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Thesis writing often takes you on a journey to explore the depths of knowledge and find out things that you may or may not use immediately. When you start the search for the perfect methodology for your project, you will be surprised to find the various approaches that exist for undertaking research. The two fundamental approaches are qualitative and quantitative, which determine the nature of the study. While scientific experiments and mathematical studies are quantitative, the projects relating to social science studies, humanities, management and education are mostly qualitative.

 Even within the periphery of these methodologies, there are a few approaches that a scholar can choose. Here, we list out some methods of qualitative research, and their features:

  • Ethnography: hailing from the field of anthropology, this approach is related to the study of cultural groups, their behavior, modes of communication and practices. These groups can be classified on the basis of geography, functions, events and academics. For instance, an ethnographer can observe the students of a class, people of a particular tribe, or a workshop group in a corporate establishment.

This field is immensely broad and includes many methods of collecting information. Participant observation is the leading method, which can be said to be the most effective as the researcher is closely observing the activities of participants and getting an insider view by being a part of the actions. However, this approach can sometimes lead to personal biases. PhD Thesis Consultants are able to offer focused guidance to scholars to keep the ethnographic study free from prejudice and maintain objectivity.

  • Phenomenology: this approach takes into account other’s point of view. A phenomenon or event is described according to the insight of the participants. Thus, it will need a researcher to spend some time with the participants and even ask probing questions if he is not getting satisfactory answers.
  • Field research: the emphasis here is on field work, as evident from the name of the technique. A researcher will need to go on the site of the event, or any place where the participants are present in their natural state, and gather information through direct interaction and observation. Here, also, one can adopt participant observation and mingle with the group of participants.
  • Grounded theory: this approach is so named since it is rooted or grounded in observation. Completing a research using grounded theory will be an iterative process. In the first stage, a generalist question is asked, to gauge the response that people give. This acts as the generative query, from which the core concepts of the research are determined. Then, linkages between the data and the concepts are formed, and such development may take weeks to complete.

While these are the different approaches for collecting data, there can also be various techniques for analyzing data. Coding, memoing and integrative diagrams and sessions are the various approaches which a scholar can follow for data analysis. In case the research requires statistical programs and tools to be applied, Statistical Help using SPSS can be taken from PhD statisticians.

If you have some research experience, or inputs about qualitative research that you wish to share, reach us on our Facebook page.

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