Choose the research methodology best suited to your situation

Academic research is a process of collecting and analysing scientific or social data in order to answer a question. It is also called basic research or scientific research. It is used by researchers and academics to produce quality work and reliable results. Literature research is the most familiar method for students, but there are many more.
This article helps you to explore the different research methods and find the most relevant one for your work.

The importance of dissertation research methodology

What is the importance of research methodology?

Research methodology is an essential process to ensure that the results obtained are valid and reliable. It sets the framework for the research and ensures that the data collected is relevant and complete. Research methodology also determines the methods and tools to be used to analyse the data and to ensure that the conclusions are logical and consistent.

What are the academic research methods?

What are the academic research methods?

There are several study methodologies for conducting academic research:

  1. Quantitative research: research that relies on numerical data to test hypotheses.
  2. Qualitative research: research based on the analysis of behaviour to understand human actions.
  3. Empirical research: research based on observations, interviews and experiments.
  4. Historical research: research based on historical documents to understand the past.
  5. Documentary research: research in databases, libraries, archives and specialised collections to find relevant information.
  6. Experimental research: research based on experiments and tests to understand phenomena.
  7. Conceptual research: research that uses concepts and theories to understand phenomena.
  8. Comparative research: research that compares different elements to understand phenomena.
  9. Analytical research: research based on the analysis of data and information to understand complex phenomena.

Quantitative research

Quantitative research or quantitative study is a research methodology that focuses on researching data and statistics to determine trends and relationships between variables. It focuses on the use of tools such as statistical tests, surveys, questionnaires (open-ended and closed-ended), surveys and mathematical models to analyse data on a sample of individuals. Quantitative analysis is generally used to test hypotheses and theories and to predict future outcomes.


Qualitative research

Qualitative research or qualitative study is a research methodology that focuses on understanding the opinions and attitudes of individuals. It is used to examine people's thoughts, feelings and motivations. It can include the use of techniques such as interviews, focus groups, observations and document analysis. The qualitative approach is generally used to understand human behaviour and to develop deeper insights into a subject.

The main techniques of qualitative research are:

  • Semi-structured interview: a qualitative data collection method that combines structure and flexibility, using a pre-established interview guide while allowing for open-ended questions and in-depth explorations of participants' responses.
  • The directive interview: a qualitative data collection method based on a structured and predefined questionnaire, where the interviewer asks precise and targeted questions, thus limiting the freedom of answers and discussions to obtain specific information.
  • Non-directive interview: a qualitative data collection method characterised by an open and flexible approach, where the interviewer encourages the participant to speak freely and spontaneously about their experiences, opinions and feelings, without asking specific questions or following a predefined interview guide.
  • Observation: A qualitative research method that collects data by carefully and systematically examining behaviours, interactions and situations in their natural context, without direct intervention by the researcher.
  • Focus group: a qualitative research method that involves a small group of participants brought together to discuss a specific topic, under the guidance of a moderator, in order to obtain a variety of opinions, perceptions and ideas on the topic being studied.
The empirical research of a thesis

Empirical research 

Empirical research or empirical study is a research method that focuses on observation and experimentation to understand and explain phenomena. It is generally used to study scientific or social issues and is often considered one of the most reliable methods of obtaining information. Empirical research can include field studies, case studies, surveys, experiments and statistical analysis. It can also include qualitative methods, such as interviews and observations. Researchers can use these methods to collect data and analyse it to draw conclusions.

Historical and qualitative research

Historical research 

Historical research is a method of research that focuses on the study of past events and their impact on the present. It can be used to understand the past and better understand the present. Historical research is an important method for understanding the world we live in and for understanding how past events have shaped the present. Historical research can be conducted using archives, documents, eyewitness accounts and other sources. It can also include interviews, surveys and case studies.

Desk research

Desk research is a method of investigation that involves gathering information by consulting documentary sources. Documentary sources can be books, scientific articles, reports, archival documents, databases, websites, social media, etc. Desk research is an important step in understanding a topic and obtaining accurate and up-to-date information. It can be used to study a variety of subjects, such as history, politics, science, technology, sociology, economics, etc. Desk research is a valuable tool for researchers, journalists, students and professionals.


Experimental research 

Experimental research involves manipulating variables and observing the effect of these manipulations on measurable results. It is used to test hypotheses and to study the causes and effects of phenomena. For example, experimental research is useful for studying the effects of drugs, psychological treatments and educational interventions. It is also used to study the effects of environmental variables on human and animal behaviour.

Conceptual research for several disciplines

Conceptual research 

Conceptual research focuses on identifying and analysing the key concepts underlying a problem or issue. It can be used to explore ideas, theories and hypotheses, and to understand the relationships between concepts and their implications. Conceptual research is often used to help solve complex problems and make strategic decisions.

Descriptive comparative research

Comparative research 

Comparative research is a research method that compares groups or individuals to determine their differences and similarities. It is used to explore issues such as cultural differences, similarities between groups, the effects of interventions and the effects of policies. Comparative research can be used to study groups or individuals across time or across different contexts.

Analytical research 

Analytical research is a research method that focuses on the analysis of data and information to understand and explain phenomena. It is often used to investigate complex issues and find solutions to problems. It can also be used to explore trends and patterns in data and information. Analytical research is an important method for understanding the world and making informed decisions.

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How to choose the right exploratory research method?

How to choose the right research method?

The research method you choose depends on the purpose of the research and the resources available. For example, if you want to collect qualitative data on consumer opinions, you might consider interviews or focus groups. To collect quantitative data on consumer habits, you might consider surveys or product testing. To increase your knowledge of a topic, you might consider doing a literature search on the net or in specialist journals.
In all cases, it is important to take the time to think about the most appropriate research method to achieve your objectives.

What are the academic research tools?

1. Search engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc.

2. Monitoring tools: Google Alerts, Talkwalker, Mention, etc.

3. Social networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

4. Databases: PubMed, Google Scholar, Web of Science, Archimag, CAIRN, etc.

5. Online forums and communities: Reddit, Quora, Stack Overflow, etc.

How to Write a Research Methodology step by step?

What are the steps of a good research methodology?

How to do scientific and academic research?

  • Step 1: Define a research topic that motivates you
  • Step 2: Choose an available and supportive supervisor
  • Step 3: Formulate your problem and the limits of your subject
  • Step 4: Construct a detailed plan
  • Step 5: Search for relevant information
  • Step 6: Write and structure your dissertation
  • Step 7: Proofread and adjust your brief
  • Step 8: Prepare the oral presentation

In conclusion, academic research methodology is a complex and demanding process that requires careful planning and attention to detail. It is essential to understand the different steps and to develop research, writing and presentation skills. By following these steps, student researchers can produce quality research that will contribute to the advancement of knowledge and improved decision making.

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Information: This informative article does not require any personal reflection and was written with the help of ChatGPT. On the basis of an outline that we constructed beforehand, we questioned ChatGPT. Then, we reworked these automatically generated contents to delete repetitions, add details, check the veracity of the information... The assistance of an AI allowed us to save time in writing and to enrich our good practices in using such a tool.