Developing your Research Methodology
Your methodology should contain the following parts or answer the following questions:
Submit a document which outlines your proposed methodology. You can use the responses from the questions presented above as a template for how your document will be organized.
Here is some background information to help you format your Methodology document:
Research Questions and Research Design
All research starts with one or more research questions. These are the questions that you want to answer in your research study. For example, you might want to find out why some people vote Democrat and others vote Republican. Or you might want to find out why some people don’t vote at all. Another question you might want to try to answer is why some favor same-sex marriage and others oppose it.
There are lots of ways that we might go about trying to answer these questions. Some might rely on what their friends or family tell them. Others might rely on what people in authority like their religious leaders tell them. Still others might use what is often called common sense to answer these questions. But we’re going to use the scientific approach to try to answer these questions. Thomas Sullivan defined science as a “method of obtaining knowledge about the world through systematic observations.” Notice that science is empirical; it’s based on observations. Also, notice that we’re talking about a particular type of observations – systematic observations.
A research design is your plan of action. It lays out how you plan to go about answering your questions. The research design includes how you plan to select the cases for analysis (sampling), how you will measure concepts, how you plan to collect your data, and how you will analyze the data. Exercises two through five focus on the components of a research design and exercises six through thirteen deal with data analysis.
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