The primary aim of critical analysis of a research paper is vested in identifying the validity of the research process including literature review, considerations for the research problem, presentation of appropriate methodologies for conducting the research and the suitability of data collection with the research objectives. The following critical analysis of a research paper would be based on the role of emotions in decision making and performance for traders in investment banks.
The reason for selecting the research paper could be identified in the fact that the majority of studies pertaining to the performance of traders has been characterized by an emphasis on rational analysis as a determinant of the decisions undertaken by traders. On the contrary, it has been identified that emotion centric approaches are considered as suitable indicators for determining the regulation of behaviour on the basis of antecedents thereby leading to an advantage over response based strategies which are generally subject to penalties in terms of performance (Bakar, et al., 2016).
Another viable explanation for selecting the research paper is the use of qualitative research for apprehending the impact of intangible entities on performance outcomes. Furthermore, it also focuses on the limitations such as the narrow scope of emotions that can lead to the effective perception of the outcomes in the trading experience that can lead to promising results in the future. The research paper focuses on the significance of three specific variables and their influence on the decision making process for financial traders.
The following assessment facilitates a critical analysis of the selected research paper and draws out an impression of the validity of the research methods implemented in the paper. Furthermore, the assessment focuses on identifying the relevance of the methodological decisions and approaches alongside determining the quality of the methodologies implemented in the research through considering the validity of the qualitative data obtained from the research. The assessment’s individual components could provide an impression of the structure of the assessment that would contribute to identifying inferences regarding the paper from critical perspectives.
First of all, the analysis would comprise of a concise summary of the significant elements of the selected research paper referring to the objectives and rationale of the research, research context, literature review, methodology and prominent findings in the research paper. The next component of the main body would include an evaluation of the philosophical underpinnings assumed for the paper referring to the epistemological and ontological foundations of the paper, inherent assumptions and the relevance of the research paradigm to the methods adopted for the research. In the subsequent section, the paper’s methodology and data analysis aspects would be subject to critical evaluation.
This part of the paper would be significant for the critical analysis of the paper as the crucial aspects such as quality of the methodology and suitability of data collection methods would be addressed. Another notable aspect to be highlighted in this component of the critical analysis would be to identify the relationship between the research questions and data collection methods followed by recognition of possible alternative explanations for the data. The penultimate section of the analysis would emphasize ethical questions, strengths and weaknesses of the research and discussion of researcher effects that were potentially concerning. The final component of the analysis presents an evaluation of the overall quality of research alongside contributions of the critical analysis to scope for future research.
The aim of the research is to address the requirements for identifying the interplay between emotion, emotion regulation and intuition in decision making approaches followed by financial traders. As per Braun & Clarke (2006), the aim of the research is addressed through complying with three distinct objectives among which the first one reflects on recognition of the impact of emotions on decision making in the context of financial trading (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
The second objective reflects on the variation in the decision making performance of financial traders on the basis of their existing perception about the impact of effectively cued intentions and emotions. The final objective is vested in recognizing the influence of the emotional regulation strategy and affectively cued intentions on the decision making the performance of traders.
The context in which the research is conducted can be identified in the domain of financial trading and it could be specifically rounded up to four leading investment banks with their offices in London.
The theoretical framework assumed for the research is primarily based on three distinct themes. The first theme is identified in the relationship between emotion and cognition followed by the interplay between decision-making performance and emotions. The final theme is recognized profoundly in emotion regulation (Cumming & Calin-Jageman, 2016).
The methodology for the research is primarily associated with a qualitative approach and reflects on the use of representative sampling method. According to Dahl (2017), this factor could be perceived from a critical perspective as a benefit for the research as it would help in obtaining information from a wide assortment of traders that are associated with diverse market specializations such as bonds, derivatives and stocks (Dahl, 2017).
The qualitative methodology was explicitly responsible for outlining the impacts of emotion and work as described by the financial traders from an enhanced and detailed perspective as compared to previous research in this domain. The data collection was realized in the paper through the use of interviews which were recorded and transcribed for the complete duration of the interviews.
The data analysis approach for the research paper was identified as thematic analysis alongside implications for open coding of data which were drawn from the interview patterns as well as the theoretical constructs pertaining to the categorization of data codes (Dane & Pratt, 2007). The data analysis relied on themes such as emotional experience and regulation, the influence of managers in the process of emotion regulation, emotionally affective cues and use of intuition and empathy.
