Using Research Methodologies

Research questions drive the methodology. Thinking about a community-based organization in your area ( please use Fort Bend Women Shelter Website: , consider quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods studies. Create an appropriate research question for each methodology that would be of interest for your chosen organization. Explain why the methodology is appropriate for each question and identify the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses. Which of the three questions and methods would be most interesting to you, and why? Your response should be an APA-formatted response of no less than 300 words.

Professor’s Notes:

Welcome to Week 2 everyone! This week we will be focusing on participatory research, planning and implementation, and management and evaluation. Please review the following video.

Neighborhoods by the Numbers: Data-Driven Tools for Neighborhood Revitalization (Links to an external site.) Neighborhoods by the Numbers: Data-Driven Tools for Neighborhood Revitalization

This week there is one written assignment on Progam Evaluation and one discussion question. The discussion question for this week is about creating research questions for each methodology for an organization in your area. Your discussion should be at least 300 words and your responses will be 200 words to other class members.

There are 3 research methodologies you will learn about this week:

  1. Qualitative
  2. Quantitative
  3. Mixed studies

Think about which type of methodology fits each research question.

Here is a video on the difference between qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative & Quantitative Research – An Introduction (Links to an external site.) Qualitative & Quantitative Research – An Introduction

Here are the assignments for this week:

Tuesday, February 4th-Read chapters 7-9 in our textbook along with the required readings.

Thursday, February 6th, 2020-Submit your initial response to the Week 2 discussion question.

Introduction: Collecting and Analyzing Data on Community Organizations and their Effectiveness

As an applied sociologist working with community organizations, it is likely you will be tasked with some sort of research. A good methodology foundation is critical to ensure proper data gathering, which will in turn enable you to translate the data for organization leadership and other stakeholders. Research is quantitative, qualitative, or a combination of both (also known as mixed methods). Quantitative tends to be survey-based, which lends itself to statistical analysis. For quantitative analysis, we often look at reliability (can the instrument be repeated) and validity (is the instrument measuring what is intended). A challenge for survey research, however, is that researchers often struggle with low response rates and it can be difficult to have a valid survey. Qualitative work, often through interviews or participant observation, can give an in-depth understanding of a question, but it may lack generalizability. Mixed methods studies will use both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to help overcome limitations of one method or another. Of course, the research methods are guided by the research question! Some questions are better answered quantitively, while others lend themselves to qualitative research. Consider, for example, which methodology would best fit an organization interested in learning about the number of new Mexican immigrants in a suburb of Phoenix? Most likely, a survey would reveal the information the organization wanted to know.

A community organization is more effective when it has conducted a needs assessment. As the name implies, needs assessments identify the needs of a community through a series of questions. In order to effectively use a needs assessment, an organization should follow six basic steps:

  1. Create the assessment questions.
  2. Examine the existing data on the topic(s).
  3. Administer the survey.
  4. Conduct the data analysis.
  5. Report the results of the assessment.
  6. Move forward with the findings (OVCTTAC, n.d.). Organizations can also benefit from conducting a SWOT analysis, examining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in their community.

Another important role where research methods can play a part is in program evaluation. Organizations want to know if the programs they offer are actually effective. After all, why dedicate resources to a program that is not working? There are various ways to conduct a program evaluation; researchers may measure before and after a program (pre-test, post-test), conduct surveys following a program, use focus groups, or other methodologies and strategies. Whichever method is used, it is critical to interpret the results in order for others to use them! As Neil Armstrong said, “[r]esearch is creating new knowledge.”

Reference: OVCTTAC. (n.d.). Guide to conducting a needs assessment. Retrieved from

Required Text (Book is attached)
McKnight, J. & McKnight Plummer, J. (2015). Community organizing: Theory and practice . Retrieved from Chapter 7: Participatory Research Chapter 8: Planning and Implementation Chapter 9: Management and Evaluation Appendix A: Details of Participatory Research Strategies

Required References
Carroll-Scott, A., Toy, P., Wyn, R., Zane, J. I., & Wallace, S.P. (2012). Results from the data & democracy initiative to enhance community-based organization data and research capacity. American Journal of Public Health, 102(7), 1384-1391.

Pasick, R., Oliva, G., Goldstein, E., Nguyen, T. (2010). Community-engaged research with community–based organizations: A resource manual for UCSF researchers. From the Series: UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) resource manuals and guides to community-engaged research (Fleisher, P. ed.). San Francisco, California: Clinical Translational Science Institute Community Engagment Program, University of California San Francisco. Retrieved from

Philadelphia Fed. (2014, June 12). Neighborhoods by the numbers: Data-driven tools for neighborhood revitalization [Video file]. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)

Timberlake, M., Sanderson, M.R., Ma, X., Derudder, B., Winitzky, J., & Witlox, F. (2012). Testing a global city hypothesis: An assessment of polarization across US cities. City & Community, 11(1), 74-93.

Recommended References
Center for Disease Control. (2012). CDC coffee break: Using mixed methods in program evaluation. Retrieved from

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