Usage of Questionnaire

Overall when researching a topic or crafting a research proposal, determining the design approach is very important and is dependent on your investigation.  A reflection of the research topic, purpose, and method of research will be imperative for validating the research study.  A suggested questionnaire may be helpful in fashioning the research study:

1.  In my research will I need to . . .

  • observe and report on phenomena?
  • control variables in an experiment?

2.  Will my data consist mostly of . . .

  • narratives?
  • numbers?

3.  Will I use. . .

  • inductive reasoning in my conclusions?
  • deductive reasoning in my conclusions?

4.  Are variables. . .

  • difficult to identify?
  • easy to identify?

5.  Does the research answer. . .

  • how or why?
  • who or what?

6.  Will I be. . .

  • exploring a question or problem?
  • testing a hypothesis?

7.  Will my research design. . .

  • emerge and change as the study takes place?
  • be decided in advance?

8. Will . . .

  • participant responses affect which questions are asked?
  • data collection and research methods remain stable throughout the investigation?

9.  Will . . .

  • I, as the researcher, be one of the instruments of measurement?
  • various tools and instruments measure the investigation?

10.  Does my study use. . .

  • semi-structured, flexible methods to collect data?
  • highly structured methods to collect data?

11.  Will instruments of measure be. . .

  • flexible in collecting and categorizing data?
  • rigid in collecting and categorizing data?

12.  Will my questioning be. . .

  • open-ended?
  • close-ended?

13.  Does my problem/issue lend itself to investigation. . .

  • of people’s lives, feelings and attitudes?
  • with experiments and/or data surveys?

If you have more a’s, you should use a qualitative approach in your research design.

If you have more b’s, you should use a quantitative approach in your research design. 

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You will now follow a specific pathway dependent upon your above choice.  Each approach has

its own methodology, and the steps you follow will be specific to your approach.  The next step

is to start the specific III. Crafting the Proposal: The Methodology planning guide that goes

with your approach.

Remember:  The type of investigation you have chosen, its purpose, and the research question itself will suggest the best methodology for a study.  Keeping this in mind will eliminate mismatched efforts and results that can frustrate a beginning researcher.  It is also important to understand that although your overall project design may use one approach or the other, it is possible that your actual methods used in your investigative procedure will borrow from each approach. (4)


  1. Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (1998). Qualitative research in education. An introduction to theory and methods. Allyn & Bacon, A Viacom Company, 160 Gould St., Needham Heights, MA 02194; Internet: www. abacon. com.
  2. Creswell, J. W. (2012). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage.
  3. Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications.

The Researcher Role

Qualitative research uses broad questions and data collection of images, video, and words to analyze and reveal themes.  The intent is to understand human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior.  The aim is to investigate a question without quantifiable measures.  This method of research is often used as a method of exploratory studies.  John W. Creswell wrote a qualitative inquiry on research and design and challenged researchers to chose from five approaches.  He encouraged, “Those undertaking qualitative studies have a baffling number of choices of approaches.  One can gain a sense of this diversity by examining several approaches”. (1)    He presents the characteristics of incorporating qualitative research into projects and published studies.  The major characteristics presented are:

  1. The researcher conducts the study in a natural setting in the field
  2. The researcher uses his or her original instrument of research to gather data
  3. The researcher ensures to collect multiple types of data
  4. The researcher utilizes both deductive and inductive reasoning
  5. The researcher divulges the perspectives of the participants and any multiple meanings
  6. The researcher discloses the context or setting of where the problem will be studied
  7. The researcher allow procedures and designs of the study to emerge naturally
  8. The researcher discusses his or her background and any influences that may shape the interpretation of the findings
  9. The researcher discloses any complex picture of the phenomenon being studied (2)

Quantitative research is a systematic empirical investigative method of quantitative properties, phenomena, and their relationships.  This technique utilizes statistical methods and relies on random structured data collection and random sampling.  The results are easy to summarize, generalize and compare.  The process requires testing the hypotheses of a theory and depending on the research question, participants can be randomly assigned to different treatments.  An example would be the researcher employing probability sampling to select participants.   Creswell shared insights on quantitative designs.  He shared that inquiries associated with quantitative research were true experiments consisting of applied behavioral designs and experimental treatments.  In addition, he listed correlation designs in which researchers used correlation statistics to measure and describe associations and relationships between multiple variables. (3)


Research is used to reaffirm the results of previous work, confirm or establish facts, solve existing or new problems, develop new theories and support theorems.  Research comprises of the method of steps to collect and analyze information.  The intent is to improve the understanding of an issue or topic. 

The process is threefold:

  1. a question is posed;
  2. data is collected, and
  3. an answer is presented. 

Research may replicate components of previous projects to test the validity of procedures, experiments or instruments.  Basic research includes documentation, discovery, and interpretation whereas applied research involves the practical application of science.  There are many forms of research but to name a few: educational, humanities, artistic, economic, scientific, social and marketing. Bogdan, Biklen and Knopp references specific method of educational research in expounding on expanded types of qualitative methods, techniques of data collection and analysis including (1) "Foundations of Qualitative Research in Education: An Introduction"; (2) "Research Design"; (3) "Fieldwork"; (4) "Qualitative Data"; (5) "Data Analysis"; (6) "Writing It Up"; and (7) "Applied Qualitative Research for Education." An appendix contains examples of observational questions for educational settings. (1)

     Research begins with a broad spectrum idea or question and expands in the form of discussions and results.  The steps of conducting research can be summarized in ten steps: identifying the research problem, literature review, specifying the purpose of the study, determining specific research questions, specifying a conceptual framework or set of hypotheses, choosing a methodology for data collection, data collection, analyzing and interpreting data, reporting and  evaluating the research and communicating the research finding and recommendations.  This representation is an overall process and should be treated and viewed as an ever-changing interactive process.  Researchers begin with a broad and general statements, so there are not fixed sets of steps or standards.  The literature review is usually conducted before the research question is identified as to serve as a catalyst for thought.  Once a gap in the current literature is identified, the researcher then creates the research question.  Once the research question is developed, the hypothesis or supposition is tested by collecting data.  The data is then analyzed and interpreted through statistical methods to produce empirical research.  The data analysis results can confirm or disprove the hypothesis rendering the researcher the need for further studies.

       Since the goal of the research process is to deepen the understanding or produce new knowledge, the process takes on three forms: Exploratory research, constructive research, and empirical research.  Exploratory research assists with defining or identifying a problem or question.  Constructive research tests propose a solution to questions or problems by testing theories.  The empirical research utilizes empirical evidence to test the feasibility of a solution.  The research design is decided according to the nature of the research topics.  Two main type of research designs is qualitative and quantitative research.