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Research Planning & Design. Sample project plan for a dissertation. Timing: Dates / weeks / months → → → → → → → →. Scientific Method: The basic process of (hypothetico) deduction. Deduction: Theory  observations/findings. Induction:

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Sample project plan for a dissertation
Sample project plan for a dissertation

Timing: Dates / weeks / months → → → → → → → →

Scientific Method: The basic

process of (hypothetico) deduction

Deduction and induction


Theory  observations/findings


Observations/findings  theory

Deduction and Induction

Research hypotheses powell 1995 attempted to ascertain the economic value of tqm
Research HypothesesPowell (1995) attempted to ascertain the economic value of TQM

Powell had 15 hypotheses 3 of which were:

1 TQM firms outperform non TQM firms

2 L-T TQM firms outperform S-T TQM firms

3 Manufacturing TQM firms outperform service

TQM firms (see B&B p12)

What measures?

Steps in selecting research questions
Steps in Selecting Research Questions

Select research area (e.g. TQM)

Select aspect of research area

(e.g. Impact of TQM on work)

Generate research questions

Select research questions

Research questions
Research Questions

  • guide your literature search

  • guide your decisions about the kind of research design to employ

  • guide your decisions about what data to collect and from whom

  • guide your analysis of your data

  • guide your writing up of your data

  • stop you from going off in unnecessary directions and tangents

Research questions:

The process of induction
The Process of Induction

Compare theory

Develop theory

Look for patterns

Form Categories

Ask Questions

Gather information

Research designs and methods
Research Designs and Methods

  • A Research Design provides a framework for the collection and analysis of data. Choice of research design reflects decisions about priorities given to the dimensions of the research process.

  • A Research Method is simply a procedure for collecting data. Choice of research method reflects decisions about the type of instruments or techniques to be used.

Constraints on research questions
Constraints on Research Questions

·We cannot answer all the research questions that occur to us

· We therefore have to select from the possible research questions that we arrive at

· We should be guided by the principle that the research questions we choose should be related to one another

Types of research design
Types of Research Design

1. Experimental

2. Cross-sectional

3. Longitudinal

4. Case study

5. Comparative

Experimental design


Typical form:

Most researchers using an experimental design employ quantitative comparisons between experimental and control groups with regard to the dependent variable.


No typical form:

The Hawthorne experiments provide an example of experimental research design that gradually moved away from the ‘test room method’ towards the use of more qualitative methods.

Experimental Design

see Table 2.1

Classical experimental design
Classical Experimental Design

T18 months T2

Obs1 experimental Obs2 experimental

treatment group



Obs3 no Obs4 control

experimental group


Cross sectional design


Typical form:

Social survey research or structured observation on a sample at a single point in time. Can also include content analysis on a sample of documents.


Typical form:

Qualitative interviews or focus groups at a single point in time Can also be based upon qualitative content analysis of a set of documents relating to a single period.

Cross-sectional Design

see Table 2.1

A cross sectional design
A Cross-sectional Design








Fig 2.2

Longitudinal design


Typical form:

Social survey research on a sample on more than one occasion or content analysis of documents relating to different time periods.


Typical form:

Ethnographic research over a long period, qualitative interviewing on more than one occasion, or qualitative content analysis of documents relating to different time periods.

Longitudinal Design

see Table 2.1

The longitudinal design
The Longitudinal Design

T1 … tn

Obs1 obs1

Obs2 obs2

Obs3 obs3

Obs4 obs4

Obs5 obs5

… …


Fig 2.4

Case study design


Typical form:

Social survey research on a single case with a view to revealing important features about its nature.


Typical form:

The intensive study by ethnography or qualitative interviewing of a single case, which may be an organization, or an individual.

Case study Design

see Table 2.1

Types of case
Types of case

  • A case can be about:

    • A single organization

    • A single location

    • A person

    • A single event

  • Yin’s (1984) case typology:

    • The critical case

    • The unique (or extreme) case

    • The revelatory case

Comparative design


Typical form:

Social survey research in which there is a direct comparison between two or more cases, as in cross‑cultural research.


Typical form:

Ethnographic or qualitative interview research on two or more cases.

Comparative Design

see Table 2.1

A comparative design
A Comparative Design

Case 1 T1










Case n Obs4



Fig 2.5

Criteria in social research
Criteria in Social Research

  • Reliability – are measures consistent?

  • Replication/replicability– is study repeatable?

  • Validity – are conclusions well-founded?

Level of analysis
Level of Analysis

  • Individual; e.g. manager or employee

  • Departmentorwork group

  • Organization; e.g. structure or culture

  • Marketorsocietal context in which organizations are located