Research Methods – Clear Definition & Examples

painting of a yong man doing research

To fully understand and grasp a specific subject or topic, a level of In-depth information must be attained. This information gathered is done so with the use of a tool, this tool is called ‘Research.’

Research can be defined as the careful consideration of a study regarding a particular problem or concern using research methods. They involve the systematic collection, organization, and analysis of data to understand a particular issue or subject better. 

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Goals of a Research

The three main goals of a research are;

  • Description

This is the expansion of knowledge on a subject through data collection. It is used to understand the behavior of a sample population.

The main objectives of descriptive research are explaining, describing, and validating findings.

  • Exploration

This is the conduction of research to ‘explore’ a group of questions and inquiries. Explorative research lays the foundation for a further conclusive collection of data because it looks at previously unexplored areas.

  • Explanation

Usually referred to as ‘casual research,’ this is conducted through experimental processes. This is to understand the impact of changes in set procedures.

Characteristics of Research

There are seven important components of the research process that must be adhered to for a comprehensive conclusion, they are;

  • Research is based on logical reasoning and research methods
  • Research leads to more questions
  • It is of an analytical nature
  • To acquire accurate data, a systematic approach must be followed
  • Aim for the highest accuracy of information possible
  • There must be an In-depth analysis of data collected
  • All data collated must be in real-time from actual observations

What Are Research Methods?

Research methods are the tools utilized to accomplish the goals of research or study. There must be a systemic process to fully use these instruments, called methodology, to properly employ its several attributes. There are three methods of research, namely;

1. Qualitative Research Methods

The qualitative research method makes use of conversational methods to collect data and conduct studies. It involves inquiry by asking open-ended questions whose responses are collated non numerically. It aids the researcher in understanding how and why people think a certain way. There are five forms of qualitative research;

  • Focus Groups

This involves gathering 6-10 people, usually experts on the subject, who will be asked specific questions by a moderator to acquire research-related information.

  • Text Analysis

This is where a researcher studying a particular written document tries to draw meaningful inferences from it by decoding words and understanding its context. (What is textual analysis?)

  • One-On-One Interview

This is an inferential method where a researcher asks a participant important questions. It usually lasts between 20 minutes to an hour. (Learn about content analysis)

  • Case Study

It is the study of an entity or organization. It involves diving deep into the collection of data and ongoing research.

  • Ethnographic Research

It is simply the observation of a natural environment and collection of data. The researcher, rather than conducting interviews, observes the daily lives of a certain group of people.

2. Quantitative Research Methods

It makes use of a systematic process to investigate events or data. It is a research method that focuses majorly on measurable forms and numbers.

The quantitative research method is used to predict, control, or explain a phenomenon. Let’s take a look at three forms of quantitative research.

  • Correlational Research

This is the study of the relationship between two or more variables. For example, the rate of STDs among single people compared to married people.

  • Survey Research

This makes use of the survey tool to understand a large population. The findings are then used to tabulate data and make meaningful inferences.

  • Descriptive Research

It is used to understand a phenomenon by describing it, observing, and drawing conclusions.

  • Mixed Research Method

This a holistic process of research where the data collected is combined and analyzed with more in-depth contextual insight. The mixed research method integrates qualitative and quantitative research methods. This process allows for triangulation, which involves verifying data from two or more sources.

To Wrap It Up

The research method you use largely depends on the type of subject you are studying, who you are researching for, and what type of results you need to get. The characteristics of research must always be adhered to produce dependable research results backed by the process.

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