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Classification and types of research

Exploratory research is often conducted in new areas of inquiry, where the goals of the
research are: (1) to scope out the magnitude or extent of a particular phenomenon, problem, or
behavior, (2) to generate some initial ideas (or “hunches”) about that phenomenon, or (3) to test
the feasibility of undertaking a more extensive study regarding that phenomenon.

Descriptive research is directed at making careful observations and detailed documentation of a

phenomenon of interest. These observations must be based on the scientific method (i.e., must be
replicable, precise, etc.), and therefore, are more reliable than casual observations by untrained

Explanatory research seeks explanations of observed phenomena, problems, or behaviors.

While descriptive research examines the what, where, and when of a phenomenon, explanatory
research seeks answers to why and how types of questions. It attempts to “connect the dots” in
research, by identifying causal factors and outcomes of the target phenomenon.

Pure research is focused to collect knowledge without any intention to apply it. It is purely
intellectual in character. It is also known as basic or fundamental research. Intellectual curiosity
is the only motivational factor behind it. It is not necessarily problem oriented. It aims at
extension of knowledge. It may lead to either discovery of a new theory or refinement of an
existing theory. The development of various sciences owes much too pure research.

Field surveys are non-experimental designs that do not control for or manipulate independent
variables or treatments, but measure these variables and test their effects using statistical
methods. Field surveys capture snapshots of practices, beliefs, or situations from a random
sample of subjects in field settings through a survey questionnaire or less frequently, through a
structured interview.

Case research is an in-depth investigation of a problem in one or more real-life settings (case
sites) over an extended period of time. Data may be collected using a combination of interviews,
personal observations, and internal or external documents. Case studies can be positivist in
nature (for hypotheses testing) or interpretive (for theory building).

Focus group research is a type of research that involves bringing in a small group of subjects
(typically 6 to 10 people) at one location, and having them discuss a phenomenon of interest for
a period of 1.5 to 2 hours. The discussion is moderated and led by a trained facilitator, who sets
the agenda and poses an initial set of questions for participants, makes sure that ideas and
experiences of all participants are represented, and attempts to build a holistic understanding of
the problem situation based on participants’ comments and experiences.

Action research assumes that complex social phenomena are best understood by introducing
interventions or “actions” into those phenomena and observing the effects of those actions. In
this method, the researcher is usually a consultant or an organizational member embedded within
a social context such as an organization, who initiates an action such as new organizational
procedures or new technologies, in response to a real problem such as declining profitability or
operational bottlenecks.

Ethnography is an interpretive research design inspired by anthropology that emphasizes that

research phenomenon must be studied within the context of its culture. The researcher is deeply
immersed in a certain culture over an extended period of time (8 months to 2 years), and during
that period, engages, observes, and records the daily life of the studied culture, and theorizes
about the evolution and behaviors in that culture.

2. Types of quantitative research.

Social survey technique is very popular in sociology. Survey research is the systematic gathering
of information about individuals and collectivities. The purpose of surveying may be description
or casual analysis. Large scale descriptive surveys have long history in social research. National
census is the biggest form of social survey in which surveys, the whole nation regarding its
population, their economic condition including their earning, birth, death etc.

3. Types of qualitative research.

Case study method is considered as one of the popular type of research design used by social
scientist. It is an intensive study of a particular case. In sociological investigation a case may be
any of the following, taken singly or in combination. (1) A person, (2) A group of person such as
family or gang, (3) A class of person such as thieves or professors, (4) An ecological in it such as
neighborhood or community, (5) cultural unit such as fashion or institution.

A narrative is a constructive format (as a work of speech, writing, song, film, television,video
games, photography or theatre) that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The
word derives from the Latin verb “narrare" to recount", and is related to the adjective “gnarus”,
"knowing" or "skilled".

A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their
perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement,
idea, or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free
to talk with other group members. The first focus groups were created at the Bureau of Applied
Social Research in the USA, by associate director, sociologist Robert K. Merton. The term itself
was coined by psychologist and marketing expert Ernest Dichter.
4. Mixed methods of research design.

Mixed methods research is more specific in that it includes the mixing of qualitative and
quantitative data, methods methodologies, and/or paradigms in a research study or set of related
studies. One could argue that mixed methods research is a special case of multimethod research.

5. Research Ethical Guidelines in consideration in research.

An ethic is more than presence of a basic value or values. It is base of action in any science.
The conflict between the ethics of science and personal respects of researcher is the major
problem in social science research. Issues of ethics arise primarily out of researcher’s relation
with different sections of society. E.g. research respondents, sponsors’ of research, sources of
data etc,

Some of the ethical issues can arise during the course of the research process:-

1. The research problem itself: - determinants of alcoholism or child sexual abuse.

2. The research setting:- hospitals, prisons or schools
3. The procedure of research: - an experiment method has a negative effect on research
4. The kinds of people serving as research participants:- homeless people, patients,
children and relatively powerless to resist being studied.
5. The type of data collected:- sensitive, personal or financial information.
6. The pressure put upon research participants by external agencies such as government,
employers etc,
7. The communication of results:- the sponsors withhold certain results that do not accord
with their objectives.

Of all ethical issues, the issues concerned with the respondents are far more important. The
respondents constitute the research subjects, Some respondents are made to participate in a
research project without their consent or knowledge; e.g. socio-anthropological studies of rural
or tribal community. The purpose of research is not fully revealed to the respondents. Another
non ethical practice is to expose participants to physical or mental stress. In depth interviews or
disguised projective test and participant observation are may be an attack on privacy. Other
ethical issues related to maintaining anonymity of the respondent. Anonymity might be violated
through report and publications. Another ethical issue in social science research is related to
agency or sponsors of research. The granting agencies impose several restrictions up on the
researcher. To overcome above ethical dilemma in social science research, the research must
keep a balance between the moral cost of unethical practices and the potential benefits of
6. Formulating the hypothesis.

Hypotheses are the products of considerable speculation and imaginative guess work.

 They are based partly on known facts and explanations and partly conceptual.
 There are certain necessary conditions which are conducive to their formulation.
 Richness of background knowledge
 Versatility of intellect
 Analogy and other practices

7. Characteristics of good research.

a) Research is a systematic and critical investigation to a phenomenon.

b) It aims at interpreting and explaining a phenomenon.
c) It adopts scientific method.
d) It is based on empirical evidences and observable experience.
e) It develops generalizations, principles or theories.
f) It directed towards finding answer to the questions and solutions to the problems.

8. The Null Hypothesis.

Null hypotheses, and H1 is called the alternative hypothesis (sometimes, also represented as
Ha). Although they may seem like two hypotheses, H0 and H1 actually represent a single
hypothesis since they are direct opposites of each other. We are interested in testing H1 rather
than H0. Also note that H1 is a non-directional hypotheses since it does not specify whether r is
greater than or less than zero. Directional hypotheses will be specified as H0: r ≤ 0; H1: r > 0 (if
we are testing for a positive correlation). Significance testing of directional hypothesis is done
using a one-tailed t-test, while that for non-directional hypothesis is done using a two-tailed t-