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Guide to undergraduate dissertations in the social sciences

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❶Support Center Support Center. In other words, you usually have to analyse data that you have either collected yourself or data that is already available.




For the purposes of this article, principles are general statements outlining what we propose are important aims or considerations within a particular review process, given the unique objectives or challenges to be overcome with this type of review.

Thus, generic challenges give rise to principles, which in turn give rise to strategies. We organize the principles and strategies below into three sections corresponding to processes characteristic of most systematic literature synthesis approaches: Within each section, we also describe the specific methodological decisions and procedures used in the overview on sampling in qualitative research [ 18 ] to illustrate how the principles and strategies for each review process were applied and implemented in a specific case.

We expect this guidance and accompanying illustrations will be useful for anyone considering engaging in a methods overview, particularly those who may be familiar with conventional systematic review methods but may not yet appreciate some of the challenges specific to reviewing the methods literature. The identification and selection process includes search and retrieval of publications and the development and application of inclusion and exclusion criteria to select the publications that will be abstracted and analyzed in the final review.

Literature identification and selection for overviews of the methods literature is challenging and potentially more resource-intensive than for most reviews of empirical research. This is true for several reasons that we describe below, alongside discussion of the potential solutions.

Additionally, we suggest in this section how the selection procedures can be chosen to match the specific analytic approach used in methods overviews. One aspect of methods overviews that can make identification and selection challenging is the fact that the universe of literature containing potentially relevant information regarding most methods-related topics is expansive and often unmanageably so.

Reviewers are faced with two large categories of literature: In our systematic overview of sampling in qualitative research, exhaustively searching including retrieval and first-pass screening all publication types across both categories of literature for information on a single methods-related topic was too burdensome to be feasible.

The following proposed principle follows from the need to delimit a manageable set of literature for the review. Considering the broad universe of potentially relevant literature, we propose that an important objective early in the identification and selection stage is to delimit a manageable set of methods-relevant publications in accordance with the objectives of the methods overview. We propose that reviewers are justified in choosing to select only the methods literature when the objective is to map out the range of recognized concepts relevant to a methods topic, to summarize the most authoritative or influential definitions or meanings for methods-related concepts, or to demonstrate a problematic lack of clarity regarding a widely established methods-related concept and potentially make recommendations for a preferred approach to the methods topic in question.

For example, in the case of the methods overview on sampling [ 18 ], the primary aim was to define areas lacking in clarity for multiple widely established sampling-related topics.

In the review on intention-to-treat in the context of missing outcome data [ 17 ], the authors identified a lack of clarity based on multiple inconsistent definitions in the literature and went on to recommend separating the issue of how to handle missing outcome data from the issue of whether an intention-to-treat analysis can be claimed.

In contrast to strategy 1, it may be appropriate to select the methods-relevant sections of empirical study reports when the objective is to illustrate how a methods concept is operationalized in research practice or reported by authors. Such reviews are often used to highlight gaps in the reporting practices regarding specific methods, which may be used to justify items to address in reporting guidelines for example, [ 14 — 16 ].

It is worth recognizing that other authors have advocated broader positions regarding the scope of literature to be considered in a review, expanding on our perspective. Suri [ 10 ] who, like us, emphasizes how different sampling strategies are suitable for different literature synthesis objectives has, for example, described a two-stage literature sampling procedure pp.

First, reviewers use an initial approach to conduct a broad overview of the field—for reviews of methods topics, this would entail an initial review of the research methods literature.

This is followed by a second more focused stage in which practical examples are purposefully selected—for methods reviews, this would involve sampling the empirical literature to illustrate key themes and variations. While this approach is seductive in its capacity to generate more in depth and interpretive analytic findings, some reviewers may consider it too resource-intensive to include the second step no matter how selective the purposeful sampling. In the overview on sampling where we stopped after the first stage [ 18 ], we discussed our selective focus on the methods literature as a limitation that left opportunities for further analysis of the literature.

