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Selecting a Research Method

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Selecting a research methodology for a project can be easy, but it can also be a daunting experience. It all comes down to what the research is about and what it all entails. There are four research methods one can use for a research project. They are qualitative, quantitative, mixed, and action. They are as follows:

Qualitative: "A means for exploring and understanding the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem" (Creswell, 2009; p.4). What this means is this type of research deals with a great extent of approaches and methods. It can also illustrate or supply additional comprehension of an area of interest and its relative situation; it can offer justification of purpose and assess efficiency of assumptions and approaches. This form of research can be used by itself or in tandem with quantitative surveys to offer additional information and deepness for the duration of an investigation (ONS, 2008).

Quantitative: "A means for testing objective theories by examining the relationship among variables" (Creswell, 2009; p.4). What this means is information can be gathered and evaluated to formulate biased information. Ways to gather this information are survey research and experimental research; where statistics are used and measured (Creswell, 2009; p.12).

Mixed: "A (n) means/approach to inquiry that combines or associates both qualitative and quantitative forms" (Creswell, 2009; p.4). What this means is a study or research experiment is performed by using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. This way, the study in question has theoretical hypotheses incorporated into it; the study is also more in depth than it would be with just qualitative or quantitative research alone (Creswell, 2009).

Action: "Inquiry or research in the context of focused efforts to improve the quality of an organization and its performance" (NCREL, 2004). What this means is it is usually proposed and performed by professionals who examine the information to enhance their own business. Action research can be performed by individuals or groups of people.

Once a topic has been chosen then narrowed down and refined, one can determine which research methodology needs to be used given the aforementioned facts.


Creswell, J., W. (2009; p.4). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. The selection of a research design; Preliminary considerations. (3rd ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc.; Thousand Oaks, CA

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL). (2004). Action research. Retrieved August 20, 2011, from: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/envrnmnt/drugfree/sa3act.htm

Office for National Statistics. (01 April, 2008). What is qualitative research? Retrieved August 20, 2011, from: http://www.ons.gov.uk/about/who-we-are/our-services/data-collection-methodology/what-is-qualitative-research-/index.html



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