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Functions and Strategies of Different Research Methodologies

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Data Analysis
Wordcount: 5232 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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This report focuses on research, giving a brief idea of the general aspects of research and then going deeper into the different approaches for a research to be done. The research topic is identified and noted to understand its interest and relevance and how much feasible it is. With the topic in mind, the research approach to be used is noted and reasons for the approach to be useful in the specific study are noted. This report gives a brief idea of the selected topic and the steps involved in the process of bringing out an outcome with the use of different approaches.




2.1 Definition, critiques

2.2 Functions:

2.3 Approaches:

2.4 Potential benefits:

2.5 Critiquing the key concepts of research process or outputs:


3.1 Quantitative Analysis

3.2 Qualitative Analysis

3.3 Mixed Method


4.1 Relevance

4.2 Interest

4.3 Feasibility


5.1 Research Design




Research is essential in every aspect to understand the unknown facts and to fill the gaps where knowledge and change can be created in every field. A research mainly causes an action as the output delivering high quality knowledge which can be applicable for the betterment of the individual, organisation or society. Research has its importance in each field to identify the issues or the strengths to either solve the issue or to make the strengths even better. Research needs high amount of work to be done to bring out the best outcome by collecting and analysing the data efficiently. Here the research I have opted is to bring about a solution to a societal issue in India by studying the key elements of success in a New Zealand society.

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2.1 Definition, critiques

The Western Sydney University defines research as “the creation of new knowledge and/ or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understanding. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.” (Western Sydney University, 2018)

This definition describes research as a means of creative work which is done in a very systematic order to increase the knowledge gained and to use it for a better output. It includes basic research, applied research and experimental development.

Applied research is done with an aim to gather new knowledge so as to direct it towards the objective. The definition of research meets certain activities which support the performance of a research such as the activities engaged by the staff in the technical, professional or administrative aspect.

Critiquing of this definition can be done as not always the previous research or knowledge can create a new or creative outcome as in quantitative approach, a correlation or comparison of the two aspects can be done whereby the existing facts are compared or correlated and not producing a new outcome

Another definition for research as stated by the University of Auckland is that “Research typically involves the inquiry of an experimental or critical nature driven by hypothesis or intellectual positions capable of rigorous assessment by experts in a given discipline.” (The University of Auckland, 2016)

This explains that research is involved in a continuous assessment of the knowledge obtained from experimental or theoretical basis which brings about a conclusion to the hypothesis of the question.

Critiquing of this definition can be that experts are not the only ones who are open to do a research but each and every individual can do a research on even the small aspects of their daily life or in their workplace to bring about a change.

Research is mainly classified as:

(i)                  Basic Research – It is mainly involved with the theoretical patterns of investigation and knowledge and not focusing on immediate field application.

(ii)                Applied Leadership – It focuses mainly on lived experiences, its interpretation and specificity and brings about a change and improvement.

(iii)              Evaluation Research – It is a form of summative and formative pattern which aims at the solutions in order to improve the involvement of humans in certain conditions and also to judge its efficiency.

(iv)              Action Research – It is involved with the own work environment and strategies to improve the quality or effectiveness by bringing about a change. (Preserve Articles, 2012)

2.2 Functions:

-          The functions of research are to specifically obtain knowledge and give an explanation about the selected area.

-          In applied leadership, it helps to understand the human and societal problems and ways to tackle the situation in an efficient manner

-          In action research it mainly aims to solve the issues within an organisation or community by bringing about a change.

-          Research helps to improve the quality of life by improving the environment or society and also creating a better organisation.

2.3 Approaches:

There are different approaches which helps in the process of a research mainly of which are:

(i)                  Quantitative

      It involves data collection and further converting it into numerical form so that the conclusions can be drawn with statistical calculations.

(ii)                Qualitative

     It refers to gaining understanding of people’s experience and not the information that can be generalised to a larger group.

(iii)              Mixed method

     It is using different techniques at the same time or one after the other according to the requirement of the research. (Alzheimer Europe, 2009)

(iv)              Appreciative inquiry

     This is a collaborative technique of identifying the existing strengths by asking positive questions to create a better and efficient workplace or community.

2.4 Potential benefits:

-          Various direct benefits can be gained which increases the value of the organisation or workplace. This can be done by identifying the issue of a workplace , identifying the problems which are in depth and bringing about strategies to rectify the issue in an efficient manner directly increases the value of the workplace.

