Research methods are broadly classified as Qualitative and Quantitative.
Both methods have distinctive properties and data collection methods.
Qualitative research is a method that collects data using conversational methods. Participants are asked open-ended questions. The responses collected are essentially non-numerical. This method not only helps a researcher understand what participants think but also why they think in a particular way.
Types of qualitative methods include:
- One-to-one Interview: This interview is conducted with one participant at a given point in time. One-to-one interviews need a researcher to prepare questions in advance. The researcher asks only the most important questions to the participant. This type of interview lasts anywhere between 20 minutes to half an hour. During this time the researcher collects as many meaningful answers as possible from the participants to draw inferences.
- Focus Groups: Focus groups are small groups comprising of around 6-10 participants who are usually experts in the subject matter. A moderator is assigned to a focus group who facilitates the discussion amongst the group members. A moderator’s experience in conducting the focus group plays an important role. An experienced moderator can probe the participants by asking the correct questions that will help them collect a sizable amount of information related to the research.
- Ethnographic Research: Ethnographic research is an in-depth form of research where people are observed in their natural environment without This method is demanding due to the necessity of a researcher entering the natural environment of other people. Geographic locations can be a constraint as well. Instead of conducting interviews, a researcher experiences the normal setting and daily life of a group of people.
- Text Analysis: Text analysis is a little different from other qualitative methods as it is used to analyze social constructs by decoding words through any available form of documentation. The researcher studies and understands the context in which the documents are written and then tries to draw meaningful inferences from it. Researchers today follow activities on a social media platform to try and understand patterns of thoughts.
- Case Study: Case study research is used to study an organization or an entity. This method is one of the most valuable options for modern This type of research is used in fields like the education sector, philosophical studies, and psychological studies. This method involves a deep dive into ongoing research and collecting data.
Quantitative Research Methods
Quantitative methods deal with numbers and measurable forms. It uses a systematic way of investigating events or data. It is used to answer questions in terms of justifying relationships with measurable variables to either explain, predict, or control a phenomenon.
There are three methods that are often used by researchers:
- Survey Research — The ultimate goal of survey research is to learn about a large population by deploying a survey. Today, online surveys are popular as they are convenient and can be sent in an email or made available on the internet. In this method, a researcher designs a survey with the most relevant survey questions and distributes the survey. Once the researcher receives responses, they summarize them to tabulate meaningful findings and data.
- Descriptive Research — Descriptive research is a method that identifies the characteristics of an observed phenomenon and collects more information. This method is designed to depict the participants in a very systematic and accurate manner. In simple words, descriptive research is all about describing the phenomenon, observing it, and drawing conclusions from it.
- Correlational Research— Correlational research examines the relationship between two or more variables. Consider a researcher is studying a correlation between cancer and married Married women have a negative correlation with cancer. In this example, there are two variables: cancer and married women. When we say negative correlation, it means women who are married are less likely to develop cancer. However, it doesn’t mean that marriage directly avoids cancer.