Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 15

BRE 377 Research Methods

Dr. Tang Bo-sin Department of Building & Real Estate The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Qualitative Research Lecture Outline (4 Sessions) Session Topics / Learning Outcomes

Research: Some concepts
Describe what research is about Describe the meanings of theory, hypothesis, methodology and method Explain the differences between Physical Science and Social Science Explain the differences between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Choose your Dissertation Topic

Describe the criteria in selecting dissertation topic Distinguish between good and bad dissertation topics Describe possible sources and limitations of dissertation topic Determine appropriate dissertation topic and its possible pitfalls

Determine your Methodology/Methods

Describe how ontology and epistemology affect research Explain the differences between methodology and methods Describe how to establish scientific knowledge Identify different qualitative research methods and data sources Determine how to establish coherency in research

Write up your Dissertation

Determine the macrostructure of dissertation Describe what good presentation, title, abstract and chaptering are Make appropriate referencing Describe the meaning of plagiarism and be able to avoid it

Suggested reference readings in PolyU library

CALL # H62.M37 2002. Mason, Jennifer. Qualitative researching, London: Sage, 2002. CALL # H61 .B47763 2000 Blaikie, Norman. Designing social research: the logic of anticipation, Cambridge: Polity, 2000. CALL # Q180.55.M4 B66 2003 Booth, W.C., G. G. Colomb and J. M. Williams. The craft of research, 2nd ed, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003. CALL # Q180.55.M4 W343 2001. Walliman, Nicholas. Your research project: a step-by-step guide for the first-time Researcher, London : Sage Publications, 2001. CALL # CB113.C5 H87 2004 , : , : , 2004. Chapters 1 4. Call # H62 .H27 1998 Hart, Chris. Doing a literature review : releasing the social science research imagination, London : Sage, 1998. CALL # Q180.55.M4 B59 2001. Blaxter, Loraine, C. Hughes and M. Tight. How to research, 2nd ed. Buckingham: Open University Press, 2001. CALL # Q180.A1 L43 2001. Leedy, Paul D. and J. E. Ormrod. Practical research : planning and design, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Merrill Prentice Hall, c2001. CALL # Q180.55.M4 M66 2000. Moore, Nick. How to do research : the complete guide to designing and managing research projects. 3rd ed, London : Library Association Publishing, 2000. CALL # Q180.55.M4 L36 1998. Lang, Gerhard, and George D. Heiss. A practical guide to research methods, 6th ed. Lanham : University Press of America, c1998. CALL # PE1478 .H37 1998. Harvey, Gordon, Writing with sources: a guide for students, Indianapolis, Ind.: Hackett Pub., c1998. CALL # PE1478 .M4 1997. Menasche, Lionel. Writing a research paper, Rev. ed. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c1997. CALL # Q180.A1 L43 1997. Leedy, Paul D. and T. J. Newby and P. A. Ertmer. Practical research : planning and design, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Merrill, c1997. CALL # Q180.55.M4 M39 1996. Maxwell, J. A., Qualitative research design : an interactive approach, Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage Publications, c1996. CALL # H62 .Y56 1994. Yin, Robert K. Case study research: design and methods, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif. : : Sage, c1994.

Teaching Notes
(Abridged and condensed version of powerpoint)

Research: some concepts

What is Research?
1. Scholarly or scientific investigation or inquiry. 2. Close careful study. (The American Heritage College Dictionary, 3rd edition, p.1160) a detailed study of a subject, esp. in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding (Cambridge International Dictionary of English, p.1208)

Research Concepts:
Research Questions Literature Review Methodology vs. Methods Theor-y (ies) Hypothe-sis (ses) Data (Collection, Analysis) Conclusions Further Studies

Different kinds of theory:

Normative Theory Ought to : a desirable state or condition Explain the best means to do something What is: Explain/interpret what the reality is Prescriptive Theory Empirical / Positive Theory

Source: Judge et al., (1995) Theories of urban politics, London: Sage, pp.1-2.

