Get creative with research methods


Be creative when choosing your research methods. There are many ways to collect your data. And you can make all sorts of combinations. Think beyond the standard research methods.

By adapting standard methods, you can make it easy for respondents; this will increase your response rate. People will enjoy participating in your research. For example, tear-off cards are very short questionnaires. And short interviews are questionnaires with many open questions. A brief conversation in which a respondent can tell their story over a cup of coffee is a nicer experience than filling out a questionnaire.

Using panels makes good use of people who want to participate in your research, and they are often rewarded for doing so. You pay per respondent, and the panel administrator is happy to help you assess representativeness. You can often select your target group very precisely based on all kinds of background characteristics.

Combining methods gives depth to the information collected. For example, you can interpret the results of a questionnaire in group discussions. Alternatively, you can compile a questionnaire based on a literature review. Or first, analyze existing data files and then ask what is missing in a questionnaire. That way, you don't have to ask several things in your questionnaire, and you can go in-depth about the subject matter in your questionnaire.

You can make respondents keep a logbook and combine this with tracking. This way, you can see what the respondents do, and the respondent also describes it. Please keep the privacy laws in mind.

Combinations I like to use are observations and short conversations based on a questionnaire. Based on what you have observed, you ask some questions. For example, why someone did what they did or how they experienced it.

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Claudia's heart is in research. With her passion, she enjoys enthusing others about research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience. Claudia works and lives in the Netherlands, where she has been helping students and beginning researchers with research for years. Through blogs, but also with e-books, e-courses, and coaching. The first blogs are now translated into English to help more students and beginning researchers.
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