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A Handbook_NRA - Extended

Published by Nik Mohd Hazrul Nik Hashim, 2021-12-02 09:29:07

Description: A Handbook_NRA - Extended


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Handbook on the Novel Research Approach ‒ Extended Version ‒ YOUR PATH to ACADEMIC SUCCESS A Hands-on Manual to Realistically Master 3 Years of PhD & Publication Knowledge in 3 DAYS Nik Mohd Hazrul Nik Hashim (PhD)

HANDBOOK on the NOVEL RESEARCH APPROACH ~ Streamlining the Research Process ~ Be in the Know * Push the Boundaries * Realize your Ambitions 2

Author’s Biography 3

Preface This handbook unveils how the whole research process, with its inherent complexities, can be simplified using the latest research method called the Novel Research Approach (NRA) — a breakthrough method that will profoundly shift the way you view and conduct research, creating superior outcomes and a brighter future for those who embrace it. This book provides the ultimate guide to “putting it all together” as it harmoniously binds research and publication knowledge at once through an innovatively-designed roadmap of activities that are easy to follow, even for a novice researcher. It aims to help postgraduate students and researchers on how to systematically and creatively strategize each stage of the research process while upholding academic rigor and quality. In due course, this book will empower you with the necessary skills and technical know-how to transform your research topic into a compelling research project for a doctoral thesis or journal paper. It also discloses the untold secrets of research, including insider’s tips for producing high-quality research. In short, the knowledge gained from this book can be used to (1) accelerate your PhD research journey with ease, and (2) help academics acquire multiple publications in a relatively short period of time. This handbook is the Gold Standard of its kind and a Must Have Book for doctoral candidates and scholars in virtually all academic disciplines across the social sciences, particularly those interested in quantitative methodologies and moderating effects. Note that this handbook is essentially designed to accompany the workshops handled by GradEx Academy. Therefore, to fully understand its content, enthusiastic readers are encouraged to participate in the Preview & Novel Research Workshops led by Dr. Nik himself. Alternatively, selected video recordings from previous NRA workshops will be made available for your convenience. I invite you to explore how this new method pushes the boundaries of academic research, and at the same time sharpen your research skills. ~ Sincerely, Dr. Nik Hazrul 4

Introduction Many people struggle with research not only because of its “twists and turns” but also because it requires the approval of others; mainly supervisors, panel examiners, and journal reviewers. Despite much effort spent on enriching the quality and depth of a scholarly write-up, more often than not, responses will normally tap on unforeseen deficiencies and competency of research. Consequently, a great deal of exciting research topics are crushed by deafening voices in thesis defense sessions or instantaneously rejected by journal reviewers. This is the problem that this book aims to address. This survival guidebook consists of seven chapters that are organized into three stages following the NRA process. Stage 1: Preview Section gives an overview of the typical academic research process and their likely shortcomings. It then introduces the basic concepts and principles that govern the NRA method, and reveals the greatest secrete to producing quality research. Stage 2: Applied Novel Research Section discusses the practical aspects of the research, including model and hypothesis development, variable selection, questionnaire design, data collection, literature review, and gap-theory-problem identification at one shot. All of these key elements of research are illustrated using rapid hands-on procedures that are both objective and timely in nature. Stage 3: Publication Section covers actual data analysis and interpretation, academic writing, and publishing your work. By completing the tasks in each chapter, you will end up with a viable research project that can be used for a doctoral thesis or publishing a journal paper. The materials are presented in a clear and simple manner, together with quick notes to engage readers from beginning to end. The goals of this book are threefold: (1) To assist postgrad students to speed up on their own research projects, either preparing a proposal for postgraduate studies, completing a thesis or journal write-up, or applying for a research grant. (2) To equip researchers with the latest research tools and techniques that will uplift their capabilities to undertake research independently. (3) To instill self-confidence among researchers to lead research projects within their field of interest, hence produce world-class performing researchers. This book provides a clear path to academic excellence and is ideal for individuals who are keen about research, particularly those who want to know HOW to produce exceptional research that will grab the attention of supervisors and reviewers. 5

