So, what is the right methodology for your research and how important it is to choose the right one? Let us see!
Selecting the right methodology is crucial for the success of your research. Using the method, the researcher has chosen for his research, the researcher tests the hypothesis for possible acceptance or rejection. Therefore, it is necessary that the researcher uses the most appropriate method of data collection, analysis and evaluation. Sometimes the researcher invents the method for his research because no appropriate method is available to conduct the research. There can be many possibilities as there are hundreds of methods from which a researcher will choose. Research methodology includes the overall process of research, data collection, data interpretation and data evaluation.
Generally, the research methodologies can be categorized into quantitative and qualitative methods. There is another classification, a comparatively new class of research methods, mixed-method research. The researcher will choose from these methodologies. But, under each of these methods there are several methods. Basically, there are three elements that define what methodology you should use in your research.
- the scope of your research
- the nature of your research
- the type of your research
Quantitative research methodology
Quantitative research methods are used in research when the purpose of the research is to test a clear hypothesis. Hypothesis testing requires empirical data testing and you cannot answer a hypothesis using a qualitative research methodology. Another way to decide which method best suits your research is to see the research question, your research question answers which methodology is suitable for your research. In quantitative research methods the researcher collects facts and figures and later on analyze these facts using suitable statistical tools. The purpose is to test the hypothesis for possible acceptance or rejection.
The most commonly used methods of data collection in quantitative research methodology includes questionnaire, interview, experiments and survey. The researcher uses suitable statistical analysis techniques to reach the conclusion. Most of the researches in the field of computer science, other sciences and in psychology are quantitative in nature.
Qualitative research methodology
Qualitative research methodology is used in research when the purpose of the research is to analyze opinions, attitudes or behaviors. Generally, the purpose of qualitative research is to answer the research questions what and why. In qualitative research the researcher aims at obtaining in-depth information but there is always a question of researcher bias as qualitative research is subjective in nature. In qualitative research the researcher describes a particular situation, event, phenomenon or person. Most of the descriptive, historical and exploratory studies are qualitative in nature.
And, the most commonly used methods of data collection in qualitative research includes interview, case study and documentaries. The researcher often uses attitudinal scales for qualitative research. These attitudinal scales can be created or the researcher can use a pre-designed scale like likert scale. Most of the researches in the field of social sciences are qualitative in nature.
Mixed-method research methodology
Mixed-method research is one in which the researcher uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods to conduct the study. This is comparatively new approach but due to the broader scope great many researches are now conducted in mixed-method research. In past researchers argued over the positivist approach or constructivist approach but with mixed-method research the researchers can now use both approaches in single research. And the researchers can generate in-depth information by using it.
In mixed-method research the researcher can use multiple of data collection tools as well as data analysis techniques as he can use both qualitative and quantitative methods. Mixed-method research methodology has broader scope and, therefore, it can be used in any field like in psychology, social science or in the literature.
You can select the right methodology for your research if you know their characteristics. The selection of right methodology is crucial for the right research design. Also, it gives you hope that you can keep your research on right track.
- Pathak, Vibha et al. “Qualitative research.” Perspectives in clinical research vol. 4,3 (2013): 192. doi:10.4103/2229-3485.115389
- Pope C, Mays N. Qualitative Methods in Health and Health Services Research. In: Mays N, Pope N, editors. BMJ. London: Qualitative Research in Health Care; 1996.
- Research Guides. USC Libraries. https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/quantitative