The Skull Session

Which are the methodology applicable for a BHM student’s research?

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Research methods vs Methodology

Research methods may be put into these three groups.

  1. Group I – Methods concerned with collection of data.
  2. Group II – Statistical techniques which are used for establishing relationships between the data and the unknowns;
  3. Group III – Methods used to evaluate the accuracy of the results obtained.

The Group II & III mentioned above are the analytical tools of research. 

At times, a distinction is made between research methods and techniques. Research methods refers to the behaviour and instruments used in selecting and constructing research technique. Research technique refers to the behaviour and instruments used in performing research operations such as making observations, recording data, techniques of processing data and the like. However, in practise the two terms are taken as interchangeable and when we talk of research methods we do, by implication, include research techniques within their compass.

TypeMethodTechniques
Library researchAnalysis of historical data Analysis of documentsRecording of notes, content analysis, tape and film listening & analysis.Statistical compilation and manipulations, references and abstract guides, content analysis.
Field researchNon- participant direct observation Participant -observation
Mass observation
Mail questionnaire Opinionnaire
Personal interview
Focused interview
Group interview
Telephone survey
Case study and life history
Observational recording, possible use of tape recorders, photographic techniques.Recording mass behaviour, interview using independent observers in public places.Identification of social and economic background of respondents.Use of attitude scales, projective techniques, use of sociometric scales.Interviewer uses a detailed schedule with open and closed questionsInterviewer focuses attention upon a given experience and its effectsSmall group of respondents are interviewed simultaneouslyUsed as a survey technique for information and for discerning opinion; may be used as a follow up of questionnaire.Cross-sectional collection of data for intensive analysis, longitudinal collection of data of intensive character.
Laboratory researchSmall group study of random behaviour, play and role analysis.Use of audio-visual recording devices, use of observers etc
Table 1: Various methods used in the research process
Fig 1: Perspective of research methodology based on the nature of the data
Research methodPrimary or secondaryQuantitative or QualitativeWhen to use
ExperimentPrimaryQuantitativeTo test cause and effect relationship
SurveyPrimaryQuantitativeTo understand general characteristics of population
Interview/ Focus groupPrimaryQualitativeTo gain in depth understanding of a topic
ObservationPrimaryEitherTo understand how something occurs in its natural settings.
Literature reviewSecondaryEitherTo decide the direction and scope of your research, or to evaluate trends within a research topic
Case studyEitherEitherTo gain in depth understanding of a specific group or context, or when you don’t have the resource for a large study
Table2: The types of research methods applicable for students of BHM
Reference
Kothari, C. R. (2013). Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques (English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi and Korean Edition) (2nd ed.). New York, United States: Macmillan Publishers.

Nehru, R. S. S., & Suryanarayana, N. V. S. (2020). Research Methodology. New Delhi , India : APH Publishing Corporation .

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