Make the methodology fit the research question.

It might sound beyond obvious, but you need to make certain that your methodology "fits" your research question. By "fits", I mean you need to make sure that your methodology will answer your research question. This came up today because I spoke with a dissertator who had just finished up her full proposal- but then found out that her methodology wouldn’t actually answer her research question. A good mechanism for checking this is to work backwards. Start with what you want to know or find out, and then work backwards to understand what pieces of data you’d need to collect to answer these questions. Once you’ve figured out what pieces of data you need, work backwards to find instruments/techniques [methodologies] that will allow you to collect these types of data. Sounds simple (hopefully not simplistic) and yet this still can be a stumbling block. Make sure your methodology will answer the research question.

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