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Custom Business Research Methods essay paper sample

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Citadel Federal Credit Union is currently one of the top three credit unions in Pennsylvania and the largest financial institution based in Chester County, Pennsylvania. A recently approved charter expansion has allowed Citadel not only to offer membership to those living, working and worshiping in Chester County but also those in the four additional counties that make up the southeastern region of the state (Citadel, n.d.).  As a result, Citadel has begun pursuing expanding its market westward and is opening a branch in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania. This proposal will illustrate the management dilemma and research Citadel must consider, define the research design and the sampling design.

Management Dilemma and Problem

Citadel Federal Credit Union is preparing to launch a new branch in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania that will be within an 11-mile radius of two fully functional Citadel branches: Coatesville, and Thorndale (Citadel, n.d.). The management quota for the new branch has been established. The trouble facing the western area with the addition of the new branch is determining how much new and existing customer volume will make Parkesburg their new branch. Some of the questions facing Citadel are as follows:

  • How will the customer volume change in the western area?
  • Will customers go to the new location? If so, how many?
  • Will the current branches have an increase or decrease in customer volumes?
  • How many tellers and customer service representatives will be needed at all affected branches? 

Research Question

How many tellers and customer service representatives will be required to meet the estimated customer volume in the Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, and how will the presence of the new branch affect the volume and staffing allocations of the existing nearby branches?

Research Design

According to D. R. Cooper and P. S. Schindler (2006) describe the intent of designing research.  They state, “Research design expresses both the structure of the research problem—the framework, organization, or configuration of the relationships among variables of a study—and the plan of investigation used to obtain empirical evidence on those relationships” (p. 138). The research design will define the type, purpose, data collection method, variable control, the time dimension, topical scope, and the environment of the research.

Because the data needed to answer the research question is already available, a more formalized type rather than exploratory degree of research will be needed.  Citadel must compile the data from resources already present with information from third-party resources.

The purpose of the study is descriptive rather than causal.  No cause and effect relationship will be needed.  Data interpretation and application will guide the research.

As the research will be dealing primarily with numbers and measurements, the method of collecting data will be primarily through monitoring rather than through communication. Although surveys may assist, historical behavior trends can be extrapolated from existing data.

The research should involve limited experimentation and manipulation of variables, and  most of it will be in observations after the fact. Cooper and Schindler (2006) state, “the independent variable [is] manipulated by the researcher, and the manipulation causes an effect on the dependent variable” (p.40).  In Citadel’s case, the independent variable will be the number of employees in the branch.  The dependent variable will be the volume of transactions per teller.  That being said, most of the research should employ an ex post facto approach with reports on what is, what has happened, and what will happen.

With regard to the time dimension, a cross-sectional exploration of data will suffice for much of the research.  A longitudinal study will only be needed in the observation of the manipulated variables mentioned.

Although the longitudinal study will not be needed, a case study of past new branches and how customer volume changes over the first six months may benefit along with some statistical studies of Parkesburg’s demographics. This would cover the topical scope of the research.

As for the environment, field study, rather than laboratory or simulations will be sufficient for obtaining the data Citadel needs.

Sample Design

Cooper and Schindler (2006) describe the steps to designing a sample.  They state, “What is the target population? What are the parameters of interest? What is the sampling frame? What is the appropriate sampling method? What size sample is needed?” (p. 409).  These questions frame the sample design.

Citadel’s target population is measured in households. Not only should Citadel calculate the number of member households but also the number of households within a certain radius of each branch.

The parameters of interest involve determining the mean distance member households travel to the branch it uses.  Also, the research should determine the relative per capita for each area to calculate the proportional penetration the new branch can expect.

The sampling frame should include households as determined in the most recent month.  Additionally, it should include household statistics from other new branches first six months up to a year.

The sampling method should be non-probability rather than probability to avoid intentional or unintentional misrepresentations of the data.

As for the sample size, the number should be as large as is cost effective.  Accommodating the large variance in income levels, distances, and ages, among other factors will be better requires a broader sample than more specific studies. 

Citadel Federal Credit Union’s management team must determine how many tellers and CSRs they must employ to meet the needs of the population.  The importance of this event would be based on probability.  What is the probability that customers in a three-mile radius will choose Citadel as their financial institution?  Citadel can determine the probability of this event occurring by surveying 100 random potential customers within a three-mile radius of the financial institution.  The survey conducted over the sample could ask questions about preference such as terms of loans, interest rates on money borrowed, interest rates on money in savings as well as checking accounts, and customer incentives to join the financial institution.

Citadel can determine how many employees to recruit or shift from nearby branches by the sample design described. 

Hiring as many qualified bank tellers and customer service representatives as is needed is vital. Citadel does not want to over hire as personal costs are the greatest expense of any company.  However, under-hiring can result in overworked staff and lower customer satisfaction.  The more data that can be incorporated into this study, the better results each affected branch will realize. 

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