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What Is Research Methodology? A Plain-Language Explanation & Definition (With Examples)

By Derek Jansen (MBA)  and Kerryn Warren (PhD) | June 2020 (Last updated April 2023)

If you’re new to formal academic research, it’s quite likely that you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all the technical lingo that gets thrown around. And who could blame you – “research methodology”, “research methods”, “sampling strategies”… it all seems never-ending!

In this post, we’ll demystify the landscape with plain-language explanations and loads of examples (including easy-to-follow videos), so that you can approach your dissertation, thesis or research project with confidence. Let’s get started.

Research Methodology 101

  • What exactly research methodology means
  • What qualitative , quantitative and mixed methods are
  • What sampling strategy is
  • What data collection methods are
  • What data analysis methods are
  • How to choose your research methodology
  • Example of a research methodology

Free Webinar: Research Methodology 101

What is research methodology?

Research methodology simply refers to the practical “how” of a research study. More specifically, it’s about how  a researcher  systematically designs a study  to ensure valid and reliable results that address the research aims, objectives and research questions . Specifically, how the researcher went about deciding:

  • What type of data to collect (e.g., qualitative or quantitative data )
  • Who  to collect it from (i.e., the sampling strategy )
  • How to  collect  it (i.e., the data collection method )
  • How to  analyse  it (i.e., the data analysis methods )

Within any formal piece of academic research (be it a dissertation, thesis or journal article), you’ll find a research methodology chapter or section which covers the aspects mentioned above. Importantly, a good methodology chapter explains not just   what methodological choices were made, but also explains  why they were made. In other words, the methodology chapter should justify  the design choices, by showing that the chosen methods and techniques are the best fit for the research aims, objectives and research questions. 

So, it’s the same as research design?

Not quite. As we mentioned, research methodology refers to the collection of practical decisions regarding what data you’ll collect, from who, how you’ll collect it and how you’ll analyse it. Research design, on the other hand, is more about the overall strategy you’ll adopt in your study. For example, whether you’ll use an experimental design in which you manipulate one variable while controlling others. You can learn more about research design and the various design types here .

Need a helping hand?

overview of research methodologies

What are qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods?

Qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods are different types of methodological approaches, distinguished by their focus on words , numbers or both . This is a bit of an oversimplification, but its a good starting point for understanding.

Let’s take a closer look.

Qualitative research refers to research which focuses on collecting and analysing words (written or spoken) and textual or visual data, whereas quantitative research focuses on measurement and testing using numerical data . Qualitative analysis can also focus on other “softer” data points, such as body language or visual elements.

It’s quite common for a qualitative methodology to be used when the research aims and research questions are exploratory  in nature. For example, a qualitative methodology might be used to understand peoples’ perceptions about an event that took place, or a political candidate running for president. 

Contrasted to this, a quantitative methodology is typically used when the research aims and research questions are confirmatory  in nature. For example, a quantitative methodology might be used to measure the relationship between two variables (e.g. personality type and likelihood to commit a crime) or to test a set of hypotheses .

As you’ve probably guessed, the mixed-method methodology attempts to combine the best of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to integrate perspectives and create a rich picture. If you’d like to learn more about these three methodological approaches, be sure to watch our explainer video below.

What is sampling strategy?

Simply put, sampling is about deciding who (or where) you’re going to collect your data from . Why does this matter? Well, generally it’s not possible to collect data from every single person in your group of interest (this is called the “population”), so you’ll need to engage a smaller portion of that group that’s accessible and manageable (this is called the “sample”).

How you go about selecting the sample (i.e., your sampling strategy) will have a major impact on your study.  There are many different sampling methods  you can choose from, but the two overarching categories are probability   sampling and  non-probability   sampling .

Probability sampling  involves using a completely random sample from the group of people you’re interested in. This is comparable to throwing the names all potential participants into a hat, shaking it up, and picking out the “winners”. By using a completely random sample, you’ll minimise the risk of selection bias and the results of your study will be more generalisable  to the entire population. 

Non-probability sampling , on the other hand,  doesn’t use a random sample . For example, it might involve using a convenience sample, which means you’d only interview or survey people that you have access to (perhaps your friends, family or work colleagues), rather than a truly random sample. With non-probability sampling, the results are typically not generalisable .

To learn more about sampling methods, be sure to check out the video below.

What are data collection methods?

As the name suggests, data collection methods simply refers to the way in which you go about collecting the data for your study. Some of the most common data collection methods include:

  • Interviews (which can be unstructured, semi-structured or structured)
  • Focus groups and group interviews
  • Surveys (online or physical surveys)
  • Observations (watching and recording activities)
  • Biophysical measurements (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, etc.)
  • Documents and records (e.g., financial reports, court records, etc.)

The choice of which data collection method to use depends on your overall research aims and research questions , as well as practicalities and resource constraints. For example, if your research is exploratory in nature, qualitative methods such as interviews and focus groups would likely be a good fit. Conversely, if your research aims to measure specific variables or test hypotheses, large-scale surveys that produce large volumes of numerical data would likely be a better fit.

What are data analysis methods?

Data analysis methods refer to the methods and techniques that you’ll use to make sense of your data. These can be grouped according to whether the research is qualitative  (words-based) or quantitative (numbers-based).

Popular data analysis methods in qualitative research include:

  • Qualitative content analysis
  • Thematic analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Narrative analysis
  • Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA)
  • Visual analysis (of photographs, videos, art, etc.)

Qualitative data analysis all begins with data coding , after which an analysis method is applied. In some cases, more than one analysis method is used, depending on the research aims and research questions . In the video below, we explore some  common qualitative analysis methods, along with practical examples.  

Moving on to the quantitative side of things, popular data analysis methods in this type of research include:

  • Descriptive statistics (e.g. means, medians, modes )
  • Inferential statistics (e.g. correlation, regression, structural equation modelling)

Again, the choice of which data collection method to use depends on your overall research aims and objectives , as well as practicalities and resource constraints. In the video below, we explain some core concepts central to quantitative analysis.

How do I choose a research methodology?

As you’ve probably picked up by now, your research aims and objectives have a major influence on the research methodology . So, the starting point for developing your research methodology is to take a step back and look at the big picture of your research, before you make methodology decisions. The first question you need to ask yourself is whether your research is exploratory or confirmatory in nature.

If your research aims and objectives are primarily exploratory in nature, your research will likely be qualitative and therefore you might consider qualitative data collection methods (e.g. interviews) and analysis methods (e.g. qualitative content analysis). 

Conversely, if your research aims and objective are looking to measure or test something (i.e. they’re confirmatory), then your research will quite likely be quantitative in nature, and you might consider quantitative data collection methods (e.g. surveys) and analyses (e.g. statistical analysis).

Designing your research and working out your methodology is a large topic, which we cover extensively on the blog . For now, however, the key takeaway is that you should always start with your research aims, objectives and research questions (the golden thread). Every methodological choice you make needs align with those three components. 

Example of a research methodology chapter

In the video below, we provide a detailed walkthrough of a research methodology from an actual dissertation, as well as an overview of our free methodology template .

overview of research methodologies

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

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What is descriptive statistics?


Leo Balanlay

Thank you for this simple yet comprehensive and easy to digest presentation. God Bless!

Derek Jansen

You’re most welcome, Leo. Best of luck with your research!


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Pondris Patrick

I am writing a APA Format paper . I using questionnaire with 120 STDs teacher for my participant. Can you write me mthology for this research. Send it through email sent. Just need a sample as an example please. My topic is ” impacts of overcrowding on students learning

Thanks for your comment.

We can’t write your methodology for you. If you’re looking for samples, you should be able to find some sample methodologies on Google. Alternatively, you can download some previous dissertations from a dissertation directory and have a look at the methodology chapters therein.

All the best with your research.


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Very interesting and informative yet I would like to know about examples of Research Questions as well, if possible.

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I’m about to submit a research presentation, I have come to understand from your simplification on understanding research methodology. My research will be mixed methodology, qualitative as well as quantitative. So aim and objective of mixed method would be both exploratory and confirmatory. Thanks you very much for your guidance.

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Great to hear that, Hyacinth. Best of luck with your research!

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Thanks for the feedback, Matobela. Good luck with your research methodology.


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You’re very welcome, Elie. Good luck with your research methodology.

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Thanks for the kind words, Edward. Good luck with your research!

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Great to hear that, Ngwisa. Good luck with your research methodology!


Thank you for keeping your presentation simples and short and covering key information for research methodology. My key takeaway: Start with defining your research objective the other will depend on the aims of your research question.


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I was given an assignment to research 2 publications and describe their research methodology? I don’t know how to start this task can someone help me?

Sure. You’re welcome to book an initial consultation with one of our Research Coaches to discuss how we can assist – .


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I am a bit confused about research design and methodology. Are they the same? If not, what are the differences and how are they related?

Thanks in advance.

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how do i reference this?


MLA Jansen, Derek, and Kerryn Warren. “What (Exactly) Is Research Methodology?” Grad Coach, June 2021,

APA Jansen, D., & Warren, K. (2021, June). What (Exactly) Is Research Methodology? Grad Coach.


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Research methods--quantitative, qualitative, and more: overview.

  • Quantitative Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Data Science Methods (Machine Learning, AI, Big Data)
  • Text Mining and Computational Text Analysis
  • Evidence Synthesis/Systematic Reviews
  • Get Data, Get Help!

About Research Methods

This guide provides an overview of research methods, how to choose and use them, and supports and resources at UC Berkeley. 

As Patten and Newhart note in the book Understanding Research Methods , "Research methods are the building blocks of the scientific enterprise. They are the "how" for building systematic knowledge. The accumulation of knowledge through research is by its nature a collective endeavor. Each well-designed study provides evidence that may support, amend, refute, or deepen the understanding of existing knowledge...Decisions are important throughout the practice of research and are designed to help researchers collect evidence that includes the full spectrum of the phenomenon under study, to maintain logical rules, and to mitigate or account for possible sources of bias. In many ways, learning research methods is learning how to see and make these decisions."

The choice of methods varies by discipline, by the kind of phenomenon being studied and the data being used to study it, by the technology available, and more.  This guide is an introduction, but if you don't see what you need here, always contact your subject librarian, and/or take a look to see if there's a library research guide that will answer your question. 

Suggestions for changes and additions to this guide are welcome! 

