What types of research are there and how can I choose the one that meets the specific needs of my project?

When a company makes the decision to create a new project, be it expanding the business, launching a new product or investing in a certain region, it can be complicated to choose a type of research and organize the data that will support the respective decisions for this project. 

It's natural to think that it will be necessary to do a lot of research and market research, but how do you know which is the right approach, given that there are so many?  

In this article, we will tell you what types of research exist and what the focus of each of them is, so you can make the best possible decision for your project. Keep reading! 

How we classify types of searches and what criteria are involved


When we talk about types of research, we are referring to different strategies for collecting and analyzing structured data, always aiming to answer specific questions or contribute to a specific challenge. However, it turns out that each problem, each project, each scenario is, in some way, unique.

Therefore, it is first necessary to deeply understand which surveys answer as many specific questions as possible. And second, but not least, determine their level of technical or logistical feasibility. 

To make this decision, it is necessary to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each type of research. Let's go? 

Criterion number 1: approach


Qualitative research: looks for non-measurable data such as sensations, opinions, feelings and perceptions. Usually using open questions, the researcher tries to understand the interviewee's point of view, resulting in subjective and complex answers. 

Application example: hold focus groups to explore consumers’ experiences, challenges and desires regarding specific products or services.

Quantitative research: looks for data that can be reflected in numbers, statistics and graphs. Through observations, questionnaires and interviews, the researcher tracks measurable data that can show in percentages how the target audience is made up. This data can be age, gender, level of education, income, among others. 

Application example: Analyze demographic and economic data for a region to identify the price point that maximizes acceptance of a product or service.

Quali-quanti research: It is a mix of quantitative and qualitative research. Using tools such as mixed forms with closed and open questions, this type of research considers both measurable and non-measurable data. 

Criterion number 2: nature


It is important to highlight that there is something called “research basic”, and this It has no practical purpose, but only a theoretical one.

For example: to understand educators' perceptions regarding the use of technology in the classroom and its influence on the teaching-learning process, the research randomly selects 200 educators from different education levels and applies questionnaires with open and closed questions. 

It is unlikely that we will see this type of research applied to business directly. However, their existence in academia or journalism contributes (a lot) to data collection for the business world. 

On the other hand, research applied seeks to solve problems in practice. How to determine the average income of the population of a region X or understand what values or sensations are associated with brand Y. 

Criterion number 3: objectives


The objectives criterion makes up a crucial step in selecting the type of research. Do we want to validate a hypothesis or deepen a study? Maybe validate a suspicion, explain a phenomenon? This question needs to be answered before starting the research procedure. For this we have: 

  • The search exploratory: This is a first analysis of a topic that the researcher does not know much about. It is carried out based on hypotheses that try to be validated or not, but in an unstructured way. 
  • The search descriptive: refers to collecting data and describing it. It is a deepening of studies that have already been carried out previously and has the purpose of finding new phenomena and facts about them. 
  • The search explanatory: It is a type of research that, through experimental methods, attempts to identify the reason why a phenomenon occurs. 

Criterion number 4: procedures


The procedural criterion is perhaps the most important of all. This is because it is through it that we are able to trace a tangible path that answers the specific questions of our project. However, as there are so many objectives of different natures, there are also countless types of research adapted to them. See some below: 



Select and observe the variables that have an influence on the object of study and then observe what effect they have on it. This methodology seeks to understand how and why phenomena occur, involving control groups, random selection and manipulation of variables.



It involves reviewing and collecting information available from written or electronic sources such as books, articles and online sources. This step is crucial to know what has already been studied on a given topic.



It is a type of investigation that uses primary sources, such as previously unanalyzed documents, to answer specific research questions. Unlike bibliographical research, which is based on materials already prepared from other sources, documentary research searches for unpublished data, whether current or old.

From the field:


The researcher goes to the environment where the object of study is located to collect the data directly. This approach seeks to observe and understand facts and phenomena in reality, collecting information through techniques such as observation, interviews and questionnaires.



Investigates cause and effect relationships by collecting data after events that have already occurred. It is a methodology frequently used to analyze events that have already happened.



Using questionnaires and sample interviews to collect data. Its main objective is to describe the distribution of characteristics in population groups, and its methodology includes the construction of instruments such as questionnaires and statistical analysis of data obtained from the sample.

With survey:


Collects data and opinions from groups of individuals, with the aim of representing the population under study using structured questionnaires. It serves to map attitudes, opinions and distributions on a large scale.

Case study:


It is a research methodology that focuses on in-depth observation and analysis of a specific case. This approach seeks to understand, describe, explain, evaluate and propose solutions for phenomena in their natural context. The case study offers detailed insights into the research object, being particularly useful in contexts where in-depth understanding of a problem is essential.



It is a research approach that is characterized by the active involvement and identification of the researcher with the community or group studied. Participatory research is flexible, adaptable and involves the population in the research process, promoting an educational experience and eliminating the traditional division between researcher and researched.

Action research:


It combines research techniques with practical action to improve a given practice or situation. It differs from traditional scientific research because it involves changing the object of study and is limited by the context and ethics of the practice. It is characterized by being continuous, proactive, participatory and seeks solutions through the interaction between research and action.



It aims to study the culture and behavior of specific social groups. Differentiating itself from previous methods that depended on speculation, ethnography involves the researcher's immersion in the studied environment, collecting data through participant observation, interviews and analysis of behavioral patterns. This methodology seeks to holistically understand people's daily lives, considering different factors and emphasizing the relationship between theory and practical experience.



Ethnomethodology is an approach that focuses on the empirical study of the methods that people use to make sense of and carry out their everyday actions, such as communicating, making decisions, and reasoning. This methodology highlights the importance of understanding people's daily practices and interactions.



This type of research is closely associated with the business world, and is characterized by studying in depth competitors and similar in a given market, looking for strengths, weaknesses, similarities and references that may become useful later.  

Unraveling the complexity of the environment is not an exact science


tipos de pesquisa


By now, you may have already realized that determining which research to use in each project, or even selecting just one approach, is practically impossible if you don't have in-depth knowledge and an analytical eye. 

Especially nowadays, although we live in data age and they are widely available in online materials or automated platforms, the interpretation of these data is not always 100% assertive or useful for organizations.

When it comes to geomarketing, (a strategy that uses location data to reach the target audience), it is even more complex to think of just one generic approach that answers all of a business' questions. And at Linkages we know this very well, as we often need to combine several types of research, cross countless data sources and only then draw a relevant conclusion that, in fact, helps the entrepreneur in decision-making. 

Therefore, having specialists who are familiar with the modern possibilities of data collection and analysis, and who are also able to understand in depth the specific needs of each project, can be the difference between the success or failure of a strategy (even if , on paper, it makes a lot of sense). 

Want to learn more about the types of searches Linkages uses? Schedule a meeting with us.