Tips to write a thesis
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Tips to write a thesis

on

  • 4,570 views

Tips to write a thesis. Inputs on, for example, developing a research question, quantitative and qualitative methods, theories, results, quotations / references / citations, and conclusion.

Tips to write a thesis. Inputs on, for example, developing a research question, quantitative and qualitative methods, theories, results, quotations / references / citations, and conclusion.

Statistics

Views

Total Views
4,570
Views on SlideShare
4,556
Embed Views
14

Actions

Likes
1
Downloads
20
Comments
0

1 Embed 14

http://www.pinterest.com 14

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

CC Attribution License

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Tips to write a thesis Tips to write a thesis Document Transcript

  • Tips to write a thesis
  • 1/42 Tips to write a thesis 1. Research model 4 1.1. Your question / idea / problem / topic 4 1.2. Methods 4 1.3. Theory 4 1.4. Results 4 1.5. Conclusion and recommendations 4 2. Find a question / an idea / a problem you want to know more about. The deductive approach: From general to specific 5 2.1. Do research on topics you find interesting 5 2.1.1. Possibilities to get inspired 5 2.1.2. Tips to do research on the Internet, for example on google.com 5 2.2. Evaluate results of your research 6 2.3. Choose a topic / question /idea / problem you find particularly interesting 6 2.4. Describe reasons for the question / problem you want to work on 8 2.4.1. Internal reasons 8 2.4.2. External reasons 8 3. Describe how relevant the idea / problem / topic is for whom 9 3.1. How relevant is this idea / problem / topic for you? 9 3.2. How relevant is this idea / problem / topic for users / customers of your work? 9 3.3. Who are the primary customers of your thesis – and what do they need? 10 4. Define your research question 11 4.1. Define a narrow research question 11 4.2. Formulate a scientific research question 12 4.3. Define the title of your thesis 13 5. Find out which methods to use to do your research 14 5.1. What is a scientific method? 14 5.2. Differences between quantitative and qualitative research methods 15 5.3. Advantages and disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative methods 16 5.3.1. Advantages of quantitative and qualitative methods 16 5.3.2. Disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative methods 17 5.4. Possibilities to combine quantitative and qualitative methods 18 5.4.1. Preliminary model 18 5.4.2. Generalization model 18 5.4.3. Consolidation model 19 5.4.4. Triangulation model 19 5.4.5. Advantages and disadvantages combining quantitative and qualitative methods 20 6. Search for theories 21 6.1. Find about 3 theories 21 6.2. Present advantages and disadvantages of each theory 21 6.3. Compare the theories and choose the one you want to primarily use 21 6.4. Present the current state of research 21 6.5. Websites to use for searching on the Internet 21 6.6. Check that literature is scientific 22 7. Quantitative method: Survey 23 7.1. Define what you want to know 23 7.2. Choose people to send your survey to 23 7.3. Develop survey questions 23
  • 2/42 7.4. Develop answering possibilities 24 7.5. Pretest your survey with a small sample 24 7.6. Communicate your purpose to people answering the survey 24 7.6. Analyze responses to your survey 24 8. Qualitative method: Interviews 25 8.1. Decide on the kind of interview you want to do 25 8.2. Formulate questions to ask interviewees 25 8.2.1. Formulate open questions 25 8.2.2. Formulate concrete questions 26 8.3. Select interviewees 26 8.4. Define length of each interview 26 8.5. Decide on a neutral place for the interview 26 8.6. Plan how you want to communicate during the interview 26 8.6.1. At the start of the interview, communicate your research question to the interviewee 26 8.6.2. Make it clear for the interviewee that you act in the role as interviewer / researcher 26 8.6.3. Ask questions in a non-authoritarian way 27 8.6.4. When asking questions, adapt culturally to the interviewee 27 8.6.5. Listen to what the interviewee is saying 27 8.6.6. React neutrally and as an outsider to answers by the interviewee 27 8.6.7. Make observations during the interview 27 8.6.8. At the end of the interview, ask the interviewee if he/she would like to add anything 27 8.6.9. At the end of the interview, give and receive feedback to / from the interviewee 28 8.7. Transcribe interviews 28 8.7.1. Example of transcription 28 8.7.2. Methods to transcribe interviews 28 8.7.3. Advantages and disadvantages of transcribing interviews 29 8.8. Make categories to analyze interviews 30 8.8.1. Example of category 30 8.8.2. Categories derived according to frequence of words 30 8.8.3. Categories derived according to importance of quotes by interviewees 31 8.8.4. Categories are derived by looking within interview vs. looking across interviews 31 8.8.5. Criteria when defining categories 31 8.9. Contrast opinions of interviewees and explain why opinions are different 31 9. Qualitative method: Observations 32 9.1. What is observed? 32 9.1.1. What happened? What did not happen? 32 9.1.2. Which people were there? Who were involved? 32 9.1.3. Who did what? How did they do it? 32 9.1.4. Who said what? How did they say it? 32 9.1.5. How was the non-verbal communication of the people involved? 32 9.2. Where are observations done? 33 9.2.1. Observations on the Internet 33 9.2.2. Observations in a physical room 33 9.2.3. Observations in a public place 33 9.3. Who is observed? 33 9.3.1. Observation of yourself 33 9.3.2. Observation of others 33 9.4. How are observations done? 33
  • 3/42 9.4.1. Participating vs. not-participating observation 33 9.4.2. Structured vs. unstructured observation 34 9.4.3. Open vs. closed observation 34 9.5. When are observations done? 34 9.6. Why are observations done? 34 10. Qualitative method: Delphi method 35 11. Other qualitative methods. Focus on creativity 36 11.1. Brainstorming – the classic method 36 11.2. Brainstorming – the nominal method 36 11.3. Brainstorming – the SCAMPER method 36 11.4. Brainstorming – the Disney method 36 11.5. Six thinking hats 36 11.6. Creativity methods 36 12. Results 37 12.1. Present the results 37 12.2. Reflect critically on the results 37 12.1. Document objectivity 37 12.2. Document reliability 37 12.3. Document validity 38 13. Conclusion and recommendations 39 14. Quotation / citation / referencing / biography 40 14.1. When should you quote / make references / make citations 40 14.2. How should citations, quotations, references be made in the text? 40 14.2.1. APA format 40 14.2.2. MLA format 40 14.2.3. Chicago / Turabian format 40 14.2.4. Harvard format 41 14.3. What should you mention in the bibliography? 41 14.3.1. Books 41 14.3.2. Websites 41 14.3.3. Blogs / online articles 41 15. Appendices 42 15.1. Appendices for all types of reports 42 15.2. Additional appendices for reports using quantitative methods 42 15.3. Additional appendices for reports using qualitative methods 42
