Topics to Include
Topic 5: Methods
The topics below are typically included in this chapter, and often in this order (check with your Chair):
- Rationale for why you are using this methodology
- How does the research question(s) drive the general method to be used?
- What are the strengths/limitations of this methodology?
- Sample/site selection
- What kind of site will you need (from which to draw your sample)?
- What do you know about this/these site(s)?
- How was the site selected?
- How large will the sample be and do you have demographic targets? How will you achieve these?
- Data collection
- Instrumentation: describe the tool(s) you will use to collect your data – if you are using a survey, provide a link between the constructs you determined in chapter 2 to be important, to the specific variables that create the construct, to the measures of those variables that you will use. Do the same thing for any interview or observation protocol: where do the questions come from?
- Gathering the data: explain how you will draw your sample, how they will be invited to participate, any follow up you plan on doing.
- If you are fielding a survey, explain exactly how that will happen.
- If you are conducting interviews, focus groups or observations, describe how those will happen.
- If you plan on using faculty, staff or students from USC, you will need to seek permission through the USC Rossier Office for Research, Professional Development and Partnerships; and if you wish to access USC Rossier academic program faculty, students, staff or alumni, you also need to seek permission through the Rossier Office for Academic Programs. Most requests for access for Rossier dissertations are granted – we simply need to coordinate requests so as not to over-sample our community.
- Data Analysis:
- Describe your plan for analyzing your data, once you have them.
- A good starting point is to organize this discussion by research question, describing how you will answer each question.