The Role of Methodology
The methodology is considered the most essential element of a research study. It has a profound effect on the research study and the researcher needs to get it right. It serves numerous purposes, including:
a) It explains why a research study has to be conducted in a certain way. The methodology outlines the various steps and activities that define the research study. Notably, different research questions require different methodological approaches.
b) The methodology is key in the approval of the research project by the Supervisory Committee. This committee is keen to understand how the chosen methodology is likely to answer the research questions guiding the study.
c) The methodology equally plays an important role in securing funds essential in financing the research project. With a good methodology, it is easier for a researcher to secure relevant funds.
Types of Methods
Research methods are important in a research study since they determine the various steps and activities in the research process. Research methods could be classified in six main categories.
a) Descriptive Quantitative: These methods encompass numerical descriptions, where things are measured as they are.
b) Descriptive Qualitative: These methods may include case studies and ethnography. They entail in-depth descriptions of different situations.
c) Regression/correlation Analyses: These are quantitative approaches that examine the relationships’ strength between different variables.
d) Experimental: This approach entails assigning participants to a group randomly and a control group as well.
e) Quasi-experimental: This method involves comparing two similar groups. One group receives a certain intervention while the other one do not.
f) Meta-analysis: This entails synthesizing multiple studies’ results in an effort to find out the average impact of an intervention across similar studies.
Factors to Consider when Choosing Research Methods
Different research projects demand different methodologies. In arriving at the most suitable methodology, various factors should be considered. These factors include:
a) Research study timeline: The research has to consider the time required in collecting relevant data before deciding on the research methods to adopt. The available time for a research project has an effect on the type of data to be utilized.
b) Study population: The type of population under study influences the methods to be utilized. It is important to note that huge and small study population may demand different methods.
c) Reliability of the research study: This entails to ensure that the research study can produce similar results in different studies with similar conditions. The need for reliability and validity influences research methods to be utilized.
d) Research approach to be used: This generally focuses on whether the research is qualitative or quantitative.