Structure in Research Methods
Department of Information Studies
A great deal of library and information research uses social research methods - that is those methods employed in sociology, social administration, political science, and other social sciences. Such methods are also used in practical fields of application, such as market research and the most familiar are probably the self-completed questionnaire, which comes through the post, or is handed out in an organization; and the interview, which also uses a questionnaire (usually called the interview schedule, to distinguish it from the self-completed questionnaire). The most familiar social research interviews are those conducted by telephone to obtain voting intentions, or those carried out in the street, or on the doorstep, by market researchers.
This lecture presents a novel typology of social research methods, which avoids the qualitative vs. quantitative argument, and which focuses upon another characteristic of methods - i.e., the extent to which structure is present in the design of the research instrument.