What is Research Methodology

Research Methodology


Table of Contents

How does a researcher decide 

  • What data do they want to collect?
  • From whom should they collect the data?
  • What method should they use for data collection?
  • How can they analyze the collected data?

The process of deciding how to systematically design research and conduct it is called Research Methodology. To conduct a market or social research, you have to plan out every step from which questions to ask to what analysis method to use, to ensure that you gather valid and reliable results from the research. 

In this article, we have explained how you can design your own research methodology. Dive in to read more. 

What is Research Methodology?

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A research methodology is an outline of how a given piece of research is carried out. It defines the techniques or procedures that are used to identify and analyse information regarding a specific research topic. The research methodology, therefore, has to do with how a researcher designs their study in a way that allows them to obtain valid and reliable results and meet their research objectives.

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Research Methodology in Formal Research

Research papers, dissertations, thesis, academic journal articles, or any other piece of formal research will contain a section (or chapter) on research methodology. This section stipulates the methodological choices made and also substantiates why these choices were made. This section is therefore used by researchers to justify why the methods they employed are best suited to achieve the research objective and arrive at valid and reliable results. This section also allows readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of a study based on the relevance and effectiveness of the procedures employed. 

Types of Research Methodologies

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There are three key types of research methodologies:

  • Qualitative Methodology: Qualitative research involves research that is conducted using words and textual data. This method of research is generally used in exploratory research where a research problem that is not clearly defined is being investigated. It is useful when trying to understand abstract concepts, perceptions, body language, opinions, and even visual data. 
  • Quantitative Methodology: Quantitative research relies on the measurement and testing of numerical data. Unlike qualitative research that is more exploratory in nature, quantitative research is typically leveraged when the research objectives are confirmatory in nature. 
  • Mixed-Methods Methodology: As the name suggests, the mixed-method methodology combines qualitative and quantitative methodologies to integrate both their strengths and obtain rich results.

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How to Write a Research Methodology

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Now that you have an understanding of what a research methodology is, let’s go over how one can write a research methodology using four constructive steps: 

  • Determine your Methodological Approach: In the first step of writing your research methodology, you can provide an explanation of the overall methodological approach of your research. This should include an explanation of your research problem and the type of data (quantitative/qualitative, primary/secondary) you will require to answer it. 
  • Outline the Methods of Data Collection: The next step is to describe the methods of data collection that you will be using in your research. There are many different methods that can be used to gather data. Quantitative methods of data collection include experiments, surveys, and existing literature. Qualitative methods of data collection include participant observation, focus groups, interviews, and existing literature. 
  • Outline the Methods of Analysis: This step requires you to outline the methods of analysis that you will be using in your research. If you’re conducting research that is quantitative in nature, you should include any data preparation techniques, statistical tests, or even software used to analyse your data. If you’re conducting research that is qualitative in nature, you should include any methods of content analysis, thematic analysis, or discourse analysis used in your research. 
  • Justify your Choices: The final step is to evaluate and justify all your methodological choices. You can elaborate on why other methods were not suitable for your research and why the methods you chose were best suited to achieve your research objectives and arrive at an outcome that is reliable and valid. You should acknowledge the limitations and weaknesses of the approaches chosen, while also justifying how these were outweighed by the strengths.

Research methodology is a large topic and designing a research method properly can be challenging. However, the key tip to take away from this article is that when designing a research method you should focus on clearly defining the aims and objectives of the research. 

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FAQs on Research Methodology

A research methodology refers to the different procedures, techniques, and processes employed to carry out research on a specific topic.

There are three main types of research methodologies; quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies.

The qualitative methodology is leveraged in research that involves the collection and analysis of words and textual data. It is generally used in research studies that are trying to break down perceptions, abstract concepts, body language, opinions, and even visual data.

The quantitative methodology is leveraged in research that relies on the measurement and testing of numerical data. It is generally used in studies where the research objectives are confirmatory in nature.

The mixed-methods methodology is used in research when both quantitative and qualitative methods of research are required to effectively answer a research question and meet the research aims and objectives. The integration of both these methods facilitates a more complete and synergistic utilization of data than when these methods are used separately.

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