Section 2.4 of the Capella research plan (RP) provides your Scientific Merit Reviewers (SMR) with their first glimpse of the methodological direction you intend to take your study. The preceding sections (1 and 2.1-2.3) provide the need for your study and research questions guiding your study, and section 2.4 should provide the aerial view of your study design.
Begin the section with an intro sentence that succinctly states your methodology and design (e.g., quantitative, quasi-experimental ex post facto design) and your study’s purpose. The next paragraph should describe your methodology (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods). In addition to stating the methodological approach guiding your study, you will need to justify why you have opted to use your selected methodological approach. This conversation should tie in the specific problem, purpose, and research questions guiding your study and why the methodology you have selected best aligns with these aspects of your study. This is a great place to address how your variables support the selected methodology (e.g., are they measurable and easily quantified? Are there previously developed instruments that you can use to quantify your variables? If so, a quantitative approach is best suited to your study).
In the remaining paragraphs you will describe your design, data collection, and data analysis. Students approach these differently, with some opting to interweave the discussion of design and analysis and make data collection its own standalone paragraph. Others may feel more comfortable keeping these three elements in separate paragraphs. However you approach this section, you will need to ensure that you convey your design (e.g., correlational or experimental) and how this design is suited to your intended data collection and data analysis. Focus on what type of analyses and data would be necessary to answer your research questions. This will help you narrow down your design. Be sure that the analysis you intend to conduct fits with the design you have selected. Finally, for the data collection, give the reviewers a description of who you intend to collect data from and how you will collect the data.
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