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Research is a careful and detailed study into a specific problem, concern, or issue using the scientific

method. It's the adult form of the science fair projects back in elementary school, where you try and
learn something by performing an experiment. This is best accomplished by turning the issue into a
question, with the intent of the research to answer the question.
Research can be about anything, and we hear about all different types of research in the news.
Cancer research has 'Breakthrough Cancer-Killing Treatment Has No Side Effects in Mice,' and
'Baby Born with HIV Cured.' Each of these began with an issue or a problem (such as cancer or HIV),
and they had a question, like, 'Does medication X reduce cancerous tissue or HIV infections?'
But all I've said so far is what research has done (sort of like saying baking leads to apple pie; it
doesn't really tell you anything other than the two are connected). To begin researching something,
you have to have a problem, concern, or issue that has turned into a question. These can come from
observing the world, prior research, professional literature, or from peers. Research really begins
with the right question, because your question must be answerable. Questions like, 'How can I cure
cancer?' aren't really answerable with a study. It's too vague and not testable.
Having a question creates an internal state of 'I need to know something.' To continue the baking
example, this internal state of wanting something is like having a hankering for apple pie. Since you
are reading this in a psychology section, we will put a psychological slant on this, and hopefully lose
some of the baking metaphors.
Systematic investigative process employed to increase or revise current knowledge by
discovering new facts. It is divided into two general categories: (1) Basic research is inquiry
aimed at increasing scientific knowledge, and (2) Applied research is effort aimed at using
basic research for solving problems or developing new processes, products, or techniques.

Read more:

How do we know something exists? There are a numbers of ways of knowing…

 -Sensory Experience
 -Agreement with others
 -Expert Opinion
 -Logic
 -Scientific Method (we’re using this one)

The Scientific Process (replicable)

1. Identify a problem
2. Clarify the problem
3. Determine what data would help solve the problem
4. Organize the data
5. Interpret the results

General Types of Educational Research

 Descriptive — survey, historical, content analysis, qualitative

 Associational — correlational, causal-comparative
 Intervention — experimental, quasi-experimental, action research (sort of)

Researchers Sometimes Have a Category Called Group Comparison

 Ex Post Facto (Causal-Comparative): GROUPS ARE ALREADY FORMED

 Quasi-Experimental: RANDOM ASSIGNMENT OF GROUPS (oversimplified, but fine
for now)

General Format of a Research Publication

 Background of the Problem (ending with a problem statement) — Why is this important to
study? What is the problem being investigated?
 Review of Literature — What do we already know about this problem or situation?
 Methodology (participants, instruments, procedures) — How was the study conducted?
Who were the participants? What data were collected and how?
 Analysis — What are the results? What did the data indicate?
 Results — What are the implications of these results? How do they agree or disagree with
previous research? What do we still need to learn? What are the limitations of this study?

Research may be very broadly defined as systematic gathering of data and information and its
analysis for advancement of knowledge in any subject. research attempts to find answer intellectual
and practical questions through application of systematic methods.

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.

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
General Classification of Types of Research Methods

Types of research methods can be broadly divided into

two quantitative and qualitativecategories.
Quantitative research “describes, infers, and resolves problems using numbers. Emphasis is
placed on the collection of numerical data, the summary of those data and the drawing of
inferences from the data”[2].
Qualitative research, on the other hand, is based on words, feelings, emotions, sounds and
other non-numerical and unquantifiable elements. It has been noted that “information is
considered qualitative in nature if it cannot be analysed by means of mathematical techniques.
This characteristic may also mean that an incident does not take place often enough to allow
reliable data to be collected”[3]

Types of Research Methods According to Nature of the Study

Types of the research methods according to the nature of research can be divided into two
groups: descriptive and analytical. Descriptive research usually involves surveys and studies
that aim to identify the facts. In other words, descriptive research mainly deals with the
“description of the state of affairs as it is at present”[4], and there is no control over variables
in descriptive research.
Analytical research, on the other hand, is fundamentally different in a way that “the researcher
has to use facts or information already available and analyse these in order to make a critical
evaluation of the material”.[5]

Types of Research Methods According to the Purpose of the Study

According to the purpose of the study, types of research methods can be divided into two
categories: applied research and fundamental research. Applied research is also referred to as
an action research, and the fundamental research is sometimes called basic or pure research.
The table below summarizes the main differences between applied research and fundamental
research.[6] Similarities between applied and fundamental (basic) research relate to the
adoption of a systematic and scientific procedure to conduct the study.[7]
(see table)

1. It obtains the scientist knowledge about all educational problems. It also helps in
obtaining specific knowledge about the subjects involved in the study.

2. In action research, the researchers are teachers, curriculum workers, principals,

supervisors or others whose main task is to help, provide good learning experiences for

3. In it, a person tries to enable him to realise his purposes more effectively. For example: A
teacher conducts his teaching more effectively. An administrator, in the education
department performs his action to improve his administrative behaviour.

4. Action research is a procedure which tries to keep problem solving in close contact with
reality at every stage.

5. In educational system it conduits for the progress of the technique of teaching.

6. It strengthens and emphasizes the work of the teacher.

7. It has a great utility of creating new interest and new confidence in the ability of the
individual teacher.

8. Action research provides practical utility. For class-room teacher, he applies his own
observations into his class-room practices to make the observed problems solved. Minor
problems in the classroom can be solved by applying the teachers' intelligence.

