Overview of Research Methods

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Research methods

Created by Suz over 5 years ago
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Overview of Research Methods
1 Types of data
1.1 Primary Data- collected by researcher themselves.
1.2 Secondary Data- Collected by someone else, used by researcher.
1.3 Quantitative Data- Numerical.
1.4 Qualitative Data- Written/ Spoken, other forms (e.g. photos)
2 Practical Issues
2.1 Time and money- Some methods are more costly or time consuming.
2.2 Requirements of funding bodies- those funding research may select the topic + type of data and the presentation
2.3 Personal skills & characteristics- May affect the choice of method. E.g. May struggle to establish the rapport with interviewees.
2.4 Subject matter- Some topics/groups may be harder to study than others.
2.5 Research opportunity- If there is an unexpected opportunity for research, time consuming methods (e.g. Questionnaires) won't be able to be used.
3 Ethical issues
3.1 Informed consent- All participants have to agree to take part, being fully aware of what the research is about.
3.2 Confidentiality & Privacy- Mustn't reveal names or personal details of participants.
3.3 Effects on research participants- Must avoid physical or mental harm on participants.
3.4 Vulnerable groups- Extra care when working with certain groups i.e. children, elderly, victims of crime or mentally ill.
3.5 Covert research- Some argue it's unethical as people are unaware they're being studied, however can be the only way.
4 Theoretical issues
4.1 Validity- Method which produces a true picture.
4.2 Reliability- Consistent results when repeated.
4.3 Representativeness- Sample is cross-section of the wider group the researched is based on.
4.4 Methodological perspective- Positivists prefer quantitative data; Interpretivists prefer qualitative data.
4.5 Theoretical perspective- Social action (Micro) perspectives prefer qual. methods for meaning; Structural (Macro) perspective prefer quant. methods for society shaping behaviour.
5 Quantitative or Qualitative
5.1 Positives- Quantitative: High reliability, Bigger samples, Generalisation, and Predictions of behaviour.
5.2 Interpretivists- Qualitative: High validity, More detailed; However smalls samples so hard to generalise.
5.3 Triangulation- Combing different methods (e.g. Quant. + Qual.)

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