Research methods have advantages and disadvantages in each case and it is important to consciously select them accordingly. A selection of the research method is usually justified by the advantages and then also meaningfully limited by disadvantages.

In the bachelor’s thesis, for example, you have to argue why you preferred an expert interview to the survey. Since your method does not of course reveal all the knowledge on the subject, it should then also be limited sensibly. In this article I show the respective advantages and disadvantages of each methodology.

Tip: Take advantage of the advantages to justify the selection and pack the disadvantages into the limitation of your work.

Literature analysis

Literature analyses form the basis of every research and summarize similar findings. It helps to understand, structure existing knowledge and find research gaps.

Nevertheless, the following points must be limited:

  • Novelty: Literature analyses often only summarize existing knowledge and do not generate new insights.
  • Incompleteness: Depending on the procedure, you can only find a part of the literature and have to focus on certain papers, as they cannot all read in full. They are always just a selection of insights.

Reading tip: Literature analysis

Expert interviews

The advantage of the method is the free and natural situation of the interviews. You can interpret results in depth with the subjects and ask questions. They also control the interview situation and ensure that the subject is not stressed, for example, and that statements must therefore be interpreted differently. They also offer a high level of information through the detailed answers of the subjects.

Nevertheless, the following points must be limited:

  • Social undesirableism: Subjects can respond to ‘beautiful’ by the presence of the researcher
  • Sampling: You only interview a small group and are therefore not very representative
  • Subjectivity: The evaluation of the answers is subjective and can be interpreted in various ways

Reading tip: Expert interviews

Group discussion

The great advantage of the group discussion is that the interaction of the participants can lead to new insights (collective intelligence). This will lead you to find new perspectives and suggestions. You can also ask questions and get different views of the same topic from the group.

Nevertheless, the following points must be limited:

  • Frequent Speaker: Individual speakers can dominate and distort the discussion
  • Low representativeness: You only question a small target group
  • Evaluation: Due to the large number of opinions, it is difficult to represent the group consensus.

Reading Tip: Group Discussion

Case study

Case studies present complex issues quickly and easily. They do not interfere with processes or the natural situation. They therefore provide a detailed description of a complex individual case.

Nevertheless, the following points must be limited:

  • Limited generalization: Often findings only apply to this case study
  • Extreme cases or individual cases cannot be clearly identified: for example, if you have caught the only project in this way by chance and it is not otherwise
  • Subjective data: You represent the case study from your point of view or the observer and are therefore subjectively

Reading Tip: Case Study


The great advantage of interviews is that a large mass of people can be reached quickly. In contrast to interviews, it is also possible to evaluate large amounts of data quickly. In addition, the questionnaire can exclude the influence of the interviewer on the subject (an interview usually makes subjects nervous).

Nevertheless, the following points must be limited:

  • Lack of control of the survey situation: You do not know whether the respondent is currently in stress or if the questions are just flying over
  • Respondents’ honesty: questions may not be answered completely honestly
  • Different views on the question: each participant will interpret your questions differently
  • Answers cannot be interpreted qualitatively: the results provide facts and data that should be interpreted by qualitative procedures

Reading tip: Survey

Reference modeling

Reference models simply represent and generalize complex issues. They are mainly used to better understand and transfer across complex issues.

Nevertheless, the following points must be limited:

  • Portability: The model cannot be used exactly in every context. You do not specify a pre-built solution scheme
  • Abstraction: Often these models are very abstract and do not contribute to the solution, but only to the understanding of

Reading Tip: Reference Modeling

Grounded Theory

The advantage of the methodology is the constant restructuring of research and the high applicability. It is therefore suitable for unknown research areas without much literature or a fact to be strongly subsenbly substoour (“grounden”).

Nevertheless, the following points must be limited:

  • Depending on the researcher: Since you work very freely, the evaluation depends on the researcher, as each researcher would evaluate the data differently. This methodology needs a very good researcher.
  • Complexity: Due to the often fuzzy research topic, the results are usually only guidelines and so complex that they may still be very inaccurate and further iterations are necessary.
  • Binding: Through the selected data sources, the Grounded Theory is bound to a certain social reality and is not transferable

Reading Tip: Grounded Theory


It turns out that each research method has certain advantages and disadvantages. It is therefore important for the good scientific work to select and limit them in a meaningful way.

Reading tip: Build research design

Image source: School photo created by freepic.diller –

Gibt es noch Fragen?

Falls es noch Fragen gibt, habe ich zwei Tipps. Ich habe meine Erfahrung aus 5 Jahren in der Betreuung von Abschlussarbeiten im Buch: "Empfehlungen für die Bachelor- und Masterarbeit" zusammengefasst. Dieses gibt es bei Springer und Amazon seit August 2020. Das Buch ist ein offzielles Fachbuch in kann damit zitiert werden. Weiterhin können Sie mich gerne mal anrufen. Hierzu einfach im Buchungssystem nach einen freien Termin schauen. Ich nehme mir jeden Monat einige Stunden Zeit um Studenten zu helfen.

Mein Tipp vor der Abgabe Ihrer Abschlussarbeit

Es lohnt sich immer eine Abschlussarbeit professionell Korrekturlesen oder auf Plagiat prüfen zu lassen. Der Vorteil ist, dass Sie dabei auch Feedback erhalten und den akademischen Sprachstil verbessern. Anbieter wie bspw. Scribbr helfen mit guten Preisen bei der Abschlussarbeit.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.


I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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