Research Methodologies and Design Strategies


There are various ways of conducting research. The four main research methodologies applied in the world include the qualitative method, the mixed method, the quantitative method, and the action method. However, apart from proving to follow similar procedures in some cases, these methodologies are defined by different elements of inquiry, among other key aspects that are known to characterize them. This report examines the design strategies for each of these methodologies. In this case, key aspects such as the research techniques, constituents of inquiry, and the composition of each of these methodologies are examined and analyzed.

The Qualitative Method

This is the traditional way of administering qualitative research. Qualitative question is a study mechanism which is exerted in various disparate study or scholarly disciplines. It should be considered that the qualitative system of research is carried out to reveal the how and why of decision making and not only the where, what, and when. The qualitative research methodology is characterized by six features which include being analytical, eminently embellished, colorful in language, fabricated, thus making the clinician appear as an apparatus, stringent, and field-spotlighted (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005).

The main constituents of the methodology are to summarize the featured literature, develop questions for the study, gain access from the IRB, attain reciprocity, accumulate data, break down the content, analysis, and interpretation of findings, among other key constituents. Inquirers using the qualitative research approach gain knowledge through constructivist assumptions, and they usually apply strategies of inquiry such as phenomenologies, narratives, ethnographies, and case studies. Qualitative methodologies normally emerge through study and open-ended questions that are based on the subject of the study. The findings in this approach are analyzed through image and coded and thematic text analysis.

The Mixed Method Approach

This approach incorporates a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In this regard, the approach applies the practices of both quantitative and qualitative research approaches in analyzing the results. As a research mechanism, this approach aims at scrutinizing, aggregating, and amalgamating data that has been obtained from the involved methodologies in either a single study or in a sequence of experiments (Giddings, 2006).

This approach uses philosophical or pragmatic assumptions, as well as design and sequential exploratory inquiry methods. The philosophical approaches help in providing perfect guidance in the collection, analysis, and mixing of quantitative and qualitative methods through various stages in the study process. This approach is commonly applied to overcome the limitations of a single methodology and is defined by six design strategies which include sequential explanatory, sequential, transformative, sequential exploratory, concurrent nested, concurrent triangulation, and concurrent transformative.

The Quantitative Approach

This is a research approach that depends less on evaluation questionnaires, subjective narratives, focus aggregations, and case studies. However, the approach would focus more on performing findings associated with statistics and numerical data. In this approach, the investigator applies a postpositivist perspective and claims to develop knowledge. Some of the useful claims here include test theories, use of measurement and observation, reduction to questions, hypotheses, and specific variables. The main strategies of inquiry commonly used in this methodology are survey, design, and experiments (Creswell, 2003).

The research procedure in this approach is to measure attitude with the obtained score. Quantitative methodology is characterized by several aspects. One of these aspects is that the approach normally employs statistical procedures. It also observes information numerically, by using unbiased ways. More importantly, the research approach also applies the standards of reliability and validity.

The Action Research Approach

This is a deliberate investigation which can be conducted personally or in groups. There are various reasons why people would engage in action research. Some of these reasons are: promotion of personal and professional advancement, to shape and improve practice which enhances learning among students, and also to advance the profession of teaching (Sivan, 2000). Action research is conducted through approaches such as collaborative inquiry, action learning, emancipator research, participatory research, and contextual action research.

This approach of study entails the researcher making use of a cyclical way of planning, observation, evaluation, and critical reflection, before making any plan on the next cycle. Some of the main strategies related to the methodology are a clarification of research purpose, identification and involvement of various stakeholders in the study, establishment of common understanding, trust creation, and identification of research questions. This methodology involves five phases of inquiry: identification of problem area, data collection and organization, data interpretation, an action that is based on data, and reflection.


Creswell, J. (2003) Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Denzin, N. & Lincoln, Y. (2005). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Giddings, L. (2006). Mixed-methods research. Journal of Research in Nursing, 11(3), 195-203.

Sivan, A. (2000). The implementation of peer assessment: an action research approach. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 7(2), 193-213.