Organizing a quantitative research study

When organizing a quantitative research study, as a quick check, ask the following questions
1. What is your hypothesis (your research question)?
2. What is already known about the problem (literature review)?
3. What sort of design is best suited to studying your hypothesis? (method)
4. What data will you collect to test your hypothesis? (sample)
5. How will you analyse these data? (data analysis)
6. What will you do with the results of the study? (communication)
These questions are broken down in more detail below. (These are mostly taken from Rubin et al. (1990), and have also appeared in Balnaves and Caputi (2001).)
_ What is the goal of the research?
_ What is the problem, issue, or critical focus to be researched?
_ What are the important terms? What do they mean?
_ What is the significance of the problem?
_ Do you want to test a theory?
_ Do you want to extend a theory?
_ Do you want to test competing theories?
_ Do you want to test a method?
_ Do you want to replicate a previous study?
_ Do you want to correct previous research that was conducted in an inadequate manner?
_ Do you want to resolve inconsistent results from earlier studies?
_ Do you want to solve a practical problem?
_ Do you want to add to the body of knowledge in another manner?
Review of literature
_ What does previous research reveal about the problem?
_ What is the theoretical framework for the investigation?
_ Are there complementary or competing theoretical frameworks?
_ What are the hypotheses and research questions that have emerged from the literature review?
_ What methods or techniques will be used to collect the data? (This holds for applied and non-applied research)
_ What procedures will be used to apply the methods or techniques?
_ What are the limitations of these methods?
_ What factors will affect the study’s internal and external validity?
_ Will any ethical principles be jeopardized?
_ Who (what) will provide (constitute) the data for the research?
_ What is the population being studied?
_ Who will be the participants for the research?
_ What sampling technique will be used?
_ What materials and information are necessary to conduct the research?
_ How will they be obtained?
_ What special problems can be anticipated in acquiring needed materials and information?
_ What are the limitations in the availability and reporting of materials and information?
Data analysis
_ How will data be analysed?
_ What statistics will be used?
_ What criteria will be used to determine whether hypotheses are supported?
_ What was discovered (about the goal, data, method, and data analysis) as a result of doing preliminary work (if conducted)?
_ How will the final research report be organised? (Outline)
_ What sources have you examined thus far that pertain to your study? (Reference list)
_ What additional information does the reader need?
_ What time frame (deadlines) have you established for collecting, analysing and presenting data? (Timetable)

Some quantitative research designs
_ Case study: questionnaire, interview, observation. Best for exploratory work and hypothesis generation. Limited quantitative analysis possible.
_ Survey: questionnaire, interview, observation. Best if sample is random.
_ Experiment: questionnaire, interview, observation. Best for demonstrating causality.

Cross-sectional vs longitudinal analysis
All designs can be either cross-sectional or longitudinal.
_ Cross-sectional design involves data collection for one time only.
_ Longitudinal design involves successive data collection over a period of time. Necessary if you want to study changes over time.

Case study designs
_ involves intense involvement with a few cases rather than limited involvement with many cases
_ can’t generalize results easily
_ useful in exploring ideas and generating hypotheses

Survey designs
_ Most popular in business/management research
_ useful when you cannot control the things you want to study
_ difficult to get random and representative samples

Experimental designs
_ requires control group to allow for the placebo effect
_ requires the experimenter to control all variables other than the variable of interest
_ requires randomization to groups
_ allows causation to be tested

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News you can use
- TS College Tours Offers Exclusive Service to International Students
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For more information on application procedures, deadlines and program details visit:

9th Annual International Conference on Management, 4-7 July 2011, Athens, Greece

Deadline to submit an abstract (2nd Call): 14th of March 2011 (Decisions are reached in less than 4 weeks after the abstract submission)

Deadline to register with a paper presentation: Please see your acceptance letter sent to you after submitting the abstract.

Deadline to register without a presentation: One month before the conference subject to approval.

Deadline to submit full papers for accepted abstracts: 4th of June 2011.

Conference Venue: TBA 1-2 Weeks before the conference (Please click here)

Abstract and Paper Acceptance Policy (Please click here)

Paper Guidelines (Please click here)

Conference Hotel (Please click here)

Contact Person: Dr. Sharon Bolton, Head, Management Research Unit, ATINER & Professor, University of Strathclyde, U.K.

Organizing and Academic Committee: Academic members of the Management Research Unit and the members of the Academic Committee of the Institute.

How to write strcutured abstracts

Structured abstracts

Emerald introduced structured abstracts to all journals in 2005. This development was undertaken as part of the strategy of continuous improvement in the delivery and dissemination of papers. Use of structured abstracts ensures that better information is supplied and that there is more consistency across the journals and database. Ultimately, readers and researchers searching the database are more likely to access the paper when the abstract provides useful information. In the past, author-written abstracts were very variable both in terms of content and quality. Structured abstracts ensure we no longer have this problem. 

In an electronic environment, abstracts are more important that they have ever been. Sometimes this “snippet” is the only thing a reader or researcher will see and it is the one chance we have of persuading them to download the full text of the paper.

