Research Paper: Mixed Methods Primary and Secondary Research

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¶ … mixed methods; primary and secondary research as different research methods. The study identifies qualitative research as a research method that immense into the phenomenon to gain deeper understanding in the research interest. Qualitative research uses tools such as interview, focus group, and observation for data collection. However, quantitative research uses positivist approach to gain understanding in the research interest. Quantitative research uses instruments such as survey, and questionnaires to collect data, and a researcher is able to correlate mass of data to produce research findings. The shortcomings identified in both quantitative and qualitative research makes this paper to suggest mixed methods as other type of research method.

Introduction

Research is defined as the systematic system of searching for knowledge to solve existing problems, establish new facts, and develop new theories using scientific method of investigation. Researchers use different scientific inquiries to gain understanding of new ideas. Since the goal of a research is to produce new knowledge, researchers use different research methods to gain understanding to new facts.

Objective of this paper is to provide a detailed explanation on different types of research method. The paper provides definition for each of the research method, their classifications, and benefits.

Different types of Research Methods

Research method is a scientific method of gathering data or information for the advancement of knowledge. Researchers employ different methods of data collection to gain understanding into the research inquiry. Research methods are classified as:

Qualitative research quantitative research

Mixed methods

Primary research

Secondary research

Qualitative research

Qualitative research is a research method that employs rigorous method for data collection, sampling, and analysis in understanding the phenomena of interest. Qualitative research largely makes use of inductive approach in analyzing data, which helps to infer general principles. Using inductive approach, qualitative research moves from the specific observation to broader generalization. For effective data collection, qualitative research believes that it is critical to immense in the phenomenon in trying to understand the culture and experience of the people. Researchers using qualitative approach use the ethnography, phenomenology, and grounded theory. (Burney, 2008). "Qualitative researchers may seek to understand the participants' perspectives on phenomena of interest and to convey meanings that participants construct regarding those phenomena." (Hanson, 2011 P375).

To gain understanding into the phenomenon, qualitative research employs interview, observation, focus group, narratives, and archival documents for data collection. (Hanson, 2011). Interview is one of the best methods qualitative research employs to collect data. Qualitative research uses interview technique to explore the phenomenal of interest through structured or semi-structured approach. Interview involves personal exchange of information is particularly appropriate when a researcher is seeking to obtain sensitive information from the participants. Interview typically consists of main questions and probing questions. Main questions are generally linked to the research questions while the probing questions seek to elicit clarification for the main questions.

Qualitative research also makes use of focus group as a method of data collection. Focus groups are the interview with the small group of people. The goal of using focus group is to stimulate discussion among the participants. Similar to individual interview, focus group also employs structure and semi-structured interviews for the interview techniques. (Hanson, 2011).

For effective data collection, the information systems have been integrated in the qualitative research. Riet, Berg, Hiddema, et al. (2001) argue that the use Of CD-ROM has eased the burden of data collection during the interview process. With CD-ROM, large amount of data could be collected during the interview process. Unlike the videotape that has limited space to contain large amount of data, CD-ROM enhances data collection and data analysis.

Despite the benefits identified with use of qualitative research as a method of data collection, the approach is expensive since a researcher may need to conduct telephone interviews and travelling through long distance. Quantitative research addresses these shortcomings by employing statistical technique in the data analysis.

Quantitative research

Quantitative research is based on the positivist paradigm, which seeks to explain the social facts through objective measurement and quantitative analysis. Typically, quantitative research always-deemphasizing individual judgement by stressing established procedures. Quantitative research emphasizes on randomness and errors where errors are eliminated as much as possible by showing pattern from mass of data collected. (Firestone, 1987).Unlike qualitative research that employs inductive approach, quantitative research uses deductive reasoning that works from the general pattern to the specific.

Data analysis and report are often presented with tables, graphs, and numbers in quantitative research. For the analysis of data, quantitative research employs descriptive and inferential statistics. Manipulation of variables is a technique that quantitative research employs to answer research questions. Unlike qualitative research, that makes use of phenomenology in the research approach, quantitative research employs epistemological approach in the data collection and in answering research questions. The instruments that quantitative research uses to collect data are survey and questionnaires. Through questionnaires and survey, quantitative research is able to maintain objectivity. The quantitative research also makes use of numerical estimation, statistical inferences, experimental or correlation technique to reduce errors. Quantitative research often makes use of statistical technique to analyze and interpret mass of data collected in order to minimize errors. (Goodwin, & Goodwin, 1996). Disadvantage of quantitative research is lack in-depth in research approach. (Bryman, 1984). Mixed methods address the shortcomings of quantitative and qualitative research by combining the two research methods.

Mixed Methods

Mixed methods are the research method that a researcher uses to collect, and analyze data, draw inferences and integrate findings using both qualitative and quantitative research. True characteristics of mixed methods involves the integration of both qualitative and quantitative approach in the research process where data collection, analysis and interpretation of research are employed using both approach. (Wagner, Davidson, & Pollini, 2011). The proponents of the mixed methods argue that the mixed methods address the shortcomings found in using either qualitative or quantitative research. (Ostlund, Kidd, Wengstrom, et al. 2011). One of the challenges found while using mixed methods is to find the best approach that could be used in integrating the findings. Ostlund, et al. (2011) argue that triangulation could be used to find consistence between both qualitative and quantitative findings. In the mixed methods, triangulation provides validity in the research findings. Meanwhile, data collected through qualitative, quantitative research and the mixed methods are classified as both primary and secondary research.

Primary Research Method

Primary research is a type of research that collects data from first hand information and investigation. The primary source of information includes first hand information, historical data, statistical data, and work of art. Primary research could also collect data from laboratory experiment, statistical data, film, or historical text. Research using primary source often uses empirical studies where experiment is carried out using the direct observation. The findings of the empirical studies are often found in the scholarly articles or papers delivered at conferences. Researchers often use primary research as source of data when secondary sources are scanty or unavailable. One of the advantages of the primary research is that the research approach could be tailored to the specific research interest. Using primary research for data collection, a researcher could obtain findings tailored to the research interest. The tools that could be used to collect primary data are survey, field tests, focus group, interviews, and observation. The disadvantage of primary research is that the method can be expensive. The cost of data collection for primary research could range from hundreds to thousands dollars. (Henderson, 2011).

Secondary Research Method

Secondary research is based on the studies previously written by other scholars. On the other words, secondary research includes the second hand information, which includes articles found in the scholarly journals, book review, academic books, and articles in the newspapers. Using secondary research, a researcher is able to explore previously written articles tailored to his research interest. Gain deeper understanding on the research interest assists the researcher to draw research questions tailored to the research objectives. An advantage for using secondary research is that most of the materials could be obtained at low costs. However, a disadvantage of secondary research is that a researcher may not be able to obtain results tailored to his research interest.

One of the methods that a researcher employs to address the shortcomings of both primary and secondary research is to combine both research methods. By combining both research methods, a researcher will be able to use secondary research to gain greater understanding on what other scholars have written on the subject of interest. Using the primary research, a researcher will also be able to obtain the results tailored to the research study.

Conclusion

The objective of this paper is to provide detailed explanation on different type of research methods. The paper identifies qualitative and quantitative research, mixed methods; primary and secondary research as different types of research methods. The study identifies qualitative research as a research method that gains greater understanding into the research interest by immense into the phenomenon. Qualitative research uses tools such as interview, focus group, observation as the methods of data collection.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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