Discussion: Problem Statement, Purpose, and Background
A proposed study with a clearly defined purpose is more likely to benefit from a more focused research problem, and a firmer research plan and design. The purpose statement defines whether the study will be of value: What information is needed? How likely is this information to influence decisions? How important and timely is the study? What is at stake (OSullivan, Rassel, & Berner, 2008)? Filling in the blanks in a simple sentence in the template below will help you to focus your purpose statement.
Use this template to complete the Purpose section of your Prospectus:
The purpose of this _____ (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-design) study is to (understand, describe, develop, discover) the _____ (central focus for the study) for ______ (the unit of analysis, person, processes, groups, site).
Use the Prospectus Guidebook as your guide, and the Historical Alignment Tool (HAT) matrix as a guide for your planned research focus. The purpose of the HAT is to support the creation of your dissertation Prospectus by documenting both the developmental evolution of and the alignment among the problem statement purpose, potential significance, research question, theoretical framework, research design and methodology (method of inquiry), data collection and analysis method, and implications for positive social change. Every decision that you make regarding one of the components of your Prospectus should be thoughtful and deliberate in order to ensure that it aligns with the components that both precede and follow it. To do this well often takes a number of iterations as you research, gather, digest, and analyze new information about your research topic.
Use of the HAT will provide iterative documentation of your rationale for making key research design and methodology decisions. The HAT should be updated after each Ph.D. residency and at the end of every quarter, to (a) validate your choices, or (b) explain how new knowledge or thoughts have informed changes in your dissertation research design and methodology.
To prepare for this Discussion, review the Dissertation resources in this weeks Learning Resources. In addition, review the Waldens Doctoral Capstone Resources located in this Weeks Resources, paying special attention to Learning to Accept Feedback. You have already received feedback during your first few weeks and it is important for you to know you will constantly receive feedback throughout the entire process. This at times can be overwhelming and frustrating. It is important you use these resources and all the resources on Waldens Doctoral Capstone Resources. The better you understand what expectations are of you, the more successful you will be in this process and finishing the end goal of your Dissertation.
By Day 3
Post your research problem statement, and following the research problem statement, include both the purpose statement and background sections of your prospectus in the same post. You may attach a Microsoft Word document that includes the problem, purpose statement, and background sections of your prospectus if you wish, but the full text of the document needs to be included in your initial post to this discussion. Please keep in mind that your instructor may require a Word document attachment for purposes of evaluation, feedback, and grading.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.
By Day 6
Respond to at least of at least two of your colleagues who have not yet had a reply, in any of the following ways:
Evaluate your colleagues purpose and background sections of their Prospectuses. Challenge or support what they have written and provide feedback on the alignment of these two sections with the research problem. How can all three sections be focused and aligned more appropriately?
Evaluate the extent to which your colleagues have focused their problem, purpose, and background on public policy and administration. Critique and offer suggestions.
Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.
Submission and Grading Information