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Subject code: BA5202

1. Donald R. Cooper, Pamela S. Schindler and J K Sharma, Business Research methods, 11th Edition, Tata
Mc Graw Hill, New Delhi, 2012.
2. Alan Bryman and Emma Bell, Business Research methods, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, New
Delhi, 2011.
3. Uma Sekaran and Roger Bougie, Research methods for Business, 5th Edition, Wiley India, New Delhi,
4. William G Zikmund, Barry J Babin, Jon C.Carr, Atanu Adhikari,Mitch Griffin, Business Research
methods, A South Asian Perspective, 8th Edition, Cengage Learning, New Delhi, 2012.
5. C.R.Kothari, Research Methodology – Methods and Techniques, New age international publishers, New


1.1 Business Research – Definition and Significance
1.2 Research Process
1.3 Types of Research:
1.3.1 Exploratory and causal Research
1.3.2 Theoretical and empirical Research
1.3.3 Cross –Sectional and time – series Research
1.4 Research questions / Problems
1.5 Research Objectives
1.6 Research Hypotheses
1.6.1 Characteristics
1.7 Research in an evolutionary perspective
1.8 Role of theory in research.

The word research is composed of two syllables “Re” and “Search”.

 “Re” is the prefix meaning ‘Again or over again or a new’ and
 “Search” is the latter meaning ‘to examine closely and carefully’ or ‘to test and try’.
 Together they form, a careful, systematic, patient study and investigation in some field of knowledge
undertaken to establish principles/ policies.

 Research refers to a search for knowledge.
 Research is an art of scientific investigation.

The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English lays down the meaning of research as, “a careful
investigation or inquiry specially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge”.


 Redman and Mory define research as a, “Systematized effort to gain new knowledge”.

 According to Clifford woody, research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating
hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organising and evaluating data; making deductions and
reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the
formulating hypothesis.
 According to Robert Ross, “research is essentially an investigation, a recording and an analysis of
evidence for the purpose of gaining knowledge.” It can generally be defined as a systematic method of
finding solutions to problems.

In short, the search for knowledge through objective and systematic method of finding solution to a problem
is research.

Features of Research
It means the discovery of new knowledge
Is essentially an investigation
Is related with the solution of a problem
It is based on observation or experimental evidences.
It demands accurate observation or experimentation.
In research, the researchers try to find out answers for unsolved questions
It should be carefully recorded and reported

The main aim of research is to find out the truth which is hidden and which has not been discovered as yet.
1. To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insights into it. (exploratory or formulative
research studies)
2. To describe accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or a group. (descriptive
3. To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated with something
else. (studies with this object known as diagnostic research)
4. To test a hypothesis of a causal relationship between variables. (such studies are known as hypothesis
testing research)

 Business research refers to systematic collection and analysis of data with the purpose of finding
answers to problems facing management.
 It can be carried out with the objective to explore, to describe or to diagnose a phenomenon.
 It involves establishing objectives and gathering relevant information to obtain the answer to a business
issue and it can be conducted to answer a business related question, such as: What is the target market of
my product?
 Business research can also be used to solve a business-related problem, such as determining how to
decrease the amount of excess inventory on hand.

According to a famous Hudson Maxim, “All progress is born of inquiry. Doubt is often better than
overconfidence, for it leads to inquiry, and inquiry leads to invention”. It brings out the significance of research,
increased amount of which makes the progress possible.
 Research inculcates (encourages) scientific and inductive thinking, and it promotes the development of
logical habits of thinking and organisation.
 Research, as an aid to economic policy, has gained added importance, both for the government and
 Research provides the basis for almost all government policies of our economic system.
 Research has its special significance in solving various operational and planning problems associated
with business and industry.
 Research is equally important to social scientists for analyzing the social relationships and seeking
explanations to various social problems.


