Different Research Methods and Types of Data
Research can be defined as a process or detailed analysis of the problem which considers scientific method to find out the solution of problem. In order to survive in the dynamic business environment, organization needs to conduct research to assess the opportunities and threats (Adedokun and et.al., 2013). For this, researcher needs to have the knowledge regarding each aspect of research which helps them in conducting the research in an appropriate manner. Accuracy of results of research is highly dependent upon the skills and knowledge of researcher. This report is based upon the scenario which states that The Manchester Company (TMC) wishes to start a new project. Present report will discuss different research methods and types of data which researcher can collect to achieve the purpose of research. It also states the role of ethics committee and the kind of potential ethical issues that arises during investigation.
There are various types of research methodologies that are available to the researcher which he undertakes in his research study or program. It consists of experimental, survey, evaluative, observational and developmental along with applied versus fundamental research. It provides more assistance to the researcher in assessing the problem so that they can get success in their study. Different types of research methodologies are enumerated as below:
Experimental research: In the experimental research, researcher manipulates the variables and maintains control over the factors which closely impacts the result of an experiment. In this, researcher makes efforts to assess or predict the happening behind problem (Collis and Hussey, 2013). Under experimental research, scholar makes modification in the independent variables and makes control over rest of the variables. It is usually used where there is the existence of casual relationship between variables. Researcher tests the hypothesis and builds cause and effect relationship between dependent and independent variables.
Survey: Survey consists of collecting information from the large group of public with the help of questionnaire. It can be said that it is a process in which information is collected by the group of people who resides outside an organization. In this method, researcher prepares questionnaire which provides assistance to him in relation to collect the necessary information. In addition to this, researcher can also collect the information through other means such as interview. Survey is the most effective technique which helps researcher in getting success in the research program.
Evaluative research: It can be defined as a kind of research study which employs standard, unique and social technique to evaluate the research problem. It helps the researcher is assessing and finding solution of the problem through standard techniques of evaluation. Evaluative research is the more systematic process which helps researcher in enhancing knowledge and decision making skills (Evaluation Research, 2015).
Observational research: Observational research can be defined as a social research technique in which researcher observes the activities of sample or customers. In such kind of research, customer has no idea that their activities are monitored by the researcher (Cottrell, 2013). One of the main benefits of this method is flexibility which implies that researcher can change his approach as and when required.
Developmental research: It can be defined as a type of research study which focuses upon the changes which might emerge as a result of development of organization.
Applied versus fundamental research: Fundamental research is also known as pure and basic investigation. In this, researcher makes proper investigation of the problem and considers that variables are never constant in the dynamic environment. In fundamental research, researcher more emphasizes on the enhancement of knowledge. In contrary to this, one of the main objectives of applied research is to solve the specific problems. Nevertheless, findings of applied research have no immediate or practical implications as compared to the fundamental research (Fundamental and applied research, 2015). In fundamental research, researcher makes efforts to find the innovative solution of problem. However, in applied research, researcher uses the methodology or theories which are already adopted by someone else (Research methods, 2013).
There are mainly two types of data which researcher can gather or use for their further research program. These are enumerated as below:
Qualitative data: It can be defined as data which is neither described nor mentioned in a numerical format. As the name suggests, it focuses on the quality aspect to find the solution of problem. Qualitative data mainly deals with the description which helps in getting suitable results of the research problem. In this, researcher can only observe the data but cannot measure it in the numerical form. For example, researcher of ASDA conducts the study assess the level of customer satisfaction. For this purpose, researcher needs to collect qualitative data which helps them in measuring the level of customer satisfaction. Moreover, to identify customer satisfaction, researcher uses qualitative aspects which help in finding the results instead of using numbers (Davis and et.al., 2006). In this, researcher collects the information which evolves satisfaction among customers. It includes, quality and cost effective services as well as better discount offers and convenience. On the basis of these qualitative aspects or attributes, researcher can identify the view points of customers in terms that whether they are highly satisfied, moderately satisfied or dissatisfied with the services provided by ASDA. Through these aspects, researcher can measure the satisfaction level of customers.
Qualitative data plays an important role in describing the human behavior, emotions and personality characteristics which cannot be possible through quantitative data. In addition to this, it provides realistic view of the world which cannot be measured through quantitative analysis. It is more flexible in nature which helps the researcher in achieving the research objectives effectively. The aim of qualitative research is to evaluate the complex phenomenon to assess the reality of research problem.
