How to Do Research for the Award of a PhD Degree in Management Studies?

The main goals of the Ph.D. research

The evaluators examine the certain important results of the research for Ph.D.

(a) The main goal of efforts for Ph.D. Award should be the creation of new knowledge.

(b) Findings should be useful to industry or the academic community.

(c) It should bridge the gap between current knowledge and required knowledge.

(d) It should dispel suspicions or find answers to important questions that have been on the minds of practitioners and academics for some time. These questions are called “dilemmas” or “hypotheses”.

What cannot be described as “research for a doctorate”:

1. Gathering material from various sources and writing a voluminous book does not qualify for the designation Ph.D. Research’. PhD Research is not about writing a book.

2. Writing a dissertation based on a few books or a few newspaper articles or websites is not a Ph.D. Research.

3. Promotion is not a survey with a few questions (like: are you married? how many children do you have? how long have you been working? what soap do you prefer?) or some kind of form-filling feedback. Research should use standard instruments (also called measures, scales, standard scales, and published scales).

How to Research for a Ph.D. in Management Studies?

1. The researcher must conduct a comprehensive literature review; He needs to download up to 500 research articles from online libraries like Ebscohost, Emeraldinsight, Proquest, Jostor, etc. The main purpose of the literature review is: Identifying research gaps. That means you need to understand where the existing research left off or what remains unexplored. The gap found in this way can be converted into hypotheses.

2. Hypotheses – Framing (formulating hypotheses or identifying hypotheses) is the most critical part of research. Hypotheses are the research questions or dilemmas faced by the academic community, waiting to be solved by a scientist like you.

3. A hypothesis looks like a question. For example: “Are women happier with their jobs than men?” is a hypothesis. This is only an example. (This may have already been solved by a research scientist like you.) Ideally, a Ph.D. The dissertation should include the resolution of the 10-50 most critical and interesting hypotheses.

4. The literature search shows you which hypotheses have already been solved and which you do not need to solve again. Literature does not mean everything you find in newspapers, magazines, websites, textbooks, etc. Literature should primarily include the articles that have been prepared on the basis of empirical research. Empirical research is based on experiments, observations and data collected using scientifically designed research tools. Research articles can be found in scholarly journals, especially online journals maintained by online libraries such as emeraldinsight, jstor, proquest, ebscohost, etc.

5. A carefully conducted literature search provides the researcher with an adequate background of his research for a logical documentation. The background presented in the work explains how the topic or research question has developed or how it has been understood so far, where it stands now and what the researcher will do with it.

6. Literature research results in: (1) research questions/hypotheses, (2) rationale for the study/research topic.

7. It goes without saying that the research topic should only be identified after extensive literature research. It is quite sad that universities themselves ask for research topics and hypotheses at the time of applying for enrollment (at a time when the candidate has not even read a single research article). Ideally, universities should have identified research questions/hypotheses; but that’s never the case with our universities over here.

8. When researching the literature, the important findings should be noted. These notes are the body of the work under headings such as: Introduction, Background, Literature Review, etc. All referenced articles should be properly listed under References. There should be cross-links between the articles listed in the bibliography and the text of the work. What you write down in the main text is called an “in-text citation”. That is, if you have something in the bibliography, it should appear in the main text. Quotations in the text look like this (for example): (Meesala, 2011). This should be expanded in the reference list. The manner in which these references are notated is called “academic referencing style”, “academic format”, “academic style”, etc.

9. The style of referencing follows a specific order by noting author names, year of publication, etc. and also punctuation. Read the information by googling it. There are many academic formats like Harvard style, APA style, MLA style, CMS style, etc.

10. Citation for your thesis is very easy if you are familiar with using “References” in MS Word 2007.

What to do after identifying hypotheses?

If no hypotheses are identified, there is no research at all. Research on management problems is about dissolving the hypotheses, mind you, not about writing books. The research design follows the formulation of the hypothesis. Research design is about determining how the data (primary data) must be collected and analyzed.

When hypotheses are uniquely identified, the constructs are uniquely identified and available in your hands. (Examples of constructs include: Personality Type, Job Satisfaction, Commitment, Commitment, and Innovative Behavior). In your research based on your hypotheses, you may have to deal with 15 to 20 constructs. For each construct there is a specific, standardized, published instrument (also called “questionnaire”, “measure” or “scale”). A tool is a set of questions whose reliability and validity are already established. Visit this page for some scales. This is an e-manual of management scales.

You can find many marketing scales in one book if you belong to a large library like the Indian School of Business. Search Google for “marketing scales”.

What to do if no ready-made research scales can be found in the published journals/books?

It is not possible to find a scale for every construct related to your research.

The scale must be built by yourself.

The process is: (1) Have a meeting with some experts and with their help generate as many statements as possible about this particular construct. Delete all duplicates. Conduct a pilot survey with the remaining items. Perform item analysis by arranging all responses to an item in ascending order and finding t-statistics for two sets of extreme responses. If the t-score is 1.75 or more, the item is good and can be retained. Then find out Cronbach’s alpha for all items in the construct. If Cronbach’s alpha is greater than 0.60, the construct is reliable. Reliability means that the items (statements in the questions) are well correlated. It is the average of the item-to-item correlations. In addition, the researcher must compile the Content Validity Index. If the index is greater than 4.00, the scale can be considered a valid scale. Search Google for the Content Validity Index.

It should be noted with caution that the questionnaire should refer to hypotheses, but not to questions that would occur to an innocent researcher.

The instrument should of course contain a section with questions about the profile of the respondents, such as age, gender, income, length of service, etc. The data on these items can later be checked for their association with other constructs.

Determining the sample size

Sample means the number of respondents from whom to take the answers to the questionnaires (how many respondents to manage the questionnaires with).

The sample size should be large enough. The number can range from 200 to 1000. Only a large sample is valid and valuable. Research conducted on a large sample deserves only the respect of academics and the research scholar community.

The sample size is determined by the population size, the expected standard deviation, and the confidence interval. There are formulas for sample determination. They are: Cocheran’s formula and Slovin’s formula. To learn more about them, search these terms with Google and use the formulas.

An important point to keep in mind is that the validity of your research is enhanced by random sampling, but not by convenience selection of respondents.

Tabulation and Analysis

All collected responses should be entered into an Excel spreadsheet. A line should be reserved for entering the data provided in a questionnaire. For 500 completed questionnaires, 500 lines should be allocated. Data entered into Excel spreadsheets can be easily imported into SPSS for analysis.

Tabulation of the data is facilitated by using MS Excel. For high-quality analysis, use SPSS (Statistical Procedures for Social Sciences). Alternatively, Data Analysis Tool Pack can be used in MS Excel even without SPSS software. With its help, descriptive statics, regression analyses, intercorrelations, Anova tests, etc. can be carried out.


Skills in writing paragraphs, creating the table of contents, and creating thesis statements, embedding/transitional sentences, embedding words, topic sentences, etc. are essential for report writing. In particular, the English language should be idiomatically and grammatically correct.

Thanks to Dr. Appalayya Meesala

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