What are the Different Types of Research Techniques?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 July 2019
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There are two different types of research techniques: scientific and historical. The purpose of both techniques are to use a logical approach to obtain information about a specific subject. Research techniques can be applied to a broad range of issues or areas of research.

Basic research techniques are based on a formal process. The exact order of the steps depend on the subject and the reason for the research. The eight steps are the same for both basic and applied research.

The first four steps are: formation of a topic, hypothesis, conceptual definition and operational definition. The formation of a topic is usually phrased as a question. The question is generally within the researchers field of expertise. The hypothesis is a theory proposed by the researcher, which is often phrased as a question. The conceptual and operational definitions provide the scope and focus for the research.

The next four steps are: gathering data, analysis, testing and conclusion. The gathering of data, analysis and testing steps are the heart of all research. It is very important to use reliable sources, perform experiments, and test the hypothesis thoroughly. If the testing results do not support the hypothesis, the research is not a failure. On the contrary, these results provide an opportunity to revisit the hypothesis and new knowledge is gained.


Historical research techniques, or methods, are most commonly used to review data from the past and draw conclusions that impact on the present or future. Although commonly used by historians, these techniques are also used by scientific researchers. Using these techniques, they attempt to identify trends, and theorize on the causes of disease outbreaks and epidemics.

There are six steps in historical research. The first three are: define the starting date, locate independent verification of basic background information and investigate the author. These steps are necessary to confirm the evidence used is factual, reporting on by multiple sources and that the bias of the author.

The next three steps are to analyze the information, validate against other sources and measure the creditability of the information. These steps require the use of multiple sources and a process of questioning all aspects of the information. This includes using generally accepted knowledge about the time period in question, historical facts and physical evidence.

The process of historical research requires a significant amount of reading, translating, researching and discussion. The volume of information required to support a historical theory is quite substantial. This method is often used by professionals with an extensive background in a specific subject.


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Post 10
Research methodology differs from field to field. The most extensive type of research I can think of is the kind involved in clinical trials for new drugs.

I was a participant in one of these trials, and there was literally a binder full of paperwork that the researchers had to complete after every visit from a patient. Of course, the patient had to comply with certain rules in order to participate, but the research and the recording of the findings was all up to the staff.

This type of research is done in phases. My first clinical trial lasted three years, after which the drug company felt they had enough information about how the drug affected patients.

Post 9
@feasting – Yes, the scientific method did make class seem like more fun. I felt like each step offered a new challenge yet somehow made things more simple.

I have a friend who works in a science lab now, and she has to do scientific research all the time. She works at the same university where she studied for ten years, and it's pretty cool that they are paying her to do the same sort of research that she paid them tuition in order to be able to do.

Post 8
I remember learning about the scientific method in middle school science class. It really made the projects easier.

What might seem like an overwhelming assignment was simplified when broken down into steps. Just taking the process one step at a time made it doable.

I even wound up getting a first place award at the science fair. This wasn't so bad for someone who was terrified of the concept before learning about the scientific method.

Post 7
I worked closely with sales representatives as a graphic designer, and they had their own market research methods. They were always coming up with new ideas based on the changing market, so their research was continuous. I respected them for always keeping up with the trends and putting forth the effort by doing research.
Post 3

@hangugeo I have done some papers of this sort, and oftentimes the methods might vary slightly depending on the professor or field one is working in, but they generally follow many of the same guidelines as scientific and historical research. The reason the two can be combined is that there are varying levels of historical credibility combined with scientifically falsifiable statistics. Social experiments can be conducted as well, but in many of these areas there is a relative flexibility due to the varying basic philosophical tangibility.

Post 2

In the topic of linguistic, sociological, or other sorts of research having to do with a more philosophical subject area, what sort of techniques can be implemented? Is the method based on the decision of the various authors or are there set guidelines to get started with?

Post 1

Often times it is helpful to start out with the basics when researching. If you're unfamiliar with the topic then searching for basic information is helpful. It might even be helpful to go down to an elementary level and learn the basic "meat and potatoes" of the topic in order to be able to be prepared for the more complex info you might encounter in your second round of research.

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