This unit looked at research methods pertinent to technology policy and technology innovation. It considered a literature study, case study, structured surveys, interviewing, focus groups, narrative analysis, cost-benefit analysis, scenario methodology and technology foresight. While not exhaustive of research methods, these tools were found to have greatest utility for technology research. The unit has considered both qualitative and quantitative methods. Although quantitative studies are often treated as more objective, even in strongly positivist terms, their accuracy depends on the assumptions on which they are founded. Qualitative methods were found to have particular utility when engaged in research that may have a policy impact. In unit 5 we reflect on the particular skills necessary to deploy these research methods to investigate technology policy and innovation.

8 Technology foresight