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Research Onion to Investigate Like a Pro & Write Flawless Methodology!

28 Sep, 2021 119

It's been one month since I am researching, still don’t know what and how to write!! I am frustrated!! Save me."

You can notice several students face similar issues when it comes to research. They can’t understand how to do it for an assignment. If they think of avoiding it, they can’t produce a perfect paper. If you have an assignment and are worried due to the same problem, your issue can end here. Then Research Onion model by Saunders will resolve all your research-related problems. If you want to know about the model in detail, let’s move ahead


What Is a Research Onion? A Brief Overview!

Research Onion is a model developed by Saunders. He gave this model in 2007 for business students. The model describes the stages through which every researcher must pass. The layers of the Research Onion help you to produce a perfect methodology.

When you write an assignment or any academic paper, you have to write a research methodology section. It should be impeccable so that the reader can understand the methods and acknowledge your research is authenticated or not. To write such type of methodology, you have to provide explanations and justifications. The model by Saunders helps in both.

Have a look at the below image to clear the meaning of the Research Onion properly.

Saunders Research Onion Model

As you can see in the above picture, the model is like the layers of an Onion. When you peel off one layer, then you see another layer, and so on. In the same way, research takes place. As you move ahead and research deeply, you unfold various layers and get to the core (information).

So, you must have understood what is the Research Onion and how it works. The next section is about the layers of the model. Until you know them, you can’t research effectively. Scroll down to understand the meaning of the layers.

You may also like to read: How to Write a Research Proposal? | Get Approval At First Place


What Are the Layers of Saunders Research Onion?

  1. Philosophies: It refers to the stance from which research initiates. You have to use two terms when you are at the first layer. The terms are Ontology and Epistemology. Ontology informs about the authenticity and reliability of the information. Epistemology defines how valid is the information, and how to collect it. You have to also check three things:realism, pragmatism, and positivism, before going for any source.

  2. Approaches: The above layer makes you aware of the correct research ideas. Now you have to focus on two types of approaches-deductive and inductive. To follow the deductive approach,you have to do hypothesis development. It is based on a literature review. The deductive approach starts with a hypothesis, while the inductive approach starts with observation. Both are crucial for perfect research.

  3. Strategies: This layer of Research Onion suggests which methods you should use for research. It can be experimental, interviews, surveys, case studies, systematic literature reviews, and others. You can decide on strategies once you find out what you need to include in the assignment.

  4. Choices: It includes three methods-mono, mixed, and multi. You can notice by the names of these methods that mono is for one method of study, mixed-method refers to two or more methods for research, [Commonly includes qualitative and quantitative methods]. In multi-method, you have more scope to select the various research methods.

  5. Time Horizon: As the name implies, it suggests the time frame of the research. It includes two time horizons namelyspan>Cross-sectional and longitudinal. When your observations are for a single point of time, then follow the cross-sectional horizon; most of the surveys come under this type of research. Whereas longitudinal horizon indicates a long time, like for months, years, and decades.

  6. Techniques: Data collection and data analysis come under this layer of Research Onion. It is the final layer of Saunders's research model. At this stage, you have to decide on which data is exactly suitable for your assignment. You have to choose between primary and secondary data. And not only this, you have to decide on qualitative and quantitative research methods at this layer. This is how you can find the information from huge data; it is called core information.

You must have understood the layers of the Research Onion. Now you must not have any doubt. There are some things on which you should focus for proper use of the model. Let’s read about them below.


How to Use Research Onion for Effective Research?

  • Understand the Topic Effectively: You have to understand the topic effectively. It is the base of your entire paper, if it is not correctly understood, you can’t research properly.

  • Follow Only Authentic Sources: You can notice while reading the research model layers also, that reliable sources are a must. So, this point is about making use of only authenticated sources. You can check out some assignment examples and know what sources the writers used.

  • Discuss with the Professor for Research: You can’t go for any type of research without a discussion with the professor. First, read the guidelines, then reach out to the professor for discussion. Once you are sure about everything, then move ahead for further tasks.

  • Analyze All the Research Onion Layers: Now comes the analysis of the layers of the model. If you follow the above three points before using the Saunders model, you can apply it effectively. Read every layer and try to understand them.

  • Write Short Notes for Layers Initially: Every layer consists of a lot of information. It is not possible to remember everything. Here is a solution for it. You can analyze and find some crucial points and then make their short notes. This is how you will not have to read the lengthy information again, and you can research quickly.

This is how you can use the Research Onion and write a perfect methodology. When you don’t know about this model, you make several mistakes while researching. Let’s know about these mistakes in the next section.

Students also like to read: A Detailed Study for Better Understanding of Research Paper


5 Mistakes You Should Avoid While Researching!

  1. Instantly Picking Information: Without proper analysis, you should not pick any information. If you write the data in your paper as soon as you see it, then it can prove wrong or useless as well. So, give few minutes to analyze whether the information is useful or not.

  2. Making Too Many Assumptions: When you research, you have to assume several things. It is an effective skill of a writer. But often, you start taking help of this skill excessively. And here you make mistake. Don’t ever assume things too much.

  3. Using Old Research Data: Old data, facts, statistics, and figures everything should be latest. Otherwise, your information will not make any sense to the reader. Often, students make such a mistake. But, Research Onion will save you from making this mistake also.

  4. No Acknowledgement of Limitations: When you research, you don’t get all the data easily. You have to face several issues. These are limitations ofspan>research. By avoiding them in the paper, you can make a big mistake.

  5. Collecting No Evidence for the Idea: You need excellent ideas for writing effective methodologies in the paper. And for the strong ideas, you will have to provide evidence as well. But often, you don’t collect the evidence while researching and leave it for later. But this creates chaos, so collect the evidence for the idea at the same time while researching.

These mistakes stop the students from writing proper methodologies in the paper. You can use Research Onion to avoid these mistakes. If you still can’t research effectively or don’t have time, you can seek professional help from the best assignment writing service. Know about this type of service below.


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Research is the foundation of any academic paper. If the foundation is not strong, the paper can’t be impressive. The Research Onion model by Saunders will help you to research and write methodologies effectively. If you still face issues, then Assignment Desk is here to help you out in any hurdle of writing.

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