Guiding Questions for Design of Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis

These lists of questions are intended as a guide for students to consider when designing their research plans. The lists are not meant to be used as a prescriptive or complete list of considerations, but as a framework for the types of questions a researcher should consider.

Quantitative Considerations

  • Population and Sampling
    • What method will you use to select your sample? Why is this appropriate for this question? What are the potential limitations with regard to your sample?
    • Have you investigated whether your sample size will impact the applicability of your results?
  • Methodology and Analysis
    • What data do you plan to collect from your sample?
    • What are your independent and dependent variables?
    • What kinds of collection tools or measurements will you be using?
    • What statistical methods will you use to analyze your data?
    • Are the necessary assumptions and conditions for your chosen statistical method likely to be met by your data, given your data collection plan (e.g., quantitative versus qualitative data)?
    • How will you verify assumptions (e.g., normality) that must be assessed after data collection?
    • How will you determine whether any data points should be excluded from your analysis?
  • Discussion and Presentation
    • What is your plan if your research does not produce statistically significant results? Have you discussed this possibility with your advisor?
    • How will you present your results? If you are using tabular or graphical formats, what are the disciplinary standards for formatting the table/graph and discussion of the table/graph within the narrative?
    • To what extent can you realistically generalize your data, given your sampling and analysis?

Qualitative Considerations

  • Participants and Sampling
    • What is your sampling strategy? Why is this an appropriate strategy?
    • How will these participants help you to explore your research question(s)? In other words, why them and not others?
    • What are the potential limitations or constraints with regard to your participants?
  • Methodology & Analysis
    • What is your methodology or overall research design? (e.g., ethnography, case study, phenomenology)
    • What are your data sources?
    • What data collection method(s) will you use? What is the protocol for your methods?
    • What are ethical issues that need to be considered regarding your method(s)?
    • What are potential limitations of your method(s)?
    • How will you organize, analyze, and interpret the data?
  • Discussion and Presentation
    • What are the major themes, issues, concepts, etc., that you found in the data?
    • How will you represent these findings?
    • What are the limitations of the findings?
    • How did you achieve trustworthiness in your data?
    • What are the connections between your findings and the scholarly literature/disciplinary field? Contributions? Gaps?
    • How do your findings contribute to your conceptual or theoretical framework?
    • What are the larger implications of your findings?
    • What are suggestions for future research, based on your findings?