or opportunity

a practical problem
A practical problem
  • A practical problem is the result of a condition or situation in the real world which exacts a cost that we do not want to pay (Booth et al., 1995). It is also practical in that it represents a concern of practitioners, e.g., managers, or from practice, e.g., management.
    • A practical problem is resolved by taking some action
practical problem an example
Practical Problem: An example

Condition

  • Few employees are participating in the employee engagement initiatives

Cost

  • Continued high levels of apathy
  • Low morale (employee survey says…)
  • Error rates at an increasingly high levels (x%)
  • Safety problems up by 50% over last year
  • Poor customer service (n complaints in the last 3 months); loss of business
what is your practical problem
What is your practical problem?
  • What is the condition or situation ?
  • What are the costs?

Integrate this into the problem statement.

a research problem
A research problem
  • A research problem is also the result of a condition or situation which exacts a cost
  • The condition, per Booth et al. (1995), is a lack of knowledge, a gap in the scholarly literature
  • This cost is that we cannot take action because we lack the knowledge necessary to discern what the right actions might be
    • The problem gets resolved by creating or discovering new knowledge (ARP contribution)
    • Practitioners can take this knowledge and apply it
research problem
Research Problem
  • It is not known (gap in the literature)... ___________________________________________________________________________.
  • Example: It is not known how employees decide whether or not to participate in employee engagement programs.
what is your research problem
What is your research problem?
  • My research problem:
      • It is not known…
  • Note that answering this question assumes that you are familiar with the literature on this topic area. In the ARP, you will be expected to describe the existing literature briefly in the background section of the ARP Proposal and more thoroughly in the Literature Review (602B).
  • For the purposes of this course, let’s assume there is a gap in the literature.
statement of the problem
Statement of the Problem

Should include:

  • A practical problem: Describe the condition or situation and the costs
  • A research problem: Name the gap in the literature and the costs of that gap

Note: solutions, alternatives, and how the proposed study is helpful is not needed in this section. Focus on the problem surrounding the topic

purpose of the study
Purpose of the Study

“Provides the major objective or intent or “road map” to the study” (Creswell, 2007, p. 103).

the purpose of the study
The Purpose of the Study
  • “The purpose of this ____________ (research type) study is to _____________ (understand? describe? develop? discover? determine) the_____________ (central phenomenon of the study) for_______________ (the participants) at________ (the site). At this stage in the research, the _____________ (central phenomenon) will be generally defined as__________ (a general definition of the central concept” (Creswell, 2007, p. 103-104).
  • Extend it to capture the essence of the point of the work product.
the purpose of the study an example
The Purpose of the Study: An Example

The purpose of this grounded theory (qualitative study) is to understand how employees decide to participate in employee engagement programs for first line supervisors at middle Georgia manufacturing plants. At this stage in the research, employee engagement will be generally defined as “an emergent and working condition as a positive cognitive, emotional and behavioral state directed toward organizational outcomes” (Shuck & Wollard, 2009).

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