The process of creating the research proposal will be evaluated using the Rolfe reflective model, which has three major steps; that is, what, so what and now what. First, one must determine what the problem, difficulty, situation, or achievement is in a project; this is a descriptive reflective level. Thereafter, one must establish what the issue teaches implies or means. In other words, it is necessary to analyze what one has learned from the process on a theoretical level. Step two may entail deducing the attitudes, actions, relationships, and knowledge that apply to the situation. Finally, one ought to focus on action orientation. Here, one should carve out a strategy for improving outcomes in the future.
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Reflection on the Literature review
The Rolfe model in the literature review is as follows:
When carrying out a literature review, I started with the general topic of cloud computing and then narrowed it down to the research topic. I selected references based on their relatedness to the topic. To eliminate unnecessary work, I settled on authors who had a clear research problem. Furthermore, their research theories needed to resonate with approaches in my field of study. I also wanted to use documents that considered both aspects of the debate. Authors who were too convinced that cloud computing was synonymous with security threats or those who downplayed the importance of security threats were discarded. For journal articles, they needed to have logical arguments that could be well understood. They are also related to the research topic.
The main challenge of using such a rigorous approach was getting consistent themes from all the authors. The literature review needed to flow, so it took a lot of time to read through the documents before picking out the common themes. In addition to the above, plenty of information existed about cloud computing, so it was difficult to weed out the irrelevant pieces and stick to the ones that corresponded to the research question. Furthermore, the broad nature of the topic caused me to place disjointed ideas together in one paragraph. Additionally, the documents I selected for the study all supported my research thesis. No articles offered contrary opinions. My documents were merely collected based on the research topic. I did not make a concept map or diagrammatic illustration of what needed to be done.
In the future, it will be useful to have a concept map that would narrow down the research topic appropriately and conveniently. Additionally, this approach will assist in making the literature review coherent and connected. In line with the latter idea, I should probably place one idea in one paragraph. This can be achieved by identifying the overall direction of the literature and then relating it to what different sources are saying about it. I also need to mind the connection between ideas in my literature review by having an overall story, which I should be elaborating on. I could also enrich future literature reviews by adding sources that do not support the research thesis. In my work, I assumed that security threats are a menace in cloud computing; however, other writers believe that security threats created by the platform are too insignificant to neutralize the benefits created by cloud computing. Consequently, I should include divergent views on the topic. In the future, it will also be wise to focus exclusively on relevant literature. Some of the documents in the piece were too descriptive and they merely mentioned aspects of the research. I need to evaluate, criticize, and even compare different writings on the topic to come up with a comprehensive literature review. I should also have a strong thesis statement in my writing that will guide me throughout the literature review. Nonetheless, I need to keep up with the approach I used to analyze the credibility of peer-reviewed journals as well as other pieces of literature on the research topic.
Choosing an appropriate research topic and research question
The three steps of the Rolfe model on the research question is as follows:
I gathered information in the subject area and then set out to establish a research topic. I realized that my topic needed to be relatively narrow. As a result, I had to focus on a geographical area that was reasonable for the time limit of the research. First, I had the general idea of cloud computing. Background research and preliminary reports revealed that lots of researchers are currently working on the subject matter. Some of them are discussing the impact of cloud computing on organizations while others are focusing on architecture and other prerequisites to making cloud computing work for organizations. Others prefer to evaluate the returns of using cloud computing. After examining most research on the topic, it came to my attention that most of the pieces rarely focused on security threats. Furthermore, those that did often mentioned them in passing. However, because the research topic needed to cover a reasonable geographical area, then I had to narrow it down to the US. This was the process by which I came up with the research topic “security threats associated with cloud computing in US firms.”
On the flip side, I spent a lot of time coming up with this research topic. Furthermore, it took too long to narrow it sufficiently, as I had several alternatives to select. Some of the options I had included “Can cloud computing impede organizational functioning?” or “What are the negative consequences of cloud computing?” I did not manipulate keywords to reveal different kinds of information, and this may have undermined the depth of my paper.
