A Technological Model for Knowledge Creation in Group Problem Solving

A Technological Model for Knowledge Creation in Group Problem Solving

Research Methodology


Knowledge creation in group problem solving is important in any given organization as it fosters a competitive advantage to perpetuate quality organizational performance (Chen, 2010). According to Geoffrey (2012), the dynamics and complexity of the modern-day business environment demand knowledge creation and dissemination, as the success of any corporate entity operating in the 21st century will solely depend on its members’ ability to generate intellectual capacities through knowledge creation (Sheryl, 2010). This chapter intends to introduce the study methodology employed in this study in order to investigate how a technological model can be adopted in knowledge creation in group problem-solving. It will therefore introduce the research theory, paradigm, approach, design, and strategy employed in this study in order to investigate how organizations adopt a technological model for knowledge creation to enhance effective group problem-solving.

Research Theory

             The grounded theory will be most appropriate in guiding this study as it entails a systematic analysis of data collected through inductive and deductive reasoning to discover a reliable theory that can guide subsequent related studies (Anderson, 1996). The grounded theory will particularly be important as it can guide in generating a suitable technological model that can be adopted in knowledge creation to perpetuate effective group problem-solving. According to Clare (2012), this method of inquiry is appropriate as it works in the reverse fashion that is distinct from the traditional method of inquiry adopted in social sciences. This is because the theory does not begin with a predetermined hypothesis like the traditional approach does, but it begins by analysis of the collected data that can be used to generate a reliable theory to understand certain phenomena (Francis, 2005). The theory is equally systematic as well as inclusive, as it contains data generated from both inductive and deductive reasoning, which ensures that hypotheses that may subsequently be formulated are founded on conceptual ideas (Johan, 2011). The theory equally guides in the verification of hypotheses that may be generated through constant comparison of conceptualized data that may be extracted from various levels of abstraction (Wilson, 2004). Adopting this theory in this study will thus ensure that a reliable technological model that can be employed in creating relevant knowledge is generated to promote effective group problem-solving. Grounded theory is equally important in this study since it does not seek to establish the “truth” but to find out what is going on through employing empirical research (Mohamed, 2012). The theory will thus ensure that the researcher is able to establish how the process of knowledge creation is being undertaken in different organizations through analyzing conceptualized data rather than relying on predetermined hypotheses that may eventually give biased results (Robert, 1995). This indicates that the researcher will purely be concerned about data that can help him study the various concepts that may be related to the emerging technological model. This would ensure that results gathered from different data collection approaches will be used to generate concepts that can enhance the creation of relevant knowledge that can perpetuate effective group problem solving (Morris, 2004).

The schema grounded theory will also be applied in this study in order to help understand the various factors that might be involved in the comprehension process during knowledge creation in group problem-solving. According to Aldridge (2001), the schema grounded theory explains that knowledge is normally organized into various units within which important information that might later be dispensed during knowledge creation is stored. The theory will thus provide the researcher with a generalized description of how knowledge is usually represented as well as used, which will help him to analyze the type of knowledge that the study respondents share in group problem-solving. The theory will particularly provide the researcher with a suitable framework through which he can understand how the respondents utilize information stored within their respective mental frameworks to establish a systematic process of knowledge creation, which can later be used in group problem solving (Francis, 2005).

Research Paradigm

This study will be guided by the positivist paradigm, which is a type of scientific philosophy that views relevant information as that which can be derived from logical as well as mathematical perspectives, which provides an exclusive source of authoritative knowledge that constitutes all scientific knowledge (Aldridge, 2001). This paradigm is appropriate in this study and it is bound to generate reliable results that can effectively respond to the study questions. This is because the positivist paradigm assumes that society operates according to certain generalist laws that govern the physical world (Ayer, 1959). Relying on this paradigm will thus ensure that the study data is verifiable through empirical evidence gathered from the physical world (Mill, 1882). This paradigm will particularly ensure that any introspective, as well as insinuative information relating to knowledge creation adopted in varying organizations in group problem solving, is rejected while accepting information that complies with the absolute law of the physical world (Blossfeld, 1998). This is because a positivist’s point of view states that reality is stable and can only be obtained through an objective viewpoint, which can be obtained from repeatable observations. It thus allows a researcher to identify an independent variable through which regularities can be identified while forming relationships between specific elements prevailing in the social world (Charles, 1993). Relying on this paradigm in this study will enable the researcher to identify a single independent variable, which in this case will be a technological model, to identify regularities prevailing in knowledge creation in different organizations while forming relationships between the process of knowledge creation and group problem solving (Groff, 2004). The paradigm can as well help the researcher to identify invalid information relating to knowledge creation as he can always refer from previous observations and explained realities (Gartrell, 1996). This is because the researcher can be able to identify any information that is not founded on the positivist paradigm; as this is non-scientific hence invalid (Laudan, 1996). It equally allows for well-controlled conditions for data collection to ensure that any improper influence that may attribute to business is prevented (Bruce, 2002). This is because the researcher can be able to present questions in a more propositional form that can be verified through empirical tests (Thomas, 2007).

