4.2 Research planning

Each time an EAR researcher makes a research plan he or she needs to ask:

  • Why am I doing this research?
  • What information am I seeking?
  • What methods are best suited to each research activity?
  • Where will I carry out this research?
  • What resources will I need?
  • How will I use the research results?

Asking these questions will ensure your research has a focus and achieves its anticipated goals.

Good planning is essential both for the research itself and the development of an initiative. Every research plan will look different, because each plan is addressing the research needs of different initiatives in different locations with different aims.

The selection of research tools and of research participants is also a part of the planning stage. Once a research plan is written, the research is conducted using and adapting the methods chosen.

In the methods toolbox there are some key methods that are especially appropriate to EAR. As data collection happens using the methods decided upon in the research plan, a researcher may find the need to supplement this toolbox through additional methods. While you must plan in advance the methods you will use, you can also adapt that plan as the research situation requires.