We explicitly recommended, for example, that theoretical sampling was a topic for which a future review of the methods sections of empirical reports was justified to answer specific questions identified in the primary review. Ultimately, reviewers must make pragmatic decisions that balance resource considerations, combined with informed predictions about the depth and complexity of literature available on their topic, with the stated objectives of their review.

The remaining principles and strategies apply primarily to overviews that include the methods literature, although some aspects may be relevant to reviews that include empirical study reports. An important reality affecting identification and selection in overviews of the methods literature is the increased likelihood for relevant publications to be located in sources other than journal articles which is usually not the case for overviews of empirical research, where journal articles generally represent the primary publication type.

In the overview on sampling [ 18 ], out of 41 full-text publications retrieved and reviewed, only 4 were journal articles, while 37 were books or book chapters. Since many books and book chapters did not exist electronically, their full text had to be physically retrieved in hardcopy, while 11 publications were retrievable only through interlibrary loan or purchase request.

The tasks associated with such retrieval are substantially more time-consuming than electronic retrieval. Since a substantial proportion of methods-related guidance may be located in publication types that are less comprehensively indexed in standard bibliographic databases, identification and retrieval thus become complicated processes. Considering that important sources of methods guidance can be located in non-journal publication types e.

To identify books, book chapters, and other non-journal publication types not thoroughly indexed in standard bibliographic databases, reviewers may choose to consult one or more of the following less standard sources: Google Scholar, publisher web sites, or expert opinion.

In the case of the overview on sampling in qualitative research [ 18 ], Google Scholar had two advantages over other standard bibliographic databases: While we identified numerous useful publications by consulting experts, the author publication lists generated through Google Scholar searches were uniquely useful to identify more recent editions of methods books identified by experts.

This was because for the many books and other non-journal type publications we identified as possibly relevant, the potential content of interest would be located in only a subsection of the publication.

In this common scenario for reviews of the methods literature as opposed to methods overviews that include empirical study reports , reviewers will often be unable to employ standard title, abstract, and keyword database searching or screening as a means for selecting publications. Considering that the presence of information about the topic of interest may not be indicated in the metadata for books and similar publication types, it is important to consider other means of identifying potentially useful publications for further screening.

One approach to identifying potentially useful books and similar publication types is to consider what classes of such publications e. In the example of the overview on sampling in qualitative research [ 18 ], the topic of interest sampling was one of numerous topics covered in the general qualitative research methods manuals.

Consequently, examples from this class of publications first had to be identified for retrieval according to non-keyword-dependent criteria. Thus, all methods manuals within the three research traditions reviewed grounded theory, phenomenology, and case study that might contain discussion of sampling were sought through Google Scholar and expert opinion, their full text obtained, and hand-searched for relevant content to determine eligibility.

We used tables of contents and index sections of books to aid this hand searching. A final consideration in methods overviews relates to the type of analysis used to generate the review findings.

Unlike quantitative systematic reviews where reviewers aim for accurate or unbiased quantitative estimates—something that requires identifying and selecting the literature exhaustively to obtain all relevant data available i. In other words, the aim in methods overviews is to seek coverage of the qualitative concepts relevant to the methods topic at hand. For example, in the overview of sampling in qualitative research [ 18 ], achieving review objectives entailed providing conceptual coverage of eight sampling-related topics that emerged as key domains.

The following principle recognizes that literature sampling should therefore support generating qualitative conceptual data as the input to analysis. Since the analytic findings of a systematic methods overview are generated through qualitative description and interpretation of the literature on a specified topic, selection of the literature should be guided by a purposeful strategy designed to achieve adequate conceptual coverage i.

One strategy for choosing the purposeful approach to use in selecting the literature according to the review objectives is to consider whether those objectives imply exploring concepts either at a broad overview level, in which case combining maximum variation selection with a strategy that limits yield e. In the methods overview on sampling, the implied scope was broad since we set out to review publications on sampling across three divergent qualitative research traditions—grounded theory, phenomenology, and case study—to facilitate making informative conceptual comparisons.