The nature of the approach I used was a compromise between a broad topic and a specific one. If I had selected a very narrow topic, then it would have been difficult to find supporting information for my area of interest. On the other hand, if it has been too broad, then chances are that I would not give it the coverage it deserves in a small research project. I may not have paid attention to the way I phrased my research question, but I now realize that using words such as how, why, what, and when can determine the outcome of one’s research. Many theorists believe that research questions starting with why and how are often broad and yield substantial research material than those that start with when, where, what and who. However, ‘what’ can either yield a broad research area or a narrow one depending on how one phrases the question. If the answer will lead to the identification of only one entity, then the researcher should use another word. Conversely, the research question ought to be phrased in a manner that would not provide a simple answer, and this is what I tried to do when choosing my research topic.
In the future, it will be useful to have a concept map that will assist me in making the research topic narrow. Just like the literature review, the concept map will assist in the generation of ideas for the research topic as well as the connection of the various research ideas together. It will also be useful to work hand in hand with members of staff in the school library as well as my classmates as they may have good ideas on how to phrase my research questions appropriately. I should also work with keywords and utilize Google function more efficiently as this will assist in saving time. For instance, paraphrasing keywords will assist in getting new research materials and establishing gaps in current literature. The dictionary would be a good place to start when paraphrasing these words. While security threats in cloud computing may be an interesting topic, I feel that more engaging topics exist in the field. In the future, it will be wise to come up with research topics that interest me. This will probably keep me motivated to complete the assignment. It will also help if I develop a tolerance for uncertainty at the preliminary stage of the research. Instead of looking for answers at the onset, it will be helpful to keep an open mind and embrace changes as I move along. A good idea would be to ask me what kind of information I need and then use this as a guide to developing the research question.
It will also be crucial to consider the wording of my research topic. Words like ‘what’ tend to yield overly descriptive work. I should consider the wording of my research topic in a manner that forms relationships between certain phenomena or variables. Productive researches often encompass balanced perspectives after reading a lot of material in related items. It will be necessary to obtain sufficient information before the development of any topic phrases in the future.
Identifying an appropriate scientific methodology
The Rolfe reflective model for scientific methodology is as follows:
The scientific methodologies I could select were either qualitative or quantitative research. I considered the fact that quantitative research yields numerical data and vice versa for qualitative research. The latter focuses on verbal, interpretive, and diagnostic work. My research question required a detailed description of security threats, so it was imperative to adopt such an approach. I could not select experimental methods because of ethical considerations and logistical challenges. I also eliminated observational research because this was not a precursor to another experiment that related to the same. Therefore, I had to contend with opinion-based research as it was the only avenue that was feasible for my research. The major problem was I did not clearly define which scientific approach I was using in the proposal.
My focus on the research collection methods prevented me from talking about the research design in-depth and clarifying the point of view that I was assuming in the research. Additionally, I was too descriptive in the analysis, and this neutralized the analytical nature of my scientific viewpoint. Most of the sections in the paper did not talk about the flaws in the research design, so this made the paper appear as though it did not have a balanced perspective.
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In the future, it will be essential to identify the research paradigm and the scientific backing for my choices. Besides this, I need to be less descriptive in the section and talk about the scientific concepts of falsifiability or generalization.
Data collection techniques
The Rolfe reflective model for data collection is as follows:
When selecting the data collection techniques, I had a choice of several research methods. To come up with the most appropriate responses, I stuck to the ones that were compatible with my research question. It was also essential for me to consider methods that had relatively few shortcomings. My first choice was the survey, which is suitable for my research method as it was partly quantitative. However, it required a lot of logistical input and could not determine the complex security issues that some organizations encounter when using cloud computing. Observational methods were also a possible alternative as they entail getting the first-hand experience of the phenomenon. However, I abandoned the idea because it is not possible to observe the phenomenon of security threats in person. I could have used literature reviews as a method of data collection as it entails a broad array of perspectives. On the other hand, it would not have yielded original material. I was, therefore, left with the interviews as my last alternative. I found out that it would provide me with rich and insightful information. Furthermore, it could be applied to relatively small sample size. The shortfalls that were associated with interviews could be easily overcome using rigorous data analysis techniques and accurate data sampling.
