How to write research design in thesis

How to write research design and methodology and how to write research design in research Proposal and how to write research design in quantitative research
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Published Date:01-07-2017
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Analytic Contents of Research Techniques Chapter 1. The Selection of a Research Approach • Determining your research approach • Identifying a worldview with which you are most comfortable • Defining the three types of research approaches • Using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods designs and methods Chapter 2. Review of the Literature • Assessing whether your topic is researchable • Using steps in conducting a literature review • Using computerized databases available for reviewing the literature • Developing a priority for types of literature to review • Designing a literature map • Writing a good abstract of a research study • Using important elements of a style manual • Defining terms • Employing a model for writing a literature review Chapter 3. The Use of Theory • Identifying variables in a quantitative study • Defining the nature of a quantitative theory • Using a script to write a theoretical perspective into a quantitative study • Considering the types of theories used in qualitative research • Placing theories in a qualitative study • Placing a theoretical lens into a mixed methods study Chapter 4. Writing Strategies and Ethical Considerations • Assessing the structure of a proposal for qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies • Using writing strategies for drafting a proposal • Developing a habit of writing• Constructing umbrella thoughts, big thoughts, little thoughts, and attention thoughts in writing • Developing writing consistency through the hook-and-eye technique • Using principles of writing good prose • Anticipating ethical issues in many phases of the research process Chapter 5. The Introduction • Writing an abstract for a study • Exploring differences among quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods introductions • Using the deficiency model for writing an introduction • Designing a good narrative hook • Writing about the research problem • Summarizing the literature about a research problem • Pointing out deficiencies in past literature • Considering audiences that may profit from your study Chapter 6. The Purpose Statement • Using a script for writing a qualitative purpose statement • Considering how the script would change depending on your qualitative design • Using a script for writing a quantitative purpose statement • Considering how the script would change depending on your quantitative design • Using a script for writing a mixed methods purpose statement • Considering how the script would change depending on your mixed methods design Chapter 7. Research Questions and Hypotheses • Writing a script for a qualitative central question • Considering how this script would change depending on the qualitative design • Writing a script for quantitative research questions and hypotheses • Considering how this script would change depending on the quantitative design and the different types of hypotheses • Using a model for descriptive and inferential quantitative questions and hypotheses • Writing scripts for different forms of research questions for a mixed methods study Chapter 8. Quantitative Methods• Using a checklist for survey research to form topic sections of a survey procedure • Employing steps in analyzing data for a survey procedure • Writing a complete survey methods discussion • Using a checklist for experimental research to form sections for an experimental procedure • Identifying the type of experimental procedure that best fits your proposed study • Drawing a diagram of experimental procedures • Identifying the potential internal validity and external validity threats to your proposed study Chapter 9. Qualitative Methods • Using a checklist for qualitative research to form topic sections of a procedure • Stating the basic characteristics of qualitative research • Determining how reflexivity will be included in a proposed study • Weighing the different types of data collected in qualitative research • Employing steps in the qualitative data analysis process • Establishing validity in qualitative research Chapter 10. Mixed Methods Procedures • Stating a definition and the characteristics of mixed methods research • Using a convergent parallel mixed methods design • Using an explanatory sequential mixed methods design • Employing an exploratory sequential mixed methods design • Using one of the advanced mixed methods designs • Choosing which design is best for a mixed methods studyPURPOSE This book advances a framework, a process, and compositional approaches for designing a proposal for qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research in the human and social sciences. The ascendency of qualitative research, the emergence of mixed methods approaches, and the continuing use of the traditional forms of quantitative designs have created a need for this book’s unique comparison of the three approaches to inquiry. This comparison begins with preliminary consideration of philosophical assumptions for all three approaches, a review of the literature, an assessment of the use of theory in research approaches, and reflections about the importance of writing and ethics in scholarly inquiry. The book then addresses the key elements of the process of research: writing an introduction, stating a purpose for the study, identifying research questions and hypotheses, and advancing methods and procedures for data collection and analysis. At each step in this process, the reader is taken through qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches.AUDIENCE This book is intended for students and faculty who seek assistance in preparing a