Research is critical for business development, and as such, managers have robust business research skills. Some critical parts of business research include a research question and a hypothesis. A research question expresses the researcher’s objective in the form of a question, which the researcher attempts to answer in the research process (Zikmund et al., 2010). A research question’s expected results are expressed through a hypothesis, which is a logical prediction of certain occurrences without empirical evidence. It is a prediction that a researcher presumes a relationship between dependent and independent variables and attempts to nullify the prediction throughout the research.
A research question is a tool for a business researcher to identify and solve a relevant business research problem. Some research questions can complicate the research process and limit the researcher from finding significant results (Snyder, 2019). Researchers use the PICOC framework to develop a relevant and appropriate research question. PICOC is a mnemonic for Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, and Context. The five components make up a good research question that guides a researcher in addressing all parts of a research problem.
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For instance, a firm may want to research the impacts of bonuses on millennials by asking, “Do millennials (P) receiving bonuses (I) more than other generation employees (C) perform better (O) in social enterprises (C)? Notably, possible outcomes for the question are predicted by a hypothesis (Zikmund et al., 2010). In turn, a hypothesis makes the researchers’ expectations apparent and enables them to critique the data collected (Tully, 2014). As such, a hypothesis provides the meaningful constrictions in making a “go or no go” managerial decision. It is therefore declarative and specific. A sample hypothesis for the question stated above would be “bonuses increase millennial employees’ performance in social enterprise.”
Snyder, H. (2019). Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines. Journal Of Business Research, 104(039), 333-339. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.07.039
Tully, M. (2014). Research: Articulating Questions, Generating Hypotheses, and Choosing Study Designs. The Canadian Journal Of Hospital Pharmacy, 67(1). https://doi.org/10.4212/cjhp.v67i1.1320
Zikmund, W., Carr, J., & Griffin, M. (2010). Business research methods (8th ed.). South-Western Cengage Learning.