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Quality Research Framework: Enumerative Study Versus Analytic Study from Deming's Perspective

Author(s): Kang E. Thye

Journal: American Journal of Economics and Business Administration
ISSN 1945-5488

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 126;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Research framework | Deming’s perspective | enumerative study | analytic study

Problem statement: The right research framework is the only way to lead us to become champions in our respective disciplines and certainly to be recognized as an excellent referral center of knowledge for the world. Deming, a well-known quality guru, has defined two research frameworks, namely enumerative study and analytic study. They are totally different in their applications and implications. He criticizes analytic study as it is the most misguided and poorly taught research approach in most universities, as compared to enumerative study. Approach: Intensive literature reviews were conducted to obtain in-depth understanding concerning Deming’s teachings through books, websites and journals. Results: Enumerative study aims to describe the magnitude of the study problem with its possible correlated variable (s). The study objectives, its variables’ scope, hypothesis and research method are predetermined earlier. Common statistical tools in used are the t-test, chisquare, correlation and frequency. Outcome studies involve percentage prevalence data, new standard formula and linear modeling. The major pitfall of enumerative study is that its findings, recommendation and action for improvement could be wrongly interpreted, misleading and wrongly guided. It is because the statistically significant correlated variables do not truly support the cause to existing study problem. In analytic study, the main purpose is to answer the “why” question. It tries to identify the real variable(s) incur to the study problems. Statistical Process Control is the only statistical analytic tool in this particular research question framework. Conclusion: In summary, Deming’s emphasis is to focus on analytic study as it helps to generate new knowledge, rather than enumerative study. The latter is passive and does not help much either to prevent the problem encountered or to improve on the existing problematic situation.
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