Posted: November 10, 2014 by Alan Hardcastle in FDA 13_15

When we research, we have a toolkit of research techniques that utilize a range of sources. The focus is often on how much we collect, and which sources we use.


This mindmap is not exhaustive – please note, that as we constructed it it was clear most sources of information could contain Quantitative and qualitative information, and could be primary and/or secondary… so, all sources of information can only be classified if you know the context.

This leads us to questioning the reliability and bias of any given source – which is why we now look at utilizing a methodology.

Methodology is basically how you are combining your research techniques within your research plan. This should include how you are confirming reliability of a source, confirming accuracy etc.

Worst case scenario – you take everything at face value. Any information proffered to you is accepted wholesale. Well done! You have won a prize, Now please send me your bank details and I will transfer the sum to your account.

Best Case Scenario – You have some information, so you find a number of separate independent sources of that same information. You then test it yourself using primary techniques, using more than 2000 respondents per round.

We need to be between these two goal posts… How many sources have you used? How many types of source have you used? How have you confirmed the accuracy of these sources, and have you recognized any bias – even in yourself?


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