2 Research Onion Research Philosophy Research Approach Strategies Time HorizonsData Collection
3 Research PhilosophyYour research philosophy depends on the way that you think about knowledge is developed or created, how we gain understanding of things (“epistemology”).Your way of thinking will affect the way you go about doing research.Generally, there are two key research philosophies, the positivism and phenomenology.
5 Philosophy - Positivism You are working with an observable reality. Research can produce laws. Results can be generalised, similar to those produced by natural scientists.You are working objectively, with little or no personal interpretation of the data.You need a structured methodology to gain quantitative data which is replicable and can be analysed using stats.
6 Philosophy - Phenomenology You are researching human behaviour. This may be too complex to follow a definite law in the same way as the natural sciences.Generalisability is not of crucial importance, since we are focussing on a particular problem or situationPhenomenology highlights the details of the situation to understand a reality working behind them.
8 The Research Approach Deductive approach: testing theory HypothesesDataConfirmationPatternsTentative HypothesesDeductiveInductiveDeductive approach:testing theoryInductive approach: building theory
9 Deductive vs. Inductive Deductive ApproachInductive ApproachScientific principlesMoving from theory to dataThe need to explain causal relationships between variablesThe collection of quantitative dataThe application of controls to ensure data validityA highly structured approachResearcher independence of what is being researchedThe necessity to select samples of sufficient size in order to generalise conclusionsGaining an understanding of the meaning humans attach to eventsA close understanding of the research contextThe collection of qualitative dataA more flexible structure to permit changes of research emphasis as the research progressesA realisation that the researcher is part of the research processLess concern with the need to generalise
12 Survey MethodThe survey method is usually associated with the deductive approach – surveys are “experiments”.It allows the collection of a large amount of data from a sizeable population in a highly economical way.It is often conducted on questionnaire to answer those ‘What’ and ‘How’ questions. Its data are standardised and so allow easy comparison.It gives you more control over the research process, however, it takes time to design and pilot a good questionnaire.
13 Experimental MethodThe Experimental Method is a classical form of research that comes from the natural science. The process usually involves:The definition of a theoretical hypothesis.Select a sample of a population.Allocate samples to different experimental conditions.Introduce planned change on one variable (the “independent” variable).Measure the change of an associated “dependent” variable.Control of other variables.
15 Time HorizonsConsider the amount of time you have, do you want your research to be a ‘snapshot’ or a ‘diary’?The snapshot reflects the cross-sectional studies.The diary reflects the longitudinal studies