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Running head: DEFINITIONS


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Research philosophy

Research philosophy is a way of gathering, analyzing and using data for a certain phenomenon.

There are 3 main branches of research philosophy: Positivism, realism, interpretivism.

Positivism states that reality is stable and therefore it can be observed from an objective point of

view, without any inferences.

Interpretivism states that we need subjective interpretations to fully understand the reality.

Realism believes in the reality that already exists in the environment. It has 2 major types: Direct

realism that focus what we see, hear and feel and Critical realism that depends upon the

experiences in a particular situation.

Positivism is highly structured, consists of large samples and measurements are usually

quantitative but can be qualitative as well. In interpretivism, small samples are taken to

understand large people in detail. In realism, whichever methods chosen should fit the subject

matter, qualitative or quantitative (Mkansi & Acheampong, 2012).

Research Approach

The way of doing the research; this can be inductive or deductive. In deductive approach, a

theory is tested with the help of hypothesis. While in inductive research we collect data to

explore a new phenomenon and develop theory. Deductive approach is generalizing from the

general to the specific and inductive approach is generalizing from specific to general (Burney,


Research Strategy


Research strategy is the methodology used to test the research issue. The two methods employed

by researchers are case study and survey. Case study includes in-depth study about an individual,

group or a particular situation whereas in a survey, data is gathered from the whole population or

a large sample to understand opinions on a specific situation. Case study, comprising of in-depth

data, is used for qualitative research and surveys, comprising of numerical data, are used for

quantitative research (Gable, 1994).

Research design

Research design is a detailed plan of how the research will be carried out.

Exploratory Research is done to discover new ideas and insights. Descriptive research is done to

discover the characteristics of people, products, service etc. Explanatory research refers to

connecting ideas in order to understand cause and effect to know whats going on (Strydom,

2014). Analytical research refers to critical thinking and evaluating information and facts related

to the research issue (Kelley, 2003).

Exploratory research is highly unstructured and ambiguous, descriptive research is structured and

partially defined, and explanatory research is highly structured and clearly defined. Descriptive

research answers what while analytical research answers why and how.

Sampling Methods

Sampling methods are used by the researcher to define the target audience for the research. There

are two sampling methods used in survey research; probability sampling and non-probability

sampling. In probability sampling, each member of the populations has a known non-zero

probability of being selected. For example, random sampling, systematic sampling and stratified


sampling. In nonprobability sampling, people are chosen in a non-random manner. For example,

convenience sampling, judgement sampling and quota sampling. In probability sampling the

degree to which a sample would differ from population, known as sampling error, is known. On

the other hand, this error cannot be calculated in nonprobability sampling (Barreiro & Albandoz,


Simple random sampling

Simple random sampling is a form of probability sampling. In this sampling, each member of the

population has an equal chance of being selected. However, if the population is very large, then it

is difficult to identify every member of the population for sample and hence, the results can be

biased (Barreiro & Albandoz, 2001).

Why ethics are important while carrying a research survey?

Ethics are the norms for conduct that differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable

behavior. Norms are important for research because they support the aims of research such as

truth and avoidance of error. Secondly, research involves working in different organizations and

meeting different people so ethics establish the values important for collaborative work. Thirdly,

norms ensure that the researchers are accountable to the public. Lastly, norms help to build

public support for research (Kelley, 2003).

Why is it important to decide and select an appropriate research methodology for conducting a

well-designed research study?

An appropriate methodology is important to conduct the research in systematic way.

Methodologies are different for qualitative and quantitative researches so it is important to define


methodology according to your way of research. Research methods have different levels of

validity so its a measure that ensures the reader hoe valid the research is (Nayak, 2009).



Mkansi, M. and Acheampong, E., 2012. Research Philosophy Debates and Classifications:

Students Dilemma. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 10(2), pp. 132-135

Burney, A. (2008). Inductive and deductive research approach. Retrieved,9(21), 2010.

Gable, G. G. (1994). Integrating case study and survey research methods: an example in

information systems. European journal of information systems, 3(2), pp. 112-116.

Strydom, H. (2014). An evaluation of the purposes of research in Social Work. Social

Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 49(2), pp. 151-156

Barreiro, P. L., & Albandoz, J. P. (2001). Population and sample. Sampling

techniques. Management Mathematics for European Schools MaMaEusch (994342-CP-1-2001-

1-DECOMENIUS-C21, pp. 3-4, 5-6

Kelley, K., Clark, B., Brown, V., & Sitzia, J. (2003). Good practice in the conduct and reporting

of survey research. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 15(3), pp. 261-266

Nayak, BK. (2009). Why learn research methodology? Indian J Ophthalmol, 57, pp. 173-174