The most significant difference is between quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative methods are usually related to numbers, surveys, experiments, statistics and positivist research philosophy. Qualitative methods, interviews and observations, are usually related to interpretivist research philosophy.
However, your methodology could benefit from including qualitative and quantitative methods. This depends on the aims and objectives for your research project. What do you want to find out or prove? What is the best way to answer your questions or prove your hypothesis? This section of SMILE gives general information about research methods, to get specific advice relevent to your subject, contact your Learning Development Centre.
Here are the basic research methods and designs:
- Quantitative research (for example, a survey)
- Qualitative research (such as face-to-face interviews, focus groups or site visits)
- Case studies
These are not mutually exclusive - you can use more than one. For example, a cross-sectional and case study, such as semi-structured interviews with households but within a particular neighbourhood. You could also use a case study and longitudinal study, such as in-depth research with a community over months or years. In this section we will also look at measurement and some general issues to consider when planning your project.
SMILE - Research design by Learning from WOeRk, University of Plymouth modified by Marion Kelt, Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License