Research Design

The researcher will adopt a quantitative research approach, which involves adopting a systematic investigation to empirical data through the use of statistical, computational, and numerical techniques to create a statistical model relating to a certain phenomenon (Charles, 2010). This process will particularly employ the aspect of measurement in order to establish the fundamental connection that might prevail between the empirical observations made and the mathematical expressions that are bound to prevail in any quantitative relationships (Lyon, 2001). The researcher will thus adopt a descriptive approach that can provide relevant information that can help to respond to various study questions relating to the attainment of intellectual capacity among organizational members to perpetuate effective group problem solving (Myers, 1995). He will particularly use questionnaires and interviews to collect relevant data that can be used to respond to the study questions. Among the various questions that the researcher will be seeking to respond to include:

  • What is the process of problem-solving within groups?
  • Where is the knowledge created in group problem-solving?
  • How can technological models support knowledge in group problem-solving?

A quantitative approach to data analysis will then be employed and this will involve adopting descriptive statistics to summarize the findings of the study through describing what was established in the study both numerically and graphically. The sample population for this study will comprise sixty-four computer science students at the University of Buraidah. This population will be chosen through random sampling where four categories of computer science students will be chosen from each class of students in the first year, the second year, the third year, and the fourth year respectively. Sixteen students will further be picked from each class and these will in return be involved in the study. This approach to the selection of study population is appropriate as it can ensure that individuals that will be involved in the study are able to represent the estimated characteristics related to the creation of intellectual capabilities among members of the wider population (Keating, 2002). This will help to save time and resources as the researcher will not need to collect data from the larger target population (Flippo, 2000).

The strategy of the Study

This study will adopt a quantitative approach to data collection, as it will be seeking to employ statistical instruments in analyzing the findings of the study in order to establish the relationship that is bound to prevail between variables that constitute the main pillars of the research (Goetz, 2012). The variables will thus be divided into a dependent variable that will in this case include the problem-solving process, and the independent variable that will include knowledge creation among organizational members (Kathryn, 1996). The two variables will be important as they will help to determine the relationship that is bound to prevail between the type of knowledge attained by organizational members and the process of problem-solving adopted in groups (Fredrick, 2013). A major problem with this study strategy is that it will not construct any hypothetical assumptions since it will be adopting a grounded theory that does not adopt predetermined hypotheses, but it relies on the collected data to develop a suitable theoretical model that can be adopted in a wide range of studies (Wheaton, 2004).

Well-structured questionnaires that contain open as well as close-ended questions will be used to collect relevant data from respondents. The construction of these instruments will be based on the study questions, which will help the researcher to accomplish the main objective for undertaking this study. The questionnaires will contain similar information that will guide the respondents to answer each question. They will particularly contain relevant information that will respond to the main study questions that include the process of problem-solving within groups, the process of knowledge creation in groups as well as how a technological model can support knowledge creation in group problem-solving. Questionnaires are particularly important in this study as they will be constructed in a standardized manner, which will enhance objectivity in the collected data (Wright, 2001). The process is equally quick as it will include the dissemination of similar data collection tools to an array of respondents serving in different organizations. However, questionnaires may have certain limitations, in that the total number of data collection materials returned by respondents may be significantly low, which may reduce the validity of the study (Gliner, 2000). Respondents may as well respond to the questions superficially particularly when the question may take a long period to complete. Interviews will equally be employed in this study where special informants will be selected to take part in direct or telephone interviews. These will particularly be important as they will allow the researcher to investigate various issues related to the study in an in-depth manner (Schneider, 2011). They will equally help the researcher to discover how individuals think about the study topic as well as how they hold certain opinions (Schuler, 1993).

Research Procedure

The researcher will develop a well-structured interview schedule and a sample questionnaire that will contain structured open as well as close-ended questions that will be based on the study questions. The two instruments will then be handed over to a team of experts to be tested for validity, criticism, and advice after which copies of these instruments will be made and disseminated to a group of friends that will participate in a pilot study to test the instruments for reliability (Stroth, 2005). Copies of the questionnaires will then be disseminated to the study respondents and an introductory letter attached to each questionnaire to explain the purpose of the study to the respondents so as to ensure that they respond to the study questions as genuinely as possible. Five business organizations will be selected at random, and four departments chose from each organization. Four employees will further be selected at random and these will be provided with study questionnaires that will later be collected after a period of two weeks. This will be important as it will provide study participants with sufficient time to go through the questionnaires and answer them appropriately (Grinnell, 2005). The researcher will then undertake face-to-face interviews with departmental heads for a period of three weeks. The interviews questions will be derived from the questions contained in the questionnaires as the researcher will particularly be seeking clarification for the various parts of the questionnaire that may not have been clear. After the data is collected, the researcher will read through the filled-in questionnaires as well as the interview schedules to ensure that they are filled in appropriately (Hsiao, 2003,). SPPS software will then be used to code and analyze data. The analyzed data will then be presented through descriptive summary statistics that include meaning, median, graphs, pie charts, frequency tables, and histograms (Weimo, 2003). The results will then be used to make recommendations on the appropriateness of using a technological model for knowledge creation in group problem solving (Lawal, 2003)


Anderson, N. (1996). A Functional Theory of Cognition, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Aldridge, A. (2001). Surveying the Social World: Principles and Practice in Survey Research, Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Ayer, A. (1959). Logical Positivism, New York: Free, Press.