plan or proposal for a scholarly journal article, dissertation, or thesis. At a broader level, the book may be useful as both a reference book and a textbook for courses in research methods. To best take advantage of the design features in this book, the reader needs a basic familiarity with qualitative and quantitative research; however, terms will be explained and defined and recommended strategies advanced for those needing introductory assistance in the design process. Highlighted terms in the text and a glossary of the terms at the back of the book provide a working language for understanding research. This book also is intended for a broad audience in the social and health sciences. Readers’ comments since the first edition indicate that individuals using the book come from many disciplines and fields. I hope that researchers in fields such as marketing, management, criminal justice, communication studies, psychology, sociology, K–12 education, higher and postsecondary education, nursing, health sciences, urban studies, family research, and other areas in the social and health sciences will find the fourth edition useful.FORMAT In each chapter, I share examples drawn from varied disciplines. These examples are drawn from books, journal articles, dissertation proposals, and dissertations. Though my primary specialization is in educational psychology and more broadly the social and health sciences, the illustrations are intended to be inclusive of many fields. They reflect issues in social justice and examples of studies with marginalized individuals in our society as well as the traditional samples and populations studied by social and health researchers. Inclusiveness also extends to methodological pluralism in research today, and the discussion incorporates alternative philosophical ideas, diverse modes of inquiry, and numerous procedures. This book is not a detailed method text; instead, I highlight the essential features of research design. I have attempted to reduce research to its essential core ideas so that researchers can plan a thorough and thoughtful study. The coverage of research designs is limited to frequently used forms: surveys and experiments in quantitative research; narrative research, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case studies in qualitative research; and convergent, explanatory sequential, and exploratory sequential designs in mixed methods research. Although students preparing a dissertation proposal should find this book helpful, topics related to the politics of presenting and negotiating a study with review committees are addressed thoroughly in other texts. Consistent with accepted conventions of scholarly writing, I have tried to eliminate any words or examples that convey a discriminatory (e.g., sexist or ethnic) orientation. Examples were selected to provide a full range of gender and cultural orientations. Throughout the text I do not favor either qualitative or quantitative research. Indeed, I have intentionally altered the order of qualitative and quantitative examples throughout the book. Readers should also note that in the longer examples cited in this book, many references are made to other writings. Only the reference to the work I use in the illustration will be cited, not the entire list of references embedded within any particular example. As with my earlier editions, I have maintained features to enhance the readability and understandability of the material: bullets to emphasize key points, numbered points to stress key steps in a process, and longer examples of complete passages with my annotations to highlight key research ideas that are being conveyed by the authors. In this fourth edition of the book, new features have been added in response to developments in research and reader feedback: • Throughout the book, I have cited updated editions of research methods books to emerge since the last edition. • To reflect current thinking about worldviews, I have expanded the participatory worldview, discussed in the last edition, to include a much broader worldview perspective—the transformative worldview—based on recent scholarship (Mertens, 2009, 2010). • There is updated information included in this edition on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (American Psychology Association APA, 2010). • This edition includes a considerable expansion of discussion of ethical issues. A new table now illustrates examples of ethical issues and how they might be addressed in the research process. The ethical issues in this edition have been reorganized under the categories of issues prior to conductingthe study; beginning the study; collecting data; analyzing data; and reporting, sharing, and storing data. • The quantitative methods chapter now includes more information about examining the statistical significance of results, as well as the practical results conveyed through effect sizes and confidence intervals. New references are added to cite recent literature on quantitative methods. • The qualitative methods chapter reflects my recent examination of the topic as found in Creswell (2013). These changes include an update on the characteristics of qualitative research, the types of designs available to the researcher, an extended discussion about the role of the researcher and reflexivity, and an improved section about the steps in qualitative data analysis and interpretation. • The final chapter on mixed methods procedures has been extensively revised to reflect changes in recent years and in the writing about the design and conduct of this form of research in Creswell and Plano Clark (2011) and other writers. As compared with earlier editions, this chapter is more focused on writing a mixed methods section into the methods part of a proposal. It now considers up- to-date thinking about the criteria researchers use to determine what mixed methods design to employ. It revisits