  • 4/42 1. Research model 1.1. Your question / idea / problem / topic 1.2. Methods 1.3. Theory 1.4. Results 1.5. Conclusion and recommendations Adapted from http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/viewArticle/967/2110 Define the question / idea / problem you want to know more about / find solutions to. Argue for the relevance for users / customers of your work. Formulate a precise research question. Search for theories about the topic. Describe results of your research. Describe methods you want to use to develop knowledge about / further explore the idea / problem / topic. Recommend actions to be taken.
  • 5/42 2. Find a question / an idea / a problem you want to know more about. The deductive approach: From general to specific 2.1. Do research on topics you find interesting 2.1.1. Possibilities to get inspired  Do research, for example by reading articles / blogs.1  Do a search on https://twitter.com/  Make observations.  Communicate with people.  Participate at events you find interesting.  Do freewriting.2  Think and develop questions.  Do other things through which you learn well.3 2.1.2. Tips to do research on the Internet, for example on google.com Search text Explanation filetype:pdf Searches only pdf files containing the search word. Word1 AND Word2 Searches files in which both word1 and word2 are mentioned. Word1 OR Word2 Searches files in which either word1 or word2 are mentioned. Word1 NOT Word2 Searches files in which word1 is mentioned, and also texts in which word1 and word2 are mentioned. Word1 NEAR Searches words close to word1 Word1* Searches words that are connected to word1. site:.ch Searches only results ending with .ch intitle:velocity Searches only results with velocity in title. define:change Defines the word “change”. control + F A search box appears on the page. In the search box, type what you want to search for on the page to find the information efficiently. 1 https://delicious.com/frankcalberg/research 2 http://www.scribd.com/doc/38882282/Free-Writing 3 http://www.slideshare.net/frankcalberg/learning-strategies-11478939
  • 6/42 2.2. Evaluate results of your research Topic: Search words: Websites used to do research: Results Evaluation of results Example: Link to relevant blog posting.  Number and quality of sources used to write posting.  Number and quality of comments to blog posting.  Number of links to blog posting.  Quality of sources on which link to blog posting is mentioned. 2.3. Choose a topic / question /idea / problem you find particularly interesting Questions Answers What idea / problem do you have? What makes you curious? What interests you the most? What problem do your customers and/or you have? How would you describe your idea? Which example do you have that explains the problem well? How did the idea / problem you have get into your head? Which events led to the problem? How did you become interested in this idea / problem? When did you first start thinking about this idea / problem? When did you read / hear / see something that inspired you to study this idea / problem in more detail? Where did you first start thinking about this idea / problem? Where did you read / hear / see something
  • 7/42 Questions Answers that inspired you to study this idea / problem in more detail? What happened? What did you observe / hear / see? Who played a role to get you started thinking about this idea / this problem?  A colleague at work?  A friend?  A family member?  An author of an article? What did the people do to get your started thinking about this idea / problem? Why did you start thinking about this idea / problem? Why is it important for you to explore this idea further / to find solutions to this problem? How important is this for the future of the people you care a lot about? Why? How convinced are you that you can make this idea happen / that you can solve this problem? What, in particular, makes you convinced? To what extent can you make this the major focus of your life? How? To what extent does the idea fit your values? What will change when you have developed this idea / solved this problem? What information do you need to know more?
  • 8/42 2.4. Describe reasons for the question / problem you want to work on 2.4.1. Internal reasons Personalities Competencies of people working for the company Processes of the company Methods used by the company Organizational structure IT infrastructure Materials used by the company Technologies that company uses 2.4.2. External reasons Customers Suppliers Competitors Political changes in the external environment Economic changes in the external environment Technological changes in the external environment Demographic and cultural changes in the external environment Legal changes in the external environment Further inspiration http://www.slideshare.net/frankcalberg/pestel
  • 9/42 3. Describe how relevant the idea / problem / topic is for whom 3.1. How relevant is this idea / problem / topic for you? Questions Answers Why does this idea / topic / problem really matter for you?4 How important is this idea / problem for the future of the people you care about? Why? How convinced are you that you can make this happen? What, in particular, makes you convinced? To what extent can you make this the major focus of your work / life? How? To what extent does the idea fit your values? Further inspiration http://www.slideshare.net/frankcalberg/what-is-the-company-purpose http://www.scribd.com/doc/36200010/Questions-to-discover-your-values 3.2. How relevant is this idea / problem / topic for users / customers of your work? See, for example, https://books.google.com/ngrams 4 http://web.hbr.org/email/archive/managementtip.php?date=112009
