This chapter presented good reasons for studying the various fields of business, including the diversity of disciplinary choices, career variety, and earnings potential. You saw the disparities between how students perceive their financial worth and why employers disagree—as it pertains to the learning outcomes of your curriculum and the knowledge and skills you obtain. Recent research from recruiters and employers revealed what skill sets they expect.
This chapter examined the ways to fast track your career and how research competence is a necessary part of that process. As to research skills, business research provides the knowledge and expertise needed to solve problems and meet challenges in daily decision-making. Those skills coincide with helping managers frame business problems, conduct the research, and communicate the findings. The skills also enable managers to assess the research contributions of other providers. I offered evidence of official recognition for research competence and its importance in attaining the highest level of business education, which in turn increases managerial skills and leads to career opportunities.
Other reasons to profit from research skills include the following: (1) Research-based information represents the pinnacle of support for decision-making. (2) Early-career employees may be called upon to do a study and present the findings to a high-level executive, and this opportunity may be career changing. (3) During your career, you may need to buy research services through outsourcing or evaluate research that was conducted internally by others. (4) Finally, you may seek a prestigious career as a research specialist in an organization or a position as a consultant.
A definition for business research was presented and the continuum from basic to applied business studies described.
In establishing a broad context for business research and your student project or managerial problem, I explored six different “purposes” of research including reporting, exploring, describing, explaining, predicting, and changing (action research).
Eight characteristics of good research, the pillars of your research knowledge and the basis for an excellent research report, are the standards by which to judge good research. They include ethical issues, the research purpose, design, procedures, data and instrumentation, findings, researcher qualifications, and outcomes. They exemplify the best qualities of basic scholarly research as well as carefully constructed applied business research.
In examining research orientations, you discovered that philosophical perspectives often prevail in determining the research strategy. Whereas the underlying philosophy that legitimizes a particular stance should be pragmatic, it often reflects the beliefs of researchers or the views of an academic discipline. This was illustrated with Exhibit 1.2, from the metaphor of the “Research Onion.”
A “Road Map” with waypoints showed critical events in the book’s content and, particularly, the activities along the route of the research process. It is intended to help you navigate this book.