- Specific tasks to be used in research.
- Examples: analysis of documents, participant observation, interview…
- Systematically solve the research problem.
- Is the science of research
- Includes the methods, but also the logic behind the method, the justification of a method for a specific research type, the justification of certain analysis.
There are many ways of categorising research:
- By scope,
- By sources,
- By location,
- By goal.
- Search for elementary principles, without concrete need for application, solely for advancement of human knowledge.
- Is sometimes called “blue sky research” (1869 John Tyndall)
- Search for solutions to real-world problems by applying these elementary principles
Research Types by Sources:
- Primary research: results in original findings
- Secondary research: Using other existing research to derive new findings
Research Types by Location:
- Library Research: analysis of literature
- Laboratory research: conduct research under controlled conditions
- Field research: conduct research in the real environment
Research Types by Goal:
- Exploratory research: identify new problems.
- Constructive research: find solution to a problem.
Empirical / Conceptual Research
- Conceptual research: is related to abstract idea or theory. Used by philosophers or theoretical physicists.
- Empirical Research: relies on experience or observation alone.
Analytical / Descriptive Research
- Analytical research: analyse existing facts to make critical evaluation of material.
- Descriptive research: find a description of the “state of affairs” (Social science).
The Scientific Method:
- From observation to proposition
- From the specific to the general
- Creates generalisation from individual observations.
- From general to specific
- From abstract to concrete
- Uses general principles to deduct predictions of specific behaviour
- Qualitative research: in humanities and social sciences, observing human behaviour without quantifying the results. (Researcher interacts with what is researched.)
- Constructivist, naturalistic, interpretive, post-positivist, postmodern.
- Quantitative research: application of statistical methods of investigating quantitative properties. (Researcher is independent from what is researched.)
- Traditionalist, positivist, experimental, empiricist.
Subtypes of Quantitative Research
- Inferential approach: surveys of a subset, then infer characteristics to whole population.
- Experimental approach: manipulate variables, apply control over research environment.
- Simulation approach: construct artificial environment and study system under controlled conditions.
Subtypes of Qualitative Research
- Inclusion of multiple sources and several analysis methods.
- Grounded Theory:
- Interpretive research
- Inductive approach: develops theory from interview by finding patterns.
- Starts with data (observations) without a hypothesis.
Basis of Scientific Method:
- Relies on empirical evidence
- Utilises relevant concepts.
- Is committed to only objective considerations.
- Ethical neutrality: making only adequate and correct statements.
- Free from personal bias or prejudice
- Guided by the rules of logical reasoning
- A hypothesis cannot be proven to be true.
- One can only find evidence which supports the hypothesis, but no evidence that proves it.
- Alternative hypotheses may also be true and could also explain the results.
- But the hypothesis can be disproven. (You would only need one piece of data to disprove the hypothesis but you will need all the data in the world on the subject to be able to prove it right.)
More Research Designs
- Inductive reasoning through grounded theory in focus groups.
- Information gained may be limited in its transferability.
- Ethnographic research:
- Qualitative research exploring cultural phenomena
- Observation in the real world.