Research is defined as a careful consideration of study regarding a particular concern or a problem using scientific methods. According to the American sociologist Earl Robert Babbie, “Research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict and control the observed phenomenon. Research involves inductive and deductive methods.”
Characteristics of Research
- A systematic approach is followed in research. Rules and procedures are an integral part of research that set the objective of a research process. Researchers need to practice ethics and code of conduct while making observations or drawing conclusions.
- Research is based on logical reasoning and involves both inductive and deductive methods.
- The data or knowledge that is derived is in real time, actual observations in the natural settings.
- There is an in-depth analysis of all the data collected from research so that there are no anomalies associated with it.
- Research creates a path for generating new questions. More research opportunity can be generated from existing research.
- Research is analytical in nature. It makes use of all the available data so that there is no ambiguity in inference.
- Accuracy is one of the important character of research, the information that is obtained while conducting the research should be accurate and true to its nature. For example, research conducted in a controlled environment like a laboratory. Here accuracy is measured of instruments used, calibrations, and the final result of the experiment.
Types of Research
Basic Research: Basic research is mostly conducted to enhance knowledge. It covers fundamental aspects of research. The main motivation of this research is knowledge expansion. It is a non-commercial research and doesn’t facilitate in creating or inventing anything. For example, an experiment is a good example of basic research.
Applied Research: Applied research focuses on analyzing and solving real-life problems. This type of research refers to study that helps solve practical problems using scientific methods. This research plays an important role in solving issues that impact overall well-being of humans. For example, finding a specific cure for a disease.
Problem Oriented Research: As the name suggests, problem-oriented research is conducted to understand the exact nature of the problem to find out relevant solutions. The term “problem” refers to having issues or two thoughts while making any decisions.
For e.g Revenue of a car company has decreased by 12% in the last year. The following could be the probable causes: There is no optimum production, poor quality of a product, no advertising, economic conditions etc.
Problem Solving Research: This type of research is conducted by companies to understand and resolve their own problems. Problem solving research uses applied research to find solutions to the existing problems.
Qualitative Research: Qualitative research is a process that is about inquiry, that helps in-depth understanding of the problems or issues in their natural settings. This is a non- statistical research method.
Qualitative research is heavily dependent on the experience of the researchers and the questions used to probe the sample. The sample size is usually restricted to 6-10 people in a sample. Open ended questions are asked in a manner that one question leads to another. The purpose of asking open ended questions is to gather as much information as possible from the sample.
Following are the methods used for qualitative research:
- One-to-one interview
- Focus groups
- Ethnographic Research
- Content/ Text Analysis
- Case study research
Quantitative Research: Qualitative research is a structured way of collecting data and analyzing it to draw conclusions. Unlike qualitative research, this research method uses computational, statistical and similar method to collect and analyze data. Quantitative data is all about numbers.
Quantitative research involves a larger population as, more number of people means more data. In this manner, more data can be analyzed to obtain accurate results. This type of research method uses close ended questions because, in quantitative research, the researchers are typically looking at measuring the extent and gathering foolproof statistical data.
Online surveys, questionnaires, and polls are a preferable data collection tools used in quantitative research. There are various methods of deploying surveys or questionnaires. In recent times online surveys and questionnaires have gained popularity. Survey respondents can receive these surveys on mobile phones, emails or can simply use the internet to access surveys or questionnaires.
Merits of Research
- Deeper understanding of the subject.
- Finding out important things connected to the topic of research.
- Finding out the fallacies that exist related to the topic of research.
- Understanding the media biases surrounding the subject.
- False claims around the subject.
- Research gives you the ability to form a stance on the subject and take sides.
- It helps one find flaws in other people’s research (secondary sources) so that you can add to it.
- Helps you to connect with the nature, habitat, ecosystem, connectors of the subject.
- Expands your views about individuals related to the subject being researched.
Limitations of Research
Limitations are influences that the researcher cannot control. They are the shortcomings, conditions or influences that cannot be controlled by the researcher that place restrictions on your methodology and conclusions. Research limitations in a typical dissertation may relate to the following points:
- Formulation of research aims and objectives. You might have formulated research aims and objectives too broadly. You can specify in which ways the formulation of research aims and objectives could be narrowed so that the level of focus of the study could be increased.
- Implementation of data collection method. Because you do not have an extensive experience in primary data collection (otherwise you would not be reading this book), there is a great chance that the nature of implementation of data collection method is flawed.
- Sample size. Sample size depends on the nature of the research problem. If sample size is too small, statistical tests would not be able to identify significant relationships within data set. You can state that basing your study in larger sample size could have generated more accurate results. The importance of sample size is greater in quantitative studies compared to qualitative studies.
- Lack of previous studies in the research area. Literature review is an important part of any research, because it helps to identify the scope of works that have been done so far in research area. Literature review findings are used as the foundation for the researcher to be built upon to achieve her research objectives.
However, there may be little, if any, prior research on your topic if you have focused on the most contemporary and evolving research problem or too narrow research problem. For example, if you have chosen to explore the role of Bitcoins as the future currency, you may not be able to find tons of scholarly paper addressing the research problem, because Bitcoins are only a recent phenomenon.
- Scope of discussions. You can include this point as a limitation of your research regardless of the choice of the research area. Because (most likely) you don’t have many years of experience of conducing researches and producing academic papers of such a large size individually, the scope and depth of discussions in your paper is compromised in many levels compared to the works of experienced scholars.
Uses of Research
- First, engagement with research can introduce new concepts.
- Another form of conceptual use is that engagement with research enables people to see a problem they didn’t see before, or see a problem in a new light.
- Third, findings from research can help broaden or narrow understandings about the kinds of solutions should be considered and are most appropriate to pursue.
- Finally, research can also provide a framework to guide action
Steps in Conducting Research
- Identification of research problem
- Literature review
- Specifying the purpose of research
- Determining specific research questions
- Specification of a conceptual framework, sometimes including a set of hypotheses
- Choice of a methodology (for data collection)
- Data collection
- Verifying data
- Analyzing and interpreting the data
- Reporting and evaluating research
- Communicating the research findings and, possibly, recommendations