START HERE: SAGE Research Methods

Without question, the most comprehensive resource available from the library is SAGE Research Methods.  HERE IS THE ONLINE GUIDE  to this one-stop shopping collection, and some helpful links are below:

  • SAGE Research Methods
  • Little Green Books  (Quantitative Methods)
  • Little Blue Books  (Qualitative Methods)
  • Dictionaries and Encyclopedias  
  • Case studies of real research projects
  • Sample datasets for hands-on practice
  • Streaming video--see methods come to life
  • Methodspace- -a community for researchers
  • SAGE Research Methods Course Mapping

Library Data Services at UC Berkeley

Library Data Services Program and Digital Scholarship Services

The LDSP offers a variety of services and tools !  From this link, check out pages for each of the following topics:  discovering data, managing data, collecting data, GIS data, text data mining, publishing data, digital scholarship, open science, and the Research Data Management Program.

Be sure also to check out the visual guide to where to seek assistance on campus with any research question you may have!

Library GIS Services

Other Data Services at Berkeley

D-Lab Supports Berkeley faculty, staff, and graduate students with research in data intensive social science, including a wide range of training and workshop offerings Dryad Dryad is a simple self-service tool for researchers to use in publishing their datasets. It provides tools for the effective publication of and access to research data. Geospatial Innovation Facility (GIF) Provides leadership and training across a broad array of integrated mapping technologies on campu Research Data Management A UC Berkeley guide and consulting service for research data management issues

General Research Methods Resources

Here are some general resources for assistance:

  • Assistance from ICPSR (must create an account to access): Getting Help with Data , and Resources for Students
  • Wiley Stats Ref for background information on statistics topics
  • Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA) .  Program for easy web-based analysis of survey data.


  • D-Lab/Data Science Discovery Consultants Request help with your research project from peer consultants.
  • Research data (RDM) consulting Meet with RDM consultants before designing the data security, storage, and sharing aspects of your qualitative project.
  • Statistics Department Consulting Services A service in which advanced graduate students, under faculty supervision, are available to consult during specified hours in the Fall and Spring semesters.

Related Resourcex

  • IRB / CPHS Qualitative research projects with human subjects often require that you go through an ethics review.
  • OURS (Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships) OURS supports undergraduates who want to embark on research projects and assistantships. In particular, check out their "Getting Started in Research" workshops
  • Sponsored Projects Sponsored projects works with researchers applying for major external grants.
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Research Methodology: Overview of Research Methodology

  • Overview of Research Methodology
  • General Encyclopedias on Research Methodology
  • General Handbooks on Research Methodology
  • Focus Groups
  • Case Studies
  • Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Archival Research
  • Data Analysis

Research Methods Overview

If you are planning to do research - whether you are doing a student research project,  IQP,  MQP, GPS project, thesis, or dissertation, you need to use valid approaches and tools to set up your study, gather your data, and make sense of your findings. This research methods guide will help you choose a methodology and launch into your research project. 

Data collection and data analysis are  research methods  that can be applied to many disciplines. There is Qualitative research and Quantitative Research. The focus of this guide, includes most popular methods including: 

focus groups

case studies

We are happy to answer questions about research methods and assist with choosing a method that is right for your research in person or online. below is a video on how to book a research consultation

"How-To": Booking a Research Consultation

overview of research methodologies

" Research Data Management " by  Peter Neish  is marked with  CC0 1.0 .

Research Design vs Research Method

What is the difference between Research Design and Research Method?

Research design is a plan to answer your research question.  A research method is a strategy used to implement that plan.  Research design and methods are different but closely related, because good research design ensures that the data you obtain will help you answer your research question more effectively.

Which research method should I choose ?

It depends on your research goal.  It depends on what subjects (and who) you want to study.  Let's say you are interested in studying what makes people happy, or why some students are more conscious about recycling on campus.  To answer these questions, you need to make a decision about how to collect your data.  Most frequently used methods include:

  • Observation / Participant Observation
  • Experiments
  • Secondary Data Analysis / Archival Study
  • Mixed Methods (combination of some of the above)

One particular method could be better suited to your research goal than others, because the data you collect from different methods will be different in quality and quantity.   For instance, surveys are usually designed to produce relatively short answers, rather than the extensive responses expected in qualitative interviews.

What other factors should I consider when choosing one method over another?

Time for data collection and analysis is something you want to consider.  An observation or interview method, so-called qualitative approach, helps you collect richer information, but it takes time.  Using a survey helps you collect more data quickly, yet it may lack details.  So, you will need to consider the time you have for research and the balance between strengths and weaknesses associated with each method (e.g., qualitative vs. quantitative).

Research Data Management

Research Data Management (RDM) refers to how you are going to keep and share your data over longer time frame - like after you graduate. It is defined as the organization, documentation, storage, and  preservation  of the  data  resulting from the research process, where data can be broadly defined as the outcome of experiments or observations that validate research findings, and can take a variety of forms including numerical output ( quantitative data ),  qualitative data , documentation, images, audio, and video.

"Research Design"  by  George C Gordon Library  is licensed under  CC BY 4.0  / A derivative from the  original work

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Research Methodologies: Overview

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How to Use this Guide

This guide covers the basics of research methodologies:

  • Types of research methodologies
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  • Frequently asked questions about research methodologies

What is a Research Methodology?

A research methodology encompasses the way in which you intend to carry out your research. This includes how you plan to tackle things like collection methods, statistical analysis, participant observations, and more.

What is a Research Methodology?   This article discusses research methodologies and how to choose one for your research.

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • 6. The Methodology
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Applying Critical Thinking
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

The methods section describes actions taken to investigate a research problem and the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understanding the problem, thereby, allowing the reader to critically evaluate a study’s overall validity and reliability. The methodology section of a research paper answers two main questions: How was the data collected or generated? And, how was it analyzed? The writing should be direct and precise and always written in the past tense.

Kallet, Richard H. "How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper." Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004): 1229-1232.

Importance of a Good Methodology Section

You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons:

  • Readers need to know how the data was obtained because the method you chose affects the results and, by extension, how you interpreted their significance in the discussion section of your paper.
  • Methodology is crucial for any branch of scholarship because an unreliable method produces unreliable results and, as a consequence, undermines the value of your analysis of the findings.
  • In most cases, there are a variety of different methods you can choose to investigate a research problem. The methodology section of your paper should clearly articulate the reasons why you have chosen a particular procedure or technique.
  • The reader wants to know that the data was collected or generated in a way that is consistent with accepted practice in the field of study. For example, if you are using a multiple choice questionnaire, readers need to know that it offered your respondents a reasonable range of answers to choose from.
  • The method must be appropriate to fulfilling the overall aims of the study. For example, you need to ensure that you have a large enough sample size to be able to generalize and make recommendations based upon the findings.
  • The methodology should discuss the problems that were anticipated and the steps you took to prevent them from occurring. For any problems that do arise, you must describe the ways in which they were minimized or why these problems do not impact in any meaningful way your interpretation of the findings.
  • In the social and behavioral sciences, it is important to always provide sufficient information to allow other researchers to adopt or replicate your methodology. This information is particularly important when a new method has been developed or an innovative use of an existing method is utilized.

Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Psychology Writing Center. University of Washington; Denscombe, Martyn. The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects . 5th edition. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press, 2014; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Groups of Research Methods

There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences:

  • The e mpirical-analytical group approaches the study of social sciences in a similar manner that researchers study the natural sciences . This type of research focuses on objective knowledge, research questions that can be answered yes or no, and operational definitions of variables to be measured. The empirical-analytical group employs deductive reasoning that uses existing theory as a foundation for formulating hypotheses that need to be tested. This approach is focused on explanation.
  • The i nterpretative group of methods is focused on understanding phenomenon in a comprehensive, holistic way . Interpretive methods focus on analytically disclosing the meaning-making practices of human subjects [the why, how, or by what means people do what they do], while showing how those practices arrange so that it can be used to generate observable outcomes. Interpretive methods allow you to recognize your connection to the phenomena under investigation. However, the interpretative group requires careful examination of variables because it focuses more on subjective knowledge.

II.  Content

The introduction to your methodology section should begin by restating the research problem and underlying assumptions underpinning your study. This is followed by situating the methods you used to gather, analyze, and process information within the overall “tradition” of your field of study and within the particular research design you have chosen to study the problem. If the method you choose lies outside of the tradition of your field [i.e., your review of the literature demonstrates that the method is not commonly used], provide a justification for how your choice of methods specifically addresses the research problem in ways that have not been utilized in prior studies.

The remainder of your methodology section should describe the following:

  • Decisions made in selecting the data you have analyzed or, in the case of qualitative research, the subjects and research setting you have examined,
  • Tools and methods used to identify and collect information, and how you identified relevant variables,
  • The ways in which you processed the data and the procedures you used to analyze that data, and
  • The specific research tools or strategies that you utilized to study the underlying hypothesis and research questions.

In addition, an effectively written methodology section should:

  • Introduce the overall methodological approach for investigating your research problem . Is your study qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both (mixed method)? Are you going to take a special approach, such as action research, or a more neutral stance?
  • Indicate how the approach fits the overall research design . Your methods for gathering data should have a clear connection to your research problem. In other words, make sure that your methods will actually address the problem. One of the most common deficiencies found in research papers is that the proposed methodology is not suitable to achieving the stated objective of your paper.
  • Describe the specific methods of data collection you are going to use , such as, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, observation, archival research. If you are analyzing existing data, such as a data set or archival documents, describe how it was originally created or gathered and by whom. Also be sure to explain how older data is still relevant to investigating the current research problem.
  • Explain how you intend to analyze your results . Will you use statistical analysis? Will you use specific theoretical perspectives to help you analyze a text or explain observed behaviors? Describe how you plan to obtain an accurate assessment of relationships, patterns, trends, distributions, and possible contradictions found in the data.
  • Provide background and a rationale for methodologies that are unfamiliar for your readers . Very often in the social sciences, research problems and the methods for investigating them require more explanation/rationale than widely accepted rules governing the natural and physical sciences. Be clear and concise in your explanation.
  • Provide a justification for subject selection and sampling procedure . For instance, if you propose to conduct interviews, how do you intend to select the sample population? If you are analyzing texts, which texts have you chosen, and why? If you are using statistics, why is this set of data being used? If other data sources exist, explain why the data you chose is most appropriate to addressing the research problem.
  • Provide a justification for case study selection . A common method of analyzing research problems in the social sciences is to analyze specific cases. These can be a person, place, event, phenomenon, or other type of subject of analysis that are either examined as a singular topic of in-depth investigation or multiple topics of investigation studied for the purpose of comparing or contrasting findings. In either method, you should explain why a case or cases were chosen and how they specifically relate to the research problem.
  • Describe potential limitations . Are there any practical limitations that could affect your data collection? How will you attempt to control for potential confounding variables and errors? If your methodology may lead to problems you can anticipate, state this openly and show why pursuing this methodology outweighs the risk of these problems cropping up.

