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Research Process Guide

Research Process

Research Process Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide

Mary A. Garofalo, Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty / Research Consultant  
                                                                           Edited by Linda Cifelli, M.L.S., Ed.S.   


Executive Summary

This research guide provides a framework and process for designing, conducting, and communicating the results of a qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research project. This guide is intended for students and faculty who seek assistance in preparing, proposing, and conducting a research project for a ranked scholarly journal, dissertation, thesis, or application for grant funded research. On a broader level, this guide may be useful as an additional reference for courses in research methods across disciplines.

The guide begins with tips to identify a research topic and then discusses the significant elements with an eye to understanding theoretical concepts and the ins and outs of conducting empirical research and then communicating the results with alacrity.

Additionally, this guide is divided into steps, highlighting the benchmarks and significant elements of the process. Included in this guide are practical tips and tricks to help each researcher along the way. It is important to remember that designing and conducting research is a process- there will be moments when researchers might feel like they are going one step forward and two steps back. Take heart! That is the beauty of discovering new things, seeking answers to questions, and joining the larger discourse of the academic community. Persistence and Perseverance.

As the historian, Pan-Africanist, civil rights activist, and one of the fathers of qualitative research W. E. B. Du Bois (2008) noted:

The function of the university is not simply to teach bread-winning, or to furnish teachers for the public schools, or to be a centre of polite society; it is, above all, to be the organ of that fine adjustment between real life and the growing knowledge of life, an adjustment which forms the secret of civilization. (p. 68)


Du Bois, W. E. B. (2008). Of the wings of Atalanta. In B. H. Edwards (Ed.), The souls of black folk (pp. 61-70). Oxford University Press. (Original work published 1903)