There are various research methods used in the research proposal writing. Most of the format is the same but the type of research depends on the type of data that one requires to take or the type of information required. The difference in the research method appears at the method of data collection. These methods range from qualitative research methods to quantitative methods. Judging from the amount of work at hard or the type, it determines whether one is going to use interviews, questionnaire, case study, experiment, observation, appreciative inquiry and so on. (McNamara 2008)
When dealing with a research such as ‘What are the differences between the types of goods bought over the internet in France and England?’ In this case, it would be wise to use survey method of data collection. This is because of the type of goods involved. In this case, one is supposed to get into the field and take the samples of the goods that are sold in the internet in France and in England. With the survey, you will be required to collect the information from the supermarkets or the online shops base at France and those one based in England.
This means that you need to collect as much information as possible. That means that the method to use must be cost effective. This place the survey method in a position to quickly and easily get a lot of information at a lower or a meaningful cost. (Corlien M et al 2003)
Advantage: This method can be considered to have completed anonymous. It is inexpensive to the administrator as for example one will only need to sit behind the computer and surf. It is also easy to compare and analyze various data from various locations in this case the two countries.
Also, you can get a lot of information since many sample data already exists or they are in records. However, it has some disadvantages which range from incomplete data collection since some goods are bought inn private and you might not be able to get them. But all in all I would suggest that this is the best method for this type of research in the method of data collection. (Malhotra 2004)
With the question such as ‘Is water usage reduced by charging for it per litre instead of making a fixed charge per household?’ It would be advisable to collect the data using the interview method. In this case, one is supposed to get first hand information concerning the peoples reaction to the charges of water and thus it places the interview as the best option.. Though it is time consuming, costly and sometimes it might be very hard to compare the information, it happens to be the best for this type of information as the researcher will be able to get a wide range of information from the consumer and develop a relationship with the client. (McNamara 2008)
There might be some other questions such as ‘Is employee motivation greater in small firms?’ that may require one to apply different methods of data collection. Such is the case study method. This would be very effective as the researcher would do a comprehensive study and comparison of cases from different places so that he can come with a conclusion. The researcher may also employ the method of use of checklists. This would be a quick and non threatening method of data collection as all that the researcher needs is to get the information of the employees’ performance from different companies and then compare the results to come up with a solution. (Malhotra 2004)
If one has a question such as ‘Do happy employees lead to happy customers?’ you may be required to employ the method that will give you the best results. In this case, you are dealing with the personal experience of the employees themselves. Due to their security concerns, they may not be ready to give the answer concerning the way the questions are asked. So the best method to employ here is the interview and the observation method of data collection. With the interview, the researcher will be able to win the employees confidence so that they can share with them their experience and their feelings concerning the job.
The researcher may also employ the observation method where he will be required to observe the customers reaction when dealing with some employees. It should be done in a way that it will not affect the customers’ reaction. However, this may cause distraction to the customers and result to the type of information collected being not so true and this leads to poor conclusions. (Corlien M et al 2003)
Other questions such as ‘Do employee benefits make employees happy?’ require that one gets the real face to face conversation and response from the person addressed. In this type of question, I would suggest that the use of an interview is the best method. This is because, with the interview, one will be able to get the first hand information from the person involved. The researcher will be able to vary the type of question to get the real fact about the person’s feeling on employee benefit. (Malhotra 2004)
After the data has been collected, the researcher should move to the next step which is the data interpretation and representation.
Corlien M et al (2003) Designing and Conducting Health Systems Research Projects Canada: IDRC Publication
Malhotra N.K. (2004) Essentials of Marketing Research: An Applied Orientation Australia: Pearson Education
McNamara C. (2008) Basic guide to program evaluation authenticity consulting publication available from <http://www.managementhelp.org/evaluatn/fnl_eval.htm#anchor1585345> (March 3, 2008)