The goal of the research plan is to give others a 10,000-foot view of why you are doing the study and how you are going to conduct the study. Essentially, the research plan is an abbreviated introduction and methodology chapters. In an introduction, the researcher states: the purpose of the study and how the study examines the research problem; the significance of the study, which should explain why this study is important; and the study’s research questions, which sit at the heart of the What that the study seeks to examine. Additionally, the research plan addresses the approach of the study, which is either qualitative or quantitative, the research design, the methodological model, and the rationale of the study. The introduction also identifies the theoretical framework, the constructs and variables in the study, and any definitions used in the study.
Now, the methodology aspect of the research plan, in both quantitative and qualitative studies, describes the population, sampling procedure, as well as the sample and its size. Furthermore, the methodology outlines the instruments and procedures of the study. In qualitative studies, the role of the researcher and issues of trustworthiness are included. In both types of studies, the data analysis plan is presented, as is the types of data to be collected.
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