1. The purpose of the research should be clearly defined and common concepts be used.
2. The research procedure used should be described in sufficient detail to permit another researcher to
repeat the research for further advancement, keeping the continuity of what has already been attained.
3. The procedural design of the research should be carefully planned to yield results that are as objective as


4. The researcher should report with complete frankness, flaws in procedural design and estimate their
effects upon the findings.
5. The analysis of data should be sufficiently adequate to reveal its significance and the methods of
analysis used should be appropriate. The validity and reliability of the data should be checked carefully.
6. Conclusions should be confined to those justified by the data of the research and limited to those for
which the data provide an adequate basis.
7. Greater confidence in research is warranted if the researcher is experienced, has a good reputation in
research and is a person of integrity.

In other words, we can state the qualities of a good research as under:

1. Good research is systematic:
 It means that research is structured with specified steps to be taken in a specified sequence in
accordance with the well defined set of rules.
 Systematic characteristic of the research does not rule out creative thinking but it certainly does
reject the use of guessing and intuition in arriving at conclusions.
2. Good research is logical:
 This implies that research is guided by the rules of logical reasoning and the logical process of
induction and deduction are of great value in carrying out research.
 Induction is the process of reasoning from a part to the whole whereas deduction is the process of
reasoning from some premise to a conclusion which follows from that very premise.
 In fact, logical reasoning makes research more meaningful in the context of decision making.
3. Good research is empirical:
 It implies that research is related basically to one or more aspects of a real situation and deals with
concrete data that provides a basis for external validity to research results.
4. Good research is replicable:
 This characteristic allows research results to be verified by replicating the study and thereby
building a sound basis for decisions.

Problems Encountered by Researchers in India

Researchers in India, particularly those engaged in empirical research, are facing several problems. Some of the
important problems are as follows:
1. The lack of a scientific training in the methodology of research is a great impediment for researchers in our
2. There is insufficient interaction between the university research departments on one side and business
establishments, government departments and research institutions on the other side.
3. Most of the business units in our country do not have the confidence that the material supplied by them to
researchers will not be misused and as such they are often reluctant in supplying the needed information to
4. Research studies overlapping one another are undertaken quite often for want of adequate information.
5. There does not exist a code of conduct for researchers and inter-university and interdepartmental rivalries are
also quite common.
6. Many researchers in our country also face the difficulty of adequate and timely secretarial assistance,
including computerial assistance.
7. Library management and functioning is not satisfactory at many places and much of the time and energy of
researchers are spent in tracing out the books, journals, reports, etc., rather than in tracing out relevant material
from them.


8. There is also the problem that many of our libraries are not able to get copies of old and new Acts/Rules,
reports and other government publications in time.
9. There is also the difficulty of timely availability of published data from various government and other
agencies doing this job in our country.
10. There may, at times, take place the problem of conceptualization and also problems relating to the process
of data collection and related things.

Research process consists of series of actions or steps necessary to effectively carry out research and the desired
sequencing of these steps. The chart shown in Figure given below well illustrates a research process.

A brief description of the research process is as follows

1. Formulating the research problem:
 Choosing a correct problem for study is the most important step in the entire research process.
 Initially the problem may be stated in a broad general way and then the ambiguities, if any, relating to
the problem be resolved.
 Then, the feasibility of a particular solution has to be considered before a working formulation of the
problem can be set up.
 The formulation of a general topic into a specific research problem, thus, constitutes the first step in a
scientific enquiry.
Essentially two steps are involved in formulating the research problem, viz., understanding the problem
thoroughly, and rephrasing the same into meaningful terms from an analytical point of view.

2. Extensive literature survey:

 Literature review is integral part of entire research process and makes valuable contribution to every
operational step.
 For this purpose, the abstracting and indexing journals and published or unpublished bibliographies are
the first place to go to.


