Common Research Methods for Dissertations

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Students generally first encounter dissertations as part of a college course. Basic research is generally undertaken at the school level; however, the dissertation is an integral part of any advanced degree course. In fact, for an undergraduate degree, the dissertation is essential.

Research Methods are the techniques and processes utilized to uncover new ideas, new information, and help develop a better understanding of certain topics. Though the type of research method used depends on the research question. But some methods are very common, and you must get the know-how of these to begin the research process for your dissertation. Additionally, you can also check with a dissertation or an essay writing service online to help you with your dissertation. Such online writing services hire people who are not only professional academic writers but are also subject specialists.

Every research method for the dissertation differs in its approach to data collection and analysis. These include the following:

Qualitative Research Designs

As the name implies. This research method is concerned with human behavior, and why people behave in a certain manner. Thus, it collects data about emotions, behaviors, and life experiences. Hence, this method is used in social and behavioral sciences.

Qualitative research uses interviews, group interviews, and focus groups for data collection. It helps in obtaining an in-depth understanding of the topic. Observations and interactions are also part of this research method. It considers the researcher as part of the situation. Other methods to be used include document analysis and the life stories to be shared with researchers.

When it comes to data analysis, an approach like content analysis is used because the data to be analyzed is huge.

Quantitative Research Designs

This research method collects data in numerical form. Statistical analysis not only ranks the numerical data easily, but also categorizes and measures it with precision. This data helps in making relationships, generalizations and finding patterns.

For instance, you will find answers to the questions like how much, how often and how many, etc.

You can see, this method is exactly opposite to the method mentioned above. But it is easier to obtain data from a large group of people in this way. The suitable methods to collect information include questionnaires, surveys, observations, document screening and experiments. Secondary data is also collected. These methods help the researchers collect data in numerical form.

Surveys or questionnaires are used for exposing the whole research population with the same questions, and analysis is then used to convert the answers into numerical data. Data collected by these means is most often analyzed by statistical methods and techniques, even if the data is simple or complex. The analysis aims to identify patterns in the data.

Pragmatic Approach (mixed methods)

Other than the two approaches of research design mentioned above, the third approach is a combination of both. If you want to stay away from the logical debate of what approach is most suitable, go for the mixed approach.

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You will develop an understanding of using different research methods. Also, you will see how a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods is used. When you are using this approach, you recognize every method as its limitations. So, you are free to use any of these techniques.

Are you confused? Check this example, the data collected from interviews and focused groups might help to gain information which will later contribute towards the development of a scale, the results of which are analyzed statistically later.

That is all about the most common research methods used in research at all levels. As you move towards complex data, subject, and study, you might explore other research methods, but for now, this is enough. Just keep the key differences between each method in mind, and you are all set to begin your research.

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