Research methods in social science are basically classified in two groups: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative are based on idea that social phenomena could be measured and are applied in situation when quantity of something should be determined (both in scope and frequency). They are divided in surveys, research based on hard data and experiments.
De Facto most often applies surveys and uses aggregate hard data. “Survey research is a method of collecting data that enables information to be collected directly from individuals that are selected based on clear criteria that enables representativeness (source: Bešić, Miloš, Metodologija političkih nauka sa statistikom, FPN Beograd, skripta, pp. 103).
De Facto uses following techniques of conducting surveys:
Face to face interview method
In public opinion pools De Facto Consultancy uses face to face interviews. The face to face interview, also called an in-person interview, is the most commonly used and oldest method of data collection. The method has several main advantages that distinguish it from other research method. Mainly face to face method reduces nonresponse to a minimum and maximizes the quality of the data collected. Face to face method is best way for collecting data on sensitive matter. In a situation when respondent needs to make a clarification of answers or ask for clarification for some of the items on the questionnaire the presence of the interviewer is a significant advantage.
On-line and Mail survey method
During the twentieth century, survey research has greatly improved due to the technical and technological development in the specific area resulting in computerized data analysis. Particularly, technology has made revolution the way in which surveys are administered –first e-mail surveys were done in the 1980s and first web-based surveys in the 1990s. Since then technology and methodology of on-line and mail survey has greatly improved.
CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing)
CATI is telephone interviewing that is conducted by using computers which accelerates data collection. Interviewer puts data in the specific software directly while interviewing via phone and this generate the data set.
In dimension of time, surveys could be cross sectional and longitudinal. De Facto prefers using standardized questionnaires that enable comparability of data in space (between different states) and time.
Panel survey is one of the often used type of longitudinal surveys. In a panel survey, researcher is following a sample of the same persons (a panel) over time in order to get repeated observations. These observations are derived by collecting data from a sequence of interviews. These interviews are predetermined with a fixed timetable and usually in regular intervals.