The Design Process
As has already been stated in this book, in a design process we must find a way to link our research interest and questions with, on the one hand, general ideas and theories, on the other, a strategy for data construction. A decisive test of whether the topic is worth researching is that we are able to show its importance or relevance to others and not alone to ourselves. Thus, the first part of the design process deals with clarifying and narrowing the research purpose—together with a problem statement and possibly also detailed research questions. To do this clarification we must first delimit and justify the topic for research. Then we have to get familiar with established research knowledge about the topic in order to be able to show where our project stands in relation to this knowledge. Finally, we must introduce the theories and concepts that guide our own inquiry and clarify a frame for analysis.
The second part of the design process has to do with clarifying and concretising a strategy for data construction. With purpose and problem statement as the point of departure we have to decide on a suitable strategy for data construction. Are the purpose and the field of research such that a holistic perspective would be most suitable, meaning that we construct data as cases? Or should we use the reductionist perspective and construct data as units with variable properties? As mentioned above, the purpose may also make it relevant to choose combinations of these strategies. When we have chosen a strategy for data construction, we are ready to deal with the detailing of the research method, how to select, collect, and analyse data.
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