Which research method to take when investigating a sub group within society?


When embarking on a piece of research it is important to decide on which ontological basis the researcher stands. Do they see the world in absolute terms thereby having a positivist view or do they believe in observing through the constructions of the mind like the constructionists. Because it is from the ontological position that informs the epistemology, i.e. the empiricist who believes that knowledge can be gained via the senses would therefore take on an experimental methodology. Therefore the epistemological stance of how to approach the study and interpret knowledge is key and when this is decided, then the researcher will know which method of data collection to use; is essential for a logical and correct process to be followed and adhered to in order for research into MSM and to stand up to the rigour of peer review [Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M., & Ormston, R. (2014). Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers. London: Sage]. Qualitatively Interpersonal Phenomenological Analysis is chosen for investigating the straight men who have sex occasionally with men (MSM) as it fits with the epistemology stance of the researcher and with the focus on trying to obtain ideas, values and beliefs of the MSM population in order to curb the spread of HIV among straight women

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