Research methods and techniques are essential for the development of any type of study . The methods will show us which is the way to follow, and on the other hand the techniques will show us how the path will be covered. The latter are more rigid than the methods.
Just as science studies many different aspects, the methods and techniques used to address them can also be different and with specific characteristics depending on the object of study.
|It is a model of the procedures that can be applied to a specific investigation, depending on its needs. They tell us which is the way to go.
|They are a series of steps that lead to the search for knowledge through the application of research methods or techniques. They tell us how the path will be covered.
– Empirical Experimental
Ethnographic studies Grounded
Narrative and visualization methods
What are research methods?
When conducting research, we are dedicating the time to obtain new knowledge or its application to solve a specific problem through a procedure that is understandable, communicable and reproducible. A research method is a model of the procedures that can be applied to a specific investigation, taking into account its needs, this means the nature of what we want to investigate.
The term method derives from the Greek meta, which means “towards” and from hodos which translates as “path”, so its meaning implies “the most suitable path to an end”. Thus, the definition arises that a method is a procedure selected to achieve a predetermined purpose.
Among the tools or techniques applied by researchers to achieve the goal, we can find sampling, interviews, questionnaires, case studies, experimental method, trials and focus groups.
The choice of the research method will depend on the type of problem to be solved and the data that can be obtained with it. Research methods can be classified into two large groups: logical methods and empirical methods.
Within the research methods, we can find:
Logical research methods
They are those that are based on the use of thought in its functions of deduction, analysis and synthesis. Within this classification are:
– Deductive research method : this method consists of applying general principles to particular cases, starting from certain trial links. This goes through two stages:
1) Find the unknown principles from those already known. For example, if a body falls, we know that it weighs because it is a particular case of gravitation.
2) Discover the unknown consequences of principles that we already know. That is, for example, if we know a formula, we can apply it to calculate the data we need.
Within the deductive research methods, we find the direct deductive and the indirect deductive . The first, also called immediate conclusion, are those in which a direct conclusion is reached without intermediaries.
Indirect deductive methods, or also called mediate conclusion, are those in which two extremes (terms or premises) must be compared with a third in order to discover the relationship between them. The major premise has the universal proposition, and the minor premise has the particular proposition, the conclusion will emerge from its comparison. For example, if we say that Argentines are unpunctual, and then that Juan is Argentine, it follows that Juan is unpunctual.
– Hypothetical deductive method: in this method the researcher is forced to combine rational reflection or rational moment, which is where the hypothesis and deduction are formed, with the observation of reality or also called empirical moment. This method consists of the following steps: observation of the phenomenon to be investigated, creation of a hypothesis to be able to explain this phenomenon, deduction of the most important consequences of the hypothesis itself, and finally the verification or verification of the truth of what was deduced with comparison with experience.
– Inductive method : this method is the reasoning that, starting from particular cases, is applied to general knowledge. What this method allows is the formation of hypotheses, the investigation of scientific laws and their demonstrations. The induction can be complete or incomplete, in the complete the conclusion will only be possible if we know exactly the number of elements that make up the object we are studying and also when we know that the knowledge belongs to each of the elements of the object that is being studied. doing research.
Example of a complete inductive method: when we want to study the academic performance of the students of a particular course, the performance and results of all the students of the course will be studied (this may be because the study objective is relatively small). Once we have the results we can make the conclusion of how the average performance is and this is possible because we can analyze each of the students in the course.
The incomplete inductive method is one in which the elements of the object of study cannot be numbered and studied in their entirety, so the researcher must take a representative sample and make generalizations with it.
For example, you want to analyze the average football tastes of an entire sports club, this will not be possible to analyze one by one given the number of people.
– Measurement method: this method uses the observation of the object to analyze the relationship between its components, properties and other characteristics. In order to express its results, the attribution of the numerical values of these properties and relationships is necessary to be able to evaluate and represent them appropriately. This method is developed to be able to obtain numerical information about a quality or property of an object, a process or a phenomenon, where measurable and known quantities are compared.
Although measurement is one of the forms of empirical knowledge, measurement procedures are determined through theoretical considerations. In the measurement it is essential to take into account the object and property to be measured, the unit and the measuring instrument, the subject who will perform the measurement and the results to be achieved.
– Delphi method: this method is based on a panel of five to ten experts on a certain complex topic to discuss, with the aim of obtaining qualitative but relatively accurate information and opinions about the future. Its main function is to reduce the different predictive or prognostic possibilities as much as possible. In summary mode we can say that this method simplifies the result of a complex work, thanks to the group opinion of experts.
The Delphi method process can be broadly defined in four steps: Define the objectives, select the experts, prepare and launch questionnaires, take advantage of the results.
Like any process, the Delphi method has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see which are the main ones:
-Provides varied analysis and information on complex topics.
-A very objective thought is created.
-Decisions based on experts have a high probability of being efficient.
-You can get a lot of options to decide.
