I often have to train social workers on Research methods. Most of the research work they do is to answer some research questions by collecting information from their communities. I use what I call “Methodframe” to explan the basics of research design to them.
Here are the slides I use. email me if you wish to know more:
List all the information you need to answer your research question. Break the Information needs down into the smalles possible pieces of information.
For each Information you need, there could be one or more sources of Information. for Example: you can ask directly from the community members or you can refer some published information or you can ask community leaders, government officials..
From each source of information, you can use different possible tools to collect the information. Example : a questionnaire, direct observation. Depending on the type of research question and information needed, the tool will change. We will discuss about how to choose the tool later.
Your Research method is nothing but your choice of information source and tool. The source-tool combination is called Method.
Once you have listed all Information, possible sources, feasible tools, you job will be to select the best Information-source-tool combinations. If you are interested, in my next post I will write about different tools and how this Methodframe can be used to design your research tools