Research Methodology Workshop - Quantitative and Qualitative

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Research Methodology WorkshopQuantitative & Qualitative

Dr. Philip Vaughter, UNU-IAS

ProsPER.Net Young Researchers School10th March 2017 Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City

Why the big deal about methodology?A clear methodology section is one of the most critical parts of a research proposal

It is also the part that even the most experienced researchers have difficulty in writing2

Why the big deal about methodology?Purpose of a methodology section

To explain how the data was generatedTo explain how the data was analyzed

When writing a methodology, it is critical to provide enough information so that others can repeat the experiment/study and reproduce the results, or understand the context the results were generated in so that the audience can judge whether your conclusions are valid.3

Some tips for your methodology sectionWhen writing a methodology section, it is best to be direct and precise

Try and operationalize any terminology you use so that your audience can follow your methodology clearly4

Steps in writing your methodologyResearch Background

Goals and Objectives of the Research

Propose Methodology

Determine Sources of Data

Develop a Timeline5

1) Research BackgroundThis is a reference back to literature review on the given topic, explaining what methodologies have been used by other researchers to examine the same or similar topics.

These methodologies do not necessarily have to be incorporated into the study, but it is a good idea to acknowledge them and explain why or why not they are appropriate for the given study.

Note: This is an important early step, but is not research, it is review


2) Goals and Objectives of ResearchIn this section, lay out the research objective of the given study7

3) Propose MethodologyPresent a rationale for why a given methodology was chosen to investigate the field of interest.

Helpful tip: present a flow chart of some form of visual aid to illustrate the methodology being presented


4) Determine Sources of DataExplicitly state what your sources of data will be. Note, if you are collecting data on people or animals, you will need to get ethical approval both from the institution you are researching and potentially the jurisdiction you will be researching in.

Explicitly state what type of data you will be collecting from your sources.

Explain how this data will be gathered, including type of sampling techniques or equipment used in the collection process.

If any measurements or categorizations are made during data collection, explain briefly how these were made.9

5) Develop a TimelineDevelop a timetable for completion of the various stages of work for the methodology (e.g., methodology development, data collection/fieldwork, data processing, analysis, results interpretation, etc.)10

Types of Data, Types of Research MethodsTypically, researchers choose from three methodological approaches:



Quantitative Research MethodsQuantitative research methods are characterized by the collection of information which can be analyzed numerically

Results are typically presented using statistics, tables, and/or graphs

Because quantitative data is numeric, the collection and analysis of representative samples is commonly usedThe more representative the sample, the more likely that the quantitative analysis will reflect results that can be generalized 12

Quantitative Research MethodsHowever, even if sample is representative, quantitative data can be useless unless the data collection instruments are appropriate, well designed, and clearly explained to the users of the data

Example: Data collected using poorly designed questionnaires may solicit a huge amount of data, but result in much of it being unusable because it is impossible to generalizeAll too often, designers of data collection tools frame qualitative questions quantitatively and vice versa13

Quantitative Research MethodsStrengths of Quantitative Data AnalysisNumeric estimatesOpportunity for relatively uncomplicated data analysisData which are verifiableData which are comparable between different communities and locationsData which do not require analytical judgment beyond consideration of how information will be presented in the dissemination process


Quantitative Research MethodsWeaknesses of Quantitative Data AnalysisGaps in information ex., data which are not included in collection cannot be included in analysisLabor intensive data collection processOften, limited participation by populations affected in the information collection process


Qualitative Research MethodsQualitative research is by definition exploratory

It is used when we dont know what to expect, how to define an issue, or there is a lack of understanding of why and how variables are affected

Qualitative data is useful for both exploring both groups and individual entities, and can generate case studies and summaries rather than lists of numeric dataQualitative data are often textual observations that portray attitudes, perceptions, or intentions


Qualitative Research MethodsQualitative methods and analysis provide added value in exploring intangible factorsEx., cultural expectations, gender roles, individual feelings

Sample size must be big enough to assure inclusion of most or all of the variance in the data

Often times, the number of sample sites, groups, or categorizations becomes obvious as assessment progresses and new categories, themes, and explanations stop emerging from the data (theoretical saturation)17

Qualitative Research MethodsStrengths of Qualitative Data AnalysisRich and detailed informationPerspectives that can include specific cultural and social contexts (the human voice)Inclusion of diverse cross-section Data collection which can be carried out with limited resourcesData collection which can be carried out with limited respondents


Qualitative Research MethodsWeaknesses of Qualitative Data AnalysisResults un data which are not objectively verifiableRequires a labor intensive analysis process (categorization, recording, etc.)Needs skilled data collectors for consistency and nuance


Mixed Research MethodsA combination of both quantitative and qualitative research methods


Thank you!

ProsPER.Net Young Researchers School10th March 2017 Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City