Many volumes have been written about social research methods and it would be useful for you to explore some of these independently. One extensive resource is Social Research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches which you may choose to use as a resource and revisit from time to time.
In this module we will give you some summary information to get you started
Data to answer your research question/s can come in a variety of forms and from a range of sources. What you choose to collect will depend on a number of issues that you will have begun to explore in the previous module including availability of data, as well as time and resources available to collect the data. If, for instance, you have a large sample population you may choose to use a survey questionnaire in order to collect as much data as possible. The data you collect using this method is likely to be a combination of quantitative and qualitative data (but mostly quantitative). For convenience you may choose to make it an online survey. However if there are only a few individuals that hold the information you need to help answer your research question/s you may choose to interview them either individually or in a focus group interview. This type of data will be predominantly qualitative in nature.
The data you collect will determine the analysis you perform (see section 3.4 – Data analysis), so you will need to carefully consider the method used (see section 3.3 – SoTL Research Methods).
This chart provides a quick comparison of the difference between qualitative and quantitative data.
What type of data you collect will depend on your research question/s and considerations of feasibility. As a general rule of thumb once you have devised your data collection questions, it is less time consuming to collect and analyse quantitative than qualitative data. However, quantitative data on its own may not be sufficient to answer your research question - so you should carefully consider the whether collection of qualitative data is needed to better understand the phenomenon you are researching.
Create your next Blog entry. Give it a title, for example, The Literature Review, to share:
- How you have searched for and selected literature for your research project
- Your key sources of literature
- The analysis methodology you used to critique the literature
Watch the video: Quantitative vs. Qualitative Data
If at the end of the video you are still unsure about any of the aspects of qualitative vs quantitative data explore other Youtube resources to help answer your queries.
Sources of data
Once you have finalised your research questions you will need to consider from where you can collect data to answer those questions. The sources you will use are likely to be either people, documents or both. Data that does already exist and that is collected by you is primary data (e.g. data collected by you through a survey). Data that you draw on that already exists, is secondary data (e.g. that from existing reports or records).
The website above introduced the concepts of Validity and Triangulation. How could these concepts be applied to your research? Make some notes about how you will address them (or not) in your project.
Using the context of “Little Red Riding Hood”, imagine you are exploring the phenomenon of young girls being eaten by wolves while undertaking humanitarian work in the woods. In the template below you can see how the potential sources of data for this project have been listed. Use this template to do the same for your project.