Research techniques

Presented by Vidyarani M.P.
Research is the systematic investigation into existing or new
knowledge. It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the
results of previous work. A research project may also be an
expansion on past work in the field. The primary purposes of
basic research are documentation, discovery, interpretation, or
the research and development of methods and systems for the
advancement of human knowledge.
Types of Research
There are two types of research techniques: scientific and
historical. The purpose of both techniques are to use a
logical approach to obtain information about a specific
subject. Research technique can be applied to a broad
range of issues or areas of research.
Basic research technique
Basic research technique are based on a formal process. The
exact order of the steps depend on subject and the reason for
the research. The eight steps are the same for both basic and
applied research.
The first four steps are: formation of a topic, hypothesis,
conceptual definition and operational definition. The formation
of a topic usually phrased as question. The question is
generally with in the researchers field of expertise. The
hypothesis is a proposed by the researchers, which is often
phrased as a question. The conceptual and operational and
definitions provide the scope and focus for the research.
The next four steps are: gathering data, analysis, testing and
conclusion. The gathering data, analysis and testing steps
are the heart of all research. It is very important to use
reliable sources, perform experiments, and test the
hypothesis thoroughly. If the testing results do not support
the hypothesis, the research is not a failure. On the
contrary, these results provide an opportunity to revisit the
hypothesis and new knowledge is gained.
Historical research technique
Historical research technique: or methods, are most
commonly used to review data from the past and draw
conclusion that impact on the present or future. Although
commonly used by historians, these techniques are also
used by scientific researchers. Using these techniques,
they attempt to identify trends, and theorize on the causes
of disease outbreaks and epidemic.
The next three steps are to analyze the information, validate
against other sources and measure the creditability of the
information. These steps require the use of multiple
sources and a process of questioning all aspects of the
information. This includes using generally accepted
knowledge about the time period in question, historical
facts and physical evidence
The process of historical research requires a significant
amount of reading, translating, researching and discussion.
The volume of information required to support a historical
theory is quite substantial. This method is often used by
professionals with an extensive background in a specific
A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a
series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of
gathering information from respondents. Although they
are often designed for statistical analysis of the responses,
this is not always the case. The questionnaire was invented
by Sir Francis Galton
Types of question
Usually, a questionnaire consists of a number of questions
that the respondent has to answer in a set format. A
distinction is made between open-ended and closed-ended
questions. An open-ended question asks the respondent to
formulate his own answer, whereas a closed-ended
question has the respondent pick an answer from a given
number of options. The response options for a closedended question should be exhaustive and mutually
exclusive. Four types of response scales for closed-ended
questions are distinguished:
Open-Ended Questions
“An open question is likely to receive a long answer”.
Although any question can receive a long answer, open
questions deliberately seek longer answers, and are the
opposite of closed questions.
The ability to ask open-ended questions is very important in
many vocations, including education, counseling,
mediation, sales, investigative work and journalism.
An open-ended question is designed to encourage a full,
meaningful answer using the subject's own knowledge
and/or feelings. It is the opposite of a closed-ended
question, which encourages a short or single-word answer.
Open-ended questions also tend to be more objective and
less leading than closed-ended questions
Open-ended questions typically begin with words such as
"Why" and "How", or phrases such as "Tell me about...".
Often they are not technically a question, but a statement
which implicitly asks for a response.
Closed-ended question
A closed-ended question is a question format that
provide respondents with a list of answer choices
from which they must choice to answer the question.
Commonly these type of questions are in the from of
multiple choices, either with one answer or with
check-all-that-apply, but also can be in scale format,
where respondent should decide to rate the situation in
along the scale continuum, like Liker questions
There are two definitions that are used to describe closed
questions. A common definition is:
“A closed question can be answered with either a single
word or a short phrase.”
Thus 'How old are you?' and 'Where do you live?' are closed
questions. A more limiting definition is:
“A closed question can be answered with either 'yes' or 'no‘.
Thus 'Are you happy?' and 'Is that a knife I see before me?'
are closed questions, whilst 'How are you?' and even 'How
old are you?' are not, by this definition, closed. This
limited definition is also sometimes called a 'yes or no'
question, for obvious reasons
This type of question should be used when surveyors want
respondents to provide an answer from a group of selected
choices. This type of questions can use ordinal or nominal
scales. This make easy the job of processing information.
Open-ended questions are conversely, much more timeconsuming at the time of processing.
Open questions have the following characteristics
 They ask the respondent to think and reflect.
 They will give you opinions and feelings.
 They hand control of the conversation to the respondent.
Basic rules for construction of
Use statements which are interpreted in the same way by members
of different subpopulations of the population of interest.
Use statements where persons that have different opinions or traits
will give different answers.
Think of having an "open" answer category after a list of possible
Use only one aspect of the construct you are interested in per item.
Use positive statements and avoid negatives or double negatives.
Do not make assumptions about the respondent.
Use clear and comprehensible wording, easily understandable for
all educational levels
Use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Avoid items that contain more than one question per item (e.g. Do
you like strawberries and potatoes?).
The standard questionnaire design is a set of questions
with fixed alternatives. These alternatives could be
dichotomous (having only two options e.g. yes/no),
multiple options or rank scaling, etc. All the readers
need to do is tick the most appropriate answer
according to them.
 Any questionnaire, be it a health questionnaire or
a product questionnaire, must have a specific objective.
 Generally questionnaires have subjective/objective and
qualitative/quantitative options depending on their
type. A customer satisfaction questionnaire may have
more qualitative/subjective parameters for gauging.
 Questions should be framed in a simple language and care
should be taken to avoid grammatical and spelling
mistakes. For instance, if an employee questionnaire has
such errors it can reflect poorly on the company.
Questions should have clarity and must convey the same
meaning to all kinds of readers, so it is best to use direct
questions rather than ambiguous ones.
The ability to ask open-ended questions is very important in
many vocations, including education, counseling,
mediation, sales, investigative work and journalism.
Thank you