The major findings of the research were reflective of an improvement in understanding the impact of emotions in work and decision making from various perspectives. The findings suggest that emotions could be accounted as a crucial factor in the context of financial trading which can very easily be considered as an analysis intensive domain. The overall crux of the major findings was helpful in obtaining a sophisticated understanding of the role of emotions in decision making as well as the variable impact of distinct emotion regulation strategies, the impact of empathic responses in the context of anticipating the behaviour of other market actors and conditions which imply the support intended by inherent instincts for effective decision making (Fenton‐O’Creevy et al., 2011).
It was clearly observed that the efficiency of emotion regulation could be accounted as a critical success factor for trading alongside the effectiveness of acquired strategies for emotional regulation adopted by the traders. The findings were also reflective of the fact that traders who obtained a more nuanced understanding of their intuitions through reviewing their intuitions with respect to other evidence alongside determining the source of intuition were able to depict higher performance. The finding also identifies that the dependence of traders on affective cues for decision making could be responsible for addressing the performance levels which states the influence of affective cues in learning and decision making over the performance of decisions (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2015). The findings of the research paper also focus on the implications of the emotions, intuitions and emotional regulation in the practice of financial trading alongside considering the factor of task characteristics as well as the depreciating impact of defensive emotional regulation strategies on the performance of decision making.
The philosophical foundations of a research paper are identified in ontology and epistemology which have distinct implications. It can be observed that while ontology specifies the nature of reality and is based on the interpretation of an individual regarding the perception of a fact, epistemology focuses on the possibilities, sources, limitations and nature of knowledge prevalent in the domain of research. epistemological foundations of a research paper are found in the various aspects of empirical knowledge regarding the research topic which have been obtained through experimentation and are clearly established, authoritarian knowledge obtained in the form of information available in research papers, supreme powers, books and experts as well as logical knowledge that is derived as inferences of application of logical reasoning (Lee, Eom & Park, 2013).
The intuitive knowledge aspect is also included in the epistemological foundations of the research and is found to be based highly on the influence of human knowledge as compared to facts. In the case of the selected research paper, the epistemological foundation could be identified in interpretivism which is largely vested in the evaluation of social phenomena and subjective meanings associated with the same. As per Mtolo (2017), interpretivism could be identified from a review of the research foundation since it focuses on the details of the situation i.e. performance of financial traders and the impact of emotions on their decision making through reflecting on the subjective details such as emotional regulation, intuitions and empathic responses impact on decision making the performance of traders (Mtolo, 2017).
The determination of ontological foundations of the research paper is also considered influential in the initial stages of the research process which is also critical for identifying the research design. Since interpretivism has been adopted as the research philosophy, the suitable ontological foundation for the research paper can be perceived in the subjective and socially constructed nature of the research. The subjectivism ontological foundation is identified from the concerns of the influence of social actors on social phenomena and their perceptions which in the case of this research paper have been noted in the regulation of emotional behaviour, use of effective clues and experience-based decision making.
The research paradigm of interpretivism could be related effectively to the research methods i.e. qualitative since the methods are intended to identify the subjective relationships between the variables assumed for the research such as emotion, intuition and emotion regulation with respect to the decision making the performance of financial traders. The impact of research philosophy on the selection of research methods could be identified from a critical analysis of the research philosophy and methods adopted for the research (Park & Park, 2015).
The ontological perspective of interpretivism is primarily associated with similarities to hermeneutic approaches and therefore follows strategic initiatives that are identified in induction and deduction. It is also imperative to consider the method of qualitative nature to be followed in the case of interpretive philosophical foundation as highlighted in the literature pertaining to research methodology.
The implicit assumption that can be identified in the research paper is clearly reflective of the limitations on applied empirical work in the context of the research topic. The assumption could be expanded further to note that while the influence of emotions and emotion regulation has been identified profoundly in research, the major share of it has been directed towards consideration for emotional labour only or adoption of decontextualized implications for emotions (Pettigrew, 2014). Another prominent assumption that can be recognized in this case reflects on the profound consideration of emotions as barriers to rational cognition as noted in previous research without emphasizing on their primary and integral influences on action and choice. It is also essential to observe another implicit assumption that reflects explicitly on consideration for the rationality of investors as well as the predefined nature of investor preferences.