Handbook Stage 1: Preview Section Sections • Introduction to Novel Research Approach • Understanding Moderators & Their Secrets Stage 2: Applied Novel Research Section • Assessing Models & Hypothesis Development • Designing Effective Questionnaires • The Role of Literature Review Stage 3: Publication Section • Data Analysis & Interpretation • Publishing Your Work 6

Table of Contents 009 027 062 114 CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 CHAPTER 4 Introduction to Novel Understanding Moderators Assessing Models & Designing Effective Research Approach & Their Secrets Hypothesis Development Questionnaires 156 177 207 CHAPTER 5 CHAPTER 6 CHAPTER 7 The Role of Literature Data Analysis & Publishing Your Review Interpretation Work 7

Key Topics  Discovering the Heart of Research – Covers all aspect of research  The Secret of Secrets in Research – Cake, Icing, Cherry?  Two-page PhD – No more beating around the bush!  Hypothesis Structures – Unfolding the standard practice  Critical Assessment of Models – Simple, average, sophisticated, and those to avoid  Designing your Research Framework and Hypotheses – Utilize your blueprints  Concerns with Moderators – How to overcome them?  Finding your Topic – How to do this in 30 minutes!  Variable selection Criteria – What to look for?  Finding your Measurements – Should you use existing ones?  Constructing your Questionnaire – Getting it right the first time  Confirming your Study – The 4+1 formula to ensure it works!  Is Literature Review Enough? – The 2 missing ingredients  Main, General, Overall Literature Review – Strategize your write-up  Synthesizing your Literature & Declare your Contribution – Past, present, future  Finding your Gaps, Theory, & Issue – All in just 1 simple Table!  Regression vs. PLS-SEM – When to use them?  Data Analysis and Interpretation – Let’s make hypothesis testing fun!  Writing and Publishing Your Work – Using a simple but comprehensive checklist  Responding to Reviewer Comments – The “easy-going” approach 8

Chapter 1 Introduction to Novel Research Approach Stage 1: Preview Section 9

The goal of this chapter is to discover the heart of research. Keep this in the back of your mind. “The Heart of Research” 10

Highlights of this Chapter  Academic Research Process (The challenges)  Novel Research Approach (Most simplified method)  The Heart of Research (Covers all aspect of research) 11

Process: Systematic & Detail Following a Series of Steps Research generally involves a • identifying the problem, LR, develop model, systematic process to gain new collect data, analyze data, interpret results, & knowledge and find answers to a report findings specific problem. It needs to be systematic or ordered in a certain Involves a Detailed Process way so that each task can be broken • each stage/step has to be managed properly to up into clear steps. produce good research & ensure credible results  Need proper research training and It is also detailed because each stage experience to produce quality research has to be managed properly to reach a viable conclusion. In a nut shell, studying for a PhD is a complex and involved process, and completing it is like taking part in an endurance race or marathon. Quality = Achieve the Standard + No Major Flaws 12

A Daunting Process Making a decision to pursue a PhD can be exciting, but a doctoral student will soon realize that it is a lonely journey. This can lead to feeling isolated and lack of motivation. The length and intensity of study may also lead to a plunge in confidence. This is commonly known as the ‘second-year blues’ or the ‘emotional roller-coaster ride’. Sometimes, the student is absolutely overwhelmed by the things that need to done and gets lost in the woods. If this happens, you are advised to take a short break and figure out your weakness. Apart from talking to your supervisor, you might need to seek help from other people such as your seniors and attend doctoral workshops to boost your research knowledge and confidence. 13

Research Process (Academic) 1. Research Proposal 3. Journal Paper 2. Research Thesis In addition to preparing a research proposal and writing a thesis, PhD students who enroll in today’s programs are required to publish their work in a reputable journal. Three years may seem like a long time to work on a single project, but the amount of work required at PhD level is substantial. Consequently, many students find themselves dragging on for many years, longer than expected. 14

A study by the Council of Graduate Schools involving 49,000 doctoral students found that completion rate remains low at 56.6%. This also means that after years of studying and money spent towards getting a PhD, 43.4% of doctoral candidates are not able to complete their studies. Another article published in Contemporary Educational Psychology revealed that research competence and student-supervisor relationship are the strongest distinguishers between completers and non-completers. The low completion rates in doctoral studies suggests inadequate training among PhD 15 students. Intervention is therefore needed to better equip students in their studies and intervention programs should be aimed at fostering students’ competency of research. While it is possible to complete a PhD in under three years, it is an achievement that is not often heard. When it occurs, the student will normally have extensive knowledge and experience in research before actually pursuing a PhD. In view of that, getting hold of this book will give you that extra edge you need.

