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Research Methods Online: Selecting the Approach to Use

This guide introduces you to SAGE Research Methods Online, a database which supports your research activities, from selecting your research methods to designing your research, and much more.

Selecting the approach to use

                                                                                              

USE THIS APPROACH IF:

QUANTITATIVE

QUALITATIVE

You believe that:

There is an objective reality

that can be measured

There are multiple possible

realities constructed by

different individuals

Your audience is:

Familiar with/supportive of

quantitative studies

Familiar with/supportive

qualitative studies

Your research question is:

Confirmatory, predictive

Exploratory, interpretive

The available literature is:

Relatively large

Limited

Your research focus:

Covers a lot of breadth 

Involves in-depth study

Your time available is:

Relatively short 

Relatively long

Your ability/desire to work

with people is:

Medium to low 

High

Your desire for structure is:

High

Low

You have skills in the area(s) of:

Deductive reasoning and

statistics

Inductive reasoning and

attention to detail

Your writing skills are strong

in the area of:

Technical, scientific writing

Literary, narrative writing

Quantitative vs Qualitative Method : Key Epistemic Criteria

 

 

Quantitative research

 

Qualitative research

Criterion

Meaning and procedure

Criterion

Meaning and procedure

Reliability

Same findings upon replication?

Test-retest & interrater reliability

Dependability;

trustworthiness;

consistency

Similar context yields similar findings? Inquiry audit

Internal validity

Measured what intention was?

Experimental control; statistical triangulation

Credibility

Compatibility between respondents’ and reported perceptions? Prolonged engagement; member checks; quality record; narrative triangulation

External validity

Generalisability to population?

Random sampling

Transferability

Applicable to other cases and contexts? Purposive sampling; detailed descriptions of process

‘Objectivity’

Reflecting own views?

Control over subjective factors

Confirmability

Findings not function of biases of researcher? Audit trail; trust & rapport with subject; intersubjectivity

Replicability

Can next researcher replicate the study? Peer reviewed publication

Replicability

Clear description of procedures? Appropriate peer-reviewed publication

Source: Golafshani, 2003

Summary of Different Research Methodologies

                                                     

STRATEGY

FORM OF RESEARCH QUESTION

REQUIRES CONTROL OVER BEHAVIOURAL EVENTS

FOCUSES ON CONTEMPORARY EVENTS

Experiment

How, Why

Yes

Yes

Survey

Who, What, Where, How many, How much

No

Yes

Archival analysis

Who, What, Where, How many, How much

No

Yes/No

History

How, Why

No

No

Case study

How, Why

No

Yes

Source: (Yin, 1995)

Difference between Research Design and Research Methodology

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

RESEARCH DESIGN

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Holistic – focuses on end product and how elements fit together

Focuses on research process, tools and procedures

Research problem is central

Tasks performed to answer research question central

Overall logic of the research

Steps to be taken in the research

Diagram: Importance of Research

Click on the document below to view a diagram on the importance of research: