Common Research Methodologies


Common Research Methodologies Common Research
Table of Contents

What is Research Methodology?

A research methodology is an outline of the procedures, methods, and techniques employed in a research study for the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data. Research papers contain a section dedicated to the research methodology of the study conducted. This section allows readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of the study.

Within this article, we will dissect some of the most common research methodologies employed in research to understand when they are used and what their individual characteristics are.

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Common Research Methodologies used in Research

Common Research Methodologies Common Research

There are three key approaches that are commonly used in research and they are: 

    • Quantitative Research Methodology
    • Qualitative Research Methodology
    • Mixed Methods Approach 

Quantitative Research Methodology

The quantitative research methodology is employed when the data being gathered is quantifiable and can be used to perform mathematical, statistical, or computational techniques. Some commonly used quantitative methods of data collection are surveys, online polls, and questionnaires. 

A few characteristics of quantitative research are: 

  • Quantitative Data: As discussed above, quantitative research employs the use of quantitative data that is generally represented using charts, tables, or graphs. 
  • Closed-Ended Questions: When gathering data for quantitative research, researchers will generally use closed-ended questions as they help gather quantitative data more effectively than open-ended questions. 
  • Large Sample Sizes: Quantitative research is conducted using large, or significant, sample sizes that are representative of the target population. 
  • High External Validity: Quantitative studies are often highly generalizable due to the representative sample sizes used.

Qualitative Research Methodology

Qualitative research generally deals with textual data and focuses on words and meanings. When using this research methodology, data is gathered using open-ended and conversational communication. Qualitative research is often used in market research as organizations not only want to understand what customers are doing but why they are doing it. This allows them to get a comprehensive understanding of their target market so that effective advertising strategies can be implemented. 

A few characteristics of qualitative research are: 

  • Open-Ended Questions: When gathering qualitative data, researches often make use of open-ended questions that help gather comprehensive textual data on a subject. 
  • Complex Reasoning: The data analysis techniques used in the qualitative research methodology are generally less straightforward when compared to quantitative research methods and require the use of complex reasoning and interpretation. 

Researcher/Moderator Plays an Important Role: When gathering data for qualitative research studies, the researchers and moderators play an important role in influencing the reliability and quality of the data gathered. Additionally, qualitative data is more subject to interpretation than quantitative data and therefore the researcher’s observations and interpretations will significantly affect the quality of the study.

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Mixed Methods Approach 

As the name suggests, the mixed method approach uses elements of both, the quantitative research methodology and the qualitative research methodology. By combining the two, the mixed-methods methodology helps produce a more comprehensive and holistic picture than a quantitative or qualitative study individually. 

A few characteristics of the mixed methods research methodology are: 

  • Flexible: Mixed methods research is more flexible as it is less confined to established research paradigms. There is therefore more flexibility while designing the research, allowing for a research methodology that will be best suited to deliver the most informative results. 
  • Advantages of Both Methods: Mixed methods combine the benefits of both types of data; the generalizable, externally valid quantitative data and the detailed, contextualized qualitative data.

FAQs on Common Research Methodologies

A research methodology is the part of a research paper that outlines the techniques and procedures that were employed by the researcher while gathering and analyzing data for the research paper.

In research papers, the research methodology is placed after the introduction and before the results and conclusion.

Some characteristics of the qualitative research methodology are: 

  • Uses open-ended communications to gather data
  • Requires complex reasoning for data analysis
  • Researcher and moderator influence the results of the study

The mixed-methods research methodology employs elements of the quantitative research methodology and the qualitative research methodology.

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