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By Johann Mouton, H. C. Marais

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Seen from this point of view, it is clearly the sociological dimension that is highlighted. What one would emphasize is, therefore, the existing diversity of meta-theoretical values, methodological models, theoretical frames of reference, and so on. On the other hand, however, one may focus on the individual researcher within the context of a specific research project. Here it is primarily the research process as a rational decision-making process, the determinants of research decisions, and the typical steps which occur within the decision-making process that are emphasized.

The table, therefore, includes only the most significant refinements. Empty cells indicate that a particular refinement would not have been enlightening.

Rational decision making, therefore, means that the researcher will frequently have to make concessions. For practical and other reasons it is usually impossible for researchers to control for 31 all the factors which may pose a threat to the validity of their findings. It is, nonetheless, possible, by paying attention to nuisance variables in a critical and systematic manner, to ensure that the ultimate research findings are likely to be more valid. This is the primary aim of research design. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF RESEARCH DESIGN?

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