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Research methods are the strategies, processes or techniques utilized in the collection of data or evidence for analysis in order to uncover new information or create better understanding of a topic.
Click on the above sub-tabs to find out more about the different types of research methods which use different tools for data collection.
Types of Research Methods
1. Qualitative Research
Gathers data about lived experiences, emotions or behaviors, and the individual meanings attached to them. It assists in enabling researchers to gain a better understanding of complex concepts, social interactions or cultural phenomena. This type of research is useful in the exploration of how or why things have occurred, interpreting events and describing actions.
The following video on "SAGE Qualitative Research Kit" is a set of 10 vital guides, written by leading academics, offering ‘how-to’ advice and clear explanations for students and researchers who want to take theoretical understanding out into the real world. Topics covered include: interview research; ethnography; visual data; conversation, discourse & document analysis; grounded theory; triangulation and mixed methods; research design, and more.
2. Quantitative Research
Gathers numerical data which can be ranked, measured or categorized through statistical analysis. It assists with uncovering patterns or relationships, and for making generalizations. This type of research is useful for finding out how many, how much, how often, or to what extent.
Watch the following video onQuantitative Research: Methods in the Social Sciences, Segment 1: Questions on Quantitative Researchfor an introduction of key concepts and methods of quantitative research. Here, academics discuss the framework and application of experiments, surveys, and interviews-- including the strengths and shortcomings of each.
Video: Qualitative vs Quantitative Research: Key Differences In this video tutorial by Key Differences, you will get to learn the differences between qualitative and quantitative research, along with the methods and suitable examples.
Visit Key Differences to find the substantial differences between two topics.
Mixed Methods Researchintegrates both Qualitative and Quantitative Research. It provides a holistic approach combining and analyzing the statistical data with deeper contextualized insights. Using Mixed Methods also enables triangulation, or verification, of the data from two or more sources.
Video: Mixed Methods Research - the Basics
Frances L. Chumney, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, provides a quick introduction to mix methods research that attempts to answer research question through the collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data - two important characteristics of a mixed method study.
Video: An Introduction to Mixed Methods Research Professor John Hitchcock, Director for the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, School of Education at Indiana University, provides an overview of randomized control trials and how they are used in research. He discusses the failings of old research methods, and explains the common threats to effective randomized controlled trial studies.
Video: Developing MIxed Methods Research
Explore developing your own Mixed Methods Research plan as Dr. John W. Creswell uses mixed methods research to survey participants testing a new video game.
Finding Qualitative & Quantitative Research in Databases
Search across a range of databases. Deciding on which databases to search depends largely upon your research topic. Visit our subject guides for lists of databases by specific subject.
Journal databases also provide search hints and tips in the help menu - start there if you aren't familiar with the database.
Developing a robust search strategy will help reduce irrelevant results. It is good practice to plan a strategy before you start to search.
Basic Search Tips
Break your research topic into keywords.
Use Boolean operators to connect your search terms or keywords together to either narrow or broaden the results. The three basic Boolean operators are: AND, OR, and NOT.
Use parentheses ( ), quotation marks " ", and/or asterisks * with your search terms to create a search phrase.
Databases categorize their records using subject terms or controlled vocabularies (Thesauri). These Subject Headings vary for each database, for example Medline uses Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) for its indexing system.
The term 'qualitative research' is indexed as "Qualitative Research" or "Nursing Methodology Research" in Medline, and as "Qualitative Studies" in CINAHL. Related Subject Headings such as Focus Groups, Interviews, or Descriptive Research can also be useful. Combine searches with topic Subject Headings to locate qualitative research.
PubMed uses Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) for its indexing system. Quantitative research is not directly indexed in PubMed but can be located by using subject terms including: "Validation Studiesas Topic", "Statistical Distributions", "Mathematical Concepts", "Evaluation Studies as Topic" "Investigative Techniques" or "Meta-Analysis as Topic". Combine searches with topic Subject Headings to locate quantitative research.
Use selective free text or keywords to search in Titles, Abstracts or Keywords of records held in the databases to identify Qualitative Research. Selective keywords include terms like "phenomenological", "lived experience", "grounded theory", "life experiences", "focus groups" or interview.
Use selective free text or keywords to search in Titles, Abstracts or Keywords of records held in the databases to identify Quantitative Research. Selective keywords include quantitative, survey, validity, variance, correlation andstatistical.
