A gentle introduction to research methods
Section 1: About research.
This section walks the reader through the setting of research: How it actually happens, how to choose a topic, how to make sense of the background reading.
Section 2: Research design.
Research designs vary widely, with different designs good for different purposes. This section describes the range, from ethnographic approaches through to formal experiments, with guidance on how to pick the most suitable approach for your research question, and how to put together a set of studies using complementary designs to answer bigger questions.
Section 3: Generic advice.
How do you actually conduct a study? This section guides you through the low-level realities of things that can go wrong, and what you can do to make the process as smooth and productive as possible.
Section 4: Data collection.
To many new researchers, “data collection” means “interviews and questionnaires”. This section introduces you to a wide range of techniques that let you answer questions that can’t be handled with interviews and questionnaires. It uses worked examples, and guides you through choosing the right technique for your work.
Section 5: Data analysis.
This section includes standard qualitative and quantitative analysis, and also describes a range of analysis methods that straddle the divide between qualitative and quantitative. It includes worked examples of each method.
Conclusion: The end game.
This section looks at where your research takes you – how to write it up, how the writing up interacts with your research design, and how the research fits into your choices about career path, so that you can be more in control of your life.