Types of research - Research Methodology

Types of research can be classified in many different ways. some major ways of classifying research include the following.

  • Descriptive versus Analytical Research
  • Applied versus Fundamental Research
  • Qualitative versus Quantitative Research
  • Conceptual versus Empirical Research

Descriptive research concentrates on finding facts to ascertain the nature of something as it exists. In contrast analytical research is concerned with determining validity of hypothesis based on analysis of facts collected.

Decision Oriented Research

Applied research is carried out to find answers to practical problems to be solved and as an aid in decision making in different areas including product design, process design and policy making. Fundamental research is carried out as more to satisfy intellectual curiosity, than with the intention of using the research findings for any immediate practical application.

Quantitative research studies such aspects of the research subject which are not quantifiable, and hence not subject to measurement and quantitative analysis. In contrast quantitative research make substantial use of measurements and quantitative analysis techniques. Conceptual research is involves investigation of thoughts and ideas and developing new ideas or interpreting the old ones based on logical reasoning. In contrast empirical research is based on firm verifiable data collected by either observation of facts under natural condition or obtained through experimentation.

(v) Some Other Types of Research: All other types of research are variations of one or more of the above stated approaches, based on either the purpose of research, or the time required to accomplish research, on the environment in which research is done, or on the basis of some other similar factor. Form the point of view of time, we can think of research either as one-time research or longitudinal research.

In the former case the research is confined to a single time-period, whereas in the latter case the research is carried on over several time-periods. Research can be field-setting research or laboratory research or simulation research, depending upon the environment in which it is to be carried out. Research can as well be understood as clinical or diagnostic research. Such research follow case-study methods or in depth approaches to reach the basic causal relations. Such studies usually go deep into the causes of things or events that interest us, using very small samples and very deep probing data gathering devices.

The research may be exploratory or it may be formalized. The objective of exploratory research is the development of hypotheses rather than their testing, whereas formalized research studies are those with substantial structure and with specific hypotheses to be tested. Historical research is that which utilizes historical sources like documents, remains, etc. to study events or ideas of the past, including the philosophy of persons and groups at any remote point of time. Research can also be classified as conclusion-oriented and decision-oriented.

What is Conclusion Oriented Research ?

While doing conclusion, a researcher is free to pick up a problem, redesign the enquiry as he proceeds and is prepared to conceptualize as he wishes. Decision-oriented research is always for the need of a decision maker and the researcher in this case is not free to embark upon research according to his own inclination. Operations research is an example of decision oriented research since it is a scientific method of providing executive departments with a quantitative basis for decisions regarding operations under their control.

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