Research Paradigms

Research can usually be of three types: quantitative, qualitative, or mixed method. Quantitative Research is conducted with numerical data where specific hypotheses are tested. Qualitative Research is mainly exploratory where the researcher approaches with some basic assumptions, but not specific hypotheses and the data is usually not numerical and can be thematic. Mixed Method Research combines qualities of both qualitative and quantitative research.

Research Designs and Strategies

After variables have been identified, they must be defined in terms of how they’ll be measured. For example, you may be able to measure exposure to sunlight by seeing how many hours the individual spent outside, being directly exposed to the sun. On the other hand, level of depression may be measured using a standardized assessment, like the Beck Depression Inventory. Observable behavior may be recording using a narrative of the behavior and then performing a content analysis on it. Content Analysis is used to summarize and interpret narrative data. Behavioral data can be gathered by using Behavioral Sampling where either the behavior is recorded each time it happens (Event Sampling) or it is recording whenever it happens within a certain time frame (Interval Sampling). For example, if a person is gathering data on a child’s attention-seeking behaviors, he may record it every time it happens or divide up the time per hour and record it whether or not it happens within every 60-minute interval.

Most experimental research studies have treatment and control groups. A Treatment (Experimental) Group consists of individuals that will receive the treatment being tested. In our example, the treatment group will be exposed to sunlight. A Control Group consists of individuals that do not receive the treatment.

Experimental research can be either true experimental or a quasi-experimental research. The factor that distinguishes the two is random assignment of individuals to treatment and control groups. In a True Experimental Research, individuals are randomly assigned to treatment and control groups, whereas in a Quasi-Experimental Research, individuals are not randomly assigned to groups.