School of Public Service Leadership Research Plan Qualitative

School of Public Service Leadership Research Plan Qualitative

School of Public Service Leadership Research Plan – Qualitative

Colloquium Track 2

Scientific Merit

At Capella University, the following criteria will be used to establish scientific merit of all dissertations. Each School uses their own form for that purpose. In the Colloquia, we use a generic form called the “Research Plan,” but it contains all elements of the School of Public Service Leadership’s Scientific Merit Review Form (SMR).

A dissertation is said to have scientific merit when the study:

1)Advances the scientific knowledge base in the field and your specialization area.

2)Makes a contribution to research theory.

3)Meets certain “hallmarks” of good research methodology.

Using the Research Plan during and between Colloquia, you will progressively answer all the questions required of the scientific merit review process. When you come to the dissertation phase, you will transfer from the Research Plan all the necessary information to the School of Public Service Leadership’s SMR.

The Colloquium Process

Before coming to Track 2’s Weekend Experience, copy the first five items from your Track 1 Research Plan. In Track 2, you will complete the newer items (and probably refine and improve the older items). Ultimately, the completed Research Plan will be transformed into your Scientific Merit Review Form (SMR).

The items in the Research Plan are identical to those in the School of Public Service Leadership’s SMR. Track 1’s Research Plan did not require a methodology choice, but starting in Track 2 you should be thinking about methodology and design. If you are already confident in your choice of methodology, follow the directions for your chosen methodology. If no methodology is stated, the item applies to both qualitative and quantitative studies. If you are unsure which methodology is appropriate at this point, consider quantitative as the default methodology since it is a quicker and easier approach than qualitative. Or, you might want to complete items that require a choice from both perspectives, thus deepening your knowledge of each.

General Instructions

1)For Track 2, complete all the items of the Research Plan, including Item 2—Dissertation Title. The title traditionally is based on the research question, using all its key words, so leave 1.2 alone until you have crafted a research question that is approved by your faculty instructor. Then create a title.

2)Complete the items in the order of their presentation in Track 2 Courseroom (with the exception of Item 2). Do not attempt to complete a later item until you have fully developed and evaluated the previous item, and do not try to complete one until instructed to do so in the Courseroom.

3)Be sure to update your reference list in the reference list at the end of the Research Plan (number 6.).

4)The questions appear in bold black font (like this). Your answers should be in regular (not-bold) font (like this).Please insert your answers directly into the expandable boxes that have been provided.

1. Learner Information

Learner Name:

Learner E-mail:


Program Chair:

2. Proposed Dissertation Title

Please leave blank until the research question is fully developed in Track 2.

3. Research Topic

Describe the specific topic to be studied in a paragraph, following the directions in the Track I Courseroom presentation. Then, in a second paragraph describe how this topic is related to your specialization area.

4. Research Literature Review

Update the literature review you began in Track 1 and some of your courses with the literature you have developed since. This will not be your full dissertation literature review, of course, but an initial foundation for it. You will continue to add to your literature review throughout the remainder of your coursework and the Colloquium. Be sure to provide appropriate in-text citations and references in the reference section at the end of the Research Plan.

5. Research Problem

Write a brief statement (one paragraph) that fully describes the scientific problem that is being studied. This paragraph goes beyond the broad social problem that you are interested in. It should take the following form: X is known from the literature (reference), Y is known from the literature (reference), but Z is not known and that is why this study’s research question is important.

6. Research Question

The research question should align with the research problem. (What do you really want to know? The rest of this form derives from and should constantly be guided by your research question. Always consider your research question in addressing all following components of this design form.)

List the primary research question. A qualitative study should answer the question: What is it like…? (A. Giorgi, personal communication, October 11, 2010). A qualitative study should be led by one or two open-ended questions. Then, define the terms used in the research question citing the academic literature.

7. Need for the Study

In a paragraph, describe the need for the study. Provide a rationale or need for studying a particular issue or phenomenon.

8. Epistemological Foundations (Research Philosophy)

Briefly describe the research philosophy (paradigm) underlying your study (either Positivist or Social Constructivist) and its ontological, epistemological, axiological, and methodological assumptions. (In Track 3 you will add theoretical framework(s) to be used in conceptualizing the study and analyzing the data.)

9. Methodology and Basic Design

Describe the overall methodology (what you mean by “qualitative methodology”). Indicate briefly why this is the correct methodology to implement the research question in Item 6. Then specify the approach or design you plan to use (qualitative case study, ethnography, generic qualitative inquiry, grounded theory, or phenomenology). Indicate briefly why that design is appropriate to answer the research question.

10. Population and Sample

In the first paragraph, describe the characteristics of the larger population from which the sample (study participants) will be drawn. Be specific. In the next paragraph,state the sampling design (probability or non-probability), the specific method (random, purposive, convenience, etc.), then describe the sample inclusion and exclusion criteria. Finally, give the estimated sample size and your method of setting that size (sample size calculator, power analysis for quantitative or citations justifying your qualitative sample size).


Update references for all citations in APA format and style.