Research for Business and Tourism Readings

Topic 2
Beginning Research
Research for Business and Tourism

Study Guide pp. 17-27
Textbook: Quinlan et al. (2015)
Business Research Methods. Chapters
2, 3 and 5 (We will come back to Ch 5
again next week
Reading 2.1: Leedy (2010)
Reading 2.2: Zikmund (2003)
Research as a process
The research process Quinlan et al. 2015, page 3.
The four frameworks approach
Model of the four frameworks. Quinlan et al. 2015, page 7.
Research Ideas
The key to developing an idea for a research project is to focus
on an area of interest to you.
Once you have decided on the area, you begin to develop your
idea(s) for your research project within that area;
You will find it easiest if you situate your project within your
discipline. If, for example, you are taking a major in Human
Resources Management (HRM), then your research project
could usefully undertaken on some aspect of HRM.

The 1st step: Developing a problem statement
When you have decided on the broad area within which you
want to situate your research,
when you have decided on the precise focus of your research,
… then you outline a simple problem statement, or research
question, which clearly expresses your idea for your research
Acts as the driving force for planning and undertaking the

The Problem Statement
Usually a 1 or 2 sentence statement that precisely outlines
what you are trying to
achieve in your research project
Every component identified so that a layperson can read it and
know exactly the nature of your study
Carefully worded to identify every component
Uses instruction words such as:
‘analyse’, ‘compare and contrast’, ‘investigate’, ‘identify’,
‘determine’, ‘describe’, ‘evaluate’, ‘examine’, ‘explain’
Usually takes a few attempts to get right
Expect your problem statement to be closely critiqued in your
nd assignment
Common words used in problem statements…
Analyse – to investigate the elements of the whole and try to
describe the
relationship between them
Compare – to examine the characteristics of objects in
question with a view to demonstrating their
similarities and
Contrast – to examine the characteristics of objects in question
for the purpose of demonstrating their
More definitions…
Describe – to give an account of the elements involved
Evaluate – to examine the various sides of a question and try to
reach a
critical judgment, e.g. about what is right or wrong
Examine – to act as a judge or critic or to review a given
Explain – to determine why or how a situation has occurred
There are subtle differences between each descriptor – so
choose yours carefully! Consult a dictionary if you are not

Example Problem Statement
The purpose of this study is to compare
and contrast types of event facilities
available in Northern NSW.
Can you spot any flaws?
Anything missing or ambiguous?

Some problems
Which types of event facilities? Does the researcher
intend to identify and examine
every type of event
facility in Northern NSW?
What is meant by Northern NSW?
What is an ‘event facility’?
What time-frame is involved?
Revised Statement
The purpose of this study is to compare and
contrast the types of conference room facilities
that cater for 25 to 500 delegates located in the
State electorate of Ballina as at December 2018
Northern NSW = State electorate of Ballina
Event facility = conference room facilities catering for 25-500 delegates
Time frame = As at December 2018
Editing your statement
Keep sentences short. Some problem statements will
require more than one sentence but each one should be
succinct. However, try not to exceed 2 sentences – keep
refining it.
Be critical: Does it say exactly what you intend to research?
Use a dictionary to find the exact word you need: can one
word replace a phrase somewhere?
Is your statement grammatically correct?
Examples of problem statements from recent grants
The project will identify the key urban
processes that are associated with gamblingrelated harm in Melbourne, Australia, between
1992 and 2018.
The purpose of the project is to determine
whether maths anxiety is associated with lower
maths performance for SCU MBA students in
the 2020 offering of [unit code].

Identify the sub-problems
The problem statement on its own does not help the researcher
plan and undertake the research
Sub problems breaks the problem statement down into
manageable parts
Sub-problems map the research – they identify the smaller
portions of your study
The sub-problems add up to the whole of the project
Most studies employ 2 – 6 sub
: any more than this is
too many

Each sub-problem is an independent, researchable unit
Make sure that each sub-problem is a genuine element of the
problem statement
If a sub-problem is not relevant to help solve the bigger problem
at hand, the ‘puzzle’ won’t fit
‘The Problem’
Sub-problem 1 Sub-problem 2 Sub-problem 3 Sub-problem 4
How do you find sub-problems?
Example Problem Statement:
The purpose of this study is determine
whether the influx of tourists to Byron Bay
over the
summer holiday period, December
2018 to February 2019,
is associated with a
higher crime rate than during the
, June to August 2018.
1. What were the tourist numbers in Byron Bay in the Dec 2018 to
Feb 2019
summer holiday period?
2. What were the
crime statistics for BB during the Dec 2018 to Feb
summer holiday period?
3. What were the
tourist numbers in BB for the winter period, June
to August 2018?
4. What were the
crime statistics for BB during the June to August
winter period?
5. How do the crime statistics for the
two periods compare?
The project will model four carbon emissions-reduction
scenarios for tourism aviation transportation in Australia and
determine their effect on tourism development.
Sub-problem 1: Define four emissions-reduction transport
Sub-problem 2: Model tourism transport according to each
Sub-problem 3: Determine the effect of each transport
scenario on tourism development.

