Selecting the right methodology is crucial for the success of your research. Using the method, the researcher has chosen for his research, the researcher tests the hypothesis for possible acceptance or rejection. Therefore, it is necessary that the researcher uses the most appropriate method of data collection, analysis and evaluation. Sometimes the researcher invents the method for his research because no approprioate method is available to conduct the research. There can be many possibilities as there are hundreds of methods from which a researcher will choose. Research methodology includes the overall process of research, data collection, data interpretation and data evaluation.
Basically the research methodologies can be categorized into quantitative and qualitative methods and there is another calssification, a comparatively new calss of research methods, that is mixed-method research methodology. The researcher will choose from these methodologies but under each of these methods there are several methods and it depends on the scope, nature and the type of research that which method you choose.
Quantitative research methodology
Quantitaive research methods are used in research when the purpose of the research is to test a clear hypothesis. Hypothesis testing requires empirical data testing and you cannot answer a hypothesis using a qualitative research methodology. Another way to decide which method best suits your research is to see the research question, your research question answers which methodology is suitable for your research. In quantitaive research methods the researcher collects facts and figures and later on analyze these facts using suitable statistical tools. The purpose is to test the hypothesis for possible acceptance or rejection.
The most commonly used methods of data collection in quantitaive research methodology includes questionnaire, interview, experiments and survey. The researcher uses suitable statistical analysis techniques to reach the conclusion. Most of the researches in the field of computer science, other sciences and in psychology are quantitaive in nature.
Qualitative research methodology
Qualitative research methodology is used in research when the purpose of the research is to analyze opinions, attitudes or behaviors. The purpose of qualitative research is to answer the research questions what and why. In qualitative research the researcher aims at obtaining indepth information but there is always a question of researcher bias as qualitative research is subjective in nature. In qualitative research the researcher describes a particular situation, event, phenomenon or person. Most of the descriptive, historical and exploratory studies are qualitative in nature.
The most commonly used methods of data collection in qualitative research includes interview, case study and documentries. The researcher often uses attitudinal scales for qualitative research. These attitudinal scales can be created or the researcher can use a predesigned scale like likert scale. Most of the researches in the field of social sciences are qualitative in nature.
Mixed-method research methodology
Mixed-method research is one in which the researcher uses both qualitative and quantitaive research methods to conduct the study. Mixed-method research is comparatively new but due to the broader scope great many researches are now conducted in mixed-method research. In past researchers argued over the positivist approach or constuctivist approach but with mixed-method research the researchers can now use both approaches in single research. The researchers can now generate indepth information by using this method of research.
In mixed-method research the researcher can use multiple of data collection tools as well as data analysis techniques as he can use both qualitative and quantitative methods. Mixed-method research methodology has broader scope and, therefore, it can be used in any field like in psychology, social science or in the literature.