ALIGNING YOUR RESEARCH

Aligning your research methodology with your problem statement is probably the most critical need in mapping Chapter 1 components to Chapter 3. Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 mirror each other, so you must ensure consistency in your language and presentation of information as well as the logical flow of your narrative. While language is consistent, it is not exact. Do not just copy your words from Chapter 1 to Chapter 3. As you have already discovered, the purpose of the study is derived from the problem statement, and each element of the purpose statement supports addressing the problem statement. The research questions support the problem and purpose of the study and then serve to provide direction for hypotheses (when applicable). The result is that your research becomes more focused and targeted.
Aligning the research approach to the problem statement and purpose also assists in achieving increased validity for your research. For example, a problem that is testing the relationship between two variables requires a quantitative approach, while a problem that seeks context is more appropriately examined through a qualitative approach. In fact, the verbiage used in the research questions should be derived from the terms used in the research design. When the research design is aligned to the problem statement, it ensures that the selected methods will actually measure what we think they are measuring or validate your research.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges encountered in preparing Chapter 1, once feasibility is determined, is ensuring the selected research method and design align with the nature of your intended study. A research design is a plan crafted to answer research questions, which were designed to address a problem—either philosophical or a problem of practice. A research design encompasses a particular research paradigm and includes a design that may dictate how, why, and what type of data is collected, and how it will be analyzed. You will continue to develop and refine your statement of the problem in this course.
In Week 4, you will create a Research Alignment table to briefly demonstrate how all of the components of the research design align. One strategy to keep your alignment on track is to add new information about your research study each time you complete a section of Chapter 1. This can be submitted as an additional document in your Weekly Dropbox to always show that you are keeping it all aligned.