Research methods can be applied to either:
- Primary data that you have directly obtained from one or more sources of your study, or
- Secondary data that has been produced by other researchers and intermediaries and not from your own research
Primary research can be extremely valuable but also time-consuming to obtain. Examples of popular primary research methods for data collection are:
- one-on-one interviews
- focus group interviews
- questionnaire-based surveys
If you choose to use interview methods, you also need to make choices about the interview types and be consistent. For example, will they be formal or informal? Structured, semi-structured or unstructured?
Techniques for analysing the resulting data include discourse analysis for data comprising words and statistical measurements for figurative data.
However, before deciding to conduct primary research you should consider whether secondary data already exists that you can include in your findings. If it does you must be careful to acknowledge all sources in your report and examine the relevance, strengths and weaknesses of any data you use.