Introduction And Literature Review

1. Introduction

Research could be defined as a systematic process of inquiry that aims to discover, unveil, interpret, and revise the truth and facts.

A research investigation produces and develops a greater knowledge

of facts, actions, behaviors, theories, and laws.

The term research also refers to a collection of information about a particular

topic, and is usually related with science and the scientific method. The word

research derives from the French “recherché”, from “rechercher”, to search

closely where “chercher” means “to search”, its literal meaning is “to investigate


Research process

Usually a research project follows particular stages, a structural

process. These stages may vary according to the requirements of a

particular research topic or field but the following stages are usually

part of most formal, academic research:

Formation of the topic Hypothesis

Conceptual definitions

Operational definitions

Gathering of data

Analysis of data

Conclusion, revising of hypothesis

EDU731-1: Dissertation 1

Research Paradigms

A research paradigm is “the set of common beliefs and agreements shared

between scientists about how problems should be understood and addressed”

(Kuhn, 1962).

According to Guba (1990), research paradigms can be characterised

through their:

ontology – What is reality?

epistemology – How do you know something?

methodology – How do you go about finding it out?

EDU731-1: Dissertation 1

The diagram below explains the above terms and the relationship

between them:


Assumptions about the nature of reality


How the researcher comes to know that reality


How the researcher access and report what is learned about the reality

EDU731-1: Dissertation 1

EDU731-1: Dissertation 1

Table adapted from various sources, including Crotty (1998). Crotty left

ontology out of his framework, and also didn’t include Pragmatism and Critical.

But the assumptions underlying every piece of research are both ontological

and epistemological.

To summarise:

Positivism- Quantitative ~ discovery of the laws that govern behavior

Constructivist- Qualitative ~ understandings from an insider perspective

Critical- Postmodern ~ Investigate and expose the power relationships

Pragmatic- interventions, interactions and their effect in multiple contexts

2. Writing up your dissertation thesis: (Proposed outline of a dissertation

thesis, it could be modified accordingly)


A. Broad introduction to thesis topic and method. Page or two. Write after

remainder of proposal is completed.

B. Research problem. State broadly, in question form. Give sub-questions.

Explain carefully. In one sense, usually the problem is to expand the body of

knowledge examined in the literature review.

C. Need for the research. Who will benefit? Discuss applied and scientific


D. Nominal definitions. Define central terms.

E. Context. Add further info to clarify the research problem.

EDU731-1: Dissertation 1

Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW (to be personalized by the student) (this is

why it is important to add some information regarding argumentative

structure and critical analysis of information).

Organize by idea; avoid stringing together abstracts of articles.

A. Overview. Theoretical foundations.

B. Literature. Group articles by ideas. For a given idea, first discuss common

strands in the literature, then departures.

D. Hypotheses (Mainly in Quantitative studies). For each, give brief

restatement of justification tied to earlier sections; explain derivation and

implications. Explicitly state plausible rival hypotheses (explanations of

process) of a substantive nature.

E. Scope of the study. Theoretical assumptions; discuss limitations they



A. Introduction. General description of method and design.

B. Design. Experiment, quasi-experiment, survey, exploratory, case studies and

so forth. Detailed description.

C. Data collection tools (e.g. interviews, observation, questionnaires etc)

D. Sampling method. Universe, population, element, sample design,


E. Ethical approach to research.

F. Analysis. Techniques to be used; justification (necessary and sufficient).

G. Methodological assumptions. Discuss limitations they impose.

EDU731-1: Dissertation 1


A: Discussion of Research Results

B: Re-assessment of research questions or hypotheses

C. Summary


A: Conclusion (summary of findings/results)

B. Implication for future research

C. Distinctive contribution



Please note: The outline is proposed and it could be modified according to the

needs of each study (e.g. mixed methods design, quantitative study or

qualitative study). You could access the additional readings suggested before

you decide the structure of your own study.

References th

Babbie, E. R. (2010). The Practice of Social Research (12 ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage.

Bell, J. (2014). Doing Your Research Project: A guide for first-time researchers.

McGraw-Hill Education (UK)

Biggam, J. (2015). Succeeding with your master’s dissertation: a step-by-step

handbook. McGraw-Hill Education (UK)

Johnson, H. (2009). Writing a Quantitative Research Thesis. In International

Journal of Educational Science 1, 19-32.

Krauss, S. E. (2005). Research paradigms and meaning making: A primer. In The

qualitative report, 10(4), 758-770.

Mackenzie, N., & Knipe, S. (2006). Research dilemmas: Paradigms, methods

and methodology. In Issues in educational research, 16(2), 193-205.

Ponterotto, J. G. (2005). Qualitative research in counseling psychology: A

primer on research paradigms and philosophy of science. In Journal of counseling psychology, 52(2), 126.

Scherer, K. R. (2003). Vocal communication of emotion: A review of

research paradigms. In Speech communication, 40(1), 227-256.

Skills you need. Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods.

  • 1. Introduction
  • Research process
  • Research Paradigms
  • Ontology:
  • Epistemology:
  • Methodology:
  • To summarise:
  • 2. Writing up your dissertation thesis: (Proposed outline of a dissertation thesis, it could be modified accordingly)
  • Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW (to be personalized by the student) (this is why it is important to add some information regarding argumentative structure and critical analysis of information).
  • Chapter 5: CONCLUSION
  • References