2. What is a methodology?
• Methodology section is one of the parts of a research
• This part is the core of the paper as it is a proof of the
use of the scientific method.
• Through this section, the study’s validity is judged. So, it
is very important.
• It answers three main questions:
• What type of data is used?
• How did you collect or generate the data?
• How did you analyze the data?
3. What does it include?
• Data collection methods used
• Equipment used
• Materials used
• Simulations carried out
• Statistical treatment of data collected
• Software/statistical packages used
• Period of investigation
• Sample population surveyed
• Sampling system used
• Interview arrangements
• Construction of questionnaire/interview questions
• Reference to detailed information provided in appendices
• While writing this section, be direct and precise.
• Write it in the past tense. The reason for the choice of
simple past tense is that it is assumed that you are
describing work that has already been completed.
• The passive voice is usually used to describe the
• emphasis needs to be placed on the action rather than the
person who carried out the action.
• it has the effect of depersonalizing the information and thus
making the tone more academic and professional.
• Include enough information so that others could repeat
the experiment and evaluate whether the results are
• the audience can judge whether the results and
conclusions are valid.
• The explanation of the collection and the analysis of your
data is very important because:
• readers need to know the reasons why you chose a particular
method or procedure instead of others.
• readers need to know that the collection or the generation of the
data is valid in the field of study.
6. • Discuss the anticipated problems in the process of the data
collection and the steps you took to prevent them.
• Present the rationale for why you chose specific
• Provide sufficient information of the whole process so that
others could replicate your study. You can do this by:
• giving a completely accurate description of the data collection
equipments and the techniques.
• explaining how you collected the data and analysed them.
7. Gathering subjects
• Explain how you gathered the samples/ subjects by
answering these questions:
• Did you use any randomization techniques?
• How did you prepare the samples?
• Present the basic demographic profile of the sample
population like age, gender, and the racial composition of
the sample. When animals are the subjects of a study, you
list their species, weight, strain, sex, and age.
8. Data analysis
• Explain how you made the measurements by answering
• What calculations did you make?
• Describe the materials and equipments that you used in the
• Describe the statistical techniques that you used upon the data.
9. Research families, approaches and
• Research families:
• Quantitative or qualitative
• Deskwork or fieldwork
• Research approaches
• Action research
• Case studies
• Research techniques
11. • Qualitative Research – “collection, analysis, and
interpretation of comprehensive narrative and visual data
to gain insights into a particular phenomenon of interest
(Gay, Mills, & Airasian, 2009: 7)
12. Research Topic Statement
• Qualitative research topic statement provide a more “big picture”
• Qualitative research methods:
• are concerned with opinions, feelings and experiences
• describes social phenomena as they occur naturally - no attempt
is made to manipulate the situation - just understand and
• understanding is sought by taking a holistic perspective /
approach, rather than looking at a set of variables
• qualitative research data is used to help us to develop concepts
and theories that help us to understand the social world - which
is an inductive approach to the development of theory.
• Qualitative data is collected through direct encounters i.e.
through interview or observation and is rather time consuming
13. Hypotheses and Qualitative Studies
• In a qualitative study, the inductive process is used to develop a
• Inductive Reasoning – “developing generalizations based
on observation of a limited number of related events or
experiences” (Gay, Mills & Airasian, p. 4)
• Thus, qualitative studies are focused more on observing over time
which will likely change the guiding hypothesis into something new.
• Research questions are formulated and narrowed in scope as time
progresses giving the researcher data to analyze.
14. Data collection in qualitative research
• Data collection approaches for qualitative research usually involves:
• Direct interaction with individuals on a one to one basis
• Or direct interaction with individuals in a group setting
• Qualitative research data collection methods are time consuming,
therefore data is usually collected from a smaller population
• The benefits of the qualitative approach is that the information is richer
and has a deeper insight into the phenomenon under study
• The main methods for collecting qualitative data are:
• Individual interviews
• Focus groups
• Action Research
• Types of interviews :
• Unstructured or 'depth' or 'in depth' interviews
• They have very little structure at all
• The interviewer may just go with the aim of discussing a limited
number of topics, sometimes as few as just one or two
• The interviewer may frame the interview questions based on the
interviewee and his/her previous response
• This allows the discussion to cover areas in great detail
• They involve the researcher wanting to know or find out more
about a specific topic without there being a structure or a
preconceived plan or expectation as to how they will deal with
16. • Semi structured or focused interviews
• A series of open ended questions based on the topic areas the researcher
wants to cover
• A series of broad questions to ask and may have some prompts to help
• 'The open ended nature of the question defines the topic under
investigation but provides opportunities for both interviewer and
interviewee to discuss some topics in more detail'
• Semi structured interviews allow the researcher to promote or encourage
the interviewee if they are looking for more information or find what they
are saying interesting
• This method gives the researcher the freedom to probe the interviewee to
elaborate or to follow a new line of inquiry introduced by what the
interviewee is saying
• Work best when the interviewed has a number of areas he/she wants to
be sure to be addressing
17. • Structured
• The interviewed asks the respondent the same questions in the same way
• A tightly structured schedule is used
• The questions may be phrased in order that a limited range of responses
may be given - i.e. 'Do you rate our services as very good, good or poor'
• A researcher needs to consider whether a questionnaire or structured
interview is more appropriate
• 'If the interview schedule is too tightly structured this may not enable the
phenomena under investigation to be explored in terms of either breadth
18. • Qualitative interviews should be fairly informal and participants
feel they are taking part in a conversation or discussion rather than
in a formal question and answer situation.
