d i g i t a l   a d v i s o r . . .

What makes a Research Design Persuasive to Others?

As you move through your doctoral program you will read a lot of research articles.   Some of these will impress you, but you will feel skeptical or dubious about others.  Why is that?  What are the secrets of those authors whose texts seem so persuasive?  And more importantly, how can you produce studies that others will find persuasive?  Here are some of the things you should strive for.

1.  Your method protects you against self-delusion, forces you to entertain alternative ideas

2.  You are aware enough of your own methodology that you can estimate how your methods have influenced or biased your findings.

3.  You can describe what you did to other people in enough detail and clarity that they will be able to envision what you did and to estimate for themselves how your findings are influenced by your methods.

4.  You have the potential to be surprised by your own findings. You want to avoid questions that don't allow you to be surprised.  Your goal should not be to prove something you already know or believe to be the case, by gathering supporting evidence for that view.  You also want to avoid simply describing or interpreting a particular using your pet theoretical or conceptual framework.  Such a study may be a useful exercise in learning to analyze data, but it does not allow you to learn anything new.   

5.  You need to read the page on How to Control Your Self, which offers a variety of tips on designing a study so that your can use your evidence to challenge your own thinking rather than merely reinforcing it.


© Mary Kennedy, 2006


Evaluating Research

Reasoning with Evidence

Doing Your Own Research