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MHP314 Research Skills Guide: Research Methods

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What are research methods?

Research methods are the techniques, processes, system or procedure followed where data or information is created and then analysed. It is essentially the way you collect your data for your thesis.

For example, data collected through case studies, survey research, experiments, performance assessment and observations or other ways of collecting information.

Types of research methods

Qualitative Methods- Research that investigates aspects of social life which are not amenable to quantitative measurement. Associated with a variety of theoretical perspectives, qualitative research uses a range of methods to focus on the meanings and interpretation of social phenomena and social processes in the particular contexts in which they occur.

Quantitative Methods- Research involving the collection of data in numerical form for quantitative analysis. The numerical data can be durations, scores, counts of incidents, ratings, or scales. Quantitative data can be collected in either controlled or naturalistic environments, in laboratories or field studies, from special populations or from samples of the general population.

The defining factor is that numbers result from the process, whether the initial data collection produced numerical values, or whether non-numerical values were subsequently converted to numbers as part of the analysis process, as in content analysis.

Mixed Methods- The combined use of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies within the same study in order to address a single research question.

From Sage Research Methods Online.

sage research online

You can access SRM from Charles Sturt University Library's list of S Databases. You might need to log in first, then simply type "literature review"  into the search box on the start page [here, we need the quotation marks to force a phrase search], and you should get a range of results. Each item should be available in full-text. Your results should look something like this:

Qualitative and quantitative research

Research Methods

If you would like to find out more about the research methods used in your discipline area there are a couple of places to search: 

  • SAGE Research Methods database contains lots of useful information about research methods and literature reviews. 
  • Primo Search also contains many books and eBooks on research methods.

Tip: Sage Research Methods database has an exceptional help section, which includes videos about how to use the database.

SAGE research methods - more help

Watch the video below for an overview of SAGE Research Methods

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