What is research methodology? Research methodology is the process through which information and data are collected so that businesses decisions can be made. Research methodology is a term that is very common in the field of business. As an entrepreneur, a person needs to keep collecting information regarding various practices and occurrences in the field. Some of the things that are researched for in the area of business include marketing, innovation, technology, buyer behavior, supplier behavior, investments in different sectors, competition, competitive advantages, and the economy among other aspects.
Understanding what research methodology entails and the various methods of data collection are very important. Note that it is complicated to make rational business decisions without investigating about issues fast. For instance, if you want to discover the level of competition in a particular sector, you must collect data by using the correct research methods. If you are wondering what is research methods, you will find this article very useful. The report provides further details about research methodology so that you can get the meaning entirely.
Research method techniques
Several research methodologies can be used to collect information and data. These methods are divided into two parts; qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research methods are those used to investigate a phenomenon that cannot allow you to represent them statistically. On the other hand, quantitative research methods are those that are used to test and represent findings statistically.
The research method techniques include experiments, interviews, surveys, observations, and secondary data among others. Here is a description of the different types of procedures.
An experiment is a method for researching to investigate the cause and effect of something. The analysis is usually carried out under controlled conditions. Something specific about this method is that it involves the testing of a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a statement that is used to show how two aspects or variables are related. For instance, if the relationship between worker’s performance and compensation are examined, the hypothesis would be; the higher the payment, the better the performance. Higher compensation is the cause while the better performance is the effect.
Using an investigation to determine whether the hypothesis is correct would involve coming up with two groups; the experimental group and the control group. The experimental group is the research methodology sample that is exposed to the cause, which in this case is higher compensation. The control group comprises of the individuals whose payment will not be increased. The next thing would be the observance of behavior in the two groups. If the performance of individuals in the experimental group rises and it remains constant in the control group, then the hypothesis can be tested to be true. Otherwise, the assumption is false. Sometimes, the correctness of experiments can be interfered with by several factors. This is the reason why the researcher must be very skilled at what he does.
2. Survey Research
A survey is a research method whereby the participants respond to questions or statements made about a particular issue. Studies can involve interviews or questionnaires. Discussions suggest the researcher having a conversation with the participant and asking them questions to which they respond. Questionnaires comprise of statements of problems that the respondents react to in the form of writing. Items can be open-ended or closed. Open questions are those whereby the respondent is not limited to answering yes or no. They can give further explanations. In close-ended questions, they can only respond with a yes or no.
Something to note about surveys is that they target large populations. Therefore, the researcher will have to select a sample.
3. Participant observation
In the research, this is one of the best methods to use for qualitative studies. Participant observation involves the analysis being part of the group from which they are seeking information and then observing the aspects necessary for their research. Finding a group to come up with a conclusion might seem like a simple fact. However, participant observation can be quite hard. The researcher has to develop descriptive and exploratory skills. He has to determine why people are behaving in the manner that they do.
An excellent example of participant observation is when a manager wants to determine why some employees are less productive. To do this, he can join them while they go about their duties. However, for best results with participant observation, it is wise to observe the subjects without their knowledge. When people know that they are being watched, they are likely to behave differently than in normal circumstances when o one is watching them. This makes this method very weak. The manager, therefore, should not be the person to carry out the observation as it will turn out to be supervision.
While other methods are considered to be scientific, this one is not because; researchers have different ways of interpreting a situation. Also, their perception about a particular issue depends on many factors such as experience and their moods. Therefore, it is easy to distort results from participant observation very quickly.
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4. Non-participant observation
In this type of method, the research is usually not part of the group. Before conducting the investigation, they determine the central behaviour they should observe that is related to the study. A researcher can carry out the observation within a long or short time. It can be random. The primary objective should not only be why the behavior of interest occurred. The researcher should also be in a position to explain why.
5. Secondary data
Sourcing information from secondary sources of info is also a research method. Secondary causes of data can include publications, government websites, organizational reports, books, journals and articles among others. Therefore, to get data, the researcher has to read broadly. He has to compare several sources of information to come up with broad conclusions.
The best thing about secondary data is that most of the time it is valid. For instance, information from a government website would most likely be accurate. Also, peer-reviewed and scholarly sources can also be used when researching because they contain insights that have been tested and are credible.
6. Case studies
Unlike other methods, case studies involve detailed investigations about a specific case. Even though it is a method on its own, the researchers usually interview the participants to gather more information about the issue. Also, researchers can choose a person or two individuals who have a particular aspect that they are looking for. For instance, if a researcher wants to know about the effects of innovation, they can choose two companies that have succeeded in that area. Next, they can ask them for further details about their success, the benefits they have gotten and the challenges that they have gone through to get to that point. The best thing about case studies is that they bring evidence-based information since there is the use of subjects that are or have been involved in a particular issue under investigation.
There you have it if you were wondering how to define research methodologies. As you can see, the explanations are just as the name of the methods suggests.
Knowing what research methodology is, is not enough. You need to know how to use these research methodologies in your business. You also need to know the best method to use when investigating about a particular issue. Below are some of the factors that you should consider when selecting a research method.
- The research goals: You first all need to ask yourself what your research goals are. What issue do you want to investigate? Will one research method be enough? These are the questions you must answer to select the nested method.
- The statistical significance: Ask yourself if the information you are investigating about requires mathematical representation and analysis. If that is the case, then you must use quantitative methodology.
- Quantitative vs. qualitative study: Besides the statistical significance, you also need to establish whether you need one of these studies or both. In a study where you will ask several questions, the best research would be quantitative and vice versa.
- Existing information: You also need to consider whether there is existing information about the issue that you are investigating. This can be a guide on what you must survey. If there are limitations to previous studies, it would be best if you focused on them in your research.
- Cost: The costs incurred in each of these methods are different. For instance, participant observation is cheaper when compared to case studies. Also, if the sample size is large, you might also incur a lot of expenses.
Research methodology is a general term in the business field. There are several types of methods such as experiments, participant observation, case studies, survey, and non-participant observation among others. When selecting the best for your business, you must consider factors such as the research goals, the statistical significance, the existing information, costs and sample size among others.
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