Diversity of Research Methodology : A Guide to Different Types of Research Methodology


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Research is a methodology used by scientists from various fields to experiment with different topics of interest. Researchers do their experiments to either reject or accept a formulated hypothesis or to just study a topic in depth. The conclusions from such are mostly for the betterment of society and to enhance the knowledge about subjects that were not touched many times before. 

Research as a scientific tool helps these researchers to measure sample data with as minimum as possible biases and much higher accuracy rate. This helps them to confidently put forth a conclusion to the society knowing that the data gathered is legit and the results drawn from the studies are systematic and statistically sensible. 

Researchers adopt various methods of research that best suit their study. In this article we will be seeing various types of research methodology that are classified based on their common features and use.

What is the importance of research methodology?

Research methodology offers a systematic and structured framework that helps researchers gather, analyze, and interpret data to evaluate hypotheses. The various types of research methodology ensure that the results are reliable, meaningful, and valid. 

  • A well-defined methodology offers credibility to your research findings. 
  • It helps establish a clear path for other researchers to replicate the research and validate your result. 
  • Different methodologies are suited for different data types and research goals. Choosing the right one ensures you gather precise and accurate data. 
  • Selecting the proper research methodology helps optimize resource allocation. It ensures that you effectively utilize the time, budget, and resources to achieve the research objective.

17 Types of research methodology

Research types are classified based on their objective, depth of study, data analysis, time, and cost efficiency. Researchers are likely to use various types in combination for their study. 

Types of research methodology based on PURPOSE

01. Theoretical research

Also known as pure research or basic research. Theoretical research is used when the researcher wants to gather more information about a particular topic without considering its practical work. Such research is used mostly for documentaries and mathematical formulas, which give a better understanding of the subject. 

Example: Social research was conducted to understand the economic mentality of middle-class citizens.

02. Applied research

Applied research works to find a solution to a scientific problem. The main objective is to address the STEM fields, such as engineering, medicine, etc., which are more closely connected to human lives with their actual applications. There are two types of applied research:

  • Technological applied research aims to enhance the efficiency of the products through betterments in the technological aspects. 
  • Scientific applied research helps to generate a predictive analysis based on the available data, which will be even more helpful in the goods and services sector. 

Example: A business can analyze the customers’ purchase strategies and plan the marketing accordingly.

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Types of research methodology based on the DEPTH OF SCOPE

03. Exploratory research 

As the name suggests, exploratory research is used as a preliminary study for the topics about which there is no deeper knowledge explored yet. It acts as a reference to the further in-depth studies that will emerge from this hypothesis. As it is not a deep study, it focuses more on data collection that will explain the causes of the phenomena. 

Example: A study conducted to understand the relationship between millennials and social media usage. 

04. Descriptive research

This, too, does not go very deep into the phenomena as it just focuses on finding out the characteristics the phenomena show rather than the factors that cause it. Researchers have to make sure they are not disturbing the observed phenomena and causing a change in them. 

Example: investigating the standard of living in rural and urban areas.

05. Explanatory research 

It is most commonly used for establishing the cause-effect relationship between the variables. The results from explanatory research can then be generalized for the rest of the variables. 

Example: understanding a toddler’s behavior while watching cartoons.

Types of research methodology based on the TYPE OF DATA USED 

06. Qualitative research 

Qualitative research is used to collect, compare, and analyze large descriptive data from the sample. This data is often collected through surveys, interviews, and focus groups where people are allowed to express their opinions and thoughts openly to open-ended questions. The data from qualitative research is usually large and needs data labeling or coding while analyzing it. 

Example: Studying the effects of exercise on health

07. Quantitative research 

Quantitative research collects the data through quantitative and close-ended questions, and the data is analyzed using statistics, mathematical, and computerized tools. The data is mostly collected through surveys and it is in the form of numeric values. 

Example: Conducting a survey on the likes and dislikes of the customers regarding clothing. 

Types of research methodology based on MANIPULATION OF VARIABLES

08. Experimental research 

Experimental research starts with replicating a phenomenon in a scientific environment. The variables are tested for the cause-effects on the sample chosen at random by putting them in two groups – a control group and a treatment group. The result is an understood cause-effect relationship between the variables. 

Example: Experiment to test a new drug in the market on patients. 

09. Non-experimental research 

It focuses on experimenting with the population in their natural environment. Also known as an observational study, researchers do not directly intervene in the experiment. As it is observed, it is also used with descriptive research.

Example: A study on the effects of a certain education program on a batch of students. 

10. Quasi-experimental research 

It is very similar to experimental research but the only difference is the sample for the experiment is not selected at random. Since it is a narrowed-down study focusing on a certain kind of population, the sample should be tested and then assigned to the treatment or control group.

