What is Research?

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What is Research?


Research is an intensive and purposeful search for new knowledge and understanding of social phenomena. Research is a scientific activity undertaken to establish something, a fact, a theory, a princilpe or an application. It is an academic activity. One can also define research as a scientific and systematic search for pertinent information on a specific topic. Infact, research is an art of scientific investigation.

It is the systematic process of collecting and analyzing information to increase our understanding of the phenomenon under study. It is the function of the researcher to contribute to the understanding of the phenomenon and to communicate that understanding to others.
Research is also a never-ending process: discovers and creations lead to new discoveries and new creations, and so on. As you read this, millions of people around the world are involved in research, some of it minor, some major. It is the ways in which people can go about research that this book discusses.
Aims and Objectives of Research:
The purpose of research is to discover answers to questions through the application of scientific procedures. The main aim of research is to find out the truth which is hidden and which has not been discovered as yet. Through each research study has its own specific purpose, we may think of research objectives as falling into a number of following broad groupings:

  1. To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insights into it (studies with this object in view are termed as exploratory or formulative research studies);
  2.  To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or a group (studies with this object in view as known as descriptive research studies);
  3. To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated with something else (studies with this object in view are known as diagnostic research studies);
  4. To test a hypothesis of a casual relationship between variables (such studies are known as hypothesis-testing research studies).
  5. To find out the answer to research questions through the application of scientific method and technique.
  6. To examine the cause effect reflect relationship of the variables.
  7. To identify the problem, topic and than to population or subject of research.
  8. To explore the the hidden truth using the scientific process.
  9. To determine the association or independence of an activity.

 

Purpose of Research:

Many do research for various purposes. However, the main purpose research is to discover answers to questions through the application of scientific procedures. The purpose of research is to find out the truth which is hidden and which has not been discovered so far. While there are some researchers who do research to count the challenge in solving the unsolved problems, there are some researchers who have undertaken research work on account of direction of government, curiosity about new things to create social awakening etc.,
We may think of research purpose as falling into a number of following broad grouping.
  1. To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insights into it.
  2. To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual situation or a group.
  3. To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated with something else.
  4. To test a hypothesis of a casual relationship between variables.

 

Motivation in Research:

What makes people to undertake research? This is a question of fundamental importance. The possible motives for doing research may be either one or more of the following:
  1. Desire to get a research degree along with its consequential benefits;
  2. Desire to face the challenge in solving the unsolved problems, i.e., concern over practical problems initiates research;
  3. Desire to get intellectual joy of doing some creative work;
  4. Desire to be of service to society;
  5. Desire to get respectability.
However, this is not an exhaustive list of factors motivating people to undertaken research studies. Many more factors such as directives of government, employment conditions, curiosity about new things, desire to understand casual relationships, social thinking and awakening, and the like may as well motivate (or at times compel) people to perform research operations.Characteristics of Research: An examination of the above discussion leads to draw the following characteristics of research.

  1. Research is a systematic inquiry.
  2. Research is an investigation into a subject or specific field of knowledge.
  3. Research is undertaken to establish facts or principles.
  4. Research is an original contribution to the existing stock of knowledge making for its advancement.

 

Advantages of Scientific Research:

  1. It is objective since more questions and personal experiences of individuals with known biases are not relied upon in research, it can control subjectivity and personal prejudice. It recognizes these biases and controls them by using tested methods and techniques.
  2. It is systematic because research identifies a problem and chalks out the most suitable design or plan of investigations are thoroughly explores and wherever necessary eliminated.
  3. It is generalization unlike opinions, experiences and attitudes. scientific research has the characteristic of generalization. Since extraneous and irrelevant situations are controlled or eliminated from research, clear generalized conclusions are easy to draw, other things remaining constant. then only, predictions are possible.
  4. It is purposive unlike commonsense, research does not accumulate unstructured observations. since the problem is clear, the collection of facts and information serves the specific purpose of understanding and seeking answers to the problem. Thus, it eliminates irrelevancy in research processes.
  5.  It is parsimonious by being systematic and purposive. It identifies methods, tools, and techniques to understand and solve problems with the minimum difficulty, effort and cost, assuming that it guarantee adequate quality by honoring the requirements of scientific research.
  6. It is replicable as research problem has the advantage being repeated by another time to reveal more and more. Since research is based on a certain methodology, it is possible to replicate the study under similar conditions or with modifications to test out or carry out studies based on larger samples. hence it generates greater trust and reliability in its funding’s.

 

Because of the above advantages of scientific research over other methods of electing information and knowledge, society has begun to use research  to solve problems and explore knowledge.

Reference:
1. What is Research? (2007) In S. M. Wayne Goddard, Research Methodology: An Introduction (p. 1). Juta & Co, Ltd.

2. Kothari, C. R. (2006). Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques. Delhi: New Age International Ltd.(2007).

3. Kumar, D. C. (2008). Research Methodology. New Delhi: APH Publishing Corporation.

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