Méthodes de recherche

Les cours Méthodes de recherche vous prépareront à concevoir des enquêtes efficaces et éthiques. Vous découvrirez les cadres et les outils appropriés pour des études qualitatives et quantitatives en psychologie, sociologie, business, étude de marché et d'autres domaines encore.

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  • Our modern world is built upon the cumulative work of countless researchers in both the physical and social sciences. It can be easy to take this for granted, but if you want to contribute to this continual process of progress, it’s important to ask: how is this knowledge produced? Depending on what area of study you are interested in advancing, you will need to learn about the appropriate research methods to use.

    In general, research methods are systematic plans for conducting research. They enable you to properly structure a question, identify what type of information you need to answer it, determine how to obtain that information, and then conduct appropriate analysis to derive useful insights. While your specific choice of a research method necessarily varies with your question, the most important difference is between qualitative and quantitative methods.

    Quantitative researchers generate a hypothesis to explain an observation, and then conduct tests using numerical data to determine whether this hypothesis is likely to be true. Hypothesis testing can be done in a number of ways, including experiments in a laboratory (or less controlled settings), statistically-relevant surveys of a target population, and/or the use of computer modeling or other algorithmic approaches. Researchers must carefully evaluate test results compared to their hypothesis, and then iterate as necessary to improve their hypothesis for further testing.

    Qualitative research, on the other hand, seeks to create detailed descriptions of non-numerical observations, offering a complete record of the circumstances and causes leading up to a given event. This type of research is often used to explain particularly complex or even unique phenomena, such as the way in which a family responds to an economic recession or a community reacts to a natural disaster. By using participant observation, fieldwork, and other qualitative methods, researchers can create compelling case studies of real-life events that can yield insights as well as emotional impact.

    The appropriate choice of quantitative or qualitative method is determined by what your goals are as a researcher. If your aim is a finding that can be replicated reliably in different contexts and thus provide an effective guide to future action, a quantitative approach offers the most certainty. On the other hand, if you want to delve deeper into the context of a single event, qualitative research methods free you to tell a richer, more detailed story. Either way, the ability to follow these research methods carefully is essential to doing work that makes a difference in your chosen field.