The final step in the conceptual phase of the research process is to specify the research purpose, research questions, and research hypothesis if appropriate. The purpose of a study is a declarative statement that identifies the focus of the study, variables of interest, and the targeted population. There are times that a study may have an overarching purpose with several aims or research questions that will be investigated.
Example of Research Purpose and Research Questions
Table previously published in: Whittemore, R. & Melkus, G. (2008). Designing a research study. The Diabetes Educator, 34, 201-216.
The overall goal of the conceptual phase of the research process is to articulate an important research question that can be developed into a feasible, important, valid, and ethical study design (Hulley et al., 2006).
Stephen Turner, PhD, discusses this phase in more detail in the chapter Theory Development.