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The possibilities of using quantitative and qualitative data are also discussed.Watch video on approaching methodologies (.wmv) Your approach, research design, and research question are all connected.
You might, for example, explore empirical debates in your chosen field across different countries or time periods.
Whilst it is possible for dissertations to be entirely literature-based, the most common form of dissertation takes the form of a case study.
Think about the Research Methods modules you have taken so far.
Think about the different kinds of studies you have read for other modules.
The use of literature and case studies is considered and the merits of primary research are debated and advice is given on the use of existing research data.
You may not be fond of statistics, but the potential relevance of a quantitative approach should be considered and similarly, the idea of qualitative analysis and conducting your own research may yield valuable data.
Quantitative data is particularly useful when you wish to discover how common particular forms of behaviour such as illegal drug use are for a particular age group.
Qualitative data is particularly useful when you wish to find out why people engage in such behaviour.
This is likely to be the methodology of theoretical analysis: selection and discussion of theoretical material and descriptive material, in context, and detailed comparison of theories in terms of their applicability. How useful is subcultural theory for understanding virtual communities?
You might ask how useful certain concepts or theories are for understanding particular patterns of behaviour. Here, the focus of attention is not so much to discover something about the social world, for example virtual communities, as to reach a judgement about the value of key concepts or theories in understanding that world.