NOTE :   Once you have written all of the elements of the methods section, subsequent revisions should focus on how to present those elements as clearly and as logically as possibly. The description of how you prepared to study the research problem, how you gathered the data, and the protocol for analyzing the data should be organized chronologically. For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic. If necessary, consider using appendices for raw data.

ANOTHER NOTE : If you are conducting a qualitative analysis of a research problem , the methodology section generally requires a more elaborate description of the methods used as well as an explanation of the processes applied to gathering and analyzing of data than is generally required for studies using quantitative methods. Because you are the primary instrument for generating the data [e.g., through interviews or observations], the process for collecting that data has a significantly greater impact on producing the findings. Therefore, qualitative research requires a more detailed description of the methods used.

YET ANOTHER NOTE :   If your study involves interviews, observations, or other qualitative techniques involving human subjects , you may be required to obtain approval from the university's Office for the Protection of Research Subjects before beginning your research. This is not a common procedure for most undergraduate level student research assignments. However, i f your professor states you need approval, you must include a statement in your methods section that you received official endorsement and adequate informed consent from the office and that there was a clear assessment and minimization of risks to participants and to the university. This statement informs the reader that your study was conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. In some cases, the approval notice is included as an appendix to your paper.

III.  Problems to Avoid

Irrelevant Detail The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but concise. Do not provide any background information that does not directly help the reader understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how the data was analyzed in relation to the research problem [note: analyzed, not interpreted! Save how you interpreted the findings for the discussion section]. With this in mind, the page length of your methods section will generally be less than any other section of your paper except the conclusion.

Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures. The focus should be on how you applied a method , not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery.

Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials. Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose.

Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i.e., the choice of a survey should include any citations to the works you used to help construct the survey].

It’s More than Sources of Information! A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information. Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources.

Azevedo, L.F. et al. "How to Write a Scientific Paper: Writing the Methods Section." Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia 17 (2011): 232-238; Blair Lorrie. “Choosing a Methodology.” In Writing a Graduate Thesis or Dissertation , Teaching Writing Series. (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers 2016), pp. 49-72; Butin, Dan W. The Education Dissertation A Guide for Practitioner Scholars . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2010; Carter, Susan. Structuring Your Research Thesis . New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012; Kallet, Richard H. “How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper.” Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004):1229-1232; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008. Methods Section. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Rudestam, Kjell Erik and Rae R. Newton. “The Method Chapter: Describing Your Research Plan.” In Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process . (Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, 2015), pp. 87-115; What is Interpretive Research. Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Utah; Writing the Experimental Report: Methods, Results, and Discussion. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College.

Writing Tip

Statistical Designs and Tests? Do Not Fear Them!

Don't avoid using a quantitative approach to analyzing your research problem just because you fear the idea of applying statistical designs and tests. A qualitative approach, such as conducting interviews or content analysis of archival texts, can yield exciting new insights about a research problem, but it should not be undertaken simply because you have a disdain for running a simple regression. A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways, whereas, a similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerable time to analyze large volumes of data and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path associated with your research problem had existed.

To locate data and statistics, GO HERE .

Another Writing Tip

Knowing the Relationship Between Theories and Methods

There can be multiple meaning associated with the term "theories" and the term "methods" in social sciences research. A helpful way to delineate between them is to understand "theories" as representing different ways of characterizing the social world when you research it and "methods" as representing different ways of generating and analyzing data about that social world. Framed in this way, all empirical social sciences research involves theories and methods, whether they are stated explicitly or not. However, while theories and methods are often related, it is important that, as a researcher, you deliberately separate them in order to avoid your theories playing a disproportionate role in shaping what outcomes your chosen methods produce.

Introspectively engage in an ongoing dialectic between the application of theories and methods to help enable you to use the outcomes from your methods to interrogate and develop new theories, or ways of framing conceptually the research problem. This is how scholarship grows and branches out into new intellectual territory.

Reynolds, R. Larry. Ways of Knowing. Alternative Microeconomics . Part 1, Chapter 3. Boise State University; The Theory-Method Relationship. S-Cool Revision. United Kingdom.

Yet Another Writing Tip

Methods and the Methodology

Do not confuse the terms "methods" and "methodology." As Schneider notes, a method refers to the technical steps taken to do research . Descriptions of methods usually include defining and stating why you have chosen specific techniques to investigate a research problem, followed by an outline of the procedures you used to systematically select, gather, and process the data [remember to always save the interpretation of data for the discussion section of your paper].

The methodology refers to a discussion of the underlying reasoning why particular methods were used . This discussion includes describing the theoretical concepts that inform the choice of methods to be applied, placing the choice of methods within the more general nature of academic work, and reviewing its relevance to examining the research problem. The methodology section also includes a thorough review of the methods other scholars have used to study the topic.

Bryman, Alan. "Of Methods and Methodology." Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal 3 (2008): 159-168; Schneider, Florian. “What's in a Methodology: The Difference between Method, Methodology, and Theory…and How to Get the Balance Right?” Chinese Department, University of Leiden, Netherlands.

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Research Method

Home » Research Methods – Types, Examples and Guide

Research Methods – Types, Examples and Guide

Table of Contents

Research Methods

Research Methods


Research Methods refer to the techniques, procedures, and processes used by researchers to collect , analyze, and interpret data in order to answer research questions or test hypotheses. The methods used in research can vary depending on the research questions, the type of data that is being collected, and the research design.

Types of Research Methods

Types of Research Methods are as follows:

Qualitative research Method

Qualitative research methods are used to collect and analyze non-numerical data. This type of research is useful when the objective is to explore the meaning of phenomena, understand the experiences of individuals, or gain insights into complex social processes. Qualitative research methods include interviews, focus groups, ethnography, and content analysis.

Quantitative Research Method

Quantitative research methods are used to collect and analyze numerical data. This type of research is useful when the objective is to test a hypothesis, determine cause-and-effect relationships, and measure the prevalence of certain phenomena. Quantitative research methods include surveys, experiments, and secondary data analysis.

Mixed Method Research

Mixed Method Research refers to the combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods in a single study. This approach aims to overcome the limitations of each individual method and to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the research topic. This approach allows researchers to gather both quantitative data, which is often used to test hypotheses and make generalizations about a population, and qualitative data, which provides a more in-depth understanding of the experiences and perspectives of individuals.

Key Differences Between Research Methods

The following Table shows the key differences between Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Research Methods

Examples of Research Methods

Examples of Research Methods are as follows:

Qualitative Research Example:

A researcher wants to study the experience of cancer patients during their treatment. They conduct in-depth interviews with patients to gather data on their emotional state, coping mechanisms, and support systems.

Quantitative Research Example:

A company wants to determine the effectiveness of a new advertisement campaign. They survey a large group of people, asking them to rate their awareness of the product and their likelihood of purchasing it.

Mixed Research Example:

A university wants to evaluate the effectiveness of a new teaching method in improving student performance. They collect both quantitative data (such as test scores) and qualitative data (such as feedback from students and teachers) to get a complete picture of the impact of the new method.

Applications of Research Methods

Research methods are used in various fields to investigate, analyze, and answer research questions. Here are some examples of how research methods are applied in different fields:

  • Psychology : Research methods are widely used in psychology to study human behavior, emotions, and mental processes. For example, researchers may use experiments, surveys, and observational studies to understand how people behave in different situations, how they respond to different stimuli, and how their brains process information.
  • Sociology : Sociologists use research methods to study social phenomena, such as social inequality, social change, and social relationships. Researchers may use surveys, interviews, and observational studies to collect data on social attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
  • Medicine : Research methods are essential in medical research to study diseases, test new treatments, and evaluate their effectiveness. Researchers may use clinical trials, case studies, and laboratory experiments to collect data on the efficacy and safety of different medical treatments.
  • Education : Research methods are used in education to understand how students learn, how teachers teach, and how educational policies affect student outcomes. Researchers may use surveys, experiments, and observational studies to collect data on student performance, teacher effectiveness, and educational programs.
  • Business : Research methods are used in business to understand consumer behavior, market trends, and business strategies. Researchers may use surveys, focus groups, and observational studies to collect data on consumer preferences, market trends, and industry competition.
  • Environmental science : Research methods are used in environmental science to study the natural world and its ecosystems. Researchers may use field studies, laboratory experiments, and observational studies to collect data on environmental factors, such as air and water quality, and the impact of human activities on the environment.
  • Political science : Research methods are used in political science to study political systems, institutions, and behavior. Researchers may use surveys, experiments, and observational studies to collect data on political attitudes, voting behavior, and the impact of policies on society.

Purpose of Research Methods

Research methods serve several purposes, including:

  • Identify research problems: Research methods are used to identify research problems or questions that need to be addressed through empirical investigation.
  • Develop hypotheses: Research methods help researchers develop hypotheses, which are tentative explanations for the observed phenomenon or relationship.
  • Collect data: Research methods enable researchers to collect data in a systematic and objective way, which is necessary to test hypotheses and draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Analyze data: Research methods provide tools and techniques for analyzing data, such as statistical analysis, content analysis, and discourse analysis.
  • Test hypotheses: Research methods allow researchers to test hypotheses by examining the relationships between variables in a systematic and controlled manner.
  • Draw conclusions : Research methods facilitate the drawing of conclusions based on empirical evidence and help researchers make generalizations about a population based on their sample data.
  • Enhance understanding: Research methods contribute to the development of knowledge and enhance our understanding of various phenomena and relationships, which can inform policy, practice, and theory.

When to Use Research Methods

Research methods are used when you need to gather information or data to answer a question or to gain insights into a particular phenomenon.

Here are some situations when research methods may be appropriate:

  • To investigate a problem : Research methods can be used to investigate a problem or a research question in a particular field. This can help in identifying the root cause of the problem and developing solutions.
  • To gather data: Research methods can be used to collect data on a particular subject. This can be done through surveys, interviews, observations, experiments, and more.
  • To evaluate programs : Research methods can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of a program, intervention, or policy. This can help in determining whether the program is meeting its goals and objectives.
  • To explore new areas : Research methods can be used to explore new areas of inquiry or to test new hypotheses. This can help in advancing knowledge in a particular field.
  • To make informed decisions : Research methods can be used to gather information and data to support informed decision-making. This can be useful in various fields such as healthcare, business, and education.

