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Reliability & Validity
The key will be to find reliability and validity. Reliability, of course, is the concept that if someone else does the same exact research in the same exact way, the research conclusions drawn will be close to if not entirely identical. Validity is similar in that the conclusions met have to be directly applied and ascertained based on the data that actually exists and not based on the exclusion of viable but clearly contradictory data and/or coming to conclusions that the data clearly does not support. For example, a study that makes a conclusion based on sheer numbers, rather than proportions and percentages of the relevant groups, is almost certainly flawed even if the conclusions drawn are certainly correct as that would be a clear validity problem. A reliability problem would be a study done in much the same nature but perhaps has different sources but comes to an entirely different conclusion. That itself can be tricky because if one study focuses on the United States and the other on Africa, the results would probably be very different. However, if they both focused solely on the United States and the conclusions drawn were entirely different, then somebody probably made a mistake somewhere in methodology and/or allowing bias to creep in (Drost, 2011).
This is a very valid concern as corporate governance has a disparate amount of viewpoints and theories and a lot of those theories can be (or most certainly are) drawn from political points-of-view like liberalism, libertarianism and conservatism. Many politically biased people have an unfair and/or unhealthy aggression towards government and government regulation but there are also many people that have the same animus towards capitalism and corporations in general. This report shall avoid the fray as much as is possible and will automatically discard any report, even one labeled as scholarly, that clearly has a bias against a given political party, governmental/corporate line of thought, etc. Instead, the author shall focus on data that is clearly drawn from facts and history because real-world history and current events are the best indicators as to what shall happen in similar instances in the future. Even the most well-run surveys have issues with data being unreliable (Ramo, Hall & Prochaska, 2012)(Kim at al, 2013).
Even with the conscious and unconscious tendencies to be biased or even sloppy, the research feels that this research will be engaged in with eyes wide open with a focus on what is real rather than what is not. The author of this report wants there to be full scrutiny and attention to detail applied to this report and the author is confident that it will pass such scrutiny with an eye towards bias and sloppiness with flying colors. However, the author is also not adverse to admitting that things were missed or done wrong but the author is going to avoid such neglect (and obviously any malfeasance) at all costs because doing otherwise would undermine the credibility and reputation of the researcher. A man or woman is what they do and a researcher that steals the work of others without citing, that is sloppy or intentionally misleading in their methods and so forth is not a good researcher and the researcher of this report-to-be is going to avoid such a condition at all costs.
Going into this research, the research knows full well some of the limitations that will exist. The first is that economics and corporate governance in general is a giant behemoth of knowledge, research and data and even the best researcher is simply offering their best guess as to what truly happened and why. No single researcher can comprehend and verify every fact and no research is beyond reproach in terms of bias, attention to detail and general habits. However, a group of noble and well-minded researchers working in concert can do great things and the writer of this proposal wishes to be part of such a collective.
Second, another limitation to any outcomes of this study or the research therein is that it cannot be applied across the board to all of the regions and countries of the world because some areas of the world are so different. For example, the United States is driven by two major employment sectors, those being service jobs like customer service and the like and knowledge sector jobs like lawyers, doctors and such. By contrast, Nigeria's proverbial bread and butter is oil production and exportation. As such, a conclusion drawn for the United States corporate landscape will quite likely have little to no applicability to Nigeria and the same is often true in reverse as well.
Chapter VI -- Discussion & Conclusion
The author of this report noted above that this research will be limited to North America. The reason for this choice by the researcher has several dimensions. First, while Europe and Australia have certainly shown themselves to be stars and while areas like the Middle East and Africa are showing signs of life, North America has been the hotbed for economic activity for decades with the United States being the single country with the most gross domestic product/output and they are far and away the country with the most per capita GDP. Canada benefits greatly from being as close as it is to the United States with examples like the crude oil they export to them.
Second, the United States (and Canada, to a lesser extent) has been the epicenter of a lot of massive corporate scandals over the years and some of those scandals and issues has caused the United States great pain. One can point to the United States and their three biggest recessions since 1900 (if not ever) which included the Great Depression in the 1930's, the oil-driven stagflation of the late 1970's and early 1980's and the "Great Recession" brought on by the housing and credit market crashes in the 2007-2009 range (Kropf, 2012)(Torman, 2012)(Carter & Tippins, 2012)(Thurow, 1980).
Third, the wealth of analysis and content pertaining to the United States and Canada is pervasive and easy to find. There is no shortage of material and while that may be daunting to some researchers, it allows for this researcher to drill down and find the precise sort of information that is necessary and applicable to this report. However, even with the relative ease of finding the right and proper information, the researcher will exercise due diligence in making sure that the researcher is not careless to include any bad data that is clearly not scholarly even if it's labeled as such and the research will try to focus on more recent issues as the economies of both North America as well as the world have shifted a lot since the year 2000, which will be the limitation for this report's research. This will include Enron, AIG and a number of other major scandals that have yielded da lot of research and corporate/government action and debate.
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