-          Issues regarding the environment or society can be identified, studied and explained with the reasons underlying the situation which can bring a change to the societal issues making it a better place to live.

2.5 Critiquing the key concepts of research process or outputs:


The key concepts of research are mainly feasibility, generalizability, and validity.

Feasibility is mainly on how the research can be done in a practical manner.

For this, utmost care must be taken to identify if the research topic is feasible and if it is easily doable and not much complicated so that the best of the outcome can be generated.

Generalizability mainly measures if the results obtained from a particular sample can be extended to a larger population. Not all of the research approaches lead to generalizability as only the quantitative approach focuses on a larger sample whereas this is not applicable with qualitative as studying larger samples are not possible . So the research topic has to be identified if it can be generalised to a larger sample or not.

Validity tells us how efficient the research outcome has been. Each step involves validity and reliability as the data obtained has to be reliable so as to come to a valid outcome.


The three main approaches for research can be analysed in different ways

3.1 Quantitative Analysis

Quantitative research is numerical data or useable statistics which is obtained from data to quantify the problem of attitudes, opinions, behaviours and other defined variables which involves hypothesis testing in the beginning. It determines the relationship of an independent variable and another dependent or outcome variable to generalize results from a larger sample population. It uses measurable data to formulate facts and to uncover patterns in a research.


Quantitative research gives more importance to objectivity and measures the static reality. It is a type of empirical research which gives emphasis on the numerical data which is analysed statistically. The relationship between isolated variables are measured and analysed within a framework based on the theories which are already present in the literature. The outcomes are pre-determined into which the experiences or predictions are expected to fit. Larger samples are selected in order to generalise the findings of the research. It ensures validity and reliabity as it provides a larger sample, it can be relied more .Objectivity is given immense importance in quantitative research. Deductive reasoning is given emphasis which moves from general to specific (top down approach). Generalizations are possible depending to a certain extent on the number of people involved in the study. (Alzheimer Europe, 2009)  Distinctive epistemological and ontological position distinguishes quantitative research from other approaches.


(i)                  With a limited set of questions, larger number of participants can be involved which helps to give a comparison of the data.

(ii)                It reconstructs or reduces a complex problem to a limited number of problems.

           Limitations / Critique:

(i)                  Less recognition of subjectivity of the researcher.

(ii)                A desired response from the researcher can be less detailed.

(iii)              Credibility, trustworthiness and authenticity are critiqued as it measures a larger sample of population and the conclusions are just a representation of the population being measured.

(iv)              Researchers rarely have access to all members.

(v)                Stronger evidence has to be provided than other approaches. This can be a problem when much data are not available on certain complex issues.

Process / Measurement:

There will be one or more hypothesis in quantitative research containing the questions to be addressed. These will include the predicted data of the possible relationship between the matters to be investigated (variables). For this, the researcher will make use of various materials (eg. Paper/computer test, observations, checklist etc.) In order to answer the questions and to clearly define an action plan.

Various strict procedures are used to collect the data by various means and then it is prepared for statistical analysis. This permits researchers to understand the complex relationship and to determine to what extent one variable influences another. The various steps involved are described below:

  1. Theory – As it is a deductive approach, it shows the relationship between theory and research.
  2. Hypothesis – It is deducted from the theory which is then tested.
  3. Research design – The design is selected which defines the issues.
  4. Operationalizing Concepts – It is a process where the concepts to be investigated are measured. Sociological concepts are broken down into specific measures.
  5. Selection of research site – Selection of the site for research survey is done.
  6. Selection of respondents – In this part, the sample needed is chosen.
  7. Data Collection – The data is collected according to the type of research.
  8. Processing Data – The collected information are then converted to data.
  9. Data Analysis – Statistical techniques are used to correlate the variables.
  10. Findings and conclusions – The analysed data are then interpreted.
  11. Writing up findings (wordpress, 2017)

3.2 Qualitative Analysis


It is a type of research that produces findings which are not arrived by statistical procedures or other means of quantification. It is an exploratory research which focuses on observation and interpretation of data. (k, 2013)


In qualitative research the data collection is flexible and unstructured. The researcher is found to be highly involved and the results are subjective in nature. Natural settings mainly few cases of samples are considered which are purposive. It is mainly open ended i.e. One can have a conversation and has a narrative reporting which develops and explores a theory. The data can be observed but not measured. It is mainly constructivist and emergent in nature. It gives more importance to the qualities as the name suggests and on the process and meanings. It is not based on a single methodology but attention is given on quality rather than quantity. A close empathetic relationship with the subjects is developed. The main aim of this type of research is to describe and also to understand the studied phenomenon by capturing and communicating the subject’s experiences through means of interviews and observations. The findings are found to be much lengthier as it is more detailed and variable in content when compared to quantitative research.


