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DISADVANTAGES Some people may be uncomfortable in a group setting and nervous about speaking in front of others. Not everyone may contribute. Helps people to remember issues Other people may contaminate they might otherwise have an individual’s views. forgotten. Helps participants to overcome Some researchers may find it difficult or intimidating to inhibitions, especially if they know other people in the group. moderate a focus group. The group effect is a useful resource in data analysis. Venues and equipment can be expensive.

A useful way to organise your notes is to 46 / A P R A C T I C A L G U I D E T O R E S E A R C H M E T H O D S separate your files and folders into primary and secondary research. For handwritten notes, such as those taken from library books and journal articles, keep an A4 file with the relevant pages slotted into the separate sections. For information stored on your PC, such as typed notes, transcripts and information obtained from websites, place the documents in the relevant folder and keep document and folder names simple so that you can access the information easily when required.

This will help you to become more familiar with your topic and introduce you to any other research which will be of benefit to you when you begin your own project. CONDUCTING PRIMARY AND SECONDARY RESEARCH There are two types of background research – primary research and secondary research (see Table 2). Primary research involves the study of a subject through firsthand observation and investigation. This is what you will be doing with your main project, but you may also need to conduct primary research for your background work, especially if you’re unable to find any previously published material about your topic.

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