- Sources and Types of Research Problems
- Sources And Kinds Of Problems
- Sources And Kinds Of Problems 2
- Applying theories
- Theories 2
- How To Distinguish A Good Topic From A Bad One
- Feasible methodology
Site-based-management theory: Site-based-management theory: A graduate student in the field of administration has become especially interested in the presently popular leadership theory that organizations should be flattened, shared decision making should be adopted, and power should be decentralized. The student has informally observed several organizations in which such site-based-management (SGM) theory has been applied; and she recognizes that, instead of reducing the power of the officially appointed head of the organization, the plan gives the head even more power. For example, the chief executive officer (CEO) can use site-basedmanagement advisory committees as scapegoats who are blamed when things go wrong in the organization. The CEO can also use consultation with advisory committees as a means of delaying the decision-making process. At the same time, all documents released by the CEO and the advisors laud site-basedmanagement theory, avoiding any mention of the theory's shortcomings. It is also apparent that such documents can function as historical revisionism, enabling CEOs and their close associates to remap the administrative territory in a way that serves their political interests. Consequently, the student decides that this contrast between site-based-management theory and its practice is a hot topic worthy of formal research.
Problems Encountered on the Job
Theses and dissertations are sometimes designed to solve problems met either in people's vocations or in their avocational pursuits. In the following discussion, the phrase on the job refers to either of these sources of research topics. The following examples illustrate a range of problems from on-the-job sources.
As a topic for her dissertation, a teacher on leave from an inner-city high school created a "next-step decision-making program" by which students who were doing poorly in school could follow a systematic plan for analyzing their difficulties and identifying (a) alternative next steps they might take and (b) the likely outcome of each alternative. Upon returning to her school for the upcoming academic year, the teacher intended to test the effectiveness of her model by trying out her scheme with failing students and, on the basis of the tryout, to evaluate and refine her program.
A political-science doctoral candidate, while serving as a volunteer in an election campaign for a state senator, planned to compare three methods of conducting preelection polls. The aim was to determine how accurately each method predicted the outcome of the coming election. His polling methods involved three different methods of choosing the sample of respondents who would be asked to tell for whom they planned to vote.
For his master-of-business-administration degree, an employee in a stock broker's office intended to analyze television advertisements sponsored by brokerage companies. His purpose was to learn (a) the kinds of investors at which different types of ads were aimed, (b) how ads sought to attract potential investors' attention, and (c) how the ads attempted to convince viewers that the company was trustworthy and efficient.