Advantages of Research Methods

Research methods provide several advantages, including:

  • Objectivity : Research methods enable researchers to gather data in a systematic and objective manner, minimizing personal biases and subjectivity. This leads to more reliable and valid results.
  • Replicability : A key advantage of research methods is that they allow for replication of studies by other researchers. This helps to confirm the validity of the findings and ensures that the results are not specific to the particular research team.
  • Generalizability : Research methods enable researchers to gather data from a representative sample of the population, allowing for generalizability of the findings to a larger population. This increases the external validity of the research.
  • Precision : Research methods enable researchers to gather data using standardized procedures, ensuring that the data is accurate and precise. This allows researchers to make accurate predictions and draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Efficiency : Research methods enable researchers to gather data efficiently, saving time and resources. This is especially important when studying large populations or complex phenomena.
  • Innovation : Research methods enable researchers to develop new techniques and tools for data collection and analysis, leading to innovation and advancement in the field.

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What is Research Methodology? Definition, Types, and Examples

overview of research methodologies

Research methodology 1,2 is a structured and scientific approach used to collect, analyze, and interpret quantitative or qualitative data to answer research questions or test hypotheses. A research methodology is like a plan for carrying out research and helps keep researchers on track by limiting the scope of the research. Several aspects must be considered before selecting an appropriate research methodology, such as research limitations and ethical concerns that may affect your research.

The research methodology section in a scientific paper describes the different methodological choices made, such as the data collection and analysis methods, and why these choices were selected. The reasons should explain why the methods chosen are the most appropriate to answer the research question. A good research methodology also helps ensure the reliability and validity of the research findings. There are three types of research methodology—quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method, which can be chosen based on the research objectives.

What is research methodology ?

A research methodology describes the techniques and procedures used to identify and analyze information regarding a specific research topic. It is a process by which researchers design their study so that they can achieve their objectives using the selected research instruments. It includes all the important aspects of research, including research design, data collection methods, data analysis methods, and the overall framework within which the research is conducted. While these points can help you understand what is research methodology, you also need to know why it is important to pick the right methodology.

Why is research methodology important?

Having a good research methodology in place has the following advantages: 3

  • Helps other researchers who may want to replicate your research; the explanations will be of benefit to them.
  • You can easily answer any questions about your research if they arise at a later stage.
  • A research methodology provides a framework and guidelines for researchers to clearly define research questions, hypotheses, and objectives.
  • It helps researchers identify the most appropriate research design, sampling technique, and data collection and analysis methods.
  • A sound research methodology helps researchers ensure that their findings are valid and reliable and free from biases and errors.
  • It also helps ensure that ethical guidelines are followed while conducting research.
  • A good research methodology helps researchers in planning their research efficiently, by ensuring optimum usage of their time and resources.

Writing the methods section of a research paper? Let Paperpal help you achieve perfection

Types of research methodology.

There are three types of research methodology based on the type of research and the data required. 1

  • Quantitative research methodology focuses on measuring and testing numerical data. This approach is good for reaching a large number of people in a short amount of time. This type of research helps in testing the causal relationships between variables, making predictions, and generalizing results to wider populations.
  • Qualitative research methodology examines the opinions, behaviors, and experiences of people. It collects and analyzes words and textual data. This research methodology requires fewer participants but is still more time consuming because the time spent per participant is quite large. This method is used in exploratory research where the research problem being investigated is not clearly defined.
  • Mixed-method research methodology uses the characteristics of both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies in the same study. This method allows researchers to validate their findings, verify if the results observed using both methods are complementary, and explain any unexpected results obtained from one method by using the other method.

What are the types of sampling designs in research methodology?

Sampling 4 is an important part of a research methodology and involves selecting a representative sample of the population to conduct the study, making statistical inferences about them, and estimating the characteristics of the whole population based on these inferences. There are two types of sampling designs in research methodology—probability and nonprobability.

  • Probability sampling

In this type of sampling design, a sample is chosen from a larger population using some form of random selection, that is, every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. The different types of probability sampling are:

  • Systematic —sample members are chosen at regular intervals. It requires selecting a starting point for the sample and sample size determination that can be repeated at regular intervals. This type of sampling method has a predefined range; hence, it is the least time consuming.
  • Stratified —researchers divide the population into smaller groups that don’t overlap but represent the entire population. While sampling, these groups can be organized, and then a sample can be drawn from each group separately.
  • Cluster —the population is divided into clusters based on demographic parameters like age, sex, location, etc.
  • Convenience —selects participants who are most easily accessible to researchers due to geographical proximity, availability at a particular time, etc.
  • Purposive —participants are selected at the researcher’s discretion. Researchers consider the purpose of the study and the understanding of the target audience.
  • Snowball —already selected participants use their social networks to refer the researcher to other potential participants.
  • Quota —while designing the study, the researchers decide how many people with which characteristics to include as participants. The characteristics help in choosing people most likely to provide insights into the subject.

What are data collection methods?

During research, data are collected using various methods depending on the research methodology being followed and the research methods being undertaken. Both qualitative and quantitative research have different data collection methods, as listed below.

Qualitative research 5

  • One-on-one interviews: Helps the interviewers understand a respondent’s subjective opinion and experience pertaining to a specific topic or event
  • Document study/literature review/record keeping: Researchers’ review of already existing written materials such as archives, annual reports, research articles, guidelines, policy documents, etc.
  • Focus groups: Constructive discussions that usually include a small sample of about 6-10 people and a moderator, to understand the participants’ opinion on a given topic.
  • Qualitative observation : Researchers collect data using their five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing).

Quantitative research 6

  • Sampling: The most common type is probability sampling.
  • Interviews: Commonly telephonic or done in-person.
  • Observations: Structured observations are most commonly used in quantitative research. In this method, researchers make observations about specific behaviors of individuals in a structured setting.
  • Document review: Reviewing existing research or documents to collect evidence for supporting the research.
  • Surveys and questionnaires. Surveys can be administered both online and offline depending on the requirement and sample size.

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What are data analysis methods.

The data collected using the various methods for qualitative and quantitative research need to be analyzed to generate meaningful conclusions. These data analysis methods 7 also differ between quantitative and qualitative research.

Quantitative research involves a deductive method for data analysis where hypotheses are developed at the beginning of the research and precise measurement is required. The methods include statistical analysis applications to analyze numerical data and are grouped into two categories—descriptive and inferential.

Descriptive analysis is used to describe the basic features of different types of data to present it in a way that ensures the patterns become meaningful. The different types of descriptive analysis methods are:

  • Measures of frequency (count, percent, frequency)
  • Measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode)
  • Measures of dispersion or variation (range, variance, standard deviation)
  • Measure of position (percentile ranks, quartile ranks)

Inferential analysis is used to make predictions about a larger population based on the analysis of the data collected from a smaller population. This analysis is used to study the relationships between different variables. Some commonly used inferential data analysis methods are:

  • Correlation: To understand the relationship between two or more variables.
  • Cross-tabulation: Analyze the relationship between multiple variables.
  • Regression analysis: Study the impact of independent variables on the dependent variable.
  • Frequency tables: To understand the frequency of data.
  • Analysis of variance: To test the degree to which two or more variables differ in an experiment.

Qualitative research involves an inductive method for data analysis where hypotheses are developed after data collection. The methods include:

  • Content analysis: For analyzing documented information from text and images by determining the presence of certain words or concepts in texts.
  • Narrative analysis: For analyzing content obtained from sources such as interviews, field observations, and surveys. The stories and opinions shared by people are used to answer research questions.
  • Discourse analysis: For analyzing interactions with people considering the social context, that is, the lifestyle and environment, under which the interaction occurs.
  • Grounded theory: Involves hypothesis creation by data collection and analysis to explain why a phenomenon occurred.
  • Thematic analysis: To identify important themes or patterns in data and use these to address an issue.

How to choose a research methodology?

Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a research methodology: 8

  • Research objectives, aims, and questions —these would help structure the research design.
  • Review existing literature to identify any gaps in knowledge.
  • Check the statistical requirements —if data-driven or statistical results are needed then quantitative research is the best. If the research questions can be answered based on people’s opinions and perceptions, then qualitative research is most suitable.
  • Sample size —sample size can often determine the feasibility of a research methodology. For a large sample, less effort- and time-intensive methods are appropriate.
  • Constraints —constraints of time, geography, and resources can help define the appropriate methodology.

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How to write a research methodology .

A research methodology should include the following components: 3,9

  • Research design —should be selected based on the research question and the data required. Common research designs include experimental, quasi-experimental, correlational, descriptive, and exploratory.
  • Research method —this can be quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method.
  • Reason for selecting a specific methodology —explain why this methodology is the most suitable to answer your research problem.
  • Research instruments —explain the research instruments you plan to use, mainly referring to the data collection methods such as interviews, surveys, etc. Here as well, a reason should be mentioned for selecting the particular instrument.
  • Sampling —this involves selecting a representative subset of the population being studied.
  • Data collection —involves gathering data using several data collection methods, such as surveys, interviews, etc.
  • Data analysis —describe the data analysis methods you will use once you’ve collected the data.
  • Research limitations —mention any limitations you foresee while conducting your research.
  • Validity and reliability —validity helps identify the accuracy and truthfulness of the findings; reliability refers to the consistency and stability of the results over time and across different conditions.
  • Ethical considerations —research should be conducted ethically. The considerations include obtaining consent from participants, maintaining confidentiality, and addressing conflicts of interest.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the key components of research methodology?

A1. A good research methodology has the following key components:

  • Research design
  • Data collection procedures
  • Data analysis methods
  • Ethical considerations

Q2. Why is ethical consideration important in research methodology?

A2. Ethical consideration is important in research methodology to ensure the readers of the reliability and validity of the study. Researchers must clearly mention the ethical norms and standards followed during the conduct of the research and also mention if the research has been cleared by any institutional board. The following 10 points are the important principles related to ethical considerations: 10

  • Participants should not be subjected to harm.
  • Respect for the dignity of participants should be prioritized.
  • Full consent should be obtained from participants before the study.
  • Participants’ privacy should be ensured.
  • Confidentiality of the research data should be ensured.
  • Anonymity of individuals and organizations participating in the research should be maintained.
  • The aims and objectives of the research should not be exaggerated.
  • Affiliations, sources of funding, and any possible conflicts of interest should be declared.
  • Communication in relation to the research should be honest and transparent.
  • Misleading information and biased representation of primary data findings should be avoided.

Q3. What is the difference between methodology and method?

A3. Research methodology is different from a research method, although both terms are often confused. Research methods are the tools used to gather data, while the research methodology provides a framework for how research is planned, conducted, and analyzed. The latter guides researchers in making decisions about the most appropriate methods for their research. Research methods refer to the specific techniques, procedures, and tools used by researchers to collect, analyze, and interpret data, for instance surveys, questionnaires, interviews, etc.

Research methodology is, thus, an integral part of a research study. It helps ensure that you stay on track to meet your research objectives and answer your research questions using the most appropriate data collection and analysis tools based on your research design.

