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Research Methods: A Guide to Choosing a Type of Study for Your Dissertation

A Dissertation is an extensive piece of writing containing ten to twenty thousand words on a particular topic of interest. Fortunately, for the convenience of students, this extensive word count is divided into five chapters, namely, introduction, literature review, research methods, results and findings, and conclusion.

All these chapters have their own purpose and style to address different aspects of a study. Among all of these, the selection of research methods has the greatest effect on the success of overall research. This article will briefly discuss different methods of research and guide students in choosing the right type for their study.

Research methods: A Brief Introduction

These are plans, strategies, and techniques that facilitate researchers in data collection, the collection of evidence, uncovering new information, and a better understanding of the topic of interest. To put it another way, it is the process of objectively establishing facts through experimental and hypothesis testing. For example, some types of studies involve making observations, forming hypotheses, making predictions, performing experiments, and analyzing results.

Research methods based on the type of data are of three types: qualitative methods, quantitative methods, and mixed methods. These methods greatly differ from each other based on steps, ways of data collection, and the use of analytical tools to draw logical conclusions. Experts from a top dissertation help service have discussed all these three types of research methods one by one.

Qualitative methods

Qualitative research collects and analyses textual or non-numerical data to solve a particular research problem. The student who is planning to write a dissertation for which he/she needs to analyze an expert’s opinion, extract a conclusion in the light of experience, and try to critically appraise the existing literature must choose the qualitative method of research.

Qualitative research can be conducted in a variety of ways, such as grounded theory, ethnography, phenomenological research, narrative research, and action research.

  • The Investigator collects rich data on a topic of interest and uses this data to inductively develop theories.
  • In Ethnography, a group of researchers assemble together and understand their cultures in qualitative research using the ethnographic approach.
  • Narrative research explains how participants describe their experiences in the form of stories, and researchers analyze information through such stories to collect meaningful data for solving a scientific query.
  • Researchers collect data from the participants and describe phenomena or events based on the participants’ lived experiences.
  • In Action research, both participants and researchers link theories to practice to improve the social status of humans.

Data collection methods in qualitative research

In qualitative research, to collect data, you can use several methods, such as surveys, interviews, and exploring secondary sources.

Quantitative methods

Quantitative research explains different phenomena using numerical and non-textual data to draw useful conclusions. These studies mostly explain the way to explore different characteristics of the sample population. These studies usually start by formulating research questions and hypotheses explaining the possible relationship between the dependent and independent variables involved in a study.

These research methods are usually conducted through four different approaches: experimental method, correlational method, casual-comparative (quasi-experimental), and descriptive method.

  • It is true experimentation that aims to establish the cause and effect relationship among a group of variables involved in a study.
  • The correlational method uses statistical analysis tools in order to determine the extent of the relationship between different variables involved in a study.
  • In the Casual-comparative method, the quasi-experiments resemble true experiments but have some key differences as well. The most prominent difference in causal-comparative experiments is that the experimenter does not manipulate the independent variables to see the relationship between them.
  • It aims to describe the current status of all the identified variables involved in a study. These methods help students provide systematic information on a specific phenomenon.

The Method of Data collection for Quantitative research

To collect digital, numerical, or statistical data, you can use several data collection methods, such as experiments, surveys, polls, controlled observation, and longitudinal studies.

Mixed methods

The mixed-method uses both qualitative and quantitative methods of study. Students who have selected broad objectives for their scientific research must opt for this type of research method. Like other types of scientific methods, mixed methods are also of four main types:

  • The triangulation method is the most common type of mixed method. It works by collecting different but complementary data on the same topic. Its purpose is to bring together the different strengths and weaknesses of quantitative data with the qualitative method.
  • The explanatory method is a two-phase mixed method. This method is important as it analyses the qualitative data to obtain quantitative results. It works well if a researcher wants to make groups using quantitative data or if he/she wants to follow up with groups using qualitative research.
  • The exploratory method, like an explanatory method, the exploratory method also analyses the data by using a two-phase mixed method. The first phase uses qualitative approaches, while the other phase asks researchers to use quantitative tools.
  • Embedded method is a type of research in which one data set provides secondary data while the other contains primary data. Later, it explores both qualitative and quantitative data to explore using statistical tools to see a situation from all possible aspects.

Method of data collection for mixed studies

The data collection methods that we use to gather qualitative data can help you collect non-numerical data in a mixed method. On the same note, the data collection methods that are suitable for gathering quantitative data can also work in the second phase of mixed research. Thus, surveys, focused groups, experiments, interviews, and direct and controlled observations can all collect data for mixed research methods.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there are three main types of research methods that help students conduct their academic research: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods. All of these methods have their own pros and cons associated with them. Thus, choosing the right research method for a dissertation is the most difficult part of academic research.

The complete know-how of these methods can help you make an informed decision. If you further need to know which method suits your dissertation the most, then analyze the research aims and objectives, and it will surely hint at the most appropriate one.

Written By

Tyler Archer is a digital marketing manager, managing over 20 online projects. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Oxford University London. His areas of interest are Artificial Intelligence, robotics and the Metaverse. He is also brilliant in academic writing and works with the best dissertation writing services provider firm in the UK as a computer science dissertation writer.

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