  • 10/42 3.3. Who are the primary customers of your thesis – and what do they need? If you do not have a particular intended audience in mind or if you think that your research is for everybody, your writing easily becomes too general.5 Customer of thesis Need Customers of the company Wants a cheaper product that better satisfies his / her needs. Business partners / colleagues Business practitioners are interested in your results and their practical implications, not on how your came up with the results. Researchers Academic audience is interested in how theory is involved and linked to your research. Coach / consultant / advisor / mentor Interested in all aspects – including your activity during the process, i.e. how much you continuously  read.  write.  communicate with others.  reflect / think.  try things out / experiment. Media The media is most often interested in the news, i.e. what new, exciting, and surprising things you can say about some business- related issue. Yourself  Interest in working on an idea of your own that could lead to an operation / company / business.  Interest in increasing your market value. Keeping users / customers of your work in mind makes it easier to decide how much information to include and what to leave out.6 In this regard, it may also be helpful for you to approach what you write with the 20:80 principle in mind. For example, try to focus on the 20% of your content that is really useful for 80% of the users / readers / customers of your thesis.7 Some things to discover about your readers / users / customers8:  Who are they?  What do they know – and what do they not know?  Why do they care about your problem? What do they really want to know?  What question will your readers be likely to ask?9 5 Eriksson, Päivi & Kovalainen, Anne: Qualitative Methods in Business Research, p. 280-281. 6 http://www.pomona.edu/academics/departments/biology/academic-program/seniors/additional-information.aspx 7 http://jameshaytonphd.com/the-8020-principle-and-thesis-content/ 8 http://www.scribd.com/doc/56785190/Customer-Needs 9 Booth, Wayne C. et. al.: The Craft of Research, p. 173-174.
  • 11/42 4. Define your research question 4.1. Define a narrow research question Criteria Content Examples of strategy focus:  Purpose and values.  Customers and customer needs.  Products and services.  Distribution and communication channels.  Capital.  Supplier partners.  How you organize.  How customers pay for the work you do. Research object Examples:  A team of people.  A department of a company.  A division of a company.  A company. Place Examples:  A part of a city.  A city.  A cluster of cities / a region.  A nation.  A continent. Time Examples:  The last 2 years.  The next 2 years.
  • 12/42 4.2. Formulate a scientific research question A research question is scientific when the question  is clear and specific.10  can be answered in a concrete, operational way.  can be documented.  is appropriate / suitable.  is payable, i.e. it can be answered with moderate financial means.  is interesting / motivating for the researcher.11  is useful, i.e. the question is important.  is usable, for example for a company. Your research question is your lighthouse. It is what guides you. You might need to revise the question several times as you move along. When your research question changes, your destination changes.12 10 http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/thesis/ 11 http://www.scribd.com/doc/42321299/Tips-to-Increase-Motivation 12 http://complit.fas.harvard.edu/files/complit/files/twenty_tips_for_senior_thesis_writers_revised_august_2012.pdf
  • 13/42 4.3. Define the title of your thesis In titling their work, qualitative researchers often use imagination and creativity. It is quite typical to combine a vivid phrase or a question followed by a more descriptive subtitle. Try to select a title for your work that will encourage the readers to want to read it and let them know in advance what it is about. Sometimes, using a quote from your interviews or field notes can be a clever way to generate interest. Nevertheless, the title of your work should somehow reflect the idea or the contents of your study, and be “readable” throughout different cultures, audiences and even age groups.13 As you work on defining the title of your thesis, use, for example, https://books.google.com/ngrams Make sure that the title of the thesis is congruent with the research question. 13 Eriksson, Päivi & Kovalainen, Anne: Qualitative Methods in Business Research, p. 282.
  • 14/42 5. Find out which methods to use to do your research 5.1. What is a scientific method?  Objective. Scientists let reality speak for itself.  Documented. Science builds on previous knowledge, what has been found out.  Logical. Arguments are logical.  Systematic. You have a plan for how you work.  Public. The work is published.  Verified. Various sources prove the results of the work, for example through reviews / feedback.  Reasonable. What is communicated is common sense. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
  • 15/42 5.2. Differences between quantitative and qualitative research methods Quantitative research Qualitative research Goal The goal is to explain by classifying features and to count them them. Focus is on validating / testing / proving theories. Goal The goal is to understand by having a complete, detailed description. Focus is on developing new theories. Deductive approach From general principle to specific conclusion. Inductive approach From specific examples to general conclusion / new theories. Planning approach Researcher knows clearly in advance what he/she is looking for. All aspects of the study is carefully designed before data is collected – thereby making the approach relatively static. Experimenting approach Researcher may only know roughly in advance what he/she is looking for. The design emerges as the study unfolds – thereby making the approach dynamic / flexible. Methods Examples of methods are surveys and questionnaires. Methods Examples of methods are observations and interviews. Objective approach Seeks precise measurement. Data is in the form of numbers and statistics. Subjective approach Seeks to know what individuals think. Data is in the form of words, pictures, and/or objects. Quantitative data is more efficient but may miss contextual data. Qualitative data is more rich, time consuming, and less able to be generalized. Sources  Atteslander, Peter: Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung, Seite 200.  http://wilderdom.com/research/QualitativeVersusQuantitativeResearch.html
