Primary research methodologies can generally be categorised into quantitative or qualitative techniques, although sometimes a combined approach is used. It is important that you understand the difference between them, the advantages and disadvantages and when they would be appropriate to use. Whichever methods you select, you must justify your choice and explain how this relates to the literature that you have discussed in the literature review. 

For example, you may choose a similar technique used in related studies on the basis that it has already been used successfully and you can easily compare findings; conversely, if research on particular topic has been carried out using qualitative methods only, you may consider this a weakness or a gap in the research and put forward a case for a quantitative study. 

You may be asked to discuss your research philosophy (epistemology). If you prefer a factual perspective (positivist) you may be more likely to select a quantitative approach; if you prefer to identify and discuss themes (interpretivist) you may be more likely to select a qualitative approach.  

Before you consider your techniques, first consider your intended sample. Think about the subject of your research, whether it is people, plants, animals, events, processes etc. Which would be the most appropriate technique for answering your question? You should then think about how you are going to select your sample. See the Sampling Techniques section.

Examples Of Primary Research Methodologies

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