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The 3 Basic Types of Descriptive Research Methods

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❶Qualitative psychological research is where the research findings are not arrived at by statistical or other quantitative procedures. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Types of research

The first method is the straightforward experiment, involving the standard practice of manipulating quantitative, independent variables to generate statistically analyzable data. Generally, the system of scientific measurements is interval or ratio based. The researcher is accepting or refuting the null hypothesis.

The results generated are analyzable and are used to test hypotheses , with statistics giving a clear and unambiguous picture. This research method is one of the most difficult, requiring rigorous design and a great deal of expense, especially for larger experiments. The other problem, where real life organisms are used, is that taking something out of its natural environment can seriously affect its behavior.

It is also the biggest drain on time and resources, and is often impossible to perform for some fields, because of ethical considerations. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was a prime example of experimental research that was fixated on results, and failed to take into account moral considerations. In other fields of study, which do not always have the luxury of definable and quantifiable variables - you need to use different research methods. These should attempt to fit all of the definitions of repeatability or falsifiability , although this is not always feasible.

Opinion based research methods generally involve designing an experiment and collecting quantitative data. For this type of research, the measurements are usually arbitrary, following the ordinal or interval type. Questionnaires are an effective way of quantifying data from a sample group, and testing emotions or preferences. This method is very cheap and easy, where budget is a problem, and gives an element of scale to opinion and emotion. These figures are arbitrary, but at least give a directional method of measuring intensity.

By definition, this experiment method must be used where emotions or behaviors are measured, as there is no other way of defining the variables. Whilst not as robust as experimental research , the methods can be replicated and the results falsified. Observational research is a group of different research methods where researchers try to observe a phenomenon without interfering too much.

Observational research methods, such as the case study , are probably the furthest removed from the established scientific method. Observational research tends to use nominal or ordinal scales of measurement. Observational research often has no clearly defined research problem , and questions may arise during the course of the study.

Observation is heavily used in social sciences, behavioral studies and anthropology, as a way of studying a group without affecting their behavior. Whilst the experiment cannot be replicated or falsified , it still offers unique insights, and will advance human knowledge. Case studies are often used as a pre-cursor to more rigorous methods, and avoid the problem of the experiment environment affecting the behavior of an organism.

Observational research methods are useful when ethics are a problem. In an ideal world, experimental research methods would be used for every type of research, fulfilling all of the requirements of falsifiability and generalization. However, ethics , time and budget are major factors, so any experimental design must make compromises.

As long as a researcher recognizes and evaluates flaws in the design when choosing from different research methods, any of the scientific research methods are valid contributors to scientific knowledge. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:. Martyn Shuttleworth Jun 19, Alternatively, the two groups might differ in some important way e.

Surveys involve collecting information, usually from fairly large groups of people, by means of questionnaires but other techniques such as interviews or telephoning may also be used. There are different types of survey. They enable people to take their time, think about it and come back to the questionnaire later.

Participants can state their views or feelings privately without worrying about the possible reaction of the researcher. Unfortunately, some people may still be inclined to try to give socially acceptable answers. People should be encouraged to answer the questions as honestly as possible so as to avoid the researchers drawing false conclusions from their study.

Questionnaires typically contain multiple choice questions, attitude scales, closed questions and open-ended questions. Questionnaires can be administered in a number of different ways e.

Researchers may even decide to administer the questionnaire in person which has the advantage of including people who have difficulties reading and writing. Interviews are usually carried out in person i. It is important for interviewees to decide whether they are comfortable about inviting the researcher into their home and whether they have a room or area where they can speak freely without disturbing other members of the household.

The interviewer which is not necessarily the researcher could adopt a formal or informal approach, either letting the interviewee speak freely about a particular issue or asking specific pre-determined questions.

This will have been decided in advance and depend on the approach used by the researchers. A semi-structured approach would enable the interviewee to speak relatively freely, at the same time allowing the researcher to ensure that certain issues were covered. When conducting the interview, the researcher might have a check list or a form to record answers.

This might even take the form of a questionnaire. Taking notes can interfere with the flow of the conversation, particularly in less structured interviews.

Also, it is difficult to pay attention to the non-verbal aspects of communication and to remember everything that was said and the way it was said. Consequently, it can be helpful for the researchers to have some kind of additional record of the interview such as an audio or video recording. They should of course obtain permission before recording an interview. Case studies usually involve the detailed study of a particular case a person or small group.

Various methods of data collection and analysis are used but this typically includes observation and interviews and may involve consulting other people and personal or public records. The researchers may be interested in a particular phenomenon e. Case studies have a very narrow focus which results in detailed descriptive data which is unique to the case s studied. Nevertheless, it can be useful in clinical settings and may even challenge existing theories and practices in other domains.