  • 16/42 5.3. Advantages and disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative methods 5.3.1. Advantages of quantitative and qualitative methods Advantages - quantitative methods Advantages – qualitative methods Objectivity Larger objectivity and comparability of results. Results are quantifiable / measurable Possibility to establish statistical correlations. Large sample possible Possibility to examine a large sample – and thereby acquire representative results. The large sample means that a high external validity can be obtained. Relatively time efficient Due to, for example, the possibility of distributing surveys efficiently, costs can be kept down low. Participant focus Because focus is decided by the individual participant, the participant will decide what he/she finds most relevant to focus on. Because there are no specifications that the individual participants must obey to, information from individual participants may contain more truths and be more complete regarding the subjective views of the individual participants. Openness Due to the openness of the method, new facts can be discovered, and a larger depth in the questioning of participants can be obtained. Flexibility The method is fit to the object of investigation. Personal interaction Due to personal interaction, it is possible for the researcher to further explore assumptions, reasons, and other background information. High degree of validity Due to the not predetermined questioning process, a high validity can be obtained. http://imihome.imi.uni-karlsruhe.de/nquantitative_vs_qualitative_methoden_b.html
  • 17/42 5.3.2. Disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative methods Disadvantages – quantitative methods Disadvantages – qualitative methods Lack of flexibility By standardizing the research situation, for example by predetermined questions, flexibility is constrained. No individualization is possible. No individual follow-up questioning of responses by respondents Participants are not asked further questions that go more into depth to find out reasons for findings. Limited quantitative data Using qualitative data, no quantitative data can be derived. Subjective results Compared with quantitative methods, results derived from qualitative methods are more subjective. Relatively time consuming Doing interviews / workshops / brainstormings etc. and analyzing results take up more time as quantitative methods. Relatively high competency demands of the researcher Results are dependent on how competent the researcher is in asking questions. http://imihome.imi.uni-karlsruhe.de/nquantitative_vs_qualitative_methoden_b.html
  • 18/42 5.4. Possibilities to combine quantitative and qualitative methods 5.4.1. Preliminary model Step # 1 This is a classic version of quantitatively oriented approach. The idea is to limit the qualitative analysis steps on the stage of hypothesis generation in a preliminary study. Step # 2 In the following phase, the hypotheses are examined quantitatively. If, for example, open sample interviews are conducted in order to create categories for a more structured interview guide, following this model makes sense.14 5.4.2. Generalization model Step # 1 A qualitative study is done, and results are evaluated / interpreted / analyzed. Step # 2 With quantitative means, generalizations are made.15 If, for example, results of a field research project or a case analysis project are collected and subjected to a representative study of the broader review, one follows this model. 14 http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/viewArticle/967/2110 15 http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/viewArticle/967/2110
  • 19/42 5.4.3. Consolidation model Step # 1 A quantitative study is done. Step # 2 Using qualitative analysis, results of the quantitative study are continued. That way, results can be better interpreted. Through case studies in correlations, for example, a possible causality can be interpreted. Quantitative results can be explored further in this way.16 5.4.4. Triangulation model The most complex interweaving of qualitative and quantitative analysis steps in a process analysis. Here, a question is approached with different methods from multiple angles. It's not about determining which analysis approach provides the more correct results. The results should rather support each other, the intersection of the individual results is the end result.17 16 http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/viewArticle/967/2110 17 http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/viewArticle/967/2110
  • 20/42 5.4.5. Advantages and disadvantages combining quantitative and qualitative methods By including qualitative analysis strategies, quantitative research gains openness to the object and therefore also moves closer to everyday life. Preconceived concepts – hypotheses – are, to a stronger degree, questioned. The connection with the subject of the investigation is maintained throughout the research process. Qualitatively oriented research projects gain transparency and methodological rigor by combining with quantitative methods. The instrumental-technical nature of research strategies is strongly emphasized. Thus, research is more intersubjectively comprehensible and verifiable. Qualitative research also gains generalizability by including quantitative analysis steps.18 18 http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/viewArticle/967/2110
  • 21/42 6. Search for theories 6.1. Find about 3 theories Search for about 3 theoretical approaches using which you can look at your research question from different angles. 6.2. Present advantages and disadvantages of each theory 6.3. Compare the theories and choose the one you want to primarily use Compare advantages and disadvantages of each theory. “An evaluative and critical analysis of the literature includes comparing and contrasting the perspectives, viewpoints, and arguments that other researchers have taken on your research topic and your research question.”19 Choose which theory you want to primarily use – and argue for your decision. 6.4. Present the current state of research Sources Key points Book 1 Present the 2 most important sentences in the book. Article 1 Present the 2 most important sentences in the article. 6.5. Websites to use for searching on the Internet https://delicious.com/frankcalberg/research 19 Eriksson, Païvi & Kovalainen, Anne: Qualitative Methods in Business Research, p. 47.
  • 22/42 6.6. Check that literature is scientific Questions Answers To what extent does the claim fit with the way the world works? To what extent does the claimant provide proof / evidence of the claim? To what extent are personal beliefs driving the claim? Have the claims in the source been verified by somebody else? Has anyone tried to disprove the claim? http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/05/17/152913171/the-essence-of-science-explained-in-63- seconds
