Planning your methodology

The methodology is the overall approach you select to conduct your research – for example, whether you will use a scientific or social science methodology. It includes the specific methods you will use and the literature search to contextualise your project within existing knowledge and understanding of the subject.

These decisions should be influenced by the knowledge and understanding you have gained from your literature search, supported by advice from your tutor and, at this stage, the aims and the hypothesis proposed or research question posed. Designing a questionnaire that is fit for purpose is very time consuming and you should therefore allocate sufficient time in the action plan to do so.

If you have time, you may be able to trial your questionnaire to see whether the questions, and instructions for answering them, enable respondents to complete the questionnaire as fully as you intended.

This is a pilot study, which is good practice in research. A few, carefully worded questions and well thought through response frames may provide more valuable and reliable data than several, poorly thought out questions consisting only of closed answer options.

You should indicate in your action plan if you intend to carry out a pilot study and should get any amendments made checked by your tutor before starting the fullscale study.

Achievable and realistic

In order to make your project manageable, so that you can obtain sufficient results to enable you to meet all the grading criteria within the time limits set for you, it is important to establish clear boundaries for the project. This means defining what it is you are going to investigate and also what you are not going to research. If you identify the boundaries at the planning stage, then it is much easier to stay within them as you conduct your literature search and develop your research instruments. In this way your research project should be achievable within the time and using the resources available to you.

A project that does not have a clear focus tends to generate such a wide range of data that it becomes difficult to analyse and evaluate your results and draw valid conclusions. This could make it difficult to meet the higher-grade criteria.

Activity

Below your post in the forum, state three possible ways you could collect your data if it is primary research (e.g. survey, interview, experiment) or the sources you would use for secondary research (e.g. peer reviewed journals). 

Then, think about how you could go about collecting the data. For example if I wanted to find out how effective something has been e.g. an exercise programme, I might take body measurements or hand out a survey before starting the experiment, and then after. Write your proposed plan for collecting data in the forum in your original post.

Then state whether you would look to collect qualitative, quantitative, or a mix of data. Which type would give you the most valuable data for what you are researching?

Last modified: Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020, 19:32