This is a description and evaluation of the methods, techniques and procedures used in the investigation. It describes the scope and aims of the dissertation in some detail. It is also very important that you justify the methods used.

The Framework: What I did? How I did it? And Why did I do it that way?

A restatement of what it is that you want to find out and why. Since you have explored this fully in Chapters 1 and 2, this should be limited to only a paragraph to two here. The introduction can also include a brief description of the context under study. What is the specific environment or reality in which the study will take place.
Discussion begins with an introduction and/or restatement of the research problem and purpose and reflects a brief overview of the chapter. Research question(s)/hypotheses stated.

  • Qualitative – research questions clearly stated and aligned with problem statement.

If you are using a Qualitative Design you will need to explain the nature of the study here, emphasizing that it fits one of the common reasons for selecting a qualitative approach.

Research Method and Design(s) – Chapter 3 contents

  • Research method and design(s) are adequately described. The appropriateness of the method and design(s) are substantiated; this section includes a statement about why the method/design(s) was/were chosen over others.
  • Elaboration of research design (e.g., case study, phenomenology, grounded theory, causal-comparative, correlational, quasi-experimental, etc.) appropriateness to respond to the study purpose.
  • Discussion is not simply a listing and description of research designs.
  • Elaboration demonstrates why the proposed design will accomplish the study goals and why design is the optimum choice for the proposed research.

Description of Research Design

? The nature of the research design is identified in summary form, including
? A description of the population and how the sample of research participants will be selected, if appropriate, is described.
? The type(s) of data, i.e., quantitative, qualitative, or a combination, to be collected are described.
? And, the procedures or how data will be collected or obtained are detailed, e.g., interviews, electronic survey, focus groups, questionnaire, archival review.

Key Considerations:
? The research method chosen must be demonstrably linked to the Learner’s specific research topic, problem and questions, and what is to be accomplished.
? Is there a viable source of data? (determine data source(s) and availability early!)
? Data Collection and Analysis (Learners are required to submit an IRB application prior to any data collection – see activity 9.)

Qualitative Considerations

  • Exploreswhy, what, or how something occurs
  • Must be at least one qualitatively-oriented research question
  • Qualitative studies primarily utilize interviews, case studies, literature reviews, and/or phenomenological research. Triangulation is often applied to provide a more thorough exploration of the phenomenon and concepts being studied.
  • DESCRIPTIVE statistics (means, ranges, medians, modes, histograms) and/or qualitative software analysis like Nvivo, that performs content analysis,

Provide a description of the population (as appropriate), estimated size and relevant characteristics with appropriate support. Sampling method is identified and selection of participants is explained, including known population characteristics and recruitment strategy. Participant characteristics are described. Number of participants is justified.

  • Qualitative Studies:  Include references that support the proposed number of participants.


  • Materials/instruments includes a description of: (a) published instruments: adequately describe constructs measured, coding schemes, and psychometric properties (include both indices of reliability and validity) – include as an appendix, if possible, or include sample items; (b) materials (including survey/instruments) developed for study: adequately describe the development process and final product (include as an appendix); (c) apparatus: adequately describe apparatus including model/make, how it is used, and outcome(s) it provides. If a self-developed instrument is proposed, the measures to demonstrate validity and reliability must be described.
  • Describe each material or instruments to be used.
  • Describe the methods used to develop the instrument.
  • Use the appendixes for copies of printed materials.
  • Obtain permission from author(s)/developer(s).

Instrument validity and reliability needs to be supported by statistics.