Demonstrates an excellent knowledge of theory and practice for this level.

PG Research Design

PG Research Design



}Excellent critique of key research material resulting in clear, original and illuminating conclusions. }Demonstrates insightful, creative thinking solutions to complex problems }Produces excellent work that makes a contribution to the development of knowledge and understanding in the subject area.



}Directly relevant to title/brief.  }Expertly addresses the assumptions of the title and/or the requirements of the brief.


}Demonstrates an excellent knowledge of theory and practice for this level. }Expertly interprets appropriate concepts and theoretical models.  }Demonstrates originality in conceptual understanding.



}Excellent presentational style & layout, appropriate to the type of assignment. }Effective inclusion of figures, tables, plates (FTP).


}Coherently articulated and logically structured. }An appropriate format is used.

Purpose Statements & Research Questions

Purpose statement

Why you want to undertake this study

What you want to accomplish (Locke et al, 2007)

Outlines to the overall intention of the research proposal is a sentence / several sentences

“…the purpose statement sets the objectives, the intent, or the major idea of the proposal or study…” (Creswell, 2009)

Qualitative Purpose Statement

Information about the central phenomenon, the participants and research setting

It conveys the central design and draws from the terms used in qualitative approach

Words such as purpose, intent or objective focus upon the statement

Tends to have a relationship approach / in terms of 2 or more areas influence one another

Use of verbs such as describe, understand

/ develop / examining meaning

Qualitative approach often uses terms which are neutral, such as, ‘experiences of individuals’. This is because qualitative approach looks for the participant to describe their own experiences

When defining terms there might be discussion about different options / flexibility (openness is central)

Strategies to inquiry are included: e.g. Grounded theory, case study, phenomenological

Research site is identified: e.g. classroom, organisations, geographical area

Boundaries of focus might be stated, e.g. Women / homeless people

Quantitative Purpose Statement

Different in terms of language and focus

Considers variables and their relationships to one another

Comes from a quantitative research ethos and deductive testing

Begins from the prospective of the major variable

Often based upon a model of comparison

Words to signal intent are used: Purpose, intent or objective

Identifies a theory, model or conceptual


Identify the dependent and independent variables / as well as amy mediating, moderating or controlled variables

Use word which connect, such as ‘relationships between’ or ‘comparison of’…showing how one variable influences another

Specific strategy of enquiry e.g. survey

Mention participants / unit of analysis / research site

Define terms and variables

Mixed Method Purpose Statement

Overall intention

Information about both qualitative and quantitative strands, and rationale for choices

Signal words such as ‘the purpose’ or ‘the intention…’

Indicate the sequence of design planned

Triangulation / blending of approach

Include characteristics of both qualitative and quantitative / consider the phenomenon

(Creswell, 2019)

The Importance of Good Questions

The research question should be broad enough to incorporate the area to be investigated in a meaningful and flexible way

Research question are important to:

define the area of investigation

set boundaries of what will be covered

provide clarity and direction

A research question begins with a topic

This can be difficult and takes a while to refine

Most research topics relate to an area of interest

Research curiosity and the desire to understand is often the starting point

Interest might be generated from a personal or professional experience

Research Questions will also be influenced by:

Existing theoretical framework

Observations of a group / in an area of practice (your setting)

Contemporary issues which are covered

Engagement with the literature / reading and considering the work of others can be influential

Narrowing and Clarifying

Narrowing, clarifying, and even redefining your questions is essential to the research process

Forming the right ‘questions’ should be a process that is informed by reading and further information

You can refine what you have

as you go along

Open minded approach is important

Good Question Checklist

A research project is a significant investment to time and energy and so you need to know the question will hold your interest for the duration

The question needs to be broad enough to grow a research project / idea

Avoiding assumptions and pre-conceived ideas is important / an open mind

Time should be spend defining terms and

being clear / to show understanding

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