Structured abstracts act like signposts, they provide:

  1. Consistency and clarity.
  2. Much easier evaluation of abstracts when confronted with a list of them.
  3. Speed to any literature search – saves time therefore.
  4. A format where it is easy to isolate sections and therefore read about the key elements of a paper.
  5. A unique approach which sets Emerald abstracts apart from others.
  6. Real support when seeking academic support materials depending on the identified needs e.g. research papers employing particular types of research methods.
  7. Useful information in libraries – identifying texts for library users or directing them to Emerald.
  8. More efficient evaluation of papers at the abstract level.
  9. Transparency of the valuable content of the database acting as a clearer shop window.
  10. Ease of reading.
  11. Particular benefits for practitioners – being able to select quickly those papers with explicit practical implications.
  12. Benefits for researchers – being able to select quickly those papers that may help them design their own research agenda and see what has already been done.
  13. A major benefit in that one can pick out quickly the new angle/value of a paper.
  14. Best practice from the medical and scientific fields but adapted for our readers' and researchers' needs within the management and business field.
  15. A clear framework for extracting, summarising and emphasising pertinent information for people in management.
  16. Encouragement and a requirement for authors and researchers to provide stronger links between research and practice – something that both government and other funding bodies support. 

Structured abstracts will help the Editor in their preliminary review of a paper and will certainly help the journal reviewers get an overview of a paper even before conducting the review.

How to write a structured abstract

Paper type

Please choose a category for your paper. Pick the category which most closely describes your paper. We understand that some papers can fit into more than one category but it is necessary to assign your paper to one of the categories - these are listed and will be searchable within the database. 

  • Research paper: This category covers papers which report on any type of research undertaken by the author(s). The research may involve the construction or testing of a model or framework, action research, testing of data, market research or surveys, empirical, scientific or clinical research. 
  • Viewpoint: Any paper, where content is dependent on the author's opinion and interpretation, should be included in this category; this also includes journalistic pieces.
  • Technical paper: Describes and evaluates technical products, processes or services. 
  • Conceptual paper : These papers will not be based on research but will develop and test hypotheses. The papers are likely to be discursive and will cover philosophical discussions and comparative studies of others' work and thinking.
  • Case study: Case studies describe actual interventions or experiences within organizations. They may well be subjective and will not generally report on research. A description of a legal case or a hypothetical case study used as a teaching exercise would also fit into this category.
  • Literature review: It is expected that all types of paper cite any relevant literature so this category should only be used if the main purpose of the paper is to annotate and/or critique the literature in a particular subject area. It may be a selective bibliography providing advice on information sources or it may be comprehensive in that the paper's aim is to cover the main contributors to the development of a topic and explore their different views.
  • General review: This category covers those papers which provide an overview or historical examination of some concept, technique or phenomena. The papers are likely to be more descriptive or instructional ("how to" papers) than discursive. 
Selecting keywords

Supply up to six keywords for tagging the paper when archived in the database. Researchers will be more likely to retrieve the paper when conducting a keyword search of our database if your paper is suitably tagged. In the near future the controlled list of keywords will appear on the Emerald website and will form part of the new online content management system so it will be easier then to find the suitable terms but in the meantime pick keywords which reflect the specificity of the paper. Avoid overarching terms like "Management" unless the paper discusses the topic with such a wide focus. Use the most common term for a concept. Do not make up new terms for an old concept. Try to think broadly; if the paper discusses performance appraisal in an electronics factory it may be worthwhile supplying the industry as a keyword. If an activity/research takes place in a particular country then supply the country's name as a keyword. 

Writing the abstract

To produce a structured abstract for the journal and Emerald database, please complete the following fields about your paper. There are four fields which are obligatory (Purpose, Design, Findings and Value); the other two (Research limitations/implications and Practical implications) may be omitted if they are not applicable to your paper. 

Abstracts should contain no more than 250 words.
Write concisely and clearly. The abstract should reflect only what appears in the original paper. 

Purpose of this paper
What are the reason(s) for writing the paper or the aims of the research?  
How are the objectives achieved? Include the main method(s) used for the research. What is the approach to the topic and what is the theoretical or subject scope of the paper?
What was found in the course of the work? This will refer to analysis, discussion, or results.
Research limitations/implications (if applicable)
If research is reported on in the paper this section must be completed and should include suggestions for future research and any identified limitations in the research process.
Practical implications
(if applicable)
What outcomes and implications for practice, applications and consequences are identified? Not all papers will have practical implications but most will. What changes to practice should be made as a result of this research/paper?
What is original/value of paper
What is new in the paper? State the value of the paper and to whom.

A sample structured abstract

Title: Internal brand building and structuration: the role of leadership

Author(s): Christine Vallaster, Leslie de Chernatony

Journal: European Journal of Marketing

Year: 2006 Volume: 40 Issue: 7/8 Page: - 784

Purpose The paper aims to clarify the relationship between organisational structures and individual brand supporting behaviour. It proposes modelling the social transformation process and outlining why and how leadership is important throughout the internal brand building process. The study aims to expand the domain of corporate branding by including a broader range of human resource and leadership-related aspects than is normally found in the branding literature.

Design/methodology/approach The paper opted for an exploratory study using the open-ended approach of grounded theory, including 30 depth interviews and one expert group discussion with employees representing middle and senior management having mainly a marketing and corporate communications background. The data were complemented by documentary analysis, including brand documents, descriptions of internal processes, and copies of employee magazine articles.

Findings The paper provides empirical insights about how change is brought about during internal brand building. It suggests that successful leaders act as “integrating forces” on two levels: integrating the elements of corporate identity structures, and mediating between the corporate branding structures and the individual.

Research limitations/implications Because of the chosen research approach, the research results may lack generalisability. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to test the proposed propositions further.

Practical implications The paper includes implications for the development of a powerful brand image, the development of “brand ambassadors” and for managing the balance between stability and change.

Originality/value This paper fulfils an identified need to study how brand-supportive behaviour can be enabled.

Keywords: Brand management, Corporate branding, Leadership, Social change

Article Type: Research paper