A Complete Guide about Using Saunders’ Research Onion in Your Research

There are various ways of selecting research methodologies for the Dissertation. Each way has its own benefits. Saunders’ Research Onion is one of the exclusive ways of writing a research methodology. Research onion is a step-by-step guide. With the help of this guide, students can draft research methodology in an effective way.

What is Saunders’ Research Onion?

Saunders’ research onion is a six-step guide for writing effective methodology. Each step exhibited a detailed explanation of the stages involved during the research. Saunders and his fellows developed the “Research Onion” in 2007. Their aim was to provide a comprehensive way for writing a research process.

What are the layers in a Research Onion?

Research onion comprises multiple layers. Each layer is a research step. The steps involved are that of research philosophy and approach. They include research strategies and research methods too. They also include time-horizon, and data analysis techniques. It starts from the outer layer, “Research Philosophy”. It ends with the innermost layer of data analysis. Each stage of the research onion is specialised for providing details. It exhibits how the student can make different decisions for a research strategy. It also provides the rationale for adopting this particular research step.

What are the benefits of Using Saunders’ Research Onion?

Saunders’ Research Onion is beneficial to use. A few of its benefits are as follows;

It is applicable to any domain of the research. The domain can relate to science, business, and arts, or It is adaptable in various contexts.
To enhance the credibility of the research, it is highly effective to use. It is effective because it provides justification. It’s related to the justification for each methodological decision made by the researcher.
Outline the guide for using Saunders’ Research Onion within the Dissertation

Saunders’ research onion in a research project increases its effectiveness in general. Given below is a complete guide for using it;

Guide 1: Research PhilosophySaunders

According to experts of a PhD dissertation help firm, it is the first step in using a research onion. Research philosophy entails beliefs regarding the topic under study. The beliefs can relate to positivism, interpretivism, pragmatism, or realism. Positivism philosophy refers to studying the topic in objective terms. It’s applied in quantitative studies. Interpretivism philosophy refers to studying the topic in subjective terms. It is used in qualitative studies. The study of both subjective, and objective terms uses a pragmatism philosophy. Realism philosophy is for scientifically studying the aspects of a study. The researcher must use these philosophies while keeping in mind the research. It includes the nature of the topic, and the objectives of the study as well.

Guide 2: Research Approach

It is the second step of the research onion. Also, it comprises both deductive and inductive aspects. It is called Abductive after the combination. The deductive approach relates to the deriving of observations from theory. It is used to record changes over time. Inductive relates to the deriving of theory from observations. It is used when little information exists. By conducting research, greater insights, and information are gathered. Abductive is a flexible approach to research. The researcher is not bound to adopt set criteria as he does for the other approaches. The researcher must use these approaches. He must also keep in mind the study’s objectives during the final selection.

Guide 3: Research Strategy

It is a practical step within the research onion. It could include any of the following;

  • Case Study.
  • Grounded Theory.
  • Experimental Research.
  • Action Research.
  • Ethnography.
  • Archival research.
  • Survey Questionnaires.
  • Interviews.

Guide 4: Choice of Method

The choice of method is the fourth part of the research onion. It can relate to any of the following aspects;

  • Mono-method.
  • Mixed-method.
  • Multi-method.

There are two common methods used in the research studies. They are qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative method gathers objective data. This method collects numeric data for the study. It collects in a quantitative way, the attitudes, and responses of the target population. The qualitative method subjectively gathers the required data for the study. This method collects detailed responses and insights. It also gathers ideas about the study’s target population.

Guide 5: Time Frame

The time frame is the fifth part of the research onion. It relates to the time spent collecting data for the study. The time frame comprises any of the following aspects;

  • Cross-Sectional Study.
  • Longitudinal Study.

A cross-sectional study collects data one time. It is used for primary data collection. Whereas longitudinal study collects data repeatedly. It is used for recording changes in the data collection phase. It can also be used for secondary data collection aspects.

Guide 6: Data Analysis

It is the last step of the research onion. It carries and applies various analysis techniques. The aim is to draw meaningful conclusions from the collected data. With the usage of software, you can analyse the collected quantitative data. The software can include any of the following;

  • SPSS.
  • NVivo.
  • Excel.
  • AMOS.
  • EViews.
  • STATA.

By recording data into SPSS, various tests can effectively be applied to it. The tests are descriptive, and based on normality. They are regression, correlation, and moderation tests. They provide meaning to numeric data.

One can analyse qualitative data through the following techniques;

  • Comparative Analysis.
  • Thematic Analysis.
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Narrative Analysis.
  • Case Study.
  • Grounded Theory.
  • Meta-Analysis.
  • Systematic Literature Review.

With the usage of software, you can analyse the Collected qualitative data. The software can include any of the following;

  • NVivo.
  • AMOS.
  • Conclusion

Saunders’ Research onion is a guide for both researchers, as well as students. It provides a complete framework for managing the research process. Each stage of the research onion specialises in providing details. It assists the researchers in deciding which research process to use. It also provides them with a rationale for adopting the steps effectively. An effective research methodology lies in using Saunders’ research onion. A researcher can enjoy its benefits by using it within his/her research projects.

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