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Module 1 – Background


Required Reading

Bloomberg, L. D., & Volpe, M. (2007). Presenting methodology and research approach. In Completing your qualitative dissertation. Sage Publishing. Retrieved April 30, 2018, from

Chapters 1 and 2 in:
Cooperrider, D. L., Whitney, D., & Stavros, J. M. (2008). Appreciative inquiry handbook: For leaders of change. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishing. Available in the Trident Online Library: Follow these instructions for Finding Skillsoft Books. Enter 36089 in the search bar.

Greener, S. (2008). Business research methods. Ventus Publishing. Retrieved from

Chapter 1 in:
Goodyear, L., Barela, E., Jewiss, J., & Usinger, J. (2014). Qualitative inquiry in evaluation: From theory to practice. Jossey-Bass: Hoboken, NJ. Available in the Trident Online Library: Follow these instructions for Finding Skillsoft Books. Enter 80713 in the search bar.

Research Methodology. (n.d.). Research Design. Retrieved from

Chapters 1 and 2 in:
Ng, W., & Coakes, E. (2014). Business research: Enjoy creating, developing and writing your business project. Krogan Page: London, UK. Available in the Trident Online Library: Follow these instructions for Finding Skillsoft Books. Enter 58388 in the search bar.

Chapter 1 in:
Phillips, P. P., Phillips, J. J., & Aaron, B. C. (2013). Survey basics. Association for Talent Development. Available in the Trident Online Library: Available in the Trident Online Library: Follow these instructions for Finding Skillsoft Books. Enter 53520 in the search bar.

Chapter 4.3 in:
Rothenberg, J. (n.d.). Introduction to sociology. OpenStax, Creative Commons. Retrieved from[email protected]:NxU28ruF@4/Ethical-Concerns

Chapters 1 and 2 in:
Swanson, R. A., & Holton, E. F. (2005). Research in organizations: Foundations and methods of inquiry. Berrett-Koehler Publishers: Oakland, CA. Available in the Trident Online Library: Follow these instructions for Finding Skillsoft Books. Enter 11859 in the search bar.

USC Libraries. (n.d.). Organizing your social sciences research paper: 6. The methodology. Retrieved April 30, 2018, from

Chapters 1 and 2 in:
Walker, S. (2012). Employee engagement & communication research: Measurement, strategy, & action. Krogan Page: London, UK. Available in the Trident Online Library: Available in the Trident Online Library: Follow these instructions for Finding Skillsoft Books. Enter 47012 in the search bar. (n.d.). Classification of research. Retrieved April 30, 2018, from

Video Material

Altee, R. (2009, June 16). Types of research and research design [Video file]. Retrieved from

ChrisFlipp. (2014, January 15). Qualitative vs. Quantitative [Video file]. Retrieved from

Gibbs, G. (2014, January 22). The nature of social research [Video file]. Retrieved from

Gibbs, G. (2014, January 22). Documents in social research Part 1 of 2 on documents and diaries [Video file]. Retrieved from

Center for Research Quality. (2015, January 23). Introduction to research design [Video file]. Retrieved from

RanYwayZ. (2016, September 20). Research design [Video file]. Retrieved from

Collaborative Statistics Textbook

Dean, S., & Illowsky, B. (2014). Preface. Collaborative Statistics. Connexions: Rice University. Creative Commons License 3.0. Retrieved from[email protected]:LnCgyaMt@17/Preface

Chapter 1 in:
Dean, S., & Illowsky, B. (2014). Collaborative Statistics. Connexions: Rice University. Creative Commons License 3.0. Retrieved from[email protected]:AkLGjuVA@15/Video-Lecture-1-Sampling-and-Data

Part 1 Discussion

Dissertation Research Resources

Discuss how you found resources to support the background description of your selected firm.

Provide details on these sources and why they were selected.

Describe how you expect to use these sources in the upcoming modules in this course. 300 words

Part 2 Case


Assignment Overview

You will be working from the statement of intent about your project and the introduction that you originally prepared in DOC650 along with the literature review that you prepared in DOC660. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of the structure of your project, what you hope to accomplish with it, who you will be working with on it, and what you will actually be doing. The purpose of this methodology statement is to describe systematically what you will be doing in your research and how you will be doing it.

