The UNODC Observatory research methodology is inductive and flexible, guided by the context of the research field, rather than following a rigid formula or theoretical framework. Inductive research draws as much as possible from the observation of the realities of the research field, which is then analysed in order to identify trends and form theoretical frameworks, as opposed to deductive research, which starts with theories and then tests them according to observation of the research field. The SOM Observatory methodology is also interdisciplinary, combining primary research and surveys in the field with desk-based research, as well as analysing qualitative and quantitative sources.
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