(i)                  Provides an in-depth and detailed data which is needed to understand the individual variation by case studies and interviews.

(ii)                It enables to create openness.

(iii)              Helps to stimulate people’s personal experience.

(iv)              Attempts to avoid pre-judgement.


(i)                  Usually fewer people or samples are studied.

(ii)                Sampling procedure limits the possibility of generalising research findings.

(iii)              Difficult to make systematic comparison.

(iv)              Dependent on the skills of the researcher.


This research is not build up on pre-determined hypothesis but rather a topic or an issue is clearly defined which is then mainly explored. Here the data collection and analysis is highly flexible when compared to quantitative. By observing and interacting with the participants, the data is collected in textual forms and not in numerical pattern and nor is it statistically analysed. The collection of data can be carried out in several stages according to the need of the researcher.

The steps involved are as follows:

  1.  Research preparation – A specific, clear and doable research question is designed.
  2. Literature review – The available information on the selected research is reviewed for having a better understanding on the topic.
  3. Evaluation of qualitative research – It is mainly evaluated to identify if qualitative research is the ideal choice of approach. Qualitative method mainly focuses on

“How” or “what” questions.

  1. Sample size – The required number of participants or sample is selected as the number of people involved is less when compared to quantitative. The sample size is selected according to the possible outcomes, the research budget and also financial resources.
  2. Qualitative research methodology – The right methodology is chosen

Action Research – solving an issue in a workplace

Ethnography –study of human interaction in communities by direct participation.

Phenomenology – describes the participants experience to understand the phenomenon.

Grounded theory – it investigates a process or action in order to develop a theory.

Case study research – it is an in-depth study of a specific individual or phenomenon in its existing context.

  1. Collecting and analysing data – It is done by various ways such as surveys, observation participant, interviews, document analysis.
  2. Analyse the data – the collected data is then analysed so as to come up with answers and theories.
  3. Write up (Mediawiki, 2018)

3.3 Mixed Method

It is a combination of the two approaches discussed above which increases the strengths and minimises the weaknesses. This method is being widely accepted nowadays as it uses multiple ways to solve a problem.


This method is commonly used as it overcomes the limitations that can occur when a single design is focused. The sample sizes can vary according to the pattern being used.


(i)                  It is useful when unexpected results occur from a prior study.

(ii)                Use of data from variety of sources (triangulation).

(iii)              Multiple ways to interpret the results.

(iv)              Different methods or designs for interpreting the results.


(i)                  Unequal evidences can be created.

(ii)                It is complex and requires time

Process / Measurement:

As this method involves the combination of both the qualitative and quantitative approaches, the steps or process occurs according to the design of mixed method being selected. The different designs are discussed below

  1. Convergent Parallel – In this the data collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative take place at the same time and later after the study has being completed , they are then compared.
  2. Explanatory Sequential – firstly the data is collected and analysed of the quantitative research and later the qualitative research data collection and analysing is done.
  3. Exploratory Sequential – Data collection and analysis of qualitative research occurs as the first level which is then followed the data collection and analysis of quantitative.
  4. Embedded – Here both the quantitative and qualitative data are collected and analysed concurrently in a quantitative design (experimental) or qualitative design (ethnography).
  5. Transformative – The data collection of both the approaches occurs concurrently or sequentially.
  6. Multiphase – in this design, the quantitative and qualitative studies are done separately before a mixed study is conducted. (Richard G. Tefry, 2017)


An interest to contribute something to the society so that a change can be established made me think of the healthcare area of the old age people in India. This brought me to the conclusion of the research project –


4.1 Relevance

As I searched through the different retirement villages in New Zealand, I found out that a number of rest homes were established in this country which proved the value of health of the aged old people. Different retirement villages have different patterns of management which has lead them to success. None of the villages have flourished within a span of day, but have had ups and downs in their journey. I wanted to analyse the elements that lead them to success and how I can use these elements for establishing a healthcare provision for aged in a different country where such a facility is not provided.

