The process through which researchers must perform their research refers to as research methodology. It demonstrates how researchers frame their issues and goals. It also encompasses reporting the findings based on the information gathered. The methodology serves as a blueprint for the entire research study. Many people confuse methodology with research methods, but these two are different concepts. In the context of research, methods and methodology refer to two related but distinct concepts. A method is a tool used to acquire evidence. A methodology is the underpinning philosophy of how research operates or should develop. This article will tell you about the research methodology and its different aspects, such as interviews and focus groups.
What is Research Methodology?
The term “methodology” refers to an examination of the rationale behind why specific techniques were employed. Researchers describe the theoretical ideas that guide the selection of the applied method. It also entails a specification of how they fit into the broader context of academic work and their applicability to solving the research topic. The methodology section also contains a detailed analysis of the approaches employed by previous researchers to examine the subject. It concerns the systematic design of a study by a researcher to achieve accurate and trustworthy outcomes that address the goals and objectives of the investigation. The methodology helps researchers determine the following things:
- Helps researchers decide about what type of data to collect for their research.
- It helps in choosing the research design.
- Research methodology helps the researcher choose specific research methods.
- What will be the sampling design for the research?
- What will be the data collection methods?
- What will be the evaluation methods to analyse the collected data?
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What is the Importance of Research Methodology in Research?
- The research methodology section in research has crucial importance. It helps researchers justify the chosen research methods. Researchers must explain the instruments used to collect data and how they collected and analysed it. It entails the specification of the following things:
- The methodology you choose for your research has an impact on your results. So, it is essential to specify the chosen methods for data collection to the readers. Furthermore, it requires the explanation of analysis methods and their significance for the research.
- Any research discipline needs a solid methodology because an ineffective approach will yield inaccurate results. Consequently, it diminishes the worth of your findings.
Interviews vs. Focus Groups
Interviews and focus groups are the instruments used to collect data for a research study. Interviews and focus groups are the techniques specified in the research methodology for data collection. Qualitative research studies mostly rely on interviews and focus groups for data collection. Here are the differences between the two data collection components of the research methodology:
Interviews refer to communication between the researcher and respondents to address a research problem. An interview aims to acquire data from the respondents relevant to the research topic. The data gathered through interviews helps researchers describe, predict and explain the issue. Interviews can be a rich source for examining people’s inner sentiments and attitudes compared to other data collection methods. Researchers conduct interviews to collect the following types of information:
- Information that has an emotional context
- Sensitive issues
- To record lived experiences of people
- Confidential Information
A research methodology that utilises interviews has significant importance for qualitative research. Qualitative research attaches greater importance to in-depth and holistic analysis. Interviews help qualitative researchers gather holistic data. The purpose of the qualitative research interviews is to explore the meaning of people’s experiences and understand the world from the respondents’ viewpoint.
Types Of Interviews
There are three types of interviews that the researcher can use in the research methodology section of research.
A structured interview consists of a set of pre-defined questions. The researcher asks questions from the respondent in the specified order. The researcher repeats the pattern with all the other respondents, and the results are comparable.
An unstructured interview is a questioning technique that does not follow a pre-defined list of questions. These types of interviews are flexible, and the conversation is informal. The questions arise spontaneously from within the discussion. Different respondents answer different questions. It is difficult to compare the results in unstructured interviews.
Semi-structured interviews combine the attributes of both structured and unstructured interviews. These types of interviews are half structured and partially unstructured. It means some questions are pre-defined, whereas others arise spontaneously from the conversation.
Qualitative research methodology involves using focus groups or interviews to gather data. A focus group is a collection of people who have specific traits and who gather to discuss a particular issue or subject. A focus group comprises a small group of people, typically six to nine. An expert researcher gathers the people to discuss opinions, thoughts, sentiments, and ideas. A focus group interview allows the homogeneous group to reflect on the interviewer’s questions. Focus groups are more interactive than individual interviews. It is because the discussion occurs in natural settings. Here are the fundamental characteristics of focus groups interviews:
Role of the Researcher
The researcher plays the role of a neutral moderator. The researcher only provides a stimulus or prompt to the group members to initiate the discussion on the issue.
The information generated from the group discussions is important in focus group interviews. The natural flow of discussion between the participants and the collective responses is important in focus group discussions.
Why And When Should You Use Focus Group Interviews?
The research methodology section provides the rationale for selecting a specific data collection method. You can use focus group interviews to achieve the following aims and objectives:
- Use it for collecting data relevant to the social issues and problems
- When the purpose of the research is to analyse an issue from the perspective of respondents
- To complete the gaps in existing data about certain population subjects
- To evaluate and measure people’s feelings, sentiments, and thoughts
Research methodology is the foundation of any research. It entails specifying the research methods, data collection and analysis tools and providing a rationale for choosing them. The instruments chosen to gather data have an impact on the research findings. Focus groups and interviews are prominent data collection methods in qualitative methodologies. Therefore getting research proposal help becomes necessary in this regard.