Different textbooks and researchers define the research approach differently. Some say it is about making a choice between qualitative and quantitative research methods. Others argue that the research approach is about choosing specific methods of data collection and analysis. The third argument about the research approach is that it is a master plan for writing a master’s dissertation. This, the third explanation, seems to be the most realistic one.
However, do you know how to design the research approach for your master’s dissertation? As guessed, you know nothing about it. Well, there is no need to worry about it. In today’s article, we will explore all the steps involved in designing a research approach for a particular study. But before jumping into the steps, let’s define the term research approach and highlights its importance for a master’s dissertation.
What does it mean to design a research approach?
In its simplest definition, a research approach is a plan and procedure to carry out a research study. It spans from major assumptions about the research study to detailed research data collection and analysis methods. There are three approaches to conducting a research study. A brief description of those approaches is as follows:
- Qualitative. Used for research studies that have non-numerical data
- Quantitative. Typically employed where data is in the form of numbers
- Mixed methods. It is a research approach where both qualitative and quantitative approaches are used. It means the collected data is numeric as well as non-numeric.
Why is it important to select a research approach?
After reading the information above, you now have an idea of what it means by a research approach is. Now, we will answer why it is important to design the research approach for a master’s dissertation. There are many points that explain its importance. However, a brief description of the major points is as follows:
- It sets a direction for your research study and shows you the target
- A research approach also gives you an idea of the required research methods
- It allows you to have an idea about the study participants or respondents
Steps to design the research approach for master’s dissertation
To design the research approach for your master’s dissertation, having a sound knowledge of the steps involved is necessary. Without knowing the steps to take, you cannot select the right methodology and conduct an impactful research study. Do you know what those steps are? NO! Thus, a brief description of each step is as follows:
Understand the options
Before jumping into the formal steps to design the research approach, take the first step. What is that? It is to understand the options available to you in terms of research approaches. As discussed earlier, there are three approaches you can choose from: qualitative, quantitative, and mix-method approach. Each research option takes a different methodological approach and involves different methods to collect and analyse the data. Thus, know them well.
Have an idea of the goals of the research
The second step is about knowing the goals of your research study. It is important to understand clearly what you want to do and why you are conducting this research study. It is because the answers to these two questions govern the “how to conduct research” question. Importantly, define the variables that you are going to study to get an answer to the research questions.
Refer to relevant literature
The next step to design the research approach is to study the relevant literature published in your field. Search on the internet and see what methodologies are being used mostly in your field of study to conduct research studies. This activity will expose you to all the most-used research methods and help you choose the best research approach for your research investigation. Thus, go through pertinent literature.
Know the nature of research
The 4th step you need to take is to know the nature of your research study. This step is probably the most important in designing the research approach for a master’s dissertation. If you got the nature of the research right, 90% of your research problems would be solved. It is because the nature of research directly links to the choice of a particular research approach. See if your research is exploratory, confirmatory, or a mix of both.
Alignment with norms of the research area
Taking the research norms into consideration is an important step in designing the research approach for your master’s dissertation. Every field of study has some norms. For example, engineering students mostly used experiments as the research method and qualitative methodology as the research approach. It is very hard to see the use of the observation method in engineering because it is not a norm. Therefore, know the norms and then select an approach.
Practicalities of the approach
When you are out there to design the research approach, there is always a conflict between two things. There is a conflict between the practically best approach to solving the problem and the theoretically best approach. To resolve this conflict, you should look at the constraints of your study. The constraints can explain to you well which approach is the best.
Decide on the sampling design
Lastly, to design the research approach, you should decide on the sampling design. It means you should make a decision on how you will collect the samples using the chosen approach. Make sure that the approach you choose is good enough to collect and study all the samples. For example, using an interview method, you cannot study large populations. For large populations or samples, you need an observation method. Thus, decide on the sampling design. However, if you cannot, get a master’s dissertation help online.
In a Nutshell
To sum up, a research approach is a way of conducting a research study. To conduct a good research investigation on a topic, you need to design the research approach keeping in view some steps. In this guidepost, we have discussed the top 7 steps. Therefore, take a closer look at all the steps above and act accordingly.
I am Priya Varma, and I have been working as Content Writer at Rananjay Exports for past 2 years. My expertise lies in researching and writing both technical and fashion content. I have written multiple articles on Gemstone Jewelry like Opal Jewelry and other stones over the past years and would love to explore more on the same in future. I hope my work keeps mesmerizing you and helps you in the future.