the designs and now structures that organization into basic and more advanced designs. Further, the basic designs are discussed in some detail, including their characteristics, data collection and analysis procedures, their writing formats, and the challenges one might expect to find with the design. Current diagrams of the designs are also included, as well as recent citations to the mixed methods literature. • Like all of my editions, this one includes in many chapters a delineation of research tips on different topics that have helped me advise students and faculty in research methods during the past 40 years. • This edition also includes a companion website at with a complete PowerPoint slide presentation ready to use in the classroom, as well as sample activities and end-of-chapter checklists.Part I. Preliminary Considerations This part of the book discusses preparing for the design of a scholarly study. It contains Chapters 1 through 4. Chapter 1. The Selection of a Research Approach In this chapter, I begin by defining quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches. I then discuss how philosophy, designs, and methods intersect when one uses one of these approaches. I review different philosophical stances; advanced types of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods designs; and then discuss the methods associated with each design. I also consider the factors that go into the choice of an approach to research. Thus, this chapter should help proposal developers decide whether a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods approach is suitable for their proposed studies. Chapter 2. Review of the Literature It is important to extensively review the literature on your topic before you design your proposal. Thus, you need to begin with a researchable topic and then explore the literature using the steps advanced in this chapter. This calls for setting a priority for reviewing the literature, drawing a visual map of studies that relate to your topic, writing good abstracts, employing skills learned about using style manuals, and defining key terms. This chapter should help proposal developers thoughtfully consider relevant literature on their topics and start compiling and writing literature reviews for proposals. Chapter 3. The Use of Theory Theories serve different purposes in the three approaches inquiry. In quantitative research, they provide a proposed explanation for the relationship among variables being tested by the investigator. In qualitative research, they may often serve as a lens for the inquiry or they may be generated during the study. In mixed methods studies, researchers employ them in many ways, including those associated with quantitative and qualitative approaches. This chapter helps proposal developers consider and plan how theory might be incorporated into their studies. Chapter 4. Writing Strategies and Ethical Considerations It is helpful to have an overall outline of the topics to be included in a proposal before you begin writing. Thus, this chapter begins with different outlines for writing proposals. The outlines can be used as models depending on whether your proposed study is qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. Then I convey several ideas about the actual writing of the proposal, such as developing a habit of writing, and grammar ideas that have been helpful to me in improving my scholarly writing. Finally, I turn to ethical issues and discuss these not as abstract ideas, but as considerations that need to be anticipated in multiple phases of the research process.Part II. Designing Research In Part II, I turn to the components of designing the research proposal. Chapters 5 through 10 address steps in this process. Chapter 5. The Introduction It is important to properly introduce a research study. I provide a model for writing a good scholarly introduction to your proposal. The chapter begins with designing an abstract for a study. This is followed by developing an introduction to include identifying the research problem or issue, framing this problem within the existing literature, pointing out deficiencies in the literature, and targeting the study for an audience. This chapter provides a systematic method for designing a scholarly introduction to a proposal or study. Chapter 6. The Purpose Statement At the beginning of research proposals, authors mention the central purpose or intent of the study. This passage is the most important statement in the entire proposal, and an entire chapter is devoted to this topic. In this chapter, you learn how to write this statement for quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods studies, and you are provided with scripts that help you design and write these statements. Chapter 7. Research Questions and Hypotheses The questions and hypotheses addressed by the researcher serve to narrow and focus the purpose of the study. As a major signpost in a project, the set of research questions and hypotheses needs to be written carefully. In this chapter, the reader learns how to write both qualitative and quantitative research questions and hypotheses, as well as how to employ both forms in writing mixed methods questions and hypotheses. Numerous examples serve as scripts to illustrate these processes. Chapter 8. Quantitative Methods Quantitative methods involve the processes of collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and writing the results of a study. Specific methods exist in both survey and experimental research that relate to identifying a sample and population, specifying the type of design, collecting and analyzing data, presenting the results, making an interpretation, and writing the research in a manner consistent with a survey or experimental study. In this chapter, the reader learns the specific procedures for designing survey or experimental methods that need to go into a research