As a student, it is important to gain knowledge about research methods. This will help you collect, study, and interpret any data gathered during research. There are several types of research methods. They depend on the nature and purpose of the study.
When writing any research paper, you need to explain the research. It is important to know how to report the observations effectively. Research methods are classified into two broad categories.
- Qualitative research methods
- Quantitative research methods
Qualitative research helps in identifying the components that build up a complex matrix. Quantitative research describes a problem using numbers. It put emphasis on data accumulation and report.
Research methods based on the purpose of the study
This type of research method is divided into two categories. Fundamental and applied research. The two types of research methods adopt a systematic and scientific method to complete a certain study.
The applied method of research accumulates the basis of a theory and gets rid of it. In this method, generalization is mostly applied and a forecast mind may be implemented.
The fundamental research method which is also referred to as pure research is different. It tries to bring a solution to a certain problem by coming up with application fields.
Fundamental research features diverse disciplines to help solve certain problems. This research method is more specific. It handles single problems without generalizing.
Research methods based on the nature of the study
This classification has two groups. Analytical and descriptive research. Analytical research is where a researcher utilizes information and facts that are already available.
They do so to evaluate a topic/ subject they are researching. Descriptive research refers to surveys and studies that help to identify the facts.
Research methods based on research design
This classification has two categories conclusive and exploratory research. Conclusive research aims at providing complete answers to certain research.
It applies a formal method that needs to be followed and tested. The findings of conclusive research have a theoretical significance.
On the other hand, exploratory research has a goal of researching a subject without coming up with conclusive answers. It uses simple methodology that does not require testing of the hypothesis.
The research outcome is specific and might not be relevant outside the field of the research conducted. An example of such research is; biology research topics in college.
Qualitative research methods
- One on one interview
Interviews include asking respondents questions face to face or using phones to acquire data needed for research. The researcher can decide to be formal or informal depending on the interviewees. The researcher should consider using a method that is convenient to the interviewee so as to get first hand data.
Questionnaires help in collecting data where research requires gathering information from a large group of people. It also applies where people cannot avail themselves for interviews and experiments.
Participants fills questionnaire based on how they feel about a given subject. They should do so without fear of anything.
Questionnaires can contain; open ended questions, closed questions, attitude scales and multiple-choice questions. Questionnaires can be posted on the internet, sent to email, delivered to respondents physically etc.
This involves taking various tests to measure the abilities of people taking part in the research. Abilities measured include; concentration, word recall, attention, ability to reason among others. This may happen to different groups in which results are compared.
Experiments do not aim at judging people but to look at how their performance is related to other factors.
Studies may involve social activities and a training program. People are tested how they will react to certain changes such as different background noise, lighting, routine care among others. In some cases, the participants may be asked to fill in questionnaires on how they would react to different environments.
- Case studies
Case studies involve studying certain cases using interviews, observations, consultations and public records. Case studies focus on a very narrow study that results in descriptive research. This method can be used to challenge theories that exist and other domain practices.
Observations involve recording the behaviour of your target group for research. Observations can be divided into two; participant and non-participant observations.
In participant observation, the researcher is part of the people being observed. It includes getting into a certain group and gaining their trust such that they do not change their behaviour because of your presence.
In non-participant observation, the research observes the behaviour of the target group without being part of them. The observation can take place in different ways. It could be at a particular time or continuously.
To sum up
Before conducting any research, it is important to study various methods of research. This will help you in conducting your research effectively.
Research methods are generally classified into qualitative and quantitative research methods. Under each classification, several methods have been discussed in this article.
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