Designing Buildings Wiki (DBW) – host partner of the IHBC’s Conservation Wiki – features a structured, 7-part guide to the researching and producing a dissertation, which offers a model for students, while also serving as a critical framework for specialists analysing or evaluating reports.
A 7-part series of guides, to provide an overview of the steps involved in researching and producing a dissertation.
• Part 1: Choosing a subject and preparing a proposal
• Part 2: Literature review
• Part 3: Research strategy
• Part 4: Questionnaires and interviews
• Part 5: Analysis and presentation of the results
• Part 6: Structuring and writing
• Part 7: Formatting and printing
On Research, DBW writes:
Very broadly, there are two types of research strategies available – ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’.
Quantitative research is an objective measure of definable factual evidence such as numbers and statistics that are capable of being analysed to determine the validity of a hypothesis.
Quantitative research can be used deductively to test a theory that can be presented in one of two ways:
• A hypothetical statement such as ‘if x then y’.
• An educated ‘guess’.
Data accumulated through the research process should help to prove or disprove the hypothesis.
Qualitative research is a more subjective measure of descriptions, views, opinions, and alternative theories. Depending on the approach taken, the research may use a smaller sample than quantitative research, but the data obtained can be more personal and in-depth. The relationship between the theory and the research is emergent or developing.
Broadly, the two categories of qualitative research are exploratory and attitudinal:
• Exploratory research is used primarily to gain a greater understanding of a particular subject. It is useful for diagnosing a situation, considering alternative ideas and discovering new ones that haven’t been previously considered. The most common method of exploratory research is interviewing, where the raw data will be the transcribed answers. Another common method is a questionnaire (usually with open-ended questions).
• Attitudinal research is used to evaluate the opinions or views of individuals in a way that is subjective. Examples are questions that ask the individual to express their level of agreement with a statement, or to rank preferences…..