9. Action research brings changes in the teachers. It makes them co-operative and active in
facing the situation easily. It also happens to bring about changes in the behaviour, attitude
and teaching performance.

10. Planning is the primary criteria in educational research as well action research. To go
through the problems much in sight is needed. For solving all these problems the teacher
goes on reading references, literatures and also research techniques. So theoretical learning
becomes fruitful when it is practically applied in the proper situation to solve problems in
action research.

11. In education, all kinds of professional workers are able to solve their practical to improve
their own profession. Generally, action research helps the teacher to face day-to-day
problems in the classroom. He makes himself mentally stable and active to confront the
situation. He starts his lesson with full aspiration and hope.

When he is failed to get the real response, he feels dissatisfied and further he makes new
moves to draw more responses. He understands the real difficulty of the pupils and finds out
the causes to make his lesson effective. In action research, the teacher becomes specific,
disciplined and easeful but not haphazard and general. In such attempts the teacher is able
to know the individual differences and educational provisions for the students.

1. Ethnography

Ethnographic research is probably the most familiar and applicable type of qualitative
method to UX professionals. In ethnography, you immerse yourself in the target participants’
environment to understand the goals, cultures, challenges, motivations, and themes that
emerge. Ethnography has its roots in cultural anthropology where researchers immerse
themselves within a culture, often for years! Rather than relying on interviews or surveys,
you experience the environment first hand, and sometimes as a “participant observer.”

For example, one way of uncovering the unmet needs of customers is to “follow them home”
and observe them as they interact with the product. You don’t come armed with any
hypotheses to necessarily test; rather, you’re looking to find out how a product is used.

2. Narrative
The narrative approach weaves together a sequence of events, usually from just one or two
individuals to form a cohesive story. You conduct in-depth interviews, read documents, and
look for themes; in other words, how does an individual story illustrate the larger life
influences that created it. Often interviews are conducted over weeks, months, or even
years, but the final narrative doesn’t need to be in chronological order. Rather it can be
presented as a story (or narrative) with themes, and can reconcile conflicting stories and
highlight tensions and challenges which can be opportunities for innovation.

For example, a narrative approach can be an appropriate method for building a persona.
While a persona should be built using a mix of methods—including segmentation
analysis from surveys—in-depth interviews with individuals in an identified persona can
provide the details that help describe the culture, whether it’s a person living with Multiple
Sclerosis, a prospective student applying for college, or a working mom.

3. Phenomenological

When you want to describe an event, activity, or phenomenon, the aptly named
phenomenological study is an appropriate qualitative method. In a phenomenological study,
you use a combination of methods, such as conducting interviews, reading documents,
watching videos, or visiting places and events, to understand the meaning participants place
on whatever’s being examined. You rely on the participants’ own perspectives to provide
insight into their motivations.

Like other qualitative methods, you don’t start with a well-formed hypothesis. In a
phenomenological study, you often conduct a lot of interviews, usually between 5 and 25 for
common themes, to build a sufficient dataset to look for emerging themes and to use other
participants to validate your findings.

For example, there’s been an explosion in the last 5 years in online courses and training. But
how do students engage with these courses? While you can examine time spent and content
accessed using log data and even assess student achievement vis-a-vis in-person courses,
a phenomenological study would aim to better understand the students experience and how
that may impact comprehension of the material.

4. Grounded Theory
Whereas a phenomenological study looks to describe the essence of an activity or event,
grounded theory looks to provide an explanation or theory behind the events. You use
primarily interviews and existing documents to build a theory based on the data. You go
through a series of open and axial coding techniques to identify themes and build the theory.
Sample sizes are often also larger—between 20 to 60—with these studies to better establish
a theory. Grounded theory can help inform design decisions by better understanding how a
community of users currently use a product or perform tasks.

For example, a grounded theory study could involve understanding how software developers
use portals to communicate and write code or how small retail merchants approve or decline
customers for credit.

5. Case Study

Made famous by the Harvard Business School, even mainly quantitative researchers can
relate to the value of the case study in explaining an organization, entity, company, or event.
A case study involves a deep understanding through multiple types of data sources. Case
studies can be explanatory, exploratory, or describing an event. The annual CHI
conference has a peer-reviewed track dedicated to case studies.

For example, a case study of how a large multi-national company introduced UX methods
into an agile development environment would be informative to many organizations.


The table below summarizes the differences between the five qualitative methods.

Method Focus Sample Size Data Collection

Ethnography Context or culture — Observation & interviews
Stories from individuals &
Narrative Individual experience & sequence 1 to 2
People who have experienced a
Phenomenological 5 to 25 Interviews
Develop a theory from grounded in Interviews, then open and axial
Grounded Theory 20 to 60
field data coding
Organization, entity, individual, or Interviews, documents, reports,
Case Study —
event observations
Applied Research Fundamental Research

§ Tries to eliminate the theory by adding to the basics of a § Aims to solve a problem by adding to the field of
discipline application of a discipline
§ Often several disciplines work together for solving the
§ Problems are analysed from the point of one discipline
§ Often researches individual cases without the aim to
§ Generalisations are preferred generalise
§ Forecasting approach is implemented § Aims to say how things can be changed
§ Assumes that other variables do not change § Acknowledges that other variables are constant by
§ Reports are compiled in a language of technical language of changing
discipline § Reports are compiled in a common language