How Are Different Types of Research Different From Each Other?
The words “research” and “study” are using interchanged often. But what exactly is the meaning of each word? Research is “the process of collecting, organizing, analyzing and communicating information obtained from many different sources to advance knowledge of a subject or area”. It usually involves the compilation, organization, and interpretation of data to add to our knowledge of a given area. Usually, a research project will be an extension on the previous work in the area. Some of the area’s research can touch include medicine, anthropology, business, education, engineering, social sciences, technology, and elsewhere.
Research can be quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative research methods include survey, questionnaire, experiment, and other observational techniques. These methodologies depend mainly on the observation of the variables being studied on a particular time frame. A quantitative study normally employs statistics and mathematical techniques in order to record, evaluate, and interpret data.
A qualitative research method on the other hand is descriptive. It studies the existing phenomena and attempts to reveal its underlying cause/effects by means of describing it. Most commonly, this type of research takes a closer look into the specific factors/conditions that are related or influence(s) to a certain event or instance(s). A descriptive research also seeks to uncover the essential features of the phenomenon(s) under consideration. However, in qualitative research, there is an increased likelihood for the use of personal experience or observation to supplement the theoretical arguments presented by the researcher(s). Qualitative research can also deal with causative agents (such as genes, hormones, and other environmental factors), the personal experiences of individuals, cultural patterns, practices, norms, and other variables.
An important difference between quantitative and qualitative research is the distinction between correlation and causation. Correlation refers to a relationship wherein one variable causes another in relation to its presence in the other variables simultaneously existing. An example of this would be that during a game one player hits the ball and another player hits the ball back. The first player has just experienced a hit and the second player just witnessed the occurrence. This example illustrates the crucial role that correlation plays in the evaluation research process. It helps us determine if the observed phenomena is caused by a single factor or is a product of multiple factors interacting together.
As mentioned earlier, applying empirical research is often considered to be part of the qualitative research process. In applying empirical research, we use scientific methodologies such as descriptive and explanatory interviewing, traditional laboratory research methods, meta-analyses, and structural equation modeling. The main goal of applying research methods is to provide quantitative data that can be analyzed, statistically tested, and interpreted. The most popular applied research methods used in qualitative research are qualitative synthesis, estimation, and meta-analyses.
Qualitative data and concentrated observations are gathering from real people and real world situations, on a case by case basis, to provide insights about specific problem solving methods and practices, while at the same time, it also provides information on how these problem solving practices may have an impact on future practice. These experiences are then transformed into systematic approaches that form the basis for quantitative and non-quantitative research. These methods are not only applicable for applying research on theoretical and practical problems, but also on empirical and qualitative questions concerning theoretical and practical problems.