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Real life research situation

Based on an analysis of the last six months sales your boss notices that sales of beef products are declining in your chains restaurants. As beef entree sales decline, so do profits. Fearing beef sales have declined due to several newspaper stories reporting E coli contamination discovered at area grocery stores, he suggests a survey area restaurants to see if the situation is pervasive,

What do you think of this research suggestion?

How if at all could you improve on your boss's formulation of the research question?

Solution Preview

When conducting analysis, it is very hard to make statistical conclusions on a situation just by 'eyeballing' the data. For example, your boss might think that sales of beef have decreased since only 45 pounds of beef were sold in the past 6 months vs. 55 pounds the period before that.

This is not statistically sound, since there are more factors to consider besides just the amount of beef sold. We need to know how many people visited the restaurant. Maybe less people came to eat in the restaurant, which would result in ...

Solution Summary

This posting looks at a real life situation on how you can use research methodology to gain understanding of a business issue or problem. It explains the need to be formal in your work, and how you can collect the data.