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The Selection of a Research Design-Creswell 2009

The Selection of a Research Design-Creswell 2009

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~
CHAPTER
ONE
TheSelectionofaResearchDesign
R
esearchdesignsareplansandtheproceduresforresearchthatspanthedecisionsfrombroadassumptionstodetailedmethodsofdatacollectionandanalysis.Thisplaninvolvesseveraldeci-sions,andtheyneednotbetakenintheorderinwhichtheymakesensetomeandtheorderoftheirpresentationhere.Theoveralldecisioninvolveswhichdesignshouldbeusedtostudyatopic.Informingthisdecisionshouldbetheworldviewassumptionstheresearcherbringstothestudy;proceduresofinquiry(calledstrategies);andspecificmeth-odsofdatacollection,analysis,andinterpretation.Theselectionofaresearchdesignisalsobasedonthenatureoftheresearchproblemorissuebeingaddressed,theresearchers'personalexperiences,andtheaudiencesforthestudy.
THETHREETYPESOFDESIGNS
Inthisbook,threetypesofdesignsareadvanced:qualitative,quantitative,andmixedmethods.Unquestionably,thethreeapproachesarenotasdis-creteastheyfirstappear.Qualitativeandquantitativeapproachesshouldnotbeviewedaspolaroppositesordichotomies;instead,theyrepresentdifferentendsonacontinuum(Newman&Benz,1998).Astudy
tends
tobemorequalitativethanquantitativeorviceversa.Mixedmethodsresearchresidesinthemiddleofthiscontinuumbecauseitincorporateselementsofbothqualitativeandquantitativeapproaches.Oftenthedistinctionbetweenqualitativeandquantitativeresearchisframedintermsofusingwords(qualitative)ratherthannumbers(quantitative),orusingclosed-endedquestions(quantitativehypotheses)ratherthanopen-endedquestions(qualitativeinterviewquestions).A)recompletewaytoviewthegradationsofdifferencesbetweenthemisthebasicphilosophicalassumptionsresearchersbringtothestudy,the
 
4PreliminaryConsiderations
typesofresearchstrategiesusedoverallintheresearch(e.g.,quantitativeexperimentsorqualitativecasestudies),andthespecificmethodsemployedinconductingthesestrategies(e.g.,collectingdataquantita-tivelyoninstrumentsversuscollectingqualitativedatathroughobservingasetting).Moreover,thereisahistoricalevolutiontobothapproaches,withthequantitativeapproachesdominatingtheformsofresearchinthesocialsciencesfromthelate19thcenturyupuntilthemid-20thcentury.Duringthelatterhalfofthe20thcentury,interestinqualitativeresearchincreasedandalongwithit,thedevelopmentofmixedmethodsresearch(seeCreswell,2008,formoreofthishistory).Withthisbackground,itshouldprovehelpfultoviewdefinitionsofthesethreekeytermsasusedinthisbook:
.Qualitativeresearch
isameansforexploringandunderstandingthemeaningindividualsorgroupsascribetoasocialorhumanproblem.Theprocessofresearchinvolvesemergingquestionsandprocedures,datatypicallycollectedintheparticipant'ssetting,dataanalysisinductivelybuildingfromparticularstogeneralthemes,andtheresearchermakinginterpretationsofthemeaningofthedata.Thefinalwrittenreporthasaflexiblestructure.Thosewhoengageinthisformofinquirysupportawayoflookingatresearchthathonorsaninductivestyle,afocusonindividualmeaning,andtheimportanceofrenderingthecomplexityofasituation(adaptedfromCreswell,2007).
.Quantitativeresearch
isameansfortestingobjectivetheoriesbyexaminingtherelationshipamongvariables.Thesevariables,inturn,canbemeasured,typicallyoninstruments,sothatnumbereddatacanbeana-lyzedusingstatisticalprocedures.Thefinalwrittenreporthasasetstruc-tureconsistingofintroduction,literatureandtheory,methods,results,anddiscussion(Creswell.2008).Likequalitativeresearchers,thosewhoengageinthisformofinquiryhaveassumptionsabouttestingtheoriesdeductively,buildinginprotectionsagainstbias,controllingforalternativeexplanations,andbeingabletogeneralizeandreplicatethefindings.
.Mixedmethodsresearch
isanapproachtoinquirythatcombinesorassociatesbothqualitativeandquantitativeforms.Itinvolvesphilo-sophicalassumptions,theuseofqualitativeandquantitativeapproaches,andthemixingofbothapproachesinastudy.Thus,itismorethansim-plycollectingandanalyzingbothkindsofdata;italsoinvolvestheuseofbothapproachesintandemsothattheoverallstrengthofastudyisgreaterthaneitherqualitativeorquantitativeresearch(Creswell&PIanoClark,2007).
Thesedefinitionshaveconsiderableinformationineachoneofthem.Throughoutthisbook,Idiscussthepartsofthedefinitionssothattheirmeaningsbecomecleartoyou.
 
TheSelectionofaResearchDesign
5
THREECOMPONENTSINVOLVEDINADESIGN
Two
important
components
ineachdefinitionarethattheapproachto
researchinvolvesphilosophicalassumptionsaswellasdistinctmethods
orprocedw-es.Researchdesign,whichIrefertoasthe
plan
orproposal
toconductresearch,
involvestheintersectionofphilosophy,strategiesof
inquiry,andspecificmethods.AframeworkthatIusetoexplaintheinter-actionofthesethreecomponentsisseeninFigure1.1.Toreiterate,inplanningastudy,researchersneedtothinkthroughthephilosophicalworldviewassumptionsthattheybringtothestudy,thestrategyofinquirythatisrelatedtothisworldview,andthespecificmethodsorproceduresofresearchthattranslatetheapproachintopractice.
PhilosophicalWorldviews
Althoughphilosophicalideasremainlargelyhiddeninresearch(Slife&Williams,1995),theystillinfluencethepracticeofresearchandneedtobeidentified.Isuggestthatindividualspreparingaresearchproposalorplanmakeexplicitthelargerphilosophicalideastheyespouse.Thisinformationwillhelpexplainwhytheychosequalitative,quantitative,ormixedmethods
PhilosophicalWorldviaw5PostpositiveSocialconstructionAdvocacy/participatoryPragmatic
of
.
SelectedStrategiesofJnquiry
QuaHta:tivestrat~gies..(e.g.,ethnography)Quantitativestrategies(e.g.,experirnents)Mixedmethodsstartegies(e.g.,sequential)
ResearchDesigns
Qualitative;~QyantitativeMixedmethodsResearchMethodsQuestionsDatacollectionDataanalysisInterpretationWtitecUpValidation
Figure
1.1AFrameworkforDesign-TheInterconnectionofWorldviews,Strategies
ofInCluiry,ondR~~MrchMMhods
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