Quantitative data: Quantitative data involves numbers to find out the solution of research problem. As the name implied data, it is all about the quantity. Information which can be quantified or modified through statistical manipulation is known as quantitative data (Dochartaigh, 2012). It mainly deals with the numbers which can be easily measured through statistical analysis and techniques. In quantitative measurement, researcher undertakes statistical analysis which represents the data in numerical form. In addition to this, when researcher undertakes ratio analysis to resolve the problem then he needs to gather the information in numerical terms.
Quantitative data is more reliable and objective in nature upon which researcher can use statistical measures or techniques. It plays a crucial role in understanding more complex data with the help of chart and graphs. It also provides assistance in establishing the cause and effect relationship between variables. Besides this, through quantitative data, researcher can easily assess the liquidity or financial position of business aspects.
There are mainly two kinds of information sources such as primary and secondary that is available to the researcher which they can use in their research study. Primary data is that which is collected for the first time by researcher to meet his specific needs. Main primary sources of information in primary collection of data are survey, observation, focus group, case studies and interview. Secondary sources provide more valuable information which is already collected by someone else other than the user of information (Kiley, Moyes and Clayton, 2009). Secondary sources include books, journals, newspapers, official reports and government data. Through this, researcher can collect the valuable information from primary and secondary sources which help in the research study.
Benefits of primary sources: Primary sources of information prove to be more fruitful for the researcher in finding the suitable solution of problem. Interview is the best technique of primary data collection through which researcher can collection the valuable information which is not possible through questionnaire. Besides this, observation also provides more assistance in collecting the primary information (Leahy and et.al., 2008). In this, dependency upon the respondent is decreased and data collected is reliable in nature. Along with this, the biggest advantage of focus group is that this method is more useful to obtain the views of personal and group feelings, perception and opinion. Along with that, survey is also the most effective technique which can easily be administered through e-mail and mobile devices etc. It is a very cost effective technique through which researcher is able to collect the wide range of data.
Drawbacks of primary sources: Along with the advantages, there are so many drawbacks which closely affect the research study and its results. In survey, most of the respondents may not encourage to give appropriate and honest answers. In addition to this, survey which is conducted through close ended question is less reliable in comparison to the other question types. Besides this, in observation technique, researcher is unable to study the happening of past event or problem (Davis and et.al., 2006). In observation, researcher also faces difficulty in observing the attitude of respondent.Benefits of secondary sources:
Secondary data sources provide more benefits to the researcher in terms of low cost and accuracy of data. Along with that, it is easily accessible that is one of the biggest advantages of secondary data. Besides this, it also provides assistance to the researcher while they face any difficulty in conducting primary research (Maxwell, 2012). In addition to this, government sources also provide updated and refined information which proves to be more fruitful for the researcher. Further, information which is collected through official report and government sources are more reliable in nature.
Drawbacks of secondary sources: One of the main drawbacks of secondary sources is that is closely affects the quality of research study. Besides this, it is not necessary that secondary sources provide specific information which meets the specific needs of researcher. Further, time is also one issue which affects the suitability of information. It is more time consuming for the researcher to collect data from secondary sources of information. Due to this, utility of the research is hampered and places negative impact upon it. Usually, secondary sources provide outdated information which places negative impact upon the outcomes of result. In addition to this, if researcher collects the data from restricted sites and sources then it hampers the effectiveness of research program. Thus, it also affects the ethical aspects of research which states that researcher should collect the data from authenticated sources.
As compared to secondary information sources, primary sources are more important as they are reliable in nature. Moreover, they are gathered according to the needs of research so they provide valuable insight about the research area. Besides this, primary information sources are more suitable as they provide specific information which offers assistance to the researcher during whole research (McCormack and Slaght, 2012). Through this, researcher is able to find an appropriate solution of the problem. In addition to this, primary sources provide updated information which raises the quality of outcomes. With the help of reliable and updated information, researcher is able to conduct research in an appropriate manner.
There are many recognized sources that are available to researcher such as Harvard referencing style. It is the standard style of referencing which helps researcher in referencing the source properly. Referencing is an important part of investigation in which researcher provides credit to the author or source from which they collected data (Reising and et.al., 2008). Through this, researcher provides credit to the author or source which provides help to them in conducting the research effectively and efficiently.