The ‘scope’ of a project
The parameters of the project – usually conditions of the
research that
can be controlled by the researcher
Scope is defined in terms of:
Geographical scope
Temporal scope (timeframe)
Demographic scope (nature of the phenomenon)
Previous conference facility project example:
The purpose of this study is to compare and contrast
the types of conference room facilities that cater for
25 to 500 delegates, located in the State electorate
of Ballina
as at December 2018.
Geographic scope: State electorate of Ballina
Temporal (time) scope: As at December 2018
Demographic scope (who/what): Conference room facilities catering
for 25-500 delegates

The ‘significance’ of a project
Is a statement of why your study is needed
Should be pointed out to let the reader know that there is a
genuine need for the study to be undertaken
Not long – usually a paragraph is sufficient
Most academic studies are significant because they address
gap in the literature
Most industry/consultancy studies are significant because
they address
organisational problems
In a research proposal we include a statement of why a
project is significant

Example significance statement
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are extensively involved
in providing cash or in-kind sponsorship to sport events at the
regional level, and in many cases are the financial lifeblood for
many of these events.
However, to date little research has
been conducted into such agreements.
A better understanding
why SMEs are motivated to provide sponsorship to regional
sport tourism events
may enable event managers to more
effectively attract and maintain sponsorship funds for their
Further, examination of operational functions of
sponsorships events
may result in highlighting a need for
training materials and/or courses
for persons involved in the
management of sponsorships of regional sport tourism events.
Note: some references would be needed for claims made.

Low-emission tourism transportation example:
Aviation emissions have proven historically resistant to
. By providing a set of plans for a reduced emissions
tourist transport system and a detailed description of the
governance structures needed to achieve these plans, this
project would
position Australia as an international leader in the
field of aviation emissions reduction
. Its outcomes would provide
a clear framework for action for governments and civil society
tasked with reducing transport emissions.
Note: some references would be needed for claims made.

Theories are formal, testable explanations of some part of the
real (empirical) world. They are
generalisations and
that help us understand a complex reality.
Terminology related to theories and theory development
includes concepts, propositions, variables and hypotheses.

Concepts are abstract ideas
Concepts represent the building blocks that help us formulate
scientific research studies and describe the
phenomenon/phenomena to be studied.
We need to be aware of what the concepts are that we are
studying. Concepts form the basis of our conceptual
framework, which guides our
literature review (to develop the
theoretical framework),
research design and methods (i.e. the
methodological framework) and
data analysis (analytical

A Ladder of Abstraction for Concepts
Quinlan et al. 2015, page 76.
Concepts are Abstractions of Reality
Quinlan et al. 2015, page 76.
Some examples of concepts based on the above problem
tourists, tourism, transport, scenarios, emissions,
Australia, development
gambling, harm, space, urban
holiday, crime, season
conference, delegate
Propositions and hypotheses
Propositions link together concepts – abstract world
To test these propositions in the ‘real’ (empirical) world, we
need to turn concepts into variables and propositions into
We then need empirical data (facts) to test the hypotheses.
For example, our problem statement above on Byron Bay
suggests we predict a link between tourist numbers (concept
1) and the crime rate (concept 2). We can turn this into a
testable hypothesis.

Propositions and hypotheses
Not all research problems lend themselves to hypotheses.
Some research aims to explore and describe a particular
phenomenon in depth rather than test relationships. The
variables involved may not even be known.
For example, our problem statement above comparing and
contrasting types of conference room facilities. We may not
know what types we will find. This is more of a descriptive
study of the empirical world.

Turning concepts into variables
Concepts must be refined into measurable units, known as
‘Height’ is a concept – an idea expressed as a word
…but if we wanted to apply ‘height’ in an empirical
research context – we would have to
define it so it became
How would you define ‘height’?
A distance from top to bottom
How would you measure ‘height’ based on this definition?
E.g. in cm/m, inches/feet, depending on what you are
measuring the height of (person, mountain)
We will return to this in a later topic.
Topic 2 and Your Assignment 2
Background (250 words)
Set the scene and provide the context for the research
Why is the area or issue of general importance?
Significance (250 words)
Why is this study warranted; why it is important?
What will the study achieve that is of value?
May be justified by gaps or need in the academic literature
and/or in industry practice
Scope (150 words)
Geographical, temporal, and demographic limitations.
Problem statement and sub problems (150 words)

A problem statement is a concise statement of the purpose of
your study
Grammar and expression heavily scrutinised here
To find the sub problems you need to identify the
steps required
to fulfill your problem statement

• Use the guidelines we talked about today
• Use
instruction words like describe, examine, explore…
• Should reflect the
scope of the project as outlined before –
geographic, temporal, demographic
• Make sure that the sub problems are
relevant to solve the
overall ‘problem’
Topic 2 and Your Assignment 2
• Stick to the word limits for each section. Failure to do so (within
+10%) will result in a lower performance level in the rubric
being assigned that would otherwise be the case.
• The background and significance sections should be supported
by literature (
• The scope section may also need some literature support,
depending on the problem context. For example, our
conference room study scope could be supported by a reference
to the NSW Electoral Commission for the definition of Ballina
electorate boundaries.
Topic 2 and Your Assignment 2