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Design Decisions in Research

2. Introduction

Overview of the Research Process

Designing research requires careful consideration of the entire research process, from the development of a research question to dissemination of the results. Polit and Beck (2004) describe 5 phases to the research process: the conceptual phase, the design and planning phase, the empirical phase, the analytic phase, and the dissemination phase (Table 1). This chapter will focus on the first two phases, conceptualizing and planning a study; however, all phases will be described. Design features of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method research will be addressed.

Table 1

Overview of Research Process

Research Phase Definition
The Conceptual Phase Formulating the clinical problem, reviewing the literature, and determining the research purpose
The Design and Planning Phase Selecting a research design, developing study procedures, determining the sampling and data collection plan
The Empirical Phase Collecting data and preparing data for analysis
The Analytic Phase Analyzing the data and interpreting the results
The Dissemination Phase Communicating results to appropriate audience

Table previously published in: Whittemore, R. & Melkus, G. (2008). Designing a research study. The Diabetes Educator, 34, 201-216.

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2004). Nursing research: Appraising evidence for nursing practice (7th Edition). Philadelphia: Wolters Klower/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.