Sauders 2003

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Saunders et al. 2003, p.83 -The Research Process “Onion” • Having defined the research question and the overall research design for this study, the next • step is to discuss the design in more detail: the research philosophy, the research approach and • research strategies used. Much literature is available on research philosophies, approaches and • strategies. Saunders et al. (2003) define the socalled research process ‘onion’, consisting of • five different layers, as in Figure 2-3.

Part 2
• As approaches in the different layers have dependencies, they suggest a research design should • be developed from the top down, starting with the outside layer [adopting a research • RESEARCH DESIGN • philosophy] and thereafter peeling away each layer until the fifth layer is reached [defining data • collection methods]. This approach, also suggested by Remenyi et al. (2000), is used in this • study.

Part 3
• A positivistic philosophy aims at the derivation of laws or law-like generalizations similar to • those in the physical and natural sciences (Remenyi et al. 2000, p.32). Quantitative research • allows researchers to familiarize themselves with the problem or concept to be studied. The • emphasis is on facts and causes of behaviour (Bogdan and Biklen 1988), with the information • in the form of numbers that can be quantified, and summarized using a mathematical process • for analysing the numeric data and expressing the final result in statistical terminology (Charles • 1995).

Part 4
• The realistic philosophy shares two features with a positivism philosophy: a belief that the • natural and the social sciences should apply the same kinds of approach to the collection of data • and to explanation, and a commitment to the view that there is an external reality to which • scientist direct their attention (Bryman 2001).

Saunders et al. 2003, p.83 - The Research Process “Onion”

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