Such an approach would be analogous to maximum variation sampling. In other words, we explicitly set out to review and critique the most established and influential and therefore dominant literature, since this represents a common basis of knowledge among students and researchers seeking understanding or practical guidance on sampling in qualitative research.

To achieve this objective, we purposefully sampled publications according to the criterion of influence , which we operationalized as how often an author or publication has been referenced in print or informal discourse.

This second sampling approach also limited the literature we needed to consider within our broad scope review to a manageable amount. To operationalize this strategy of sampling for influence , we sought to identify both the most influential authors within a qualitative research tradition all of whose citations were subsequently screened and the most influential publications on the topic of interest by non-influential authors. This involved a flexible approach that combined multiple indicators of influence to avoid the dilemma that any single indicator might provide inadequate coverage.

These indicators included bibliometric data h-index for author influence [ 22 ]; number of cites for publication influence , expert opinion, and cross-references in the literature i. As a final selection criterion, a publication was included only if it made an original contribution in terms of novel guidance regarding sampling or a related concept; thus, purely secondary sources were excluded.

Publish or Perish software Anne-Wil Harzing; available at http: The authors selected as influential, and the publications selected for inclusion or exclusion are listed in Additional file 1 Matrices 1, 2a, 2b.

Literature identification and selection process used in the methods overview on sampling [ 18 ]. In summary, the strategies of seeking maximum variation and sampling for influence were employed in the sampling overview to meet the specific review objectives described.

Reviewers will need to consider the full range of purposeful literature sampling approaches at their disposal in deciding what best matches the specific aims of their own reviews.

The purpose of data abstraction in rigorous literature reviews is to locate and record all data relevant to the topic of interest from the full text of included publications, making them available for subsequent analysis.

Conventionally, a data abstraction form—consisting of numerous distinct conceptually defined fields to which corresponding information from the source publication is recorded—is developed and employed. There are several challenges, however, to the processes of developing the abstraction form and abstracting the data itself when conducting methods overviews, which we address here.

Some of these problems and their solutions may be familiar to those who have conducted qualitative literature syntheses, which are similarly conceptual. In the overview on sampling [ 18 ], while we surveyed multiple sources beforehand to develop a list of concepts relevant for abstraction e. Indeed, in many cases, reviewers are unable to determine the complete set of methods-related concepts that will be the focus of the final review a priori without having systematically reviewed the publications to be included.

Thus, defining what information to abstract beforehand may not be feasible. Considering the potential impracticality of defining a complete set of relevant methods-related concepts from a body of literature one has not yet systematically read, selecting and defining fields for data abstraction must often be undertaken iteratively. Thus, concepts to be abstracted can be expected to grow and change as data abstraction proceeds. Reviewers can develop an initial form or set of concepts for abstraction purposes according to standard methods e.

Reviewers should document revisions and return to re-abstract data from previously abstracted publications as the new data requirements are determined.

In the sampling overview [ 18 ], we developed and maintained the abstraction form in Microsoft Word. We derived the initial set of abstraction fields from our own knowledge of relevant sampling-related concepts, consultation with local experts, and reviewing a pilot sample of publications. Since the publications in this review included a large proportion of books, the abstraction process often began by flagging the broad sections within a publication containing topic-relevant information for detailed review to identify text to abstract.

When reviewing flagged text, the reviewer occasionally encountered an unanticipated concept significant enough to warrant being added as a new field to the abstraction form.

For example, a field was added to capture how authors described the timing of sampling decisions, whether before a priori or after ongoing starting data collection, or whether this was unclear. In these cases, we systematically documented the modification to the form and returned to previously abstracted publications to abstract any information that might be relevant to the new field.

