A Playbook for Research Methods

Shields , Patricia & Rangarajan , Nandhini

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Inspired by student athletes, this Playbook for Research Methods uses football as a metaphor to examine aspects of empirical research often overlooked in typical research methods texts. Writing a large research paper often overwhelms students. This book introduces basic project management tools to the process of writing a paper. The components of a paper are broken into smaller parts (much like lifting weights and drills for a football player). In this way, students can build skills central to scholarly research. The role of theory is another source of confusion. By using the analogy of a football play this book introduces four conceptual frameworks (a kind of close to the data intermediate theory) that brings coherence to all aspects of the research process. But empirical inquiry is not like playing football it is also like coaching football and inventing plays. Scholars should see themselves like football coaches who develop or find these frameworks (plays) as they work through the literature and define their research question. This student-focused book uses three examples from award winning student papers to illustrate each of the frameworks. The students story begins with finding a topic and then moves to recognizing critical literature, refining the purpose, developing and operationalizing a conceptual framework, choosing a method, analyzing data and presenting findings.

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