|SREL Reprint #2417|
Defining the Beginning: The Importance of Research Design
Justin D. Congdon
Arthur E. Dunham
"Success is like a turtle climbing a mountain.
The probability of success of a research project is greatly enhanced when the "beginning," is correctly defined as a precise statement of goals and justification. Having accomplished this, the sequential steps necessary for writing a research plan and then successfully executing a research project are easier to identify and organize. Therefore, the message of this chapter is: by the time the laboratory is prepared or the first datum collected in the field, substantial effort should already have been invested in the conceptual and logistical framework of a project. This chapter discusses the steps that should result in a well-designed and integrated research plan.
A research plan consists of two general areas: research concepts and context (Table 1) and research logistics (Table 2). How well a research project is planned and how well the steps in the plan are integrated can make the difference between success or failure. The process of writing a research plan should start as soon as possible in the development of research ideas. For assistance with the process of writin-gresearch plans and research proposals, see Reis-Lehrer (1995).
SREL Reprint #2417
Congdon, J.D. and A.E. Dunham. 1999. Defining the beginning: the importance of research design. p. 83-87. In Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles, edited by K.L. Eckert, K.A. Bjorndal, F.A. Abreu-Grobois, and M. Donnelly. 4 Vol. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group.