The logic of this strategy is analogous to the logic used in a form of research synthesis called best fit framework synthesis BFFS [ 23 — 25 ]. In that method, reviewers initially code evidence using an a priori framework they have selected. When evidence cannot be accommodated by the selected framework, reviewers then develop new themes or concepts from which they construct a new expanded framework.

Both the strategy proposed and the BFFS approach to research synthesis are notable for their rigorous and transparent means to adapt a final set of concepts to the content under review. An important complication affecting the abstraction process in methods overviews is that the language used by authors to describe methods-related concepts can easily vary across publications. For example, authors from different qualitative research traditions often use different terms for similar methods-related concepts.

Furthermore, as we found in the sampling overview [ 18 ], there may be cases where no identifiable term, phrase, or label for a methods-related concept is used at all, and a description of it is given instead. This can make searching the text for relevant concepts based on keywords unreliable.

Since accepted terms may not be used consistently to refer to methods concepts, it is necessary to rely on the definitions for concepts, rather than keywords, to identify relevant information in the publication to abstract. An effective means to systematically identify relevant information is to develop and iteratively adjust written definitions for key concepts corresponding to abstraction fields that are consistent with and as inclusive of as much of the literature reviewed as possible.

Reviewers then seek information that matches these definitions rather than keywords when scanning a publication for relevant data to abstract. In the abstraction process for the sampling overview [ 18 ], we noted the several concepts of interest to the review for which abstraction by keyword was particularly problematic due to inconsistent terminology across publications: Using a method of constant comparison, we used text from definition fields to inform and modify a centrally maintained definition of the corresponding concept to optimize its fit and inclusiveness with the literature reviewed.

Final definition for qualitative sampling , including methodological tradition-specific variations. Developed after numerous iterations in the methods overview on sampling [ 18 ]. We applied iteratively developed definitions when making decisions about what specific text to abstract for an existing field, which allowed us to abstract concept-relevant data even if no recognized keyword was used. This comparative analytic strategy and our approach to analysis more broadly as described in strategy 7, below is analogous to the process of reciprocal translation —a technique first introduced for meta-ethnography by Noblit and Hare [ 27 ] that has since been recognized as a common element in a variety of qualitative metasynthesis approaches [ 28 ].

In practice, it has been operationalized in different ways. Melendez-Torres and colleagues developed a typology from their review of the metasynthesis literature, describing four overlapping categories of specific operations undertaken in reciprocal translation: The approaches suggested in both strategies 6 and 7, with their emphasis on constant comparison, appear to fall within the line-by-line coding category. The analysis in a systematic methods overview must support its more general objective, which we suggested above is often to offer clarity and enhance collective understanding regarding a chosen methods topic.

In our experience, this involves describing and interpreting the relevant literature in qualitative terms. Furthermore, any interpretative analysis required may entail reaching different levels of abstraction, depending on the more specific objectives of the review.

For example, in the overview on sampling [ 18 ], we aimed to produce a comparative analysis of how multiple sampling-related topics were treated differently within and among different qualitative research traditions. Considering the qualitative nature of the analysis required in systematic methods overviews, it is important to select an analytic method whose interpretations can be verified as being consistent with the literature selected, regardless of the level of abstraction reached.

We suggest employing the constant comparative method of analysis [ 29 ] because it supports developing and verifying analytic links to the source data throughout progressively interpretive or abstract levels. In applying this approach, we advise a rigorous approach, documenting how supportive quotes or references to the original texts are carried forward in the successive steps of analysis to allow for easy verification.

The analytic approach used in the methods overview on sampling [ 18 ] comprised four explicit steps, progressing in level of abstraction—data abstraction, matrices, narrative summaries, and final analytic conclusions Fig.

While we have positioned data abstraction as the second stage of the generic review process prior to Analysis , above, we also considered it as an initial step of analysis in the sampling overview for several reasons. First, it involved a process of constant comparisons and iterative decision-making about the fields to add or define during development and modification of the abstraction form, through which we established the range of concepts to be addressed in the review.

