Primary research services

At Oxbridge Essays, we can carry out a range of primary data collection of both numerical and non-numerical data for your academic research, using a diverse variety of quantitative and qualitative methods.

Quantitative primary research – questionnaires and surveys

Questionnaires and surveys are a comprehensive and inexpensive means of gathering large amounts of both quantitative and qualitative primary data. Both questionnaires and surveys usually have simple designs and can be quickly distributed to large numbers of subjects. They also allow researchers to obtain succinct answers to multiple questions related to their central research topic.

Questionnaires typically have a simple design, which means they can easily be distributed to almost any demographic group. For this reason, they offer a practical method for researchers to gather primary data in sectors that would otherwise be difficult to reach.

Oxbridge Essays offers a comprehensive range of questionnaire services for all levels of students, from A-Level to PhD. Get in touch to find out how we can work with you to develop and roll out a questionnaire or survey.

Quantitative primary research – field work

Field work typically involves any work where the researcher is required to go to a specific location where the research takes place – anywhere from pristine forests to hospital wards. The principle advantage of field work is that it brings the researcher into immediate contact with the subject of his research. Scientifically speaking, the raw data obtained from field work forms the very basis for corroborating or rejecting the hypotheses formed at the outset of the research. It can be a hugely valuable part of any research collection.

Field counting and measuring techniques range from extremely complicated to extremely simple. One of the most important requirements is that the method must take into account the statistical analysis techniques that will later be used on the data and therefore the exact procedure is very important. Such considerations include repeat readings, randomisation techniques, blocking and control treatments.

If you are interested in any type of field work, please get in touch with us and one of our academic consultants will be happy to speak with you and find out how we can help.

Qualitative primary research – interviews

In the social sciences particularly, alongside questionnaires, interviews are the most important method of primary data collection.

Interviews can be one-on-one between the interviewer and interviewee or with several interviewees at the same time (known as a focus group). The purpose of an interview is to elicit in-depth answers to pre-prepared questions. An interview typically provides a greater degree of penetrative data collection than, say, a questionnaire, which is completed relatively quickly by a large number of respondents.

Oxbridge Essays employs a large network of researchers working at the cutting edge of their fields who are well practised in designing and undertaking interviews of all types. We are more than ready to help you fulfil any interviewing needs.

Qualitative primary research – focus groups

A focus-group is a qualitative research event where a researcher organises an occasion for several members of the public or a particular demographic or professional group to meet and discuss questions relating to the researcher's project hypotheses.

The major advantage of a focus group over a one-on-one interview is that results are elicited by the interaction of the numerous members of the group, rather than by the interviewer's questions. In a focus group, a comment from one person provokes a different thought in another member whose reply in turn stimulates the mind of another member. The spontaneity of this method tends to produce interesting and unexpected responses.

If you are interested in arranging a focus-group, one of our academic consultants would be happy to discuss the location, venue, type of group members needed and so on.

Qualitative primary research – participant observations

Participant observations are research events where a researcher arranges for subjects from a specific demographic group, for example, shoppers, smokers or student, to be observed acting naturally in a particular specified activity.

A key advantage of observation research is that the subject is unaware that they are being observed, which allows their behaviour to be seen naturally. Direct observation in this manner can therefore also reduce or negate many of the affectations that distort other types of primary data collection.

We are aware that participant observations, because of their relative novelty, may be an unfamiliar research method to some. If you are interested in learning more, get in touch with one of our academic consultants and ask how we can help.

Qualitative primary research – ethnographies

Contemporary ethnography is based almost entirely on field work. This type of research usually involves observing target users in their natural environment, rather than in an artificial setting of a lab. While detailed written notes are the mainstay of field work, ethnographers may also use participatory appraisal methods, as well as tape recorders, cameras, or video recorders.

If your project requires ethnography, we can organise for one of our researchers to conduct an ethnographical study on your behalf.