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INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH

Research is a process of systematic inquiry that entails collection of data; documentation of critical information; and analysis and interpretation of that data/information, in accordance with suitable methodologies set by specific professional fields and academic disciplines.

Research is geared towards the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could also be through synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.
Research is a careful and detailed study into a specific problem, concern, or issue using the scientific method.

Features of Research

  1. Empirical – based on observations and experimentation on theories.
  2. Systematic – follows orderly and sequential procedure.
  3. Controlled – all variables except those that are tested/experimented upon are kept constant.
  4. Employs hypothesis – this guides the investigation process
  5. Analytical – There is critical analysis of all data used so that there is no error in their interpretation
  6. Objective, Unbiased, & Logical – all findings are logically based on empirical
  7. Employs quantitative or statistical methods – data is transformed into numerical measures and are treated statistically.

Characteristics of the research

1)Research originates with a question or problem.
2)Research requires clear articulation of a goal.
3)Research usually divides the principal problem into more manageable sub-problems.
4)Research is guided by the specific research problem, question, or hypothesis.
5)Research requires a specific plan for proceeding.
6)Research rests on certain critical assumptions.
7)Research requires the collection, analysis and interpretation of data in an attempt to resolve the problem that initiated the research.

Purpose of research

According to (Collis & Hussey, 2003) the purpose of research is to
1. Review or synthesize existing knowledge
2. Investigate existing situations or problems
3. Provide solutions to problems
4. Explore and analyse more general issues
5. Construct or create new procedures or systems
6. Explain new phenomenon
7. Generate new knowledge
…or a combination of any of the above!

Types of research

– Exploratory
– Descriptive
– Analytical
– Predictive

Exploratory research is undertaken when few or no previous studies exist. The aim is to look for patterns, hypotheses or ideas that can be tested and will form the basis for further research.

Descriptive research can be used to identify and classify the elements or characteristics of the subject. Quantitative techniques are most often used to collect, analyse and summarise data.

Analytical research often extends the Descriptive approach to suggest or explain why or how something is happening. An important feature of this type of research is in locating and identifying the different factors (or variables) involved.

The aim of Predictive research is to speculate intelligently on future possibilities, based on close analysis of available evidence of cause and effect.

Research Approaches

Research can be approached in the following ways:

– Quantitative/Qualitative
– Applied/Basic
– Deductive/Inductive

The emphasis of Quantitative research is on collecting and analyzing numerical data; it concentrates on measuring the scale, range, frequency etc of phenomena. This type of research, although harder to design initially, is usually highly detailed and structured and results can be easily collated and presented statistically.

Qualitative research is more subjective in nature than Quantitative research and involves examining and reflecting on the less tangible aspects of a research subject, e.g. values, attitudes, perceptions. Although this type of research can be easier to start, it can be often difficult to interpret and present the findings; the findings can also be challenged more easily.

The primary aim of Basic Research is to improve knowledge generally, without any particular applied purpose in mind at the outset.

Applied research focuses on analyzing and solving real-life problems. This type refers to the study that helps solve practical problems using scientific methods. Studies play an important role in solving issues that impact the overall well-being of humans. For example: finding a specific cure for a disease.

A deductive approach is concerned with “developing a hypothesis (or hypotheses) based on existing theory, and then designing a research strategy to test the hypothesis.
Inductive approach, also known in inductive reasoning, starts with the observations and theories are proposed towards the end of the research process as a result of observations

Conclusion

Research is an essential part of learning in different fields and the knowledge on how it works is always a plus. Everything you need to know about research can be found on this website. So, stick around and enjoy.

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