"The National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) forms part of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) strategy to improve the standards of research methods across the UK social science community. NCRM was established in April 2004 with funding from the ESRC to provide more strategic integration and coordination of ESRC's investment in research methods.
NCRM provides a focal point for research, training and capacity building activities. These activities are aimed at promoting a step change in the quality and range of methodological skills and techniques used by the UK social science community, and providing support for, and dissemination of, methodological innovation and excellence within the UK."
"research activities should primarily be concerned with research processes, rather than outputs. This definition is built around three key features and your proposal must fully address all of these in order to be considered eligible for support:
It must define a series of research questions, issues or problems that will be addressed in the course of the research. It must also define its aims and objectives in terms of seeking to enhance knowledge and understanding relating to the questions, issues or problems to be addressed
It must specify a research context for the questions, issues or problems to be addressed. You must specify why it is important that these particular questions, issues or problems should be addressed; what other research is being or has been conducted in this area; and what particular contribution this project will make to the advancement of creativity, insights, knowledge and understanding in this area
It must specify the research methods for addressing and answering the research questions, issues or problems. You must state how, in the course of the research project, you will seek to answer the questions, address the issues or solve the problems. You should also explain the rationale for your chosen research methods and why you think they provide the most appropriate means by which to address the research questions, issues or problems.
Our primary concern is to ensure that the research we fund addresses clearly-articulated research questions, issues or problems, set in a clear context of other research in that area, and using appropriate research methods and/or approaches.
The precise nature of the research questions, issues or problems, approaches to the research and outputs of the work may vary considerably, embracing basic, strategic and applied research. The research questions, issues, problems, methods and/or approaches may range from intellectual questions that require critical, historical or theoretical investigation, to practical issues or problems that require other approaches such as testing, prototyping, experimental development and evaluation. The outputs of the research may include, for example, monographs, editions or articles; electronic data, including sound or images; performances, films or broadcasts; or exhibitions. Teaching materials may also be an appropriate outcome from a research project provided that it fulfils the definition above.
The research should be conceived as broadly as possible and so consideration should also be given to the outcomes of, and audiences for, the research. The outcomes of the research may only benefit other researchers and influence future research, but consideration must be given to potential opportunities for the transfer of knowledge into new contexts where the research could have an impact.
Creative output can be produced, or practice undertaken, as an integral part of a research process as defined above. The Council would expect, however, this practice to be accompanied by some form of documentation of the research process, as well as some form of textual analysis or explanation to support its position and as a record of your critical reflection. Equally, creativity or practice may involve no such process at all, in which case it would be ineligible for funding from the Council."
(Arts and Humanities Research Council)
"This article defines and describes the rich variety of research designs found in librarianship and informatics practice. Familiarity with the range of methods and the ability to make distinctions between those specific methods can enable authors to label their research reports correctly. The author has compiled an inventory of methods from a variety of disciplines, but with attention to the relevant applications of a methodology to the field of librarianship. Each entry in the inventory includes a definition and description for the particular research method. Some entries include references to resource material and examples."
(Jonathan D. Eldredge, 2004, Journal of the Medical Library Association)
"This article discusses a particular project that attempted to make art-historical research evocative as well as analytical by employing rich, interactive multi-media. This reliance on evocative material extended techniques practiced by television drama-documentaries and considered their legitimacy and potential within academic art history."
[...what might "evocative research" mean?]
3). Esche-Ramshorn, Christiane and Stanislav Roudavski (2012). "Evocative Research in Art History and Beyond: Imagining Possible Pasts in the Ways to Heaven Project", Digital Creativity, 23, 1, pp. 1-21
"qualitative research first involves studying the meaning of people’s lives, under real-world conditions. People will be performing in their everyday roles or have expressed themselves through their own diaries, journals, writing, and even photography - entirely independent of any research inquiry. Social interactions will occur with minimal intrusion by artificial research procedures, and people will be saying what they want to say, not, for example, limited to responding to a researcher’s preestablished questionnaire. Likewise, people will not be inhibited by the confines of a laboratory or any laboratory-like setting. And they will not be represented by such statistical averages as the average American family having 3.18 persons (as of 2006) - which at once may represent accurately an entire population but in fact by definition does not speak to any single, real-life family.
Second, qualitative research differs because of its ability to represent the views and perspectives of the participants in a study. Capturing their perspectives may be a major purpose of a qualitative study. Thus, the events and ideas emerging from qualitative research can represent the meanings given to real-life events by the people who live them, not the values, preconceptions, or meanings held by researchers.
Third, qualitative research covers contextual conditions - the social, institutional, and environmental conditions within which people’s lives take place. In many ways, these contextual conditions may strongly influence all human events. However, the other social science methods (except for history) have difficulty in addressing these conditions.
Experiments, for instance, 'control out' these conditions (hence the artificiality of laboratory experiments). Quasi-experiments admit such conditions but by design nevertheless focus only on a limited set of 'variables,' which may or may not fully appreciate the contextual conditions. Similarly, surveys are constrained by the need to manage carefully the degrees of freedom required to analyze the responses to a set of survey questions; surveys are therefore limited in the number of questions devoted to any contextual conditions. History does address contextual conditions, but in its conventional form studies the 'dead past,' not ongoing events as in qualitative research (refer again to footnote 1 about oral history).
Fourth, qualitative research is not just a diary or chronicle of everyday life. Such a function would be a rather mundane version of real-world events. On the contrary, qualitative research is driven by a desire to explain these events, through existing or emerging concepts. For instance, one existing concept is Goffman’s (1963) stigma management. In his original work, stigma management largely pertained to adaptations by individual people. However, a contemporary qualitative study applied his typology and framework to a collective group, thereby offering new insights into how the actions of nation-states also might try to overcome their own historically stigmatizing events"
(Robert K. Yin, p.8,9)
1). Robert K. Yin (2011). "Qualitative Research from Start to Finish", The Guilford Press.