Category Archives for "research methods"

What is a research method?



Research methods

From the conversations I have with various people who do research stems some confusion about the term research methods. There are theories on which you can conduct a research study, and you have multiple ways of collecting data.

In my blogs, I regularly talk about research methods. , referring to the various ways of collecting data.

Once you have clarity about your research questions, you examine what information you can collect and how. There are many different methods to do this. You have have qualitative research methods and quantitative research methods. Qualitative research methods are not about facts and figures but rather about how and why. Quantitative research methods are more about facts and figures that can be compared. Also, check out my blog about the difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods.

There are all sorts of research methods. My  overview blog of different research methods lists different ways Also, be creative with the ways you collect data. Look beyond the standard practices of research and make interesting combinations.

Once you have chosen a research method, thorough preparation is essential. Look at what you need per method and take the time to set up your measuring instrument properly. Discuss it with colleagues and test the measuring instrument before using it.

When to choose qualitative research and when to choose quantitative research?

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When to choose qualitative research and when to choose quantitative research?

In my previous blog, "Qualitative and Quantitative Research: What's What?" I explained the difference between qualitative and quantitative research. In this blog, I will discuss what kinds of research topics call for a qualitative approach and which ones, on the contrary, require a quantitative approach.

qualitative quantitative

Do you want to demonstrate a change in attitude resulting from an activity, project, or program? Do you want to show significant differences and be able to generalize to the masses? And do you want to be able to make numerical statements about a specific target group? Then a quantitative method of research fits best.

Examples of research questions answered through quantitative research:

  • What is the effect of project X on target group Y?
  • To what extent are visitors/participants satisfied?
  • Does the attitude towards subject X change with target group Y?

Do you need more in-depth information? Do you want to know what's behind it? And are you looking for motives?  Then qualitative research is the best method. You want answers to the Why and How questions

Examples of research questions answered through qualitative research:

  • How can we improve our project?
  • Why do people visit our museum?
  • How do people experience visiting us?

Qualitative and quantitative research are not necessarily independent. Sometimes a research question requires a mix of both methods, where you want to know the effect; are visitors satisfied? And why are they satisfied?

Questionnaire as a research method: Advantages and disadvantages


Questionnaire as a research method: Advantages and disadvantages

A questionnaire is a commonly used research method to measure the effects of an activity, project, or program. The question is whether a questionnaire is always an appropriate method. Do you want to make statements about the entire target group and collect a lot of data? Then a questionnaire is a smart method. Do you want insight into the underlying motivations and opinions of your target group? Then a questionnaire is a less wise choice. Why is a questionnaire a good method, and why a less good method? The pros and cons explained:



  • A questionnaire allows you to survey a large group of people. This is necessary if you want the results of your research to be representative of the entire research group. You can then make statements like: '80% of the visitors say they learned something from the activity'.
  • An interviewer or observer cannot influence answers; this ensures objectivity.
  • The way of asking questions is standardized, ensuring unambiguous answers.
  • In-depth statistical analyses can be made, for example, to subgroups or to establish correlations.


  • You have little influence on the response rate, often resulting in a relatively low response rate with this method.
  • The respondent cannot tell his story freely; the answers are primarily pre-programmed.
  • Respondents tend to answer socially appropriately, even when it is anonymous.
  • Underlying motivations are difficult to ascertain with a questionnaire, making the questions and answers superficial. There is no option for follow-up questions.
  • Respondents cannot complete the questionnaire. If they quit at the halfway point,  the questionnaire is of little use.
  • You can ask a limited number of questions, as response rates drop the more extended the questionnaire is.