Furthermore, the performance data was also associated with the assumption that total remuneration is accountable as a prolific measure for trader performance as a response to the unavailability of trading outcomes, value at risk and metrics for profit and loss on the grounds of confidentiality in the concerned settings (Polit-O’Hara & Beck, 2006). Hence, it can be clearly observed that total remunerations were considered as a reasonable substitute for decision performance. The variable annual performance that is dictated by the bonus was assumed as an indicator of expertise of traders while assuming the other non-bonus elements in the remuneration as constants.
The rationale for the methodological decisions and approaches could be clearly identified on the basis of the subjective nature of the variables considered for the research paper such as emotions, emotional regulation, empathy, effective clues and intuition.
As per Romiszowski (2016), these variables could be anticipated only from a qualitative point of view rather than through the use of quantitative interpretations and it is imperative to note that emotions are associated with personal and social meaning that could be identified through evaluation of their interpretation by people and social actors (Romiszowski, 2016). Furthermore, the philosophical foundation identified in the research paper could also be considered as an influence over the selection of methodological decisions and approaches followed in the research. the selection of interpretivism in order to ascertain the subjective meanings that financial traders associate with emotions in the context of their decision-making initiatives in trading as well as the role of intuitions and their expertise in the determination of their decision performance could be assumed as a formidable rationale for assuming qualitative methodology in the research paper (Rothman, 2017).
A critical reflection on the effectiveness of the quality of methodology would have to be based on the assessment of the trustworthiness of qualitative data obtained in the research alongside comparing the relevance of the data collection methods to the aim of the research. The critical evaluation could be further supported with suggestions for possible alternatives for an explanation of the data alongside data analysis.
The data collected in the research paper comprised of two distinct aspects that reflect on qualitative data and performance data. Qualitative data is derived through the use of interviews which are used for comprehensive coverage of diverse factors that are associated with the role of traders and their profession. However, the trustworthiness of the data assumed for the research could be validated on the basis that the data set selected for the study from the overall data collected in the interviews was primarily derived from portions of the data that emphasized the impact of feelings on the work of traders and their decision making (Sitko & Jayne, 2014).
Another notable fact to be considered in the critical evaluation of the credibility of qualitative data in the research paper was identified in the inquiries regarding diverse experiences of emotions encountered by traders in their work. From a critical perspective, it is also essential to consider the implications of follow up questions that were implemented for improving the comprehensiveness of data collected from primary sources thereby focusing on the credibility of data obtained in the paper. The follow up questions were inclined towards obtaining deeper insights into the significance of emotions in the long term outcomes on trading strategy and decision making.
The follow-up questions in the qualitative data collection process were also expanded to include the scope of the effect of emotions on performance as well as the significance of intuitions in the work of financial traders. It is also imperative to consider the trustworthiness of qualitative data from a critical standpoint on the basis of factors such as inquiry of managers regarding the approaches followed by them for evaluation and management of trader performance which subsequently led to the acquisition of insights pertaining to feelings of traders and the managerial interventions for addressing the same (Snyder & Diesing, 2015).
These factors identified in the qualitative data collection approach suggest clear indications towards the trustworthiness of data and could be supported by the fact that the interviews were conducted personally over the duration of 30 to 90 minutes alongside recording as well as transcriptions of the data that could validate the sources of data alongside providing opportunities for future referencing. The trustworthiness of the qualitative data is also perceived in the context of performance data obtained from the data collection process that reflected profoundly on limitations related to the confidential nature of profit and loss measurements, value at risk and the trading outcome metrics thereby pointing towards discrepancy in the validity of data (Suubi & Friis-Hansen, 2017).
However, the consideration of the variable of indicator of expertise as a function of the bonus received by traders could be considered appropriate as it reflects on the capabilities of traders to perform thereby implying relevant data that can be used to collate with the qualitative data obtained in the primary data collection.
The data collection method could be related to the aims of the research such as identifying the impact of emotions on the decision making of financial traders, the effect of the trader’s perception of their emotions and intuitions derived from affective experiences on performance and identification of the relationship between emotional regulation strategies complemented with effectively perceived intuitions on the decision making performance.
In order to obtain a comprehensive impression of the role of emotions on decision making, the data collection comprised of formidable references to the implications of addressing comprehensive aspects of the professional context of financial traders in the interview questions (Tuli, 2011). The relation between data collection methods and the first research objective could be ascertained on the basis of the inclusion of aspects pertaining to the influence of feelings on the work performance and decision making of financial traders.
