The revised edition of Research Methods in Africana Studies is a major contribution to the discipline of Africana studies and social science involving people of African descent in general. The first edition was the first of its kind, offering instruction on how to conduct culturally relevant critical research on Africana communities in the American context, in addition to the African diaspora. The revised edition contains a collection of the most widely used theories and paradigms designed for exploring, explaining, and advancing Africana communities through science. The relevance, strengths, and weaknesses of every major method of data collection are explained as they relate to the lived experiences of the Black world. It stands alone as the only textbook that details empirical methods in the service of the collective advancement of Africana peoples.
Chapter 4: Research Design
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Research design refers to critical components in the planning and strategy that guides the execution of research. Research design includes decisions about which methods to use, how to analyze the results, which units of analysis you are using, limits of generalizing conclusions, and how to interpret the relationships between variables (Bryman, 2008). This chapter covers key elements of your research that have implications on what you can say when your research is finished. We will discuss units of analysis, the purpose of research, quantitative and qualitative approaches, and temporal design in research. Research methods—different from research design—are means of collecting data. Research design answers the what, why, and how of research, that is, what you are going to study, why you are studying it, and how you choose to go about studying it. Let us first deal with what is being studied.
Units of Analysis: The Who and What of Research