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4.2 Interest

I’ve come from a country where our culture focuses more on respect for the elders but a provision entirely for the healthcare of the aged is devoid. There are many old age homes back in town which take care of the elderly but they don’t have adequate facility for their health and for their personal needs. And they also lack the homely and pleasant atmosphere which gives them a feeling that they are wanted and loved. With this project, I can understand the requirements of a retirement village and also the requirements of establishing it in India by which the health and life of the elderly can be respected. The Indian society can understand the importance of healthcare for the aged and provide them a wonderful retirement life.

4.3 Feasibility

The research project emphasis on the key elements that lead them to success. In order to understand the elements I will be putting into practice the mixed method approach, therefore I will do a literature review on my topic and after it has been collected; questionnaires for the residents will be given. Interviews with the manager and the supervisors of each department will give me more information. The questions will be more about the facilities available, the design or infrastructure keeping in mind the idea of implementing it in India. Understanding the problems faced by staff and residents. The issues that I will have to face are that the management might not be ready to share their trade secrets of success but with appreciative inquiry the strengths can be identified. And also I will have to take a deeper look in the laws when establishing it in India.


The approach that best suits my research topic is Mixed Method Approach. I have been motivated to use this approach as it has the benefits of both qualitative and quantitative method which will be beneficial for my research topic which is further explained below:

5.1 Research Design

The research design that I have planned for my research topic is that I will be using the mixed method approach, the reason I have opted this is because I will have to do a lot of literature reviews about the Trevellyn Rest Home and Hospital. It is a rest home and hospital with retirement village facilities under the Oceania Healthcare Group. Further with qualitative approach alone I can’t interview all of the residents in the rest home and hospital and also all of the staffs working under different departments, hence I will require the use of quantitative method here to do questionnaires or surveys which can give me an idea of the facilities, likes, dislikes and various other factors. Along with this, I can make use of qualitative approach to interview few residents, the manager, and supervisors of each department. This can be mainly done by the appreciative inquiry where they are asked about the strengths showing less focus on the weakness and the strengths are then analysed to make it even better so that it can be implemented in the best manner.

My research will be more of a case study involving appreciative enquiry as I have to search for the best in the organisation and to understand the best I will have to focus on relationships, this will be where the appreciative inquiry will be beneficial as it is a dynamic social tool and it needs participation from a number of people. This is the main reason why I couldn’t opt the quantitative approach alone.

The research project can be implemented like I have discussed above taking into consideration the mixed method and also including the appreciative enquiry as I have to deal with people to understand their feedbacks in a better manner so that I can understand the elements that has lead this organisation to success also keeping in mind their weakness so that I can find a way to make it better when a plan is made to implement this project in India.


  The various research approaches have been studied which has given me a wider                              knowledge about the steps to be practiced when doing each approach. With this I identified my research topic and analysed the approach which will be helpful for coming to a conclusion. The reasons for selecting a particular topic is identified as this will help me to do the research in the appropriate manner with a clear and specific vision.



  • Alzheimer Europe. (2009, August 21). The four main approaches. Retrieved from alzheimer-europe.org: http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/Research/Understanding-dementia-research/Types-of-research/The-four-main-approaches
  • k, Y. (2013). Comparison of quantitative and qualitative research traditions:Epistemological, theoretical, and methodological differences. European Journal of Education,Vol.48,No. 2, 311-325.
  • Mediawiki. (2018). How to Do Qualitative Research. WikiHow, 1-4.
  • Preserve Articles. (2012, February). What are the major functions of research? Preserve Articles, pp. 2-4.
  • Richard G. Tefry. (2017, December 18). What is Mixed Methods Research? Retrieved from Library-American Public University System: https://apus.libguides.com/research_methods_guide/research_methods_mixed
  • The University of Auckland. (2016, December). Research Definition and Research Outputs: System Categorisation Guidelines. Retrieved from auckland.ac.nz: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/the-university/how-university-works/policy-and-administration/research/output-system-and-reports/research-outputs–definition-and-categories.html#769806dc7c3ea15f29886cae58fcab4d
  • Western Sydney University. (2018, January 10). Definition of Research. Retrieved from westernsydney.edu.au: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/research/researchers/preparing_a_grant_application/dest_definition_of_research
  • wordpress. (2017, November 26). The Steps of Quantitative Research. Retrieved from ReviseSociology: https://revisesociology.com/2017/11/26/the-steps-of-quantitative-research/


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