Primary research is any type of research you conduct yourself. Research methods include interviews, surveys/questionnaires, and observations. It involves going directly to a source (e.g., target population) to ask questions, gather information and analyze the data. The data collected can be qualitative or quantitative. Primary research differs from secondary research which has already been conducted and produced. You may want to conduct primary research if there is little to no data on the subject for which you need information or to compare your results to existing secondary research.
It depends on your research goal. It depends on what subjects (and who) you want to study. Let's say you are interested in studying what makes people happy, or why some students are more conscious about recycling on campus. To answer these questions, you need to make a decision about how to collect your data. Most frequently used methods include:
One particular method could be better suited to your research goal than others, because the data you collect from different methods will be different in quality and quantity. For instance, surveys are usually designed to produce relatively short answers, rather than the extensive responses expected in qualitative interviews.
Time for data collection and analysis is something you want to consider. An observation or interview method, so-called qualitative approach, helps you collect richer information, but it takes time. Using a survey helps you collect more data quickly, yet it may lack details. So, you will need to consider the time you have for research and the balance between strengths and weaknesses associated with each method (e.g., qualitative vs. quantitative).
"Qualitative Research is primarily exploratory research. It is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research. Qualitative Research is also used to uncover trends in thought and opinions, and dive deeper into the problem. Qualitative data collection methods vary using unstructured or semi-structured techniques. Some common methods include focus groups (group discussions), individual interviews, and participation/observations. The sample size is typically small, and respondents are selected to fulfill a given quota."
"Quantitative Research is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics. It is used to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other defined variables – and generalize results from a larger sample population. Quantitative Research uses measurable data to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research. Quantitative data collection methods are much more structured than Qualitative data collection methods. Quantitative data collection methods include various forms of surveys – online surveys, paper surveys, mobile surveys and kiosk surveys, face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, longitudinal studies, website interceptors, online polls, and systematic observations."
Definitions taken from SnapSurveys.com
Interviews are designed to collect a richer source of information from a small number of people about: Attributes Behavior Preferences Feelings Attitudes Opinions Knowledge Interviews are most effective for qualitative research: They help you explain, better understand, and explore research subjects' opinions, behavior, experiences, phenomenon, etc. Interview questions are usually open-ended questions so that in-depth information will be collected.
There are several types of interviews, including:
Design interview questions - think about:
Develop an interview guide:
Plan and manage logistics:
No. In fact, many researchers use a mixed method - interviews can be useful as follow-up to certain respondents to surveys, e.g., to further investigate their responses.
Yes, since the interviewer can control the quality of the result, training the interviewer becomes crucial. If more than one interviewers are involved in your study, it is important to have every interviewer understand the interviewing procedure and rehearse the interviewing process before beginning the formal study.
Surveys are designed to:
Collect information from a small number of people to be representative of a larger number of people to be studied, for instance, the information about their:
Systematically draw information from a certain population in order to:
There are several types of surveys, including:
Clarity, simplicity, length, and acceptability are keys to create effective survey questions. In crafting your survey, you should avoid complicated, long, and ambiguous questions. Try not to address too many issues in one question - thus avoid double-barreled questions. Try not to ask too many questions in one survey. Try not to ask too difficult questions.
There are two basic formats: 1) Forced (closed-ended), and 2) Open-ended. You can use a combination of both in a survey depending on your goal.
Let's say you are interested in studying people's environment concerns through shopping habits:
Yes, it does. The natural and logical flow of survey is important to collect good survey results. Start and end the survey with easy questions. Start the survey with most familiar questions. Keep in mind that a high response rate does not guarantee a high survey completion rate - in many online surveys, people do not always complete a survey.
Try a subject search:
When using the Reynolds Libraries catalog or eBook databases to find books, try some of these subject terms:
Below is a sampling of online and print books available through Reynolds Libraries.