In every thing you can imagine, The answer is YES… incredible things are waiting to be this book reveals HOW it can be discovered. Researchers normally done! I feel utterly delighted to share emphasize this when discovering new the method with you, not only because things or knowledge as a result of research. the academic world thought that it was But what about the research process itself, not possible, but more importantly to can there possibly be a new method that help PhD students streamline their challenges the conventional? research journey. 16

Introducing the Novel Research Approach (NRA); the latest technique for doing research that will enable you to master the essentials of high- quality scholarly research from literature review to data analysis no time. Novel Research Approach: The Origins • Created by Prof Bryan A. Lukas (Manchester Uni) • Improved and named it the Novel Research Approach by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nik Hazrul Nik Hashim • Has not been revealed to the public until now • Dr Nik has published >40 journals with students using this method Prof. Bryan Lukas managed to break the typical research pattern, creating novel ideas of how to competently carry out research without compromising quality. This knowledge was then passed down to Dr. Nik Hazrul in his 3-year PhD journey at the University of Melbourne. After making further improvements, Dr. Nik was given the ‘green light’ to reveal it to the public and named it the NRA due to its unique properties. A series of practical guidelines has been carefully devised to accelerate and simplify the research process, one that cuts across diverse topics and areas in the Social Sciences, particularly with a quantitative (survey) research design in mind. 17

The Key Principles Novel • Most simplified method to date (new-to-the-world) Research • Hands-on, easy, and fun (learning-by-doing) Approach • High quality research (1-tier journal standards) • Holistic research process (comprehensive) • The process is different (tackles main aspect early) • Compatible with normal research (final write-up is same) • Conduct an actual research in a group (teamwork) • Need experience to understand it (proper guidance) We take an entire new different approach to research training and development. Although 18 the method used is very unique or unusual, it is still compatible with typical research and supervision process. It is a hands-on approach that will inspire and enable you to understand the whole research process in just a few days. It aims to help postgraduate students and researchers on how to systematically and creatively strategize each stage of the research process while upholding academic rigor and quality.

Many PhD students who Task-based Learning bought this book have also attended • Specific task → participants present (group of 3s) the Preview & 3-day NRA Workshop • Trainer provides feedback and advise (guidance) to gain more in-depth insights and • Your participation is critical (teamwork) receive direct guidance on their Challenges… work… here’s how the workshop is • Many will say it’s impossible to learn in 3 days! conducted and the main challenges • Teaching this method to a large audience • Not easy to monitor all groups at once faced by the trainer. Focusing on HOW to do Research Regardless of whether you opt to sits for the NRA workshop or just want to follow through 19 the readings, you will experience a remarkable transformation within your self. I have helped hundreds of PhD students to complete their research and publish at the same time; evolving into world-class performing researchers. This innovatively-designed method will not only instantaneously uplift your confidence and motivation to do research, but more importantly, show you HOW to start research from scratch and win the hearts of your supervisors and examiners. It can also be used to transform your research topic at hand into a compelling research project for a doctoral thesis or journal paper.

So Lets Start! Hold on there, you need to adhere to these 4 Rules first… Rule of Thumb 1. You need to have an open mind Top Journal Publishers • trust your “supervisor” Springer, SAGE, Emerald, Elsevier, 2. Follow my instructions closely Routledge, and Taylor & Francis. • be patient and you will see how it works Note: Prioritize articles… focus on those indexed be Clarivate 3. Need full commitment to class and team Analytics & Scopus. • difficult to catch-up even if you miss one session 4. Refer to top ranked journals only • to avoid mistakes & ensure the quality of research Re-evaluating normal procedures is a good exercise for your If you already have brain. Breaking routines will also allow you to think and see the some experience and world from a different angle, hence is a powerful mechanism to knowledge of research, you are unlock great new ideas. advised to place them aside for a while… until you have This book breaks the chain in the research process so be ready completed reading this book. for new possibilities. The NRA will enable you to function with reinforced ability, but to understand and learn the method, you 20 have to be open to new ideas.

