In a funny way, academic research is somewhat similar to sports such as sailing and rock-climbing — although admittedly yielding a more modest adrenaline rush. As with those sports — or, closer to home, artisanal work done by skilled craftsmen and women — the process whereby you reach your ultimate destination or produce a piece of furniture is just as important as getting there. What academic research shares with these activities is that everything depends on how principles are applied which have been learned in situations in which they have not been used yet, and how each stage in the process is something that was constructed in the mind of the sailor, climber or carpenter before it was executed. Doing research is constructing research, and research design is the toolbox that allows us to do that professionally. Constructing research, in turn, means that you construct your research question, and present your version of the debate surrounding that question. It also means that you collect and construct data and cases so that they speak to the question and debate that you identify. Finally, you should know how to distinguish between producing your research — constructing it — and reproducing it — writing up.
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- The Challenge of Research Design
- Macmillan Education UK
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- Chapter 11