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Selecting a Suitable Topic in Business Research

Selecting a Suitable Topic in Business Research

A topic for business research is the beginning of an investigation; however, the success of the study strongly depends on the correct choice of the focus area. The topic should be potentially successful and appropriate for the specific person who intends to conduct research. The very first step of scientific research, the choice of a problem, can determine both the course of its writing, further work, and even the long-term consequences that one cannot think about initially. This paper will discuss how to select a suitable topic in business research, applying concepts and knowledge from the course, and considering criteria that help to identify the right issue.

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Empirical Research and its Relation to Applied Research

There are several definitions of empirical research; however, all of them relate to information gathered via real-life experiments. It is stated that empirical research is a study based on observation and experimentation to research phenomena and collect knowledge from experience rather than from theoretical concepts or beliefs (“Empirical research in the social sciences,” 2020). The evidence that is gained by conducting empirical research has a prerequisite to be empirical, namely, it should be based on the senses extracted via observation. It is suggested that empiricism describes the process of collecting information by using the current experience of participants or observing the changes during the experiment rather than using rational or logical reasoning (Wylson, 2020). Therefore, empirical research is a complex study of practical events.

On the one hand, empirical research can utilize quantitative methods of analysis, which gather numerical information and are aimed to find out the cause-effect relationships between factors. On the other hand, qualitative methods of study can be used to explore a phenomenon, which collects and examine feelings, values, actions, behavior changes that usually cannot be expressed in numbers (Aspers & Corte, 2019). The methodology of research that is described in a paper indicates if an investigation is empirical or not based on specific features. Several characteristics define the essence of an empirical study, as noted (Wylson, 2020). First, particular questions of research should be stated and answered. Second, the nature of a phenomenon, a process, or an effect is examined. Third, empirical research should include an explanation of the method and procedure that are used to investigate an event, including concepts, selection criteria, and testing instruments. All these features should be included in the empirical research paper.

Empirical research tends to research a phenomenon and generalize data about it to fill the gap with the missing theoretical description of the process. It is suggested that practical research answers questions why, what, or how to define behavior, changes, or relationships in the knowledge area (Dudobskiy, n.d.). Applied research is focused on investigating and resolving a specific, unique problem (Dudobskiy, n.d.). Therefore, applied research should have practical results, and an issue examined should be narrowed. Applied research also has several characteristics; for instance, it is aimed to find a solution to a problem. The findings of the research might be kept private because the study can be ordered by an organization (Dudobskiy, n.d.). Results of the applied research are used to make informed decisions or evaluate a strategy developed internally in the company.

Empirical research has the aim to bring new information to the theoretical knowledge in a field, while the goal of applied research is to use academic research findings to solve a practical problem. The difference between empirical and applied investigations is not in their complexity or conditions but in the purpose and objectives of both areas of studies. Empirical research is aimed at identifying relationships of actual nature, while the task of applied research is to utilize already proved patterns to solve practical issues and implement research results in specific conditions (Gooyert & Größler, 2019). It is not always possible to distinguish empirical and applied research; instead, they should be considered in conjunction. Applied research does not aim at adding new knowledge or discovering new theories because it uses already found knowledge that was investigated by an empirical research study (Gooyert & Größler, 2019). Thus, empirical research relates to applied research in a way that it contributes information to further examination of practical implications of the data.

Chosen Topics and their Suitability for Research

There is a great variety of topics that can be investigated profoundly. One of the problems of my consideration currently is “Combat to Corporate: Military Leadership Traits & Their Transition into a Civilian Organization.” The topic is interesting because there are examples of military veterans who became successful Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of companies. Current and former CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Casey’s General Stores, General Motors, FedEx, all served in the military organizations, according to Business Insider (Akhtar & Lockie, 2019). Moreover, it is stated that several military veterans launched successfully their companies because they were taught how to make decisions under pressure and lead people, which can be easily transferred to the corporate boardroom (Akhtar, 2019). Therefore, it would be interesting to analyze how military experience, education, and techniques can influence a person’s transformation into a civil leader of an organization.

Another topic that I want to explore and examine is “Leadership Effect on Job Satisfaction.” The issue presents an opportunity to analyze concepts of leadership and employees’ satisfaction and their interrelation, which should be balanced in an organization. There is a substantial number of researches on the same topic, such as the effect of leadership styles on the job satisfaction (Saleem, 2015) or the impact of leader’s trust on employees’ satisfaction (Palupi, et al., 2017). However, there is still a space to discover new variables in leadership approach because all companies evolve through years. Furthermore, new generations have a different attitude towards management, which is supported by studies that identify unique traits that young employees want to see in a leader (Baldonado, 2018). Thus, the topic can reflect shifts in leadership styles and employees’ perceptions of management to track the current situation in organizations.

