Before conducting a qualtitative study, a researcher must do three things. First, (s)he must adopt the stance suggested by the characteristics of the naturalist paradigm. Second, the researcher must develop the level of skill appropriate for a human instrument, or the vehicle through which data will be collected and interpreted. Finally, the researcher must prepare a research design that utilizes accepted strategies for naturalistic inquiry (Lincoln and Guba, 1985).
If you choose to take on a quantitative dissertation, you will learn more about these characteristics, not only in the section of Lærd Dissertation, but throughout the articles we have written to help guide you through the choices you need to make when doing a quantitative dissertation. For now, we recommend that you read the next section, , which will help you choose the type of dissertation you may want to follow.
. Does the proposed dissertation project address an important problem unique to the mission of AHRQ? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, health care delivery, or clinical practice be advanced? What will be the effect of this research on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, preventative interventions, or health care policies that drive this field?
Credibility depends less on sample size than on the richness of the information gathered and on the analytical abilities of the researcher ( ). It can be enhanced through triangulation of data. Patton identifies four types of triangulation: 1) methods triangulation; 2) data triangulation; 3) triangulation through multiple analysts; and 4) theory triangulation. Other techniques for addressing credibility include making segments of the raw data available for others to analyze, and the use of "member checks," in which respondents are asked to corroborate findings ( ).
In conventional inquiry, internal validity refers to the extent to which the findings accurately describe reality. Lincoln and Guba ( ) state that "the determination of such isomorphism is in principle impossible" ( ), because one would have to know the "precise nature of that reality" and, if one knew this already, there would be no need to test it ( ). The conventional researcher must postulate relationships and then test them; the postulate cannot be proved, but only falsified. The naturalistic researcher, on the other hand, assumes the presence of multiple realities and attempts to represent these multiple realities adequately. Credibility becomes the test for this.
In our Research Strategy section, we introduce these major components, which include research paradigms, research designs, research methods, sampling strategies and data analysis techniques. Whilst all of these components can have ethical implications for your dissertation, we focus on research designs, a couple of research methods, sampling strategies, and data analysis techniques to illustrate some of the factors you will need to think about when designing and conducting your dissertation, as well as writing up the Research Ethics section of your Research Strategy chapter (typically Chapter Three: Research Strategy). The impact of each of these components of research strategy on research ethics is discussed in turn:
If you are using secondary sources when writing your dissertation methodology, or books containing data collected by other researchers, then you Writing A Methodology For Dissertation won't
However, it is not necessary to pit these two paradigms against one another in a competing stance. Patton ( ) advocates a "paradigm of choices" that seeks " as the primary criterion for judging methodological quality." This will allow for a "situational responsiveness" that strict adherence to one paradigm or another will not (p. 39). Furthermore, some researchers believe that qualitative and quantitative research can be effectively combined in the same research project ( ). For example, Russek and Weinberg ( ) claim that by using both quantitative and qualitative data, their study of technology-based materials for the elementary classroom gave insights that neither type of analysis could provide alone.
Research ethics is not a one size fits all approach. The research strategy that you choose to guide your dissertation determines the approach that you should take towards research ethics. Even though all dissertation research at the undergraduate and master's level should adhere to the basic ethical principles of doing good (i.e., beneficence) and doing no harm (i.e., malfeasance), this does not mean that the approach you take towards research ethics will be the same as other students. Rather, the approach to research ethics that you adopt in your dissertation should be consistent with your chosen research strategy. Since your research strategy consists of a number of components, the approach you adopt should reflect each of these components.
This introduction to the Quantitative Dissertations part of Lærd Dissertation has two goals: (a) to provide you with a sense of the broad characteristics of quantitative research, if you do not know about these characteristics already; and (b) to introduce you to the three main types (routes) of quantitative dissertation that we help you with in Lærd Dissertation: replication-based dissertations; data-driven dissertations; and theory-driven dissertations. When you have chosen which route you want to follow, we send you off to the relevant parts of Lærd Dissertation where you can find out more.
Each type of research design that you can use to guide your dissertation has unique ethical challenges. These types of research design include , and . The impact of each of these types of research design on research ethics is discussed in turn:
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