Theory of Research

Superficially the research process can appear to be relatively simple – if you carry out the basic steps methodically and carefully, then you should arrive at useful conclusions. However, the nature of research can be very complex and when you are reading textbooks on research methodology you will come across many unfamiliar words and terms. We first look at types of research and explain some of the terms.

Types of research

The main different types of research can be classified by its purpose, its process and its outcome. These can in turn be broken down further:

  • The purpose of the research can be classified as:
    • exploratory
    • descriptive
    • analytical
    • predictive.
  • The process of the research can be classified as:
    • quantitative
    • qualitative.
  • The outcome of the research can be classified as:
    • applied
    • basic or pure
    • action.

Let us look at these in more detail.

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