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Health and Social Care

Research Methods

Research methods are the strategies, processes or techniques utilized in the collection of data or evidence for analysis in order to uncover new information or create better understanding of a topic.

There are different types of research methods which use different tools for data collection.

For support in using Sage Research Methods please see their support guide.

Types of research methods

Qualitative Research gathers data about lived experiences, emotions or behaviours, and the meanings individuals attach to them. It assists in enabling researchers to gain a better understanding of complex concepts, social interactions or cultural phenomena. This type of research is useful in the exploration of how or why things have occurred, interpreting events and describing actions.

Quantitative Research gathers numerical data which can be ranked, measured or categorised through statistical analysis. It assists with uncovering patterns or relationships, and for making generalisations. This type of research is useful for finding out how many, how much, how often, or to what extent.

Mixed Methods Research integrates both Qualitative and Quantitative Research. It provides a holistic approach combining and analysing the statistical data with deeper contextualised insights. Using Mixed Methods also enables Triangulation, or verification, of the data from two or more sources.