Choose the TYPE of dissertation and ROUTE to follow

Very broadly speaking, there are three types of dissertation that you can take on: qualitative dissertations, quantitative dissertations or mixed methods dissertations. Each of these broad types of dissertation has a number of characteristics. We provide an overview of these characteristics, as well as help you to choose between them in our article: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods dissertations: What are they and which one should I choose?

In addition to choosing a particular type of dissertation to take on (i.e., a qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods dissertation), you will also end up pursuing a particular route. There are many routes that you can follow, but it is important to understand the differences between them because your choice of route will influence the entire dissertation process. Classic routes when following quantitative dissertations include replication-based studies, theory-driven research and data-driven dissertations. Alternately, classic routes when taking on a qualitative dissertation include case study research, ethnographies and phenomenological research. We call them routes because it avoids confusion, but you may have heard them being referred to as strategies of inquiry, research methodologies, or simply, types of research. We avoid referring to them in this way because these terms have been described in many different ways by academics.

In the Lærd Dissertation site, we explain what these three types of dissertation are, together with the different routes you could choose to follow under each type. By the time you’ve read these introductions to dissertation types and routes, you should know what type of dissertation you plan to carry out, and which route you are going to follow. This will guide you through the rest of the dissertation process.


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