A Detailed Guide Related To Primary Research In PhD Dissertation – Things To Avoid

Primary research can be very difficult for some researchers. It is because it involves collecting the data directly from the research participants. Thus, you need to be very careful to get effective results. In a PhD dissertation, the whole research depends on the primary data. That is why you need to know a proper guide for the primary method. This article will give you a detailed guide related to primary research in a PhD dissertation. It will also tell you the things you should avoid.

A Detailed Guide:

The following steps are a complete guide for a primary study in PhD dissertation:

Deciding On The Research Methodology:

You should decide a methodology for primary research first. You can either choose qualitative or quantitative research methodology. You will need to follow different procedures for different methodology. Qualitative research will be exploratory research whereas, on the other hand, quantitative research is confirmatory research. It would help if you decide on your main goal before deciding on a methodology.

Find Limitations And Strengths:

After deciding on a methodology, you should identify strengths and limitations. For instance, you will be able to explore the topic in the qualitative research fully. You will be able to give detailed information. However, you will not be able to generalize your findings in this research. Moreover, the quality of your results will depend on your ability and skills. It is important that you identify all the strengths and weaknesses related to your research and ensure that they are aligned with your goals. Hiring a dissertation writing service can be helpful for this.

Select A Particular Method For Data Collection:

There are many ways to collect data for primary research. You need to select an appropriate method for data collection according to your needs. In qualitative methods, you can use case studies, focus groups, interviews and observations on collecting primary data. In quantitative research, you can use surveys, questionnaires and many other ways to collect data. In this step, you must collect data carefully because your whole PhD dissertation will depend on the quality of the data.

Select Participants:

The next step is to select your research participants. For this, you first need to understand your participants. Research participants are considered as a group of individuals from whom you conduct a survey, interview, observation or focus group while doing research. You must keep your main research question in mind while choosing these people. You should also need to carefully decide the number of participants. Decide whether your participants need to have different or similar backgrounds. You need to decide the method of recruitment for your research participants. It is important to remember that your research participants need to properly sign an informed consent.

Select Measures:

In primary research, you will use measures for analysis and results. For instance, in observation studies, you will use the checklist to note your observations. Case studies, interviews and focus groups use semi-structured or structured interviews. In structured interviews, you will have predetermined questions. On the other hand, in semi-structured interviews, you will have opportunities to explore further. Semi-structured interviews are a better option as they will allow you to get more detailed information from the participants. In this step, you need to consider your research goal and literature review. You will get enough knowledge and criteria to choose measures for your research from research objectives and literature review.

Select Analyses:

After this, you need to decide on a method for analysis in primary research. You do not need to depend on complex statistics in qualitative research. It is because you will not use any numbers or statistics because you will mainly focus on coding and identifying themes in the data in qualitative research. You should be straightforward in the coding process. Also, you need to read your responses from data collection before doing an analysis. You must clean your data and prepare it so it can be used for analysis.

Understand Procedure:

The last step is related to the procedure for conducting primary research. For qualitative research, the procedure is very simple. You just need to recruit your research participants and schedule time to interview them. For primary data collection, you need to record your interviews properly. After this, your data will be ready for analysis. The procedure of quantitative research is a little different. After recruiting your research participants, you must randomly assign them proper conditions. You will need a particular procedure to determine the conditions for each research participant. In quantitative research, it will be best if you counterbalance the order of questions to get better results.

Things To Avoid:

There are some things that you need to avoid while doing primary research, which are under-mentioned:

Do Not Over-Generalize Your Findings:

Researchers sometimes make general conclusions by doing just a few number of surveys, observations or interviews. You can identify some general trends or patterns in your data. However, you should not make assumptions about things that you have found. It is important that you remain as specific as you can with your findings because people are very dynamic, and situations are constantly changing.

Do Not Be Biased While Collecting Data:

If you ask biased questions or take a biased interview, you will not get proper results. Thus, it is important to carefully make your questions by avoiding any type of personal bias.

Do Not Imply Causation With Correlation:

It is important to remember that if two results have a relation with each other, but it does not mean one result will cause the other. Therefore, it is important that you do not always imply causation with correlation in primary research.

Not Considering Other Related Factors:

You should consider all the factors which are related to your research participants. If you forget to include them in your research, it is best that you consider them in your analysis.


The above article is a perfect guide for primary research. You should decide on a proper research methodology and data collection method. It is important that you avoid bias and not generalise your findings in this type of research.

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