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Types of Research

Specific to field of study

Graduate students learn about research methods used in their particular field of
study. Whatever methods are used, there are many resources to support research, and any
number of variations to the basic methods. Choose a method or variation that is manageable in
your first years as a new faculty member to be certain to get your research agenda
underway. Often the biggest challenge is often to get started, so establish research priorities
early on, and create a plan to impliment them.

Quantitative research
Quantitative research is inquiry into an identified problem, based on testing a theory, measured
with numbers, and analyzed using statistical techniques. The goal of quantitative methods is to
determine whether the predictive generalizations of a theory hold true. We will explore some of
the issues and challenges associated with quantitative research in this section. Seek the advice
of faculty members who have conducted quantitative studies for advice, support and

Qualitative research
A study based upon a qualitative process of inquiry has the goal of understanding a social or
human problem from multiple perspectives. Qualitative research is conducted in a natural
setting and involves a process of building a complex and holistic picture of the phenomenon of
interest. We will explore some of the issues and challenges associated with qualitative research
in this section. Look for colleagues who engage in qualitative research to serve as a sounding
board for procedures and processes you may use as a new faculty member.

The quantitative / qualitative debate

These two forms of research, in spite of the differences delineated above, have many things in
common. They do, however, offer different perspectives on a subject under study. As a result,
some researchers are utilizing some combination of the two methods that both offer a
quantifiable look and a more holistic picture of a phenomenon. The research question will
ultimately determine what methods are best employed. As new faculty members, be open to
looking at problems in different ways, or even collaborating with faculty who may offer a different
perspective on the same issue. Be aware of expectations in your department, college and field
of study to be certain the research undertaken is acceptable for progress toward tenure.

Collaborative research
There are many ways to collaborate and thereby enrich your work as a faculty member. Multiple
perspectives offer a more complete view of an issue under study. Whether presenting or
publishing, having several iterations of a study in different settings offers a means of validating
findings. Collaboration may take many forms, including crossing disciplines, types of institutions,
or engaging the community outside the campus environment. Explore the ways that
collaboration may enrich your research. Some of the issues and challenges associated with
collaborative research are explored in this section.

Practitioner research
Simple definitions of practitioner research address the investigator, the setting and the purpose.
The investigator is the practitioner, in workplace settings ranging from hospitals, to schools and
communities. The general purpose is to better align the practitioner’s purpose with their actions.
There are those who argue that practitioner research stems from a larger social justice
movement within qualitative research. Even when social justice is not the sole motivating
principle, an underlying commonality of purpose is the desire to improve upon and develop
deeper insights into one’s practice. Practitioner research by its nature offers practitioners a
voice in the research conversation. Some consider it a bridge of sorts between theory and
practice, although practitioners claim a rightful place in the research continuum. Some of the
issues and challenges associated with practitioner research are explored in this section.

Possible questions to ask about Types of Research:

 Quantitative research
What are some of the issues and challenges that face quantitative researchers?

 Qualitative research
What are some of the issues and challenges that face qualitative researchers?

 The quantitative / qualitative debate

How might these two methods used together provide a deeper understanding of an issue?

 Collaborative research
What are some of the opportunities to collaborate, and how does one decide when or if to do so?

 Practitioner research
Quality teaching of a diverse student population is critical to the mission of the CSU, how might new faculty members use
reflective re