Walden Qualitative Checklist: Research Design and Rationale


Posted December 7, 2017

The Walden Qualitative Dissertation Checklist requires you to provide a rationale for your selected research approach and research design in Chapter 3. First, let’s separate between research approach and research design. Research approach is broad and corresponds to the type of data you will be collecting. There are three specific approaches to data collection: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Your research approach will narrow down your choice of research design. No matter what research approach you select, you should take a paragraph to define and describe the research approach in addition to answering the following questions:

  1. What is this research approach good for?
  2. Why does this research approach fit/not fit with the goals or purpose for your research study?

Answering the above questions, along with defining and describing the research approach, will demonstrate your knowledge about the research approach. For this blog, however, we are going to focus specifically on qualitative methods.

Qualitative research has various research designs you can consider for your research study: generic qualitative, single- or multiple-case study, phenomenology, narrative inquiry, grounded theory, and ethnography are just a few examples. Once you provide a paragraph for each research approach, you will do the same for the research designs. You will select the research design that best fits your research study based on the purpose and goals of your study, but you will also need to provide evidence that you considered other research designs. So how do you accomplish that?

Follow the same protocol as you did with the research approach.  You will need to define and describe each research design and answer ‘What is this research design good for?’ and ‘Why does this design fit/not fit with the goals or purpose of your research study?’ Aim to cover at least two other research designs considered in addition to the research design you have selected for your study. In total, this will be about three more paragraphs (one for each design). If you select case study research, be prepared to write an additional paragraph regarding how single- and multiple-case study research differ from one another, just to provide a rationale for selecting either one.

Finally, do not forget to provide citations for every decision you make. Ideally, you should provide a minimum of three unique citations for your decisions within each research design. Without citations you will not be able to establish that you are knowledgeable and well-versed in qualitative research.


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