  • 23/42 7. Quantitative method: Survey 7.1. Define what you want to know Try to be focused when defining what you want to know. The more focused you are, the more useful the answers of people, who answer your survey, will be.20 7.2. Choose people to send your survey to To get accurate results, narrow your focus of your target audience. Some examples:  Gender: Do you want to focus on males or females?  Age: Do you want to ask only people who are older than 70?21 7.3. Develop survey questions Each survey question should  contain simple words.  be formulated shortly / briefly.  be concrete.  be neutrally formulated.  only focus on 1 issue / fact.  not provoke any particular answer.  Not be hypothetical such as “suppose that…”  Not contain any double negation such as “she is not untalented.”  Not ask too much of the respondent.22 The shorter and to the point your survey is, the more people will be willing to complete the survey. Therefore, keep it simple. Find out which questions are more important than others and cut out the least important questions.23 20 http://www.forestresearchtools.com/gathering-data-and-information-for-dissertation-writing 21 http://www.forestresearchtools.com/gathering-data-and-information-for-dissertation-writing 22 Atteslander, Peter: Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung, Seite 146. 23 http://www.forestresearchtools.com/gathering-data-and-information-for-dissertation-writing
  • 24/42 7.4. Develop answering possibilities Example 5: Strongly agree. 4: Agree. 3: Neither agree nor disagree. 2. Disagree. 1: Strongly disagree. 7.5. Pretest your survey with a small sample Ask, for example, a few friends to answer your survey and to give you feedback on to what extent the questions, you have written, make sense and flow naturally.24 Ask for feedback.25 7.6. Communicate your purpose to people answering the survey Communicate clearly to people, who answer the survey, why they are being surveyed. Explain why the survey is relevant to your work.26 7.6. Analyze responses to your survey 24 http://www.forestresearchtools.com/gathering-data-and-information-for-dissertation-writing 25 http://www.slideshare.net/frankcalberg/feedback-tips 26 http://www.forestresearchtools.com/gathering-data-and-information-for-dissertation-writing
  • 25/42 8. Qualitative method: Interviews 8.1. Decide on the kind of interview you want to do The interview as a research instrument is to be understood as a planned approach with scientific objective, in which the subject is to be led through a series of specific questions that encourage the respondent to respond.27 Interview type Inputs Open interview  The interviewee decides, to a very high degree, how the conversation develops.  Examples of open questions that the interviewer could ask: “What do you think company x should stop doing, start doing, and continue doing?” Semi structured interview  A list of questions is prepared by the interviewer before each interview.  The interviewer prepares in which order he/she want to ask questions.  The interviewer adapts to what the interviewee says, for example by asking follow up questions to answers by the interviewee. Highly structured interview  A list of questions is prepared by the interviewer before each interview.  The interviewer prepares in which order he/she want to ask questions.  During the interview, the interviewer does not deviate from the formulation of questions or from the order that he/she has planned to ask questions. 8.2. Formulate questions to ask interviewees 8.2.1. Formulate open questions The open question contains no fixed answer categories. The respondent may formulate his or her answer completely independently, and the interviewer has the task to record the statements of the respondent as accurately as possible. 28 Open questions help to discover, for example, uncertainty and misunderstandings. They can also promote contact and strengthen interest in the interview, because they come close to an everyday 27 Scheuchs (1973:70 f); Diekmann, Andreas: Empirische Sozialforschung, p. 375. 28 Atteslander, Peter: Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung, p. 136.
  • 26/42 conversation situation. The respondent feels that he or she is taken seriously in his own judgment. For this reason, not least well-informed people who have an own opinion prefer open questions. Regarding research strategy, open questions are - above all – suited in the planning stage to explore the problem and capture the relevant response categories.29 8.2.2. Formulate concrete questions Try to get reactions on details of certain situations that the interviewee has experienced.30 8.3. Select interviewees Names of people you want to interview Arguments for why you want to interview a person 8.4. Define length of each interview Consider how long time you want an interview to last. 8.5. Decide on a neutral place for the interview Examples:  Interview via skype.  Interview in a neutral office location. 8.6. Plan how you want to communicate during the interview 8.6.1. At the start of the interview, communicate your research question to the interviewee 8.6.2. Make it clear for the interviewee that you act in the role as interviewer / researcher It is relevant to analyse and reflect on your role and your overall relationship with the participants as your research progresses and at the end of the process. One reason for the importance of reflexivity is that every role entails different power relationships between you and the participants, and this affects your study and its results in one way or another.31 29 Atteslander, Peter: Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung, Seite 138-139. 30 Diekmann, Andreas: Empirische Sozialforschung, S. 447. 31 Eriksson & Kovalainen: „Qualitative Methods in Business Research“, Seite 59.
