Unit 5 – Purpose of the Study
In this section, we will examine the purpose statement, which is one of the sections in the first chapter of the dissertation or capstone. In general terms, the core purpose of your study is to address the research question; the research question’s purpose is to explore the research problem. It is probably safe to say that nearly all research problems are based on larger social problems, organizational problems, or human problems.
As scholar-practitioners, our research ought to evolve from real needs and problems. These wider social or practitioner problems (for example, stopping or treating childhood abuse, improving educational outcomes, developing non-discriminatory curricula and educational programs, developing effective and cost-efficient public service delivery systems, or developing effective management techniques for organizations) cannot be solved by a single research project, although a single study may contribute important information to the effort.
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The competencies covered in this unit include the following:
• Competency 1. Analyze personal progress to develop the scholar-practitioner identity during the research design process.
• Competency 2. Apply advanced critical thinking skills to research methods and design.
• Competency 3. Support ideas and concepts with evidence from the literature in proposing research methods and design.
• Competency 5. Justify approach to research problem by analyzing and applying current research literature.
• Competency 9. Apply academic communication skills in verbal and written interactions within the research process.
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Describe the topic, research problem, and research question.
2. Clearly communicate the purpose of a research study using the language of your specialization.
3. Determine the relevant audience of your research study.
Unit 5 Study 1
Crafting the Purpose Statement of the Study
The core purpose of the study is to explore the research problem by collecting information that will address the research question. A second purpose can be contributing knowledge toward a solution to the wider problem.
For a much fuller discussion of the purpose statement, you can review your school’s guides for research:
• For Public Service Leadership, use the Action Research Dissertation Handbook.
The second element of the purpose statement is the audience for the study. To whom is the study directed? Obviously, the immediate audience for a dissertation or capstone is the dissertation or capstone committee, which must approve it for you to graduate. But there also needs to be a wider audience. The wider audience(s) named in the purpose statement can include:
• The scholarly audience (researchers interested in the topic).
• The practitioner audience (the managers, leaders, workers, or interested parties who care about the research problem).
• Some other social group or wider audience who presumably will be interested in your results.
If you are primarily interested in:
• Scholars or researchers, it would be to contribute to the line of research and scholarship being pursued currently on your topic.
• Practitioners, the purpose of the study might be to contribute information that they can use in their work.
• A wider social or community group, your purpose would be to contribute information that they may find useful in addressing the specific issue or problem they face.
• Read Crafting the Purpose Statement.
Activity: Writing the Purpose Statement
Based on the instructions in the readings and the information in the study, write your purpose statement. It should describe:
• The social, community, or practitioner problem that forms the context for the research problem.
• The actual immediate purpose of the study, which is to address the research question and by doing so, contribute to the solution of the research problem.
Note: Do not use generic language. Describe the purpose using the language of your specific study, topic, research problem, and research question.
• The audience beyond the dissertation or capstone committee to whom the study is aimed.
Enter your statement of the purpose of your study in your dissertation or capstone research plan.
Unit 5 Study 2
Reconnecting with Potential Organizations
After completing your APA Reference List (Unit 2) and Developing Your Research Question (Unit 4), reach out again to the organization(s) you contacted in Unit 1 to verify they are still open to collaborating with you on your project. Ask them if they are willing to provide you with a site permission letter, found in Unit 7.
Unit 5 – Purpose of the Study and Unit 7 you will need to decide on a single organization to proceed with for the rest of your coursework and your residency.