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Chapter 36: Research Methods for Studyin... > PUTTING A RESEARCH STUDY INTO PERSPE... - Pg. 595

Research Methods for Studying Virtual Communities INTRODUCTION Practically, any research textbook will advise on the concept of research: what it is and what it is not (Bryman, 2004; Vos, et all, 2005; Leedy, 1980; Tuckman, 1988; Ary & Razavieh, 1972; Gay, 1976; Nachmias & Nachmias 1981; Barzun & Graff, 1977; Bell, 2004; Anderson, Herr, Nihlen, 1994; Bless & Higson-Smith, 2004; Baker, 1999; Miles & Huberman, 1994). Some may provide a list of criteria with which to comply. Others may give some tentative guide as to how to approach a research study. At the beginning of a research study the following are required: research topic, state- ment of the main research problem, sub-problems, rationale, and literature review, methodological choice that will guide the study, limitation and delimitation of the chosen topic, chapter outline, appendices and list of references. Furthermore, it will be important to be familiar question and the development of a meaningful research proposal. There is need to decide on the focus of the study and the provision of a statement of purpose after which critical research questions should be considered, which will further focus on the research problem and help to refine the statement of purpose. The rationale is required for the reader to see the need for the study. This is followed by an elaborate literature review that will focus on what has been done previously in the selected area chosen for the study and what has not been done ­ usually referred to as gap lapse ­ that would be filled by the present study. A theoretical framework, which is a well- developed and articulated comprehensive expla- nation on which the entire research study will depend on for the events to follow, is identified. From this point, the need for data collection tech- niques comes to focus. In this respect, the general methodological orientation pertaining to the study