proposal. Checklists provided in the chapter help to ensure that all steps are included. Chapter 9. Qualitative Methods Qualitative approaches to data collection, analysis, interpretation, and report writing differ from the traditional, quantitative approaches. Purposeful sampling, collection of open-ended data, analysis of text or pictures, representation of information in figures and tables, and personal interpretation of the findings all inform qualitative methods. This chapter advances steps in designing qualitativeprocedures into a research proposal, and it also includes a checklist for making sure that you cover important procedures. Ample illustrations provide examples from narrative studies, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case studies. Chapter 10. Mixed Methods Procedures Mixed methods involves the collection and “mixing” or integration of both quantitative and qualitative data in a study. Mixed methods research has increased in popularity in recent years, and this chapter highlights important developments and provides an introduction in the use of this design. This chapter begins by defining mixed methods research and the core characteristics that describe it. Then the three basic designs in mixed methods research—(a) convergent, (b) explanatory sequential, and (c) exploratory sequential—are detailed in terms of their characteristics, data collection and analysis features, and approaches for interpreting and validating the research. In addition, three advanced designs are also mentioned: (a) the embedded design, (b) the transformative design, and (c) the multiphase design. Finally, I discuss the decisions needed to determine which one of the designs would be best for your mixed methods project. Examples are provided of the basic designs, and, like the other methods chapters, you have a checklist to review whether you included all of the essential steps in your proposal. Designing a study is a difficult and time-consuming process. This book will not necessarily make the process easier or faster, but it can provide specific skills useful in research, knowledge about the steps involved in the process, and a practical guide to composing and writing scholarly research. Before the steps of the process unfold, I recommend that proposal developers think through their approaches to research, conduct literature reviews on their topics, develop an outline of topics to include in a proposal design, and begin anticipating potential ethical issues that may arise in the research. Part I begins with these topics.Acknowledgments his book could not have been written without the encouragement and ideas of the hundreds of students in the doctoral-level Proposal Development course that I taught at the University of T Nebraska-Lincoln for over 30 years. Specific former students and editors were instrumental in its development: Dr. Sharon Hudson, Dr. Leon Cantrell, the late Nette Nelson, Dr. De Tonack, Dr. Ray Ostrander, and Diane Wells. Since the publication of the first edition, I have also become indebted to the students in my introductory research methods courses and to individuals who have participated in my qualitative and mixed methods seminars. These courses have been my laboratories for working out ideas, incorporating new ones, and sharing my experiences as a writer and researcher. In addition, I want to thank my staff over the years in the Office of Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who have helped to conceptualize content in this book. I am indebted to the scholarly work of Dr. Vicki Plano Clark, Dr. Ron Shope, Dr. Kim Galt, Dr. Yun Lu, Dr. Sherry Wang, Amanda Garrett, and Dr. Alex Morales. In addition, I am grateful for the insightful suggestions provided by the reviewers for SAGE. I also could not have produced this book without the support and encouragement of my friends at SAGE. SAGE is and has been a first-rate publishing house. I especially owe much to my former editor and mentor, C. Deborah Laughton (now of Guilford Press), and to Lisa Cuevas-Shaw. My current editor, Vicki Knight, has been most supportive of my work and has encouraged me throughout the process. Thanks, Vicki And I want to thank all the staff of SAGE with whom I have had a pleasure to work through the past 25 years. We have grown together and helped to develop research methods as a distinguished, worldwide field. At SAGE, I have also benefited from the contributions of reviewers to this fourth edition: Gilberto Arriaza, CSU East Bay; Heather J. Brace, Whittier College; RM Cooper, Drake University; Vanessa P. Dennen, The Florida State University; and Lois McFadyen Christensen, University of Alabama at Birmingham.About the Author John W. Creswell is a professor of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He teaches courses on mixed methods research, qualitative inquiry, and general research design. In these three areas, he has authored numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and books. He is currently working on his 22nd book (including new editions), and his books are translated into many languages around the world. At Nebraska, he founded the Office of Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research and has held the Clifton Endowed Chair. He also cofounded the SAGE journal, the Journal of Mixed Methods Research, and has been a popular speaker on mixed methods and qualitative research in the United States and abroad. As an applied research methodologist, he served as an adjunct professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan and as a consultant for the VA health services research unit in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As a methodologist, he helped to design the methods for a number of successful National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) projects. He has been a Senior Fulbright Specialist scholar to both South Africa (2008) and Thailand (2012), lecturing