There are hundreds of different expert opinions on the topic of designing a research project, compiling thousands of books on the subject. No matter which method the author presents, there are advantages and disadvantages to the researcher.
Because there are so many different types of research and even more unique personalities of researchers, it’s not a surprise that the approach to designing a research project is also various in nature. However, they all start similarly, with an idea and a vision. From there, the design must be strategically incorporated, with a clear picture of the start, the end, and every step in between. While there are many different ways a researcher can attempt this strategy, there are three main approaches that are suggested in academics: the deductive, inductive, and abductive approaches.
Types of Approaches
Each approach has the same ultimate goal: a successful outcome. But the rest of the strategy is unique and should be applied based on the researcher’s preferences and the type of research project performed.
● Deductive approaches - These strategies are used when the idea is to develop a hypothesis from a working theory. The research process is then created with the intent to test the hypothesis for accuracy. By working from a deductive angle, the researcher serves to determine a conclusion based on the expected premises considered. The hypothesis may be correct or incorrect, but it’s the observation that is being looked for.
This approach works well when one is looking for a causal connection between a concept and a variable, when quantitative data is being measured, and with generalized research findings.
● Inductive approaches - Frequently called “inductive reasoning,” this approach takes the opposite view as deductive. Inductive approaches look at the predicted end of the process and looks for patterns based on observations and hypothetical premises.
This study works well for a researcher who has no specified direction for the project once it is set in motion. Instead, they use the data as it is observed and analyzed in order to move on to the next step. Patterns are observed and then a theory is generated that guides the researcher forward.
● Abductive approaches - This approach is used when both inductive and deductive approaches have disadvantages that the researcher wants to avoid. This reasoning method is more of an explanation of why certain things that are confusing or unexpected occurred the way they did.
These approaches have their purposes, and once you decide which one you want to use, you can move on to strategizing your next steps.
Strategies for Designing a Research Project
The approach you use combined with the strategy of designing your project is important. These five strategies are the typical academic writing options:
● Survey research - As it implies, survey research is based on a collection of data obtained through surveying a specific pool of participants who fit a required demographic. The results are then analyzed and applied to the research project.
● Experiment - A research project designed off an experiment method typically has a scientific process to it. A hypothesis starts the work out and then variables and independent variables are tested, manipulated, and compared for results in a controlled environment.
● Case Studies - This strategy uses an investigation through empirical inquiry into a real-life situation. The study is based on an in-depth evaluation of an event, a person, or a group with the intent to answer a question or determine the cause of a principle.
● The Grounded Theory approach - With this approach, the researcher designs a project based on a question or a set of qualitative data. Data is then collected methodically and studied in relevance to its application to the question or initial data.
● Desk research - Researchers compile desk research for important reasons. This is an analysis of a secondary source of data that was already gathered, such as metadata categories, and is then applied to a theory or a hypothesis to determine the relevance to an outcome.
Whichever approach and strategy you use to design your project, it must be consistent and strategically planned out from conception to publication.
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