Types of Research Course Work Example

Published: 2021-06-22 00:46:14
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Category: Education, Sociology, Communication, Study

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In a case study, an individual person, school, business, or organization is described in detail. This type of study shares a lot of characteristics with naturalistic observation, in that this individual is observed in its natural habitat, without any sort of intervention provided. Case studies tend to outline the history, symptoms, behaviors and reactions to treatment and situations in this individual. They offer insight into the life of the subject, and can offer an ethnographic detail of how people or organizations thrive or function given certain circumstances (Cozby, 2008).

What is a psychobiography?

Psychobiographies are a unique type of case study, wherein researchers will look at an individual in order to explain certain aspects of their lives. Psychology and its applicable theories are often employed to provide a contextual explanation for their unique type of behavior (Cozby, 2008).

What is archival research?

In archival research, information that is already compiled by previous sources to address research questions established by the researcher. This removes the burden of data collection from the researcher's plate, allowing them to use established research.

What are the major sources of archival data?

Statistical records are the primary sources of archival data; many public and private organizations provide the records on their own, which researchers can then draw from in their research. These records include public records like census data, official city paperwork, and the like. Anthropologists' reports are also types of archival data, letters to the editor, and computer database information (Cozby, 2008).

Survey archives includes computer data that is made available specifically to researchers. Polling organizations provide their survey results to anyone who wants them, making it far easier to gather data for research. The General Social Survey is a well-used survey that is made available specifically for social scientists to use (Cozby, 2008).

Written records include letters and diaries, materials that have been written in private for individuals but preserved byhistorical societies. Mass communication records include movies, television shows, newspapers, books, and magazine articles - all materials that have been created for mass consumption and thus publicly available. These can be used as resources for researchers in order to create a basis for ethnographic research. These types of archival data and more are utilized to look at differences between societies by comparing different ways in which they communicate, as well as what they communicate (Cozby, 2008).

What is content analysis?

After the data is collected in a research design, the information must be interpreted and placed in a context that is relatable to the experiment. In content analysis, the archival data and case studies are looked over and analyzed. Information provided in these documents are quantified and detailed through various systems of coding in order to glean data that works in relation to the researcher's hypothesis. This coding has varying levels of complication; some simple, some complex. Sometimes it can be easy to determine patterns and relations between sets of data, and sometimes it takes more in-depth analysis to pull off, including the use of categories (Cozby, 2008).

Categories are the primary means by which information is coded by researchers (e.g. freedom of choice of spouse in a culture). Cross-cultural studies use categories often in order to delineate specific differences between cultures. Content such as case studies and archival data are the chief materials analyzed by researchers at the end of a collection phase of a research design (Cozby, 2008).

Archival data is often used by researchers to provide background on a study, or to examine information that cannot be collected in any other way. While this is a decent supplement to real information collected, it can be hard to get the records that are needed, as they may be difficult to find. Also, the verification of the accuracy of the data in these archival sources can be dubious at best, as there is no real way to check it (Cozby, 2008).


Cozby, P. C. (2008). Methods in behavioral research. Mountian View: Mayfield Pub. Co.
Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.
Golafshani, N. (2003, December). Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research. The Qualitative Report, 8 (4), 597-607. http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR8-4/golafshani.pdf 
Trochim, W. M. (2001). Research methods knowledge base (2nd ed.). Cincinatti: Atomic Dog Pub.

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