 Academic journals, conference proceedings, government reports, books etc., must be tapped depending
on the nature of the problem.
 Reviewing literature can be time-consuming, daunting and frustrating, but is also rewarding. Its
functions are:
a. Bring clarity and focus to your research problem;
b. Improve your methodology;
c. Broaden your knowledge;
d. Contextualise your findings.
3. Development of working hypotheses:
 Working hypothesis is tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical
 Hypothesis should be very specific and limited to the piece of research in hand because it has to be
 The role of the hypothesis is to guide the researcher by delimiting the area of research and to keep him
on the right track. It sharpens his thinking and focuses attention on the more important facets of the
 It also indicates the type of data required and the type of methods of data analysis to be used.
 Thus, working hypotheses arise as a result of a-priori thinking about the subject, examination of the
available data and material including related studies and the counsel of experts and interested parties.
4. Preparing the research design:
 Research design is the conceptual structure within which research would be conducted.
 The function of research design is to provide for the collection of relevant information with minimal
expenditure of effort, time and money.
 The preparation of research design, appropriate for a particular research problem, involves the
consideration of the following :
(i) the means of obtaining the information;
(ii) the availability and skills of the researcher and his staff (if any);
(iii) explanation of the way in which selected means of obtaining information will be organised
and the reasoning leading to the selection;
(iv) the time available for research; and
(v) the cost factor relating to research, i.e., the finance available for the purpose.
5. Determining sample design:
 A Sample is a segment of the population selected to represent the population as a whole.
 The researcher must decide the way of selecting a sample or what is popularly known as the sample
 In other words, a sample design is a definite plan determined before any data are actually collected for
obtaining a sample from a given population.
 Thus, the plan to select 12 of a city’s 200 drugstores in a certain way constitutes a sample design.
 Samples can be either probability samples or non-probability samples. With probability samples each
element has a known probability of being included in the sample but the non-probability samples do not
allow the researcher to determine this probability.
 Probability samples are those based on simple random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified
sampling, cluster/area sampling whereas non-probability samples are those based on convenience
sampling, judgement sampling and quota sampling techniques.
6. Collecting the data:
 There are several ways of collecting the appropriate data which differ considerably in context of money
costs, time and other resources at the disposal of the researcher.
 While deciding about the method of data collection to be used for the study, the researcher should keep
in mind two types of data viz., primary and secondary.
 The primary data are those which are collected afresh and for the first time, and thus happen to
be original in character. (Observation, personal interview, telephonic interview, questionnaire &
schedule )
 The secondary data, on the other hand, are those which have already been collected by someone
else and which have already been passed through the statistical process.
 The researcher would have to decide which sort of data he would be using (thus collecting) for his study
and accordingly he will have to select one or the other method of data collection.
7. Execution of the project:
 Execution of the project is a very important step in the research process. If the execution of the project
proceeds on correct lines, the data to be collected would be adequate and dependable. The researcher
should see that the project is executed in a systematic manner and in time.
 If the survey is to be conducted by means of structured questionnaires, data can be readily machine-
processed. In such a situation, questions as well as the possible answers may be coded.
8. Analysis of data
 After the data have been collected, the researcher turns to the task of analysing them.
 The analysis of data requires a number of closely related operations such as establishment of categories, the
application of these categories to raw data through coding, tabulation and then drawing statistical
 Coding operation is usually done at this stage through which the categories of data are
transformed into symbols that may be tabulated and counted.
 Editing is the procedure that improves the quality of the data for coding.
 Tabulation is a part of the technical procedure wherein the classified data are put in the form of
 Analysis work after tabulation is generally based on the computation of various percentages,
coefficients, etc., by applying various well defined statistical formulae
9. Hypothesis-testing:
 After analysing the data as stated above, the researcher is in a position to test the hypotheses, if any, he
had formulated earlier.
 Various tests, such as Chi square test, t-test, F-test, have been used depending upon the nature and
object of research inquiry.
 Hypothesis-testing will result in either accepting the hypothesis or in rejecting it.
10. Generalisations and interpretation:
 If a hypothesis is tested and upheld several times, it may be possible for the researcher to arrive at
generalisation, i.e., to build a theory. As a matter of fact, the real value of research lies in its ability to
arrive at certain generalisations.
 If the researcher had no hypothesis to start with, he might seek to explain his findings on the basis of
some theory. It is known as interpretation. The process of interpretation may quite often trigger off new
questions which in turn may lead to further researches.

