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Understanding different research perspectives
Understanding different research perspectives

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7 Research design

In planning your project you need to think about how you will design and conduct the study as well as how you will present and write up the findings. The design is highly dependent upon the research strategy. It refers to the practical choices regarding how the strategy is implemented in practice. You need to think about what type of data (evidence) would best address the research questions; for example, when considering case study research, questions of design will address the choice of the specific methods of data collection, e.g. if observation, what to observe and how to record it? For how long? Which department or work environment to observe? If interviews are chosen, you need to ask yourself what type? How many? With whom? How long should they be? How will I record them? Where will they be conducted?

The following list (adapted from Cameron and Price, 2009) shows some of the different types of data, or sources of evidence, available to draw on:

  • interviews
  • observations
  • diaries
  • conversations
  • reports
  • statistics (e.g. government)
  • surveys
  • focus groups
  • organisational records
  • documents (e.g. organisational policies)
  • workshops
  • secondary data.