Creswell (2009, 2013) notes that the introduction “is the most important part of a research report” (p. 129). It introduces the reader to the phenomenon, outlines the purpose of the study, and indentifies clearly research questions and direction (Creswell, 2013). While the research problem statement creates the rationale and highlights “the need for the study,” it is framed throughout the components of the first paragraphs (Creswell, 2009; Creswell, 2013). These include a narrative hook to enticing the reader, a brief discussion of the problem, a brief summary of evidence from scholarly literature, deficiencies, and benefiting/interested audiences. Furthermore, the purpose statement “provides the major objective, intent, or ‘road map,’ to the study” (Creswell, 2013, p. 134). It consists of indicators pointing at the qualitative approach to be used, the actions of the researcher, the study’s intended focus, and the central phenomenon under investigation (Creswell, 2013). To further narrow the focus of the study, research questions are framed to guide research. Typically, these should include one central question and several sub questions (Creswell, 2013). According to Creswell (2013) these should be “open-ended, evolving, and non-directional…starting with a word such as what or how rather than why to explore the phenomenon” (p. 139).
The research problem I am intending to explore for my final project relates to the topic area I was investigating for the quantitative proposal. However, it will approach the problem from a different angle. Rather than attempting to understand the effect agency initiatives aimed at public inclusion and transparency (i.e. the creation of invited spaces) have on public participation, the proposal will seek to understand what motivates individuals to participate in these non-traditional forums.
A 2005 study conducted by the American Political Science Association and the Brookings Institution has indicated that all is not well with the American democratic process (Dalton, 2006). According to its findings “there is a growing sentiment among contemporary political scientists and political analysts that the foundations of citizenship and democracy in America are crumbling…[fostering] an erosion of the activities and capacities of citizenship” (Dalton, 2006, p. 1). Some authors, such as Taylor (2005), Shier (2008, 2012), Cornwall (2002, 2004), and Savić (2012),...