Research Methods Explained
Research Methods Explained
Research is “a systematic and creative effort undertaken to improve the stock of technical knowledge”. It usually involves the accumulation, organization, and evaluation of data to increase knowledge of a subject or area. A research project can be an extension on past research in the area. The scope of the project depends greatly on its aim.
In case of qualitative research, it mainly deals with the analysis of existing facts and opinions. It attempts to reveal the logic by means of experiments or controlled and extensive observation. The main idea behind this type of research methods is to prove the existence and uniqueness of some aspect of reality. More facts are gathered and analyzed so as to arrive at the most logical and most significant conclusion. This is then expressed in quantitative form, that is, in numbers and figures. The conclusions reached in the quantitative research are generalizations, which are applicable to a specific situation.
Quantitative research is often used for statistical purposes. It compares two or more quantities and statistically analyzes these quantities, forming a relationship. This relationship may stand alone or it may be proven by combining quantitative and qualitative methods. For example, it compares two and three variables and comes up with a comparison of their mean values or their average values over a period of time.
Applied research projects are mainly conducted for the purpose of discovering patterns, theories, or discoveries. A lot of energy is put into developing new applications, often using experimental development in place of principles established in basic research. Sometimes these new applications are highly successful in their goals, but sometimes they fail and have to be modified. However, in applied research, the basic research is never abandoned, no matter how promising the results may be.
Both theoretical and applied research have a common aim: to find out how something works in real life. The difference lies in the way they do this. The former investigates facts based on observation, experimentation, measurements, and calculations, whereas the latter attempts to discover a general principle that can be tested in real-life situations by applying it to real-life situations. The aim of either method is to provide evidence for a general law or theory. The method used in applying the theoretical principles is called the direct test, whereas that used in carrying out the experimental investigation is called the indirect test.
As stated above, both methods have many similarities, although the quantitative researcher is guided more by careful calculations than by intuition or fervent belief in his or her theories. When conducting a quantitative research, the researchers seek to establish a pattern from the facts they have gathered. They use different research methods to arrive at the same conclusion. One example is when researchers collect data through survey, questionnaire, or experiment. They then analyze this data in order to determine what kind of products sell best among various demographics.