Making a Preliminary Choice of Methodology
Distinguish between three related concepts:
i) Research Perspectives
ii) Research Types
iii) Research Methods
Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives
A research perspective, as used here, is a general view and use of research approaches and methods.
There are two major perspectives: quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative perspective derives from a
positivist epistemology, which holds that there is an objective reality that can be expressed numerically. As a
consequence the quantitative perspective emphasizes studies that are experimental in nature, emphasize
measurement, and search for relationships. If a study uses language such as the following, it probably has
used a quantitative perspective: variable, controls, validity, reliability, hypothesis, statically significant.
On the other hand, a qualitative perspective emphasizes a phenomenological view in which reality
inheres in the perceptions of individuals. Studies deriving from this perspective focus on meaning and
understanding, and take place in naturally occurring situations (McMillan, 1996). If a study uses language
such as the following, it probably has used a qualitative perspective: naturalistic, field study, case study, context,
situational, constructivism, meaning, multiple realities.
While some researchers seem chiefly concerned with the differences between the two approaches,
Morgan (1997) explains how the two perspectives can be combined. He identifies four general ways of
combining the two, based upon two factors: which one is primary and which, secondary; and which one is
used first and which, second.
1. Quantitative primary, qualitative first. The researcher begins with a qualitative approach as the secondary
method, using the qualitative data as a basis for collecting and interpreting the quantitative data (the primary
2. Quantitative primary, quantitative first. The researcher begins with a quantitative approach as the primary
method, using qualitative follow-up to evaluate and interpret the quantitative results.
3. Qualitative primary, quantitative first. The researcher begins by collecting quantitative preliminary data as
a basis for collecting and interpreting the primary qualitative data.
4. Qualitative primary, qualitative first. The researcher begins with the primary qualitative data, using
quantitative follow up to interpret the qualitative data.
The term research type is used here to identify the general research approach. While authorities in
the field seem to differ as to how the types of research are classified, the following approaches, which are
most often used in educational research, represent some of the options available to you as a researcher. To
simplify the discussion, they are divided into whether they tend to use a quantitative or a qualitative
perspective, although there is much overlapping in many of the types.
Studies Primarily Quantitative in Nature
The following types of research are primarily quantitative in nature.
Experimental research uses methods originally applied in the physical and biological sciences. In
most experiments the following procedures are used: a sample of subjects is selected; they are assigned
randomly to experimental and control groups; a treatment is administrated to the experimental group only.
The two groups are then evaluated on the basis of the dependent variable, the consequence of the
independent variable. The latter is the presumed cause of the dependent variable.
A quasi-experimental design is one that follows the general procedures of experimental research,
without the use of control group or without random assignment, since random assignment or the use of
control groups is often not feasible in educational settings.
Causal comparative studies are designed to determine the possible causes of a phenomenon.
Sometimes these studies are called ex post facto research.
Correlation studies are designed to analyze the relationships between two or more variables,
ordinarily through the use of correlation coefficients.
As the term implies, the purpose of descriptive research is to describe a phenomenon. Descriptive
studies report frequencies, averages, and percentages. For example, you might study the attitudes.
Evaluation research makes judgments about the merit or wroth of educational programs, products,
and organizations. It is typically undertaken in order to aid administrators in making professional decisions.
Evaluation studies are usually described as either formative or summative. Formative studies are made while
a new program or product is being developed; summative studies, when it has been completed. You might
do an evaluation of a new standards-based curriculum, performing both a formative and a summative
Studies Primarily Qualitative in Nature
The following types of research tend to take a qualitative perspective.
Case Study Research
A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real
life context; when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident; and in which
multiple source of evidence are used. Qualitative perspective, concerned with exploring, describing, and
explaining a phenomenon.
Ethnographic research is a special types of case study research. It is distinguished from other types
of case studies because it uses the theories and methods of anthropology to study the culture of schools and
Most action research documents how an educational problem was identified, understood, and
solved by practitioners.
Research methods, as the term is used here, are the specific techniques used to collect data with
respect to the research problem. In general, five methods are typically used in educational research.
