Research Aptitude Free Study Material (UGC NET Updated Notes 2020)

Difference between Research methods and Research methodology

Sr. No.

Research Methods Research Methodology


Tools, techniques or processes that are used for conduction of research. The principles that guide our research practices.


Aims at finding solutions to research problems. Research methodology aims at the employment of the correct procedures to find out solutions


Research method is a systematic study of a limited and definite subject matter. Methodology is the actual procedure of collecting and ordering the data e.g. questionnaire, schedule or interview in social research.


Methods are definite. Every method has a fixed outlay and follows scheduled steps. Methodology keeps changing. E.g. in modern social research, taking down of notes has been replaced by the use of tape recorder and naked eye observation is giving way to photo and movie camera.


Method is common to all sciences. A scientific method is common to every science. It has five phases: observation noting, classification, generalization and verification. In every science the same order is followed. Methodology is not common to all sciences.


Method is underived. Methodology is derived.


Aim of the method is wider and dominant. Aim of the methodology is limited and subservient.

Difference between Experimental and Non- Experimental Research

Experimental Research

Non- Experimental Research

1. This type of research always begins with some hypothesis which the research wants to test.

In this type of research it is not essential to always have hypothesis. All exploratory researcher and many descriptive researcher do not have any hypothesis.

2. Data generated by this research are used to establish cause and affect relationship between two variables. On the basis of these data one can predict changes in the independent variable.

Data generated by this type of research are not helpful in establishing the cause and effect relationships between variables. They can be used only to describe certain relationships without interdependence.

(1) Descriptive vs. Analytical

The fact finding inquiries and the field surveys are main contents of descriptive research. The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as it exists at present. In social science and business research we quite often use the term Ex post facto research for descriptive research studies. The main characteristic of this method is that the researcher has no control over the variables; he can only report what has happened or what is happening. Most ex post facto research projects are used for descriptive studies in which the researcher seeks to measure such items as, for example, frequency of shopping, preferences of people, or similar data. Ex post facto studies also in­clude attempts by researchers to discover causes even when they cannot control the variables. The methods of research utilized in descriptive research are survey methods of all kinds, including com­parative and correlational methods. In analytical research, on the other hand, the researcher has to use facts or information already available, and analyze these to make a critical evaluation of the material.

(2)     Applied vs Fundamental

Applied and fundamental are the two faces of research. Applied research aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society or an industrial/business organisation, whereas fundamental research is mainly concerned with generalisations and with the formulation of a theory. “Gathering knowledge for knowledge’s sake” is termed ‘pure’ or ‘basic’ research. Research concern­ing some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics are examples of fundamental research. Similarly, research studies, concerning human behaviour carried on with a view to make generalisations about human behaviour, are also examples of fundamental research, but research aimed at certain conclusions (say, a solution) facing a concrete social or business problem is an example of applied research. Research to identify social, economic or political trends that may affect a particular institu­tion or the copy research to find out whether certain communications will be read and understood or the marketing research or evaluation research are examples of applied research. Thus, the central aim of applied research is to discover a solution for some pressing practical problem, whereas basic research is directed towards finding information that has a broad base of application and thus, adds to the already existing organized body of scientific knowledge.


Sr. No.

Pure Research

Applied Research


Studies a problem usually from the focus of one discipline. Several disciplines collaborate for solving the  problem.


Aims to illuminate the theory by enriching the basic of a discipline. Aims to solve a problem by enriching the field of application of a discipline.


Seeks generalizations Often studies individual cases without the objective to generalize


Studies why things happen Studies how things can be changed



Reports is in technical language Report is in common language


Works on hypotheses that variables not measured remains constant. Recognizes that other variables are constant by changing.

(3)     Quantitative vs Qualitative

Measurement of quantity is followed by quantitative research. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e., phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind. For instance, when we are interested in investigating the reasons for human behaviour (i.e., why people think or do certain things), we quite often talk of ‘Motivation Research’, an important type of qualitative research. This type of research aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires, using in depth inter­views for the purpose. Other techniques of such research are word association tests, sentence comple­tion tests, story completion tests and similar other projective techniques. Attitude or opinion research i.e., research designed to find out how people feel or what they think about a particular subject or institution is also qualitative research. Qualitative research is specially important in the behavioural sciences where the aim is to discover the underlying motives of human behaviour.

(4)     Conceptual vs Empirical

The research, which is based on some ideas on theory, is known as conceptual research. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones. On the other hand, empirical research relies on experience or observation alone, often without due regard for system and theory. It is data-based research, coming up with conclusions which are capable research. In such a research it is necessary to get at facts first hand, at their source, and actively to go about doing certain things to stimulate the production of desired information.

There are many other kinds of research which are variations of one or more of the above stated approaches, based on either the purpose of research, or the time required to accomplish research, or the environment in which research is done, or on the basis or some other similar factor. From the point of view of time, we can think or research either as one-time research or longitudinal research. In the former case the research is confined to a single time-period, whereas in the latter case the research is carried on over several time-periods. Research can be field-setting research or laboratory research or simulation research, depending upon the environment in which it is to be carried out. Research can as well be understood as clinical or diagnostic research. Such research follow case-study methods or in-depth approaches to reach the basic casual relations. Such studies usually go deep into the causes of things or events that interest us, using very small samples and very deep probing data gathering devices. The research may be exploratory or it may be formalized. The objective of exploratory research is the development of hypothesis rather than their testing, whereas formalised research studies are those with substantial structure and with specific hypothesis to be tested. Historical research is that which utilizes historical sources like documents, remains, etc. to study events or ideas of the past, including the philosophy or persons and groups at any remote point of time. Research can also be classified as problem oriented research, a researcher is free to pick up a problem, redesign the enquiry as he proceeds and is prepared to conceptualize as he wishes. Decision-oriented research is always for the need of a decision maker and the researcher in this case is not free to embark upon research according to his own inclination. Operations research is an example of decision oriented research since it is a scientific method of providing executive departments with a quantitative basis for decisions regarding operations under their control.

Scroll to top
You cannot copy content of this page. The content on this website is NOT for redistribution