-Being an anonymous participation method, it helps to avoid conflicts between experts and encourages creative participation.
-The expert is completely related to the resolution of the conflict and facilitates the implementation.
-It is a long process and sometimes it is tedious, since it must be reviewed twice to obtain the desired result.
-It is expensive since it needs the intervention of experts and other materials.
-Good communication is essential to be able to economize the search and the reception of the answers.
-The criteria are subjective and are often influenced.
Empirical research methods
The empirical research methods have a series of practical procedures with the object and with the research means that help to know the fundamental characteristics and essential relationships of the object, which are accessible to sensory contemplation.
These methods represent a level in the research process, where the content comes mainly from experience, which is then subjected to a rational elaboration and expressed in a specific language. Within the empirical research methods we can find:
– Method of scientific observation : this method aims to contemplate and understand nature in its purest state, this means, without interference from man. Observation consists of knowing how to select what you want to analyze.
Scientific observation has the ability to describe and explain behavior, after having obtained adequate and reliable data related to behaviors, events and situations identified and inserted in a theoretical context.
Observation, as a procedural method, can be used at different times in a slightly more complex investigation. In the initial stage it is used in the diagnosis of the problem to be investigated and it is very useful in the design of the investigation.
There are two basic types of observation:
Direct observation : it is one in which the fact or phenomenon being analyzed can be detailed.
Indirect observation : is one in which the analyzed phenomenon is not observable, but can be deduced through parallel observations or other phenomena.
In addition, the observation can be classified according to the place of realization:
Field observation : it is when the researcher is in nature itself or his instruments allow him to observe the phenomenon directly in his place in it.
Laboratory observation : it is when the observed phenomenon occurs in the controlled environment of the laboratory, this means when it is replicated experimentally.
A great example of the method of scientific observation is the English scientist Charles Darwin’s trip to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, where his purpose was to observe biodiversity from a specific hypothetical perspective. After a great analysis he was able to deduce that because they were so long apart, each species had adapted to a different environment, thus giving rise to a different species.
– Experimental research method : it is one of the most complex but most effective methods. It arises as a result of the development of technique and human knowledge.
This method includes the creation by the researcher of the conditions considered necessary or adequate to be able to clarify the properties and relationships of the object. These are very useful in research.
An experimental investigation is considered successful when the investigator confirms that a change in the dependent variable is due to manipulation of the independent variable. It is very important to establish the cause and effect of a phenomenon, which implies that it must be clear that the effects observed in an experiment are due to the cause.
Within experimental research there are three types of designs: the pre-experimental design, the true experimental design and the quasi-experimental design.
What are scientific investigation techniques?
The scientific research is a series of steps leading to the search for knowledge through the application of methods and research techniques. Depending on the level of scientific knowledge the researcher wants to reach, the type of study to be applied is formulated. In addition, the objectives and hypotheses that have been raised previously are taken into account.
Research techniques are the tools, procedures or instruments that are used to obtain this information or knowledge. According to the chosen methodology, the techniques will be applied. These techniques are part of the procedure that is carried out to obtain the expected result, which is to collect information or data. Once these data have been analyzed, we will be able to obtain the answers to the research questions, either from a qualitative, quantitative or mixed approach.
With the investigation techniques the stages of the investigation are ordered and the means and instruments for the collection and conservation of data are provided.
Within the investigation techniques a great classification can be established: the documentary technique and the field technique . The documentary technique allows the collection of information to create the theories that support the study of phenomena and processes. On the other hand, the field technique is one that allows observation in direct contact with the object of analysis, and the collection of testimonies that allow comparing theory with practice to find objective truth in this way.
Among the research techniques we can find:
– The interview : the interview is a technique that consists of gathering information through a professional conversation, with which in addition to collecting information, it is investigated. The results to be obtained will largely depend on the level of communication that is generated between the researcher and the interview participants.
Depending on the objective pursued with this research technique, it may or may not be structured by means of a previously prepared questioning. If the interview is applied in stages prior to the investigation, the questions will be formulated by the interviewer according to their criteria and experience. Otherwise, if the objective of the interview is to collect information on the study variables, in this case the interviewer must already be aware of the working hypothesis and the relationships or variables that are to be demonstrated in order to prepare a questionnaire with appropriate questions with a determined purpose and that are essential to clarify the tasks of the investigation.
When preparing the interview and defining the dependent or independent variables, it will be necessary to define qualitative or quantitative classifications of these properties, in order to accurately measure the dependence of the analyzed quantities and thus calculate the correlation between them. .
The use of these research tools occurs when it is believed necessary for there to be interaction and dialogue between the researcher and the person under investigation. It is also a good tool to use and apply when the population under analysis is small and manageable, be it an individual or a small group of them.
In general, it is established that the interviewer is a person who demonstrates self-confidence, while at the same time being able to catch up with the interviewee, posing the interview in terms that are easily understandable and do not generate ambiguities.
