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Research methods is generally a very broad term. Even though methods of data collection and analysis represent the bulk of the research methods, there is a huge range of additional elements to address within the scope of the research you are conducting. These other elements include research philosophy, types of research, research approach, methods of data collection, sampling, and last but certainly not least, ethical considerations.
Research philosophy refers to your own belief about how data should be collected, analysed and used. Positivism and phenomenology are the two main contrasting research philosophies. Positivism is an objective method, concerned with facts and quantitative data. Phenomenology is subjective and focuses on meaning rather than data.
Types of research can be defined under applied or fundamental research. Applied research aims to find a solution for immediate issues, whereas fundamental research is concerned with the overall scope of knowledge in the research area without immediate practical implications.
The research approach can be divided into inductive and deductive categories. If you are to pursue the answer to specific research questions, you will be following the inductive method of research. If you wish to achieve research objectives through a hypothesis, your approach will be deductive.
The research design can be exploratory or conclusive. You can either explore the research issue at hand without producing conclusive evidence or choose to conduct the research in order to come to a final conclusion.
There are two types of data collection methods, qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative focuses more on interviews and the written word, whereas quantitative aims to collect data in order to display in the form of a chart or table.
Sampling guides the process of selecting the members of the population who are going to participate in the study.
Ethical considerations must be taken into account when conducting research. It encourages a trustworthy environment and mutual respect. Issues such as data sharing, co-authorship, copyright guidelines, confidentiality all come under ethical considerations.
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