Research Methodology: Decisions on Methodology and Data Collection

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Research Methodology

  • Research methodology consists of the assumptions, postulates, rules, and methods — the blueprint or roadmap — that researchers employ to render their work open to analysis, critique, replication, repetition, and/or adaptation and to choose research methods.
  • These tools or techniques are wisely chosen only when they are derived from and related to the larger set of assumptions and procedures that constitute the overall research methodology the study utilizes.
  • qualitative, quantitative, or both
  • It includes guiding paradigms, aspects of research design (study community, population, sampling and analysis units) , methods of data collection, and analysis and dissemination

What It is Not?

  • It does not include theory
  • Methodology consists of the actions to be taken in the study
  • Research ethics is important but not considered at this stage
  • Research design is needed because it facilitates the smooth sailing of the various research operations, thereby making research as efficient as, possible, yielding maximum information with minimum expenditure of effort, time and money.

Decisions on Methodology

  • Selection of guiding paradigm
  • Identification of research questions
  • Development of a formative conceptual model
  • Site selection, study population, and study sample
  • Topics, procedures, and tools for data collection
  • Procedures for data analysis and interpretation
  • Qualitative research typically includes positivist, interprets, constructionist, critical, and participatory paradigms. The positivist perspective stems from the long history of naturalistic observation in real-world situations
  • Interpretivist approaches focus on the meanings attributed to events, places, behaviors and interactions, people, and artifacts.
  • Critical approaches view individual and group behavior and meaning as shaped by structures and processes of dominance.
  • Ecological research is also potentially activist and participatory
  • Qualitative research questions are usually framed as explorations of behaviors, factors accounting for behaviors, the meanings associated with behaviors, and contexts in which meanings, behaviors
  • Conceptual model which is concept mapping - process that identifies domains and the relationships among them
  • Patient/provider language gaps
  • Patients՚ stigmatization of mental illness
  • Structural barriers (timing and organization of service)

Changes over Time

  • Factors accounting for behavior
  • Exploration of behavior
  • Changes because of intervention
  • Research endeavours to probe the past study, the present and look into the future of a subject through one or more of the following methods.
  • Historical
  • Descriptive method
  • Scientific method


  • Methodology stands for ‘the correct arrangement of thoughts either for the discovery or for the clarification of truth’
  • Research endeavours to probe the past study, the present and look into the future of a subject through one or more of the following methods.


  • Descriptive method - Descriptive method is based on surveys.
  • Scientific method - Scientific method like time and space is relative to the stage of inquiry and type of problem
  • Questionnaire method - case of big inquiries
  • Content Analysis method - analysing the contents of documentary materials and all other verbal materials. Contents analysis is a central activity whenever one is concern with the study of the nature of the verbal materials
  • Telephonic interview method- oral-verbal stimuli and response
  • Interview method with users -generally in a face to face contact with the other person or persons

Data Collection

  • Observation
  • Interview
  • Collective
  • Individual
  • Collection of face-to-face data occurs in two ways: through observation (what the researcher sees) and through interviewing (what respondents tell researchers)
  • Qualitative data collection techniques (research methods) focus on data collection at the sociocultural (collective) and individual levels
  • Collective - obtaining information on observations and reported perceptions regarding rituals, ceremonies, patterned activity, formal and informal social and organizational relationships, history and historical events, norms, beliefs and shared attitudes
  • Individual - open-ended, timed open-ended, and timed and pre-coded observations of individuals or groups in a naturalistic setting (classroom, park, playground, etc.) and unstructured and semi-structured open-ended interviews with individuals or groups
  • GIS mapping, family or extended kinship networks, and narrative-based performances that generate audience response and dialogue
  • Field notes – paper and pen or audio-visual equipment

Data Analysis

  • Continuous comparisons, as analytic codes emerge, should produce a final set of codes that can be applied to the entire data set and a set of comments, memos, and analytic summaries
  • Analysis generally proceeds by conducting comparisons and contrasts to extract themes and patterns first within and then across domains, extracting new domains and finally refining and testing the revised theoretical model against the data.
  • Triangulation of qualitative, quantitative and survey
  • Qualitative research results can be used to improve services, formulate and test interventions, contribute to survey research development, change or critique policies, and support advocates for various forms of social change.
  • Dissemination and use decisions include the selection of research or dissemination partners, and a consideration of specific audiences, appropriate formats, and the roles and responsibilities of members of the research team in the dissemination process.

Qualitative Analysis

  • Observations and other forms of visual documentation (i.e.. , what researchers see) , interviews (i.e.. , what researchers learn through verbal or, occasionally, written reports from respondents or participants) , elicitation techniques (i.e.. , what researchers learn from providing visual or oral stimulate with which respondents are asked to engage) , and various forms of mapping.
  • Surveys, while not qualitative, are ethnographic to the extent that they derive from local needs, issues, meanings, and measures and are administered on a face-to-face basis
  • The collection of observational data ranges from open-ended (a search for pattern) to closed and coded (a search for pattern confirmation)
  • Researchers involved in Participant Observation enter the community setting; establish positive relationships with key gatekeepers, stakeholders, and local experts; and, over time, are invited to participate in the life of the community and are given access to many or most settings and activities
  • Qualitative interviews can range from unstructured to highly structured, but all interviews are open-ended in that respondents can answer in whatever way and to whatever extent they wish and in that there is some interaction with the interviewer who may probe, extend questions, or raise new topics
  • These interviews can be open-ended initially and can move toward semi-structured interview schedules in which a sample of respondents are asked the same open-ended questions and responses are compared to identify variation as well as common patterns.
  • To understand the interviewee՚s meanings, perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and descriptions of their own behavior
  • Multimedia documentation - Qualitative researchers should always ask permission, especially when photographing individuals who might be recognized
  • The term ethnographic survey is used to refer to the construction of survey variables and scales that are obtained through other forms of qualitative inquiry in the field site rather than from generic theory applied to the research problem.
  • Cultural elicitation is an approach that involves obtaining simple listings or comparisons from a small number of people on the components of a known cultural domain and submitting them to computer programs that analyze them, using forms of proximity analysis to produce cultural portrayals of the way group members organize the components
  • Mixed methods is defined as research in which the inquirer or investigator collects and analyzes data, integrates the findings, and draws inferences using both qualitative and quantitative approaches or methods in a single study or a program of study -merging, connecting, or embedding.

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