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  • Research methodologies. Pfeiffer Library website. Accessed August 15, 2023.
  • Types of research methodology. Eduvoice website. Accessed August 16, 2023.
  • The basics of research methodology: A key to quality research. Voxco. Accessed August 16, 2023.
  • Sampling methods: Types with examples. QuestionPro website. Accessed August 16, 2023.
  • What is qualitative research? Methods, types, approaches, examples. Researcher.Life blog. Accessed August 15, 2023.
  • What is quantitative research? Definition, methods, types, and examples. Researcher.Life blog. Accessed August 15, 2023.
  • Data analysis in research: Types & methods. QuestionPro website. Accessed August 16, 2023.
  • Factors to consider while choosing the right research methodology. PhD Monster website. Accessed August 17, 2023.
  • What is research methodology? Research and writing guides. Accessed August 14, 2023.
  • Ethical considerations. Business research methodology website. Accessed August 17, 2023.

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Overview of the Research Process

  • First Online: 01 January 2012

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Research is a rigorous problem-solving process whose ultimate goal is the discovery of new knowledge. Research may include the description of a new phenomenon, definition of a new relationship, development of a new model, or application of an existing principle or procedure to a new context. Research is systematic, logical, empirical, reductive, replicable and transmittable, and generalizable. Research can be classified according to a variety of dimensions: basic, applied, or translational; hypothesis generating or hypothesis testing; retrospective or prospective; longitudinal or cross-sectional; observational or experimental; and quantitative or qualitative. The ultimate success of a research project is heavily dependent on adequate planning.

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Supino, P.G. (2012). Overview of the Research Process. In: Supino, P., Borer, J. (eds) Principles of Research Methodology. Springer, New York, NY.

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Research MethodologyOverview of Qualitative Research

Qualitative research methods are a robust tool for chaplaincy research questions. Similar to much of chaplaincy clinical care, qualitative research generally works with written texts, often transcriptions of individual interviews or focus group conversations and seeks to understand the meaning of experience in a study sample. This article describes three common methodologies: ethnography, grounded theory, and phenomenology. Issues to consider relating to the study sample, design, and analysis are discussed. Enhancing the validity of the data, as well reliability and ethical issues in qualitative research are described. Qualitative research is an accessible way for chaplains to contribute new knowledge about the sacred dimension of people's lived experience.


Qualitative research is, “the systematic collection, organization, and interpretation of textual material derived from talk or conversation. It is used in the exploration of meanings of social phenomena as experienced by individuals themselves, in their natural context” ( Malterud, 2001 , p. 483). It can be the most accessible means of entry for chaplains into the world of research because, like clinical conversations, it focuses on eliciting people's stories. The stories can actually be expressed in almost any medium: conversations (interviews or focus groups), written texts (journal, prayers, or letters), or visual forms (drawings, photographs). Qualitative research may involve presenting data collected from a single person, as in a case study ( Risk, 2013 ), or from a group of people, as in one of my studies of parents of children with cystic fibrosis (CF) ( Grossoehme et al., 2013 ). Whole books are devoted to qualitative research methodology and, indeed, to the individual methods themselves. This article is intended to present, in rather broad brushstrokes, some of the “methods of choice” and to suggest some issues to consider before embarking on a qualitative research project. Helpful texts are cited to provide resources for more complete information.

Although virtually anything may be data, spoken mediums are the most common forms of collecting data in health research, so the focus of this article will mainly be on interviews and to a lesser extent, focus groups. Interviews explore experiences of individuals, and through a series of questions and answers, the meaning individuals give to their experiences ( Tong, Sainsbury, & Craig, 2007 ). They may be “structured” interviews, in which an interview guide is used with pre-determined questions from which no deviation is permitted by the interviewer, or semi-structured interviews, in which an interview guide is used with pre-determined questions and potential follow-up questions. The latter allows the interviewer to pursue topics that arise during the interview that seem relevant ( Cohen & Crabtree, 2006 ). Writing good questions is harder than it appears! In my first unit of CPE, the supervisor returned verbatims, especially our early efforts, with “DCFQ” written in the margin, for “direct, closed, factual question.” We quickly learned to avoid DCFQs in our clinical conversations because they did not create the space for reflection on illness and the sacred the way open-ended questions did. To some extent, writing good open-ended questions that elicit stories can come more readily to chaplains, due perhaps to our training, than to investigators from other disciplines. This is not to say writing an interview guide is easy or an aspect of research that can be taken lightly, as the quality of the data you collect, and hence the quality of your study, depends on the quality of your interview questions.

Data may also be collected using focus groups. Focus groups are normally built around a specific topic. They almost always follow a semi-structured format and include open discussion of responses among participants, which may range from four to twelve people ( Tong et al., 2007 ). They provide an excellent means to gather data on an entire range of responses to a topic, or on the social interactions between participants, or to clarify a process. Once the data are collected, the analytic approach is typically similar to that of interview data.

Qualitative investigators are not disinterested outsiders who merely observe without interacting with participants, but affect and are affected by their data. The investigator's emotions as they read participants' narratives are data to be included in the study. Simply asking “research” questions can itself be a chaplaincy intervention: what we ask affects the other person and can lead them to reflect and change ( Grossoehme, 2011 ). It is important to articulate our biases and understand how they influence us when we collect and analyze data. Qualitative research is often done by a small group of researchers, especially the data coding. This minimizes the bias of an individual investigator. Inevitably, two or more people will code passages differently at times. It is important to establish at the outset how such discrepancies will be handled.

Ensuring Rigor, Validity, and Reliability

Some people do not think qualitative research is not very robust or significant. This attitude is due, in part, to the poor quality of some early efforts. Increasingly, however, qualitative studies have improved in rigor, and reviewers of qualitative manuscripts expect investigators to have addressed problematic issues from the start of the project. Two important areas are validity and reliability. Validity refers to whether or not the final product (usually referred to a “model”) truly portrays what it claims to portray. If you think of a scale on which you weigh yourself, you want a valid reading so that you know your correct weight. Reliability refers to the extent to which the results are repeatable; if someone else repeated this study, would they obtain the same result? To continue the scale analogy, a reliable scale gives the same weight every time I step on it. A scale can be reliable without being valid. The scale could reliably read 72 pounds every time I step on it, but that value is hardly correct, so the measure is not valid.

Swinton and Mowat (2006) discussed ensuring the “trustworthiness” of the data. N narrative data which are “rich” in their use of metaphor and description, and which express deeper levels of meaning and nuance compared to everyday language are likely to yield a trustworthy final model because the investigators have done a credible job of completely describing and understanding the topic that is under study. Validity is also enhanced by some methodologies, such as grounded theory, which use participants' own words to name categories and themes, instead of using labels given by the investigator. The concept of “member checking” also enhances validity. Once the analyses are complete and a final model has been developed, these findings are shown to all or some of the participants (the members) who are invited to check the findings and give feedback. Do they see themselves in the words or conceptual model that is presented? Do they offer participants a new insight, or do they nod agreement without really reengaging the findings?


One means of demonstrating reliability is to document the research decisions made along the way, as they were made, perhaps in a research diary ( Swinton & Mowat, 2006 ). Qualitative methodologies accept that the investigator is part of what is being studied and will influence it, and that this does not devalue a study but, in fact, enhances it. Simply deciding what questions to ask or not ask, and who you ask them to (and not) reflect certain decisions that should be consciously made and documented. Another researcher should be able to understand what was done and why from reading the research diary.


Elisa Sobo (2009) defines ethnography as the presentation of, “… a given group's conceptual world, seen and experienced from the inside” (p. 297). Ethnography answers the question, “what's it like to be this person?” One example of this kind of study comes from the work of Fore and colleagues ( Fore, Goldenhar, Margolis, & Seid, 2013 ). In order to design tools that would enable clinicians and persons with pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IDB) to work together more efficiently, an ethnographic study was undertaken to learn what it was like for a family when a child had IDB. After 36 interviews, the study team was able to create three parent-child dyad personas: archetypes of parents and children with IDB based directly on the data they gathered. These personas were used by the design team to think about how different types of parents and children adapted to the disease and to think what tools should be developed to help different types of parents and children with IDB. An ethnographic study is the method of choice when the goal is to understand a culture, and to present, or explain, its spoken and unspoken nature to people who are not part of the culture, as in the example above of IDB. Before “outsiders” could think about the needs of people with IDB, it was necessary to learn what it is like to live with this disease.

Determining the sample in ethnographic studies typically means using what is called a purposive sample ( Newfield, Sells, Smith, Newfield, & Newfield, 1996 ). Purposive samples are based on criteria that the investigator establishes at the outset, which describe participant characteristics. In the aforementioned IDB example, the criteria were: (1) being a person with IDB who was between 12 and 22 years old or the parent of such a child; (2) being or having a child whose IDB care was provided at one of a particular group of treatment centers; (3) being a pediatric gastrointestinal nurse at one of the centers; or (4) a physician/researcher at one of five treatment centers. Having a sample that is representative of the larger population, always the goal in quantitative research, is not the point in ethnographic studies. Here, the goal is to recruit participants who have the experience to respond to the questions. Out of their intimate knowledge of their culture, the investigator can build a theory, or conceptual model, which could later be tested for generalizability in an entire population.

Ethnographic study designs typically involve a combination of data collection methods. Whenever possible, observing the participants in the midst of whatever experience is the study's focus is desirable. In the process of an ethnographic project on CF, for instance, two students spent a twelve-hour period at the home of a family with a child who had CF, taking notes about what they saw and heard. Interviews with participants are frequently employed to learn more about the experience of interest. An example of this is the work of Sobo and colleagues, who interviewed parents of pediatric patients in a clinic to ask about the barriers they experienced obtaining health care for their child ( Seid, Sobo, Gelhard, & Varni, 2004 ). Diaries and journals detailing people's lived experience may also be used, alone, or in combination with other methods.

Analysis of ethnographic data is variable, depending on the study's goal. One common analytic approach is to begin analysis after the first few interviews have been completed, and to read them to get a sense of their content. The next step is to name the seemingly important words or phrases. At this point, one might begin to see how the names relate to each other; this is the beginning of theory development. This process continues until all the data are collected. At that point, the data are sorted by the names, with data from multiple participants clustered under each topic name ( Boyle, 1994 ). Similar names may be grouped together, or placed under a larger label name (i.e., category). In a sense, what happens is that each interviewer's voice is broken into individual fragments, and everyone's fragments that have the same name are put together. From individual voices speaking on multiple topics, there is now one topic with multiple voices speaking to it.


