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Master's Students Guide

Research Methodologies

A research methodology refers to the investigative techniques, strategies, and processes you will apply to collect, and analyze your data. When conducting your research choosing the research methodology you will apply is going to be one of the important steps to decide at the beginning of your research. Common research methods include:

1-Qualitative Methods

Qualitative research techniques refer to research methodologies used in the analysis of data that is not easily reduced to numbers, i.e. quantified. Qualitative research is concerned with the subjective understanding and interpretation of social behavior.

Qualitative methods of data collection include:

  • Observation / Participant Observation
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • Experiments
  • Diaries / Personal Journals
  • Visual Methodologies (photo elicitation, video diaries, or paintings)
  • Existing documents (such as media reports, letters, or transcriptions of radio interviews)
  • Internet-based materials (such as webpages, blogs, and chat-room conversations).

Qualitative methods of data analysis include:

  • Thematic analysis
  • Phenomenological analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Conversation analysis
  • Grounded theory
  • Narrative analysis
  • Ethnography
  • Action research
  • Memory work
  • Q-methodology

2- Quantitative Methods:

Quantitative research relies primarily on the collection of quantitative data and has its own, unique set of assumptions and normative practices. Quantitative research involves the gathering and use of numerical data which are often subjected to statistical analysis.

Steps in the Quantitative Research Process

  • Becoming familiar with Research Data Management
  • Collect your data
  • Clean your data
  • Run descriptive statistics
  • Select an inferential statistical method
  • Run analysis in statistical software such as SAS, SPSS, or R
  • Interpret your results

3- Mixed Methods:

This simply means that you will mix techniques from both of the previously mentioned above methods, that is the qualitative and quantitative methods.

SAGE Research Methods

One very important resource that can provide you with extremely valuable support during all the steps of your research is SAGE Research Methods Database. The "Project Planner" is one of its helpful features which guides you step-by-step along your research project.

SAGE Research Methods