OReilly notes that its a better approach for someone who is perhaps seeking a second advanced degree and has done a considerable amount of research, or who just needs to answer a research question or subtopic. This type of research uses interviews, open-ended questions, or focus groups to gain insight into peoples thoughts and beliefs around certain behaviors and systems. There are two primary dissertation research methods: Qualitative and quantitative. The researcher could run into problems with fewer data to analyze. What surprised them most? Participants are recruited for the study, informed consent is obtained, and quantitative data are obtained either electronically or in person by the researcher. The three most routinely used include: Case Study.
A case study focuses on a particular problem or situation faced by a population and studies it from specific angles. Data are analyzed using statistical techniques to assess the nature of the relationships between and among variables. Its all about community. PhD students need to be resourceful and willing to shift their expectations as they learn new research techniques. The method of research is informed by the research question, says Garvey House, PhD, associate director of research and residencies for Capella Universitys School of Business and Technology. Once the research problem has been identified, the student can employ the methodology best suited for its solution. For example, take Hurricane Katrina.
This is the fallback approach, says OReilly. This might include interviews, field notes, documents, journals, and possibly some quantitative elements (more information on quantitative research follows). There are a number of publicly available data sets for researchers, often from large-scale, federally funded research projects or data repositories. It is used for theory testing, prediction of outcomes, and determining relationships between and among variables using statistical analysis. Researching a doctoral dissertation is an ongoing learning process. This approach involves the statistical analysis of data collected by other researchers or organizations. The problem thats being addressed usually involves either a gap or a controversy in the literature. The researcher is trying to understand what the experience is like for the subject. House recommends working on your face-to-face and phone/Skype interview skills if youre going to use qualitative methods. However, when utilizing this approach, researchers must build their research questions based on the available data.
A researcher using this method will be trained during coursework and residencies in how to conduct this type of research, which involves specialized interviews and surveys with the people involved in the phenomenon. The research involves the use of multiple sources of data. Whether its a nicu neonatal intensive care nurse, a member of the National Guard, or a newly homeless widowthe researchers job is to assess the full experience of someone involved in large-scale phenomena. Also called generic qualitative, generic inquiry, or other variations. Ellen Mink, PhD, core research faculty in the School of Public Service Leadership and co-chair of the PSL Scientific Merit Review Committee, outlines two primary data sources for quantitative research. There are so many variations and possibilities, House says. The researcher needs to know what it is to be that person.
Youll need to learn when and how to probe more deeply. Doctoral research is the cornerstone of a PhD program. In this approach, data are collected by the researcher. The choice of whether to use a qualitative or quantitative methodology is based on the nature of the questions being asked, the state of the field, and the feasibility of the approach with the population of interest. Ayn OReilly, PhD, core research faculty in the School of Public Service Leadership (PSL) and co-chair of the PSL Scientific Merit Review Committee, notes there are several approaches to qualitative inquiry. Qualitative, qualitative research focuses on examining the topic via cultural phenomena, human behavior, or belief systems. Hear from four recent emba alumni on how the Executive MBA program exceeded their expectations and changed their lives. For example, a researcher might look at violence in the workplace, focusing on when, where, or how it occurs.
OReilly points to this as the most difficult form of qualitative research, which involves describing a lived experience and learning from that experience to help people or organizations that may face that same experience. So the researcher may be using similar methods, but will not have as thorough of a foundation of research available. In order to write the dissertation, you must complete extensive, detailed research, and there are different types of research for different types of studiesinvolving very different methodology. Variables are measured using instruments whose psychometric properties (reliability and validity) have been established by other authors. It can be very powerful, says OReilly. This is the most common approach for studying work environments, says OReilly. What can you expect from a Columbia Business School Executive MBA program?