Dissertation Primary Research Methods – Features, Purpose & Tips

Dissertation primary research
Dissertation primary research

Dissertation primary research methods include observation, interviews, surveys and focus groups as well. Each of the methods helps you collect first-hand data with high quality. If you know the accurate process. As per its importance, this article aims to discuss the features, purpose and tips for some of the dissertation primary research methods. 

What is Meant by Primary Data in Research?

Primary data has to be collected by the researcher himself as this is the first-hand information students must have for writing their dissertations. It is under the direct control of the researcher, and students need to have complete knowledge of what they are doing and what they need to do to get desired results.

What is Meant by Dissertation Primary Research Methodology? 

Students also need to work out which dissertation primary research methodology they will use. When conducting primary research, they can rely on qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methodologies to work on their dissertation. It is because they cannot write a top-quality and informative dissertation without using the right research techniques. While qualitative research is all about exploring the topic, quantitative research is all about confirming or disconfirming the hypothesis by seeking affirmation from statistical analysis. Mixed research combines both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and the main aim is to gain an in-depth understanding of the topic to write a better dissertation.

Which Tips of Dissertation Primary Research Methods Can Help You Conduct Study? 

Focus Group Method of Research 

A Focus group discussion is an open forum for carefully selected individuals. These individuals express their opinions, experiences, and views in an open-ended discussion. The researchers select the individuals by using some parameters for screening. The participants are representatives of a large population segment. It is essential to include a mediator in focused group discussions. A mediator in the discussion ensures that the discussion may be conducted in a pleasant atmosphere. The discussion leads to a sound conclusion without biasness. 

A focused group forum takes answers from participants on a given topic and is used as a dissertation primary research method. These discussion groups are labelled as a qualitative research method. These discussion groups help access authentic answers from the participants and are easy to organise compared to huge surveys. 

Examples of Focus Group Share your first experience with a pet dog, positive or negative. You don’t have to own a dog. Answer the question, keeping in mind the first dog that comes to mind. 

Focus Groups are not Sufficient Alone

After World War II, focused groups were first used by Merton. These discussion groups are considered part of the qualitative research method. These group discussions are considered not enough for analysis. The discussion groups remain a useful source to include essential information that may be ignored. 

When to use Focused Groups

The researcher must use the interview in their research except in one special case. In order to analyse the dynamics of social factors, the researcher is advised to opt for focused group discussion as the dissertation primary research method. 


Interviews are also considered a qualitative research technique for dissertation primary research. It is based on asking questions from respondents to gather data. Furthermore, it includes two or more people, where one person is an interviewer. Also, it is divided into different groups. These categories are based on the structure, including structured, semi-structured, and unstructured interviews. It may be used in different research, including ethnographic, social sciences, and market research. 

Structured Interviews

A structured interview comprises a predetermined set of questions in a fixed sequence. These questions are usually closed-ended and have the option of “yes” “no” or multiple choices. Open-ended questions can be a part of an interview, but it is very rare in practice. The set pattern and predetermined questions help the researcher easily record the participants’ responses efficiently for dissertation primary research

For example,

Do you own a dog? Yes or No

Express your feelings with a pet dog. Very Happy, Happy, Neutral, Unhappy, Hate

  • Semi-Structured Interview

A semi-structured interview is a mix of structured and unstructured interviews in the dissertation primary research method. In this interview resource, the researcher asks questions in the general plan. The questions need not be in a particular sequence. The wording of questions may also be changed. A semi-structured interview is considered the best source of research. It comprises open-ended questions. 

For example,

Do you own a dog? Yes or No

If yes, mention one quality of the dog.

If no, mention one quality of a dog you hate.

Unstructured Interview

The unstructured interview in dissertation primary research comprises questions in random sequential order. For each interview, the sequence of questions will be different. An unstructured interview is an open-ended interview. 

For example,

What feelings do you have when you have your first interaction with a dog? 

Share your experiences with pet dogs. 

Discuss the Features and Purpose of Dissertation Primary Research Method.

The focused group technique is a dissertation primary research method useful in analysing a wide range of population segments. It is an ideal way to express views and opinions. It also helps in discussing disagreements among the public. Focused group discussions are cheaper than an interview in terms of cost. 

The interview is another dissertation primary research method which is an in-depth discussion of certain topics to give a detailed analysis. It helps in gaining major wide arguments on the topic and subject matter. An interview is easier to analyse as compared to a focused group discussion. During the interview, the role of the interviewer is less influential in an interview than in focused group discussions. 

The selection of dissertation primary research method cannot be considered easy. It is challenging to decide whether to use the interview or focus group discussions in research work. 

If the researcher intends to get a detailed analysis of opinions and experiences, it is better to opt for an interview. When the researcher is interested in including experts’ opinions in their study, the researcher needs to select a focused group discussion. For guidance, you can avail PhD dissertation help


This article will help the researchers in identifying the best dissertation primary research method. The study suggests the researchers use focused group discussions to analyse the dynamics of social factors only. However, there are no restrictions and limitations on interviews, and the researchers may use interviews for the rest of the studies.