Physical Science vs. Social Science Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

Comparison Questions Data Look for Nature of interviews Qualitative What do you think? How? Why? Text/ Non-quantifiable Process Open-ended/ Quantitative How much? How many? Numbers/ Quantifiable Pattern Close questions/ Standardized Surface/Breadth Particular Statistical Generalization Mainstream cases Statistical analysis Representative

Probes for explanation Study Objective/Scope Indepth/Depth Nature Generalization Cases Analysis Value Holistic Theoretical Generalization Deviant cases Interpretation Credible

Choose your Dissertation Topic

A 30-second test:
Topic: I am studying_________ Question: because I want to find out what/why/how_________ Significance: in order to help my reader to understand_______

Source: Booth et al. (2003). The Craft of Research, Chicago: Chicago U Press, p.56.

Past Dissertation: Common styles:

Photo Album Teaching Notes Story-telling/Interview Transcripts Crystal-ball Gazing/Fortune Telling Jesus Christ-Super Star Problem-Theory-Analysis-Conclusion

Possible sources:
Personal interests Current hot issues Literature Constraints/Restrictions

Source: Blaikie, N. (2000) Designing Social Research, Cambridge: Polity

Structure around theoretical paradox or debate Replicate a project (different place or time) Keep a boundary: e.g. 1978-1997 Avoid current issues (history) Organizing disorganized information Do you control some key information and data? Rely on your own efforts; not others (e.g. survey) No failure scenario; Covers all possible outcomes

Determine your Methodology/Methods

Methodology refers to discussions of how research is done, or should be done, and to the critical analysis of methods of research. Methodology also deals with logics of enquiry, of how new knowledge is generated and justified. This includes a consideration of how theories are generated and tested what kinds of logic should be used, what a theory looks like, what criteria a theory has to satisfy, how its relates to a particular research problem, and how it can be tested. Source: Blaikie, N. (2000) Designing Social Research, Cambridge: Polity, p.8.

2 Concepts:
Ontology What is the reality? What really exists? Epistemology The philosophy of knowledge and evidence.

How to establish scientific knowledge:

Induction Deduction Paradigm

Logics: Particular General Observation Law/Theories

Logics: Theory What to observe Theory Prediction/Implication Disprove it

Paradigm = Power to define Assumptions, methods, problems,etc.

To establish coherency:
What How Where


Problem Statement

Literature Review


Theory, Model, Hypothesis



Data Sources

Qualitative Methods:
Archive analysis Case study Field survey Direct observation Participant observation Interview Questionnaire Focus group

Data Sources:
People (individuals or groups) Texts (published or unpublished) Settings and environments (visual or virtual) Objects, artefacts, media products Events and happenings

Source: Mason, J. (2002). Qualitative researching, London: Sage, p.52.


Write up your Dissertation Dunleavy:

Success of dissertation: 50% on research 50% on authoring skills

Macrostructure (based upon Dunleavy)

Overall sequencing Locating the value added Pattern in arguments Organizing


Focus-down model


Literature Review

Project Context Methods and Setup

Research Results


Length / Space


Open-up model


Problem/ Paradox explained

Research methods

Analysis of results


Length / Space


Locating Values:
What are the Core Materials? Share of Core Materials = around 60%.

Pattern in Argument:
Descriptive approach Analytical approach Argumentative approach Matrix approach

Length: 10,000 words (absolute maximum) 40 A-4 pages (assuming @250 words) Better to have < 100 pages. Number of Chapters: 5 7. (6 chapters plus or minus one) One order of numbering only, i.e. 1.1 and 1.2. Substantive headings/subheadings Research methods etc put in the Appendices.

Keep to one A4 pages No more than 200 words

Dissertation title
The art of naming Keywords Main title + subtitle


Be substantive and purposeful Correct description of content Avoid excessive sub-headings

Each chapter serves a distinctive function Opening paragraph summarizes the section Each paragraph has more or less equal length (say 200 words) Watch 1st and last sentences Conclusion/summary signposts next chapter

Principle: One stop, unambiguous look-up for readers Complete precision of referencing, page, chapter number, year, etc. Indent + Put inside double-quotation marks

Dot Thread Surface Point Line Paragraph

- END -