5. Research Methodology

In this section the student is advised to state the research paradigm;qualitative/ quantitative or both. The research approach/strategy will also need to be stated.

e.g.Qualitative: Action research, developmental research, case study research, ethnographic research, grounded theory research, etc.

Quantitative: Mathematical, modelling and simulation, experimenting, testing, etc.

(Maximum length: 200 words)

Some problems with this section:

While Creswell (2009) uses the terms qualitative/quantitative as "paradigms", strictly speaking paradigms are world views and qualitative/ quantitative refers to methodologies. It is generally agreed that methodology operates at a lower level than paradigms, and that, while "quantitative" methods are generally a feature of postivist approaches, and "qualitative" methods, of interpretive approaches, both methods can be - and are - used in most research orientations, sometimes together.

One's paradigm is either positivist, constructivist, critical (marxist) or critical realist, to name a few of the most common orientations.

Not all researchers acknowledge - or realise - that they are working within paradigms (they all are): some just mention their theoretical framework. Really confused researchers lob in as many theories as possible (one must hit the right spot!)


Start off by briefly mentioning your research orientation (or theoretical framework), saying why it is approppriate for your topic, and mention the names of the most infuential reseachers who have used/described this orientation. Then list the methods you are going to use to gather and analyse your data. Don't over-explain (we all know what a questionnaire is) but do use technical terms where necessary and cite reference books (Creswell is very useful in this repect).


Creswell, J.W. 2009. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Last modified: Thursday, 6 December 2012, 12:25 PM