• There is skill required and involved in successful qualitative
research approaches - which requires careful consideration and
• Good quality qualitative research involves:
• The development of the interview schedule
• Conducting and analysing the interview data with care and consideration
19. Focus groups
• The use of focus groups is sometimes used when it is better to
obtain information from a group rather than individuals.
• Group interviews can be used when:
• Limited resources (time, manpower, finances)
• The phenomena being researched requires a collective discussion in order to
understand the circumstances, behaviour or opinions
• Greater insights may be developed of the group dynamic - or cause and
• Characteristics of a focus group:
• Recommended size of the sample group is 6 - 10 people
• Several focus groups should be used in order to get a more objective and
macro view of the investigation. A minimum of three focus groups is
recommended for best practice approaches
• Members of the focus group should have something in common which is
important to the investigation
• Groups can either be put together or existing groups - it is always useful to
be mindful of the group dynamics of both situations
20. • The aim of the focus group is to make use of participants'
feelings, perceptions and opinions
• This method requires the researcher to use a range of
• group skills
• Observation may take place in natural settings and involve the researcher taking
lengthy and descriptive notes of what is happening.
• Limitations with observation include:
• Change in people's behaviour when they know they are being observed
• The researcher may miss something while they are watching and taking notes
• The researcher may make judgements of make value statements or misunderstand what
has been observed
• Strengths of observation
• Can offer a flavour for what is happening
• Can give an insight into the bigger picture
• Can demonstrate sub-groups
• Can be used to assist in the design of the rest of the research
• Observation can sometimes obtain more reliable information about certain things
- for example, how people actually behave
• Observation can also serve as a technique for verifying of nullifying information
provided in face to face encounters.'
• People or environment can be observed.
22. • Techniques for collecting data through observation
• Written descriptions
• The researcher makes written descriptions of the people, situations or
• Video recording
• Allows the researcher to also record notes
• Limitations may include people acting unnaturally towards the camera or others
avoiding the camera
• The camera may not always see everything
• Photographs and artefacts
• Useful when there is a need to collect observable information or phenomena
such as buildings, neighbourhoods, dress and appearance
• Artefacts include objects of significance - memorabilia, instruments, tools etc
• Any and all kinds of documentation may be used to provide
information - a local paper, information on a notice board,
administrative policies and procedures...etc previous research, even
23. Action research
• Action Research doesn't just involve asking about it, it
involves doing it.
• Action Research is a framework that is:
• There is a practical intervention made - i.e. you do something to
make a change or intervention in a situation that you research
• The researcher will be actively involved in the planned
25. • Quantitative Research – “Collection and analysis of numerical
data to describe, explain, predict, or control phenomena of
• If using a quantitative method, a topic statement will be written. The
statement identifies variables, relationships between multiple variables, and
26. Hypotheses in Quantitative Studies
• Again, the hypothesis is stated before the study takes place, and the
researcher constructs them according to theory and literary
• A sound hypothesis has four main criteria.
• a hypothesis may have similarities with previous findings.
• it has to be realistic.
• a researcher must be as clear as possible when defining how variables are
• a good hypothesis can be tested in a timely manner.
27. Data collection in quantitative
• Questionnaires or social surveys are used to collect standardised data from large numbers of
• In Data Collection in Context (1981), Ackroyd and Hughes identify three types of survey:
• Factual surveys: used to collect descriptive information, i.e. the government census
• Attitude surveys - i.e. an opinion poll - rather than attempting to gather descriptive information, an
attitude survey will attempt to collect and measure people's attitudes and opinions, i.e. 4 out of 5 people
• Explanatory survey - goes beyond the collection of data and aims to test theories and hypotheses and / or
to produce new theory.
• Researchers usually use questionnaires or surveys in order that they can make generalisations,
therefore, the surveys are usually based on carefully selected samples.
• Questionnaires consist of the same set of questions that are asked in the same order and in
the same way in order that the same information can be gathered.
• Questionnaires can be:
• Filled in by the participant
• Asked in a structured and formal way by an interviewer
• Postal questionnaire can be used, whereby a questionnaire is posted to the sample group and
returned to the researcher by a specified time and date
• Telephone questionnaire
• Email questionnaire
28. Developing a Questionnaire
• The process of developing a questionnaire involves the following four
• Choosing the questions by operationalising concepts, which involves translating
abstract ideas into concrete questions that will be measureable (i.e......class,
power, family, religion....add some sort of example)
• Operationalising concepts involves a set of choices regarding the following units of
• units that can be analysed:
• individuals (i.e. students, voters, workers)
• groups (families, gangs)
• organisations (churches, army, corporations)
• social artefacts (buildings, cars, pottery, etc)
• points of focus
• treatment of the dimension of time
• nature of measurement
• Establish an operational definition which involves breaking the concept
down into various components or dimensions in order to specify what is
to be measured
• Once the concept has been operationally defined in terms of a number of
components, the second step involves the selection of indicators for
29. Questionnaire questions
• Questions in the questionnaire can then be:
• Open ended (more difficult to extract quantifiable data)
• This form of question requires the researcher to code the answers. Coding identifies a
number of categories in which people have responded.
• Likert scale - where participants are given a range of options, i.e. agree,
• the difficulty or negative of all of the close and fixed are that
participants may be forced into an answer or may not be able to
qualify or explain what they mean by what they have answered