Selecting Methods and Conducting Research

Subject: Sciences
Pages: 3
Words: 957
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Study level: Master


Social studies have been increasing in complexity as the number of investigating variables and their aspects expand. Yet, the main objective of any research, which is to provide a validating and unbiased perspective on the matter, remains permanent. In this regard, it is essential to reflect on the study question under appropriate methods and implement suitable cases. The criteria in question are determined by various conditions that should be carefully examined.

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Method Selection

Usually, scientific study is led to achieve specific objectives or examine circumstances, resulting in the purposes in question. To conduct valuable research, an investigator should implement the appropriate methods to secure valid and unbiased studies. In this regard, quantitative and qualitative researches represent the main approaches to scientific investigation. Quantitative research concentrates on getting overall results that describe the topic as a whole (Marshall, 1996). Contrariwise, qualitative research emphasizes the differences that make the issue distinguishable or worth further exploration (Marshall, 1996). The study question determines the use of appropriate methods and may demand specific approaches to make a representative investigation with practical results.

The main advantages of quantitative research applied to social work include critical analysis and enhanced reliability, facilitating numerical data relevant for a short time frame. Yet, its main disadvantages entangle a lack of subjects’ perspective, sources deficiency, and despecification of derived results (Looi Theam Choy, 2014). The qualitative method addresses more issues, operates within a homogenous field, and studies the values and beliefs behind arisen problems. Nonetheless, the method in question is not void of disadvantages either, as it lacks objectivity, consumes a lot of time, and requires corresponding advanced skills from researchers (Looi Theam Choy, 2014). As both classical methods possess their merits and shortcomings, a complementary mixed method is implemented to enhance the study’s validity.

Mixed Methods Research

Mixed methods comprise more flexible approaches that cater to contemporary social studies’ needs and requirements. Core elements of the framework designed for MMR constitute theoretical development, theory testing, and prioritizing generalization achieved through the authenticity of the studied conditions. In this regard, MMR involves both qualitative and quantitative sampling designs to answer the research questions. The models vary due to the different variables taken into account, yet the central aspect is the time correlation between qualitative and quantitative approaches (Onwuegbuzie & Collins, 2007). They may be implemented simultaneously and, consequently, independently; if one method peruses results derived from another, the sequential design should be operated as techniques become codependent. In this regard, two-dimensional samples derived that comprise qualitative or quantitative design mixed with time correlation.

Two-dimensional models are perused for extended studies as they offer advanced adaptability. For instance, a social survey for medical accessibility may include several stages of quantitative/qualitative methods. Namely, a researcher may analyze hospital reports for data to quantitative to separate groups with various access, then interview selected groups to examine the reasoning for distinctions, and further proceed with quantitative research to investigate how many of the subjects in all groups face the same difficulties. Consequently, the derived results and their value determine the case of the study.

Case Selection Techniques

As it became apparent that the case depends on the correlation of theoretical and representative bases, specific techniques have been evolved to measure that correlation and choose the best case. Seawright and Gerring (2008) implement seven strategies to select appropriate cases: “typical, diverse, extreme, deviant, influential, most similar and most different.” Typical cases result in representative studies based on existing models that either confirm or challenge the models in question. Unlike typical studies, diverse cases encompass many variables to explain the correlation between groups with standard and distinct features. It may be studied through another perspective, where one particular group is analyzed to single out its subgroups and influences.

When typical and diverse cases place the number of variables and investigation methods in the foreground, an extreme case is separated from others by its value. Extremes cases study phenomena that deviate from existing models and reside in a “negative pole.” In this regard, extreme cases encompass atypical features and responses and usually represent the minority; they may be perused to describe an issue on a population level if supported by other, more “traditional” cases (Seawright & Gerring, 2008). Another relevant case is the deviant study. It also emphasizes the value and atypical results, which are more abnormal and applicable to several variables, contrary to the results derived from extreme cases.

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Consequently, the findings of deviant cases are unforeseen and antithetical to predictions. Influential cases address the value of estimated results and existing models to measure their relevance and potential impact (Seawright & Gerring, 2008). The use of these cases is relatively straightforward and limited to the occasions when a researcher suspects that many instances might influence their findings.

Lastly, most similar cases peruse a contrastive study of at least two variables to examine their similar and distinct features. Similar cases investigate adjacent variables that ideally differ in only one factor, which falls under analysis. Contrariwise, most cases involve examining polar variables that share only the aspects of interest and outcomes (Seawright & Gerring, 2008). As the classification suggests, cases vary in sourced data, chosen methods, and the degree of interrogation (Small, 2009). Altogether, these factors should comprise a complete scientific study that does not imitate science but presents valuable results.


Current scientific investigations possess enhanced instruments and techniques at their disposal. Consequently, various sample designs and cases may be introduced for research. The choice of implemented strategies is mainly determined by the question of the study, its objectives, and practical value. Rightly so, mixed methods are primarily attributed, as they effectively meet the demands of current social studies and introduce adaptive and flexible investigations, which, in their turn, produce encompassing and valuable results.


Looi Theam Choy, (2014). The Strengths and weaknesses of research methodology: Comparison and complimentary between qualitative and quantitative approaches. OSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 19 (4), 99-104.

Marshall M., (1996). Sampling for qualitative research. Family Practice (13), 522-525.

Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Collins, K. M. (2007). A Typology of mixed methods sampling designs in social science research. The Qualitative Report, 12(2), 281-316. Web.

Seawright J., Gerring J., (2008). Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research: A Menu of Qualitative and Quantitative Options. Political Research Quarterly (61), 294-308.

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Small, M. L. (2009). “How many cases do I need?” On science and the logic of case selection in field-based research. Ethnography, 10(1), 5–38. DOI: 10.1177/1466138108099586