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Running head: BUSINESS RESEARCH METHODS, PART I Business Research Methods, Part I Patrice Brown, Melissa Farrell, Nichole Holden University of Phoenix Applied Business Research & Statistics Erick Ahrens July 17, 2010 Business Research Methods, Part I Introduction The management-research question hierarchy is a three step process, which begins when a management dilemma triggers the need for a decision (Cooper & Schindler, 2006). To proceed with the research process, the management question is formulated to express the need to eliminate the negative symptoms and clarify action that may be taken. A fine-tuned research question states the objective of the research study. Define the Problem On April 20th, 2010, a mobile offshore drilling unit, known as the Deepwater Horizon, was drilling an exploratory well, located in the Gulf of Mexico, when an explosion caused a wellhead to begin leaking. BP, the third largest energy company in the world, headquartered in London, United Kingdom, is responsible for what became the largest offshore spill in United States history. The BP oil spill has cost billions of dollars in losses not only BP but also to fisherman and other businesses along the Gulf Coast Since April 20th, the company lost $105 billion in total value, resulting in a nearly 54% loss to investors. Despite the loss in value, BP’s Chief Executive, Tony Hayward, maintains the company’s finances are sufficient to maintain the dividend at current levels. In response to public sentiment, United States Senators have asked BP to withhold dividends until clean up costs and liability claims are estimated. Many believe maintaining the dividend would only exacerbate the company’s already failing public image. Though cutting or suspending it would plainly be damaging to UK pension funds (The Times 2010) Develop a

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