Saturday, September 26, 2009

Measuring Research Quality

How does the industry to which your research is relevant measure quality?

The industry to which my current project plan would be relevant is the small business sector of New Zealand North Island at the moment described as focusing on those Bay of Plenty but for the interest of establishing an acceptable survey sample of participants might be expanded to Northland, Central Plateau and Coromandel Peninsula based on recommendations made by Ms. Mary Barrett Millen a full-time New Zealand based ducator and former classmate in Nova Scotia. Following consultation on this scope of relevant industry focus based on Ms. Eunice Liu’s suggestions regarding sample size requirements with Ms. Marie-Louise Siddle a Policy Analyst, International Division, Strategy and System Performance Group, Ministry of Education I have contacted Executive Director, Samantha Seath of the Economic Development Agencies of New Zealand (EDANZ) from whom I have yet to receive a response.

These particular groups, New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships (NZIDRS) and EDANZ would most likely measure the project proposal in terms of quality on how well it fits into their own regional and national strategies, research and future project development benchmarks. For example, regional economic development groups and strategies appear to provide few regionally comparative reports which illustrate the types of endeavors being made on a local level which might be transferable and applied to internationalisation and commercialisation goals in other regional development agencies. Many of New Zealand’s small business developments appear focus on the inter-urban regions nearest to the most populous cities. While this approach will satisfy returns and results based on the scope seen in previous studies a new approach to regional and thus rural internationalisation and commercialisation innovation in export growth might be a novel contribution and provide a framework for future real regional approaches.

The academic community notably the Department of International Trade and Business at Victoria University in Wellington would be assessing the quality of the proposal not only in terms of uniqueness but also in comparison to alternate project competitors in terms of what economic impact such studies could contribute to successful export growth initiatives, perspectives, and innovative approaches.

In what way is this different from the quality standards expected in doing research and writing it up?

Small business stakeholders would probably seek frameworks, recommendations and conclusions which could lead to independent decision-making options which would provide further successful export growth. Academic stakeholders are probably seeking a well built and conducted research project which reflects the seriousness and reputational standards of VUW and opens the door to academic interpretations, discussions, transferable approaches to export development in traditionally difficult regional positions and meets the standards of the thesis review committees and journal advisory standards for published work.

These two stakeholder groups differ. For example real entrepreneurs often neither lead nor follow through agreed example and translating academic hypotheses into language and recommendations for actions which would be useful for them would require perhaps a layman’s understanding and ability to communicate beyond the reaches and influences of the academic realm. Both groups must agree in principle and trust in the researcher or thesis candidate that the project itself will reflect well upon one group while at the same time proving the usefulness of its conclusions and results to the other. It is perhaps only through such a bridging between business and academia that sufficient resources and research funding will be applied to actively secure the engagement and commitment of the thesis candidate himself to the actual implementation of the project as a full fledged PhD rather than direct efforts elsewhere to more easily secure PhD assistantship on projects already well defined in other topic and national competitive interests either perhaps in Europe or the USA. In such a case the managerial and leadership quality of the candidate in question would be established by the research group to which he is unconditionally accepted.

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