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Both topics can be suitable for research based on the assessment provided in the course. According to Lunenburg, there are following criteria for suitability of a theme: interest, significance, available data, knowledge and skills, manageability, and funding (2014). First, as it was discussed above, I am interested in both topics since I am studying business, organizational management, and other areas related to leadership concepts. Second, both themes have the potential to uncover new facts and suggest relationships between phenomena. Third, the data on the matter is available via books and secondary sources for the military leadership, and primary sources, such as surveys that can collect answers on the topic of leadership and job satisfaction. Fourth, both questions are consistent with my knowledge and skills and directly related to my field of studies. Fifth, themes can be managed to be delivered on time. However, there is a possibility to narrow down the research to ensure that the goal of the study is clear, and the steps will be organized consistently. Finally, both studies can be created without substantial funding, and all the expenses will be incurred by myself if needed.

Sources for Topics Identification and the Criteria for Selection

The topic of my consideration, discussing military leadership traits and their transition into a civilian organization and leadership effect on job satisfaction, seek explanations and aimed to answer questions of how and why. Thus, according to Bhattacherjee, both themes relate to explanatory research type (2012). Identifying causal features and outcomes of the phenomenon should lead to an explanation of leadership effect in organizations. Bhattacherjee states that explanatory studies require theoretical and interpretation skills, insights, and personal experience to examine events and changes (2012). Thus, there can be found specific information on the matter of themes.

The first topic, “Combat to Corporate: Military Leadership Traits & Their Transition into a Civilian Organization,” can be identified by using several reliable sources of data. The research can be conducted with the help of third-party and secondary sources, such as existing books and investigations, interviews of experts, and studies of historical examples, suggested by Bhattacherjee (2012). Another option to identify this topic is by conducting personal interviews with former military officers, who currently work at civil organizations to explore their traits and transitioning to business companies. The second topic, “Leadership Effect on Job Satisfaction,” can be explored through the analysis of existing research studies and case researches based on Bhattacherjee’s proposal (2012). Moreover, leadership impact on employees’ satisfaction as a topic can be narrowed down to specific organizations or industry, where can be conducted field surveys with workers. These surveys can explain the interrelation of a particular leader’s actions influencing job satisfaction.

The criteria for topic selection that I am considering is based on the procedure created by Bhattacherjee. Both topics need to address research questions that will be explored and go through each stage of observation, rationalization, and validation phases of research. According to Bhattacherjee, scientific research topics and methods should be logical, confirmable, repeatable, and scrutinizable (2012). First, both themes are reasonable and are based on principles that were discussed previously by researchers. Second, inferences from the topics’ discussion can be confirmed using observed evidence and data collected from primary sources. Third, themes for studying can be independently repeated by other scientists; they can also be expanded or narrowed down to get specific results. Finally, it should be implied that the research conducted under both topics should withstand peer review, which can be confirmed by the existence of studies on the same issue discussed in the second part of the paper. Overall, themes of consideration met the criteria for suitability and selection to proceed with it.


To conclude, one might say that research always involves the solution of a problem. The lack of knowledge, changes in spheres, contradictory ideas create grounds for a possible study. It is preferable to investigate those problems that are related to an area in which a person is more competent. It is also crucial to assess the prospective subject from the point of confirmability, relevance, logic, and replicability to ensure that the research can be conducted properly. Therefore, the step of choosing a topic is essential for any study and should be assessed thoroughly to get practical and relevant results.


Akhtar, A. (2019). 9 incredibly successful companies founded by military veterans. Business Insider. Web.

Akhtar, A., & Lockie, A. (2019). 15 current and former Fortune 500 CEOs who got their start in the military. Business Insider. Web.

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Aspers, P., & Corte, U. (2019). What is qualitative in qualitative research. Qualitative Sociology, 42, 139-160. Web.

Baldonado, A. M. (2018). Leadership and gen Z: Motivating gen Z workers and their impact to the future. International Journal of Managerial Studies and Research, 6(1), 56-60. Web.

Bhattacherjee, A. (2012). Introduction to Research, Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices. USF Tampa Bay Open Access Textbooks Collection.

Dudovskiy, J. (n.d.). Fundamental research. Research Methodology. Web.

Empirical research in the social sciences and education. (2020). PennState. Web.

Gooyert, V., & Größler, A. (2019). On the differences between theoretical and applied system dynamics modeling. System Dynamics Review, 34(4), 575-583. Web.

Lunenburg, F. C., & Irby, B. J. (2014). Writing a successful thesis or dissertation: Tips and strategies for students in the social and behavioral sciences (1st ed.). Corwin Press.

Palupi, D., Cahjono, M., & Satyawati, E. (2017). Effect of leadership on the job satisfaction with organizational commitment and trust in leader as mediators. Review of Integrative Business and Economics Research, 6(4), 400-408. Web.

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Saleem, H. (2015). The impact of leadership styles on job satisfaction and mediating role of perceived organizational politics. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 172, 563-569. Web.

Wylson, L. (2020). Empirical research. Explorable. Web.

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