The Use of Business and Mixed Methods Research


This paper is aimed at providing solutions to the problems that are discussed in two scholarly articles. At first, one should mention the study by O’Brien, Drinevich, Crook, and Armstrong (2010) who examine the value of research carried out in business schools. Secondly, it is important to consider the study by Muskat, Blackman, and Muskat (2012) who focus on the peculiarities of mixed methods research. These articles are supposed to discuss non-related topics. Nevertheless, the findings of the authors and the questions, which they raise, can have profound implications for many stakeholders. In particular, the proposed solutions can be useful for addressing many challenges faced by learners studying business administration.

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Business research

The value of research conducted in business schools has often been debated because it is often assumed that these activities do not bring any economic benefits to students. Yet, the study carried out by O’Brien et al. (2010) refutes this assumption. In particular, it shows that graduates from research-intensive schools normally earn higher salaries, especially in comparison with the students who were not actively engaged in research activities (O’Brien et al. 2010, p. 638). However, at the same time, the authors indicate that excessive research in the university can lead to a decrease in the future salary of a person (O’Brien et al. 2010). So, the relationship between these variables is not linear; more likely, it is curvilinear (O’Brien et al. 2010, p. 641). This result indicates that it is critical to maximizing the benefits of research carried out by business students. This is the main problem that should be addressed; otherwise, the value of such activities can be questioned.

To some degree, the phenomenon observed by these scholars can be explained by the fact that in many cases, research carried out by learners is not fully relevant to future professional activities. To some degree, this assumption is supported by various scholars, who argue that there is “the great divide” between the research activities of students and their business practices (Dostaler & Tomberlin, 2013, p. 115). Many of the topics that are examined by students in their academic works have already become irrelevant to the workplace duties of future business administrators (Dostaler & Tomberlin, 2013, p. 115). Furthermore, researchers note that it is vital to establish partnerships between business schools and various local businesses (Darabi & Clark, 2013). This is one of the strategies adopted by many universities. In this way, they can help students understand that their theoretical knowledge can be applied to everyday problems. Additionally, they can get better insight into the issues that are of foremost importance to entrepreneurs.

Overall, this problem can be effectively addressed if business students can research companies that may differ in terms of their size or profitability. This goal can be achieved in many ways. In particular, they should be able to carry out their studies while working in local businesses. In some cases, these companies can become the future employers of these students. This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about internships since they enable companies to select potential candidates. Apart from that, it is critical to organize workshops during which students will be able to interact with various entrepreneurs. This cooperation can help them better identify topics for their studies. Thus, one can argue that this problem can be addressed by the administrators of business schools who should pay more attention to various small as well as medium-sized businesses that can give students a better idea about the real-life challenges that should be examined in various academic works. Furthermore, they will be able to identify research problems that can lead to tangible benefits. For instance, one can speak about the reduction of turnover, minimization of operational costs, and increased sales rates (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 85). These are some of the main suggestions that can be offered.

Overall, these strategies can significantly increase the value of research carried out in business schools. In particular, this approach can enable students to anticipate the problems that they will encounter in the workplace. Furthermore, learners will see that their research activities are really meaningful. So, they will become more motivated to perform these tasks. Finally, their compensation is more likely to increase, and they can become more competitive in the labor market. These are the main aspects that can be distinguished.

The use of mixed methods research

The article written by Muskat et al. (2012) is aimed at examining the use of a mixed-methods approach in business research. In particular, the authors focus on the use of quantitative cross-impact analysis in order to elaborate the findings derived through interviews (Muskat et al., 2012). This approach was important for identifying the main themes that respondents discussed. To a great extent, this tool can help researchers reduce bias which can adversely affect the analysis of the textual evidence that they have collected. Overall, the authors discuss the circumstances when the use of mixed-method research can be justified. This is the main problem that can be distinguished. One can say that these questions have been of great interest to professionals representing various fields. For instance, this information can be of great value to business administrators. These professionals can examine different problems such as the relations between several dependent and independent variables. However, at the same time, they want to explore various issues that are relevant to workers, clients, suppliers, or frontline managers.

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Overall, scholars note that at first, it is important to focus on the degree to which the research questions are ambiguous (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 113). One should determine if there are clear dependent and independent variables. In some cases, one can distinguish them based on previous studies. However, in many cases, researchers need to identify these variables through the interview of various stakeholders. Under such circumstances, the use of a mixed-methods approach can be applied.

Apart from that, this approach can be suitable if it is possible to ask close-ended questions and open-ended questions (Heyvaert, Maes, & Onghena, 2013). In many cases, an open-ended question can clarify the responses of the participants. Additionally, they can be useful for examining the opinions of participants in greater detail. Finally, the use of this approach is quite justified at the time when one should analyze the data collected through interviews and observations (Muskat et al., 2012). These are some of the recommendations that are offered by scholars.

One can argue that the use of the model of the mixed method is of great benefit to people who want to conduct business research. For instance, they can adopt this approach while examining the opinions of customers. In particular, companies do it to identify the factors that can influence the purchasing decisions of clients. However, one should take several important precautions. In particular, one should select the proper sequences of methods. In some cases, quantitative and qualitative methods can be used simultaneously. In other cases, these procedures have to be completed by turns. This ordering is critical for ensuring the validity of results.

It should be noted that this research methodology has already been adopted in various fields of business research. For instance, one can speak about operations management, HR management, organizational behavior, and so forth. Admittedly, this field is dominated primarily by quantitative studies. Nevertheless, at the same time, researchers want to explore the issues that cannot be studied quantitatively. Very often, these questions are of great concern to various stakeholders such as employees or customers. Under such circumstances, mixed methods design is the most optimal approach. At the same time, this model can be critical for minimizing the role of bias, especially at the time, when it is necessary to analyze data gathered through interviews. So, one can argue that this technique has become very widespread. Moreover, the task of students is to get an in-depth insight into the use of this model.

Yet, one should keep in mind that mixed methods research does not give conclusive evidence. More likely, it is used to elaborate the findings that could be derived through qualitative studies. Furthermore, one should be able to reconcile the results obtained with the help of various data collection procedures; otherwise, researchers can reach conflicting conclusions. This is one of the main pitfalls that should be avoided. However, despite this limitation, the use of a mixed-methods approach remains a valid solution to many research questions examined by business professionals. These are the main arguments that can be advanced.

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Darabi, F., & Clark, M. (2013). Developing a General Analytical Inductive Qualitative Research Strategy to Investigate Business School – Industry Collaboration. Proceedings Of The European Conference On Research Methods For Business & Management Studies, 20(11), 108-117.

Dostaler, I., & Tomberlin, T. J. (2013). The Great Divide between Business School Research and Business Practice. Canadian Journal Of Higher Education, 43(1), 115-128.

Cooper, D., & Schindler, P. (2011). Business research methods. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Heyvaert, M., Maes, B., & Onghena, P. (2013). Mixed methods research synthesis: definition, framework, and potential. Quality & Quantity, 47(2), 659-676.

Muskat, M., Blackman, D., & Muskat, B. (2012). Mixed Methods: Combining Expert Interviews, Cross-Impact Analysis, and Scenario Development. Electronic Journal Of Business Research Methods, 10(1), 9-21.

O’Brien, J. P., Drinevich, P. L., Crook, T. R., & Armstrong, C. E. (2010). Does Business School Research Add Economic Value for Students? Academy Of Management Learning & Education, 9(4), 638-651.

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