2: Overview of research


Everyone involved in or using research needs a grasp of the overall process and the different kinds of research available. This chapter commences by describing the differences and similarities between quantitative and qualitative research and discusses how these approaches may be used exclusively or, more likely, combined to help researchers to address their research question. This is followed by a discussion of the pros and cons of doing research alone or with others. An overview of participatory research and participatory action research is provided which highlights the roles and different types of service users. This is complemented by a set of questions that can be used by researchers to determine whether and/or how to involve participants in research. Next, the chapter outlines some highly time-consuming methods and concludes with an update of the case studies followed by exercises, discussion questions and a debate topic.

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