Ten Key Research Methodologies: A Comprehensive Overview

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Key research methodologies encompass various systematic approaches used in academic and scientific investigations. These methodologies serve as the foundation for gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data to gain insights and answer research questions.

Key Research Methodologies: Research is a systematic investigation and foraging of information for the purpose of improving any branch of knowledge. It is an intentional study for the development or expansion of facts. In other words, research is a diligent inquiry or examination to seek or revise facts, principles, theories, applications, and so on. Simply put, research is a laborious or continued search for the truth.

Key Research Methodologies

Research is a very important exercise that develops the society. In fact, it has been alleged that all research must have positive impact on the society; otherwise, such research will be a futile exercise. An element that must at all times be present and operative is that there must be a new fact or perspective being contributed by a research work. Research in this context bears a wider meaning which includes the discovery of new facts for either oneself or new for the society; however, our focus in on the latter.

A research work may be such that seeks to replace existing information with a better or another perspective. The contribution can as well be holistically new. Thus, the test of originality in a research work does not imply that the work should be original in the truest sense of originality; rather, it is the newness of the contribution and the compliance with research ethics that counts.

Research must follow a known methodology. Broadly speaking, the research may doctrinal or empirical. Whichever be the case, the general structure is that there must be first, identification of issue, followed by assembling of facts, experimentation and the use of logic for interpretation of the facts, and connection of the issues and the facts to a logical conclusion based on the assembled information.

What Is Research Methodology?

Research methodology, flowing from the function of the two joined terms is the study of the techniques used in a research field and the actual use of those methods. Research methodology is a broad concept which entails the study totality of the technique employed in the research, including the reason for employing the technique, the study of the process, its implication and justification.

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Types Of Research Methodology

There are many types of research methodology and different names may be ascribed to some of them by different fields of study. It is also possible and in fact, most practicable to combine two or more research methods in a particular research work. There are also types that overlap into other types and some may be an independent method in one field, but a sub-type in another field. The various types are highlighted below, distilling their significance.

1. Analytical research: Analytical research method is most instructive in the doctrinal and can as well be used in the empirical class of research. It deals with the use of analytic reasoning as opposed to synthetic in foraging facts and arriving at a conclusion.

Analytical research makes deductions from the known truth. It seeks to decomposed facts into components in order to critically assess, evaluate and examine them and concept and theories. The analytical method is summed up by critical thinking.

2. Descriptive research: The elements of descriptive research can be seen in the other various types of research methodology. Thus, as some point there may be need to state attributes of certain facts which are implicit in the research process.

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Descriptive method tends to classify variables and facts by attributes. Just as the name implies, it tends to describe the state of things in existence, thereby implicating its characteristics. Descriptive method is merely interested in what has already occurred as opposed to distilling facts which may have led to the occurrence of the events. Thus, it is not interested in the question as to “why” but rather, it answers the question as to “what”. It therefore does not employ critical analysis.

3. Quantitative research: This method is most useful in the empirical or field-based research method. It is the systematic scientific investigation of properties and phenomena which are capable of being measured, and their relationships, using mathematical or statistical methods.

Quantitative research is concerned with measurement based on quantity or number as opposed to quality. The method uses data gotten from questionnaires, polls and surveys in arriving at its conclusion.

4. Qualitative research: This is the direct opposite of quantitative research. The method deals with the quality as opposed to quantity.

It is the systematic collection and analysis of data that is capable of being described by quality in order to be applied to a certain research problem and arrive at a conclusion. This method makes use of non-numeric data such as text, audio, video and anything that can be seen and be given an attribute. The qualitative method is interested in the reasoning behind given behaviours.

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5. Action/Applied research method: Action or applied research method is a practical research method. This research method relates particularly to real life situations as opposed to a mere academic exercise.

Its impact is of two folds: solving an immediate societal problem as well as contributing to knowledge. An instance is a psychologist who works on a survey in order to ascertain facts, evaluate the causes and proffer practical solutions.

6. Fundamental research: Fundamental or pure research method is the opposite of action research method. Here, the researcher is not concerned with the practical impact of the research work on the society. It does not seek to solve an immediate problem.

It rather seeks to formulate theories for the purpose of increasing knowledge in the relevant research field. This method is basically implicated in the doctrinal class of research.

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7. Ethnography: This is a method mostly known to anthropologist. The method is concerned with the study of the culture and environment of a given geographical location in order to develop a theoretical but factual narrative of the place.

This method may fit in as part of the historical method, for it studies also the past of the environment. The qualitative method is also implicated in this method, for it deals with the collection of data for the purpose of analyzing the qualities of different individuals in a given location.

8. Case study: This is a practical method which involves in-depth study of a specific subject matter for any purpose as may be intended by the researcher.

The center-point is that it is usually for the development of knowledge as well as application to solving a real life problem.

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9. Exploratory research: This is the method that is basically employed in the cause of researching on an entirely new area or areas which have remained undefined.

It is a highly extensive and thorough research, for there are no previously established facts for assumptions to be made. It is quite a flexible research method, although, the process of data collection is usually difficult.

10. Comparative research: Here, the researcher’s purpose and mindset is focused on evaluating two or more different but similar specific subjects for the purpose of comparing them.

The comparison is made for the purpose of highlighting the discrepancies and proffering recommendations from a subject which tends to have a better one. Comparative analysis is basically instructive in doctrinal method, and it can still be used in the empirical method, depending on the comparability of the data and subjects.

Conclusion: There are other research methods which are rather subsumed by most of these general methods discussed here. Going on a further study, one would see that some of these methods cannot be completely severed from the other. Thus, a combination of more than one method may be suitable in a given case, but this always depends on the subject matter and the purpose of the research.


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