At the same time, abstraction involved continuous analytic decisions about what textual quotes ranging in size from short phrases to numerous paragraphs to record in the fields thus created. This constant comparative process was analogous to open coding in which textual data from publications was compared to conceptual fields equivalent to codes or to other instances of data previously abstracted when constructing definitions to optimize their fit with the overall literature as described in strategy 6.

Finally, in the data abstraction step, we also recorded our first interpretive thoughts in dedicated fields, providing initial material for the more abstract analytic steps.

Summary of progressive steps of analysis used in the methods overview on sampling [ 18 ]. In the second step of the analysis, we constructed topic-specific matrices , or tables, by copying relevant quotes from abstraction forms into the appropriate cells of matrices for the complete set of analytic matrices developed in the sampling review, see Additional file 1 matrices 3 to Each matrix ranged from one to five pages; row headings, nested three-deep, identified the methodological tradition, author, and publication, respectively; and column headings identified the concepts, which corresponded to abstraction fields.

Matrices thus allowed us to make further comparisons across methodological traditions, and between authors within a tradition. In the third step of analysis, we recorded our comparative observations as narrative summaries , in which we used illustrative quotes more sparingly. In the final step, we developed analytic conclusions based on the narrative summaries about the sampling-related concepts within each methodological tradition for which clarity, consistency, or comprehensiveness of the available guidance appeared to be lacking.

Higher levels of analysis thus built logically from the lower levels, enabling us to easily verify analytic conclusions by tracing the support for claims by comparing the original text of publications reviewed. The analytic product of systematic methods overviews is comparable to qualitative evidence syntheses, since both involve describing and interpreting the relevant literature in qualitative terms.

Most qualitative synthesis approaches strive to produce new conceptual understandings that vary in level of interpretation. Dixon-Woods and colleagues [ 30 ] elaborate on a useful distinction, originating from Noblit and Hare [ 27 ], between integrative and interpretive reviews. Integrative reviews focus on summarizing available primary data and involve using largely secure and well defined concepts to do so; definitions are used from an early stage to specify categories for abstraction or coding of data, which in turn supports their aggregation; they do not seek as their primary focus to develop or specify new concepts, although they may achieve some theoretical or interpretive functions.

For interpretive reviews, meanwhile, the main focus is to develop new concepts and theories that integrate them, with the implication that the concepts developed become fully defined towards the end of the analysis. We suggest that most systematic methods overviews will be classifiable as predominantly integrative aggregative.

Nevertheless, more highly interpretive methods overviews are also quite possible—for example, when the review objective is to provide a highly critical analysis for the purpose of generating new methodological guidance. In such cases, reviewers may need to sample more deeply see strategy 4 , specifically by selecting empirical research reports i. In this paper, we have outlined tentative guidance in the form of seven principles and strategies on how to conduct systematic methods overviews, a review type in which methods-relevant literature is systematically analyzed with the aim of offering clarity and enhancing collective understanding regarding a specific methods topic.

Our proposals include strategies for delimiting the set of publications to consider, searching beyond standard bibliographic databases, searching without the availability of relevant metadata, selecting publications on purposeful conceptual grounds, defining concepts and other information to abstract iteratively, accounting for inconsistent terminology, and generating credible and verifiable analytic interpretations.

We hope the suggestions proposed will be useful to others undertaking reviews on methods topics in future. It is important to note that our primary objective was to initiate methodological discussion by stimulating reflection on what rigorous methods for this type of review should look like, leaving the development of more complete guidance to future work.

While derived from the experience of reviewing a single qualitative methods topic, we believe the principles and strategies provided are generalizable to overviews of both qualitative and quantitative methods topics alike. If you are interested, for example, in doing historical research, you may need to visit archives. Government reports and autobiographies may also be used as data. Other documents include official statistics, datasets statistical data , and banks of interview transcripts which are all freely available to the academic community.

