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VCE: Extended Investigation: Research methods

Resources to support the VCE study; Extended Investigation

What is a research method?

A wide range of research methods are used within academia. These methods vary by the sources of information that are used, how that information is sampled, and the types of instruments that are used in data collection.

Methods also vary by whether they collect qualitative data, quantitative data or both.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative

A good video showing the differences between the two research methods and it provides realistic examples of both methods that stundents can relate to.

Surveys - Quantitative

Quantitative research is about asking people for their opinions in a structured way so that you can produce hard facts and statistics to guide you. 

Quantitative surveys deal with identifying quantity. How many times do you? How much does this weigh? How often do you? A quantitative survey is best used when there are no opinions only facts involved.


  • empirical investigation under controlled conditions
  • examines the properties of, and relationships between specific factors
  • isolate individual factors and observe their effect in detail

When to use an experiment:

  • suitable for explanatory research drawing on well-established theory to identify relevant variables

Case studies

A case study:

  • Attempts to shed light on a phenomena by studying a single case example.
  • Focuses on an individual person, an event, a group, or an institution.
  • Allows for in-depth examination by prolonged engagement or cultural immersion
  • Explores processes and outcomes
  • Investigates the context and setting of a situation
  • Can involve a number of data gathering methods
  • Used with small-scale projects and has become aligned with qualitative research rather then quantitative research


Physical surveys