Research Philosophy Versus Research Strategy
Research philosophy refers to the formation of knowledge and the character of the knowledge which is developed. Research philosophy refers to your opinion and views and the manner in why you understand the world. This will greatly impact and influence your research strategy which refers to the plan or method you adopt for your research.
As scholars you need to be aware of the manner in which your commitments to a research philosophy will impact your research study. Further, your own research philosophy will also bear the weight of practical considerations. Still the major influence will most probably be a certain perspective of relationship between the knowledge and procedure by means of which it is nurtured
Saunder’s research onion is a generic research procedure which helps the analyst depict issues underpinning the selection of data collection methods. Saunders made an important contribution in terms of his research onion. According to his research onion, there are six stages in the onion- namely philosophies, approaches, strategies, choices, time horizons, techniques and procedures.
Two important elements of research philosophy are ontology and epistemology. Ontology refers to your view of the world. It pertains to your own and individualistic approach on a certain fact or issue, whether you view this as objective reality or something which is subject to you as an individual. Closely related with this is epistemology which is linked to the study of knowledge, the development of knowledge, its boundaries, limits and how to build on knowledge. Depending on your ontological leanings, your epistemological approach will be shaped as well.
A research strategy refers to a certain plan of action which shapes the way your research should proceed. Research strategy is a crucial component of your research. Simply put, it is the strategy you will adopt to give a certain structure to your research. This involves clearly mentioning or indicating the techniques and methods of data gathering that you intend to use. For instance, if you are planning to make use of questionnaires, then it must be stated thus in the research strategy. List the kind of measurements you will be using for the validation of your techniques. Also indicate if you are outsourcing the process of data collection to field workers (who must be credited) or if you will use computer techniques in order to study the information.
As a scholar, you are also required to list the actions and sequence of your research methodology. For instance, if a questionnaire is to be made first, followed by the analysis of data, writing of the particular chapter etc- this is all to be listed. You will also need to provide a tentative schedule which specifies the rough dates by which each step of your strategy will be complete.
It is important to specify this because since this will give your supervisors an idea regarding the proposed timeline of your research. They might recommend some modifications to your time schedule as well as your broader research strategy.