Aligning the Research Problem, Research Purpose, Research Questions, and Research Hypothesis or Hypotheses

Important information is provided here for aligning the research problem, purpose, questions, and the hypotheses. An excellent article by Burian, Rogerson, & Maffei (2010) discussed wholistically how the alignment could be approached for a dissertation student. Burian (et al., 2010) reported that “while the (research) sequence looks linear in the (typical research) model” (p. 46), an impressive degree of the researcher’s effort is “iterative or recursive…circling back, to refine and revise earlier steps” (p. 46). Furthermore, in some research designs, a few linear steps can be performed simultaneously such as data collection and analysis (Burian et al., 2010). The research design drives the “selection of the data collection tools, processes, and procedures used for data analysis” (p. 50), and therefore are accordingly aligned.

Due to my research problem and purpose targeting a mixed methods approach, alignment of the quantitative and qualitative approaches is critical toward achieving increased validity, and attaining a solid research effort. Burian (et al., 2010) remarked that the quantitative approach looks at “universal laws, and govern cause and effect…what they can see and observe…by manipulating variables” (p. 46). The qualitative approach offers researchers an opportunity to understand, explore, and discover. Both strategies must exemplify the products from both approaches by blending findings in order to answer the hypotheses.

Another alignment issue considers ethical behaviors during the research processes. Each research study’s steps must follow the highest standards of conduct: never harm, always respect, and apply fairness and justice (Burian et al., 2010). Ethical conduct considerations must always take precedence before research proceeds, and must be integrated clearly in each research phase, which consequently adds to the research blueprint.

Conducting research additionally includes alignment of the overall research strategy and plan. The subsequent research stages cannot align successfully without solid development of these two elements that provide the research structure. This structure addresses the researcher’s overall viewpoint of the what, when, where, how, and why that the research is performed (Burian et al., 2010).

Alignment is an important issue in a research project because one’s research questions are derived from the research purpose. Research questions further distill the purpose by more clearly focusing the research purpose, and the purpose provides “clues to the type of research design” (Burian et al., 2010, p. 50). The research questions, which are further narrowed as a project moves forward, are clearly related to the research design. Aligning the literature to be used to sustain the research purpose is critical because it must be specifically related to the project (Burian et al., 2010). Furthermore, by not discovering relevant literature can sooner or later cause issues with the hypotheses as well as interpretation errors during the study.

By aligning each section of a research project, the research processes can flow successfully. The research project’s structure enables researchers to be cognizant of “where they are, where they are going, and how to get there” (Burian et al, 2010, p. 50). Researcher’s must be willing to realign during the research process even if it requires starting again. (Note: Burian’s article also has a tremendously useful roadmap to conduct research at the end of it.)


Burian, P.E., Rogerson, L., Maffei, F.R. (2010, August). The research roadmap: A primer to the approach and process. Contemporary Issues In Education Research, 3(8), 43-57. Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.

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Finish PhD in Education

The Big DayJanuary 1st, 2014
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