Understand how the components of research are used
2.1 Critically compare different types of research
There are many different types of research and these are usually based on the research aims. The two main types of research would be qualitative and quantitative.
Quantitative research: This research collects data in the form of numbers. It aims to identify cause and effect relationships. The research method would be questionnaires with closed answers, observations of practice or a rating scale.
There are many advantages and disadvantages with quantitative research such as:
- It allows for a broader study
- It involves a greater number of subjects
- It can be more objective and accurate
- It allows to summarise vast sources of information
- The research is often carried out in an artificial environment
- Answers may not necessarily reflect how people really feel about a subject
- The development of standard questions can lead to structural bias and false representation.
Qualitative research: This research involves the collecting and analysing non-numerical data (text, video, or audio) to understand concepts, opinions or experiences. It aims to find out about people’s attitudes, opinions, feeling or behaviours. It is a type of scientific research as it consists of an investigation. It seeks to understand a given research problem or topic, it provides answers to questions and gathers evidence and produces in-depth insight into a problem by generating new ideas for research. It is used mostly in subjects such as anthropology, sociology, education, health sciences, history etc.
Qualitative research has many advantages and disadvantages:
- It allows for a whole range of responses to be processed easily
- It provides complex textual descriptions and also provides information about the “human” side of an issue
- It is much harder to analyse than quantitative data
- It can be easily influenced by the biases of the researcher
- It can be difficult to make comparisons as people can give widely differing responses.
The three most common Qualitative research methods for gathering information would be:
- Participant observation: Recording what has been seen, heard or encountered.
- In-deft interviews: Asking questions in a one to one conversation. Helps develop communication skills. It can be time consuming and the individual may lie or the questions asked may not be clear.
- Focus groups: Asking questions and generating discussions within a group.
There are many differences between qualitative and quantitative research they are:
- The type of questions they pose.
- The type of data collection instruments they use.
- The forms of data they produce.
- The degree of flexibility built into the study. Quantitative being the less flexible.
Other research types include Descriptive Research this research method describes the characteristics of the population or phenomenon studied. It focuses more on the “what” of the research subject than the “why” of the research subject. The research collects relevant facts and information on a specific subject in order to vividly portray or describe what is going on.
Narrative Research examines how stories are told how they are understood and how participants perceive and make sense of their experiences. On occasions the information may not be accurate or false. This research method can be quite time consuming looking for information or answers.
Research can know be easily obtained by websites these can provide very good reliable information about any topic.
All research approaches use one or more data collection methods these would include:
- Observations: Recording what has been seen, heard or encountered
- Interviews: Asking questions in a one to one conversation
- Focus groups: Asking questions and generating discussions within a group
- Surveys: Distributing questionnaires with open ended questions
- Secondary resources: Collecting existing data in the form of text, images, audio or video recordings.
Family health international (2021) Qualitative research methods overview
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