11. Preparation of the report or the thesis: Finally, the researcher has to prepare the report of what has been
done by him. Writing of report must be done with great care keeping in view the following:
1. The layout of the report should be as follows:
 In its preliminary pages the report should carry title and date followed by acknowledgements and
foreword. Then there should be a table of contents followed by a list of tables and list of graphs and
charts, if any, given in the report.
 The main text of the report should have the following parts:
(a) Introduction: It should contain a clear statement of the objective of the research and an
explanation of the methodology adopted in accomplishing the research. The scope of the
study along with various limitations should as well be stated in this part.
(b) Summary of findings: After introduction there would appear a statement of findings and
recommendations in non-technical language. If the findings are extensive, they should be
(c) Main report: The main body of the report should be presented in logical sequence and
broken-down into readily identifiable sections.
(d) Conclusion: Towards the end of the main text, researcher should again put down the
results of his research clearly and precisely. In fact, it is the final summing up.
 At the end of the report, appendices should be enlisted in respect of all technical data. Bibliography,
i.e., list of books, journals, reports, etc., consulted, should also be given in the end. Index should also
be given specially in a published research report.
2. Report should be written in a concise and objective style in simple language avoiding vague expressions
such as ‘it seems,’ ‘there may be’, and the like.
3. Charts and illustrations in the main report should be used only if they present the information more
clearly and forcibly.
4. Calculated ‘confidence limits’ must be mentioned and the various constraints experienced in conducting
research operations may as well be stated.

Research may be broadly classified as (1) Fundamental and Applied Research (2) Descriptive and Analytical
Research or (3) Quantitative and Qualitative Research or (4) Conceptual and Empirical Research

Fundamental (or Basic) and Applied Research

Fundamental research is mainly concerned with generalization with the formulation of a theory. It is a
research concerning principles or laws or rules. It aims at the achievement of knowledge and truth. Research
studies concentrating on some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics are examples of
fundamental research. It aims at some theoretical conclusions. It may verify the old theory or establish a new
one. It tries to explain the cause and effect relationship in social phenomena. It is essentially positive and not
normative. That is, it explains the phenomena as they are and not as they should be.
Applied research is concerned with the solution of particular problems. It aims at finding a solution for
an immediate problem facing a society or an industrial organization. It is empirical and practical. It is concerned
with applied aspects of life. Research to identify social, economic or political trends that may affect a particular
institution or the marketing research are examples of applied research.

Descriptive Research and Analytical Research

Descriptive research includes survey and fact finding enquiries of different kinds. It describes the state
of affairs as it exists at present. The researcher has no control over the variables. He can only report what has
happened or what is happening.
In Analytical research one has to use facts or information already available and analyse these to make a
critical evaluation of the material.

Quantitative Research and Qualitative Research

Quantitative research is applicable to phenomena that are measurable so that they can be expressed in
terms of quantity.
Qualitative research is concerned with qualitative phenomenon. Research designed to find out how
people feel or what they think about a particular subject is a qualitative research. Qualitative research is
especially important in the behavioural sciences where the aim is to discover underlying motives of human

Conceptual Research and Empirical Research

Conceptual research is that related to some abstract ideas or theory. It is generally used by philosophers
and thinkers to develop new concepts or to interpret existing ones.
Empirical research relies on experience or observation alone. It is data based research coming up with
conclusions capable of being verified by observation or experiment. It can be experiment research. In empirical
research, the researcher has to first set up a hypothesis or guess as to the probable results. He then works out to
get enough facts to prove or disprove his hypothesis.
Empirical studies have a great potential for they lead to inductions and deductions. Thus research
enables one to develop theories and principles and to arrive at generalizations. As research is based on
observations and empirical evidences it improves knowledge and understanding as well as decision making
skill and ability.


 Problem means a question or an issue to be examined

A research problem refers to an unanswered question that a researcher might encounter in the context of
either a theoretical or practical situation, which he/she would like to answer or find a solution to.

A research problem refers to some kind of problem which a researcher experiences or observes in the
context of either a theoretical or practical situation. The researcher has to find out suitable course of action
by which the objective can be attained optimally in the context of given environment.


