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The Decision Circuit
- Start with a researchable question.
- Make selections on the Decision Boards by following the numbered sequence.
- Consult the glossary for definitions.
- Critically review choices with peers and/or the teacher:
- Are the decisions, taken together as a whole, logically compatible?
- Are the choices well-aligned with the original research question and stated goal?
- Do the decisions permit you to address the research question with the time and resources available?
- How ethical is your proposal?
- Revise according to feedback received.
- Write your method plan according to the decisions you have made using the Decision Circuit
FIVE CARDINAL RULES FOR DESIGNING A METHOD PLAN
- Do not try to re-invent the wheel. Build on existing research.
- Start with a research question that is:
- narrow in scope
- specific to a particular group or period
- worthy of scientific inquiry
- something that interests you
- Let the research question guide your choice of methods.
- Devise a method plan that is feasible and realistic.
- Ensure the methods chosen can generate valid and reliable data / information that can be treated ethically.
|1. PROBLEM FORMULATION|
1.1 What is your research question?
1.2 Which of the two types of problem formulations would most likely help you to address your research question?
1.3 What is the most suitable approach for collecting and analyzing the data?
|2. DATA COLLECTION DESIGN|
2.1 What forms of data / information do you think are required to address the question?
Obtained with direct human contact, such as…
Obtained without direct contact with human subjects, such as…
A) From your own field data collection efforts:
B) From data that are available, but have to be located and processed somehow:
2.2 Which data collection technique(s) will permit you to gather the data in an organized manner?
Most intrusive Least intrusive
2.3 Which data processing instrument(s) might be required to collect, measure or support your data?
2.4 What type(s) of units need to be measured?
2.5 For each type of unit required, what sampling strategy will you use?
|3. ANALYSIS, LIMITATIONS & ETHICS|
3.1 What type(s) of analysis might you need to manage and examine your data?
3.2 What are some of the limitations?
3.3 What are the ethical dimensions of the research?
Protecting the rights of research subjects when using forms of data / information that require direct contact and interaction with human subjects is a matter of complying with your duty as a researcher to abide by existing codes of ethics. Researchers involved in direct human contact research are responsible for knowing what is required of them. Following the required protocol involves voluntary and informed consent, as well as obtaining approval from your own institution’s Research Ethics Board (REB). Critical consideration should also be given to using available data, especially experimental data, that may have been obtained unethically.
As members of a community of scholars, researchers are ethically bound to fair and proper use of data / information: