Háskóli Íslands

Research methods

The Social Science Research Institute conducts its own methodological research and is constantly working towards improving the quality of its survey data. The most up-to-date and cost-effective methods for collecting data are used.

SSRI tailors its research to the needs of its clients and offers face-to-face interviewing, telephone interviewing, web surveys, paper surveys and multi-mode surveys; all depending on the objectives of the research and population being studied.

There are two different traditions or approaches in research methods within the social sciences; quantitative research and qualitative research.

Quantitative research method is used to collect numerical data, e.g. with a questionnaire that is answered by a sample group. The results are used to generalize to a larger population. This method is useful in creating an overview of a certain field, attitude, or behavioural pattern. Telephone surveys, Internet surveys, mail surveys, field surveys, and personal interviews are all examples of quantitative research methods.

Qualitative research method is used when the aim is to investigate meaning or understanding rather than assessing quantity. This type of research is based on individual and/or group interviews. In-depth interviews and focus groups are classified as qualitative research. The aim of qualitative research is not to generalize the findings to a larger population but rather to provide a deeper insight into the subject at hand.

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