Deciding on the research method

It is apparent from the preceding section that the type of data produced depends not only on the approach chosen, but also on the method of data collection used. Different methods will produce data of differing depth, breadth, quantity and content, as well as differing in levels of accuracy, speed and cost. In this section the types of method in common use are introduced, and in Chapter 6 the methods themselves are described.

There are many ways of categorizing the various methods of collecting data. The descriptions 'primary or secondary' and 'qualitative or quantitative' have already been referred to. The scheme used here classifies methods as using interviews, observation or experiments as the means of data collection. For the research user, it is important to have some feel for what each method can accomplish, in order to select the appropriate method for the needs of a particular problem.

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