It is important to distinguish between matters of research design, methodology and instrumentation. Too often methods are confused with methodology, and methodology is confused with design. Part Two provided an introduction to design issues and this part examines different styles or kinds of research, separating them from methods—instruments to be used for data collection and analysis. We identify eight main styles of educational research in this section. Although we recognize that these are by no means exhaustive, we suggest that this fairly covers the major styles of research methodology. The gamut of research styles is vast and this part illustrates the scope of what is available, embracing quantitative and qualitative research, together with small scale and large scale approaches. These enable the researcher to address the notion of ‘fitness for purpose’ in deciding the most appropriate style of research for the task in hand.
This part deliberately returns to issues introduced in Part One, and suggests that, though styles of research can be located within particular research paradigms, this does not necessitate the researcher selecting a single paradigm only, nor does it advocate paradigm-driven research. Rather, the intention here is to shed light on styles of research from the paradigmatic contexts in which they are located. To do this we have introduced considerable new material into this part, for example on naturalistic and ethnographic research (including issues in data analysis), computer usage, action research as political praxis, the limits of statistical significance and the importance of effect size, the burgeoning scope of meta-analysis, event history analysis, Nominal Group Technique and Delphi techniques, recent developments in case study research, and issues in correlational research. The previous edition kept separate developmental research and surveys; this edition has brought them together as they are mutually informing.