Grounded theory is “grounded” in its data; this inductive approach collects data while simultaneously analyzing it and using the emerging theory to inform data collection ( Rafuls & Moon, 1996 ). This cycle continues until the categories are said to be “saturated,” which typically means the point when no new information is being learned ( Morse, 1995 ). This methodology is generally credited to Glaser and Strauss, who wanted to create a means of developing theoretical models from empirical data ( Charmaz, 2005 ). Perhaps, more than in any other qualitative methodology, the person of the investigator is the key. The extent to which the investigator notices subtle nuances in the data and responds to them with new questions for future participants, or revises an emerging theory, is the extent to which a grounded theory research truly presents a theory capturing the fullness of the data from which it was built. It is also the extent to which the theory is capable of being used to guide future research or alter clinical practice. Grounded theory is the method of choice when there is no existing hypothesis to test. For instance, there was no published data on how parents use faith to cope after their child's diagnosis with CF. Using grounded theory allowed us to develop a theory, or a conceptual model, of how parents used faith to cope ( Grossoehme, Ragsdale, Wooldridge, Cotton, & Seid, 2010 ). An excellent discussion of this method is provided by Charmaz (2006) .

The nature of the research question should dictate the sample description, which should be defined before beginning the data collection. In some cases, the incidence of the phenomena may set some limits on the sample. For example, a study of religious coping by adults who were diagnosed with CF after age 18 years began with a low incidence: this question immediately limited the number of eligible adults in a four-state area to approximately 25 ( Grossoehme et al., 2012 ). Knowing that between 12 and 20 participants might be required in order to have sufficient data to convince ourselves that our categories were indeed saturated, limiting our sample in other ways: for example, selecting representative individuals spread across the number of years since diagnosis would not have made sense. In some studies, the goal is to learn what makes a particular subset of a larger sample special; these subsets are known as “positive deviants” ( Bradley et al., 2009 ).

Once the sample is defined and data collection begins, the analytic process begins shortly thereafter. As will be described in the following paragraphs, interviews and other forms of spoken communication are nearly always transcribed, typically verbatim. Unlike most other qualitative methods, grounded theory uses an iterative design. Sometime around the third or fourth interview has been completed and transcribed and before proceeding with further interviews, it is time to begin analyzing the transcripts. There are two aspects to this. The first is to code the data that you have. Grounded theory prefers to use the participants' own words as the code, rather than having the investigator name it. For example, in the following transcript excerpt, we coded part of the following except:

  • INTERVIEWER: OK. Have your beliefs or perhaps relationship with God changed at all because of what you've gone through the last nine and 10 months with N.?
  • INTERVIEWEE: Yeah, I mean, I feel that I'm stronger than I was before actually.
  • INTERVIEWER: Hmm-hmm. How so? Can you put that into words? I know some of these could be hard to talk about but …
  • INTERVIEWEE: I don't know, I feel like I'm putting his life more in God's hands than I ever was before.

We labeled, or coded, these data as, “I'm putting his life more in God's hands,” whereas in a different methodology we might have simply named it “Trusting God.” Focus on the action in the narrative. Although it can be difficult, you as a researcher must try very hard to set your own ideas aside. Remember you are doing this because there is no pre-existing theory about what you are studying, so you should not be guided by a theory you have in your mind. You must let the data speak for themselves.

The second point is to reflect on the codes and what they are already telling you. What questions are eliciting the narrative data you want? Which ones are not? Questions that are not leading you to the data you want probably need to be changed. Interesting, novel ideas may emerge from the data, or topics that you want to know more about that you did not anticipate and so the interviewer did not' follow up on them. What are the data not telling you that you are seeking? All of this information flows back to revising the semi-structured interview guide ( Charmaz, 2006 ). This issue raised mild concern with the IRB reviewer who had not encountered this methodology before. This concern was overcome by showing that this is an accepted method with voluminous literature behind it, and by showing that the types of item revisions were not expected to significantly alter the study's effect on the participants. From this point onward you collect data, code it, and analyze it simultaneously. As you code a new transcript and come across a statement similar to others, you can begin to put them together. If you are using qualitative analysis software such as NVivo ( “NVivo qualitative data analysis software,” 2012 ), you can make these new codes “children” of a “parent” node (the first statement you encountered on this topic). The next step is called “focused coding” and in this phase you combine what seems to you to be the most significant codes ( Charmaz, 2006 ). These may also be the most frequently occurring, or the topic with the most duplicates, but not necessarily. This is not a quantitative approach in which having large amounts of data is important. You combine codes at this stage in such a way that your new, larger, categories begin to give shape to aspects of the theory you think is going to emerge. As you collect and code more data, and revise your categories, your idea of the theory will change.

Axial coding follows, as you look at your emerging themes or categories, and begin to associate coded data that explains that category. Axial coding refers to coding the words or quotations that are around the category's “axis,” or core. For example, in a study of parental faith and coping in the first year after their child's diagnosis with CF ( Grossoehme et al., 2010 ), one of the categories which emerged was, “Our beliefs have changed.” There were five axial codes which explain aspects of this category. The axial codes were, “Unchanged,” “We've learned how fragile life is,” “Our faith has been strengthened,” “We've gotten away from our parents' viewpoints,” and “I'm better in tune with who I am.” Each of these axial codes had multiple explanatory phrases or sentences under them; together they explain the breadth and dimensions of the category, “Our beliefs have changed.”

The next step is theoretical coding, and here the categories generated during focused coding are synthesized into a theory. Some grounded theorists, notably one of the two most associated with it (Glaser), do not use axial coding but proceed directly to this step as the means of creating coherence out of the data ( Charmaz, 2006 ). As your emerging theory crystallizes, you may pause to see if it has similarities with other theoretical constructs you encountered in your literature search. Does your emerging theory remind you of anything? It would be appropriate to engage in member-checking at this point. In this phase, you show your theoretical model and its supporting categories to participants and ask for their feedback. Does your model make sense to them? Does it help them see this aspect of their experience differently ( Charmaz, 2005 ). Use their feedback to revise your theory and put it in its final form. At this point, you have generated new knowledge: a theory no one has put forth previously, and one that is ready to be tested.


Perhaps the most chaplain-friendly qualitative research approach is phenomenology, because it is all about the search for meaning. Its roots are in the philosophical work of Husserl, Heidegger and Ricoeur ( Boss, Dahl, & Kaplan, 1996 ; Swinton & Mowat, 2006 ). This approach is based on several assumptions: (1) meaning and knowing are social constructions, always incomplete and developing; (2) the investigator is a part of the experience being studied and the investigator's values play a role in the investigation; (3) bias is inherent in all research and should be articulated at the beginning; (4) participants and investigators share knowledge and are partners; (5) common forms of expression (e.g., words or art) are important; and (6) meanings may not be shared by everyone (Boss et al.). John Swinton and Harriet Mowat (2006) described the process of carrying out a phenomenological study of depression and spirituality in adults and reading their book is an excellent way to gain a sense of the whole process. Phenomenology may be the method of choice when you want to study what an experience means to a particular group of people. May not be the best choice when you want to be able to generalize your findings. An accurate presentation of the experience under study is more important in this approach than the ability to claim that the findings apply to across situations or people (Boss et al.). A study of the devil among predominately Hispanic horse track workers is unlikely to be generalizable to experiences of the devil among persons of Scandinavian descent living in Minnesota. Care must be taken not to overstate the findings from a study and extend the conclusions beyond what the data support.

The emphasis on accurately portraying the phenomenon means that large numbers of participants are not required. In fact, relatively small sample sizes are required compared to most quantitative, clinical studies. The goal is to gather descriptions of their lived experience which are rich in detail and imagery, as well as reflection on its theological or psychological meaning. The likelihood of achieving this goal can be enhanced by using a purposeful sample. That is, decide in the beginning approximately how large and how diverse your sample needs to be. For example, CF can be caused by over 1,000 different genetic mutations; some cause more pulmonary symptoms while others cause more gastrointestinal problems. Some people with CF have diabetes and others do not; some have a functioning pancreas and others need to take replacement enzymes before eating or drinking anything other than water. Some CF adolescents may have lung function that is over 100% of what is expected for healthy adolescents of their age and gender, whereas others, with severe pulmonary disease, may have lung function that is just 30% of what is expected for their age and gender. A study of what it is like for an adolescent to live with a life-shortening genetic disease using this approach might benefit from purposive sampling. For example, lung disease severity in CF is broadly described as mild, moderate or severe. A purposeful sample might call for 18 participants divided into 3 age groups (11–13 years; 14–16 years; and 17–19 years old) and disease severity (mild, moderate, and severe). In each of those nine groups there would be one male and one female. In actual practice, one might want to have more than 18 to allow for attrition, but this breakdown gives the basic idea of defining a purposive sample. One could reasonably expect that having the experience of both genders across the spectrum of disease severity and the developmental range of adolescence would permit an accurate, multi-dimensional understanding to emerge of what living with this life-shortening disease means to adolescents. In fact, such an accurate description is more likely to emerge with this purposeful sample of 18 adolescents than with a convenience sample of the first 18 adolescents who might agree to participate in the study during their outpatient clinic appointment. Defining the sample to be studied requires some forethought about what is likely to be needed to gain the fullest understanding of the topic.

Any research design may be used. The design will be dictated by what data are required to understand the phenomena and its meaning. Interviews are by far the most common means of gathering data, although one might also use written texts, such as prayers written in open prayer books in hospital chapels, for example ( ap Sion, 2013 ; Grossoehme, 1996 ), or drawings ( Pendleton, Cavalli, Pargament, & Nasr, 2002 ), or photographs/videos ( Olausson, Ekebergh, & Lindahl, 2012 ). Although the word “text” appears, it should be with the understanding that any form of data is implied.

The theoretical underpinnings of phenomenology, which are beyond the scope of this article, suggest to users that “a method” is unnecessary or indeed, contrary, to phenomenology. However, one phenomenological researcher did articulate a method ( Giorgi, 1985 ), which consists of the following steps. First, the research team immerses themselves in the data. They do this by reading and re-reading the transcribed interviews and listening to the recorded interviews so that they can hear the tone and timbre of the voices. The goal at this stage is to get a sense of the whole. Second, the texts are coded, in which the words, phrases or sentences that stand out as describing the experience or phenomena under study, or which express outright its meaning for the participant are extracted or highlighted. Each coded bit of data is sometimes referred to as a “meaning unit.” Third, similar meaning units are placed into categories. Fourth, for each meaning unit the meaning of the participants' own words is spelled out. For chaplains, this may mean articulating what the experience means in theological language. Other disciplines might transform the participants' words into psychological, sociological or anthropological language. Here the investigators infer the meaning behind the participants' words and articulate it. Finally, each of the transformed statements of meaning are combined into a few thematic statements that describe the experience ( Bassett, 2004 ; Boss et al., 1996 ). After this, it would be appropriate to do member-checking and a subsequent revision of the final model based on participants' responses and feedback.


