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dissertation research strategies to use

One of the things you need to think about as early as possible while working on your dissertation, is your research strategy. Why? The answer lies just beneath the surface: it's important for you to know how you will answer the posed questions and investigate the information you require. When you're defining your research strategy, you should understand if you want to use the existing literature or do a primary research on your own. It's also important to choose whether you want to do a secondary research. Nevertheless, don't think that it all is too much – our tips will help you do this successfully!

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Case Studies

  • Making a case study, you need to research a small group of individuals or a unit (like an organization)
  • You should collect data by participation, observation, examination of existing interviews, tests and records, etc.
  • You may include the personal accounts of the participants
  • Remember that your conclusions are relevant only to a particular group, so you cannot generalize them to a wider population
  • Instead of focusing on exploring and describing, concentrate on cause and effect
  • See how different variables interact to better understand a situation
  • Case studies are good for a painstaking research and for answering the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions


  • Social science and commercial settings often use surveys
  • Surveys help gather quantitative information, as well as qualitative data through open-ended questions
  • Respondents from a chosen group of people are requested to fill out a questionnaire that can be done over the phone, online, or face to face
  • Due to their flexibility, surveys can be used for collecting different information on a wide range of disciplines from a number of people
  • It's important to analyze the survey data to get the results
  • For quantitative data, SPSS and other statistical software is used
  • Qualitative information can be analyzed with the help of thematic analysis, coding, and other techniques


  • An interview is a recorded discussion with one or more individuals (typically, there are no more than 5 or 6 people)
  • Interviews have a flexible format and structure
  • There are structured, semi-structured, and unstructured interviews
  • In structured interviews, there is a prepared set of questions and little deviation is possible
  • Unstructured interviews are more flexible and allow the interviewer to use broad discussion areas
  • A one-to-one and a group interview have different dynamics that fit different purposes

Other Strategies

  • Collaborative inquiry, aka action research or participatory research, involves the process of doing something that allows better understanding of situations and practices
  • Ethnomethodology helps better understand how people communicate, face social realities and understand the world around them

Grounded theory research is used to examine a social situation and see how it can be explained.