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What are Research Methods?

❶These studies may be qualitative or quantitative, and can use a variety of approaches, such as queer theory or feminist theory. The Social Psychology Network provides a comprehensive list of U.

Experimental Research Methods

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The researcher is accepting or refuting the null hypothesis. The results generated are analyzable and are used to test hypotheses , with statistics giving a clear and unambiguous picture. This research method is one of the most difficult, requiring rigorous design and a great deal of expense, especially for larger experiments. The other problem, where real life organisms are used, is that taking something out of its natural environment can seriously affect its behavior. It is also the biggest drain on time and resources, and is often impossible to perform for some fields, because of ethical considerations.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was a prime example of experimental research that was fixated on results, and failed to take into account moral considerations. In other fields of study, which do not always have the luxury of definable and quantifiable variables - you need to use different research methods.

These should attempt to fit all of the definitions of repeatability or falsifiability , although this is not always feasible. Opinion based research methods generally involve designing an experiment and collecting quantitative data. For this type of research, the measurements are usually arbitrary, following the ordinal or interval type. Questionnaires are an effective way of quantifying data from a sample group, and testing emotions or preferences.

This method is very cheap and easy, where budget is a problem, and gives an element of scale to opinion and emotion. These figures are arbitrary, but at least give a directional method of measuring intensity. By definition, this experiment method must be used where emotions or behaviors are measured, as there is no other way of defining the variables. Whilst not as robust as experimental research , the methods can be replicated and the results falsified. Observational research is a group of different research methods where researchers try to observe a phenomenon without interfering too much.

Observational research methods, such as the case study , are probably the furthest removed from the established scientific method. Observational research tends to use nominal or ordinal scales of measurement. Observational research often has no clearly defined research problem , and questions may arise during the course of the study.

Observation is heavily used in social sciences, behavioral studies and anthropology, as a way of studying a group without affecting their behavior. The use of literature and case studies is considered and the merits of primary research are debated and advice is given on the use of existing research data.

You may not be fond of statistics, but the potential relevance of a quantitative approach should be considered and similarly, the idea of qualitative analysis and conducting your own research may yield valuable data. The possibilities of using quantitative and qualitative data are also discussed. Watch video on approaching methodologies.

What approach should I take - qualitative or quantitative? This video clip contains comments from the following academics:. Your approach, research design, and research question are all connected. Dissertations can be based on either quantitative or qualitative data, or on a combination of both. How you choose this may depend on your preferences and abilities, and the suitability of particular approaches to your topic. You need to be able to justify why you have chosen to use such data.

Quantitative data is particularly useful when you wish to discover how common particular forms of behaviour such as illegal drug use are for a particular age group. Qualitative data is particularly useful when you wish to find out why people engage in such behaviour.

Think about the Research Methods modules you have taken so far. Think about the different kinds of studies you have read for other modules. There is plenty of scope to use the approaches and methods that you are most comfortable with. You need to justify your approach and methods and to cite appropriate literature to help you do this.

You will probably want to use large datasets and undertake quantitative data analysis, and you will be adopting a realist approach to the topic studied. Quantitative dissertations are likely to be nearer to the lower end of the range of approved lengths for the dissertation e. They will also include tables and figures giving your important findings. Remember that all tables must be carefully titled and labelled and that sources of your data must be acknowledged.

You will probably want to use in-depth qualitative data, and you may wish to adopt a realist, a phenomenologist, or a constructionist approach to the topic. Qualitative dissertations will include descriptive material, usually extracts from interviews, conversations, documents or field notes, and are therefore likely to be nearer to the upper limit of your word range e.

The types of method suitable for a dissertation could include content analysis, a small scale ethnographic study, small scale in-depth qualitative interviewing. There are many ways in which qualitative and quantitative data and analysis can be combined. Here are two examples. Your supervisor or research methods tutor may be able to give you detailed examples of these or other ways to combine methods.

If you decide to do a primarily theoretical dissertation, it is almost certain that your dissertation will be entirely literature-based. This is likely to be the methodology of theoretical analysis: You might ask how useful certain concepts or theories are for understanding particular patterns of behaviour. How useful is the concept of institutional racism? Is objectivity in the media possible?

How useful is subcultural theory for understanding virtual communities? Here, the focus of attention is not so much to discover something about the social world, for example virtual communities, as to reach a judgement about the value of key concepts or theories in understanding that world. How the study is approached and how contrasting approaches are drawn upon needs to be stated very clearly. A library-based or theoretical study is not necessarily 'easier' than an empirical study, indeed, it may well be harder.

