How to determine an appropriate research method?


Already I have written several blogs about the use of research methods. But how do you choose a suitable research method for your research? Here are several steps to take.

What information do you already have? And what information do you need to collect?

Think carefully about what information you need to answer your research questions. You may already have information at hand that you can use to answer your research questions. Think, for example, of a data file that you keep with data from participants and the cash register printout of your sold tickets.

Still, you might need more information to answer your research questions.

► Look at the information you already have and can use to answer your research questions. Think about what information you still need and want to collect.

Where can you find the information? Who can help you further?

Once you have an idea of the information you need to answer your research questions, determine where you can find that information. Do you need to conduct interviews to obtain extensive information, or do you want to reach large numbers of respondents with, for instance, a questionnaire? Carefully consider how you will approach the respondents; young people should be approached differently than older people. Or maybe you need to search further in the literature to find the correct information.

► Therefore, clearly define what information you want to find, which persons can help you with the information, and how you will approach them.

Which tool will you use for which research question?

Once you have a clear idea of what information you want to collect and who you will consult, you can establish what you can combine. Which subjects will recur in the interview, and what will you pay attention to when making your observations.

► Make a diagram showing what information you want to collect, from whom, and in what way.

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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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