Enrique G. Murillo, Jr., Ph.D.

College of Education


EDUC 722 - Murillo


Qualitative “Design of Study”

Framework / Presentation


(30 points possible, due Session 10)



Instructions:  Write a 10 to 15 page “design of study” framework and present it to the class.


This assignment, if approached correctly, is designed to help you draft the fundamental pieces of a methods chapter that can be later expanded and inserted into your actual dissertation. The idea here is that you will be applying what you learn to your own work. In other words, your task will be to translate each new area that we explore into a section of your eventual methods chapter.


Remember that you will need to work with your dissertation committee chair through the process of developing a methodological approach for your dissertation work as well as in constructing a research question. One danger in teaching a methods course is that the instructor becomes your “shadow” dissertation chair, taking over the responsibility for guiding you through developing a research question and research plan for your dissertation. This is NOT my intention. Involving your own chair and readers in your work in our class is essential, therefore, if you are going to build the relationship with him or her necessary to efficiently and effectively complete your doctoral dissertation.


Given that qualitative methodology and design are not as standardized as quantitative, neither are the procedures for presenting your design and method (likely, the third chapter of your dissertation). There are, arguably, some fundamental pieces of information that should be included regardless of the specific qualitative methodology you choose to employ. The template offered here should only be taken as a general framework, understanding that parts of it will be changed for each variety of qualitative method.





A restatement of what it is that you want to find out and why. Since you will likely explore this fully in your dissertation Chapters 1 and 2, this should be limited to only a paragraph or two here.  The introduction can also include a brief description or restatement of the context under study.  What is the specific environment or reality in which the study will take place?





Why Is This Study Suited to a Qualitative Design?


You will need to explain the nature of the study here, emphasizing that it fits one of the common reasons for selecting a qualitative approach. These usually include one or a combination of such things as:



Restatement of the Research Purpose (from your dissertation Chapter 1)


This should be a brief reiteration of the “problem” to be researched; and also the purpose of the study.

Restatement of the Research Question(s) (from your dissertation Chapter 1)

This should be a brief reiteration of the research questions that are generated from observations, theory, prior research and/or experience; and also indicates the data to be collected and analyzed.


The Specific Methodology Employed?


- A.  The Specific Qualitative Design

              1. Describe the type of methodology employed (e.g., grounded theory, ethnography, biographical, phenomenological, case study, etc.) and why you

                  think that method is most appropriate for what you are proposing. Cite references to support your arguments. These questions may be helpful:

                              1. If I could discover the meaning of one person’s lived experience, I would ask ___________ (individual) about __________.

                                          = Biography

                            2. If I could discover the shared lived experiences of one quality or phenomenon in others, I would want to know about _____________.

                                          = Phenomenology

                            3. If I could experience a different culture by living/ observing it, I would choose to experience ____________.

                                          = Ethnography

                            4. If I could discover what actually occurred and was experienced in a single lived event, that event would be _____________________.

                                          = Case Study

                            5. If I could discover a theory for a single phenomenon of living as shared by others, I would choose to discover the theory of ________.

                                          = Grounded Theory


              2. Describe your goal. Are you going to generate theory, apply theory, test the extension of theory into new contexts, or do something else?


- B. Sources of the Methodology.

Identify the sources on which you draw for your ideas and specific activities. In addition to recognized generalists, be sure that you have consulted recognized leaders in the line of inquiry you have chosen.


- C. Role of the Researcher

              1. Explain the role of the researcher in qualitative research. There are numerous explanations of this in the research literature upon which you can draw.


              2. Describe your own education and experience, identify any advantages or problems these might create.


              3. State any known biases. Bring to light your own cultural systems of coming to know, knowing, and experiencing the world.


- D. Design Specifics.

              1. Unit of Analysis:  Who or what will be the subject of the design.


              2. Sample Population:  Explain what sampling rationale was employed. For example,


              3. Data Collection Methods.

                            1) Why there is a need to interview.

                            2) How many interviews you plan to do, why you need that many, when they will be done.

                            3) What type(s) of interview(s) (structured, open-ended, in-depth, unstructured, etc.) you are going to conduct - and why. Cite sources to                                   support your choices.

                            4) How the interviews will be conducted - and why. For example, will you record the interview? Why or why not? Will you take notes during                                  the interview? If so, what will the notes record - expressions, body language, your sense of the person's honesty, other things? Why? Cite                                  sources to support your choices.

                            5) For at least the first interview, you will need to identify the questions you will ask and explain why you are asking each. You will need to

                            explain how each relates to your overriding research question(s). You will need to describe the source of each of your questions. Was the

                            question suggested by prior research? Your own experience or hunches? Something else?

                            6) If you plan additional interviews, you need to explain how the questions will be developed, if you plan to create an interview guide, etc.

                              Where possible, cite sources to support your choices.


              4. Post-Activity Data Management. You will need to explain how you will handle the data following the interview, observation, review, or other activity.

                    For example,


              5. Data Analysis.


              6. Verification of Interpretation.

                            a. Explain your plans for triangulation - or explain why triangulation is not possible.

                            b. Explain "member checks" with participating informants

                                          1) Describe follow-ups to interviews, observations, etc. with a reporting back to the data source people.

                                          2) Describe taking the categories, themes, etc. back to the data source people for verification.

                                          3) Describe taking the descriptions, categories, themes, etc. to people who have had the same experience but are not participants

                                          in the study.

                            c. Explain the possible use of an "auditor" or why one might not be used.

                            d. Explain how you will subject your conclusions to analysis in the light of relevant research.


        Further examples of ways to ensure trustworthiness of the data analysis include:



What Will the Product Look Like?


Describe what writing form the final qualitative report will look like (narrative; story; literary; performance; poetic; polyvocal; mixed genre; impressions; etc.).





            The “Design of Study” Presentations will take place during Sessions 10 & 11:


Each student should share handouts for all class members and guests, and employ at least one of the following:

   1. overhead transparencies

   2. posters

   3. computer-assisted presentations like powerpoint

   4. videotapes

   5. audiotapes

   6. other interesting methodologies as applicable. (You are to present this, not just read it!)