Review of the Research Process Questions 1) What are the key stages/steps of the research process? 2) Can you determine which stage should come first… & next? 3) What are the problems that students normally encounter throughout the process? Let’s begin with assessing the normal research process and finding out some of the main problems that reside in it. Those with past research experience should be able to answer these questions effortlessly. 21

1. IDENTIFY THE 2. ESTABLISH 3. CONDUCT 4. DETERMINE THE PROBLEM RESEARCH LITERATURE REVIEW THEORY(S) & (Motivation) OBJECTIVES VARIABLES (Target) (Gap in the Area) (Scope) 5. DEVELOP Review: CONCEPTUAL 6. INTRODUCE 7. DETERMINE 8. DATA Research HYPOTHESES RESEARCH DESIGN COLLECTION Process MODEL (Predictions) (Usable Data) (Framework) (Survey, Respondents) 9. ANALYZE DATA 10. DISCUSSION & 11. PRESENT IMPLICATIONS RESEARCH REPORT (Statistical Tests) (Practical Suggestions) (Communication Skills) As pointed out earlier, scientific research involves a 10 Major Problems with the NORMAL systematic process that focuses on being objective at Research Process… each stage. Researchers are advised to navigate through the various stages to effectively carry out scholarly  Excessive reading and literature search research. It is also an outline of your commitment for  Hard to find the issue and research gaps executing a research project.  Objectives still not that clear  Frequently changing topics and variables A close examination of the process indicate that each  Designing an exceptional conceptual model stage is dependent on the other, structured in a sequential  Not sure what and how to hypothesize manner. Similarly, the NRA also goes through a specific  Determining the right theory(s) process but takes an entirely different route to the typical  Uncertain of the methodology phases of research. But what is even more surprising; due  Developing a well-crafted questionnaire to the unique features that the NRA holds, the problems  Statistical analysis did not turn out well that researchers normally encounter (see the list beside) can be EASILY and QUICKLY resolved.  Time-consuming & always going back to the drawing board! 22

Important Question Look at the stages/steps in the research process. Can you pinpoint the…. “Heart of Research”? 23

Provides Direction for Your Research The • The hypotheses determine almost every aspect Research of the research (from research questions, Hypothesis! objectives, gap, LR, theory, methodology, questionnaire, to analysis!) • Does this mean you can SKIP problem identification, literature search, finding gaps in literature, topic, etc.? (Yes, I did it in my PhD!) • Focusing on your hypotheses will significantly minimize mistakes throughout the process “The Conceptual Model complements the set of hypotheses… illustrated in a Diagram.” The NRA method also goes through a system of interdependent-related stages, but the sequence in the NRA process helps to build the research at an astonishingly fast pace and avoids major flaws. It first tackles the main aspect of research – the research hypotheses & model – and then quickly progresses into the other stages of research. There are loads of surprises when it comes to research hypotheses; not only does it carry the primary goal and secret of research, it is also the determining factor to getting into the top journals. 24

A hypothesis is a formal Note: The NRA research process begins & ends with the research statement that predicts variable hypothesis. It is essentially the CORE relationships in a study… i.e., of the whole research procedure, hence is given the utmost importance. what the researcher thinks will happen. The With regard to the NRA research Research process, let me put it this way… Hypothesis! “Due to special traits associated with the Novel Research Approach, finding the research topic, gap, objectives, and literature review can be performed later in the research process. In fact, the questionnaire and analytical mock table are presented earlier to ascertain the feasibility of the study. It’s like finding the two main pieces of a jigsaw puzzle – the research hypotheses & model. Once you have them at hand, other components of the research will flow in smoothly!” 25

Task 1 The Novel Approach works best (15 minutes) with MODERATORS… Questions 1. What is a moderator variable? 2. Can you provide an example of a moderating relationship? To thoroughly understand this Chapter and We will briefly discuss these questions in the next chapter… know the answers for these questions, please refer to GradEx Academy’s website including why doctoral students and search for workshop Video should consider moderating Recordings: Number 1. effects. 26