For an effective formulation of the problem following aspects of the problem are to be considered by the
• Definition of the problem:
Before one takes up a problem for the study one needs to define it properly. The issues for inquiry are to
be identified clearly and specified in details. If any existing theoretical framework is tested, the particular
theorem or theories must be identified.
Similarly if there are any assumptions made and terms used the meaning of them must be made clear. As far as
possible the statement of the problem should not give any scope for ambiguity.
• Scope of the problem:
The research scholar has to fix up the four walls of the study. The researcher must identify which of the
aspects he is trying to prove.
Taking the example of sickness he should specify.
(1) Whether his study extends to all types of small scale industries, or limited to only few of them.
(2) Whether the study is limited to find cause for sickness or also to prescribe certain prescriptions etc.
• Justification of the problem:
Many a time research studies are put to the test of justification or relevance. In the scientific curiosity of
the problems, the problem that needs urgent solution must be given preference.


• Feasibility of the problem:
Although a problem needs urgent attention and is justifiable in several respects, one has to consider the
feasibility of the same. Feasibility means the possibility of conducting the study successfully. The elements of
time, data, Cost is to be taken into consideration before a topic is selected for study.
• Originality of the problem:
In social sciences, particularly in commerce and management, there is no systematic compilation of the
works already done or on hand. Two people may be doing a work more or less on similar topic. In such
situations it is not advisable to continue work in the same manner. What is advisable is that, each of them
should try to focus on different aspects, so that they could enrich the field of knowledge with their studies.
Another problem faced by a researcher is that a problem which he intends to do is already worked out.
Should he repeat the same or not? This depends upon the situation or circumstances which engage his attention.

Defining and Formulating a Research Problem

A research is to be defined along with the bounds in which it is to be studied. Therefore defining a
problem involves the task of laying down boundaries within which a researcher shall study the problem with a
predetermined objective in view. Defining a research problem and clearly is a crucial part of a research study
and must in no case be accomplished hurriedly.


(1) Stating the problem in a general way: -
 The researcher should state the problem in general terms, keeping in view either some practical concern
or some scientific or intellectual interest. Often the guides put forth the problem in general terms and
researcher narrows down the problem and phrase the problem in operational terms.
 The problem stated generally may contain various ambiguities which must be resolved by proper
thinking and rethinking over the problem.
 There are two ways of stating a problem by way of posing questions and by way of making statements.
 In social research, it is considered advisable to do some field observation and as such the researcher may
undertake some sort of preliminary survey or what is often called pilot survey. Then the researcher can
himself state the problem or he can seek the guidance of the guide or the subject expert in
accomplishing this task.
(2) Understanding the nature of the problem:
 For understanding the nature of the problem in a better way, the researcher has to hold discussions with
those who have Knowledge of the problem.
(3) Surveying the available literature:
 This is necessary because only through such a survey, a researcher can understand the relevant theories,
reports etc. studies on related problems are useful for knowing the type of difficulties that may
encounter in the present study.
(4) Developing the ideas through discussions:
 A researcher must discuss his problem with his colleagues and those who have enough experience in the
same area or in working on similar problems. People with experience can enlighten the researcher on
various aspects of his study.
(5) Rephrasing the research problem:
 A researcher must rephrase the research problems into a working proposition. The researcher puts the
research problem in as specific terms as possible so that it may become operationally viable and may
help in the development of working hypothesis.


Characteristics of good research problem
 Clear and unambiguous
 Logical and systematic
 Empirical
 Relation between variables
 Verifiable
 Interesting


Hypothesis Definition
“Hypothesis may be defined as a proposition or a set of propositions set forth as an explanation for the
occurrence of some specified group of phenomena either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide
some investigation in the light of established facts” (Kothari, 1988).