  • 27/42 8.6.3. Ask questions in a non-authoritarian way To not influence the interviewee requires you to use a non-authoritarian interview style. The hope is that new, unexpected things are expressed.32 8.6.4. When asking questions, adapt culturally to the interviewee The art of asking questions in interviews should be adapted to the particular culture in which the interview is done.33 8.6.5. Listen to what the interviewee is saying http://www.slideshare.net/frankcalberg/listening-tips 8.6.6. React neutrally and as an outsider to answers by the interviewee An interview technique is understood as neutral when the reactions to the answers of the interviewee are interpreted neither positively nor negatively.34 When the topic and the environment are very familiar to you, another piece of advice that the more experienced researchers give is to try to develop a way to look at it in a more unusual manner, or as an outsider. For example, if you are a young female employee in the company that you are studying, try to look at the company from the point of view of an older male employee. Or, when you have been working in the customer service function and you are doing a study on “how teamwork is performed in customer service”, try to look at things from the customer point of view.35 8.6.7. Make observations during the interview Document what you observe during the interview – including what the interviewee is doing with his or her arms and legs. Also document facial expressions that you observe.36 8.6.8. At the end of the interview, ask the interviewee if he/she would like to add anything 32 Diekmann, Andreas: Empirische Sozialforschung, S. 447. 33 Diekmann, Andreas: Empirische Sozialforschung, S. 377. 34 Diekmann, Andreas: Empirische Sozialforschung, S. 376. 35 Eriksson & Kovalainen: „Qualitative Methods in Business Research“, Seite 58. 36 Atteslander, Peter: Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung, Seite 106.
  • 28/42 8.6.9. At the end of the interview, give and receive feedback to / from the interviewee http://www.slideshare.net/frankcalberg/feedback-tips 8.7. Transcribe interviews 8.7.1. Example of transcription Interview partner: Wendy Wheeler. Interviewer: Erin Anderson. Date: January 8th, 2014. Media or place: Skype. Transcriber: Erin Anderson. Abstract / Summary Wendy Wheeler was born in… EA: My name is Erin Anderson and I’m here with Wendy Wheeler…. WW: You’re welcome.37 8.7.2. Methods to transcribe interviews Transcription method # 1: Pragmatic Usually, this transcription method is an exact reproduction of what was said. Researchers pick their own format – depending on needs as well as time and money. Transcription method # 2: Jefferson The method tries to compensate for the loss of sound, pace, intonation and interaction in the conversation, which get lost during the conversion of sound into text. This is done by adding time references and standardized symbols into the text. Transcription method # 3: Gisted The idea of gisting is to create a summary transcript that captures the essence of a media file's content without taking the same amount of time or resources as a verbatim transcript might require.38 37 http://www.wwhp.org/files/oral-history-project/Transcription_Tips_for_Oral_History.pdf 38 http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1636/3162
  • 29/42 When transcribing interviews, change as little as possible. Accurately represent each speaker's words, conversational quality, and speech patterns.39 In the methodology part of the thesis, explain how you transcribed the interviews – and why.40 8.7.3. Advantages and disadvantages of transcribing interviews http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1636/3162 Transcripts make features of the recording more transparent and accessible, enabling one to “see” the verbal and non-verbal activities that unfold on the tape. A good transcript helps the analyst to get a purchase on the organization of the interaction, including its fleeting and momentary features. A transcript is not a substitute for the recording, but rather is an essential analytical tool to be used along with the recording.41 39 http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/downloadFile.cgi?file=22107-2-28569- Interview_Transcription_Guidelines_handout_.doc&filename=Interview_Transcription_Guidelines_handout_.doc 40 http://www.inside-installations.org/OCMT/mydocs/Microsoft%20Word%20- %20Booksummary_Interviews_SMAK_2.pdf 41 http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1636/3162 And Clayman, Steven E. & Teas Gill, Virginia (2004). Conversation analysis. In Melissa Hardy & Alan Bryman (Eds.), Handbook of data analysis, p. 593.
  • 30/42 8.8. Make categories to analyze interviews 8.8.1. Example of category http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1089/2384 8.8.2. Categories derived according to frequence of words The more times a word is interviewees by interviewees, the more relevant it is to define a category around this word.
  • 31/42 8.8.3. Categories derived according to importance of quotes by interviewees Name of interviewee Important quotes by interviewees To determine what is important, look at theories laying the theoretical foundation to the thesis. 8.8.4. Categories are derived by looking within interview vs. looking across interviews Vertical orientation: Categories are defined by looking within interviews. Horizontal orientation: Categories are defined by looking across interviews. 8.8.5. Criteria when defining categories Criteria Explanation Clearly defined Each category is clearly defined. Independent The categories in the category system are independent from one another. No overlap The descriptions of each category do not overlap. Complete The definition of each category is complete. The total number of categories is titled category system. 42 8.9. Contrast opinions of interviewees and explain why opinions are different 42 Atteslander, Peter: Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung, Seite 190.
  • 32/42 9. Qualitative method: Observations 9.1. What is observed? As business researcher, you may be interested in some specific business-related events such as meetings between people. When studying events, you may observe one or several of the following issues:  Who initiates the event and in what way?  What happens during the event?  Who is present? Who is involved?  What are the participants’ verbal and non-verbal reactions?  What is communicated, both verbally and non-verbally?  What are the signals that this activity is about to end?  What is communicated regarding such signals, both verbally and non-verbally?  How is this particular activity related to the other activities which are observed? Try also turning your focus on observing “what does not happen” instead of “what happens”.43 9.1.1. What happened? What did not happen? 9.1.2. Which people were there? Who were involved? 9.1.3. Who did what? How did they do it? 9.1.4. Who said what? How did they say it? 9.1.5. How was the non-verbal communication of the people involved?  How are which people dressed?  What symbols are used by which people?  What does the body language of whom communicate? 43 Päivi Eriksson & Anne Kovalainen: Qualitative Methods as Business Research, p. 86-89.
