4.2.3 Research Design

The subject of the research always involves a problem, and the issues concerning the solution to that problem are explained in the thesis. A purpose statement can be used in the place of the problem. Usually, one or more research questions are formulated from a research problem. These questions facilitate and direct information retrieval and guide the selection of the research method and the implementation of the entire thesis.

In order to solve the research problem, the author must define and limit the information on the basis of which the subject is examined (knowledge base). The research and analysis methods used to solve the problem must also be described and justified.

The validity and reliability of the research must be considered already from the planning stage. The thesis presents the means by which the most reliable and credible results can be obtained. The validity and reliability criteria are different for different types of research (see Kananen, 2015).

Describing the research subject brings to light much more about the context of the research. The applicability of the research results to other similar cases can be assessed when the research context has been described in sufficient detail. If the subject of the research is a company, a brief description of (a) the history of the company; (b) the company’s industry, structure and owners; (c) personnel, turnover, market; or (d) possibly a significant part of the company can be given (Kananen, 2015).

Often the research subject is briefly mentioned already in the introduction. A more extensive description of the entire research design takes place after the introduction, either before or after the theoretical basis, according to the implementation of the research.