Activity 2: Choose Your Approach

What approach will you be taking in your research? Look at the table below to decide.


The researcher aims to …

predict and explain, usually generalising from carefully selected samples

understand the particular, contributing to building a framework of ‘multiple realities’

The researcher uses (for example) …

survey, experiment, structured observation

unstructured observation, case study, unstructured interview, participant observation

The researcher aims to be …

independent, an outsider

an insider, interacting with participants

The researcher looks at …

things that can be quantified and counted

perceptions, feelings, ideas, thoughts, actions as heard or observed

The researcher analyses …

variables, decided on in advance of fieldwork

emergent patterns

The design of the research is ...



Other words sometimes

used (often inaccurately)

to sum up these

approaches ...

scientific, quantitative,


naturalistic, qualitative,