Just as questionnaires or blood samples contain data, in qualitative research it is the recording of people's words, whether in an audio, video, or paper format which hold the data. Interviews, either in-person or by telephone should be recorded using audio, video or both. It is important to have a device with suitable audio quality and fresh batteries. Experience has shown me the benefit of using two audio recorders so that you do not lose data if one of them fails. There are several small recorders available that have USB connections that allow the audio file to be uploaded to a computer easily. To protect participants' privacy, all data should be anonymized by removing any information that could identify individuals. The Standard Operating Procedure in my research group is to replace all participants' names with an “ N .” During the transcription process, all other individuals are identified by their role in square brackets, “[parent].” Depending on the study's goal and the analytic method you have selected, you may want to include symbols for pauses before participants respond, or non-fluencies (e.g., “ummm. …”, “well … uh …”) or non-verbal gestures (if you are video recording). Decide before beginning whether it is important to capture these as data or not. There are conventional symbols which are inserted into transcriptions which capture these data for you. After the initial transcription, these need to be verified by comparing the written copy against the original recording. Verification should be done by someone other than the transcriptionist. There are several tasks at this stage. Depending on the quality of your recording, the clarity of participants' speech and other factors, some words or phrases may have been unintelligible to the transcriptionist, and this is the time to address them. In my research group our Standard Operating Procedure is to highlight unintelligible text during the transcription phase, and a “verifier” attempts three times to clarify the words on the original recording before leaving them marked “unintelligible” in the transcript. No transcriptionist is perfect and if they are unfamiliar with the topic, they may transcribe the recording inaccurately. I recently verified a transcript where a commercial medical transcriptionist changed the participant's gender from “he” to “she” when the word prior to the pronoun ended with an “s.” If this pattern had not been caught during the verification process, it would have been very difficult during the coding to know whether the pronoun referred to the participant or to their daughter.


Study design.

The issue of power and the possibility of subtle coercion is the concern here. There is an inherent power differential between a research participant and the investigator, which is exacerbated when the investigator is a chaplain. Despite our attempts to be non-threatening, the very words, "chaplain," or "clergy" connote power. For this reason, the chaplain-investigator should not approach potential participants regarding a study. Potential participants may be informed regarding their eligibility to participate by their physician or a chaplain, but the recruitment and informed consent process should be handled by someone else, perhaps a clinical research coordinator. However, as the chaplain-investigator, you will need to teach them how to talk with potential participants about your study and answer their questions. Choose a data collection method that is best-suited to the level of sensitivity of your research topic. Focus groups can provide data with multiple perspectives, and they are a poor choice when there may be pressure to provide socially correct responses, or when disclosures may be stigmatizing. In such cases, it is better to collect data using individual semi-structured interviews.

Develop a plan for assessing participants' discomfort, anxiety, or even more severe reactions during the study. For instance, what will you do when someone discloses his/her current thoughts of self-harm, or experiences a flashback to a prior traumatic event that was triggered during an interview? How will you handle this if you are collecting data in person? By telephone? You will need to be specific who must be informed and who will make decisions about responding to the risk.

Privacy and Confidentiality

In addition to maintaining privacy and confidentiality of your actual data and other study documents, consider how you will protect participants' privacy when you write the study up for publication. Make sure that people cannot be identified by their quotations that you include as you publish data. The smaller the population you are working with, the more diligently you need to work on this. If the transcriptionist is not an employee of your institution and under the same privacy and confidentiality policies, it is up to you to ensure that an external transcriptionist takes steps to protect and maintain the privacy of participants' data.

Qualitative research is an accessible way for chaplains to contribute new knowledge regarding the sacred dimension of people's lived experience. Chaplains are already sensitive to and familiar with many aspects of qualitative research methodologies. Studies need to be designed to be valid and meaningful, and are best done collaboratively. They provide an excellent opportunity to develop working relationships with physicians, medical anthropologists, nurses, psychologists, and sociologists, all of whom have rich traditions of qualitative research. This article can only provide an overview of some of the issues related to qualitative research and some of its methods. The texts cited, as well as others, provide additional information needed before designing and carrying out a qualitative study. Qualitative research is a tool that chaplains can use to develop new knowledge and contribute to professional chaplaincy's ability to facilitate the healing of brokenness and disease.

Publisher's Disclaimer: Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the “Content”) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.

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Digital Commons @ USF > Muma College of Business > School of Information Systems and Management > School of Information Systems and Management Sarasota Manatee Campus Faculty Publications > 105

School of Information Systems and Management Sarasota Manatee Campus Faculty Publications

Research methodologies: an extensive overview.

Walied Askarzai , Western Sydney University Bhuvan Unhelkar , University of South Florida Follow

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Publication date.

Research, Mixed Research, Quantitative Research, Qualitative Research

Given the complexity of research -researchers, particularly novice researchers often perplexed to make research methodology choice. A choice which can have a profound effect upon the way a research is designed and the outcome of the research. Literature on research methodologies is voluminous, however, there has been little effort to discuss the three main research methodologies in a single manuscript. Grounded in an extensive literature review this paper discusses quantitative, qualitative and mixed research methodologies, and highlights the pros and cons of each methodology. The attributes of each research methodology are also discussed.

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International Journal of Science and Research Methodology, v. 6, issue 4, p. 21-42

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Askarzai, Walied and Unhelkar, Bhuvan, "Research Methodologies: An Extensive Overview" (2017). School of Information Systems and Management Sarasota Manatee Campus Faculty Publications . 105.

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In Tight Presidential Race, Voters Are Broadly Critical of Both Biden and Trump

Methodology, table of contents.

  • The state of the 2024 presidential race
  • Other findings: Biden’s job approval ticks up, Trump’s election-related criminal charges
  • Educational differences in candidate support
  • What are 2020 voters’ preferences today?
  • How Biden’s supporters view his personal traits
  • How Trump’s supporters view his personal traits
  • Views of Biden’s presidency and retrospective evaluations of Trump’s time in office
  • Attention to the candidates
  • Does it matter who wins?
  • What if voters could change the presidential ballot?
  • How important is it for the losing candidate to publicly acknowledge the winner?
  • 4. Joe Biden’s approval ratings
  • Acknowledgments
  • The American Trends Panel survey methodology
  • Validated voters

The American Trends Panel (ATP), created by Pew Research Center, is a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults. Panelists participate via self-administered web surveys. Panelists who do not have internet access at home are provided with a tablet and wireless internet connection. Interviews are conducted in both English and Spanish. The panel is being managed by Ipsos.

Data in this report is drawn from ATP Wave 146, conducted from April 8 to April 14, 2024. It includes oversamples of non-Hispanic Asian adults, non-Hispanic Black adults, Hispanic adults and adults ages 18 to 29 in order to provide more precise estimates of the opinions and experiences of these smaller demographic subgroups. It also included an oversample of validated 2016 and 2020 “vote switchers,” who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 but not in 2016 or who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 but not for Hillary Clinton in 2016. These oversampled groups are weighted back to reflect their correct proportions in the population. A total of 8,709 panelists responded out of 9,527 who were sampled, for a response rate of 91%. The cumulative response rate accounting for nonresponse to the recruitment surveys and attrition is 3%. The break-off rate among panelists who logged on to the survey and completed at least one item is less than 1%. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 8,709 respondents is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.

Panel recruitment

The ATP was created in 2014, with the first cohort of panelists invited to join the panel at the end of a large, national, landline and cellphone random-digit dial survey that was conducted in both English and Spanish. Two additional recruitments were conducted using the same method in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Across these three surveys, a total of 19,718 adults were invited to join the ATP, of whom 9,942 (50%) agreed to participate.

Table shows American Trends Panel recruitment surveys

In August 2018, the ATP switched from telephone to address-based sampling (ABS) recruitment. A study cover letter and a pre-incentive are mailed to a stratified, random sample of households selected from the U.S. Postal Service’s Delivery Sequence File. This Postal Service file has been estimated to cover as much as 98% of the population, although some studies suggest that the coverage could be in the low 90% range. 1 Within each sampled household, the adult with the next  birthday is asked to participate. Other details of the ABS recruitment protocol have changed over time but are available upon request. 2

We have recruited a national sample of U.S. adults to the ATP approximately once per year since 2014. In some years, the recruitment has included additional efforts (known as an “oversample”) to boost sample size with underrepresented groups. For example, Hispanic adults, Black adults and Asian adults were oversampled in 2019, 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Across the six address-based recruitments, a total of 23,862 adults were invited to join the ATP, of whom 20,917 agreed to join the panel and completed an initial profile survey. Of the 30,859 individuals who have ever joined the ATP, 11,902 remained active panelists and continued to receive survey invitations at the time this survey was conducted.

The American Trends Panel never uses breakout routers or chains that direct respondents to additional surveys.

Sample design

The overall target population for this survey was noninstitutionalized persons ages 18 and older living in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. It featured a stratified random sample from the ATP in which the following groups were selected with certainty:

  • Non-Hispanic Asian adults
  • Non-Hispanic Black adults
  • Hispanic adults
  • Adults ages 18 to 29
  • Validated 2016 and 2020 voters who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 but did not vote for Trump in 2016. 3
  • Validated 2016 and 2020 voters who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 but did not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The remaining panelists were sampled at rates designed to ensure that the share of respondents in each stratum is proportional to its share of the U.S. adult population to the greatest extent possible. Respondent weights are adjusted to account for differential probabilities of selection as described in the Weighting section below.

Questionnaire development and testing

The questionnaire was developed by Pew Research Center in consultation with Ipsos. The web program was rigorously tested on both PC and mobile devices by the Ipsos project management team and Pew Research Center researchers. The Ipsos project management team also populated test data that was analyzed in SPSS to ensure the logic and randomizations were working as intended before launching the survey.

All respondents were offered a post-paid incentive for their participation. Respondents could choose to receive the post-paid incentive in the form of a check or a gift code to or could choose to decline the incentive. Incentive amounts ranged from $5 to $20 depending on whether the respondent belongs to a part of the population that is harder or easier to reach. Differential incentive amounts were designed to increase panel survey participation among groups that traditionally have low survey response propensities.

Data collection protocol

The data collection field period for this survey was April 8 to April 14, 2024. Postcard notifications were mailed to a subset of ATP panelists with a known residential address on April 8. 4

Invitations were sent out in two separate launches: soft launch and full launch. Sixty panelists were included in the soft launch, which began with an initial invitation sent on April 8. The ATP panelists chosen for the initial soft launch were known responders who had completed previous ATP surveys within one day of receiving their invitation. All remaining English- and Spanish-speaking sampled panelists were included in the full launch and were sent an invitation on April 9.