Hypothesis Meaning
Hypothesis is a tentative statement showing the relationship between two or more variables, the reliability and
validity of which is to be tested and verified. It expresses the nature and degree of relationship between
variables. Hypotheses are -
• Assumptions
• Tentative statements
• Propositions
• Answering the questions
• Proposed solution to a problem
• Statements which are to be tested
• To be accepted or rejected
• To be verified empirically on the basis of sample
Why Hypothesis
• Gives the direction of research
• Specifies the sources of data
• Determines the data needs
• Type of research
• Appropriate techniques of research
• Contributes to the development of theory
Role of Hypothesis
• It guides the direction of the study
• It identifies facts that are relevant and those that are not
• It suggests which form of research design is likely to be most appropriate
• It provides a frame work for organising the conclusions that result

Research Hypothesis
A research hypothesis is quite often a predictive statement, which is capable of being tested using scientific
methods that involve an independent and some dependent variables.
For instance, the following statements may be considered:
i. “Students who take tuitions perform better than the others who do not receive tuitions” or,
ii. “The female students perform as well as the male students”.27


These two statements are hypotheses that can be objectively verified and tested. Thus, they indicate that a
hypothesis states what one is looking for. Besides, it is a proposition that can be put to test in order to examine
its validity.

Characteristics of Hypothesis:
A hypothesis should have the following characteristic features:-
i. A hypothesis must be precise and clear. If it is not precise and clear, then the inferences drawn on its basis
would not be reliable.
ii. A hypothesis must be capable of being put to test. Quite often, the research programmes fail owing to its
incapability of being subject to testing for validity. Therefore, some prior study may be conducted by the
researcher in order to make a hypothesis testable. A hypothesis “is tested if other deductions can be made
from it, which in turn can be confirmed or disproved by observation” (Kothari, 1988).
iii. A hypothesis must state relationship between two variables, in the case of relational hypotheses.
iv. A hypothesis must be specific and limited in scope. This is because a simpler hypothesis generally would be
easier to test for the researcher. And therefore, he/she must formulate such hypotheses.
v. As far as possible, a hypothesis must be stated in the simplest language, so as to make it understood by all
concerned. However, it should be noted that simplicity of a hypothesis is not related to its significance.
vi. A hypothesis must be consistent and derived from the most known facts. In other words, it should be
consistent with a substantial body of established facts. That is, it must be in the form of a statement which
is most likely to occur.
vii. A hypothesis must be amenable to testing within a stipulated or reasonable period of time. No matter how
excellent a hypothesis, a researcher should not use it if it cannot be tested within a given period of time, as no
one can afford to spend a life-time on collecting data to test it.

Different Types of Hypothesis

Descriptive Hypothesis – Describing the characteristics of a variable (may be an object, person, organisation,
event, and situation)
• Eg. Employment opportunity of commerce graduates is more than the arts students.
Relational Hypothesis – Establishes relationship between two variables. It may be positive, negative or nil
• Eg. High income leads to high savings
Causal Hypothesis – The change in one variable leads to change in another variable i.e. Dependent and
independent variables, one variable is a cause and the other one is the effect
Statistical Hypothesis – association or difference between two variables are hypothesized
Null Hypothesis – it points out there is no difference between two populations in respect of same property.
Alternative Hypothesis- when we reject the null hypothesis, we accept another hypothesis known as alternate


1. Theory narrows the range of facts to be studied
2. Theory provides a conceptual framework for a study
3. Summarizes concisely what is already known about the object of study.
4. Theory states a general uniformity beyond the immediate observations.
5. Theoretical generalization can be used to predict further facts.


