The Refractive Thinker®: Vol. II: Research Methodology, Second Edition
The Refractive Thinker®: Press 2011
Number of Pages: 260


Summary

The Benefits of Collaborative Doctoral Research

Celebrate the diffusion of innovative refractive thinking through the writings of these doctoral scholars as they dare to think differently in search of new applications and understandings of research methodology.

•Drs. Denise Land and Judy Fisher-Blando explore the benefits of case study methodology.
•Dr. Armando Salas-Amaro expands upon the qualitative multiple-case study method.
•Dr. Ramon L. Benedetto offers expertise about character-based culture through ethnographic research.
•Dr. Gillian Silver examines the benefits of Siedman’s (1998) exploratory multiple interview methodology.
•Dr. Susan Kristiniak explores phenomenology that offers the researcher the ability to become part of the data collection.
•Dr. Nathan Boyer offers perspective on the phenomenology approach regarding entrepreneurs and innovation.
•Dr. Leigh Riley examines a mixed method approach combining content analysis, quantitative design, and comparative analysis.
•Dr. Patricia Dues uses a quantitative correlational analysis with a mix of technology media using mixed methods.
•Dr. Gail Ferreira offers an array of digital methods to expand the results of mixed methods studies.
•Dr. Rachel Gonzales explores team effectiveness through a quantitative correlational method.
•Dr. Steven P. Woods demonstrates how refractive "out-of-the-box" thinking found new independent variables that were hiding in plain sight.
•Dr. Cheryl A. Lentz concludes with the future of innovative thought and the benefits of research and refractive thinking.

Unlike most academic books that merely define research, The Refractive Thinker® offers unique applications of research methodologies from the perspective of multiple authors—each offering a chapter based on their specific expertise.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Learning Through Case Study: The Door to Understanding
Sigmund Freud was one of the first to pioneer and exploit the benefits of case study research by documenting his observations in detail about his patient Anna O., which led to his development of psychoanalytical theory of personality development . In the early twenty-first century, case studies are a common research design used in social science in general, in business and management studies, in particular. The case study is an important research design to use for both master’s and doctoral-level research. According to Cooper and Schindler (2006), case study research provides understanding about the how and why of a situation. A case study is a “mostly qualitative research approach that studies one or several cases (people, organizations, processes) holistically and in their social, economic, and cultural contexts” (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008, p. 303).
Chapter 2: Innovative Qualitative Multiple Case Study Methodology
As doctoral learners prepare to write their dissertations, they will encounter that the standard research methodologies may not be suitable for their proposed study. One size fits some, but not all. The researcher will have to adopt best practices from qualitative and quantitative designs. The chosen research methodology will result in an innovative combination of several standardized methodologies such as: research design, qualitative design, multiple case study design, appropriateness of design, research questions, population, sampling frame, data collection, primary data, secondary data, research tools, instrumentation, validity & reliability, and data analysis.