All panelists with an email address received an email invitation and up to two email reminders if they did not respond to the survey. All ATP panelists who consented to SMS messages received an SMS invitation and up to two SMS reminders.

Table shows Invitation and reminder dates, ATP Wave 146

Data quality checks

To ensure high-quality data, the Center’s researchers performed data quality checks to identify any respondents showing clear patterns of satisficing. This includes checking for whether respondents left questions blank at very high rates or always selected the first or last answer presented. As a result of this checking, three ATP respondents were removed from the survey dataset prior to weighting and analysis.

Table shows American Trends Panel weighting dimensions

The ATP data is weighted in a multistep process that accounts for multiple stages of sampling and nonresponse that occur at different points in the survey process. First, each panelist begins with a base weight that reflects their probability of selection for their initial recruitment survey. These weights are then rescaled and adjusted to account for changes in the design of ATP recruitment surveys from year to year. Finally, the weights are calibrated to align with the population benchmarks in the accompanying table to correct for nonresponse to recruitment surveys and panel attrition. If only a subsample of panelists was invited to participate in the wave, this weight is adjusted to account for any differential probabilities of selection.

Among the panelists who completed the survey, this weight is then calibrated again to align with the population benchmarks identified in the accompanying table and trimmed at the 2nd and 98th percentiles to reduce the loss in precision stemming from variance in the weights. This trimming is performed separately among non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Asian, Hispanic and all other respondents. Sampling errors and tests of statistical significance take into account the effect of weighting.

The following table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey.

Table shows Sample sizes and margins of error, ATP Wave 146

Sample sizes and sampling errors for other subgroups are available upon request. In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Dispositions and response rates

Table shows Final dispositions, ATP Wave 146

Members of Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel were matched to public voting records from national commercial voter files in an attempt to find records for voting in the 2016 and 2020 general elections. Validated voters are citizens who told us in a post-election survey that they voted in a given election and have a record for voting in that election in a commercial voter file. Nonvoters are citizens who were not found to have a record of voting in any of the voter files or told us they did not vote.

In an effort to accurately locate official voting records, up to three commercial voter files were searched for each panelist. The number of commercial files consulted varied by when a panelist was recruited to the ATP. Three files were used for panelists recruited in 2022 or before, while one file was used for panelists recruited in 2023. Altogether, files from four different vendors were used, including two that serve conservative and Republican organizations and campaigns, one that serves progressive and Democratic organizations and campaigns, and one that is nonpartisan.

Additional details and caveats about the validation of votes in 2016 and 2020 can be found in these methodological reports:

  • An examination of the 2016 electorate, based on validated voters
  • Validated voters methodology

© Pew Research Center, 2024

  • AAPOR Task Force on Address-based Sampling. 2016. “AAPOR Report: Address-based Sampling.” ↩
  • Email [email protected] . ↩
  • A validated voter is a citizen who told us that they voted in an election and have a record for voting in that election in a commercial voter file. A voter file is a list of adults that includes information such as which elections they have voted in. Federal law requires states to maintain voter files, and businesses assemble these files to create a nationwide list of adults along with their voter information. ↩
  • Postcard notifications are sent to 1) panelists who have been provided with a tablet to take ATP surveys, 2) panelists who were recruited within the last two years, and 3) panelists recruited prior to the last two years who opt to continue receiving postcard notifications. ↩

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Changing Partisan Coalitions in a Politically Divided Nation

About 1 in 4 americans have unfavorable views of both biden and trump, 2024 presidential primary season was one of the shortest in the modern political era, americans more upbeat on the economy; biden’s job rating remains very low, key facts about hispanic eligible voters in 2024, most popular, report materials.

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Business Wire

BANGKOK--( BUSINESS WIRE )-- Boku , the global network for localised payment solutions, has released a global research report entitled ‘ 2024 Global Ecommerce Report: The Changing World of Payments ’ . The report reveals the increasing preference for local payment methods and the continued decline in the market share of traditional card payments.

Produced in collaboration with Juniper Research, the report surveyed 10,500 consumers and analysed data from 37 major markets across the globe to identify global, regional and country specific trends. The findings highlight significant and rapid consumer shifts in ecommerce payments away from the traditional card networks (and in emerging economies cash on delivery) towards local payment methods such as digital wallets. Account to Account (A2A) payments (instant payments and bank transfers) such as PromptPay in Thailand, PayNow in Singapore and PayTo in Australia are revealed as the fastest-growing payment method within ecommerce.

Key findings for Asia Pacific:

  • Asia Pacific continues to lead the world in the adoption of local payment methods. By 2028, local payment methods within Asia Pacific will represent 69% of ecommerce transactions by value, from 64% in 2023.
  • Non-card linked wallets are projected to dominate ecommerce transactions in Asia Pacific, reaching 57% by 2028 (up from 55% in 2023).
  • By 2028, over 61% of all individuals within Asia Pacific will actively use local payment methods on a regular basis, reflecting their strong traction in the region.
  • Account to Account (A2A) payments, such as PromptPay in Thailand and PayNow in Singapore, are flourishing and expected to rise from 4% of transaction value in 2023 to 8% in 2028.
  • Market nuances play a significant role in consumer loyalty to payment methods, emphasising the need for tailored payment strategies.

Payment choice is key for consumers around the world. Today’s mobile-first generations - with whom access to and affinity with card networks is low - prioritise the convenience and seamless nature of paying with digital wallets, direct carrier billing and Instant A2A payments. As with the adoption of many new technologies, the adoption of localised payment solutions by younger generations and populations is paving the way for adoption by older consumers.

Stuart Neal, CEO of Boku said, “Our research shows Asia Pacific continues to lead the world in the adoption of local payment methods. While card-linked payments remain significant, local payment methods that offer consumers seamless payment experiences, such as digital wallets, direct carrier billing and Account to Account transfers, will continue to win market share. Merchants now realise that the key to their future global growth and success lies in their ability to offer consumers more payment choice to match these changing customer preferences. At Boku, we’re excited to provide the world’s largest merchants with access to our global network of localised payment solutions so their customers can more easily pay for the things they love, the way they want - no matter where they are in the world. ”

Download the full research report:

Notes to editors

About Boku Inc.:

Boku helps people pay the way they want to by building a global network of localised payment solutions including digital wallets, direct carrier billing, and account to account / real-time payments schemes. Boku’s global payments network now includes over 300 local payment methods worldwide, reaching over 7.5 billion consumer payment accounts in more than 90 countries. Boku works with the world’s largest merchants including Amazon, Google, Spotify, Meta, Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, Tencent and Sky, helping them to grow their businesses in every corner of the globe.

Boku Inc. was incorporated in 2008 and is headquartered in London, UK, with offices in the US, India, Brazil, China, Estonia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan and Vietnam.

To learn more about Boku, please visit our website at .

Press and research methodology enquiries: Cat Lenheim ThoughtLDR [email protected] +44 7511 117587

overview of research methodologies

Release Summary

Boku research reveals that by 2028, 3 out of 5 of people will actively use local payment methods for ecommerce transactions within Asia Pacific.

  • #asiapacific
  • #localpayments

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Scientist I

  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Staff-Full Time
  • Opening at: Apr 22 2024 at 14:40 CDT
  • Closing at: May 6 2024 at 23:55 CDT

Job Summary:

Research in the Gisriel Lab, within the Department of Biochemistry, is focused on the molecular mechanisms of photosynthesis. The Scientist in this position will help to set up the laboratory equipment, train students on laboratory equipment, perform protein purifications, perform protein characterization, set up a growth room/area for cyanobacterial cultures, maintain cyanobacterial cultures, perform genetic alterations, prepare and analyze data, and perform other tasks as needed. Experience with protein purification, cyanobacterial growth, and molecular biology is preferred. Previous experience in a laboratory setting is required.


  • 20% Assists with the identification of research problems and the development of research methodologies and procedures
  • 20% Collects and analyzes research data, conducts experiments and interviews, and documents results according to established policies and procedures under general supervision and limited responsibility
  • 20% Conducts literature reviews, prepares reports and materials, and disseminates information to appropriate entities
  • 20% Attends and assists with the facilitation of scholarly events and presentations in support of continued professional development and the dissemination of research information
  • 20% Serves as a main point of contact and liaison with internal and external stakeholders providing information and representing the interests of a specialized research area

Institutional Statement on Diversity:

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals. The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background - people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world. For more information on diversity and inclusion on campus, please visit: Diversity and Inclusion

Required PhD in cell and molecular biology or related field.


10 years of relevant research experience in the life sciences is required. Strong communication skills and ability to interact effectively with lab members. Strong research skills particularly with data collection and analysis. The individual will be expected to be highly motivated to generate and analyze data, and function efficiently, independently, and in a skilled team and cooperatively with the principal investigator.

Full Time: 100% It is anticipated this position requires work be performed in-person, onsite, at a designated campus work location.

Appointment Type, Duration:


Minimum $72,000 ANNUAL (12 months) Depending on Qualifications The anticipated salary range for this position is $72,000 up to $90,000 but, final salary will depend on experience and qualifications. Employees in this position can expect to receive benefits such as generous vacation, holidays, and paid time off; competitive insurances and savings accounts; retirement benefits. Benefits information can be found at: . 

Additional Information:

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) is committed to maintaining and growing a culture that embraces diversity, inclusion, and equity, believing that these values are foundational elements of our excellence and fundamental components of a positive and enriching learning and working environment for all students, faculty, and staff. At CALS, we acknowledge that bias, prejudice, racism, and hate have historically occurred in many forms that cause significant and lasting harm to members of our community. We commit to taking actions each day toward a college that is inclusive and welcoming to all.

How to Apply:

Click on the "Apply Online" button to start the application process. Applications must be received through UW Madison's online application system. Applications submitted outside of this system will not be considered. You will be prompted to upload the following documents/Application Materials: Resume (required) - Detail your educational and professional background Cover letter (required) - Refer to your related work experience You will also be prompted to provide three professional references. It's important that your cover letter and resume reflect your experience for this position related to the Qualifications section. Your application materials will be used during our evaluation to determine your qualifications as they relate to the job. Please note your application materials may be used as a writing sample. The most qualified applicants will be invited to participate in the next step of the selection process.

Stefanie Lannoye [email protected] 608-261-1029 Relay Access (WTRS): 7-1-1. See RELAY_SERVICE for further information.

Official Title:

Scientist I(RE043)



Employment Class:

Academic Staff-Renewable

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