Research is essential in achieving advancements in every field. Be it science, technology, medicine, marketing, education or social science, research is fundamental to discover new information, improve existing methods, and to solve specific problems. Research in itself is a systematic and organized approach to collect data and information, but it involves several techniques and methods. However, it is crucial to differentiate between research method and research methodology, as they signify two different concepts.
The research method is a scientific procedure that involves the techniques and tools used to collect data and information in a research study. It is the set of processes used for gathering and analyzing data to answer research questions. A research method indicates the specific procedure used to collect data in a research study. It includes a range of techniques, such as surveys, experiments, interviews, case studies, focus groups, observations, and archival research. Researchers choose the research method based on the nature of the research question and the type of data required to answer that question.
On the other hand, research methodology is the overall approach or plan that outlines the way in which research is conducted. It is an overall scheme or strategy designed to address the research problem. It is the framework within which the research methods are selected, managed and discussed. Research methodology includes various aspects like sampling techniques, data collection and analysis, research design and ethics. Research methodology is, therefore, a systematic process or a blueprint on how to conduct, execute and analyze research.
To further differentiate between research method and research methodology, let us take the example of a research study that aims to investigate the impact of exercise on mental health.
The research method in the given example could be a survey as it would enable researchers to gather information from a larger sample size. This survey may include open-ended or closed-ended questions to collect data on participants' exercise habits and mental health status. Another research method could be an experiment where participants are divided into two groups - the control group that is not given any exercise routine, and the test group that is required to follow a workout routine. This method allows researchers to compare the mental health status of both groups at the end of the study. In this case, the research method is either a survey or an experiment.
However, the research methodology in this example encompasses the overall research strategy, framework, and plan of the study. It would involve determining research goals and research objectives, specifying the research problem, and defining the research question. The next step would be to explain the research design, methods and techniques of data collection, and analysis methods. In addition, it would also include ethical considerations and strategies for improving the reliability and validity of research outcomes. Overall, the research methodology is the overall plan or methodology that helps to achieve the research goal.
Therefore, the key difference between research method and research methodology is that research method refers to a specific set of tools and techniques used for collecting data, while research methodology is the overall approach or blueprint that describes how research would be conducted, analyzed and reported.
While selecting the research method and methodology, researchers must consider various factors such as the research question and objective, the type of data required to answer that question, resources available, and ethical considerations. For example, if the research question aims at obtaining in-depth data on a specific topic, researchers may choose case study research as it provides detailed and specific information about a particular case. Similarly, if the study requires experimental control, the researchers may choose the experiment research method.
The selection of research methodology also depends on the research question's scope and complexity, the sample size, resources, and available time. If the study involves primary data collection from a large population, the researchers may choose the survey method using random sampling techniques. On the other hand, if the study aims to investigate a particular phenomenon's underlying reasons, researchers may choose qualitative methods such as interview and observation.
In conclusion, research method and research methodology are two different concepts used in research. Research method refers to the specific techniques and tools used to collect data, while research methodology is the overall research approach and plan that outlines how the research question would be answered. Choosing the right research method and methodology ensures that the research objectives are achieved and the data collected is valid and reliable. Researchers must consider various factors while selecting the research method and methodology, ranging from the nature of the research question to ethical and resource considerations.