Data Gathering In Research

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Data Gathering in Research

Data Gathering in Research

Q1: What factors should be considered by researchers when defining the data required for their research?

Ans: Research methodology consists of the assumptions, postulates, rules, and methods—the blueprint or roadmap—that researchers employ to render their work open to analysis, critique, replication, repetition, and/or adaptation and to choose research methods.

This term is often used interchangeably with research methods, but in this entry it will refer to research methods as the tools or techniques with which researchers collect their data. These tools or techniques are wisely chosen only when they are derived from and related to the larger set of assumptions and procedures that constitute the overall research methodology the study utilizes. All empirical research, regardless of whether it is considered to be qualitative, quantitative, or both includes a discussion of research methodology (Schensul, Lecompte, 1999).

Most qualitative research methodology books and texts refer to the constituent components of research methodology as defined in this entry—guiding paradigms, aspects of research design (study community, population, sampling and analysis units), methods of data collection, and analysis and dissemination. This entry includes all of these under the same rubric (Pelto, Pelto, 1978).

What Research Methodology Is Not

Theory is not included in this entry as part of research methodology. Theory is extremely important in providing the initial arguments for the study, framing its formative conceptual model, and guiding directions in data collection and analysis. Methodology consists of the actions to be taken in the study and the reasons for these actions in testing or generating theory. Ethical considerations are also very important in any research involving human or animal subjects, participants, or partners (Denzin, Lincoln, 2000). Research ethics, however, will not be considered in this entry, even though when one considers questions such as what is the importance of this research or with whom should one conduct the research and in what kinds of partnerships, or whether particular approaches to data collection might be harmful to study participants, one is raising ethical considerations that affect one's methodological decision making (Bernard, 2000).

Defining the Study Site, Study Population, Study Sample

Study Site

The study site is the location where the research takes place. Study sites may include institutions (clinics, hospitals, schools and university campuses, voluntary organizations, social groups, recreational areas, community organizations, businesses of different sizes, and cyberlocations or networks). All forms of qualitative research take place in a community defined by place and time in which interactions occur among members either directly through face-to-face interaction or via electronic forms of communication (telephone, videoconferencing, internet) (Bernard, 1998).

Communities also may be defined by ethnic and/or racial membership along with other social and cultural characteristics such as ability level and links to a specific institution. The study site is chosen as a place where the study questions can be answered through the use of interactive research methods that require face-to-face engagement or its equivalent (in the case of distant or internet research) (Williams, 2003).

Study Populations

An important methodological consideration is the selection of the ...
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