-The survey : it is a research technique applied to obtain information of sociological interest through a questionnaire that is previously prepared, through which it is possible to know the opinion of the subject that is selected for the survey. Unlike the interview, here the respondent can read the questionnaire and respond in writing, nor the need for direct intervention from the person working on the research.
This research technique has a more rigid, logical structure and is not altered during the research process. Once the answers are obtained, the results are analyzed by means of statistical methods.
– Signing : signing is an auxiliary analysis tool for the other techniques used in scientific research. The registration consists of registering the data obtained from the files, which are elaborated and ordered instruments, which contain information collected in the investigation and is a great aid at the time of the investigation since it saves time, space and money.
-Questionnaire : the questionnaire is an instrument of observation in survey and interview techniques. It is formulated through a series of questions that allow the measurement of one or more variables. With the questionnaire, facts can be observed through the assessment made by the interviewee or respondent.
This tool is a simple observation, and it can be applied in a massive way, obtaining information on a wide range of problems or specific aspects.
-Test : The test is a research technique that derives from the interview and the survey and its purpose is to collect information on defined aspects of the personality, of the consultation or of certain behaviors and qualities of the (individual) person or collective, be it interests, attitudes, performance, memory, manipulation, among others. Through questions that will be observed and evaluated by the researcher.
Although there is no perfect test, there are certain characteristics that define a good test. They are:
-The test must be valid, that is, it must investigate what the researcher intends and not something else.
-The test must be reliable, this implies that it must offer consistency in its results, so they must be the same as long as they are applied under the same conditions whoever does it.
The reliability index is the variable that gives the researcher more or less confidence about the application and use of a certain test. There are certain tables that are universally accepted on these indices and they allow us to know that no test reaches 100% reliability.
-It is very important that the test is objective, in order to avoid any risk of subjective interpretation by the researcher. Objectivity is an essential and fundamental requirement for reliability.
-The test must be simple and clear, in addition to being written in a language that is easy for researchers to understand.
-It must be economical, this is in relation to time as well as money and the effort involved.
-It is very important that it be interesting, in order to motivate the interest of researchers.
– Causal-comparative studies: these are studies similar to correlational studies. They are intended to establish the time that elapses between the cause and the effect of a given phenomenon. Causal studies are divided into two groups: retrospective and prospective comparative causal studies. In the former, the group conducting the investigation carries out an analysis of the problem when the effects have already occurred, this means that it tries to find what is the cause of a phenomenon that has already been observed.
On the other hand, in prospective causal studies, the investigation begins before the events occur, and starts with the causes trying to analyze and investigate what their consequences will be.
– Bibliographic research : this technique is a qualitative technique and is in charge of exploring everything that has been written about a specific topic or problem. This technique tries to fulfill the following functions:
- Support and sustain in a theoretical way, the work that you want to carry out.
- Try to avoid that the current investigation is a replica of something that has already been done.
- Present previous experiments elaborated to refute them or to confirm them.
- Collaborate in the continuation of previous investigations that have been interrupted or incomplete.
– Ethnographic studies : technical studies are tools used when what you want is to study and learn more about the behavior, habits and ways of life of a human group, an ethnic group, a culture is special, a trend politics, a linguistic group, among others.
As we know, for a human group, it has particular behaviors, beliefs and attitudes that are different from the others, but they belong to the same cultural unit. It is for this reason that ethnographic studies are carried out, since sociocultural aspects are difficult to analyze and evaluate through quantitative ways.
– Grounded theory : grounded theory is a research method used to develop a theory from the data obtained. The starting point does not consist in a theoretical framework or in the previous bibliographic search, but in creating a theory based on the data obtained during the process.
This research method involves building the theory from the data. That is, the starting point does not consist of the theoretical framework or a previous bibliographic search, but rather the theory is elaborated from the data obtained during the process.
Grounded theory is used in the social sciences, and it is also applied in the health sciences. A clear example of this technique is the evaluation of the symptoms and signs that a patient presents, which will determine the diagnosis and then the intervention process.
– Narrative and visualization methods : narrative is a technique that involves asking people to tell their own stories or experiences about a specific topic or event, telling their testimony and how they have lived it. Visualization methods are a similar technique, in which subjects are asked to report on an element, phenomenon or fact in a pictorial way, such as, for example, making a map, a diagram or an artistic representation of their experiences.
A clear example of the visualization method would be to ask a determined person to make a drawing or diagram about their community or about the elements that are part of their day to day.
– Case studies : when talking about case studies, it refers to an in-depth examination of a person or a single institution. The purpose of this technique is to be able to provide a representation as accurate and clear as possible about the person analyzed, trying to obtain all kinds of information related to what you want to study from him.
This technique is a widely used tool in the area of psychology, especially if we are dealing with a complete case or one that needs special attention, or when an individual accesses psychotherapist care. In these cases, by approaching the person in an individual and profound way, the researcher will be able to obtain a detailed vision of the problem or issue to be addressed.