  • 33/42 9.2. Where are observations done? 9.2.1. Observations on the Internet 9.2.2. Observations in a physical room 9.2.3. Observations in a public place 9.3. Who is observed? 9.3.1. Observation of yourself Self-observation refers to the observation of a person’s own behaviour, his or her own feelings and behavior motives. 9.3.2. Observation of others 2 problems are important to keep in mind regarding systematic observation techniques: 1. the problem of distortion due to selective perception. 2. the problem of how to interpret observed social events.44 9.4. How are observations done? 9.4.1. Participating vs. not-participating observation What you need to consider when doing observational research:  Try to be “invisible”, do not get involved in the dynamics of the situation.  Use all of your senses, not just your sense of vision. Record the sounds, smells and tastes (if applicable).  Record your impressions and feelings. How do you feel while observing? Were you frightened, surprised, anxious, amused, excited? Relate what you were feeling to what you were observing.  Record the context of the situation: place, time, participants, numbers of participants, gender of participants, etc.  Record what you were thinking during the observation. Did the situation remind you of something similar? Had you experienced something similar. What do you think the participants were thinking about while you were observing?  Record all of your information in a journal. Use shorthand or abbreviations if necessary.45 44 Diekmann, Andreas: Empirische Sozialforschung, S. 458.
  • 34/42 9.4.2. Structured vs. unstructured observation Example of a structured observation: An observer records in Group A every second aggressive act – and in group B every third aggressive act. Process of investigation with structured observation technique: 1. Questions, hypotheses are developed. 2. Selection of indicators, operationalization of the variables referring to the observation technique. 3. Construction of a structured observation protocol. 4. Sample, selection of the observation situation. 5. Pretest, observer training, revision of the observation protocol, depending on the pre-test results. 6. Carrying out the main survey "field phase". 7. Data transmission and evaluation. Structured observation is a way to avoid / face the risk of bias due to selective perception. Thus, attempts are made to increase the objectivity and reliability of the observation. 9.4.3. Open vs. closed observation Problem with open observation: Reactivity. Problem with concealed observation: ethics. 9.5. When are observations done?  When literature analysis is insufficient.  When interviews are insufficient. 9.6. Why are observations done? One distinct advantage of making observations is that it records action as it takes place, which is different from people describing afterwards what they said or did, or what they believe they will do or say in the future.46 Additional sources  Diekmann, Andreas: Empirische Sozialforschung, S. 469 ff.  Eriksson, Païvi & Kovalainen, Anne: Qualitative Methods in Business Research, p. 87-88.  http://www.patrick-hacker.de/resources/Handout+02+Grundlagen+Methoden+I+- +Erhebungsmethoden.pdf  http://www.claudiashome.at/pdf/studium/empirische_sozialforschung.pdf 45 http://www.sasked.gov.sk.ca/docs/social/psych30/support_materials/research_methods.htm 46 Päivi Eriksson & Anne Kovalainen: Qualitative methods as business research, p. 86-89.
  • 35/42 10. Qualitative method: Delphi method In The Delphi method, results, contradictions etc. from the 1st round of questions are asked in the following round. Everyone, who participates, must compare his own statements with those of others.47 https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/China/Applying_global_trends_A_look_at_Chinas_auto_industry_2643 47 Atteslander, Peter: Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung, Seite 133.
  • 36/42 11. Other qualitative methods. Focus on creativity 11.1. Brainstorming – the classic method http://issuu.com/frankcalberg/docs/brainstorming 11.2. Brainstorming – the nominal method http://issuu.com/frankcalberg/docs/brainstormingnominalmethod 11.3. Brainstorming – the SCAMPER method http://issuu.com/frankcalberg/docs/scamper 11.4. Brainstorming – the Disney method http://issuu.com/frankcalberg/docs/brainstormingdisney 11.5. Six thinking hats http://www.scribd.com/doc/37923849/Six-thinking-hats 11.6. Creativity methods http://www.slideshare.net/frankcalberg/creativity-exercises
  • 37/42 12. Results 12.1. Present the results What findings did you discover doing the work? 12.2. Reflect critically on the results Reflect critically on the results / findings / discoveries of your work. Using existing knowledge / theory / common sense, present a contrast to the new findings / discovery. Discuss contrasts. Discuss to what extent you as researcher / author anwered the research question you defined at the start. 12.1. Document objectivity Objectivity is the idea that scientists, in attempting to uncover truths about the natural world, must aspire to eliminate personal biases, a priori commitments, emotional involvement etc.48 Objectivity is when research is neutral, when personal bias has been removed meaning two independent researchers should be able to conduct the same research and get the same outcome.49 To avoid the variety in subjective interpretation of quantifying terms such as “large”, “small”, “fast”, “slow”, “hot”, and “cold”, scientists strive, where possible, to eliminate human senses by the use of standardized measuring tools like meter sticks, stopwatches, thermometers etc.50 12.2. Document reliability Reliability is defined as the extent to which a questionnaire, test, observation or any measurement procedure produces the same results every time it is done. In short, it is the stability or consistency of scores over time or across raters.51 Reliability is often at risk when assessments are taken over time, performed by different people, or the assessments are highly subjective.52 An important point to understand is that a measure can be perfectly reliable and yet not be valid. 48 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivity_(science) 49 http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_social_research_must_be_objective 50 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivity_(science) 51 http://michaeljmillerphd.com/res500_lecturenotes/reliability_and_validity.pdf 52 http://www.natco1.org/research/files/Validity-ReliabilityResearchArticle_000.pdf
