Dissertation Strategies

Using a Matrix to Develop Your Research Methodology

by | Aug 31, 2021 | Dissertation Journey

This is an easy guide to help you to organize your research. Using a matrix will help you see the alignment between your research questions, theoretical or conceptual framework, and the methods you intend to you use.

1. Create a table with the headings for each column:

a. Research Questions

b. Theoretical / Conceptual Framework

c. Methods

d. Type of Analysis

You can use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to create a matrix or relational table. If you are “old school,” please feel free to use pencil and paper.

2. List your research questions

Under Research Questions (if you are using Excel or Sheets, this would be the first column), write the research questions you intend to study in logical order, so that the first question will lead into the next question. If you only have one research question, that is ok along as you know the framework you intend to use in your study.

3. List the theoretical or conceptual framework

Under Theoretical/Conceptual Framework (column B), list the key areas of your theoretical or conceptual framework that aligns with the research question(s). If you are in the proposal phase, you need to check whether the key areas (qualitative) or variables (quantitative) you intend to study are compatible with your framework. If not, you need to revise your research to align with your framework. The theoretical or conceptual framework you intend to use is the lens to explore your problem of practice or research topic.

4. List the methods

Under Methodology (column C), list the specific methods you intend to use to collect the data. Examples of qualitative methods are interviews, focus groups, case study, ethnography, observation, or document analysis. Examples of quantitative methods are polls, questionnaires, surveys or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques.

5. List the appropriate type of analysis

Under Type of Analysis (column D), list the type of analysis you intend to conduct for the method you indicated. For qualitative data, you will code and analyze interviews, text or observations. For quantitative data, you will conduct appropriate statistical analysis based on the research question.

The example matrix is a mixed methods research. The research topic is online vs on-ground learning for nursing students.


Research Questions
Theoretical/Conceptual Framework
Type of Analysis

1. What are the characteristics of nursing students?

  • Age,
  • Gender,
  • Ethnicity,
  • Online vs On ground,
  • Degree Program,
  • Yr in Program
  • GPA
  • Satisfaction


Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory


Standard deviation,



2. Is there a difference in learning between online and on-ground nursing students?

Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory


Interviews Focus Groups



Multivariate analysis

3. What is the perception of nursing students taking online vs on-ground courses?

Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory



Should you have any questions regarding the research matrix, please contact contact us!