Free Essay About Methodologyyour Nameuniversity Title

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Information, Study, Researcher, Questionnaire, Population, Education, Interview, Sociology

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2021/02/20

   3.0. Methodology

What is research?

Kumar (2008) defines research as “an intensive and purposeful search for knowledge and understanding of social and physical phenomena.” The author further opines that research takes place when people engage in an activity aimed at establishing an issue, a theory, a fact, an application or a principle. Research is, therefore, a quest for knowledge in which the person searching for understanding begins with what is known and moves to what is unknown. According to McNabb (2013), research involves acquiring data systematically to get answers to questions, provide solutions to problems or offer guidance for a course of action.
Kothari (2004) describes a number of fundamental research approaches. Descriptive studies investigate the current state of variables without manipulating them while analytical studies involve profound analysis of already existing information. Further applied research seeks for solutions to current societal problems while fundamental studies aim at generalizations or formulation of theories. In addition, conceptual research deals with abstract ideas while empirical studies are embedded in scientific experiment and observation.
In general practice, though, there are two key approaches to research: qualitative and quantitative studies (Newman & Benz, 1998). Qualitative research involves inquiries into issues of quality and kind, which cannot be quantified. The researcher draws closer to a phenomenon to understand it better. Researchers tend to use interviews and focus groups to understand feelings, attitudes and values of the population. Qualitative studies are usually anthropological and naturalistic, seeking to understand the underlying reasons behind some patterns of behavior. On the other hand quantitative studies deal with phenomena that can be enumerated. The variables in this kind of research must be objectively measured. Such studies apply survey methods to derive data from a sample of a larger population in order to make generalizations on the latter. In essence, it hinges on statistical techniques (Hague, Hague, & Morgan, 2004).
3.1. Qualitative versus Quantitative Research.
This study will adopt a qualitative approach. This approach to research has a number of advantages that make it the best for this research. To begin with, it allows the researcher to gain an in-depth understanding of the phenomena under study (Boxill, Chambers & Wint, 1997). Secondly, the research can delve into sensitive issues because he or she interacts personally with the population. In addition, it enables incisive subjective evaluation of the entity being studied owing to the personal link with the individual over a prolonged period (Luton, 2010). Another advantage of qualitative research is flexibility because the researcher can adjust to the time schedules, physical location, work patterns and other characteristics of the subject to obtain relevant information. According to King and Horrocks (2010), it is applicable in an array of disciplines where it can be used solely or in combination with other techniques to gather information. In essence, the researcher collects valuable information that is to a large extent accurate since the subject elicits information both consciously and unconsciously in an atmosphere of mutual interaction.
Newman and Benz (1998) opine that researchers are often embroiled in a debate on whether qualitative research is better than quantitative approach or vice versa. It is important to understand that quantitative research is also a very popular approach in specific fields, and has a number of merits. To begin with is it perceived to yield more accurate data than qualitative research since statistics are used to collect information and make inferences from findings. In addition, the data this approach yields provides insights into frequencies, trends, prevalence and quantities which are crucial for purposes of planning and economics. Quantitative research is considered by some scholars to be more accurate because it deals with exact numbers, thus making in objective and not subjective, like qualitative research.
Despite this, the research approach one chooses depends on the objectives, data needs, the population and the usage to which findings will be put. In fact, most social research amalgamates elements of both quantitative and qualitative research (Monsen & Van Horn, 2008). Since this study is social in nature, it will be qualitative, but will also include some quantitative data. For example, the questionnaire to be used will have both open and close ended questions to capture qualitative and quantitative data respectively.
3.2 Chosen Data Method


