We explain what the research methods are and which are the main ones. In addition, what are the characteristics of each.
What are the research methods?
An investigation is an activity dedicated to obtaining new knowledge or its application for the resolution of specific problems, through an understandable, communicable and reproducible procedure. It can be dedicated to different areas of human knowledge, and involve different types of reasoning and procedures, according to the chosen research method.
The term method comes from the Greek meta -, “towards”, and hodós , “path,” which suggests that its meaning is “the most appropriate path to an end.” That is, a method is a procedure we choose to obtain a predetermined end .
Consequently, the research methods are the different models of procedures that can be used in a specific investigation , taking into account the needs of the same, that is, the nature of the phenomenon we wish to investigate .
A perfect example of this is the scientific method , a series of procedures of a logical and experimental type that allow to test a hypothesis through controlled, replicable and precise experiences, that is, by what we know today as science.
What are the research methods?
Broadly speaking, research methods are classified as logical and empirical . Logical research methods involve the use of thinking and reasoning to execute deductions , analysis and synthesis .
On the other hand, empirical research methods approach knowledge through replicable, controlled and documented experiences, which we know under the name of experiments .
In addition, we can identify the following methods:
- Logical-deductive method . It consists in applying general principles to particular cases, based on certain links of judgments. This happens by: 1) finding unknown principles from those already known, and 2) discovering unknown consequences of principles already known.
- Direct deductive method . Employed above all in logic and formal reasoning, it draws a unique and true conclusion from a finite set of proven premises.
- Indirect deductive method . It is the method based on the logic of the syllogism, that is, the comparison of two initial premises to obtain a final conclusion . Generally the initial premise is general or universal, the second premise is particular, and the conclusion may be one or the other.
- Hypothetical deductive method . This is the method that starts from an initial hypothesis or explanation, and then obtains particular conclusions from it, which will then be tested experimentally. That is, it comprises an initial step of empirical inferences ( observation , for example) that allow us to deduce an initial hypothesis that is then subjected to experimentation.
- Inductive logical method . It proposes the reverse path: from particular premises, universal or general conclusions are inferred, either through complete inductions (all the elements that make up the object of study are considered) or incomplete (only some of the elements that compose it are considered) .