Research Methods

What are the research methods?

Research methods are procedures to be followed in a systematic, rational and objective way to find knowledge in a specific field of study.

Depending on how they collect and expose the data they provide, research methods can be:

Quantitative methods

A quantitative method is a method that bases its system on objectivity and numbers, using statistics and mathematics to process data and obtain results.

Qualitative methods

A qualitative method is one that studies and reports the results descriptively. These are typical social research procedures and, as the name suggests, they pay more attention to quality.

Mixed methods

A mixed method is used to investigate complex issues, as they collect both quantitative and qualitative data, allowing them to be investigated in a broader and deeper way.

Types of research methods and techniques

Observation method

It consists of examining the events or individuals involved in the investigation without influencing them, in order to record relevant data, activities or behaviors.

It is a method frequently used in animal studies to examine their behavior and their relationship to the environment.

Experimental method

It is a method where the researcher observes and controls the elements participating in the research, recreating specific situations and introducing intentional variations.

It is often used, for example, to determine the effects that certain products may have on the consumer.

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Case study

It is a method which investigates an individual or specific situation which, because of its interest or its complexity, deserves an in-depth study.

In psychology, for example, it is used to analyze the abnormal behavior of patients undergoing treatment. The study of a set of specific cases leads to potential universal solutions.

Historical method

It is the procedure that historians follow to investigate and interpret past events. A critical analysis is made of the sources and testimonies of the time to expose the extracted data in an objective and orderly way.

Ethnographic method

It is a study of groups of people and their social environment, with the aim of profiling customs and behaviors relevant for investigations, mainly, of an anthropological type.

Documentary techniques

It consists of collecting and processing data from documents, written or audiovisual, on the subject to be investigated. The goal is for the researcher to reach valid conclusions to confirm or refute his hypothesis.

When preparing a thesis, for example, the published bibliography on the subject is examined to find out the context of the problem.

Field techniques

The study is carried out directly with the phenomenon or the environment that we want to study, so that the data is collected by the researcher through observation or relationship.

An example would be a group of marine biologists who travel the high seas to observe cetacean behavior and communication.

Surveys and questionnaires

It is a technique used in collaborative studies to extract data through a series of questions formulated in order to define common traits between the participants in the study.

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The interview is a conversation between the researcher and the research subject, aimed at obtaining relevant data for the study.