In the Case for this module, you will be reviewing numerous readings relating to different kinds of studies and how they are structured, the relationship between research questions and study design, and the constraints on research posed by different kinds of designs. You will then be asked to review your study and your research questions in light of this material, and to select and describe an appropriate study design that you believe will help you answer the research questions you have posed. This will constitute the first section of your project methodology.

As the course progresses, you will be making a series of decisions in which you will increasingly specify the structure of your project. These decisions build on each other in critical ways. However, you are not locked into previous decisions if you subsequently decide you need to change direction. In each subsequent module, as you build up your methodology, you will have an opportunity to go back and revise and/or extend the sections completed in previous modules. Case grades given for the first four modules will be advisory rather than final. Your ultimate grade will be based on the completed methodology at the end of the course.

Case Assignment

Prepare a 5- to 7-page paper in accordance with the Assignment Expectations below, describing the basic research design for your project, in accordance with the following outline:

Restate your research question(s), simply and directly.

Describe your basic assumptions about the project, the research site, and the participants, as well as the role that you hope to play.

Describe the goal(s) you hope your project will achieve.

Describe the general methodology you chose for your study, in terms of the various categories of research described in the module readings:

Relative mix of quantitative and qualitative data

Exploratory vs. descriptive

Other categories

Explain why this method is the best for your purposes.

Identify your research partner(s) and the role they will play in the project.

List any specific deliverables that you will provide to your research partner(s) at the end of the project.

Part 3 SLP


In this SLP you will begin the process of collecting and analyzing background information on the firm for your dissertation. You received this firm’s commitment via the Letter of Intent in DOC650. In the SLPs, you will analyze secondary data on your chosen firm. (In the Cases, you will design how you will conduct your primary research at the firm.) Secondary data are records that are publicly available while primary data for most of you will involve interviews and observations at the firm.

In the SLPs, you will take a deep dive into the context of the firm for your dissertation. For some of you this may be a for-profit corporation that has stockholders and publishes an Annual Report with articles about the firm in Forbes, Fortune, CNNMoney, and other sources. For others, this may be a non-profit or volunteer organization. Some may have selected a small business that is privately owned, or you may have selected a government agency for your dissertation. You could be researching an educational institution at any level. Bear in mind that before you can start collecting primary data from the firm, you will need to submit a proposal on your research to Trident’s Institutional Review Board, one of whose rules is that research subjects must be at least 18 years of age.

In this SLP, you will describe the organization where you will conduct your dissertation research, describing the organization in detail and why it is relevant for your research question. Here in SLP 1, you will build a quantitative case to supplement your qualitative rationale for selecting this firm.

Below is a list of data sources that may be helpful in finding background information for your firm. You may have other sources, and you can certainly use them as long as you provide the source for the information you use in justifying the context for your dissertation research.

Data Sources

Pew (available via the Trident Online Library)


In the remaining SLPs, you will use Excel. In Figure 1 below you see how you can get the latest version of Excel via the Trident website using Microsoft 365. EXCEL is free to you as a TUI Student. Log on to and then go to your email.

Click the Office 365 button at the top.

Click Install Office Apps. 

Follow the directions to get Office 365 on your computer.

SLP Assignment Expectations

Provide background data about your organization. This may be the total sales or the number of customers, patients, or clients served. How does this firm differ from other similar organizations? Find similar statistics on these other similar firms and provide a comparative analysis in a table.

You want to find all the secondary data available on the firm that you can locate. Besides financial data this may involve articles in Fortune Magazine or Business Week. If possible, look in the back issues of newspapers and magazines local to the area in which the firm is located. Get the names of management and descriptions of their jobs. Find out the firm’s locations (addresses) and how products or services are delivered. Describe the customers or other external contacts. What are the logistical issues in delivering the product or service? Who are the competitors and what are their sales? Of the total market for the product or service, what percentage does your firm have?

From your review of secondary sources, produce a 4- to 5-page Background Introduction on your selected firm. In coming modules, you will add quantitative analysis to the Introduction you develop for this SLP. This is the first step and the introduction to your background on why this firm has been selected for your research.

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