Blossfeld, H. (1998). Rational Choice Theory and Large Scale Data Analysis, Boulder, CO: West View Press.

Bruce, T. (2002). Popper, Positivism, and Practice Research: A Response to Munro, Journal of Social Work Education, 38(3): 23-40.

Clare, O. (2012). Grounded Theory in Music Therapy Research, Journal of Music Therapy, 49(3): 42-59.

Charles, M. et al. (2010). Transcending the Quantitative-Qualitative Divide with Mixed Methods Research: A Multidimensional Framework for Understanding Congruence and Completeness, Journal of Counseling and Values, 55(1):55-67.

Charles, T. (1993). Positivism in Psychology: Historical & Contemporary Problems Review, Canadian Psychology, 34(4): 69-80.

Chen, L. (2010). Research and Development Investment Strategy and Market Performance, Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 38(2): 45-60.

Flippo, R, (2000), Handbook of College and Study Strategy Research, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Francis, H. (2005). An Evening of Grounded Theory: Teaching Process through Demonstration and Simulation, The Qualitative Report, 10(2): 65-76.

Fredrick, A. (2013). The influence of Power Shifts in Data Collection and Analysis Stages: A Focus on Qualitative Research Interview, The Qualitative Report, 10(2): 20-32.

Gartrell, G. (1996). Positivism in Sociological Practice, The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 33(2): 65-80.

Geoffrey, L.Z. (2012). Distributed Collaborative Learning in Online LIS Education: A Curricular Analysis, Journal of Issues in Informing Science & Information, 9(1):89-116.

Gliner, J. (2000). Research Methods in Applied Settings: An Integrated Approach to Design and Analysis, Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Goetz, G. (2012). A Tale of Two Cultures: Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Grinnell, R.M. (2005). Social Work Research and Evaluation: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, New York: Oxford University Press.

Groff, R. (2004), Critical Realism, Post-Positivism, and the Possibility of Knowledge, New York:  Routledge.

Hsiao, C. (2003). Analysis of Panel Data, New York: Cambridge University Press

Johan, A. (2011). Grounded Theory Methodology: Positivism, Hermeneutics, and Pragmatism, The Qualitative Report, 16(6): 56-80.

Kathryn, L. (1996). Typology Research Questionnaires, Alcohol Health & Research World, 20(1): 52-63.

Keating, S. S. et al. (2002). A Descriptive Analysis of Research Methods Classes in Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education in the United States, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 73(1):22-45.

Laudan, L. (1996). Beyond Positivism and Relativism and relativism: Theory, Method, and Evidence, West view Press.

Lawal, B. (2003). Categorical Data Analysis with SAS and SPPS Applications, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lyon, C. (2001). Issues of Research Design and Construct Measurement in Entrepreneurship Research: The Past Decade, Entrepreneurship: journal of Theory and Practice, 25(4): 36-45.

Mill, J. (1882), Auguste Comte and Positivism, London: George Routledge & Sons.

Mohamed, H. (2012). Integration of Grounded Theory and Case Study: An Exemplary Application from E-Commerce Security Perception Research, Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application, 13(1): 98-107.

Morris, M. (2004). A Handbook for Survey Design and Data Collection, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Myers, J. (1995). Research Design and Statistical Analysis, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Robert, K. G. (1995). Quantitative Theory and Econometrics, Economics Quarterly, 81(3):99-112.

Schneider, Y. C. (2011). Methodological Quality and Scientific Impact of Quantitative Nursing Education Research Over 18 Months, Journal of Nursing Perspectives, 32(6):112-123.

Stroth, L. (2005). International Assignments: Integration of Strategy, Research, and Practice, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Sheryl, S.S. (2010). Collaborative Testing: As a Learning Strategy in Nursing Education, Journal of Nursing Education Perspectives, 31(3):14-26.

Schuler, D. (1993). Participatory Design: Principles and practices, Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Schwab, D. (1999). Research Methods for Organizational Studies, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Thomas, G. (2007). Education and Theory: Strangers in Paradigms, Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.

Weimo, Z. (2003). Multilevel Research Design and Data Analysis: An Overview, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 74(1): 104-114.

Wilson, S. (2004). Relating Categories in Grounded Theory Analysis: Using a Conditional Relationship Guide and Reflective Coding Matrix, The Qualitative Report, 9(1): 56-71.

Wheaton, G. (2004): Online Data Collection: Strategies for Research, Journal of Counseling and Development, 82(4): 200-210.

Wright, P. (2001). A Contribution to a Research Strategy on Children’s Life Outcomes, Social Policy of New Zealand, 12(20): 99-102.