As per the Harvard system, if researcher fails to reference the source then it is considered as cheating. It entails that researcher shows work of someone else as it is their work. Plagiarism is also the biggest crime in the academic environment. If researcher does not give credit to the source then it is considered as a plagiarism. Thus, it is necessary for the researcher to give credit to the source from which data have been collected. In order to reference properly, researcher requires making citation of that particular site from which secondary data has been collected. Usually, researcher avoids this aspect which is not suitable and hampers the effectiveness of research study (Saunders and et.al., 2011). In order to resolve the issue of plagiarism, researcher should cite the source and rephrase the data or information which is collected by secondary sources. Through this, researcher gives credit to the sources and thereby, also maintains the ethical aspects and issues.
There are several problems or issues which are being faced by the researcher while they undertake the research program. Issues which closely affect the research study and its outcome are enumerated as below:
Restricted sites: It is one of the main issues which researcher faces in their research program or study. Usually, researcher faces problem in the collection of data due to sites which are restricted from this aspect. Besides this, there are many sites to which researcher need to subscribe to collect data from that site. It acts as a one of the main barrier which affects the accuracy of the research result. Due to this, only limited sites are available in front of the researcher in order to collect the data (Maxwell, 2012). It also hampers the quality of research outcomes.
Time issue: Time is also one of the main problems which impact the utility of research study. Many times, researcher has to complete the research work within predetermined time frame. In this situation, researcher is unable to conduct research in an appropriate manner. In addition to this, after passage of certain time, there is less utility of research. After the given time frame, researcher is unable to build and sustain competitive advantage over others.
Biasness of researcher: It is also the issue which affects the quality of output. Usually, in quantitative research or data, researcher makes manipulation in information to achieve the desired results or outcomes. In addition to this, researcher usually undertakes biasness in the selection of sample as well as results. This factor closely affects the appropriateness of research.
Fear aspect of respondent: In interview, most of the respondents give biased answers due to fear factor. They hesitate to present their views and suggestions in front of the interviewer. For example, usually employees are more hesitating to present their views to employers due to fear of losing job.
Further, in survey technique, most of the respondents do not give satisfactory responses while filling questionnaire (Dochartaigh, 2012). Besides this, respondent give biased answers while they answer the questions. It is also the main issue which researcher faces during the research study.
Ethics plays a vital role in the research program and needs to be applied in all the stages of research program such as planning, conducting and evaluating a project. Use of ethics in the research program increases the quality of research study and its outcomes. Consideration of ethical aspect raises the quality of research outcome. It increases the reliability of research output in the minds of others. As per the ethical aspects, researcher needs to collect or gather information from copyright sources (Collis and Hussey, 2013). Moreover, copyright sources provide suitable information to the researcher. Success of the investigation is highly dependent on the accuracy of data or information. Thus, researcher needs to collect data or information from more authenticated sources.
Along with this, researcher needs to maintain confidentiality in the research program which indicates the ethical aspects. On the basis of this aspect, researcher should not disclose the identity of respondents who provide information to them. In addition to this, by avoiding the biasness in selection of research methods and techniques, researcher can maintain ethics in the research study (Collis and Hussey, 2013). It helps the scholar in deriving accurate results of study. In entails that researcher maintains the ethical aspects to a large extent.
There are many ethical issues which arise during the research program in relation to the selection of authentic sources of data collection. It is very difficult for the researcher to identify reliable sources of data collection. Besides this, ethical dilemma also creates the problem in front of researcher in relation to the maintenance of ethical aspects. For example, many times, researcher forces the respondents to give answer of the problem which is ethically wrong. But in order to fulfill the objective of research, researcher forces respondents which creates ethical dilemma.
In order to resolve the problem of selection of authenticate source, researcher needs to make efforts to search the approved or copyright sources. In addition to this, researcher requires to use the books and journals of well-known author or researcher. It provides help to the researcher in maintaining ethical aspects. Besides this, to reduce the ethical dilemma, researcher needs to encourage the potential respondents by giving review of research study (Adedokun and et.al., 2013). Through this, researcher is able to maintain the ethical standards and policies and thereby, attains the research objective. Further, researcher should never force the respondents and must make efforts to conduct the research study by undertaking ethical aspects.
From this project report, it has been concluded that researcher needs to select the best methodology after assessing various types of research methodologies. It can be concluded that quantitative data proves to be more suitable when statistical analysis is required to resolve the problem. Whereas qualitative data is required to resolve the research problem where quality attributes exist. Besides this, it has been concluded that primary source of information plays a significant role in finding the appropriate solution of problem. It can be seen in the report that researcher faces several issues while they undertaking research. It can be stated that ethics committee and ethical issues plays a vital role in the research study or program.
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