Thursday, 3 December 2009

The research question

I have been looking for my research question. Apparently, most researchers have trouble finding what the right question must be. Sometimes, the question we think we have has already been answered in a way or another. Other times, we cannot set boundaries for our question domain because it is too vague.
In my case, I am worried about the value of electronic services. About this issue I have a lot of questions.
What is the value of e-services for the users or for the market (investors)?
Are we worried about the stock market and how it evaluates the company owner of the service?
How does the market estimates the value of Twitter, Facebook, MeetUp, LinkedIn and other social network websites?
What are the components of value of such e-services?
What does the user (customer) values in these services?
I got to the point that not only I have different questions but there are more than one dimensions in the above.
First, the problem of value has different perspectives. At least we will have to consider the stakeholders involved. We are addressing to these actors (but are we worried about them all?):
. customers or users
. investors
. employees
. competitors
. creditors
Next, there are different types of e-services. At least, there are free services (social network sites for example, but also e-government sites) and subscription services (can be paid or not). They have different business models behind.
Finally, why should we worry? What is so particular or interesting in e-services that make us care? Everyday new services are becoming available in Internet and they are trying to meet an unknown need for us. We did not need Facebook or Twitter before, but now everybody seems to need it, and they make a point of it: "Follow us on Twitter" or "Be a fan on Facebook".
From the small bakery shop in East Cambridge to the biggest companies.

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