Chapter Summary

The research process, composed of seven phases and 17 elements or activities, was separated into shorter, more digestible chapters that follow the flow of preparing for research and conducting it. In this chapter, I covered collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data and writing the report. Chapter 9 deals exclusively with writing your report.

Collecting and processing the data includes editing, coding, building a data file, and performing data cleaning tasks. The systematic process of data collection, or gathering information on variables of interest, occurs in various settings ranging from small focus groups with a single facilitator to multinational organizations where many data collectors may be required. The scale of the project and resources determine your choice of the research method, and in turn, determine how the data are collected.

The analyzing phase of the research process model contains one element: analyzing and interpreting the data. This activity involves testing quantitative or qualitative data. Data analysis is the process of systematically using statistics or modeling techniques to explore the data through graphical illustration (EDA), descriptive summary statistics, and the analysis, testing, and evaluation of hypotheses. EDA is a way of thinking about the data where visualization of the data directs subsequent analysis. The measures of central tendency, variability, and shape of the distribution fall under the heading of descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics focus on the characteristics of the collected observations. A description or enumeration is the first step for researchers to take their data analysis from a data set to an understanding of a sample or (small) population under study.

Inferential statistics use data from a sample to make inferences, or estimates, about a population. They test hypotheses and derive inputs for decisions based on an analysis of available sampling data. A hypothesis is established, and it is rejected or fails to be rejected on these data alone. The researcher is responsible for reviewing

the statistical assumptions or requirements for the chosen hypothesis test and performing diagnostic checks on the data to assure the test’s appropriateness. Selecting a test is the result of guidance from statistics textbooks, decision tables, or decision trees. The sequence for statistical testing was presented with a commentary on each step.

The section “Selecting a Test” introduces Appendix D, which contains decision trees to help you find proper statistics for your study.

The writing phase of the model is the final phase and contains one activity: a brief overview of writing the written report. It is the culmination of the research process, and it addresses both business and academic report “outlines.” Your report represents your communication with a business or academic audience about the nature and importance of the problem, the sources you have discovered to enlighten its background through secondary data, its design, methods, and approach to collect primary data. It also includes the analysis, interpretation, and the conclusions or solutions found. Its completion is a creative contribution to academic knowledge or solving an applied business problem.

The writing phase of the research process introduces Chapter 9, which both illustrates and explains the write-up of your report in a step-by-step fashion.