Increasingly, documents, databases and archives are readily accessible online. Research Methods tutors on your course will be able to advise on the availability and accessibility of such data sets. There are some advantages of doing secondary analysis, particularly if you are doing a quantitative study.

You will be able to work with much larger datasets than you could have collected yourself. This has the following advantages:.

Quantitative data may also result from non-participant observations or other measurements e. Also, sometimes data that are collected through qualitative processes participant observation, interviews are coded and quantified. Your research methods tutor can give you further information on these types of data, but here are some common quantitative data collection methods and their definitions:. A series of questions that the respondent answers on their own. Self-completion questionnaires are good for collecting data on relatively simple topics, and for gaining a general overview of an issue.

Questionnaires need to have clear questions, an easy to follow design, and not be too long. Similar to a self-completion questionnaire, except that the questions that are asked by an interviewer to the interviewee. The same questions are read out in the same way to all respondents.

There will typically be a fixed choice of answers for the respondents. Watching people and recording systematically their behaviour. Prior to the observation, an observation schedule will be produced which details what exactly the researcher should look for and how those observations should be recorded. If you are conducting a qualitative analysis you are likely to wish to use at least some original material.

This may be collected through in-depth interviews, participant observation recordings and fieldnotes, non-participant observation, or some combination of these.

Below are some data collection methods that you might want to use for your dissertation:. A way of asking questions which allows the interviewee to have more control of the interview. A form of interviewing where there are several participants; there is an emphasis in the questioning on a tightly defined topic; the accent is on interaction within the group and the joint construction of meaning. The moderator tries to provide a relatively free rein to the discussion.

This involves studying people in naturally occurring settings. The researcher participates directly in the setting and collects data in a systematic manner. The researcher will observe behaviour, listen to conversations, and ask questions.

Spend some time looking at general books about research - they will give you an overview of the data collection methods available and help you to make the best choice for your project. Bryman would be a useful starting point.

For any piece of research you conduct, be it empirically based quantitative or qualitative or library based, its methods must be justified. You need to show in the final dissertation how you have given consideration to different methods, and why you have chosen and eliminated these.

Often in early supervision meetings they ask students to justify their reasons for choosing a library-based or an empirical study. Todd, Smith and Bannister , p This was particularly useful for one of our respondents:. With other essays you can rush them if you have to Todd, Bannister and Clegg, , p ….

My reasons for data collection is literature based as my research question involved sensitive subjects which would have been unsuitable for primary data collection. Level 6 students at Sheffield Hallam University I chose primary data because it would enable me to build skills that would be useful for postgraduate study. Level 6 students at Sheffield Hallam University It will involve primary data, secondary data, quantitative and qualitative research methods, lit reviews, theory and policy studies and an exploration of alternatives.

My dissertation is to be based around the experience of 'poverty', as poverty is the experience. Theories and policies are not. However, to do justice to the subject, theories and policies will be included so Iam able to demonstrate where failures in the system may exist. Level 6 students at Sheffield Hallam University. Research must be conducted in a sensible and ethical manner; data must be analysed and presented in a rational manner.

It is important that students do not expose themselves or others to dangers or risks when conducting research. Students need the approval of their dissertation supervisor before embarking on any type of fieldwork see the section on Research Ethics for more information. In general, deductive research is theory-testing and inductive research is theory-generating.

Often people link deductive research with quantitative experiments or surveys, and inductive research with qualitative interviews or ethnographic work. These links are not hard and fast — for instance, experimental research, designed to test a particular theory through developing a hypothesis and creating an experimental design, may use quantitative or qualitative data or a combination.

If your research starts with a theory and is driven by hypotheses that you are testing e. However much research combines deductive and inductive elements. Research design is vital to conducting a good piece of work.

At the start of your research you need to set down clearly:. You and your supervisor will discuss your design and decide whether the research is 'do-able'. Your university may require you to produce a report e. Other people may have to look at the design to ascertain whether there are ethical issues that affect your research. Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Researching society and culture. London, Sage Here are some references for specific methods: Interviewing for social scientists: Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement.

