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Components of a Research Study

Except where noted, these are from Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki (2007).
Three major components of a research study.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

1) Reflective inquiry.
2) Procedures.
3) Data quality indicators.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

Reflective inquiry components [7]
1) Problem statement.
2) Literature review.
3) Theoretical framework.
4) Logical structure.
5) Objectives.
6) Research questions.
7) Hypotheses.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

Problem statement components [4].
1) Lead-in.
2) Statement of originality.
3) Direction.
4) Study value or justification.
Creswell [2014].
Problem [aka purpose] statements contain information about the central phenomenon explored in the study.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

Literature review.
Serves to review the chain of reasoning that others have developed.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

Procedure components [2].
1) Research design.
2) Methodology.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

Procedures: Research design [3].
1. Describe the population under investigation.
2. Describe the sample, if a sample is used.
3. Describe when and where will the study will be conducted.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

Procedures: Methodology.
The means by which investigators collect data:

Quantitative, qualitative, or both.
Single or mixed-method.
Data collection instrument(s).
Actual process of data collection.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

Data quality indicators [2]
1) Reliability.
2) Validity.

In qualitative research, these may be reflected by credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability.
Creswell [2014]. Literature map.
This is a visual representation of the literature review, created to help guide the writer in organizing the review.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

Theoretical framework.
Takes the problem statement direction and lays out variables and terms, as well as relationships among them, within which a problem is explored.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

Logical structure.
Visual representation of the problem statement. Lays out all the areas in which the researchers will have to make decisions. Theme, who, how, where, when.
Purpose of the logical structure.
Hernon [2008].
The logical structure creates a visualization that gives the investigator an opportunity to review possible variable choices, finalize the problem statement, and set the stage for the subsequent research design.
Creswell [2014].
Research questions.
Ask one or two central research questions.

Look for the broadest questions you can ask.

Then develop five to seven sub-questions.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].

1) Descriptive objectives generate research questions.
2) Comparison or contrasting objectives require hypotheses.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].
Associated with relating objectives. Less common in qualitative research. Investigator would either support or not support a hypothesis, versus proving or disproving it.
Hernon, 2001.

Full outline of a completed research study.
Problem Statement.
Literature Review.
Research Questions, Hypotheses.
Presentation of findings. Best practices.
Hernon, Dugan, and Nitecki [2011].
1. Problem statement up front.
2. Opening paragraphs grab readers attention.
3. Clear orderly progression linking sections.
4. Citations.
5. Explain study procedures.
6. Separate findings from interpretation or discussion.
Anfara & Mertz [2006].
Theoretical frameworks in qualitative research:
Theory is unavoidable, whether explicitly or implicitly used.
Theoretical framework functions as a sieve, a lens, or reassembling a broken mirror.
Theory enables qualitative researchers to deal with massive amounts of data.
Situates research in a scholarly conversation.
Creswell, 2013. Problem statement best practices.
1. Signal its presence with terms such as "purpose" or "intent."
2. Focus on a single idea or phenomenon.
3. Use action verbs.
4. Use neutral phrases. Avoid "useful," "positive."
5. provide a general working definition of the idea.
6. Mention participants and the site for research.
7. Mention strategy, e.g. grounded theory.