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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


Paul D.M37 2002. Chapters 1 – 4. 2 .M4 L36 1998. Walliman. Writing a research paper. G. Your research project: a step-by-step guide for the first-time Researcher. Hughes and M. 2nd ed. A.M4 M39 1996.M4 W343 2001. Gerhard.A1 L43 1997. J. Leedy.. Practical research : planning and design. E.Suggested reference readings in PolyU library CALL # H62. c1997. 6th ed.J. CALL # Q180. Doing a literature review : releasing the social science research imagination. Qualitative researching.A1 L43 2001. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. : Merrill. 2004. Lionel. How to do research : the complete guide to designing and managing research projects. Blaxter. London : Library Association Publishing. 7th ed. 2002.. CALL # Q180. Case study research: design and methods.J.C. Moore. 2001. A. Indianapolis. Call # H62 . Menasche. Lanham : University Press of America. CALL # PE1478 . CALL # Q180.M4 1997. CALL # Q180.B47763 2000 Blaikie.55. Calif. c1996. Cambridge: Polity.H27 1998 Hart. : : Sage. CALL # PE1478 . c1998. CALL # H61 .55. and J. Robert K. Thousand Oaks. Chris. c1997. Calif. Upper Saddle River. 6th ed. A practical guide to research methods. c2001. N. Gordon. Loraine. CALL # Q180. 當代文化批判 : 一個東方文學者的回應. Ertmer. 2003. Tight. How to research. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press. M.55. Designing social research: the logic of anticipation. N. The craft of research. c1994.55. and T. 1998. Norman. 2000. CALL # CB113. Ind. Upper Saddle River.C5 H87 2004 霍韜晦. Writing with sources: a guide for students. Mason. London : Sage Publications.M4 M66 2000. Thousand Oaks. CALL # Q180. Buckingham: Open University Press. Yin. Nick. CALL # Q180. Maxwell. CALL # H62 .55.H37 1998. Heiss. Williams. Newby and P. 3rd ed. Nicholas. Paul D. 2000. : Merrill Prentice Hall.. 2nd ed. and George D.Y56 1994. Leedy. C. Qualitative research design : an interactive approach. CALL # Q180. 香港 : 法住出版社. Ormrod. London : Sage. Harvey.: Hackett Pub. Lang.M4 B66 2003 Booth. ed. : Sage Publications. 2nd ed. 2001.55.M4 B59 2001. London: Sage. Practical research : planning and design. Jennifer. G. J. Colomb and J. Rev. c1998. W.

1208) Research Concepts: • • • • • • • • Research Questions Literature Review Methodology vs. Scholarly or scientific investigation or inquiry. esp.’ (The American Heritage College Dictionary. Close careful study. Analysis) Conclusions Further Studies 3 . 3rd edition. p.1160) … ‘a detailed study of a subject. Methods Theor-y (ies) Hypothe-sis (ses) Data (Collection. in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding’ (Cambridge International Dictionary of English. p.Teaching Notes (Abridged and condensed version of powerpoint) Research: some concepts What is Research? …’1. 2.

Social Science Qualitative vs. Physical Science 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 4 . (1995) Theories of urban politics..1-2. London: Sage.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. pp.

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.56. p. The Craft of Research. N. (2000) Designing Social Research. 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. Cambridge: Polity 5 . (2003). Chicago: Chicago U Press.

g.g.Advice: • • • • • • • • Structure around theoretical paradox or debate Replicate a project (different place or time) Keep a boundary: e. Covers all possible outcomes 6 . not others (e. 1978-1997 Avoid current issues (history) Organizing disorganized information Do you control some key information and data? Rely on your own efforts. survey) No failure scenario.

Cambridge: Polity. p. and how it can be tested.8. Methodology also deals with logics of enquiry. and to the critical analysis of methods of research. (2000) Designing Social Research. how its relates to a particular research problem. what criteria a theory has to satisfy. This includes a consideration of how theories are generated and tested – what kinds of logic should be used. Source: Blaikie. 2 Concepts: Ontology – What is the reality? What really exists? Epistemology – The philosophy of knowledge and evidence. of how new knowledge is generated and justified. what a theory looks like. or should be done. How to establish scientific knowledge: • • • Induction Deduction Paradigm 7 . N.Determine your Methodology/Methods ‘Methodology … refers to discussions of how research is done.

problems.Induction: • Logics: – Particular à General – Observation à Law/Theories Deduction: • Logics: – Theory à What to observe – Theory è Prediction/Implicationè Disprove it Paradigm: • Paradigm = Power to define – Assumptions. To establish coherency: • • • What How Where 8 .etc. methods.

WHAT = Problem Statement Literature Review HOW = Theory. Hypothesis Methods WHERE = Data Sources Qualitative Methods: • • • • • • • • Archive analysis Case study Field survey Direct observation Participant observation Interview Questionnaire Focus group 9 . Model.

London: Sage. J. media products Events and happenings Source: Mason. 10 .52. artefacts. Qualitative researching. (2002).Data Sources: • • • • • People (individuals or groups) Texts (published or unpublished) Settings and environments (visual or virtual) Objects. p.

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 11 .

Focus-down model Scope Literature Review Project Context Methods and Setup Research Results Analysis Length / Space 12 .

Open-up model Scope Problem/ Paradox explained Research methods Analysis of results Discussions Length / Space 13 .

2.Locating Values: • • What are the Core Materials? Share of Core Materials = around 60%. (6 chapters plus or minus one) One order of numbering only.000 words (absolute maximum) 40 A-4 pages (assuming @250 words) Better to have < 100 pages. Pattern in Argument: • • • • Descriptive approach Analytical approach Argumentative approach Matrix approach Organizing: • • • • • • • Length: 10. Number of Chapters: 5 – 7.e. Abstract: • • Keep to one A4 pages No more than 200 words Dissertation title • • • The art of naming Keywords Main title + subtitle 14 . Substantive headings/subheadings Research methods etc put in the Appendices.1 and 1. i. 1.

page. etc.Heading/Subheadings • • • Be substantive and purposeful Correct description of content Avoid excessive sub-headings Chapter: • • • • • 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 Referencing: Principle: • One stop. chapter number. year. • Indent + Put inside “double-quotation” marks Drafting: • • Dot è Thread è Surface Point è Line è Paragraph .END - 15 . unambiguous look-up for readers • Complete precision of referencing.