Databases enable sets of results to be limited or filtered by specific fields. Determine your search conditions, such as Publication Type, Clinical Queries or Publication Year and apply them to your search.
Analyzing Qualitative Data by H. Russell Bernard; Amber Y. Wutich; Gery W. RyanThe fully updated Second Edition presents systematic methods for analyzing qualitative data with clear and easy-to-understand steps. Real examples drawn from social science and health literature along with carefully crafted, hands-on exercises at the end of each chapter allow readers to master key techniques and apply them to their own disciplines.
Call Number: H62 Ber 2017
Publication Date: 2016-07-29
Applied Qualitative Research Design by Margaret R. Roller; Paul J. LavrakasThis unique text provides a comprehensive framework for creating, managing, and interpreting qualitative research studies that yield valid and useful information. Examples of studies from a wide range of disciplines illustrate the strengths, limitations, and applications of the primary qualitative methods: in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, ethnography, content analysis, and case study and narrative research. Following a consistent format, chapters show students and researchers how to implement each method within a paradigm-neutral and flexible Total Quality Framework (TQF) comprising four interrelated components: Credibility, Analyzability, Transparency, and Usefulness. Unlike other texts that relegate quality issues to one or two chapters, detailed discussions of such crucial topics as construct validity, interresearcher reliability, researcher bias, and verification strategies are featured throughout. The book also addresses applications of the TQF to the writing, review, and evaluation of qualitative research proposals and manuscripts. Pedagogical Features *Summary tables that highlight important content, such as the application of a method to vulnerable or hard-to-reach populations. *Case studies that illustrate TQF standards in practice for each method. *Guidelines for effective documentation (via thick descriptions) of each type of study. *End-of-chapter discussion topics, exercises, and suggested further reading and Web resources. *Chapters open with a preview and close with a bulleted summary of key ideas. *Extensive glossary.
Innovative Methods for Qualitative Data Collection by Virginia Braun (Editor); Victoria Clarke (Editor); Debra Gray (Editor)Is there more to qualitative data collection than face-to-face interviews? Answering with a resounding 'yes', this book introduces the reader to a wide array of exciting and novel techniques for collecting qualitative data in the social and health sciences. Collecting Qualitative Data offers a practical and accessible guide to textual, media and virtual methods currently under-utilised within qualitative research. Contributors from a range of disciplines share their experiences of implementing a particular technique, provide step-by-step guidance to using that approach, and highlight both the potential and pitfalls. From gathering blog data to the story completion method to conducting focus groups online, the methods and data types featured in this book are ideally suited to student projects and other time- and resource-limited research. In presenting several innovative ways that data can be collected, new modes of scholarship and new research orientations are opened up to student researchers and established scholars alike.
Qualitative Research Methods : Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact 2nd ed. by Sarah J. TracyThe definitive step-by step resource for qualitative and ethnographic research Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact is a comprehensive guide on both the theoretical foundations and practical application of qualitative methodology. Adopting a phronetic-iterative approach, this foundational book leads readers through the chronological progression of a qualitative research project, from designing a study and collecting and analyzing data to developing theories and effectively communicating the results--allowing readers to employ qualitative methods in their projects as they follow each chapter. Coverage of topics such as qualitative theories, ethics, sampling, interview techniques, qualitative quality, and advice on practical fieldwork provides clear and concise guidance on how to design and conduct sound research projects. Easy-to-follow instructions on iterative qualitative data analysis explain how to organize, code, interpret, make claims, and build theory. Throughout, the author offers her own backstage stories about fieldwork, analysis, drafting, writing, and publishing, revealing the emotional and humorous aspects of practicing qualitative methods. Now in its second edition, this thorough and informative text includes new and expanded sections on topics including post-qualitative research, phenomenology, textual analysis and cultural studies, gaining access to elite and difficult to access populations, on persuasive writing, novel interviewing approaches, and more. Numerous examples, case studies, activities, and discussion questions have been updated to reflect current research and ensure contemporary relevance. Written in an engaging and accessible narrative style by an acclaimed scholar and researcher in the field Offers new and updated examples of coding and qualitative analysis, full-color photos and illustrations, and a companion instructor website Synthesizes the most up-to-date multidisciplinary literature on qualitative research methods including seven main approaches to qualitative inquiry: grounded theory, case study, ethnography, phenomenology, narrative and autoethnography, participatory action research, and arts-based research Presents innovative qualitative data collection methods and modern representation strategies, such as virtual ethnography, photo-voice, and mobile interviewing Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact is an ideal resource for undergraduate and graduate students, instructors, and faculty across multiple disciplines including the social sciences, healthcare, education, management, and the humanities, and for practitioners seeking expert guidance on practical qualitative methods.