The innovative qualitative multiple case study methodology was chosen for the 2007 Salas-Amaro study and will be used to exemplify how a study of default prevention and management practices at Florida’s 28 community colleges was conducted. Dr. Salas-Amaro will include the problem in the study and then the elements included in the multiple case study research. Dr. Salas-Amaro’s contribution is to demonstrate to doctoral learners that crafting unique and unusual methodologies are possible. The ultimate goal of this writing is to motivate and inspire doctoral learners to pursue leadership initiatives in their dissertations and innovative research endeavors.
Chapter 3: Improving Business Performance Through Ethnographic Research
This chapter addresses the literature foundation and research methodology applied by Benedetto (2009) in his Dissertation Study, which focused on understanding the constitution and working of a character-based culture. Benedetto (2009) concluded leaders who align individual performance with institutional expectations for ethical performance are more successful than those who emphasize financial returns as the primary measure for business success. He stated many business leaders fail to recognize the critical role organizational culture plays in company success and demonstrated through ethnographic research how leaders created, nurtured, and rewarded an ethical, character-based culture that led to continuous success. Benedetto (2009) also concluded leaders and researchers have often ignored ethnography as a research methodology because the impact of organizational culture on company is under appreciated. Through the design and execution of an effective ethnographic study, Benedetto (2009) discovered artifacts and practices within a character-based culture and how these elements combined to drive exceptional company performance. Benedetto (2010) shared detailed results of the study in The Refractive Thinker Volume IV. Both chapters stem from the University of Phoenix 2010 Qualitative Dissertation of the Year, An Ethnographic Study of Character-based Culture in a Small Business Setting. Students and researchers can learn from the variations that arose within this ethnography, which extended into the external environment to include customers, suppliers, and advisors. An internal quantitative survey, validation panels with employees not part of the interview cohort and visual ethnography were research variations of potential interest. The chapter strives to show the richness of ethnographic research, which is not present within other research methods. The chapter should help students think more deeply about designing future studies related to organizational culture. The chapter should also help leaders appreciate the value of ethnographic research and its contribution to understanding the nexus between culture and organizational performance.
Chapter 4: A Qualitative Examination: Ways of Leading Among Non-Profit Executives
Non-profit organizations have been neglected in the mainstream research and inadequately explored to determine what kind of leadership is present. This qualitative study examined ways of leading, as expressed through the lived experiences of seasoned executives. Context-bound,
holistic reflections invited the emergence of themes assessed through content analysis. The
study relied on an iterative data gathering process. Further, it applied a series of three in-depth interviews per subject, as advocated by Seidman (1998), as a mechanism for exploring the ways of leading exhibited among successful, seasoned non-profit leaders. In doing so, this journey reveals characteristics that are commonly held among those profiled, and suggests what non-profit leadership looks like. This examination conveys the context of leadership through lived experiences, and, by considering the perspectives of those who both model character and meet the financial expectations of their organizations, key conclusions can be considered for transfer.
Exploring the Experiences of Complementary Nurses: A Qualitative Phenomenological Study
This qualitative phenomenological study investigated a purposeful sample of 16 nurses practicing complementary therapies within their scope of nursing practice. The purpose of this qualitative study explored the experiences of the nurses practicing complementary therapies and determined if the nurses’ perceived scope of care is satisfying to their professional practice. The study explored the lived experiences of nurses practicing complementary therapies using a Complementary Nurses’ Perception Interview Guide. The study used NVivo8 software to categorize the collected data. The results of the study demonstrated the emergence of four main themes that included a description of complementary therapies and nurses’ decision making, stakeholders’ responses, caring presence, nurses’ feelings, and the challenge and opportunities related to the availability of time. The study’s participants revealed during one-on-one interviews the transpersonal experiences of providing complementary therapies to their patients that contributed to their professional identification and fulfillment in their role as a nurse. The study offers practical steps that demonstrate nursing leadership’s opportunity to integrate complementary therapies into nursing practice that enhance nurses’ satisfaction by providing healing experiences, creating a sense of fulfillment in care delivery, and improving satisfaction and retention.
Motivation and Creativity’s Role in Small Business E-Entrepreneurship Innovations
