You have decided on a research methods, studied and selected literature, made a plan for writing a term paper. It would seem that the trick is in the bag. However, you still have the most important and responsible task: to choose a research methodology.
What are research methods, and why are they needed?
A research method is both a tool and a means by which you acquire new knowledge and skills, increase the theoretical base and prove the theses indicated in work. In general, everything that contributes to obtaining the desired result.
The choice of one or several methods – there are a considerable number of them – depends on the study’s goals and objectives. The main thing is that they help you open up and comprehend the topic more profoundly and broader, solve problems and achieve your goal.
Research method classification
There is not one but three different classification methods. In science, general scientific and specific scientific ones are distinguished. The former is suitable for use in any scientific field, the latter – in a particular area focused on the use of narrow research techniques and cognition principles.
You can also distinguish between general and unique methods. The former is suitable for use throughout the entire research process in any science.
The main classification is as follows:
- Empirical methods (practical). Designed for fixing and describing facts and phenomena, as well as connections between them;
- Theoretical methods. They help in compiling a detailed analysis of facts, uncovering patterns, creating your models and hypotheses.
“Always justify the chosen methodology. This should be done in the introduction.”
|Task: to forecast the growth of cucumber crops in the spring.
Methodology: a mathematical model.
Rationale: The chosen model will enable a more accurate display of statistical data.
The advantage of the method: it was not previously used to determine the growth of cucumber crops.
They are mainly used when writing the first part of the work – theoretical.
Description of the most common research methods in the coursework.
|Analysis||First, we divide the object (process, phenomenon, object, etc.) Into its parts (physically or mentally). Next, we study the properties and features of these parts. Complex evolving systems are subjected to historical analysis.|
|Synthesis||The opposite is true. We combine into one whole the results obtained in the process of studying the individual elements.|
|Classification||Based on the distribution of data and information found on the comparison. It differs in simplicity and efficiency so that it can be used in any coursework.|
|Induction||Summarizing disparate facts, drawing conclusions|
|Deduction||We take the general and break it down into particular moments for consideration.|
|Abstraction||When abstracting, the secondary features of an object are not taken into account – this helps to concretize its properties. Popular in the humanities (philology, philosophy, psychology). It helps to find critical patterns.|
|Idealization||Similar to abstraction. It is based on creating concepts that do not exist in reality (but have real prototypes). Typical for natural science and social disciplines.|
|Analogy||You assign individual attributes from one object to another based on the similarity of their characteristics. The analogy can be associative (even distant objects are combined) and logical (conclusions about similarity are made based on a parallel study of phenomena).|
|Formalization||You take mathematical models, formulas and reveal the essence of the processes in demand in logic, linguistics, and exact disciplines.|
|Generalization||Identify the common properties and characteristics of the subjects studied and combine them into appropriate groups and classes.|
|Axiomatic construction||The starting point of reasoning postulates that it does not require proof. On their basis, statements are made.|
|Forecasting||The methodology is not straightforward. It is a chain of logical and mathematical operations that produce specific results. Based on these results, forecasts are made (economic crises, demographic growth, profits, etc.).|
|Climbing to the concrete from the abstract||But there is nothing complicated here: you move from general definitions of the object’s essential aspects to their integral interaction.|
The purpose of their use is to gain specific knowledge and skills in practice.
|Experiment||Objects and phenomena are studied empirically in a natural or artificial environment. The experiment can be carried out both on the item itself and its model. The goal is to clarify properties under extreme conditions. Repeatability is important.|
|Observation||The simplest method, therefore, is often included in the composition of others. In observation, perception by the senses is essential, and the results are obtained independent of the observers’ will. Distinguish between direct observation (without the use of technology) and indirect (using technical means).|
|Material modeling||A subspecies of the experiment. It is based on the creation of imitations of real objects, with which it is impossible to interact in real life. Simulations differ in varying degrees of similarity (mathematical, geometric, physical, graphic). Reproduction of a fragment of reality also belongs to modeling.|
|Questioning (survey, conversation, testing, interview)||Social and humanitarian disciplines are often used. In the process, you collect information from the respondents, orally or in writing.|
|Measurement||The goal is to determine the numerical value of the studied quantity, comparing it with the original or what you need to focus on.|
|Comparison||Your task is to find similarities and differences, highlight common and specific points, identify trends and changes.|
|Description||The description is based on observation and measurement (qualitative and quantitative, respectively). The information obtained can be represented by graphs, tables, scientific concepts, etc.|
Tips for choosing a research methods
Of all the existing research methods, you must choose a few. How to do it?
- Choose those that will bring maximum benefit and will be appropriate for the object and subject under study.
- Make sure you can use them to accomplish your goals.
- Emphasize relevance and modernity. The old technique is becoming obsolete.
- Methods should be interconnected and work together for one result.
- Explore other coursework and see which methodology is used most often.
- See if the methods you choose are consistent with the principles of scientific inquiry;
- Check for predictability and scientific validity.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask experienced experts. They will be happy to advise you and help you cope with any difficulties in writing.