Call Number: H62 Tra 2020
Publication Date: 2019-08-05
Qualitative Research Using R: A Systematic Approach [electronic resource] by Yanto Chandra, Liang ShangThis book highlights the rise of the Gioia methodology as an important paradigm in qualitative research in the social sciences, and demonstrates how the Gioia methodology can be operationalized and enhanced using RQDA. It also provides a technical and methodological review of RQDA as a new CAQDAS tool. Covering various techniques, it offers methodological guidance on how to connect CAQDAS tool with accepted paradigms, particularly the Gioia methodology, to produce high-quality qualitative research and includes step-by-step instructions on using RQDA under the Gioia qualitative research paradigm.
Publication Date: 2019
The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Collection by Uwe Flick (Editor)How we understand and define qualitative data is changing, with implications not only for the techniques of data analysis, but also how data are collected. New devices, technologies and online spaces open up new ways for researchers to approach and collect images, moving images, text and talk. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Collection systematically explores the approaches, techniques, debates and new frontiers for creating, collecting and producing qualitative data. Bringing together contributions from internationally leading scholars in the field, the handbook offers a state-of-the-art look at key themes across six thematic parts: Part I Charting the Routes Part II Concepts, Contexts, Basics Part III Types of Data and How to Collect Them Part IV Digital and Internet Data Part V Triangulation and Mixed Methods Part VI Collecting Data in Specific Populations
Call Number: H62 Sag 2018
Publication Date: 2018-01-30
Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis in the Behavioral and Social Sciences by Michael J. AlbersGuides readers through the quantitative data analysis process including contextualizing data within a research situation, connecting data to the appropriate statistical tests, and drawing valid conclusions Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis in the Behavioral and Social Sciences presents a clear and accessible introduction to the basics of quantitative data analysis and focuses on how to use statistical tests as a key tool for analyzing research data. The book presents the entire data analysis process as a cyclical, multiphase process and addresses the processes of exploratory analysis, decision-making for performing parametric or nonparametric analysis, and practical significance determination. In addition, the author details how data analysis is used to reveal the underlying patterns and relationships between the variables and connects those trends to the data's contextual situation. Filling the gap in quantitative data analysis literature, this book teaches the methods and thought processes behind data analysis, rather than how to perform the study itself or how to perform individual statistical tests. With a clear and conversational style, readers are provided with a better understanding of the overall structure and methodology behind performing a data analysis as well as the needed techniques to make informed, meaningful decisions during data analysis. The book features numerous data analysis examples in order to emphasize the decision and thought processes that are best followed, and self-contained sections throughout separate the statistical data analysis from the detailed discussion of the concepts allowing readers to reference a specific section of the book for immediate solutions to problems and/or applications. Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis in the Behavioral and Social Sciences also features coverage of the following: * The overall methodology and research mind-set for how to approach quantitative data analysis and how to use statistics tests as part of research data analysis * A comprehensive understanding of the data, its connection to a research situation, and the most appropriate statistical tests for the data * Numerous data analysis problems and worked-out examples to illustrate the decision and thought processes that reveal underlying patterns and trends * Detailed examples of the main concepts to aid readers in gaining the needed skills to perform a full analysis of research problems * A conversational tone to effectively introduce readers to the basics of how to perform data analysis as well as make meaningful decisions during data analysis Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis in the Behavioral and Social Sciences is an ideal textbook for upper-undergraduate and graduate-level research method courses in the behavioral and social sciences, statistics, and engineering. This book is also an appropriate reference for practitioners who require a review of quantitative research methods. Michael J. Albers, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of English at East Carolina University. His research interests include information design with a focus on answering real-world questions, the presentation of complex information, and human-information interaction. Dr. Albers received his Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric from Texas Tech University.