Identifying a research topic: A template for structured observation: Guide to undergraduate dissertations in the social sciences.

Content About this site What is a Dissertation? How to start your dissertation Help with finding literature and research Formulating the research question Methodologies.

Introduction What approach should I take - qualitative or quantitative? Can my dissertation be entirely literature-based? What is case study research?

What's an empirical study? What is secondary analysis? Where do I find existing research data? Collecting you own data - primary research Will my research be inductive or deductive?

What about research design? Resources Further reading Research papers. Methodologies 1 Introduction The way you approach your question will have a profound effect upon the way you construct your dissertation, so this section discusses the types of research you might undertake for your dissertation. This video clip contains comments from the following academics: What if I want to find out about social trends, or the measurable effects of particular policies? What if I want to record people's views on an issue, and give them a 'voice'?

Whether you choose qualitative or quantitative analysis will depend on several things: Your preferred philosophical approach realist, phenomenologist or constructionist. Your skills and abilities with methods of data collection if needed and analysis. The topic or issue you are interested in. How you frame your research question. Can I combine qualitative and quantitative methods?

You may be interested in doing an analysis that is primarily quantitative, looking at social trends, or policy implications. However you also want to introduce a 'human touch' by conducting one or several interviews asking what these trends mean to people or how particular individuals experience events. After doing your quantitative analysis, you should include a chapter or section on the qualitative data you have collected.

In your discussion of findings you can use the qualitative data to help you understand the patterns in the quantitative analysis. You may be interested in doing an evaluative case study of a process or policy. You will have a particular focus — a 'case' that you are looking at. You will triangulate methods — i. You will analyse each type of data and describe this, and then write a discussion that shows how each piece of analysis contributes to the overall picture of what is going on. Download Case Study 6 Media research If you are interested, for example, in doing historical research, you may need to visit archives.

This has the following advantages: They allow you to discuss trends and social changes. The data are often collected through a random sample, which allows you to generalise to the population under consideration. They may also allow you to make comparisons over time, as some datasets are products of longitudinal studies. Smaller, more targeted datasets may also be available. Secondary analysis has disadvantages also: You have to find out something about that purpose, as well as the methods of collection, in order to justify your use of a secondary dataset.

Collecting you own data - primary research Quantitative data may also result from non-participant observations or other measurements e. Your research methods tutor can give you further information on these types of data, but here are some common quantitative data collection methods and their definitions: Self-completion questionnaires A series of questions that the respondent answers on their own.

Structured interviews Similar to a self-completion questionnaire, except that the questions that are asked by an interviewer to the interviewee. Structured observation Watching people and recording systematically their behaviour. Below are some data collection methods that you might want to use for your dissertation: In-depth interviews A way of asking questions which allows the interviewee to have more control of the interview.

Focus groups A form of interviewing where there are several participants; there is an emphasis in the questioning on a tightly defined topic; the accent is on interaction within the group and the joint construction of meaning.


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Process involved in conducting literature based research methodology.

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Literature research methodology is to read through, analyze and sort literatures in order to identify the essential attribute of materials. Its significant difference from other methodologies is that it does not directly deal with the object under.

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There are many types of literature review and the following types of literature review are the most popular in business studies: Narrative literature review critiques the literature and summarizes the body of a literature. Narrative review also draws conclusions about the topic and identifies gaps. Early in the research process, it is important to conduct a review of the research literature on your topic to refine your research question, identify appropriate research methods, place your question in the context of other research, and prepare to write an effective research report.

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This is likely to be the methodology of theoretical analysis: selection and discussion of theoretical material and descriptive material, in context, and detailed comparison of theories in terms of their applicability. What does the research literature in this field tell us about x? While all dissertations will include a literature review. LITERATURE REVIEW The research methods are divided into three broad categories; quantitative,qualitative and participatory research method. These researc.