Strengths and limitations

Summary of the strengths and limiations of various study types.

Study Type Strengths Limitations
Descriptive / Observational Studies
  • Provides data on what is going on
  • Emphasises features of a new phenomenon
  • Can highlight associations between variables if quantitative methods are used
Explanatory/Experimental Studies
  • Explains why a phenomenon is happening
  • Allows for inferences to be drawn aboutssociations and causality
May be limited in their ability to provide deep contextual data

Not all problems are appropriate or possible to answer and describe through empirical studies.

Listen to a students experience with field interviews in India:

Another study type that you can both employ qualitative and quantitative on, is a review. Read more about reviews in the next lesson.

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