Introduction

The research onion was developed by Saunders et al. (2007). It illustrates the stages that must be covered when developing a research strategy.When viewed from the outside, each layer of the onion describes a more detailed stage of the research process (Saunders et al., 2007)

Understanding the Research Process

The research onion was developed by Saunderset al. (2007) in order to describe the stages through which the researcher must pass when formulating an effective methodology. First, the research philosophy requires definition. This creates the starting point for the appropriate research approach, which is adopted in the second step. In the third step, the research strategy is adopted, and the fourth layer identifies the time horizon.

Research Philosophy

A research philosophy refers to the set of beliefs concerning the nature of the reality being investigated (Bryman, 2012). It is the underlying definition of the nature of knowledge. The assumptions created by a research philosophy provide the justification for how the research will be undertaken (Flick, 2011). Research philosophies can differ on the goals of research and on the best way that might be used to achieve these goals (Goddard & Melville, 2004).

 Deductive Approach

The deductive approach develops the hypothesis or hypotheses upon a pre-existing theory and then formulates the research approach to test it (Silverman, 2013). This approach is best suited to contexts where the research project is concerned with examining whether the observed phenomena fit with expectation based upon previous research (Wiles et al., 2011)

Inductive Approach

The inductive approach is characterised as a move from the specific to the general (Bryman & Bell, 2011). In this approach, the observations are the starting point for the researcher, and patterns are looked for in the data (Beiske, 2007). In this approach, there is no framework that initially informs the data collection and the research focus can thus be formed after the data has been collected (Flick, 2011).

 

The Quantitative Approach

As the name suggests, this approach is concerned with quantitative data (Flick, 2011). It holds a number of accepted statistical standards for the validity of the approach, such as the number of respondents that are required to establish a statistically significant result (Goddard & Melville, 2004). Although this research approach is informed by a positivist philosophy, it can be used to investigate a wide range of social phenomena, including feelings and subjective viewpoints.

he Qualitative Approach

The qualitative approach is drawn from the constructivist paradigm (Bryman & Allen, 2011). This approach requires the researcher to avoid imposing their own perception of the meaning of social phenomena upon the respondent (Banister et al., 2011). The aim is to investigate how the respondent interprets their own reality (Bryman & Allen, 2011).

Research Strategy

The research strategy is how the researcher intends to carry out the work (Saunders et al., 2007). The strategy can include a number of different approaches, such as experimental research, action research, case study research, interviews, surveys, or a systematic literature review.

Experimental research refers to the strategy of creating a research process that examines the results of an experiment against the expected results (Saunders et al., 2007). It can be used in all areas of research, and usually involves the consideration of a relatively limited number of factors (Saunders et al., 2007). The relationship between the factors are examined, and judged against the expectation of the research outcomes

 

Research Philosophy

A research philosophy refers to the set of beliefs concerning the nature of the reality being investigated (Bryman, 2012). It is the underlying definition of the nature of knowledge. The assumptions created by a research philosophy provide the justification for how the research will be undertaken (Flick, 2011). Research philosophies can differ on the goals of research and on the best way that might be used to achieve these goals (Goddard & Melville, 2004).

 Deductive Approach

The deductive approach develops the hypothesis or hypotheses upon a pre-existing theory and then formulates the research approach to test it (Silverman, 2013). This approach is best suited to contexts where the research project is concerned with examining whether the observed phenomena fit with expectation based upon previous research (Wiles et al., 2011)

Inductive Approach

The inductive approach is characterised as a move from the specific to the general (Bryman & Bell, 2011). In this approach, the observations are the starting point for the researcher, and patterns are looked for in the data (Beiske, 2007). In this approach, there is no framework that initially informs the data collection and the research focus can thus be formed after the data has been collected (Flick, 2011).

The Quantitative Approach

As the name suggests, this approach is concerned with quantitative data (Flick, 2011). It holds a number of accepted statistical standards for the validity of the approach, such as the number of respondents that are required to establish a statistically significant result (Goddard & Melville, 2004). Although this research approach is informed by a positivist philosophy, it can be used to investigate a wide range of social phenomena, including feelings and subjective viewpoints.

 Qualitative Approach

The qualitative approach is drawn from the constructivist paradigm (Bryman & Allen, 2011). This approach requires the researcher to avoid imposing their own perception of the meaning of social phenomena upon the respondent (Banister et al., 2011). The aim is to investigate how the respondent interprets their own reality (Bryman & Allen, 2011).

Research Strategy

The research strategy is how the researcher intends to carry out the work (Saunders et al., 2007). The strategy can include a number of different approaches, such as experimental research, action research, case study research, interviews, surveys, or a systematic literature review.

Experimental research refers to the strategy of creating a research process that examines the results of an experiment against the expected results (Saunders et al., 2007). It can be used in all areas of research, and usually involves the consideration of a relatively limited number of factors (Saunders et al., 2007). The relationship between the factors are examined, and judged against the expectation of the research outcomes.

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