on qualitative and mixed methods approaches to research. Recently, he served as a coleader of a national working group developing “best practices” for mixed methods research at the NIH in the United States. In spring 2013 he will be a Visiting Professor in the School of Public Health, Harvard University. Visit him at his website: IPreliminary Considerations Chapter 1 The Selection of a Research Approach Chapter 2 Review of the Literature Chapter 3 The Use of Theory Chapter 4 Writing Strategies and Ethical Considerations his book is intended to help researchers develop a plan or proposal for a research study. Part I addresses several preliminary considerations that are necessary before designing a T proposal or a plan for a study. These considerations relate to selecting an appropriate research approach, reviewing the literature to position the proposed study within the existing literature, deciding on whether to use a theory in the study, and employing—at the outset— good writing and ethical practices. CHAPTER ONEThe Selection of a Research Approach esearch approaches are plans and the procedures for research that span the steps from broad assumptions to detailed methods of data collection, analysis, and interpretation. This plan involves several decisions, and they need not be taken in the order in which they make sense R to me and the order of their presentation here. The overall decision involves which approach should be used to study a topic. Informing this decision should be the philosophical assumptions the researcher brings to the study; procedures of inquiry (called research designs); and specific research methods of data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The selection of a research approach is also based on the nature of the research problem or issue being addressed, the researchers’ personal experiences, and the audiences for the study. Thus, in this book, research approaches, research designs, and research methods are three key terms that represent a perspective about research that presents information in a successive way from broad constructions of research to the narrow procedures of methods.THE THREE APPROACHES TO RESEARCH In this book, three research approaches are advanced: (a) qualitative, (b) quantitative, and (c) mixed methods. Unquestionably, the three approaches are not as discrete as they first appear. Qualitative and quantitative approaches should not be viewed as rigid, distinct categories, polar opposites, or dichotomies. Instead, they represent different ends on a continuum (Newman & Benz, 1998). A study tends to be more qualitative than quantitative or vice versa. Mixed methods research resides in the middle of this continuum because it incorporates elements of both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Often the distinction between qualitative research and quantitative research is framed in terms of using words (qualitative) rather than numbers (quantitative), or using closed-ended questions (quantitative hypotheses) rather than open-ended questions (qualitative interview questions). A more complete way to view the gradations of differences between them is in the basic philosophical assumptions researchers bring to the study, the types of research strategies used in the research (e.g., quantitative experiments or qualitative case studies), and the specific methods employed in conducting these strategies (e.g., collecting data quantitatively on instruments versus collecting qualitative data through observing a setting). Moreover, there is a historical evolution to both approaches—with the quantitative approaches dominating the forms of research in the social sciences from the late 19th century up until the mid-20th century. During the latter half of the 20th century, interest in qualitative research increased and along with it, the development of mixed methods research. With this background, it should prove helpful to view definitions of these three key terms as used in this book: • Qualitative research is an approach for exploring and understanding the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem. The process of research involves emerging questions and procedures, data typically collected in the participant’s setting, data analysis inductively building from particulars to general themes, and the researcher making interpretations of the meaning of the data. The final written report has a flexible structure. Those who engage in this form of inquiry support a way of looking at research that honors an inductive style, a focus on individual meaning, and the importance of rendering the complexity of a situation. • Quantitative research is an approach for testing objective theories by examining the relationship among variables. These variables, in turn, can be measured, typically on instruments, so that numbered data can be analyzed using statistical procedures. The final written report has a set structure consisting of introduction, literature and theory, methods, results, and discussion. Like qualitative researchers, those who engage in this form of inquiry have assumptions about testing theories deductively, building in protections against bias, controlling for alternative explanations, and being able to generalize and replicate the findings. • Mixed methods research is an approach to inquiry involving collecting both quantitative and qualitative data, integrating the two forms of data, and using distinct designs that may involve philosophical assumptions and theoretical frameworks. The core assumption of this form of inquiry is that the combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches provides a more complete understanding of a research problem than either approach alone. These definitions have considerable information in each one of them. Throughout this book, Idiscuss the parts of the definitions so that their meanings will become clear to you as you read ahead.