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Various research methods can be used to study economic, social, political, psychological and other kinds of questions. Depending on the type of the question, some research methods are more applicable than others. Descriptive research, systematic sampling technique as well as personal interview as an administrative method are often used in the research. Along with their advantages, all of them have a set of limitations (McNeil & Chapman, 1985).
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Descriptive research method provides researcher with tools to statistically describe phenomenon under study, its characteristics and time trends. The major pitfall of this method is that it provides only factual information about the question. With the help of the descriptive research method no casual relationship can be studied. Therefore, a lot of scholars question internal validity of this method (Johnson, 1953).
Systematic sampling technique is a statistical tool that is used to collect a sampled data to study characteristics of some phenomenon of the entire population. Sample selection is most commonly done by using equal probability method. According to the latter, elements of the population are selected to the sample with some defined interval (Dominowski, 1980). This approach is commonly used; however, it has several limitations. First, a sample selection bias is a serious problem that may arise. People may be selected into a sample not randomly and this will affect properties of the sample in further study. Also, sample may be not representative for the whole population since the sample elements are uniformly distributed and often phenomena or populations under study are heterogeneous (Black, 2004).
Finally, personal interview method is a method of survey administration that is often used to collect primary data for the study. Even though it is a direct conversation between the interviewer and respondent and enables receiving first source information, it has few shortcomings (Oppenheim, 1993). In particular, this is a subjective approach and obtained information may suffer from the interviewer’s bias. Another pitfall of personal interview method of research is that it is very time consuming approach. At last, it is not applicable to study that covers considerably large sample or population (Cohen & Manion, 1989).
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Summing up, descriptive research, systematic sampling as well as personal interviews are commonly used methods of research. However, despite their advantages, each method has its own limitations in the application to various research questions.
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