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INF5220 - 7. Lecture 4th of January 2006. Research Design: Proposal . The proposal shall tell the reader: What kind of knowledge do you seek? Which strategies will you employ? Content: Introduction including: Description of domain/problem area

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inf5220 7

INF5220 - 7

Lecture 4th of January 2006

research design proposal
Research Design: Proposal
  • The proposal shall tell the reader:
    • What kind of knowledge do you seek?
    • Which strategies will you employ?
  • Content:
    • Introduction including:
      • Description of domain/problem area
      • Review of key literature (relevant findings in this area)
      • Purpose of the study (purpose statement)
      • Research questions
    • Research design and research methods: What will you do? What kind of data? How? Where (which setting)? When/how long?
    • As far as possible: How will you work with (analyse) the data? (analytic concepts, core theories you will use)
    • Are you aware of any ethical considerations and practicalities you need to think through?

When evaluating the proposal I will ask:

How good is the argumentation

on each of these two elements,

and how strong is the link between them?

Proposal to be submitted for grading by June 15th. Ask for feedback on

preliminary version. For the sake of the course, it is not necessary

that you will actually use the proposal you develop.

motivation of your study
Motivation of your study
  • Motivation = answering the question:
  • Why is this study important?
    • Possible replies:
      • ’This is a new phenomenon’
      • ’This is under-researched’
      • ’Previous research is ambiguous’
      • ’We don’t know enough about it’
    • But how to establish such propositions?
      • Do a sound literature review
      • Learn strategies from published research papers

From John W. Creswell (2003): Research Design. Qualitative, Quantitative and

Mixed Methods Approaches, 2nd ed., SAGE Publications, London

literature review
Literature review
  • Do a literature review
    • identify keywords (varies between databases)
    • skim abstracts and use the relevant new keywords
    • use the available facilitites for tracing forward citations
  • Are you new to the field?
    • Start with encyclopedia articles, reviews, tutorials.
  • Make short summaries of central articles
    • problem area, focus of study, case, conclusion
    • use e.g. EndNote (referencing tool)
link to literature previous research
Link to literature (previous research)
  • Three different ways to argue that the study is neccessary (based on previous research):
    • Synthesized coherence: You bring together works from different areas that you believe point to common ideas. (what’s new is the combination)
    • Progressive coherence: You show how the joint work of a community of researchers have developed over time. And now your ’piece’ is needed, because either:
      • a) there is too little research, or
      • b) it is not focused enough to answer what you will address
    • Non-coherence: You refer to works that study the same phenomenon, but you disagree with their approach/conclusions etc.

(Adapted from Barrett and Walsham: Making Contributions from Interpretive Case Studies”, IFIP 8.2, 2005)

  • If you take ideas or phrases from a book or journal article you must reference it. Refer to the literature you use in the text, and provide a list in the end (Cornford and Smithson, 1996)
  • Study other writings to learn how to reference other works:
    • refer to support your argument: ” was also the case in other studies of SAP implementation failures (Thompson, 1994; Hansen and Nielsen, 1999).”
    • refer in order to exemplify: ”..such as the situation described by Fomin et al. (2003), where the management …”
    • or to argue against authors
    • direct citations (give also page number)
    • et al. stands for et alumni (”and friends/colleagues”). When there are three or more authors all names are not given in the text, only in the list at the end.
    • Citing two or more works at the same time (list)
  • Look at referencing styles (formats). There are different for different scientific journals, and there is not one standard enforced for UiO Master thesis. Select one and be consistent.

Cornford, T. and Smithson, Steve (1996): Project Research in Information Systems.

A Student’s Guide. Macmillan. London.

  • Referencing scholarly journal papers:
    • Author name(s), year of publication, full title of paper, name of journal, volume, number, page numbers.
  • Referencing academic books:
    • Author name(s), year of publicaton, title of the book, publishing company (name and geographical location)
  • Referencing one chapter in an edited book (collection of papers):
    • Author name(s), year of publication, full title of chapter, in: editors name(s), title of the book, publishing company (name and geographical location).
  • Referencing other works: popular press, mass media, computer industry magazines,
    • Author/source, title, details on publication date and in which media
    • Don’t give these equal weight (automatically)
  • Referencing Internet resources:
    • Author/source, title, date of publication (if it is there). Minimum: include the URL and include a statement like ”File last accessed on September 1st 2006”, (i.e. you should go through all web references just before you submit)
the purpose statement
The purpose statement
  • Whereas the introduction focus on the problem leading to the study, the purpose statement establishes the direction for the research.
  • The purpose statement tells why you want to do the study and what you intend to accomplish. (The central, controlling idea of the study).
  • Be clear: ”The purpose (intent, objective) of this study is (was, will be)…” Try to make a single sentence or a paragraph: Take the ”elevator test”.
  • Focus on a single phenomenon, concept or idea that you will explore. (Not about ’relationships’ between two or more variables, or ’comparisons’ between two or more groups)
  • Use nondirectional language and neutral words, explain how you use terms: (”A tentative definition at this time for XYZ is…”)

From John W. Creswell (2003): Research Design. Qualitative, Quantitative and

Mixed Methods Approaches, 2nd ed., SAGE publications, London

the purpose statement1
The purpose statement
  • Could for example look like this:
    • The purpose of this ____ (fill in: strategy of inquiry, such as ethnography, case study or other) study is (or will be) to _____ (understand? describe? develop? discover?) the ________ (central phenomenon being studied) for _____ (the participants, such as the individual, groups, organization) at _____ (research site). At this stage in the research, the _____ (central phenomenon to be studied) will be generally defined as ____ (provide a general definition).

From John W. Creswell (2003): Research Design. Qualitative, Quantitative and

Mixed Methods Approaches, 2nd ed., SAGE publications, London

research questions
Research questions
  • From the broad, general purpose statement, you narrow the focus to specific questions to be answered
  • Qualitative studies: ”Research questions” rather than ”objective” (specific goals) or ”hypothesis” (predictions that involve variables and statistical tests)
  • The research questions should guide data gathering, i.e. serve as ”working guidelines” - key questions that the researcher will ask her/himself in the observational procedure or during open-ended interviews (Not the same as you will ask your interviewees!).
  • Central question plus sub-questions (for example 1 central questions followed by 3 sub-questions). Use ’what’ or ’how’ questions. (’Why’ suggests cause and effect, -> quantitative)
  • Expect research questions to evolve and change during your work
introduction purpose statement and research questions
Introduction, purpose statement and research questions
  • Introduction/motivation:
    • Describes the problems or issues that leads to a need for the study (practical and/or literature-based motivation).
  • Purpose statement:
    • Describes the intent of the study, the objectives, and the major idea of a study. This idea builds on a need (the problem) and is refined into specific questions, the research questions.
  • Research question:
    • The questions that the data collection will attempt to answer
use of theory
Use of theory
  • Literature review (”what has been done previously?”) versus theoretical framework (”which theoretical resources, concepts etc. have I chosen to use?”)
  • Silverman, page 97 ->: theories, models, hypotheses
  • What is theory used for?
    • Grand theories: broad explanations
    • Walsham: ”sensitizing device”, using theory as a lens or perspective to guide the study
    • Inductive study, aimed at building theory