Remember that theoretical studies, like data-based studies, need to have their research design spelled out from the start. But even if your dissertation is more empirically focused, it could still be entirely literature-based. You might choose to conduct a review of a field of work.

What does the research literature in this field tell us about x? While all dissertations will include a literature review, it is possible to produce a dissertation that is entirely based on a review of the literature. If you do this, it is important to review the literature from an explicit angle and identify some themes to make the review distinctive. You might, for example, explore empirical debates in your chosen field across different countries or time periods.

Whilst it is possible for dissertations to be entirely literature-based, the most common form of dissertation takes the form of a case study. Here the focus of attention is on a particular community, organisation or set of documents.

The attraction of this kind of dissertation is that it stems from empirical curiosity but is at the same time practical. You may be interested in a wider question but a case study enables you to focus on a specific example. A major challenge in case study dissertations is connecting your own primary research or re-analysis with the broader theoretical themes and empirical concerns of the existing literature.

Most dissertations demand either primary or secondary research. In other words, you usually have to analyse data that you have either collected yourself or data that is already available.

The reason for this is that the questions dissertations usually address take the following form: Why is x happening? Why is x changing? These questions demand primary or secondary analysis of data. Case Study 9 Think hard before you decide to undertake empirical research: Secondary analysis is when you analyse data which was collected by another researcher. It allows the researcher to explore areas of interest without having to go through the process of collecting data themselves in the field.

The problem with using fieldwork methods in an undergraduate dissertation, however, is that they are costly in terms of time which is relatively scarce in your final year! You may choose, therefore, to undertake secondary research, analysing existing data. There are a range of documents that already contain research data that you can analyse.

You may, for example, be interested in exploring whether gender stereotypes in the media are changing. This might entail content analysis of newspapers, magazines, video or other media over different time periods.

Here you would not be collecting your own data but instead would be analysing existing documents. Download Case Study 6 Media research. If you are interested, for example, in doing historical research, you may need to visit archives. Government reports and autobiographies may also be used as data. Other documents include official statistics, datasets statistical data , and banks of interview transcripts which are all freely available to the academic community.

Increasingly, documents, databases and archives are readily accessible online. Research Methods tutors on your course will be able to advise on the availability and accessibility of such data sets. There are some advantages of doing secondary analysis, particularly if you are doing a quantitative study. You will be able to work with much larger datasets than you could have collected yourself.

This has the following advantages:. Quantitative data may also result from non-participant observations or other measurements e. Also, sometimes data that are collected through qualitative processes participant observation, interviews are coded and quantified.

If the research question is about people, participants may be randomly assigned to different treatments this is the only way that a quantitative study can be considered a true experiment. If the intent is to generalize from the research participants to a larger population, the researcher will employ probability sampling to select participants. In either qualitative or quantitative research, the researcher s may collect primary or secondary data.

Primary data is data collected specifically for the research, such as through interviews or questionnaires. Secondary data is data that already exists, such as census data, which can be re-used for the research. It is good ethical research practice to use secondary data wherever possible. For example, a researcher may choose to conduct a qualitative study and follow it up with a quantitative study to gain additional insights.

Big data has brought big impacts on research methods so that now many researchers do not put much effort into data collection; furthermore, methods to analyze easily available huge amounts of data have also been developed.

Non-empirical theoretical research is an approach that involves the development of theory as opposed to using observation and experimentation.

As such, non-empirical research seeks solutions to problems using existing knowledge as its source. This, however, does not mean that new ideas and innovations cannot be found within the pool of existing and established knowledge. Non-empirical research is not an absolute alternative to empirical research because they may be used together to strengthen a research approach.

Neither one is less effective than the other since they have their particular purpose in science. Typically empirical research produces observations that need to be explained; then theoretical research tries to explain them, and in so doing generates empirically testable hypotheses; these hypotheses are then tested empirically, giving more observations that may need further explanation; and so on. A simple example of a non-empirical task is the prototyping of a new drug using a differentiated application of existing knowledge; another is the development of a business process in the form of a flow chart and texts where all the ingredients are from established knowledge.

Much of cosmological research is theoretical in nature. Mathematics research does not rely on externally available data; rather, it seeks to prove theorems about mathematical objects. Research ethics involves the application of fundamental ethical principles to a variety of topics involving research, including scientific research. These principles include deontology , consequentialism , virtue ethics and value ethics. Ethical issues may arise in the design and implementation of research involving human experimentation or animal experimentation , such as: Research ethics is most developed as a concept in medical research.

The key agreement here is the Declaration of Helsinki. The Nuremberg Code is a former agreement, but with many still important notes.

