This FOA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Dissertation Award (R36) mechanism. The R36 mechanism is intended to support the completion of a dissertation research project. It is expected that the doctoral candidate will have already completed core coursework and other didactics required for design and interpretation of the research. The total award project period may not exceed two years and dissertation awards are not renewable.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", regulation was mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 which governs the protection of individually identifiable health information. It is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR website () provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools that may be used to determine whether a researcher is a staff member of a covered entity. Compliance with the Privacy Rule for those classified under the Rule as "covered entities" is mandatory. Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with covered entities. Project Officers will assist grantees in resolving questions about the applicability of HIPAA requirements.
Surveys are a common research method in the social sciences, including library and information science. They allow characteristics of a population to be estimated, via statistics, through analysis of the quantified responses given to questions by a small sample of the population (Fowler, 2002; Hank, Jordan, & Wildemuth, 2009; Sapsford, 1999). Surveys consist of “a set of items, formulated as statements or questions, used to generate a response to each stated item” (Hank et al., 2009, p. 257). The data collected may describe the beliefs, opinions, attitudes, or behaviors of participants on varied topics, although most research surveys have a special purpose and focus (Fowler, 2002). This is true in the case of the survey used here, which focused on obtaining data on uses of LibraryThing and Goodreads by a sample of its users, in the specific context of their usage as boundary objects within and across social and information worlds.
The following sections cover the components of survey research methods cited by Fowler (2002, pp. 4–8) and Hank et al. (2009) as they apply to the survey used in this study. These include discussion of the unit of analysis, population, and sampling (sections and ); concept operationalization and survey question design (sections ); pretesting and data collection (); and data analysis (). The survey was designed as a coherent whole—as recommended by Fowler (2002, p. 7)—and in relation to the content analysis and interview methods used in other phases of the study.
For analysis, the documents were imported into NVivo qualitative analysis software, version 10, running on a MacBook Pro via a virtualized Windows 7 installation. Each message was examined and codes were assigned based on its latent meaning and interpretation. The codes to be assigned drew from boundary object theory, the social worlds perspective, and the theory of information worlds, which served as an interpretive and theoretical framework for the content analysis (cf. Ahuvia, 2001). These codes were common to multiple phases of this study, and can be found in below. So-called “open” codes, not included in the list but judged by the researcher to be emergent in the data and relevant to the study’s purpose and research questions, could be assigned during the content analysis and coding process, as recommended by Ahuvia (2001) for interpretive content analyses and others for general qualitative data analysis (e.g. Charmaz, 2006). Findings from the data as coded and analyzed, including open codes, are included in , .
Once you are familiar with the four types of research design (i.e., descriptive, experimental, quasi-experimental and relationship-based), you need to think about the route that you are adopting, and the approach within that route in order to set the research design in your dissertation:
The research design that you use has a significant influence on your choice of research methods, the research quality of your findings, and even aspects of research ethics that you will have to think about.
If you are taking on Route A: Duplication, you would typically not be expected to make any changes to the research design used in the main journal article when setting the research design for your dissertation. After all, the purpose of the dissertation is duplication, where you are, in effect, re-testing the study in the main journal article to see if the same (or similar) findings are found. An important aspect of such re-testing is typically the use of the same research strategy applied in the main journal article. As such, if an experimental research design was used in the main journal article, with 3 groups (e.g., two treatment groups and one control group), your dissertation would also use an experimental design with the same group characteristics (i.e., 3 groups, with two treatment groups and one control group). The research design you used would also have the same goals as those in the main journal article (e.g., the goal of relating two constructs, perhaps study time and exam performance, in order to answer a relationship-based research question/hypothesis).
You will have to state which type of research design you are using in your dissertation when writing up the Research Design section of your .
However, there are some instances where, from a practical standpoint, you may find that it is not possible to use the same research design, perhaps because an experimental research design was used, but you are unable to randomly selected people from the population you can get access to, forcing you to use a quasi-experimental research design. But the goal will be to use the same research design in your dissertation as the one applied in the main journal article. Again, you can learn about the differences between experimental and quasi-experimental designs in the section of the part of Lærd Dissertation.
If you are exploring the relationship between variables (i.e., Goal A), you are likely to be following a relationship-based research design (i.e., a type of non-experimental research design). However, if you are predicting the score or a membership of a group (i.e., Goal B) or testing for differences between groups or treatment conditions (i.e., Goal C), you are likely to be following either an experimental or quasi-experimental research design. Unless you already understand the differences between experimental, quasi-experimental and relationship-based research designs, you should read about these different research designs in the section of the part of Lærd Dissertation now. You need to do this for two main reasons:
An alternative is to remove identifiers (e.g., vernacular terms, names, geographical cues, etc.) or provide proxies when writing up. However, such a stripping of identifiable information may not always be possible to anticipate at the outset of your dissertation when thinking about issues of research ethics. This is not only a consideration for dissertations following a qualitative research design, but also a quantitative research design [for more information, see the article: ].