Chapter 2 Understanding Moderators & Their Secrets Stage 1: Preview Section 27

“The Secret of Secrets in Research” This chapter will reveal the Ultimate Secret in research… the pre-requisite for getting into the top journals. Having this in your thesis will considerably uplift the quality of your research, and instinctively get your supervisor’s and examiner’s attention. 28

Highlights of this Chapter  Conceptual Design via Moderators (Essential element)  The Secret of Secrets in Research (Cake, icing, cherry)  The 2-page PhD (No more beating around the bush) 29

Let's Discuss Your Answers 1. What is a moderator variable? 2. Can you provide an example of a moderating relationship? 30

What is a Moderator Variable?  The relationship between X and Y depends on Z (i.e., the moderator variable) Please remember these terms… A large portion of existing 1. “Depends on” research focus on the link between 2. “Strengthen” or “Weaken” the independent variable (X) and the dependent variable (Y). Moderators Other terms used: offer more advanced research • conditional factor, contingency, environmental fit, designs and provide in-depth information for any given topic. secondary independent variable, subgroup variable, interaction, product terms A research framework that incorporates moderator variables It is possible that specific moderators may strengthen acknowledges the actual complexity (+ve) or weaken (-ve) the IV‒DV relationship. Without involved when examining the investigating moderating variables, these types of effects IV‒DV linkages, largely due to would not be noticeable. differences in human behavior and perceptions. Therefore, it is rational Note: While the NRA is particularly well-suited for to look for differences in their moderating effects, the procedure can also be used to effects, particularly with regard to develop ‘pure’ direct effect models and mediation models. internal and external contingencies. For clarity and focus, however, this book will devote its attention on moderating frameworks. 31

Examples of Moderating Relationships? 1) Your examples… 2) How would enhanced coffee intake impact on consumers’ health condition? ... (>1 cup daily) - generally thought that it will have a negative impact, but recent studies show that it leads to both:  health deterioration (cannot sleep, tremors)  health improvement (alertness, weight loss) So, what is the answer? - perhaps, it “depends on” the person’s lifestyle & ability to break down caffeine?  Final example to clarify everything… 32

How would hard work at doctoral level impact on the candidate’s ability to GOT? The SECRET Pay attention to these 3 levels: in Research “The cake” “Icing on the cake” These simple terms will “Cherry on top” help you remember the “ground rules” that build up research excellence. The secret of research lies in the model & hypotheses…. The Cherry! 33

Differentiating the Cake, Icing, & Cherry CAKE: When you have a conceptual model that is sufficient for research (e.g., IV + DV + MV), but the predicted moderating effects are obvious (e.g., strengthen). ICING: When you include additional variables or interactions for variability, particularly in terms of the direction of the predicted relationships, but the moderating effects are still obvious (e.g., weaken). CHERRY: When you have one or two moderating variables or interactions with hypothesized effects that are NOT obvious (e.g., strengthen or weaken?). The Cherry is the main highlight of the study because it carries the element of surprise 34 that holds the reader’s attention. The findings also have the tendency to significantly leapfrog the literature and yield substantial implications to managers (i.e., the ‘so what’ question). This is what the top journals (Q1 & Q2) are looking for. Moreover, publication nowadays is fierce, and the Cherry is used to determine papers that stand out from the rest.

Cherry-Vanilla-Chocolate Cake Ideally, your finalized model & hypos should be “complete” like this cake. It should not only Taste Good (hypo structure & components) but also Looks Delicious (model design & variability). Remember NOT to have too many Cherries though. Note: Sometimes the Cherry emerges latter during data analysis… a hypothesis that is “Refuted” (i.e., statistically significant but in the opposite direction to what was hypothesized). If such relationship transpires and you have a logical explanation for it, make sure you celebrate & highlight the finding… because this may in fact be your most valuable discovery! 35

2-Page PhD = 2 pieces of the research puzzle Your conceptual model and hypotheses are the two most important pieces of your research puzzle. So let’s continue to discuss about them… 36