This article describes the critical role motivation and creativity play in generating entrepreneurial innovations. Although foreign innovations are increasingly reducing U.S. competitive advantages, small-business entrepreneurs and in particular E-entrepreneurs continue to generate strategic innovations despite limited resources and experience. Small-business E-entrepreneurs face an increased likelihood of business cessation because of poor planning, a lack of innovation, and growing global competition. This phenomenological study uses a critical incident technique interview approach in conjunction with semistructured, open-ended questions to explore and better understand the essence of successful innovation. A modified Van Kaam method by Moustakas and NVivo 8 qualitative analysis software are used to explore, understand and analyze data collected from 17 small-business E-entrepreneurs located in Syracuse, NY. Multiple theories and two research questions are used to help readers put data results into perspective. Seven themes emerged from the study including innovation, creativity, motivation, transformational leadership, social media, E-entrepreneurship (Internet entrepreneurship), and social networking. Recommendations from the study could help small-business Internet entrepreneurs overcome risks and increase business survival rates. These same recommendations may be an excellent starting point for rejuvenating the larger economy. Social media (the transmission network) and social networking (the act of communicating using various tools) appear to play an increasingly important role in the success of E-entrepreneurs' businesses.
Chapter 7: A Mixed Method Analysis to Refine an Organizational Change Model for Technology Organizations
Technology organizations face common challenges in deciding how to apply process improvement models, such as the CMMI®, to their specific organizational situation and to use it successfully to increase their organizational maturity. This exploratory, mixed methods study was conducted to discover and rank the various organizational change factors instrumental in successfully implementing CMMI® process improvement initiatives. A qualitative content analysis and a quantitative survey were conducted to obtain and analyze perceptions of qualified leaders and practitioners who have implemented the CMMI®-DEV model in technology firms.
The results of this study include a ranking of organizational change factors across a spectrum of technology firms categorized by maturity level, size of organization, budget expended on process improvement, and amount of experience with process improvement initiatives. It also includes a model, The Protean Model®, which proposes a situational approach to organizational change and decision making. Comparisons of the separate rankings obtained from the quantitative and qualitative approaches are discussed and a combined ranking of success factors is presented.
Five common organizational change factors (i.e. communication, senior leadership support, measuring progress, training employees, and operational leadership) were identified by the qualitative and quantitative analysis as being important to the success of CMMI®-based process improvement initiatives. The findings indicated there was an agreement on the list of organizational change factors associated with successful CMMI® implementations. In addition, there was general agreement in the ranking in order of importance of the organizational change factors across data sources. Research confirmed The Protean Model’s® emphasis on situational factors affecting the outcome of CMMI®-based process improvement initiatives. The differences in the ranking of these factors are illustrated and possible causes identified.
Chapter 8: A Quantitative Correlational Analysis That Really Should Have Been a Mixed Method Study
Research methodology is not always as ‘cut and dried’ as initially thought to be. Sometimes the type of participants, their job responsibilities, size of the organization, industry specialty, or just a lack of interest in the study may have an impact on the success of the research methodology. Researchers need to be prepared to ‘think on their feet’ and adapt to the situation presented, modify the approach, but stay in line with the specified method. This chapter presents an example of a study that met the requirements of a quantitative correlational analysis; but as the end results show, a mixed method study may have been the preferred approach. By reviewing the challenges overcome in this study, readers will be able to better determine their best overall research methodology at the start of the study and not be presented with challenges midstream.
Chapter 10: A Quantitative Exploration of Team Effectiveness
This chapter is a summation of the dissertation Dr. Rachel Gonzales (2010) conducted in partial requirement for her Doctorate of Management from University of Phoenix. The chapter begins with an overview of the research problem and introduction to the three variables of the study. An emphasis on the qualitative methodology and results is provided, followed by a general discussion of the study’s findings. The two remaining sections: (a) recommendations, and (b) limitations and future research directions, provide opportunities for future scholarly works. The scholar can use this chapter to frame ideas for future research or formulation of an appropriate methodology for his or her own research .
Chapter 10: Hiding in Plain Sight: How Refractive Thinking Found Three New Independant Variables
Influenced by Thomas Kuhn’s philosophy of science, Dr. Steve Woods presents a synopsis of his radical research into adoption of information technology. The persistent problem of disappointing returns on investments in new information technology (IT) has encouraged information systems research regarding adoption determinants, yet 40 years of research explains only 70% of IT adoption factors (Venkatesh et al., 2003). This study is a departure from tradition in both the participants studied and the application of never before examined independent variables of personality. Participants in this study were IT decision makers empowered to acquire Web-based hiring system technologies. Independent variables of Web-based hiring system adoption were measured by a personality assessment used for workplace hiring. Logistic regression of the personality assessments of 423 participants revealed that three new variables, numeric reasoning, attitude, and people service, significantly predicted 12 to 16% of adoption. Dr. Woods suggests that these results were achieved through refractive thinking.