Practical Research Methods by C.Dawson

By C.Dawson

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I just thought it was something you did and then that was it, you got on with 44 / P R A C T I C A L R E S E A R C H M E T H O D S your own research and forgot about what you’d done. Of course then I had to write my report and in the ‘background’ section I wanted to include loads of things I’d read when I first started the work. I found my notes, but I didn’t know where they’d come from. It was so frustrating. Basically I had to start all over again. Even then I still forgot to write down the name and location of the publisher, so I had to go back to them again.

SAMPLING Researchers overcome this problem by choosing a smaller, more manageable number of people to take part in their research. This is called sampling. In quantitative research, it is believed that if this sample is chosen carefully using the correct procedure, it is then possible to generalise the results to the whole of the research population. For many qualitative researchers however, the ability to generalise their work to the whole research population is not the goal. Instead, they might seek to describe or explain what is happening within a smaller group of people.

X Interviews can be conducted face-to-face or over the telephone. X Focus groups are held with a number of people to obtain a group opinion. X Focus groups are run by a moderator who asks questions and makes sure the discussion does not digress. X Questionnaires can be closed-ended, open-ended or a combination of both. X Participant observation is used when a researcher wants to immerse herself in a specific culture to gain a deeper understanding. X The chosen research methodology should help to indicate the most appropriate research tools.

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