February 2, 2016
Samantha Heintzelman and Laura King, at the University of Missouri, published an article in American Psychologist in 2014 titled, “Life is Pretty Meaningful.” In this article the authors discuss their work that explores the answer to the “lofty” question “How meaningful is life, in general?” To do this, Heintzelman and King examined two broad categories of data sources: 1) large-scale surveys – six representative surveys conducted in the U.S. and a worldwide poll; and 2) articles published in the literature that explicitly report on research studies utilizing one of two established measures of meaning in life – the Purpose in Life Test (PIL) and Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ). The large-scale surveys asked yes-and-no questions such as “Did you feel that your life has meaning [in the past 12 months]?” as well as agree-disagree rating scale items such as “My life has a real purpose.” Their analysis of these surveys concluded that “for most people, life is meaningful [and] comparatively few Read Full Text
January 16, 2016
Two articles published in Research Design Review in 2015 concerned an important goal of most researchers: to unravel the mysteries of attitudes and behavior. Both of these articles emphasize the idea that an essential ingredient to achieving this goal is allowing sufficient time in the research process to discover and explore contradictions in participants’ responses and find the personal meanings associated with the issues or constructs of interest.
The suggestion of adding time to research designs – e.g., longer survey questionnaires, lengthier in-depth interviews – flies in the face of the ever-increasing focus on “faster and cheaper” research through technology. A research design, however, that acknowledges the inconsistent and contradictory nature of human beings, and is intent on discovering personal meaning, will give the researcher the appropriate freedom to reach this all-important objective.
These articles are available for download in the document “Designing Research to Find Contradictions & Personal Meaning.”
January 4, 2016
Research Design Review is a blog first published in November 2009. RDR currently includes over 130 articles concerning quantitative and qualitative research design issues. “Qualitative Research Design: Selected Articles from Research Design Review Published in 2015” presents the 17 articles that were published in 2015 devoted to qualitative research design. These articles discuss best practices in research design for a range of qualitative methods – in-depth interviews, focus groups, ethnography, multiple methods – and emphasize the need for quality standards in qualitative research design that lead to credible, analyzable, transparent, and ultimately useful outcomes. This quality approach to qualitative research is discussed at length in a new book from Guilford Press – Applied Qualitative Research Design: A Total Quality Framework Approach (Roller & Lavrakas, 2015). As we state in the book:
““If it is agreed that qualitative research can, in fact, serve worthwhile (‘good’) purposes, then logically it would serve those purposes only to the degree that it is done (‘executed’) well…” (p. 20)
The 17 articles included in this compilation are:
1. Social Constructionism & Quality in Qualitative Research Design
2. The Interviewee’s Role in the Qualitative Interview: Interpreter or Reporter?
3. 25 Ingredients to “Thicken” Description & Enrich Transparency in Ethnography
4. Online Group Discussions: Participants’ Security & Identity Questions
December 12, 2015
The articles in Research Design Review are largely devoted to issues of “quality research design”; specifically, how to build sound research techniques and principles into the design of qualitative and quantitative studies. Creating designs that lead to useful, actionable outcomes is the ultimate goal of research, yet most meaningful research would not get off the ground without a well-reasoned, well-written research proposal. This is why a quality approach to developing the research proposal is essential among researchers in the academic, government, not-for-profit, and commercial sectors responding to RFPs; researchers in search of grant funding; as well as graduate students working toward their theses and dissertations.
A quality approach is particularly important with respect to the qualitative research proposal. While quantitative proposals typically incorporate any number of discussions on quality Read Full Text