Summary Research Methods for analyzing Complex Problems Exam 1 Learning objectives:
Made by: Daniëlle Dekker on September 2020
Lecture 1a: PS, RO, RQ (part 1)
Lecturers: Durwin Lynch This introductory lecture focusses on how to define your research topic, identify a problem
statement (PS) (or knowledge gap), formulate a clear research objective (RO) and research
question (RQ). Also, you will have to start understanding the setting, or context, in which
your research takes place, as this type of research does not take place in a controlled
environment... Main guiding questions/thoughts:
• How to formulate a research objective and main research question?
• Understand the elements of a research design, and that the process to develop and
implement this is not linear
• What function and form requirements are there for research objectives?
Gray, D.E. (2014) Doing Research in the Real World (3rd edition), sage Publication Ltd,
• Introduction, p1-12
• Chapter 2. Theoretical perspectives and Research Methodologies
• Chapter 3. Selecting and planning research proposals and projects
Verschuren, P. and Doorewaard, H. (2010) Designing a research project (2nd edition) Eleven
International Publishing, The Hague.
• Chapter 1. Project design, p. 15–27
• Chapter 2. Research objective, p. 31–42
• Chapter 4. Research questions, p. 91-114
For your own information, do also read the general introduction (p. 9–13) and the
introduction to Part 1 Conceptual design (p. 29-30)
Summary combining lecture + notes and book: You need to understand the complexity of the problem concerning all different values.
Research is something that people undertake in order to find out things in a systematic
way, thereby increasing their knowledge. Transforming the world
Action research / Transdisciplinary research
Understanding the world
Case Study / Ethnography
Measuring the world
Survey Research / Experimental research
= One discipline studying the problem
= More disciplines studying the same problem (not working together)
= Disciplines working together on a problem (beta
= Knowledge outside of academia is added
Society is our laboratory, uncontrolled environment. Focus on change and complex
problems. Four basic questions of doing research:
My contribution, what do I want to achieve?
My research area, the concepts that I will study.
How to proceed, the way I collect material and the way I analyze it.
Which glasses will I wear approaching the problem?
You start at an objective and end at a conclusion/discussion. But this is not linear. Designing
is an iterative process. Designing is refining and defining. You need to problematize. Don’t
take anything for granted and ask implicit questions. Have a practical and theoretical
relevance. Interpreting research is relating to your data. You are the data instrument. Selecting a research topic is a combination between literature and problems of the
workplace/community. A normal research consists of the following
- Introduction: with a problem statement (broad scope)
- Objective / Main research question (reliable, feasible, clear informative)
- Theory and concepts
- Research questions
- Work schedule
- Answer / Conclusion
A good topic is interesting, meets academic requirements has accessible information.
You should avoid a too big topic, too trivial and lack in resources and people.
A research topic will provide knowledge/insight/information which contributes to problem
solving/addressing a situation with practical and theoretical relevance leading to a proper
research objective. A good research objective is:
- Useful (in terms of relevance)
- Realistic (in terms of not making the objective to ambitious)
- Feasible (within time, knowledge and resources)
- Clear (in terms of objective being easy to understand)
- Informative (in terms of the objective clearly showing what you are going to do)
Demarcation (afbakening) is key in the process of setting up a good research objective. Research objective RO (p. 38)
The RO is (A) by (B)
A) External objective = contribution of your research project to solion of the problem /
what results can be expected
Lecture 1a: PS, RO, RQ (part 1)
Lecture 1b: PS, RO, RQ (part 2)
Lecture 2: Theory, Concepts and Models
Lecture 3: Research Methodology 07-09-2020
Lecture 4: Quantitative methods – questionnaires
Lecture 5: Qualitative methods – interviews
Lecture 6: Role of the researcher, etics and planning