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Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation, 4th Edition by Elizabeth J. Tisdell, Sharan B. Merriam

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AppendixThe Methodology Section of a Qualitative Research Study

Sharan B. Merriam

A qualitative research proposal, whether it's a full chapter of a prospective dissertation or an abbreviated methods section of a proposal, must explain to the approving/funding committee the design of the study, how a sample will be selected, how data are to be collected and analyzed, and how trustworthiness will be ensured. The following is a template of the methodology section or chapter (usually the third chapter of a dissertation or thesis) for a qualitative research study. Each section is keyed to a chapter in this book where you will find more detailed coverage of that topic. This is only a general guideline; each study is unique, and what is included in the methodology chapter or section will vary according to the specialized circumstances of your particular study.

Methods

The chapter begins with about a half page introduction reminding the reader of the problem and purpose of the study, followed by your research questions. You might also tell the reader what topics you plan to cover in this chapter (that is, design of the study, sample selection, and so on).

Design of the Study (Chapters One and Two)

Here you will tell us that you are doing a qualitative study, what the underlying philosophy is (for example, social constructivism), and what some of the defining characteristics of a qualitative study are. For example, you might tell us that in qualitative research the focus is on process, ...

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