Types of dissertation

Students often ask "how many subjects or informants" do I need for my study. Oftentimes, it is a difficult question to answer. Students should avoid applying the sampling principles of quantitative research. The key consideration in sampling in qualitative research is "saturation" and not representativeness and the size of the sample is not statistically determined Neuman, The researcher worked in conjunction with the Head of Department, in choosing participants, based on their level of experience in caring for patients that suffer from dementia as well as their qualifications.

Choose an effective purpose statement

There were 12 potential participants, of whom seven participated in the study. Some of the nurses were not available as they were off duty, off sick, on holiday, while others did not want to participate in the study In-person interviews were conducted and recorded in a quiet, neutral location where the participants were not in danger and there was no intimidation or coercion Langen Chapter 3 Research Design and Methodology. Some experts suggest that pilot-tests are not important for qualitative research while others suggest it would be useful for novice researchers to do pilot-test.

For example, if you are using interviews for the first time, it would advisable for you to conduct interview as a pre-exercise to get used to the type of data collection. The pilot test will assist the researcher in determining if there are flaws, limitations, or other weaknesses within the interview design and enable the researcher to make necessary revisions prior to the implementation of the study. However, the informants or participants involved in the pilot-test should similar to the informants involved in the final study. It has also been suggested that the pilot test can the researcher with the refinement of research questions.

A pilot-study was conducted with 3 senior managers and were interviewed at their workplace. The interview was audio-recorded to ensure correct use of the device. During the exercise, attention was given to body language and non-verbal responses and the manner of asking questions. As the researcher was the main data collection instrument, the pilot-study provided an insight into phenomenon studied, increased experience in interviewing as well as enhanced interpersonal skills.

Also errors in interviewing skills were rectified and not repeated in the main study. You should include the following in this sub-section:. Throughout the research process, you have interacted with your informants or participants or subjects and there is always the likelihood that you may impact the methodology or findings of the study.

Especially in qualitative research, it is difficult for you to distant yourself from the subjects you interact with. Hence, it is necessary that you state your 'position' which is described as 'reflexivity'. In short, it is a process of continuous self-analysis in which you reflect more deeply on the experiences you encountered when doing the research. For example, if you study involves issues of race, ethnicity or religion, you would be concerned how your race, ethnicity or religion being different from your subjects influence interactions with them.

The nature of qualitative research puts you in the position of having to be close with your subjects and it is reasonable to expect your beliefs, political stance, gender, socioeconomic status, educational background and so forth to influence the research process. It is critical that you be mindful of your own biases when you interview or observe your subjects.

How to write a research methodology

Under the section 'Researcher's Positionality', you state:. Brian Bourke Positionality: Reflecting on the Research Process. The Qualitative Report. How to Article 18, ]. This chapter discussed in detail the research philosophy, strategy and methodology As mentioned earlier, in Chapter 3, you write about the research design, data collection methods, selection of the sample, the pilot test, instrumentation and others.

Academic Phrasebank by Dr. John Morley, The University of Manchester. Excerpt of the 'Preamble' sub-section : "The study examined decision-making styles and its effects on employee performance in the workplace. For example, why did you choose the case study method or the grounded theory method or the narrative inquiry method.

Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods dissertations | Getting started with Lærd Dissertation

Show how the method you had chosen helped accomplish the goals of the study. Focus only on what you employed and implemented in your study. Discuss in detail the steps you took when using a particular design. For example, if you study used the ethnographic design or method, write as though it were like an 'operators's manual' that you might share with others so they can be assured that someone can replicated your design.


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Description of your research design needs to have enough detail to eliminate assumptions of the need to ask questions by someone who want to adopt or adapt your research design. Cite from textbooks and articles on qualitative methods by the greats such as Guba, Lincoln, Creswell, Merriam, Patton, Charmaz and others. However, do not take chunks from these authors but focus on what you need in telling readers about the particular design or method you used or had adapted accordingly.

Overview of Qualitative Research Methods

Excerpt of the Research Design or Method Sub-Section: "The case study method was used in this study because it is well-suited in answering the research questions appropriately and adequately. Discuss where the Interview with your subjects or informants took place.

How To Present Study Limitations and Alternatives

How did you arrange the setting to ensure the level of quiet, intimacy and privacy. Excerpt of the 'Data Collection Techniques' sub-section: "On-site interviews and observations was the main data collection techniques for the study Tell the reader how you chose the informants for your study - Usually, 'purposive sampling' is used because the informants are available, convenient and most importantly represent characteristics you want to study Silverman, Outline the procedures you adopted for selecting the sample of 10 Managers including justification for the sampling method or sampling procedure; i.

Unlike quantitative research, in which researchers state specific hypotheses and then collect data to empirically test them, most qualitative research employs an inductive approach in which the researcher first collects data and then attempts to derive explanations from those data. As such, qualitative research tends to be more exploratory in nature, seeking to provide insight into how individuals or organizations, groups, etc.

During these sessions, students can get answers to questions about the research design and rationale, the role of the researcher, the selection of participants, instrumentation, procedure, data analysis plan, issues of trustworthiness, data analysis and results. There are numerous data collection techniques commonly used in qualitative research. A classic approach is observation, also sometimes called field research.

Qualitative research

Observation in the qualitative research tradition requires prolonged, systematic assessment of a particular setting. Researchers can choose to remain separate from the setting they are observing, by passively observing without revealing their purpose or by actively disclosing that they are a researcher conducting observations of the setting. Researchers can also take the role of participant observers, becoming actively involved in the setting they are observing and carefully recording both their observations and their own actions and interpretations of the setting. The data collected through observations are the carefully recorded notes which the researcher makes immediately after each observation, which may include descriptions, impressions, quotes, and even sketches when spatial aspects of the setting appear important.

In-depth interviews are often conducted by researchers to guide individuals in sharing their perspectives on the phenomena of interest. Interviews can be highly structured based on a standard set of questions which the researcher asks of numerous individuals or more free-flowing like a conversation. When recording is not possible, researchers generally take brief notes during the interview and record more detailed impressions immediately following. While in-depth interviews are useful for collecting the perspectives of individuals, focus group interviews are an excellent tool for uncovering how groups of similar individuals understand a particular phenomenon.


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A well-conducted focus group provides the opportunity for individuals to interact with one another and with the moderator to produce a shared narrative of the phenomenon of interest; this process can be an invaluable tool in understanding how the various perspectives shared through in-depth interviews fit together.