Choice of method - II
However, we can give some general advice:
- imposed structure is appropriate when the nature of the research problem is well understood
- emergent structure is appropriate when the field of interest is not well understood, and when, consequently, exploratory research is necessary to gain an understanding
The question of what we know already is really the main guide, since we can only impose structure when the field is well understood, or when we wish to test a well-developed theoretical framework. Consequently, allowing the structure to emerge through the process of analysis is desirable when the research is exploratory and aimed at theory development.