Learn Research Methodology (Video Lectures and Handouts)

research methodology

1. What is Research?

Research is a logical and systematic search for new and useful information on a particular topic. It is an investigation of finding solutions to scientific and social problems through objective and systematic analysis.

What is Research

1.1 What are the Objectives of Research?

The prime objectives of research are:

  • to discover new facts
  • to verify and test important facts
  • to analyze an event or process or phenomenon to identify the cause and effect relationship
  • to develop new scientific tools, concepts and theo­ries to solve and understand scientific and nonscientific problems
  • to find solutions to scientific, nonscientific and so­cial problems and
  • to overcome or solve the problems occurring in our every day life.

1.2 Importance of Research

Some important avenues for research are:

  • A research problem refers to a difficulty experienced by anyone.
  • Research on existing theories and concepts helps us identify the range and applications of them.
  • It is the fountain of knowledge and provide s guide­lines for solving problems.
  • Research provides basis for many government poli­cies.
  • It is important in industry and business for higher gain and productivity and to improve the quality of products.
  • Only through research can inventions be made
  • Social research helps find answers to social prob­lems.
  • Research leads to a new style of life and makes it delightful and glorious.

2. What is Basic Research?

Types of Research
  • Basic research is a research approach that is entirely theoretical and aimed at improving or expanding theknowledge-base of a particular field of study.
  • It focuses on “knowledge for its own sake” and it is primarily driven by curiosity and the need to explore the unknown.
  • It is also known as fundamental or pure research

2.1 Key Differences

  • Basic Research tries to expand the already existing scientific knowledge base. On the contrary, applied research is used to mean the scientific study that is helpful in solving real-life problems.
  • While basic research is purely theoretical, applied research has a practical approach.
    Basic research is universally applicable whereas the applied research can be applied only to the specific problem, for which it was carried out.
  • The primary concern of basic research is to develop scientific knowledge and predictions. On the other hand, applied research stresses on the development of technology and technique with the help of basic science.
  • The fundamental goal of the basic research is to add some knowledge to the already existing one. Conversely, applied research is directed towards finding a solution to the problem under consideration.

3. Qualitative vs Quantitative Research – What Is the difference?

Once you begin conducting research on human behaviour, you will quickly encounter the dilemma of whether to conduct qualitative or quantitative research. Qualitative and quantitative research methods have inherent differences, despite the fact that their objectives and applications are frequently similar.

Types of Research

The distinguishing characteristic

Qualitative research produces “textual data” in a nutshell (non-numerical). On the other hand, quantitative research generates “numerical data,” or information that can be quantified.

Qualitative research: What is it and why is it necessary

Qualitative research is thought to be especially well-suited to exploratory research (e.g. during the pilot stage of a research project, for example). It is primarily used to ascertain and gain a thorough understanding of individual experiences, thoughts, opinions, and trends, as well as to delve deeper into the subject matter at hand.

A qualitative researcher’s toolkit is quite diverse, ranging from completely unstructured to semi-structured data collection techniques.

Frequently used Methods of Inquiry:

  • Consultations with individuals
  • Individual interviews
  • Group discussions
  • Focus groups
  • Behavioral observations

Additionally, eye tracking or automatic facial expressions can be used to collect and analyse qualitative data, such as in usability research, where gaze patterns (such as heatmaps) or moments of frustration / confusion can be used to track an individual respondent’s journey through a software interface.

What is quantitative research, and how is it defined and quantified?

Quantitative research, in its simplest form, is concerned with numbers and statistics. It is used to quantify attitudes, behaviours, and other defined variables with the objective of substantiating or refuting hypotheses about a particular phenomenon and possibly contextualising the study sample’s findings in a larger population (or specific groups).

Due to the explicit specification of what will be measured and how it will be measured in order to uncover patterns in – for example – behaviour, motivation, emotion, and cognition, quantitative data collection is considered to be much more structured than qualitative data collection.

Consider the following: How to Perform Behavioral Coding in iMotions.

Techniques of quantitative analysis

Quantitative techniques include a variety of questionnaires and surveys, structured interviews, and behavioural observations based on explicit coding and categorization schemes.

survey
Along with these established techniques, biosensor recordings such as eye tracking, EEG, EDA / GSR, EMG, and ECG are used, as are computer-guided automatic facial expression analysis procedures.

Which type of research study should I conduct? Qualitative or quantitative?

Finally, the decision to conduct a qualitative or quantitative study is entirely up to you; however, keep in mind the nature of your project, the type of information you seek, and the resources available. Qualitative research will provide you with a thorough understanding of your research problem and, hopefully, will aid in the resolution of your hypothesis. Quantitative research enables you to scale your findings in order to provide more reliable and valid data sets. When the two are combined, objectivity is achieved.

Avoiding bias through measurement

This is described in general terms using the following criteria:

Objectivity

The most general requirement is objectivity, which refers to the fact that measures should produce the same result regardless of who uses them. Additionally, they should produce consistent results regardless of external influences. For instance, a multiple-choice personality questionnaire or survey is objective if it yields the same result regardless of whether the participant responds verbally or in writing. Additionally, the outcome should be unrelated to the experimenter’s knowledge or attitude, so that the outcome is solely determined by the respondent’s performance.

Reliability

If a measure consistently returns the same value under consistent conditions, it is said to have a high degree of reliability. Reliability is subdivided into several subcategories. For instance, “retest reliability” refers to a measure’s stability over time, “inter-rater reliability” to the degree to which different experimenters provide consistent estimates of the same behaviour, and “split-half reliability” to the extent to which the two halves of a test generate identical results.

Validity

This is the deciding criterion. It indicates the extent to which a measure collects the data for which it was designed. Consider an experiment in which participants’ body measurements are taken in order to determine their relationship to happiness. While the measure is clearly objective and reliable (body size measurements are quite consistent regardless of who is taking them), it is a truly inadequate measure of happiness in terms of construct validity (i.e., its ability to truly capture the underlying variable).

4. Exploratory, Descriptive and Explanatory Research

Exploratory Descriptive Explanatory Research

Exploratory Research

The goal of exploratory research is to formulate problems, clarify concepts and form hypotheses. Explorative studies are undertaken when a new area is being investigated or when little is known about an area of interest.
It is used to investigate the full nature of the phenomenon and other factors related to it (Polit et al., 2009)

Methods of Exploratory Research

  • Literature Review
  • Interview
  • Focus Group
  • Case Study
  • Pilot Study
  • Experimental Survey

Descriptive Research

Descriptive research is typically concerned with describing problem and its solution. Descriptive research requires clear specification of

  • who,
  • what,
  • when ,
  • where ,
  • and how of the research.

Descriptive design is directed to answer these questions

Methods of Descriptive Research

  • Survey
  • Observation
  • Case Study

Explanatory Research

  • The main aim of research design is to identify any casual links between the factors or variables that pertain to research problem.
  • Sometimes it is referred to as analytical study.
    Explanatory research design focuses on explaining the structure in detailed manner.

Methods of Explanatory Research

  • Literature Research
  • Study of every single problem
  • Focus Group Research
  • Case Analysis Research

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