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Research Proposal Methodology: Research Philosophy, Data Collection Methods, Data Analysis Technique


In conjunction with the first assignment, this assignment forms your complete research proposal. This will serve as a guide to your dissertation next year, and should contain the following sections:

1.Research Philosophy. In which philosophical paradigm are you rooting your dissertation? 

2.Data Collection Methods. How are you getting your data and which tools for data collection are you using?

3.Data Analysis Techniques. How are you going to analyse your data when you have collected it?

4.Ethical Issues. How will your research comply with the principles of ethical research?

N.B. Please remember that the Methodology section should be heavily referenced, drawing on general methodology textbooks, books that focus on particular data collection methods and analysis techniques and ethics, and journal articles. The number of references will vary, but you should be aiming for at least 20 to 30.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.How does this relate to the first assignment?
A.You may want to include a couple of lines of introduction, outlining your CW1, as often when justifying your choices, you will justify it based on your theory/context from CW1. However, CW2 is not marked in reference to CW1. They are marked independently, but you may find that your theory/context helps to justify your methodological decisions (it certainly will in the final dissertation).

Q.What do you mean by research philosophy/philosophical paradigm?
A.Try these links if you are unsure how your philosophy, data collection, and data analysis all fit together: Note these are not replacements for good academic research, and should only be used as guides. Different research philosophies are often associated with particular methods of data collection and analysis. Qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups etc.) are typically rooted in an interpretivist research philosophy, while quantitative methods (surveys, some forms of secondary data collection) typically stem from a positivist research philosophy. There are some students thinking about mixed methods; you may wish to consider pragmatism(s – there are a few different versions) or critical realism as philosophical approaches that transcend the (often artificial) interpretivist-positivist division. A helpful questionnaire for understanding your Research Philosophy can be found on Vision alongside the slides for Lecture 4. 

Q.Do I just write about the methods I’m using, or should I write about others too?
A.Good examples of this assignment will thoroughly justify the choice of philosophy and data collection/analysis techniques. You should talk critically about your choices and justify these in comparison to other choices available, the existing literature, and why yours are the most appropriate choices for your particular investigation.

Q.How detailed should I be? For example, should I include questions I’d ask participants?
A.There is no need to include the actual questions you are going to ask in your research methodology, but your data collection section should make it clear how exactly you would conduct your study, to the point that someone else could set up a similar study.

Please note that it is your responsibility as an adult learner to seek out and study the meanings and applications of the various aspects of research methods beyond the lecture materials. Writing and responding to emails asking for definitions and meanings that are freely available in libraries (on and offline) is not a good use of anyone’s time. Please also refer to the examples of previous submissions on Vision. While these are not perfect, they are a useful guide.

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