A Framework for the Study
Creswell, John W. (1994)
J. W. Creswell, Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, pp. 1-19.
How do you decide whether to use a qualitative or a quantitative approach for the design of a research study? How do you write up the results of a study for a scholarly journal article or dissertation? This book addresses these issues by providing a guide to major design decisions, such as deciding a paradigm, stating a purpose for the study, identifying the research questions and hypotheses, using theory, and defining and stating the significance of the study. Research Design is aimed at upper division to graduate level research methods courses that are taught to prepare students to plan and write up independent research studies.
In the past two decades, research approaches have multiplied to a point at which investigators or inquirers have many choices. For
those designing a proposal or plan, I recommend that a general framework be adopted to provide guidance about all facets of the
study, from assessing the general philosophical ideas behind the inquiry to the detailed data collection and analysis procedures. Using an extant framework also allows researchers to lodge their plans in ideas well grounded in the literature and recognized by audiences (e.g., faculty committees) that read and support proposals for research.
What frameworks exist for designing a proposal? Although different types and terms abound In the literature, I will focus on three:
quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches. 'The first has been available to the social and human scientist for years, the second has emerged primarily during the last three or four decades, and the last is new and still developing in form and substance. This chapter introduces the reader to the three approaches to research. I suggest that to understand them, the proposal developer needs to consider three framework elements: philosophical assumptions about what constitutes knowledge claims; general procedures of research called strategies of inquhy and detailed procedures of data collection, analysis, and writing. called methods. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches frame each of these elements differently, and these defiances are identified and discussed in this chapter. 'Then typical scenarios that combine the three elements are advanced, followed by the reasons why one would choose one approach over another in designing a study. 'This discussion will not be a philosophical treatise on the nature of knowledge, but it will provide a practical grounding in some of the philosophical ideas behind research.