Example: A study was conducted to know the effects eating more cheese has on bad breath. 

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Types of research methodology based on TYPE OF INFERENCE

11. Deductive investigation

It focuses on explaining reality with the help of general laws referring to certain conclusions. These conclusions are a part of research problems and are said to be true if the deductive investigation turns out to be applied in the right way.

12. Inductive investigation

It is also an observational study that focuses on achieving generalized results. It collects the data from which new theories can be generated. 

13. Hypothetical-deductive investigation

It first formulates the hypothesis based on basic observation and then uses deductive investigation to conclude the study, which will, in return, reject or accept the hypothesis. 

Types of research methodology based on TIME OF STUDY

14. Longitudinal study 

Also known as Diachronic research, it observes one event, individual, or group at different times. It aims to track the changes in the subject over time. It is generally used in medical, para-medical, and social fields. 

Example: To study the health of a patient under treatment over several weeks. 

15. Cross-sectional study

Also known as Synchronous research, it focuses on observing events, individuals, or groups of subjects over time. 

Types of research methodology based on INFORMATION SOURCES

16. Primary research

This is research that is done from scratch. Researchers themselves gather data that is specific to their study and is more reliable since it is first-hand information. 

17. Secondary research 

This research is conducted on someone else’s work. Researchers use available material like research papers, interviews, and documentaries as a source of data and information in their research. The problem with this is there is no guarantee that the collected information is reliable or not, and there is a chance of getting more irrelevant data outside of the research topic at hand. 

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Advantages of Using Different Types of Research Methodology

Embarking on a research journey involves navigating diverse methodologies, each serving as a unique lens for scrutiny. These approaches not only help achieve research goals but also elevate the entire process to thorough analysis. Let’s explore the advantages of various research methodologies:

  1. Verification and Fact-Checking: Methodologies act as guardians, providing a structured framework for reliable outcomes.
  2. Diverse Perspectives: Varied methodologies present unique angles, unraveling nuanced aspects for a comprehensive analysis.
  3. Quantitative Precision with Surveys: Surveys offer numerical efficiency, bypassing intricacies for streamlined, informed results.
  4. Qualitative Depth in Case Studies: Qualitative methods, like case studies, dive deep into intricacies, offering insights overlooked by quantitative methods.
  5. Validation and Generalization:Employing multiple methods ensures cross-verified, consistent results, allowing findings to be applicable to a broader audience.

In the intricate dance of research, these diverse methodologies play a pivotal role, elevating the quality and reliability of discoveries. Researchers, navigating this ever-expanding landscape, unlock new dimensions of understanding, making their findings impactful.

What factors should you consider when selecting the type of research methodology?

To run a research, you don’t just need to know how to analyze data but also identify the suitable method that helps resolve the research problem efficiently with a high degree of accuracy.

1. Define your research objectives: 

You should have a clear and precise idea of the research problem you intend to resolve. A good research question should be valuable and applicable.

2. Know the research type: 

Learn about the types of research methodology available to identify which categories your research falls under. For example, the quantitative method involves gathering statistical data, while the qualitative method focuses on gathering customer’s voices.

3. Create inclusive surveys: 

To ensure your research findings represent the target population, you must ensure that you create inclusive surveys.

4. Survey questions should align with the research problem: 

The questions you ask should address the intended research objective. The responses to each survey question should help test the hypothesis.

5. Time: 

When selecting the right research methodology, it’s important to consider the time available for conducting the research.

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In the intriguing realm of research, the different types guide you through the complex landscape of data collection and analysis. The types of research methodology serve as the backbone of acquiring valid data to address problems and test hypotheses. Follow the various types mentioned above, some tips, and their importance, equipping your project with the right methodology and making impactful discoveries.


  1. What is the research methodology?

Research methodology is a systematic approach used by researchers to plan, conduct, and analyze studies, ensuring reliable and valid results.

  1. What is a mixed research method?

Answer: In a mixed methods study, researchers collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data within the same study.

  1. How do I choose the right research methodology?

Consider your research objectives, data type, and available time, focusing on factors like depth of study, manipulation of variables, and type of inference.

  1. Can I use multiple research methodologies for a study?

Yes, using a combination of methods enhances verification, fact-checking, and validation, providing more comprehensive and applicable results.

  1. What is the difference between research methods and research methodology?

While research methods aim to solve a research problem, research methodology evaluates the appropriateness of the methods used. The types of methodology are tools for selecting a research approach, and the methodology assesses the suitability of all approaches and procedures employed in the research.

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