We conduct research to answer specific questions or to gain greater understanding of specific topics and phenomena. How do we go about it? There are many patterns or "research methods" to help us find the answers we seek. This guide will provide you a short introduction, point to resources on different types of research methods, and provide a few key texts that will assist you in conducting research for your particular discipline.
These efforts generally seek data that can be interpreted to help us understand ideas, concepts, and subjective experiences. Qualitative data typically comes to us in the form of words and is gathered via observation, interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires. Are you seeking to gain understanding of a concept or idea? The qualitative approach might be your best bet.
This kind of research is focused on the gathering and interpretation of numerical data such as statistics and percentages--things that can be quantified. Are you trying to test or confirm a hypothesis? If so, a quantitative approach might be your best bet.