Objectives of social research1

Research methodology examples


Table of Contents

Research methodology is the foundation of any scientific inquiry. It guides researchers on the best way to conduct their investigation, ensuring that your study follows a well-structured process and yields valuable insights. 

Scientists experiment with various social, scientific, and other issues. Researchers adopt different available research methodologies that suit their study better. 

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

In this article, we will be seeing examples of types of research methodology and their basic purpose in a tabular format for better understanding:

Defining research methodology

Research methodology is a systematic and organized process of planning, executing, and analyzing research studies to gather information on specific questions. It refers to “how” you can design your study to generate reliable results that address the objective. 

It includes a set of principles and practices that determine the methods you can employ in your research process. 

→ What type of data do you want to collect?

→ Who should you collect the data from?

→ How to gather reliable data?

→ How or what methods should be used for data analysis?

Purpose of research methodology

The primary purpose of research methodology is to provide a clear outline of how you should conduct your research. This helps you in the following ways. 

1. Guides your research design process. 

2. Helps focus on research objectives to ensure the study follows a systematic manner. 

3. Systematically explore the research goal. 

4. Ensures reliability and validity of research findings. 

5. Provides a framework for accurate data collection and analysis. 

6. Minimize errors and bias. 

7. Enable replication of the study in the future to validate the findings. 

8. Draw meaningful and insightful conclusions to make informed decisions.

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16 Research methodology examples

Here we will explore sixteen different research methodology with examples and usage to understand the focus of each type and leverage it correctly. 

01. Theoretical research

It is used when the researcher wants to gather more information about a particular topic without considering its practical workings. In social research, this research methodology can help understand the economic mentality of middle-class citizens. 

When to use: 

  • Use this approach when your aim is to explore and develop new concepts or theories. 
  • Common fields where researchers use this type are philosophy, theoretical physics, and social sciences. 

02. Applied research

It is used to address the STEM fields such as engineering, medicine, etc., which are more closely connected to human lives with their actual applications. A business can analyze the customer’s purchase strategies and plan the marketing accordingly. 

When to use:

  • This type is useful when you want to solve practical problems and address issues. 
  • Often, fields like medicine, education, and engineering benefit from this methodology. 

03. Exploratory research

It is used as a preliminary study for the topics about which no deeper knowledge has been explored yet. A study was conducted to understand the relationship between millennials and social media usage. 

When to use: 

  • Use this approach when you want to gain insights into a topic with limited information. 
  • This research methodology example is useful in the early stages of a study, helping you to refine your research question. 

04. Descriptive research

This research methodology focuses on finding out the characteristics the phenomena show rather than the factors that cause it. Investigating the standard of living in rural and urban areas.  

When to use: 

  • Use a descriptive approach to describe the characteristics of a particular phenomenon. 
  • Market research and social science research mainly apply this type. 

05. Qualitative research

It is used to collect, compare, and analyze large descriptive data from the sample.

In healthcare research, you can use this research methodology to understand the impact of exercise on thyroid patients. 

When to use: 

  • A qualitative approach will help you understand human behavior, perceptions, and experiences. 
  • You can conduct it by using interviews, surveys, and focus groups. 
  • Some common fields for its application are market research, healthcare research, academic research, etc. 

06. Quantitative research 

It gathers the data through close-ended questions and analyzes data using statistics, as well as mathematical and computerized tools. Conducting a market research survey on the likes and dislikes of the customers regarding clothing.

When to use: 

  • This research helps you gather numerical data, enabling you to gather surveys when you have time constraints. 
  • It is most suitable to use when you want to gather data from a large population and need data that represents a larger audience. 

07. Experimental research

It is used to measure the cause-effect relationship between two variables with random sampling. Experiment with patients to test a new drug in the market.

When to use: 

  • Use this research methodology example to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between variables. 

08. Non-experimental research

It is used as an observational study where participants have experimented in their environment. A study on the effects of a certain education program on a batch of students.

When to use: 

  • Use this type when you can’t manipulate variables in your research study.

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09. Quasi-experimental research 

This research methodology is similar to experimental, but the sampling is not random but studied. A study was conducted to know the effects of eating more cheese on bad breath.

When to use: 

  • This approach is useful when random assignment is not possible in a study. 

10. Deductive research 

It focuses on explaining reality with the help of general laws referring to certain conclusions. Research has been conducted to prove that bad domestic treatment can cause anger issues in children.

When to use: 

  • Use a deductive approach when you want to test existing theories. 
  • It involves formulating predictions and conducting empirical testing. 

11. Inductive research 

It is also an observational study that focuses on achieving generalized results. A study is conducted to understand the symptoms of the new Covid variant.

When to use: 

  • Use inductive methodology when your goal is to build theories from specific data.

12. 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.

Research is conducted to test the hypothesis that diabetic patients have fewer wound healing capabilities.

When to use: 

  • Use this when your aim is to propose a hypothesis and then test it. 
  • Common applications can be found in natural sciences and experimental research. 

13. Longitudinal study 

This research methdologyy aims to track the changes in the subject over time. To study the health of a patient under treatment over several weeks.

When to use: 

  • This approach is suitable when you want to observe changes in variables over an extended time period. 
  • It is helpful in understanding trends, such as in market research, and long-term effects, such as in healthcare research. 

14. Cross-sectional study

It focuses on observing events, individuals, or groups of subjects over time. To study the health of 10 patients under the same treatment over several weeks.

When to use: 

  • The cross-sectional approach helps you study data collected from different groups simultaneously from a specific point in time. 

15. Primary research

Researchers gather data that is specific to their study, making the data more reliable since it is first-hand information.  A researcher decided to study the COVID variant and its impact, as there are very few cases in the country. 

When to use: 

  • Use this research methodology example when the purpose is to gather firsthand data directly from the sources. 
  • You can leverage online surveys and interviews to gather the data. 

16. Secondary research 

Researchers use available material like research papers, interviews, and documentaries as a source of data and information in their research. A researcher makes use of pre-existing research papers for his assignment experiment.

When to use: 

  • Use a secondary approach when your aim is to gather existing data.  

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How to choose a research methodology?

Choosing the right research methodology is essential for the success of your research. Here are some steps you should consider when selecting the right method. 

1. Define the research objective: 

Start by defining the objective you want to achieve with your research. Consider what insights/information you need so you can answer the research question. 

2. Consider the nature of your research problem: 

Look into the nature of your research problem to understand which research methodology will best suit the study. Different types of research problems require different methods. 

3. Evaluate available resources: 

Assess the availability of resources such as access to information, participants, tools, budget, or time. Some methods may be more resource-intensive than others. 

4. Choose appropriate data collection methods: 

Based on the research objective and your resources, select the best suited method of data collection. You may leverage survey software to conduct surveys, interviews, or combinations of methods. 

5. Adhere to ethical considerations: 

Make sure to maintain compliance with ethical considerations related to your research, such as informed consent, confidentiality, and anonymity.

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Research methodology serves as a blueprint to guide researchers in conducting a structured study and gathering accurate and reliable data. It ensures that you draw meaningful conclusions and make data-driven decisions. 

By understanding the various research methodology examples and their applications, you can determine the most suitable approach and tailor your study to achieve the objective effectively.

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