Initial Research for Your Dissertation
If you’ve made it to the dissertation, it means you have surmounted the requirements in your classes, which must have required much reading, analysis, and revision. By now, you have hopefully realized that things don’t always end up as expected, which is why it pays to work smart by planning ahead.
So read further for some tips to help you tackle your dissertation.
1. Consider the data and your research methodology
If you think about it, data and research methodology go hand-in-hand. The data you want to analyze affects the methodology, and the methodology you want requires certain data.
If your topic is relatively new, then you can opt for qualitative research. You’ll probably need a lot of primary data for this, which is information you will obtain yourself. If your purpose is to confirm something, you may need quantitative research where you might need primary data or most probably secondary data (information that has been collected by others). One final option is a mixed research, where you combine measurable data with observations and interviews, which usually needs a combination of primary and secondary data.
2. If you select the qualitative method
Keep in mind that this is a good way to get into the details of your topic. You can ask in-depth questions and explore connected behaviors or circumstances. There are also multiple tools available (surveys, focus groups, interviews), so there are many ways to obtain info.
But you do have to consider who your participants will be. Although your research may be very helpful to society, not everyone may readily agree to be interviewed or observed. And for the research to be a good one, you may need a decent number of participants.
You will also need to craft your instruments well. Your surveys, interview questions, and focus group procedures need to be validated by experts before putting them to use.
3. If you select the quantitative method
The good news about this method is that your findings may be applied to the population in general since statistical measures may affirm the soundness of your test. This is because you can test your ideas by removing extraneous variables.
Since testing is a big part of quantitative research, you must look into the effectiveness of your test and also validate any material you may use. You must also think about where you will get your input. Do you need primary data, secondary data, or both?
While considering your experiment, you must ensure which statistical tools you’ll need to interpret your results. If you are familiar with statistical software, then great! If not, you will need a statistician.
4. If you select the mixed method
Many advisors recommend this approach since it combines qualitative and quantitative research. You can tackle the problem in detail while supporting your findings with the numbers needed to prove your point.
But this also means your research design will be more complex as you are combining both. There are many methods available such as a sequential exploratory design, concurrent triangulation design, or concurrent nested design. So do look into which one is best to achieve your goal.
A dissertation is a big endeavor that requires much planning before you can begin. So do spend quality time doing initial research so that you know what must be done.