A questionnaire is a popular research tool that comprises a sequence of questions and cues to guide respondents to provide data for research purposes. This study will use a questionnaire as the data collection instrument. Cargan (2007) cites a number of merits associated with this approach to collecting information from a population. Questionnaires yield incisive data that encapsulates the attitudes, values and beliefs of a bigger population while minimizing the margin of error. This emanates from the fact that this instrument is designed to capture qualitative data through open-ended questions. In essence, both quantitative and qualitative data can be collected through questionnaires as opposed to other methods that only elicit qualitative or quantitative data.
According to Churton and Brown (2010), questionnaires can also reach a larger number of people because they can be mailed or emailed to prospective respondents. Unlike interviews where one has to talk directly to the respondent to obtain information, questionnaires take advantage of the mail system thus reaching a large number of people, scattered over a wide geographical area. A researcher using a questionnaire can, therefore, carry out a comprehensive survey involving a large population since there is no movement needed to reach respondents.
Moreover, as Klenke (2008) argues, questionnaires are easy to administer. They take a short time to distribute and do not require many research assistants. A researcher can also administer many questionnaires to a cross-section of people in one sitting, thus cutting down on time and financial costs. For example, if one wants to collect information from students, one can go to a learning institution and distribute the instrument and receive relevant responses within that single sitting. This is unlike interviews when one has to sit physically with respondents thus implying that the researcher will incur a lot of costs and experience physical exhaustion if the sample is large (Jones, 2014).
Unlike interviews, respondents do not feel pressurized when filling in questionnaire (Kumar, 2008). They also feel more secure because they provide information in anonymity and therefore volunteer more intimate material without fear of victimization. This is in tandem with ethical requirements of research in which the researcher is prohibited from sharing personal details of respondents unless the latter give consent. Moreover, the best responses are elicited when the respondent feels at ease and secure. This makes the questionnaire a crucial instrument for collecting data on sensitive issues.
Further, the cost of creating and administering a questionnaire is low compared to interviews. In most cases, a copy of the same questionnaire is issued to all the entities in the population thus eliciting uniformity in responses. Respondents are also familiar with the language and structure of questionnaire and do not need a lot of guidance to complete the process (Hague et al., 2004). This implies the respondent is unlikely to offer irrelevant answers or to get stuck when answering questions. In the final analysis, the cost of doing research through questionnaires is significantly lower than using other methods.
Questionnaires are also very important for reducing the margin of error and increasing the validity of responses (Newman & Benz, 1998). While research studies do not offer data or findings which are without error, it is important to reduce such occurrences. The findings arrived at through questionnaires easily be generalized to the entire population with great accuracy. This owes to the fact that they are structured systematically and worded to elicit uniform data. A well-prepared questionnaire results in responses that are unequivocal and which fall into a pattern that makes them amenable to data analysis.
Additionally, data collected from questionnaire is easy to analyze using statistical means (Dörnyei, 2014). There are many computer packages that can be used to make sense of the data in questionnaires and to present findings. The responses can be coded and inserted in special databases for ease of analysis. This approach makes research work easier and eliminates errors in data analysis. Moreover, the researcher can then develop descriptive presentations such as frequencies and charts for ease of understanding by the consumers of the findings.


Interviews, on the other hand, are also very popular in research and have unique situations in which they are applied. Like questionnaires, interviews are important when collecting qualitative data. One of their main advantages is that they allow the interviewer to probe for more information from respondents. A researcher can pose question after question and seek explanations because he or she is in face-to-face communication with the respondent (Hague, Hague & Morgan, 2004).
In addition, interviews provide the interviewer with an incisive and comprehensive idea of the issue under investigation (Mitchell & Jolley, 2013). An interviewer may begin with a narrow idea of an issue and end up with much more information following probing. This means that at the end of the interview, the researcher will have a better idea of the issue at hand as compared to issuing a questionnaire and restricting a respondent to certain issues while leaving out others. In essence, an interview schedule can be a crucial source of materials for future studies unlike a questionnaire whose materials may only suffice for the current endeavour.
Further, from the information gathered during the interview process, the researcher will gain insights that can be used to guide subsequent research (Klenke, 2008). Normally, research is guided by objectives and the researcher must narrow down to specific questions. This is important considering the limitations of time and resources that often characterize most studies. However, there are issues that often emerge when one is interviewing people, which though not encompassed by the current study, are still related to the topic. Such information can be used in future studies, which means that the researcher will have made a great step towards gathering data in subsequent studies.


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applications to the Caribbean. Kingston: Canoe Press.
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Churton, M, & Brown, A. (2010). Theory and method (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave
Dörnyei, Z. (2014). Questionnaires in second language research: construction,
administration and processing. New York: Routlege.
Hague, P., Hague, N., & Morgan. C. (2004). Market research in practice. London:
Kogan Page Ltd
Jones, I. (2014). Research Methods for Sports Studies (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.
King, N., & Horrocks, C. (2010). Interviews in qualitative research. London: SAGE
Publications Ltd.
Klenke, K. (2008). Qualitative research in the study of leadership. Bingley: Emerald
Group Publishing Ltd.
Kothari, C. R. (2004). Research methodology: methods and techniques. New Delhi:
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Kumar, J. (2008). Research methodology. New Delhi: APH Publishing
Luton, L. S. (2010). Approaches for public administration. New York: M. E. Sharpe,
McNabb, D. E. (2013). Research methods in public administration and nonprofit
management (3rd ed.). New York: M. E. Sharpe, Inc.
Mitchell, M., Jolley, J. (2013). Research design explained (8th ed.). Belmont, CA:
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IL: American Dietetic Association.
Newman, I., & Benz, C. R. (1998). Qualitative-quantitative research methodology:
Exploring the interactive continuum. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois

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