Volume 2 Issue 1 (2006)
Research Design

Searching for an Appropriate Research Design: A Personal Journey

Anne Probert
Department of Management, Massey University
Published March 2, 2006
  • grounded theory,
  • phenomenology,
  • feminist research,
  • mixed methodology


This article describes in candour, the journey of a novice researcher deciding which methodological approach to apply to her doctoral research. Eager to commence fieldwork, she considers five options: ethnography, phenomenology, biography, grounded theory, and case study. Upon discovering however, that none of the described alternatives satisfactorily fits with her envisaged mode of research, she embarks on an unplanned journey into more creative possibilities and solutions. It is a process that requires critical analysis both of methodological options and the self, culminating in a mixed yet considered combination of phenomenology, grounded theory, and feminist research approaches. The journey ultimately proves to be a lesson for the student, not only in terms of research design but also how such decisions are inextricably linked with individual passions, fears, insecurities, and values.