  • 38/42 Consider a bathroom scale that always weighs you as being 5 lbs. heavier than your true weight. This scale - though invalid as it incorrectly assesses weight - is perfectly reliable as it consistently weighs you as being 5 lbs. heavier than you truly are. 53 A research example of this phenomenon would be a questionnaire designed to assess job satisfaction that asked questions such as, “Do you like to watch ice hockey games?”, “What do you like to eat more, pizza or hamburgers?” and “What is your favorite movie?”. As you can readily imagine, the responses to these questions would probably remain stable over time, thus, demonstrating highly reliable scores. However, the questions are not valid when one is attempting to measure job satisfaction, as the questions have nothing to do with an individual’s level of job satisfaction.54 12.3. Document validity Validity is the extent to which you measure, for example with a test or project, what you intend to measure.55 A statement can be called valid, i.e. logical truth, if it is true in all its interpretations. The correctness of statements can be proved with quotes from, for example, interviews and/or brainstormings.56 Internal validity Internal validity encompasses whether the results of the study, for example mean difference between treatment and control groups, are legitimate because of the way the groups were selected, data was recorded or analysis performed. For example, a study may have poor internal validity if testing was not performed the same way in treatment and control groups, or if confounding variables were not accounted for in the study design or analysis. External validity External validity, often called “generalizability”, involves whether the results given by the study are transferable to other groups, i.e. populations of interest. A study performed exclusively in a particular gender, racial, or geographic sub-group, such as white females in Appalachia, may not be applicable to Hispanic men in the northwest. It is through proper study design and strict protocol execution that high levels of validity, both internal and external, can be achieved. An important point to remember when discussing validity is that without internal validity, you cannot have external validity. 57 53 http://michaeljmillerphd.com/res500_lecturenotes/reliability_and_validity.pdf 54 http://michaeljmillerphd.com/res500_lecturenotes/reliability_and_validity.pdf 55 http://psychology.about.com/od/researchmethods/f/validity.htm, http://www.natco1.org/research/files/Validity- ReliabilityResearchArticle_000.pdf 56 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Validity 57 http://www.natco1.org/research/files/Validity-ReliabilityResearchArticle_000.pdf
  • 39/42 13. Conclusion and recommendations Reflecting on your thesis, what do you conclude? To what extent do your conclusions make sense? Based on the results of your work, what ideas / proposals do you have for the company? Based on the results of your work, which concrete tasks should people working for the company do?
  • 40/42 14. Quotation / citation / referencing / biography 14.1. When should you quote / make references / make citations  Citations should occur whenever you feel it is necessary.58  When the words themselves are evidence that backs up your reasons.  When the words are from an authority who backs up your claims.  When the words are strikingly original or express your key concepts so compellingly that the quotation can frame an extended discussion.  A passage states a view that you disagree with, and to be fair you want to state it exactly.59 http://www.forestresearchtools.com/dissertation-writing-tips-citation-techniques-and-styles Booth, Wayne C. et. al.: The Craft of Research, p. 189. 14.2. How should citations, quotations, references be made in the text? 14.2.1. APA format Indicate the author’s name / authors’ names and the year of the publication. Examples:  George, 2014.  Smith, 2014, p. 39.  John et al., 2014.  Kelley and Chang, 2007. 14.2.2. MLA format Indicate the author’s name and the page number from which the information was obtained. Example: Brian, 44 14.2.3. Chicago / Turabian format A superscript number is indicated in the text. In the corresponding footnote, an explanation is given. 58 http://www.forestresearchtools.com/dissertation-writing-tips-citation-techniques-and-styles 59 Booth, Wayne C. et. al.: The Craft of Research, p. 189.
  • 41/42 14.2.4. Harvard format Indicate the year, the page number, and the name of the author. Sources http://www.forestresearchtools.com/dissertation-writing-tips-citation-techniques-and-styles http://www.umuc.edu/library/libhow/apa_examples.cfm http://education.exeter.ac.uk/dll/studyskills/harvard_referencing.htm 14.3. What should you mention in the bibliography? 14.3.1. Books  Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, eds., The Founders’ Constitution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987) chap. 10, doc. 19, accessed October 15, 2011, http://press- pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/  Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How little things can make a big difference (Boston: Little, Brown, 2000), 64-65.60 14.3.2. Websites  The electronic address: http://...  The date you accessed the source. Sources: http://education.exeter.ac.uk/dll/studyskills/harvard_referencing.htm https://www.library.cornell.edu/research/citation/apa#text 14.3.3. Blogs / online articles  Campbell Brown, “Consequentialize this, “Ethics 121, no. 4 (July 2011): 752, accessed December 1, 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/66069661  J Dean. (2008, May 7). When the self emerges: Is that me in the mirror? [Blog comment]. Retrieved from http://www.spring.org.uk/thelsttransport62 Be sure that your reference list exactly matches the references you use in your thesis.63 60 http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/turabian/turabian_citationguide.html 61 http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/turabian/turabian_citationguide.html 62 https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/ 63 http://anniebruton.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/more-phd-thesis-advice-from-examiners-and-supervisors-50-top- tips/
  • 42/42 Thank you for your interest. For further inspiration and personalized services, please feel welcome to visit http://frankcalberg.com/ Have a great day. 15. Appendices 15.1. Appendices for all types of reports  Bibliography.  List of figures.  List of abbreviations.  List of tables. 15.2. Additional appendices for reports using quantitative methods Survey. 15.3. Additional appendices for reports using qualitative methods  Interview guide with questions.  Documentation of interviews.