The approach used for the analysis was probably an appropriate one in the selection of the data collection methods. However, I did not mention the reason why all the research methods were not included. Aspects of budget, time, and disciplinary issues were not covered. Furthermore, I did not give an in-depth explanation of how these data collection techniques applied to the research. I should also have chosen the most predominant form of data collection in the discipline. It would make sense to mirror this approach as previous researchers have tangible explanations for selecting such methods.
In the future, it will be necessary to focus on how each data collection technique applies to the research topic. The data collection section should not be overly descriptive, yet mine was. I need to ensure that my choices also relate to the preferred method of data collection in the discipline of cloud computing.
The Rolfe reflective model for data analysis is as follows:
In this section, I selected the method of coding as it corresponded to the interview techniques that I was going to use. I centered largely on the focus groups. However, no mention was made about the quantitative data that would be collected using structured interviews. This was a serious flaw in my research proposal. Additionally, I did not dwell on how the method of coding would be directly applied to my research question. There was no mention of some sample questions or any other approach that would lead to the development of a thorough research design. Furthermore, I did not follow a rigorous procedure for selecting my data analysis techniques. No mention was made of the nature of statistical software I would use, even if it was excel.
Likely, I did not talk about the quantitative aspect of data analysis because I did not go back to the research question as well as the data collection techniques. I may have been overwhelmed by the analytical techniques and rigorous methods used in coding data and this may have caused me to downplay the usefulness of statistical methods in the quantitative section. I was limited by the lack of specific data that would have determined the overall direction of the research. I may have ignored aspects of statistical analysis because I assumed that excel would be sufficient to do everything. However, even if this is true, for my case, I should have given some samples of the approach I would use in the study.
In the future, it will be insightful to always focus on the research question as well as the selected data analysis techniques. One must take the time to elaborate on how the data obtained through all methods will be analyzed. In the future, it would also be more insightful to create some sample data that would give me a rough idea about the nature of data that applies to my analysis. It would probably be effective to look at researches that used my kind of approach to get a typical sample. I should also differentiate between categorical, interval, or ordinal data as each would require a different analytical technique. Therefore, the research proposal should contain a sample of the structured interviews as this would give a tangible direction on how to analyze the data. It would be quite useful to be open to the possibility of analytical limitations in excel. Further, these techniques all relate to the nature of data as well as the design to be used in the research.
Overall, the research proposal was an amalgamation of all the research conducted throughout the course. Because of competing interests between my research area and the recommended approaches to research proposal writing, I had to leave out certain parts. These choices may have compromised the quality of my research proposal because I misfired in critical aspects of the paper. For instance, my literature review and research questions were not as comprehensive as they ought to be because I did not do concept-mapping or proper keyword-searching. Additionally, my methodology and data collection sections were too descriptive because I did not stick to my research question. Those sections contained general information rather than specific descriptions of how the research design applies to my topic. Furthermore, the data collection section had no mention of the quantitative aspect of the research. This also stemmed from the lack of a systematic examination of my research objectives.
In the future, I will benefit greatly from having a strong research thesis that will guide me throughout the research. It will also be necessary to make my literature review coherent and thematic. Furthermore, I should work on balancing perspectives in the literature review. It will be imperative to consider the wording of the research topic and the paraphrasing of keywords. I would write better researches if I use a research paradigm and talk about scientific concepts like a generalization. I should also refrain from being too descriptive in different sections of the research proposal, especially the data collection and data analysis sections.