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Research Methods

Research methods: this short article explains research methods in a practical way. Next to what it is, this article also highlights what research exactly is, what types of research there are, the differcne between qualitative and quantitative Research methods and tips and tricks. Enjoy reading!

Research methods: this short article explains research methods in a practical way. Next to what it is, this article also highlights what research exactly is, what types of research there are, the differcne between qualitative and quantitative Research methods and tips and tricks. Enjoy reading!

What are research methods?

Research methods are procedures and techniques for collecting and analyzing data in various forms. Research methods are an integral part of a research design. Prior to a research project, two crucial things need to be established:

  1. How will I collect data?
  2. How will I edit and analyze the data?

It is important to complete the above items in that order. The methods to be used depend on the type of data needed to answer the research questions.

Think of:

  • Qualitative versus quantitative data
  • Primary versus secondary data
  • Descriptive versus experimental research

Statistical analysis methods are used for quantitative data. This allows relationships between different variables to be established. For quantitative data, thematic analysis methods are used to identify patterns and meanings in the data. More later on how to use research quantitively and qualitatively.

What exactly is research?

Research is the careful weighing and application of study methods in relation to a particular problem. Researches are systematic methods of describing or explaining, predicting or controlling an observed phenomenon. Inductive and deductive methods are used.

An important difference between inductive and deductive research methods is that inductive methods aim at developing a theory while deductive methods aim at testing an existing theory. Both approaches are used in various studies and it is not uncommon to include a combination of both methods.

Investigations are conducted with a purpose. In a business context (business analysis, or business case) a goal can be:

  • Identifying new customers
  • Understanding consumers
  • Setting targets
  • Developing different strategies
  • Expanding the business
  • Identifying new opportunities

Characteristics of a good research are:

  • The research is conducted using a systematic approach
  • Researchers apply a code of conduct when making observations and drawing conclusions
  • Analyzes are based on logical reasoning
  • Data and knowledge are derived from realistic observations and experiments in a natural environment
  • In-depth analyzes prevent anomalies from occurring

Obviously, a good research is accurate. The information used as input is checked for reliability and accuracy. The same applies to the results of the research. Information must be accurate and correct. Accuracy can be guaranteed by calibrating used instruments and checking and validating data.

What types of research are there?

There are three kinds of research, or three goals of research.

1. Exploratory research

Exploratory researches are used to explore questions. The answers that are found do not necessarily offer a solution to the problem. What’s the point then? The results offer opportunities for new research questions that may bring the researchers closer to a solution. Exploratory research thus lays the groundwork for more data collection and data analysis.

2. Descriptive research

Descriptive research aims at expanding knowledge about issues through data collection. It describes the behavior or characteristics of a sample population. Only one variable is needed to conduct this kind of research. Three goals of descriptive research are:

  • Describe
  • Explain
  • Validate

3. Explanatory research

Explanatory research is conducted to understand the impact of specific changes to existing cases. The most popular form of this is to conduct an experiment. Experiments are used, for example, to gain insight into the effect of a new branding strategy in organizations on customer loyalty.

Qualitative versus quantitative research methods

Qualitative research uses conversational methods to collect data. Think of this form of data as non-numeric. So you cannot treat this data in the same way as numbers. It helps researchers understand what participants really think and why they think in a certain way.

Examples of qualitative research methods are:

Quantitative research methods are about numbers and measurable data. It requires a systematic approach and is used to discover relationships between measurable variables to explain a phenomenon.

Examples of quantitative research methods are:

  • Surveys / questionnaires (feedback methods)
  • Descriptive research
  • Research into correlations

This data is generally only useful if it can be ensured that:

  • The data is valid
  • The data is accurate
  • The data is reliable
  • The data is timely (within a certain time frame)
  • The data is complete

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Research methods tips and tricks

The articles linked to the tag research methods are about the different techniques, methods and theories that can be used for research. Are you still missing topics? Let us know in the comments under an article or fill out the contact form. We will then get back to you as soon as possible.

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Action Research model (Lewin)

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Action Research model: this article explains the concept of Action Research (AR), developed by Kurt Lewin in a practical way. It covers what AR is, what steps should be taken, based on the model and example and what conditions…
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