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Research Methods

A guide to descriptions and selected background information for a variety of research methods.

What are Research Methods?

Research methods are the techniques, processes, system or procedure followed where data or information is created and then analyzed. It is essentially the way a researcher collects data for his or her research project.

Research methods can either be quantitative or qualitative or mixed:

  • Quantitative methods examines numerical data and often requires the use of statistical tools to analyze data collected. This allows for the measurement of variables and relationships between them can then be established. This type of data can be represented using graphs and tables.
  • Qualitative data is non-numerical and focuses on establishing patterns.
  • Mixed methods are composed of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Mixed methods allow for explanation of unexpected results.

Research Method vs. Research Methodology

The difference between research methods and methodologies are:

  • A research method is used to find solution to the research problem. On the other hand, a research methodology determines the appropriateness of the methods applied with a view to ascertain solution.
  • A research methodology is applied in the initial stages of the research; while a research method is employed in the later stages of the study.
  • Research methods encompass the strategies to accomplish the research objectives; while methodologies include the different techniques to carry out investigation in the study.

Uttkarsha Bhosale, "Top 5 Key Differences Between Methods and Methodology." Enago Academy. July 1, 2021.

Core Resources

Searching for Specific Research Methods in the Library

Searching with Keywords

One option for finding articles that used a specific research method is to run a database search using your method as a keyword. You can often search just by a type of method if you're looking for any examples using the method, or you can combine your topic with a type of method. 


  • hypnosis AND treatment AND "case study"
  • "consumer behavior" AND "grounded theory"
  • "mindful meditation" AND experimental

Because methods are not always readily apparent in the title or abstract, you may need to skim through the methods section of an article to make sure it's relevant. 

It also helps to limit your search to peer-reviewed or scholarly articles. OneSearch is the default search on the library's homepage and can be used to find research articles on a wide variety of topics. Use the Peer Reviewed filter to limit your results to scholarly articles. In some databases, the limiter will be for Scholarly articles.

If you encounter an article and are not sure whether it is peer-reviewed, look it up in the Ulrichsweb database. Journals that are peer-reviewed will display a referee jersey icon to show its status as a peer-reviewed, or refereed, journal.


Searching with Filters

Some databases include filters among their advanced search options that you can use to search for studies that use specific research methodologies. This method isn't foolproof. Not all methodologies will be available in these filters and articles that don't have their methodologies listed in the database record may be overlooked.

Methodology Filter

Select a subject-appropriate database from the A-Z Database List. Not all databases have a methodology filter but several of the health sciences and behavioral sciences do.

Once in the database, navigate to the database's advanced search page and look for the methodology filter and check the type you are searching. Here is an example in PsycINFO:

You can enter a search term in the main search bar but you do not have to; you can simply look for any article that is the methodology you chose.