To understand the topic better, it is important for one to know the meaning of certain words, like research and methodology. Research ideally refers to the process of an individual creatively seeking to obtain as much information as it is possible on a given phenomenon. It is a process undertaken with the aim of increasing knowledge on the given issues (Fisher, 1958). Research can be carried out in different ways using various methods.
This brings us to our second term, methodology. Methodology refers to the different systematic methods that are to be used in the process of conducting a given task. It is a theory-based analysis of the methods used in a given field of study for the completion of tasks. Therefore, as the name suggests, research methodology refers to the different systematic methods used to creatively seek information with the aim of increasing knowledge on given issues and topics.
For every research problem, there has to be a research question. This research question can be only one, or there can be several, depending on how wide the research problem is, and how thoroughly the research problem is to be tackled. The answer to be given to a research question serves as the answer to the research problem in general. A research question, therefore, is a simple question used in research, whose answer is likely to give a solution to the question or dilemma that is the research problem. This fact makes a research question vital for the successful completion of any research.
It is important for a researcher to determine the kind of research being undertaken before developing research questions. This happens because a research question is basically meant for the following two purposes: first of all, to determine the kind of research being conducted, whether it is qualitative or quantitative. In qualitative research, the research question usually begs to determine what, why and how, while in quantitative research, the research question focuses on where and when, and secondly, to point out specific research objectives. Research questions typically are the research objectives put down in the form of questions.
In qualitative research, a researcher is bent on asking questions that will help him or she determine what, why and how, in relation to the research problem. (Fowler, 1993). Therefore, when constructing a research question for qualitative research, a researcher needs to construct questions like the following: why did the project fail? What could have been done to save the situation? How had it been approached in the first place? Having these as research questions enables researchers to get answers relating to quality, thus, qualitative research takes place. For quantitative research, it is all about precision.
As the name suggests, this kind of research is all about measures and accuracy. Research questions for quantitative research, therefore, are bent on answering the questions of where or when. For example, where is the project being carried out? When is it scheduled to begin and end? In simple words, the “where” and “when” of a research problem are those points that ought to be focused on in all forms of quantitative researches.
The wording of a qualitative research question is very different from a quantitative research question. This occurs due to the fact that qualitative research is meant to focus on questions of why, what and how, while quantitative research has questions focusing on where and when. This in itself shows how different the wording ought to be.
A hypothesis refers to a statement made in the comparison of given variables. In research work, a hypothesis is important because it serves to represent a certain testable prediction that a researcher expects to result from the research in question (Cohen, 2003). Hypotheses, however, do not have to be present in all researches. Quantitative researches, more often than not, require hypotheses. This happens because they are more concerned with testing theories. Qualitative researches, on the other hand, do not need it because they are more about the construction of theories, as compared to the testing of the same.
Research questions are different from survey questions and interview questions. This is for the basic reason that the purposes for the interviewing, surveying and researching are not the same. Researching is about finding out facts on a phenomenon or situation that you do not know about. The purpose of researching is to find out new information, and the questions are, therefore, purely objective. In surveying and researching, however, the information being looked for is not completely strange. The questions used in the process, therefore, are a bit leading. Research questions tend to be more formal and precise as compared to interview and survey questions, which have room for flexibility.
In conclusion, each of the two types of researches is different in its own way, and each has its own specific requirements despite the fact that they are both aimed at increasing knowledge.
Cohen, L. L. (2003). Research methods in education. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
Fisher, R. A. (1958). Statistical methods for research workers. (13th ed.). New York: Hafner.
Fowler, F. J. (1993). Survey research methods. Newbury Park: Sage publications.