This guide will provide introductory information and resources to help you understand the different types of research methods and statistical analysis for your research project.
These books will give you an overview of the various research methods and research design:
The Library provides a variety of software for statistical analysis. Try a search and locate the PC:
Typically in the research process, a research topic is first chosen. After which, a literature review will be conducted to identify knowledge gaps within the topic. The researcher then decides on the research questions or hypotheses the study will investigate and this is where research methods come in. Research methods are the techniques, processes and procedures to sample, collect and analyse data with which the researcher employs to answer research questions or test hypotheses set out.
The three major approaches to research are quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods.
collects numerical data which is then measured, ranked and categorised using statistical analysis to reveal relationships and patterns, and make generalisations about the research subject. This type of research is useful for investigating questions like how many/much, how often, to what extent. Examples of quantitative research include: laboratory experiments, surveys or questionnaires, and mathematical modelling. SPSS and SAS are two commonly used tools for analysing quantitative data.
collects non-numerical data to infer the meanings, characteristics, behaviours of research subjects. This type of research is useful for exploring the hows and whys of a particular phenomenon. Examples of qualitative research include: interviews, focus groups, observations, and case studies. Nvivo is a commonly used tool for analysing qualitative data.
collects both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study. A common example of mixed methods research is a survey (quantitative) and a focus group interview (qualitative).
The research method undertaken and how it is used often depend on the discipline and research topic. Here are some tips to help you:
1. Getting started on finding research method resources for your discipline
2. Seeing what methods are used by researchers
3. Finding more articles that employ a particular research method or data collection technique
Quick tip: Remember to use basic search techniques