Furthermore, the second objective could be related to the data collection process as it focuses on the emotions experienced by traders during their work thereby leading to a credible impression of the perception of traders regarding the impact of emotions on their performance. The follow-up questions used in the data collection process also provided substantial insights into the possibility of identifying inferences regarding the role of emotional regulation strategies adopted by them through recognizing the effect of their knowledge on short term and long term impacts of emotions on their strategies (Weber & Welfens, 2008).
The alternative explanations for the inferences derived from the analysis in the research paper are profoundly indicative of contrast to the perception of limited intervention of managers in emotional regulation of trader’s emotions. However, from the philosophical standpoint assumed in the research, it is essential to consider that managers have an influence as social actors on the subjective perception of emotions at work by traders thereby implying the strength of the evidence.
The counterexamples derived in the context of the relationship between intuition and performance could also be assumed as crucial aspects of the research paper’s analysis that can be alternatively associated with implications towards considering the factors that led to the ambiguity of performance metrics inexperienced low performance (Zsambok & Klein, 2014). This analysis would provide a comprehensive interpretation of the differences in performance of high and low experienced performers other than emphasizing on the measures followed by the former for identifying the source of their intuitions.
The data analysis could also have focused on the variable of empathy from a definitive point of view rather than considering it as an emergent outcome in order to identify the influence of other market actors on the decision making the performance of financial traders.
The ethical issues that were addressed in the research could be explicitly identified in safeguarding the confidentiality of performance data that reflected on the total remuneration of research participants. It is also essential to note that the performance data collected in the research was also compliant with the references to the confidentiality of metrics pertaining to trading outcomes, profit and loss as well as value of risk. The research also emphasizes on the protection of the integrity of participants as one participant was unwilling to provide information regarding their total remuneration which can be considered as an ethical action.
Furthermore, this critical evaluation of the research paper also presents inferences regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the research. The weaknesses of the research are explicitly observed in the focus of deterministic experience or affective system on the present practices in the context of the significance of emotion comprising of experience of emotion. This implies that the lack of ability of individuals at recalling the experience of emotion has not been taken into account (Suubi & Friis-Hansen, 2017).
The limits of the human capacity are variable in different cases when considered in relevance to the introspection on emotion processes as well as remembering the experience of emotion. Therefore, the requirement of physiologically based research is perceived as a notable weakness of the paper. It is also imperative to observe the nature of traders in complying with the normally accepted social behaviour as well as prevalent narratives in order to identify the nature of their work. The research has therefore failed to consider the aspect of emotional labour as a significant component of work and performance of financial traders. On the contrary, the research presents potential strengths in the form of its findings that depict relevant significance of practice implications of the study.
The focus on the influence of learned strategies of individuals for emotional regulation as well as the necessity for effective support from managers and other social actors have been brought into consideration that addresses the concerns of decontextualisation of emotion. The research also presents an impression of the role of managerial intervention in the process of decision making by financial traders that can be used to obtain a critical comparison between the impact of emotions, intuitions and emotional regulation when complemented with the involvement of managers in coaching that lead to the development of intuition (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2015). The research also focused on the significance of task characteristics on the significance of intuition and analysis of provenance which provided insights into determinants of trader’s expertise.
The critical evaluation of the research was primarily intended to recognize the significance and suitability of the research approach utilized to address the research problem. From a critical perspective, the overall quality of the research paper would be determined through evaluating the individual approaches. The sample for the research was clearly selected in the context of the research topic thereby implying minimal deviation in the basic assumptions i.e. decision making in the financial industry.
The comprehensiveness of the data collection method could also be accounted as a plausible indicator of effective research quality. It is essential to note the diversity of themes considered for data analysis that did not conflict with each other. Finally, the findings from the research were particularly precise in demonstrating the resolution of research objectives alongside presenting the limitations identified in the research which contribute to the comprehensive understanding of the reader. It is also crucial to note the ethical compliance depicted in the research activity that can be a major determinant of the quality of a research paper.
The critical evaluation of the study implied in the research paper has provided a detailed insight into the understanding of research, especially in the form of identifying the effective approaches for qualitative research. Qualitative research could be ambiguous, especially in terms of identifying themes that can be subject to analysis in order to address research questions.
The contributions of the critical evaluation to future research would be profoundly observed in the form of addressing limitations encountered in the present study such as consideration for the recalling capacity of individuals as well as exploring other aspects such as influence of task characteristics e.g. available time for decision making and managerial interventions for the shaping of affective systems in decision making. The research paper also provides insights into ethical imperatives that would be required as necessary elements for validating and improving the quality of future research.
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