How to Choose Best Research Methodology for Your Study


Successful research conduction requires proper planning and execution. While there are multiple reasons and aspects behind a successful research completion, choice of best research methodology is one of the most difficult and confusing decisions. Since your research will dictate the kinds of approaches you follow, it is crucial to choose research methodology to underpin your work and methods you use in order to collect data. The correct choice of methodology in research allows you to collate required information and accomplish the final goals of the study.

In this article, we will discuss the available research methodologies and the basis of selecting the most suitable one.

The Importance of Choosing Best Research Methodology

Research methodology is determined before research conduction. Correct choice of research methodology helps in determining the success and overall quality of your research study and its documentation. Furthermore, becoming familiar with the research methods used by an area of study allows you to understand it more effectively.

Which are the Different Types of Research Methodology?

Based on the nature of your research, norms of research area, and practicalities you can choose the best research methodology for your research.

  1. Qualitative research utilizes data that cannot be quantified numerically. In other words, qualitative research focuses on words, descriptions, concepts, beliefs, ideas, and other such intangibles.
  2. Quantitative research utilizes numeric and statistical data. It measures variables and verifies existing theories or hypotheses.
  3. Mixed methods-based research attempts to bring both, qualitative and quantitative research It uses qualitative research to explore a situation and develop a potential model of understanding, which is also called a conceptual framework, and then uses quantitative methods to test that model empirically.

Broadly, research falls into one of three categories:

  1. Exploratory Research: It provides a better understanding of an issue and potentially develops a theory regarding it. Thus, it tends to adopt qualitative research approach.
  2. Confirmatory Research: It confirms a potential theory or hypothesis by empirical testing. Therefore, it tends to use quantitative research
  3. Mix of Both: It builds a potential theory or hypothesis and then tests it empirically utilizing the mixed-methods approach.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing the Best Research Methodology for Your Study

Nature of Your Research

Each research, irrespective of its type (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed), has a different purpose and approach that helps in solving its question. Therefore, the key factor for deciding which research methodology to adopt depends on the nature of your research aims, objectives, and research questions.

Norms of Research Area

Appropriate selection of your research methodology also involves scrutinizing and considering the approaches used by other researchers in the discipline or studies with similar aims and objectives. Researchers from same disciplines often follow a common methodological approach or set of approaches. While it doesn’t mean you should follow the herd, you should at least consider these approaches and evaluate their merit to your research’s benefit.

Practicalities of the Methodology

While most methodological approaches will deliver the most scientifically rigorous research design theoretically, the chances of constraints faced practically cannot be overlooked.  Hence, it is all the more important to evaluate your research methodology on the basis of its practicality in experimental conditions

What are the Steps to Follow While Choosing the Best Research Methodology?

Step 1: Define the goals, objectives, and research question.

Before worrying about the inferences, it is important to draw a path toward conclusive results. Therefore, it is essential to clearly understand what you want to research before deciding upon how to research. Most importantly, determine the variables that need to be studied in order to get an answer to the research question. Sticking to variables will lead you to the final result.

Step 2: Refer pertinent research and effectively used methodology

As there are immeasurable ways of conducting research all may not be meant for your study. Furthermore, determining the best research methodology can be difficult if you aren’t aware of the approach undertaken by other researchers from your field. Therefore, reading pertinent literature in your research area and then evaluating its methodology based on the feasibility and limitations is essential.

Step 3: Structuring the plan and finding resources to conduct research

While the research area may be same, the method of data collation may not be. Some may be time consuming, some may be found on the internet, others might need field study, or might be expensive. Therefore, it is essential to base your decision after giving a thought to these limitations of data collection as well.

Step 4: Write the research methodology in detail and review it

After selecting a particular approach to conduct your research, you must make a note of all activities. It must include the approximate time and resources each step might take. This helps in understanding the approach that your research would take and prepare you for the hurdles on its way to conclusive results.

Reasons to Select a Specific Research Methodology

You should select a qualitative research methodology because:

  • It uses an inductive and subjective approach. Furthermore, it adopts an open and flexible approach.
  • Qualitative research builds theories.
  • Word-based data can be collected via interviews and focus groups.
  • It draws on small sample sizes and uses qualitative data analysis techniques such as content analysis, thematic analysis, etc.

You should select a quantitative research methodology because:

  • It uses a deductive approach and objective approach. In addition, it adopts a closed and highly planned approach.
  • Quantitative research tests theories.
  • Numeric data can be collected via surveys or laboratory instrumentational experiments.
  • It draws on large sample sizes and uses statistical data analysis techniques.

Key Takeaway

While it may seem that the goal of the research is the primary reason to choose the best research methodology, it is essential to consider other factors that influence successful research completion.  Remember that the choice of the most appropriate method and its correct execution is what that drives your research.

Let us know how do you choose the best research methodology in the comments section below! You can also visit our Q&A forum for frequently asked questions related to different aspects of research writing and publishing answered by our team that comprises subject-matter experts, eminent researchers, and publication experts.