Research in the social sciences presents a different set of issues than those in medical research [44] and can involve issues of researcher and participant safety, empowerment and access to justice. When research involves human subjects, obtaining informed consent from them is essential. In many disciplines, Western methods of conducting research are predominant.

The increasing participation of indigenous peoples as researchers has brought increased attention to the lacuna in culturally-sensitive methods of data collection. Non-Western methods of data collection may not be the most accurate or relevant for research on non-Western societies.

Periphery scholars face the challenges of exclusion and linguicism in research and academic publication. As the great majority of mainstream academic journals are written in English, multilingual periphery scholars often must translate their work to be accepted to elite Western-dominated journals.

Peer review is a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility. In academia, scholarly peer review is often used to determine an academic paper's suitability for publication. Usually, the peer review process involves experts in the same field who are consulted by editors to give a review of the scholarly works produced by a colleague of theirs from an unbiased and impartial point of view, and this is usually done free of charge.

The tradition of peer reviews being done for free has however brought many pitfalls which are also indicative of why most peer reviewers decline many invitations to review. The open access movement assumes that all information generally deemed useful should be free and belongs to a "public domain", that of "humanity". For instance, most indigenous communities consider that access to certain information proper to the group should be determined by relationships.

There is alleged to be a double standard in the Western knowledge system. On the one hand, "digital right management" used to restrict access to personal information on social networking platforms is celebrated as a protection of privacy, while simultaneously when similar functions are utilised by cultural groups i. Even though Western dominance seems to be prominent in research, some scholars, such as Simon Marginson, argue for "the need [for] a plural university world".

This could be due to changes in funding for research both in the East and the West. Focussed on emphasizing educational achievement, East Asian cultures, mainly in China and South Korea, have encouraged the increase of funding for research expansion.

In several national and private academic systems, the professionalisation of research has resulted in formal job titles. In present-day Russia, the former Soviet Union and in some post-Soviet states the term researcher Russian: The term is also sometimes translated as research fellow , research associate , etc.

Academic publishing is a system that is necessary for academic scholars to peer review the work and make it available for a wider audience. The system varies widely by field and is also always changing, if often slowly. Most academic work is published in journal article or book form. There is also a large body of research that exists in either a thesis or dissertation form. These forms of research can be found in databases explicitly for theses and dissertations.

In publishing, STM publishing is an abbreviation for academic publications in science, technology, and medicine. Most established academic fields have their own scientific journals and other outlets for publication, though many academic journals are somewhat interdisciplinary, and publish work from several distinct fields or subfields.

The kinds of publications that are accepted as contributions of knowledge or research vary greatly between fields, from the print to the electronic format. A study suggests that researchers should not give great consideration to findings that are not replicated frequently. Since about the early s, licensing of electronic resources, particularly journals, has been very common.

Presently, a major trend, particularly with respect to scholarly journals, is open access. Most funding for scientific research comes from three major sources: These are managed primarily through universities and in some cases through military contractors. Many senior researchers such as group leaders spend a significant amount of their time applying for grants for research funds. These grants are necessary not only for researchers to carry out their research but also as a source of merit.

The Social Psychology Network provides a comprehensive list of U. Government and private foundation funding sources. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the search for knowledge.

For other uses, see Research disambiguation. For other uses, see Researcher disambiguation. For Wikipedia's policy against directly including in articles the results of editor-conducted research, see Wikipedia: Original research redirects here.

For the Wikipedia policy, see Wikipedia: This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.

What is Research Methodology?

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Observational research methods, such as the case study, are probably the furthest removed from the established scientific method. This type is looked down upon, by many scientists, as ‘ quasi-experimental ’ research, although this is usually an unfair criticism.

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Types of research methods can be broadly divided into two quantitative and qualitative categories. Quantitative research “describes, infers, and resolves problems using numbers. Emphasis is placed on the collection of numerical data, the summary of those data and the drawing of .

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Before beginning any research project, you must decide which methodology to use. This will guide your study, help you to choose a way to collect data and aid in your analysis. Researchers use three primary methodology types: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. Your research methods tutor can give you further information on these types of data, but here are some common quantitative data collection methods and their definitions: Self-completion questionnaires.

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Research can be classified in many different ways on the basis of the methodology of research, the knowledge it creates, the user group, the research problem it investigates etc. This research is conducted largely for the enhancement of knowledge, and is research which does not have immediate. Types of Research Methods Evidence of effectiveness Research Method This is This works best for these kinds of questions This doesn’t work well for these kinds of questions Additional Things to Note Synthesis of results from Meta-analysis determine the average.