Obtain information in research

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Identifying the research method or methodology used to obtain information in a research is essential you must decide which method you are going to use in order to collect the data. Before getting started there are a couple of terms that can be defined such as:


It is the way that you are going to undertake you research, and the approach of the research (Whittaker 2009).

Research Method:

Is the way or the procedure that you are going to collect your data. The four most commonly used are interviews, questionnaires, focus groups and documentary analysis (ibid).


The information that is needed to answer your research question it is either numerical information or words (ibid).

Generally there are two types of research methods or approaches it either quantitative research or qualitative research.

Quantitative Research:

Usually dealing or describing quantification and measurement which can be analysed using statistical tests to determine a relationship between variables (Whittaker 2009).

Qualitative Research:

Tends to emphasis word as data, such as the words of participants in interviews or written data from documents (Whittaker 2009). Recently there has been a trend to combine these methods and use a third method known as mixed method. When the two methods combine the researcher can benefit from both for the good of the research. I will combine both methods in my research which is about safety in plastic manufacturing because in some parts of the research I will have to use quantitative and in the other parts qualitative as I will justify later.

In quantitative researches reality is viewed and inquiry for information is based upon scientific observation rather than philosophical like in qualitative which is not really clear but generally smaller sample sizes are used and studied in more depth and details in qualitative (Miles and Huberman 1994).Basically, qualitative research seeks to explain the meaning of social phenomena through exploring it rather than seeking to develop specific testable hypothesis like in quantitative. That is why we have used the quantitative part because it is seeking to develop the safety of plastic manufacturing and reality is viewed in that.

Usually quantitative is valued more than qualitative by governmental organizations as it focuses more in the ‘what works' agenda and is easily generalisable,whereas social work research has tended to favour qualitative approached (Miles and Huberman 1994).

This research will go through different phases and stages we can summarise the stages as follows:

Phase I: PLANNING ----> Stage 1: Choosing a topic: which was ‘Safety in Plastic Manufacturing'

Stage 2: Choosing an approach: combine both quantitative and qualitative methods

Stage 3: Finding and writing the literature review


Stage 4: Collecting your data: either questionnaires or interviews and case studies .

Stage 5: Analysing your data: by using SPSS

Stage 6: Writing your research: present your findings and find the conclusion and recommendations if available

In this research we will use a couple of methods in-order to obtain the information needed but the most popular methods were interviews, questionnaires and surveys. Every method will be defined and why it will be used in this study.

(1) Interviews:

Is one of the most popular research methods especially for social work, people usually feel familiar with it because it is something used in social life almost every day. Also, it is a good technique to obtain information from people with knowledge and experience, you can think through your topic and make explicit things, for these reason I have chose interviews to be one of the methods for my study. I will be interviewing managers of factories, executives from health organisations and engineers these are the people who are suitable for interviews because they have good experience in this field that we can use to find the answer to the research question. Some of these people might not be able to meet face to face that is why I will also use telephone interviews it can be not as sufficient and accurate as face to face but still we can get useful information from it. Some of the advantages of interviews that they are good at examining complex issues and you get rich data from it, also your participants are enabled to discuss sensitive issues in an open way without committing themselves in writing(Whittaker 2009). In my plan we are not going to have a lot of interviews our target is 15-20 interviews(depending on the information obtained) because interviews are time consuming to complete them and sometimes complicated to analyse them depending on how structured they are ,how good is your participant's experience(Whittaker 2009).

There is a range of interview types but mainly the can be categorised as: structured, un-structured and semi-structured. In this study we will use more semi-structured and structured interviews.

The structured are highly ordered and mainly producing quantitative data that we will need. This will be probably be used with the engineers in the factories.

The semi-structured will have a list of questions known as interview schedule and it will be more flexible and the order can be changed depending on the responses of the participants. This will be with managers of factories and executives from health and organisations.

Some of the questions can be direct, in-direct, interpreting questions, introducing, etc.

Silence can be very effective in giving your participants time to think through their response and can add more useful information (Whittaker 2009).

(2) Questionnaires:

This is the other type of method that will be used in this study; they originate from survey tradition, which has a long history in social sciences. Surveys are used to study large groups usually using a standirised, quantitative approach to identify beliefs and attitudes (Whittaker 2009).Questionnaires should be clear, avoid double barrelled questions, realistic, and not repetitive. In this study questionnaires will be targeting workers from factories that are affected by the lack of safety in their factories and employees from health organisations and random people who can have any idea about this issue. To begin with there will be 200questionnaires; it will be clear and related to safety and will not include any abbreviation that people cannot understand. Language that is particularly emotional or value laden and leading questions will be avoided too. There will be different types of responses like:

Exact response: like the number of years in work experience.

Category response: such as selecting the level of education.

Dichotomous responses: yes/no

Scale questions: level of safety in the factory

And there are open ended questions that will give the participants to express his personal opinion.

(3) Case Studies:

is a detailed inquiry or experimental methods within a quantitative approach through to ethnography using observation and interviews within a qualitative approach (Payne and Payne 2004).

There will four factories in Saudi Arabia taken as a case study to observe the level of safety there and what it lacks for.


  • Miles, M. and Huberman, A. (1994) Qualitative Data Analysis: An expanded source book.2nd edition
  • Payne, G. and Payne, J. (2004) Key Concepts in Social Research
  • Whittaker, A. (2009) Research Skills for Social Work