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This course was last updated January 2013

Research Process and Methods

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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