Research Methodology

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Research Methodology

Historical Evolution of Research Methodology


Throughout the centuries, basic research structures have developed as models for each subsequent generation of knowledge-seekers. One who chooses to research a particular concept or phenomenon within one's field may look to the historic development of research methodology in that field to guide him or her in designing an appropriate research protocol. Regardless of the field of study, the potential researcher will find that scholarly investigation is guided by two overarching systems of inquiry quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Both are viable avenues of study that address inquiry in multiple disciplines. However, they are guided by different principles and are, therefore, best applied when matched to the characteristics of the problem that is to be studied. Research Methodology became a feature of Universities of Technology (UoT's) in South Africa, in the mid 1990's with the introduction of the Bachelors degree in Technology. Every student had passed this course.

In the faculty of Commerce, the first six students were subjected to this course through a process of lectures only. A local text was prescribed, and the introduction of the course started with the difference between quantitative and qualitative studies. The ideas of modernism and post modernism and all the theory that the lecturer thought a complete course should have (Royal, 1996).

The results were poor as there was too much to remember and no context within which to place their knowledge. Thus, a process was started to turn this subject around. The existing texts were of little help, and so it was that like the College of William and Mary, a process of discovery was initiated to create students interest in the subject and allow them to benefit more from the experience. At the end students had to be able "to do", and what better way, than to learn by doing. Enjoyment was also a factor that needed to be considered so as to assist in the development of the higher degrees in the university because the university depended on these students returning for study further (Nabigon, 1999).


A program research plan, or proposal, is a comprehensive description of a potential study that is intended to examine a phenomenon in question. The main purpose of research is the increase of knowledge, either in a specific disciplinary field or the practice of a professional field. Research is usually associated with a planned, systematic investigation that produces facts and ideas that contribute to human thought, reflection, and action. Because there is no single way in which to approach research, an inquirer must weigh many factors in designing a program research plan. Post secondary institutions of education require that a proposal or prospectus be submitted, reviewed, and approved prior to over linking upon a thesis or dissertation study. This requires that the researcher complete a preliminary review of related literature and formulate a hypothesis or research question that will provide focus for the study.

Following these initial steps, the remainder of the program research study is designed and defended as part ...
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