Research Process and Methods

This course was last updated January 2013

Research Process and Methods consists of lecture content derived from the two-part research sequence from the Homeland Security Master’s Degree¬†curriculum¬†at the Naval Postgraduate School.

The goals of the lectures are to explore the practices and modalities of good research, to learn a set of research steps or phases required to conduct thesis research in the program, and to expose students to several common research methods. The methodological portion of these lectures is therefore intended to be introductory.

There is no one, ‘right’ way to do research. It’s an iterative, organic process that requires the researcher’s imagination, resourcefulness, and common sense as much as any technical skills. Some skills, methods, and steps are specific to a discipline or field, while others – literature review for example – are universal. All good researchers and research share four qualities:

  • Thoroughness: in one’s thinking, and in the verification of information and sources.
  • Honesty: in disclosing the parameters, limits and caveats, and uses of one’s research
  • Precision: in use and definition of terms, and in attribution
  • Criticality: in thinking and inquiring – not taking things at face value; using good judgment, evaluation, discernment.
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Lauren Wollman

Course Developer: Dr. Lauren Wollman is Managing Director of Academic Programs and Thesis Coordinator at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) at the Naval Postgraduate School. In this capacity, she manages the faculty, oversees student research, and is the lead instructor for the Policy Analysis and Research Methods coursework sequence. Other special projects in her portfolio have included developing the Homeland Security Digital Library taxonomy in collaboration with taxonomy specialists, developing the curriculum for the National Certificate Program for Homeland Security Studies, and heading the Faculty Development initiative at CHDS. Finally, Dr. Wollman serves as Senior Editor for Homeland Security Affairs, the journal of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Prior to her assignment to NPS, Dr. Wollman worked for two agencies in the Israeli government. Lauren earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Southern California.