The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Monday, November 05, 2012

Reaech Methods

Posted by Seeking Solace |

One of the papers that I have to write for my education policy studies class is a research proposal. The professor thinks that it is important for us to have as much practice writing research proposals as possible. So, I've spent the last couple of weekends putting a proposal together. This past weekend, I spent a significant amount of time writing.

The challenge that I find is writing the methodology. Since this is my first doctoral course and I have not taken a qualitative or quantitative methods course, I am not sure what the best methodology would be for my topic. I understand the difference, but since there is not a significant amount of research on my topic right now, I am not sure which path to take. On top of that, I am not sure how to properly phrase research questions. I can phrase questions for a direct examination or a cross-examination, but this part has me a little stumped.

My professor is not exactly great about responding to emails. Also, my work schedule doesn't really allow me the time to meet with her. Thankfully, I've been working with Awesome Boss, who is now Awesome Boss with a PhD. He just defended his dissertation in the same program I am pursuing.  He has been a great resource, but I don't want to bug him too much.

So, my PhD peeps, what is the best way to figure out what methodology to use?


Anonymous said...

The rule of tumb in my field is to focus on qualitative for research that is "new". I believe you said that not much had been done in your topic area yet. When there are conversations that should be taking place, we take the qualitative approach, get the conversations started and then go quantitative.

What kind of questions do you find yourself asking about your topic? Even if you're not phrasing them as "research questions" strictly speaking, you have questions in mind...what is it you're hoping to uncover? Would it make more sense to do something exploratory with the questions you have or not?

tracynicholrose said...

I agree with Anonymous, not having a lot of research in an area often points to the need for qualitative methods. But so does your question. Are you trying to understand something or are you trying to explain something?

Developing good research questions is really hard. It stumps us all and takes longer than we care to admit. But start with the questions that interest you and go from there. For qualitative, make them broad at first and then try to focus them in a little.

Patty said...

My philosophy PhD has a completely different kind of research, but -- having been married to a political scientist in a past life, it seems that the qualitative method is better if the question is a new one..

Best of luck! You're a smart, kind and compassionate person -- you don't need a PhD to have value, but if that's what you want, you should go get it!