1. Test and measurements. Tests are administered and measurements made to determine the extent of
2. Interviews. Interviews are conducted with individuals or groups to ascertain their perceptions.
3. Observations. Observations are made to determine what is occurring and what individuals are doing.
4. Surveys. Surveys are administered to assess opinions, perceptions, and attitudes.
5. Documents. Documents are analyzed to establish the record.
Make Preliminary Choices
The process explained here assumes that in developing the prospectus you will make only a
preliminary choice that may
Interview Observation Survey
Causal comparison P
Describe multiple realities
Capture naturally occurring
Review of documents
Role of Researcher Distant
Stress models, themes, and
Format and Style
You will be required to abide by the following format and style as specified by the Department.
Time New Roman
18 Bold CAPS
14 Bold CPS
(Do not italicize or underline the headings and sub-headings)
Offset Paper 90 grams
A4 213mm x 275mm
Indented & space between paragraphs
Evaluation CopySpiral binding
Hardbound covered with cloth
Color of bindingDark Black
To contain student's name, title of the
thesis, level and year
MLA or APA (See Annex ???)
Time New Roman
Name of the Dept.
Name of the university 18 bold
The inner title would be the same, plus:
i) Statement of submission:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MA TEFL at the Department of
English Language & Applied Linguistic, Faculty of Social Science, Allama Iqbal Open University,
ii) Supervisor's Name
iii. Month, Year
Time New Roman
14 bold CAPS
(Do not italicize or underline the headings & sub-headings)
Either indent or don't but consistent.
A research thesis probably include:
Abstract (2 pages)
Acceptance Certificate (Annex E)
Dedication / Acknowledgements (optional)
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Chapter 3: Procedure of the study
Chapter 4: Data Analysis
Chapter 5: Conclusion
Appendices, if any
Prelims (Inner title content list) will be numbered in Roam numerals i, ii, iii, iv, etc.
Arabic numerals (1,2,3, etc) will begin from Chapter 1:
How to Made Documents
Your essay should be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5 X 11 inches) with margins
of 1 inch on all sides. Your final essay should include, in the order indicated below, as many of the
following sections as are applicable, each of which should begin on a separate page:
Title page: includes a running head for publication, title, and byline and affiliation.
General APA Guidelines
Image Caption: Sample APA title page; running head and page number in upper right-hand corner,
definition of running head IN ALL CAPS, and vertically and horizontally centers the title of the paper, its
author and her affiliation to the page.
Page numbers and running head: in the upper right-hand corner of each page, include a 1-2
word version of your title. Follow with five spaces and then the page number.
Abstract: If your instructor requires an abstract, write a 75-100 word overview of your essay, which
should include your main idea and your major points. You also may want to mention any implications of
your research. Place the abstract on its own page immediately after the title page. Center the word Abstract
and then follow with the paragraph.
Headings: Although not absolutely necessary, headings can be helpful. For undergraduate papers,
only one level of heading is necessary. Major headings should be centered. Capitalize every word in the
heading except articles (a, the), short prepositions (in, by, for), and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or).
Visuals: Visuals such as tables and figures include graphs, charts, drawings, and photographs. Try
to keep the visuals as simple as possible and clearly label each visual with an Arabic numeral (ex: Table 1,
Table 2, etc.) and include the title of the visual. The label and the title should appear on separate lines above
the table, flush left. Below the table, provide the source. A sample Figure treatment is shown below.
List of References:
Create your list of references on its own page after the last page of your text. Center the title
References one inch from the top of the page. Double space. Alphabetize the list of references by the last
name of the authors. If the work has no author or editor, alphabetize the work by the first word of the title
(excluding A, An, or The).
In-Text Citations: The Basics
Reference citations in text are covered on pages 207-214 of the Publication Manual. What follows
are some general guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay.
Note: APA style requires authors to use the past tense or present perfect tense when using signal
phrases to describe earlier research. E.g., Jones (1998) found or Jones (1998) has found...
APA Citation Basics
When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the
author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, E.g., (Jones, 1998),
and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making
reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of
publication in your in-text reference.
In-Text Citation Capitalization, Quotes, and Italics/Underlining
Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials: D. Jones.
If you refer to the title of a source within your paper, capitalize all words that are four letters long
or greater within the title of a source: Permanence and Change. Exceptions apply to short words that are verbs,
nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs: Writing New Media, There Is Nothing Left to Lose. (Note that in your
References list, only the first word of a title will be capitalized: Writing new media.)
When capitalizing titles, capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound word: Natural-Born
Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon: "Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock's
Italicize or underline the titles of longer works such as books, edited collections, movies, television
series, documentaries, or albums: The Closing of the American Mind; The Wizard of Oz; Friends.