This is an example of a workable conceptual model (Page 1) Page 1 Conceptual Model 37

This is an example H1: Visual packaging will be positively related to (a) consumer of the hypotheses interest, (b) purchase decision, and (c) repurchase intention. derived from the model H2: Informative packaging will be positively related to (a) (Page 2) consumer interest, (b) purchase decision, and (c) repurchase intention. Page 2 Hypotheses H3: Functional packaging will be positively related to (a) consumer interest, (b) purchase decision, and (c) repurchase intention. H4: The positive relationship between all packaging attributes and consumer buying behaviour (interest, purchase, repurchase) will be strengthened when product-personality congruence is high. H5: The positive relationship between all packaging attributes and consumer buying behaviour (interest, purchase, repurchase) will be strengthened (or weakened?) when consumer innovativeness is high. For the Cherry, choose ONE direction only… either ‘strengthens’ or ‘weakens’ the effect. 38

Transform Model to Q1 Journal Standard Academics find intricate or sophisticated models appealing… first impression. It signifies that you have done an extensive job, thus helps to increase your chance of getting published into a good journal. Can we TRANSFORM this humble model into a more sophisticated one? See next page… 39

The previous model has been improved (upgraded)… now it has more arrows for the direct & moderating effects. This model is better, but can it be improved further? See next page… 40

This model has been greatly improved… if you compare this model with the first one, it is exactly the same. Another Secret or trick to add up your sleeve! 41

Model & Hypotheses will direct your research and minimize mistakes… *No More Beating around the Bush! Your 1) Contribution to New Knowledge Research is - you developed the model… it’s Original coz you carefully selected the variables Directed • no overlap with existing models • use the same IV, but find another DV & MV 2) Literature Review - identify the most important variable in your model… the Focal Construct (usually it’s your IV) Note: These pointers fundamentally • Gaps and Issue will arise from the LR for your Focal Construct describe how the research Hypos and • LR write-up mainly comes from your Focal Model can be used to systematically guide Construct (concepts, importance, past studies, synthesis, theory) or address your LR, Gap, Issue, Self-assessment: Objectives, Theory, Originality, and even Can you detect the the Analytical Procedure. Basically, they reaffirm the claim I made in Chapter 1… Focal Construct in the “The hypos determine almost every aspect Work hard–GOT model of the research”. we discussed earlier? 42

Your 3) Theory Research is - there are more than 320 theories in marketing! • just select a theory(s) that is suitable for the Directed predicted relationships in your model • theory can be found in your main articles for LR These are just some basic explanations (overview) 4) Analysis to show you that the NRA has - the model determines what type of statistical its own formula that works! analysis is suitable to support/reject your hypos This handbook will give you • need to refer to your conceptual model to develop a Mock Table (to confirmation it can be the knowledge of HOW analyzed) exactly this can be done. • also for developing the Syntax for your data analysis (Moderated Regressions via SPSS) 5) Research Questions & Objectives - work backwards… • simply convert your hypothesis sentence to question and objective format… see next page 43

Work Backwards… All three are actually related to one another. You just need to ‘rephrase’ them accordingly… simple as that! Note: You may have up to 15 hypos but you can compress them into 5 objectives & questions. QUESTION OBJECTIVE HYPOTHESIS Does visual To examine Visual packaging the effect packaging attribute have of visual attribute will an effect packaging be positively on customer attribute on related to interest? customer customer interest. interest. 44

Proven Results… “More than 40 workshop participants have ended up publishing in top international journals and research books, and many more have used the Novel Research Approach to get their PhD.” Many have been amazed with the method and how it Here are some examples has helped them in their PhD studies. Some have even of journal papers that I managed to publish despite ‘zero’ research experience published; with students who prior to attending the NRA workshop. sat in the Novel Research Participants come from diverse backgrounds such as Workshop… management, marketing, economics, accounting, finance, education, psychology, and healthcare. 45

Published in ISI: Enamul, Nik, & Razzaque 46

Published in ISI: Amin & Nik 47

Published in ISI: Sonia, Nik, & Ameet 48

Published in ISI: Nik, Yap, & John 49

Published in ISI: Nik & Amin 50

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