Publication Date: 2017-02-21
The Data Gaze : capitalism, power and perception by David BeerA significant new way of understanding contemporary capitalism is to understand the intensification and spread of data analytics. This text is about the powerful promises and visions that have led to the expansion of data analytics and data-led forms of social ordering. It is centrally concerned with examining the types of knowledge associated with data analytics and shows that how these analytics are envisioned is central to the emergence and prominence of data at various scales of social life. This text aims to understand the powerful role of the data analytics industry and how this industry facilitates the spread and intensification of data-led processes. As such, The Data Gaze is concerned with understanding how data-led, data-driven and data-reliant forms of capitalism pervade organisational and everyday life. Using a clear theoretical approach derived from Foucault and critical data studies the text develops the concept of the data gaze and shows how powerful and persuasive it is. It's an essential and subversive guide to data analytics and data capitalism.
Call Number: QA76.9 Qua.Be 2019
Publication Date: 2018-12-08
Foundations of agnostic statistics [electronic resource] by Peter M. Aronow; Benjamin T. MillerReflecting a sea change in how empirical research has been conducted over the past three decades, Foundations of Agnostic Statistics presents an innovative treatment of modern statistical theory for the social and health sciences. This book develops the fundamentals of what the authors call agnostic statistics, which considers what can be learned about the world without assuming that there exists a simple generative model that can be known to be true. Aronow and Miller provide the foundations for statistical inference for researchers unwilling to make assumptions beyond what they or their audience would find credible. Building from first principles, the book covers topics including estimation theory, regression, maximum likelihood, missing data, and causal inference. Using these principles, readers will be able to formally articulate their targets of inquiry, distinguish substantive assumptions from statistical assumptions, and ultimately engage in cutting-edge quantitative empirical research that contributes to human knowledge.
Call Number: QA76.9.Q36 Aro 2019
Publication Date: 2019-01-31
The philosophy of quantitative methods [electronic resource] by Brian D. Haig'The Philosophy of Quantitative Methods' undertakes a philosophical examination of a number of important quantitative research methods within the behavioral sciences in order to overcome the non-critical approaches typically provided by textbooks. These research methods are exploratory data analysis, statistical significance testing, Bayesian confirmation theory and statistics, meta-analysis, and exploratory factor analysis. Further readings are provided to extend the reader's overall understanding of these methods.
Publication Date: 2018
A Gentle Introduction to Effective Computing in Quantitative Research by Harry J. Paarsch; Konstantin GolyaevA practical guide to using modern software effectively in quantitative research in the social and natural sciences. This book offers a practical guide to the computational methods at the heart of most modern quantitative research. It will be essential reading for research assistants needing hands-on experience; students entering PhD programs in business, economics, and other social or natural sciences; and those seeking quantitative jobs in industry. No background in computer science is assumed; a learner need only have a computer with access to the Internet. Using the example as its principal pedagogical device, the book offers tried-and-true prototypes that illustrate many important computational tasks required in quantitative research. The best way to use the book is to read it at the computer keyboard and learn by doing. The book begins by introducing basic skills: how to use the operating system, how to organize data, and how to complete simple programming tasks. For its demonstrations, the book uses a UNIX-based operating system and a set of free software tools: the scripting language Python for programming tasks; the database management system SQLite; and the freely available R for statistical computing and graphics. The book goes on to describe particular tasks: analyzing data, implementing commonly used numerical and simulation methods, and creating extensions to Python to reduce cycle time. Finally, the book describes the use of LaTeX, a document markup language and preparation system.
Call Number: Q180.55 Ele.Pa 2015
Publication Date: 2016-05-13
Handbook of Ethics in Quantitative Methodology by A. T. Panter (Editor); Sonya K. Sterba (Editor)This comprehensive Handbook is the first to provide a practical, interdisciplinary review of ethical issues as they relate to quantitative methodology including how to present evidence for reliability and validity, what comprises an adequate tested population, and what constitutes scientific knowledge for eliminating biases. The book uses an ethical framework that emphasizes the human cost of quantitative decision making to help researchers understand the specific implications of their choices. The order of the Handbook chapters parallels the chronology of the research process: determining the research design and data collection; data analysis; and communicating findings. Each chapter: Explores the ethics of a particular topic Identifies prevailing methodological issues Reviews strategies and approaches for handling such issues and their ethical implications Provides one or more case examples Outlines plausible approaches to the issue including best-practice solutions. Part 1 presents ethical frameworks that cross-cut design, analysis, and modeling in the behavioral sciences. Part 2 focuses on ideas for disseminating ethical training in statistics courses. Part 3 considers the ethical aspects of selecting measurement instruments and sample size planning and explores issues related to high stakes testing, the defensibility of experimental vs. quasi-experimental research designs, and ethics in program evaluation. Decision points that shape a researchers¿ approach to data analysis are examined in Part 4 ¿ when and why analysts need to account for how the sample was selected, how to evaluate tradeoffs of hypothesis-testing vs. estimation, and how to handle missing data. Ethical issues that arise when using techniques such as factor analysis or multilevel modeling and when making causal inferences are also explored. The book concludes with ethical aspects of reporting meta-analyses, of cross-disciplinary statistical reform, and of the publication process. This Handbook appeals to researchers and practitioners in psychology, human development, family studies, health, education, sociology, social work, political science, and business/marketing. This book is also a valuable supplement for quantitative methods courses required of all graduate students in these fields.
