Research Design and Methodology

Having reviewed the literature and established your research aims, the next step is to choose the most appropriate research method(s) for your study. The method is the means by which you collect the information required to answer your research question. You will probably be aware of some of the more common methods used in pharmacy practice research but may be unclear on what method to use for your own project.

Overview of methodologies

Method Advantages Disadvantages

Can measure/count things

Can statistically test theories

Does not provide in-depth explantion of findings

Only tests pre-determined questions


Can inform a poorly-understood subject area

Can provide explanations and reasons for behaviour

Cannot measure or estimate incidence

Cannot generalise findings to wider population

Research methods are broadly categorised as either quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative research is used to count and measure things and to test theories and hypotheses. Qualitative research is more exploratory, used to answer ‘’what’, ‘why’ or ‘how’ questions and is concerned with why people behave the way they do and the influencing factors on those behaviours.

Study Design is different from the research method in that the study design ensures that the research question can be answered in an objective and valid way. The method refers to the specific technique(s) used to generate the data with which to answer the research question.

This section will provide information on the following:

  • Quantitative methodology 
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Mixed methodology 
  • The role of the researcher 

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