General Principles Regarding the Use of Theory in Research
1. Knowledge of the existing theory in one’s area of research is essential for conducting research.
2. Concepts are crucial components of theory and so their clear definitions are essential to the designing of the
3. One should view theory as hypothetical proposition and not as conclusive fact.
4. One should pay attention to all odd and puzzling unexpected observations in one’s research and enquire into
them. They may be a source for new theoretical approaches.
Methods of Formation of Theory
Deduction: It is one of the important methods employed in theory building. It is a process of drawing
generalizations, through a process of reasoning on the basis of certain assumptions which are either self evident
or based on observation. By deduction, is meant reasoning or inference from the general to particular or from
the universal to the individual.
Eg., All men are mortal (Major Premise)
A is a man (Minor premise)
Therefore A is mortal (Conclusion)
The conclusion follows from the two premises logically. Therefore it is valid. The deduction is the logical
conclusion obtained by deducting it from the statements, called premise of the argument. The argument is so
constructed that if the premises are true, conclusion must also be true. The logical deduction derives only
conclusions from given premises and it cannot affirm the truth of given statements. It serves in connecting
different truths and thus logical derivation is not a means to find ultimate truth.
Induction: It is the process of reasoning from a part to the whole, from particular to general or from the
individual to the universal. It gives rise to empirical generalizations. It is a passage from observed to
unobserved. It involves two processes namely observation and generalization.
Induction may be regarded as a method by means of which material truth of the premises is established.
Generating ideas from empirical observation is the process of induction. As a matter of fact, concepts can be
generated from experience which justifies the description of particular situations towards theory- building. It is
generally observed that experience is regarded as a sum of individual observations held together by the loose tie
of association and constantly extended by the idea of inductive inferences.
It is generally stated that knowledge is based on the foundations of particular facts. In empirical
sciences, we start from the consideration of a single case, go on to prove many cases.
Consider the following illustration.
“I saw a raven in black colour. Other revens seen by me were also black in colour”.
“All ravens are therefore black”.
Inductive method is classified into two types- enumerative induction and analytical induction.
Retroduction: It is a technique of successive approximation by which, the concepts and assumptions of
theories are brought into closer alignment with relevant evidence. At the same time it maintains the logical
consistency required of deductive systems.
The purpose of theory is to systematize the data of every experience. The three methods deduction induction
and retroduction based on the relationships among the observed data, concepts and theoretical assumptions are
adopted for generating theory.
A concept symbolizes a phenomenon and helps to communicate its finding. For instance labour is a concept.
Concepts are logical constructs created from sense impression or complex experiences. It symbolizes the
empirical relationship and phenomena which are indicated by facts.
Thus, concepts and facts are not the same. A fact is a logical construct of concepts. The process of
conceptualization arises out of abstraction and generalization of sense impression.


Types of concepts
On the basis of origin, concepts may be classified into two categories:
1) Postulational Concepts: It has meaning only with reference to some deductively postulated theory. Its
meaning will be different when it will be used in some other context or theories. For instance, the concept
‘function’ has one meaning in Economics and another meaning in Physics.
2) Intuitive Concepts: It has a particular meaning. The meaning is never changed by the people who use it.
This type of concept denotes something, which is immediately understood. For example, ‘black’ as a colour, its
meaning is abstracted from a wider and empirical context.
Intuitive concepts are divided into two forms (a) those by sensation and (b) those by introspection. Similarly,
Postulational concepts are divided into (a)those by imagination and (b)those by intellection. However, for the
matter of social science research, such classification does not convey any special significance.
Requisites of a concept
 In every field of study, concepts are used to convey special meaning.
 Concepts should be precise, comprehensive and clear. There should be no misunderstanding about them.
 Concepts must not have multiple meaning. It is possible that different terms may refer to the same
phenomenon; and there may be danger of overlapping of meaning.
 Concepts should be well understood. A concept may have a very complex series of references. Ultimately
there may be an empirical reference. If one empirical reference is not immediate then the concepts will less well
be understood.
How to use concepts
In research, the proper concept has to be carefully chosen and its usage should be explained thoroughly. The
meaning of a concept does not remain fixed all the time. The meaning of the concept is modified with the
accumulation of knowledge. In course of time, some concepts may become outmoded and irrelevant, and
therefore, they are to be discarded.
Theory is a statement of the meaningful relation between concepts. Therefore the first stage in the development
of a theory is concept formation. A scientific theory is a statement of a specific type of invariance in the
conceptual representation of a phenomenon. Therefore, the choice we make in the representation of
phenomenon is a critical step in the development of scientific theory.
Theory implies an explanatory relationship. The development and validity of a theory is dependent on the
conceptual apparatus used. Concepts are the medium of scientific explanations.
Conceptual definition and theory formulation are two major requirements of unified process of scientific
explanation. Formulation of concepts is therefore a major step of one unified process of complex scientific
inquiry towards theory building.