If you are using this resource in your work please remember to reference and cite the original work found here:
Copyright © 2003 - 2011 UKEssays & All Answers Ltd
Find more free essays like this one...
We have a large reference library of essays that you can use as research materials to help with your own writing -check out our
Share this resource with your friends...
We hope you found this information in this free pdf useful. Please spread the word and tell your friends how this information has helped you with your studies and feel free to share this pdf with others, so it can help them too.
Keep up to date with the latest essay writing hints, tips and free research materialsto help you with your assignments - simply subscribe to our RSS feed or join us onFacebook now!
Page 1 of 5
Subject Area - Sociology Research Methods Tools
Methods of ResearchThe correct choiceof research methods to use in answering researcher set questions investigatinga topic is one of the mostcrucial and vital elements to the successful conductof a research exercise, (McNeill, 2005). While much attention can bepaid to theorywithin the methodology employed by the researcher it is also critical toconsider the actual research tools which back up the theoretical decisions madeand provide the raw data against which the hypotheses of the research can betested. For much research the research tools will be a decisive factor in thesuccess or failure of the project. In many instances the choice of researchtool is not assessed correctly with the result being data is generated which isof little orno use to the researcher, (Ruane, 2005). This occurs both due tothe research method not suiting the particular needs of the researcher and theimproper administering of the research method itself.For many choice ofresearch tool is inuenced however not by the objective needs of the researchbut by the ability andcapabilities of the researcher in terms of time, cost orother related factors such as familiarity with the processes andtechniquesinvolved within specic sets of research tools. In this essay we examine threeresearch methods, show how they can be constructed in a holistic manner toachieve triangulation in relation to a research question and illustrateethicalconcerns and the manner in which they can be resolved in the successfuldeployment of these research methods,(Somekh and Lewin, 2005). We discuss thesemethods as a process and thus relate our discussion to the manner in which theycan be integrated andsuccessfully deployed. In this sense then we examine howfocus groups can provide insights into theoretical observations,how theseobservations can be explored within semi-structured interviews with a selectedsample and how theseobservations from interviews can be developed intogeneralised into hypotheses tested against larger samples throughthe use of questionnaires.However it should be noted that a critical element in deciding on whichmethodologies should be used in a research project and the relative strengthsand weaknesses of using those methodologies will depend to alarge extent onthe specic circumstances involved in conducting the research, (Bryman, 2004).By this it ismeant that weaknesses for example within the conduct of questionnaire may infact be a positive elementfor certain projects and negative for othersdepending on the contextual basis for the research. We explore this andotherfeatures of research methods subsequently.Focus GroupsFocus groups are atype of qualitative based research method based loosely on the generalprinciples which apply tointerviews. However while interviews are generallyone-to-one situations involving a interviewer and intervieweerelationshipfocus groups employ a one to many dichotomy, (Holloway and Jefferson, 2000). Indeedfocus groupsresemble semi or unstructured interviews more particularly thanstructured interviews as one of the primary objectivesof the researcher withinfocus group interviews is as a facilitator or moderator of group discussionbased on sets of generalthemes identied as being related to the research objectivesfor which the focus groups are being used to generate data,