Theses and Dissertations: A Guide to Planning, Research, and Writing

By R. Murray Thomas; Dale L. Brubaker | Go to book overview

STAGE III-A
COLLECTING INFORMATION
Much of the work on every thesis and dissertation consists of gathering information. Ways of collecting information vary from one project to another. Some projects involve the researcher analyzing documents in libraries. Others call for such activities as interviewing respondents, distributing questionnaires, administering tests, searching the Internet, conducting experiments, or observing people's behavior.The process of collecting information can consist of three steps:
a. specifying the kinds of information needed to answer the research questions
b. identifying sources of such information and methods of gathering it
c. devising techniques and instruments for collecting information from the chosen sources

The purpose of Stage III-A is to describe each of these steps. Chapter 7 (Types of Research Methods and Sources of Information) addresses steps (a) and (b). Chapter 8 (Data Collection Techniques and Instruments) concerns step (c). During the process of gathering data, students often encounter frustrating problems. Chapter 9 (Things That Go Wrong) identifies some of the more common difficulties and suggests ways of solving them.

While choosing a means of collecting information, you also face the task of deciding how to compile your data in a form that facilitates their interpretation. Ways of performing that task are described in the following substage entitled Stage III-B: Organizing Information.

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