Put quotation marks around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles, articles from edited
collections, television series episodes, and song titles: "Multimedia Narration: Constructing Possible
Worlds"; "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry."
If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication,
and the page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that
includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.
According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was
their first time" (p. 199).
Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does
this have for teachers?
If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication,
and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.
She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style," (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not
offer an explanation as to why.
Place direct quotations longer than 40 words in a free-standing block of typewritten lines, and omit
quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented five spaces from the left margin. Type the
entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the
quotation five spaces from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation
should come after closing punctuation mark.
Jones's (1998) study found the following:
Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources.
This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask
their teacher for help. (p. 199)
Summary or Paraphrase
If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author
and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide the page
number (although it is not required.)
According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.
APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).
In-Text Citations: Author/Authors
APA style has a series of important rules on using author names as part of the author-date system.
There are additional rules for citing indirect sources, electronic sources, and sources without page numbers.
Citing an Author or Authors
A Work by Two Authors:Name both authors in the signal phrase or in the parentheses each time
you cite the work. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use "&" in the
Research by Wegener and Petty (1994) showed...
(Wegener & Petty, 1994)
A Work by Three to Five Authors: List all the authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses the first time
you cite the source.
(Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, & Harlow, 1993)
In subsequent citations, only use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal phrase
or in parentheses.
(Kernis et al., 1993)
In et al., et should not be followed by a period.
Six or More Authors: Use the first author's name followed by et al. in the signal phrase or in parentheses.
Harris et al. (2001) argued...
(Harris et al., 2001)
Unknown Author: If the work does not have an author, cite the source by its title in the signal
phrase or use the first word or two in the parentheses. Titles of books and reports are italicized or
underlined; titles of articles and chapters are in quotation marks.
A similar study was done of students learning to format research papers ("Using APA," 2001).
Note: In the rare case the "Anonymous" is used for the author, treat it as the author's name
(Anonymous, 2001). In the reference list, use the name Anonymous as the author.
Organization as an Author: If the author is an organization or a government agency, mention the
organization in the signal phrase or in the parenthetical citation the first time you cite the source.
According to the American Psychological Association (2000),...
If the organization has a well-known abbreviation, include the abbreviation in brackets the first
time the source is cited and then use only the abbreviation in later citations.
First citation: (Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD], 2000)
Second citation: (MADD, 2000)
Two or More Works in the Same Parentheses: When your parenthetical citation includes two or
more works, order them the same way they appear in the reference list, separated by a semi-colon.
(Berndt, 2002; Harlow, 1983)
Authors With the Same Last Name: To prevent confusion, use first initials with the last names.
(E. Johnson, 2001; L. Johnson, 1998)
Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Year: If you have two sources by the
same author in the same year, use lower-case letters (a, b, c) with the year to order the entries in the
reference list. Use the lower-case letters with the year in the in-text citation.
Research by Berndt (1981a) illustrated that...
Personal Communication: For interviews, letters, e-mails, and other person-to-person
communication, cite the communicators name, the fact that it was personal communication, and the date of
the communication. Do not include personal communication in the reference list.
(E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).
A. P. Smith also claimed that many of her students had difficulties with APA style (personal
communication, November 3, 2002).
Citing Indirect Sources
If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase.
List the secondary source in your reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses.
Johnson argued that...(as cited in Smith, 2003, p.102).
Note: When citing material in parantheses, set off the citation with a comma, as above.
If possible, cite an electronic document the same as any other document by using the author-date
Kenneth (2000) explained...
Unknown Author and Unknown Date: If no author or date is given, use the title in your signal phrase or
the first word or two of the title in the parentheses and use the abbreviation "n.d." (for "no date").
Another study of students and research decisions discovered that students succeeded with tutoring
("Tutoring and APA," n.d.).
Sources Without Page Numbers
When an electronic source lacks page numbers, you should try to include information that will help
readers find the passage being cited. When an electronic document has numbered paragraphs, use the
symbol, or the abbreviation "para." followed by the paragraph number (Hall, 2001, 5) or (Hall, 2001, para.
5). If the paragraphs are not numbered and the document includes headings, provide the appropriate
heading and specify the paragraph under that heading. Note that in some electronic sources, like Web pages,
people can use the Find function in their browser to locate any passages you cite.
According to Smith (1997), ... (Mind over Matter section, para. 6).
Note: Never use the page numbers of Web pages you print out; different computers print Web
pages with different pagination.
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