Call Number: H62 Han 2011
Publication Date: 2011-01-20
Developing a Mixed Methods Proposal : a practical guide for beginning researchers by Jessica DeCuir-Gunby; Paul A SchutzThe book intertwines descriptions of the components of a research proposal (introduction, literature review, research methods, etc.) with discussions of the essential elements and steps of mixed methods research. Examples from a real-world, interdisciplinary, mixed methods research study demonstrate concepts in action throughout the book, and an entire sample proposal appears at the end of the book, giving readers insight into every step up to completion. Readers who complete the exercises in each chapter will have an individualized, detailed template for their own mixed methods research proposal.
Call Number: H62 Dec 2017
Publication Date: 2016-09-29
Finding Pathways : mixed-method research for studying causal mechanisms by Nicholas Weller; Jeb BarnesSocial scientists have identified a need to move beyond the analysis of correlation among variables to the study of causal mechanisms that link them. Nicholas Weller and Jeb Barnes propose that a solution lies in 'pathway analysis', the use of case studies to explore the causal links between related variables. This book focuses on how the small-N component of multi-method research can meaningfully contribute and add value to the study of causal mechanisms. The authors present both an extended rationale for the unique role that case studies can play in causal mechanism research, and a detailed view of the types of knowledge that case studies should try to generate and how to leverage existing large-N data to guide the case selection process. The authors explain how to use their approach both to select cases and to provide context on previously studied cases.
Call Number: H62 Wel 2014
Publication Date: 2014-07-03
Multimethod Research, Causal Mechanisms, and Case Studies by Gary GoertzAn innovative and accessible textbook on multimethod and case-study research Multimethod research has become indispensable to doing social science, and is essential to anyone who conducts large-scale research projects in political science, sociology, education, comparative law, or business. This authoritative and accessible book offers the first truly comprehensive approach to multimethod and case-study research, and is particularly aimed at students of qualitative methods in the social sciences. Walking step-by-step through these cutting-edge tools and techniques, Gary Goertz introduces a new integrated approach that unites three corners of a powerful research triad--causal mechanisms, cross-case causal inference, and within-case causal inference. He explains how the investigation of causal mechanisms and the making of within-case causal inference are the central goals of multimethod and case study research, and provides a logic for connecting case studies and causal mechanism analysis with cross-case analysis, whether they are statistical analyses, experiments, or QCA. In addition, Goertz analyzes how one can generalize using case studies, as well as systematically test game-theoretic and other models using multiple case studies. Provides a fully integrated approach to multimethod and case-study research An essential resource for students and researchers in political science, sociology, education, law, and business Covers constraint causal mechanism, game theory and case studies, QCA, and the use of case studies to systematically test and generalize theories An ideal textbook for a first-year graduate course in methods or research design
Publication Date: 2017-08-15
Mixed methods [electronic resource] : interviews, surveys, and cross-cultural comparisons by Robert W. SchraufAttention to cultural variation has become an important source of insight in the social, behavioural, and health sciences. Mixed methods research provides an especially sensitive and powerful way to make systematic cross-cultural comparisons, in which qualitative approaches give a window onto cultural meaning and the phenomenological 'feel' of social life, and quantitative methods facilitate hypothesis testing and sophisticated modelling of social and behavioural phenomena. For researchers engaged in cross-cultural projects, this book offers a theory-based approach to integrating 'numbers' and 'text' based on discourse as the originary form of data collection, the method and framework of analysis, and the medium of publication. The book provides concise explanations, targeted examples, step-by-step instructions, and actual analyses of cross-cultural, quantitative survey data and qualitative interview data, with special attention to language(s) and translation as clues to the study of cultural variation.