UGC NTA NET Exam | Methods of Research | Unit-2nd | Part-6th |

 UGC NTA NET Exam |Methods of Research| Unit-2nd | Part-6th |

Research method may be understood as all those methods or techniques that are used for conducting a research. In other words, all those methods which are used by the researcher during the course of studying his/her research problem are termed as research methods.

Since, the objective of research is to arrive at a solution for a given problem, the available data and unknown aspects of the problem have to be related to each other to make a solution possible. however, keeping this in view, research methods can be put into the following categories.

1. Qualitative Research Method

During the late 18th century, philosophers such as Immanual Kant, William Dithey, Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleu-Ponty believed that life consists of experiences and we live in a matrix of complex relationships with others.

They believed that humans cannot be studied as isolated units but must be understood in the context of their 'lived world' or cultural and social connections. The seminal work of these philosophers paved the way for the birth of naturalistic or qualitative research.

Qualitative research is a method of naturalistic inquiry, that seeks in-depth understanding of social phenomena within their natural setting. It focuses on the 'why' rather than the 'what' of social phenomena and relies on the direct experiences of human beings as meaning-making agents in their every day lives. it uses multiple systems of inquiry for the study of human phenomena including in-depth interview, focus group, ethnographic research, text or content analysis and phenomenology.

It is a type of scientific research. in general term scientific research consists of an investigation that:
1. seeks answers to a question
2. Systematically uses a predefined set of procedure to answer the question.
3. collects evidence
4. produces finding that were not determined in advance.
5. produces findings that are applicable beyond the immediate boundaries of the study.
6. Additionally, it seeks to understand a given research problem or topic from the perspectives of the local population involves in it.
7. it is especially effective in obtaining culturally specific info about the values, opinions, behaviours and social contents of particular population.

Some qualitative research method:

1. In-depth Interview:

This is the most common qualitative research method. it is a personal interview that is carried out with one respondent at a time. the advantage of this research is that, it provides great opportunity to gather precise data about what people believe and what their motivation are.

The research can ask questions and follow-up questions during interviews which can help them to collect relevant information such methods of interviews can be performed directly (face to face) and indirectly (through phone, mail, letters etc).

2. Focus Group

A focus group is also one of the commonly used qualitative research method. in focus group research method a limited no. of respondents (6-12) based on topic of research is included. the main aim of this research method is to find answers to the questions of-why, what and how. in this research, there is no necessity to interact with the group of people.

3. Ethnographic Research

Ethnographic research method focuses on the meaning of sociology through close field observation of sociocultural phenomena. this research method studies people in their naturally occurring environment. in such research geographical constraints can be an issue while collecting data. this research method and solely depends on the expertise of the researcher to be able to analyse, observe and infer the data.

4. Text or Content Analysis

In this method, the researcher try to analyse the social life by decoding the words and images from a piece of the documents or other similar forms like film, music, documentary etc. the aim of content analysis is to identify important characteristics of the content, being researched and present in a simplified manner, so that it can be easily understood.

5. Phenomenology

Phenomenology describes the structures of experience as they present themselves to consciousness, without resource to theory deduction, or assumptions from other disciplines.

Phenomenology method is particularly effective at bringing the experiences and perception of individuals from their own perspectives.

2. Historical Study or Method

Historical study or method focuses on collection and objective evaluation of data related to past occurrences in order to test hypothesis concerning causes, effects or trends of these events that may help to explain present events and anticipate future events.

The purpose of historical method of research is to re-evaluate data in relation to selected hypothesis, theories and generalisations, and to understand how and why educational theories and practices developed.

Steps of historical research are as follows:
  • To select a problem
  • To set limit of the selected problem
  • To formulate hypothesis related to the problem
  • To collect data and check the authentication of the collected data.
  • Discuss the result or outcomes of the study.

3.  Experimental method of Research

The experimental method is a systematic and scientific approach to research in which the researcher manipulates one or more variables, and control and measures any change in other variable.
Experimental provides a method of hypothesis testing. After defining the problem, a tentative, answer or hypothesis is formulated.

Experimenters manipulate certain stimuli, treatments or environmental conditions and observe how the condition or behaviour of the subject is affected or changed. An experiment involves the comparison of the effects of a particular treatment with that of a different treatment or no treatment.

It is the most systematic method as through this method cause-effect relationship of individuals behaviour can be established. The findings of experimental method are open to critical examination and verification.

one of the constrains of experimental method is that; human behaviour is changeable, identical behaviour of the same individual not occur under identical conditions at different times. this method is costly and time consuming.

4. Quantitative Research Method

Quantitative research is a structured way of collecting and analysing data obtained from different sources. This method involves the use of computational, statistical and mathematical tools to derive results. This method is conclusive in its purpose as it tries to quantify the problem and understand how prevalent it is by looking for projectable results to a large data.

The data collection tools for a qualitative research are surveys and experiments. experiments can provide specific results regarding the cause and effect relationship of several independent or interdependent factors related  to a particular problem.

As data is collected, analysed and presented in numbers, the results obtained from quantitative research are extremely reliable. numbers do not lie, they present an honest picture of the conducted research without discrepancies and is also extremely accurate. this research method offers no scope for personal comments or biasing of results. the results achieved are numerical and are thus, fair in most cases.

5. Descriptive Research Method:

It is a research method that describes the characteristics of the population or phenomenon that is being studied. this methodology focuses more on the "what" of the research subject rather than the "why" of the research subject. Thus, it does not make accurate predictions, and does not determine cause and effect.

It is a quantitative research method that attempts to collect quantifiable information to be used for statistical analysis of the population sample. it is a popular market research tool demographic segment.

In descriptive research, none of the variables are influenced in any way because it uses observational method to conduct the research. Hence, the nature of the variables or their behaviour is not in the hands of the researcher.
It is generally a cross-sectional study where different belonging to the same group are studied.

The data collected and analyzed during this method can also be used by other research methods. This research method has three major types such as:

1. Observation Method

It is a method of data collection for a specific objective. According to DV Young, "Observation may be defined as systematic viewing coupled with consideration of the seen phenomena".

It is a social research technique that involves the direct observation of phenomena in their natural setting.

This differentiates it from experimental research in which a quasi-artificial environment is created to control the spurious factors, and where at least one of the variable is manipulated as part of the experiment.

2. Survey Method

In survey method, a question or a series of questions are asked to many people in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something. surveys can be executed in two ways-cross-sectional surveys and longitudinal surveys.
In cross-sectional survey, information is collected from a sample that has been drawn from a predetermined population. In longitudinal surveys, information is collected at different points of time in order to study changes over time.
In survey method questions can be asked in three ways-by personal interview, by telephonic interview and by mailed questionnaire.

3. Case Study Method

A case study method is an empirical enquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident. A case study offers a description of only a single individual, although it is also possible (but rarely done) to write case studies of groups.

The case study method also enables the researcher to explore and describe the nature of processes which occur over time. the case study is not in itself a methodology, but a collection of methods that the teacher uses to investigate an entity such as an individual, a team, and an event or an organisation.

In case study method, quantitative data may be collected, but the main emphasis is always on the construction of verbal descriptions of behaviour or experience.

A variety of data collection techniques can be used in case studies including-direct observation of behaviours, interviews, psychological testing (e.g IQ,memory, Personality), examination of past record (e.g. medical, psychiatry, criminal etc.)

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