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The High PRICE of Solid Research

Quality data help make confident decisions.

Key points

  • It all starts with loving your topic and the rest flows.
  • Based on the book, Finish Your Dissertation, Don't Let it Finish YOU!
Photo 23899445 / Research © Fantasista | Dreamstime
Source: Photo 23899445 / Research © Fantasista | Dreamstime

Practically anything of decent quality is expensive in terms of money, time, and talent. Strong research study projects, such as dissertations and theses, are no exception. They need to be thoughtfully designed and conducted so their results are valid, reliable, and credible. The use of data to make smart decisions for programming and funding is a growing priority. Strong data make a statement. High levels of Passion, Rigor, Integrity, Creativity, and Energy (PRICE) are the expenses associated with solid research studies. Needless to say, they are interconnected.

All projects should start with passion. In an activity context, passion is participation to fulfill and nurture personal identity (Philippe, Vallerand, Haulfort, Lavigne, & Donahue, 2010). Thus, a research topic must be built upon a sense of passion. There must be a great deal of love, value, and genuine interest about the topic. In terms of a dissertation, there is a large time requirement, which will often conflict with leisure time and other responsibilities. It is much easier to spend the day in the library on a warm and sunny spring Saturday if you have a high level of passion and intrinsic motivation for the topic than if it is someone else's topic.

Next is rigor, which helps to maintain the standards to properly prepare students for the real world (Schnee, 2008). Even the smallest studies need to be the best they can be. Consideration of rigor include a diverse and adequate-sized sample, instruments and materials with evidence of construct validity and reliability, as well as literature reviews that come from scholarly and peer-reviewed sources. Although every study comes across some type of budgetary constraints, rigor should not be compromised because it will threaten the overall study quality and its ability to generate clear and credible results.

Honesty is always the best policy, so integrity should be applied during every step of the research study process. High levels of integrity are evident when each detail of every study step is proudly and easily exposed. Plagiarists always get caught, so proper citation of other authors' work also maintains integrity. Lack of integrity could not only negate the data, but damage relationships with stakeholders. This could be tragic if there is a great deal of passion and rigor invested into the study.

Creativity is another essential piece of the research process because it can ensure students' personal contribution (Kaufman & Beghetto, 2009) through their dissertation or thesis study. Individual and collective creativity will make the study authentic and produce clever and clear results. The creative bulb always seems to go off more easily when there is passion involved, as well as the desire to make it more rigorous.

Finally, energy is important because research projects like dissertations and theses are big endeavors, which require a great deal of energy. In terms of research process, the energy will come from the passion, rigor, integrity, and creativity. Perseverance is the key to energy, especially when faced with inevitable and uncontrollable challenges. Lying on the couch with a remote will not help to complete a dissertation or thesis.

Overall, a strong study will produce the data to clearly answer research questions, and should include passion, rigor, integrity, creativity, and energy. Solid data will not only help with degree attainment, but will help make data-driven decisions as well as enhance intrapersonal and professional development.


Kaufman, J. & Beghetto, R., (2009). Beyond big and little: The Four C Model of Creativity.
Review of General Psychology, 13(1), 1-12.

Philippe, F., Vallerand, R., Halfort, N., Lavigne, G., & Donahue, E., (2010). Passion for an
activity and quality of personal relationships: The mediating role of emotions. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(6), 917-932.

Schnee, E., (2008). "In the real world, no one drops their standards for you": Academic rigor
in a college worker education program. Equality and Excellence in Education, 41(1), 62-80.