Studies which involve observing people can be divided into two main categories, namely participant observation and non-participant observation. In participant observation studies, the researcher becomes or is already part of the group to be observed.

This involves fitting in, gaining the trust of members of the group and at the same time remaining sufficiently detached as to be able to carry out the observation.

The observations made might be based on what people do, the explanations they give for what they do, the roles they have, relationships amongst them and features of the situation in which they find themselves. In non-participant observation studies, the researcher is not part of the group being studied. The researcher decides in advance precisely what kind of behaviour is relevant to the study and can be realistically and ethically observed.

The observation can be carried out in a few different ways. For example, it could be continuous over a set period of time e. Observation does not only include noting what happened or was said but also the fact that a specific behaviour did not occur at the time of observation.

Observational trials study health issues in large groups of people but in natural settings. Longitudinal approaches examine the behaviour of a group of people over a fairly lengthy period of time e. In some cases, the researchers might monitor people when they are middle-aged and then again after 15 years and so on. The aim of such studies is usually to determine whether there is a link between one factor and another e.

The group of people involved in this kind of study is known as a cohort and they share a certain characteristic or experience within a defined period.

Within the cohort, there may be subgroups e. In some cases, rather than following a group of people from a specific point in time onwards, the researchers take a retrospective approach, working backwards as it were. They might ask participants to tell them about their past behaviour, diet or lifestyle e.

This is not always a reliable method and may be problematic as some people may forget, exaggerate or idealise their behaviour. For this reason, a prospective study is generally preferred if feasible although a retrospective pilot study preceding a prospective study may be helpful in focusing the study question and clarifying the hypothesis and feasibility of the latter Hess, The Delphi method was developed in the United States in the s and s in the military domain. It has been considered particularly useful in helping researchers determine the range of opinions which exist on a particular subject, in investigating issues of policy or clinical relevance and in trying to come to a consensus on controversial issues.

The objectives can be roughly divided into those which aim to measure diversity and those which aim to reach consensus. There is no limit to the number of panellists involved but between 10 and 50 might be considered manageable. The panellists are chosen on the basis of their expertise which could take many forms e. Is Alzheimer's disease hereditary?

Is there a test that can predict Alzheimer's disease? How is Alzheimer's disease diagnosed? Diagnosis of dementia Disclosure of the diagnosis Facing the diagnosis Taking care of yourself Developing coping strategies Maintaining a social network Attending self-help groups Accepting help from others Dealing with feelings and emotions Changing roles and how you see yourself On a more positive note Organising family support Dealing with practical issues Financial and administrative matters Driving Safety issues Employment issues Healthy eating Contact and communication Speaking, listening and communication Signs, symbols and texts Personal relationships Talking to children and adolescents Changing behaviour Lack of interest in hobbies Disorientation Managing everyday tasks Keeping an active mind Services Caring for someone with dementia The onset of the disease Diagnosis: Dealing with emotions Arranging who will be responsible for care Determining to what extent you can provide care How will Alzheimer's disease affect independent living?

About Incontinence, Ageing and Dementia Part 2: What implications for people with dementia and their carers?

What progress so far? Launch of Written Declaration September Is Europe becoming more dementia friendly? Medical ethics and bioethics in Europe The four common bioethical principles Respect for autonomy Beneficence and non-maleficence Justice Other ethical principles Solidarity and interdependence Personhood Dignity Cultural issues linked to bioethical principles Ethical issues in practice Dementia as a disability?

More information about the changing definition of AD Reflect together on possible outcomes which might be good or bad for different people concerned, bearing in mind their lived experiences Take a stance, act accordingly and, bearing in mind that you did your best, try to come to terms with the outcome Reflect on the resolution of the dilemma and what you have learnt from the experience References Acknowledgements


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In an ideal world, experimental research methods would be used for every type of research, fulfilling all of the requirements of falsifiability and generalization. However, ethics, time and budget are major factors, so any experimental design must make compromises.

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Types of Research Methods Adapted from Edvantia SBR Rating for Technical Assistance Programs and Services form () and Carter McNamara Overview of Methods to Collect Information handout.

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A wide range of research methods are used in psychology. These methods vary by the sources of information that are drawn on, how that information is sampled, and the types of instruments that are used in data collection. Methods also vary by whether they . Types of research Experiments People who take part in research involving experiments might be asked to complete various tests to measure their cognitive abilities (e.g. word recall, attention, concentration, reasoning ability etc.) usually verbally, on paper or by computer.

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Business research methods can be defined as “a systematic ad scientific procedure of data collection, compilation, analysis, interpretation, and implication pertaining to any business problem”[1]. Types of research methods can be classified into several categories according to the nature and. Research can be classified in many different ways on the basis of the methodology of research, the knowledge it creates, the user group, the research problem it investigates etc. This research is conducted largely for the enhancement of knowledge, and is research which does not have immediate.