Research is a Systematic Process


Research is a Systematic Process

Research is a systematic process of collecting and analyzing information in order to increase our understanding of the topic. Research is the search for knowledge. Research is an investigation. Research methodology is a way to systematically solve the research problem. It is the science of studying how research is done scientifically. Research is also defined as the search for knowledge through objective and systematic methods of finding a solution to a problem. The systematic approach concerning generalization and the formulation of a theory is also research.

Definition of research

“Research as a “systematized effort to gain new knowledge.” - Redman and Mory

“Research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis.” - Clifford Woody

Research is defined as “the manipulation of things, concepts or symbols for the purpose of

generalizing to extend, correct or verify knowledge, whether that knowledge aids in the construction

of theory or in the practice of an art.” - D. Slesinger and M. Stephenson

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF RESEARCH

1. The role of research in several fields of applied economics, whether related to business or the economy as a whole, has greatly increased in modern times.

2. Research is a basis for nearly all government policies in our economic system.

3. Research is especially significant in solving various operational and planning problems of

business and industry

4. Research is equally important for social scientists in studying social relationships and in seeking answers to various social problems.

5. Research is equally important for social scientists in studying social relationships and in seeking answers to various social problems.

 

OBJECTIVES OF RESEARCH

The purpose of research is to discover answers to questions through the application of scientific procedures. The main aim of the research is to find out the truth which is hidden and which has not been discovered as yet. Though each research study has its specific purpose, we may think of research objectives as falling into several 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 formulate research studies);

2. To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation, or group (studies with this object in view are 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 causal relationship between variables (such studies are known as hypothesis-testing research studies.

TYPES OF RESEARCH

Research is a Systematic Process

The basic types of research are as follows:

i) Descriptive vs. Analytical:

Descriptive research includes surveys and fact-finding inquiries of different kinds. The major purpose of descriptive research is a description of the state of affairs as it exists at present. In social science and business research, we quite often use the term Ex post facto research for descriptive research studies. The main characteristic of this method is that the researcher has no control over the variables; he can only report what has happened or what is happening. Most ex post facto research projects are used for descriptive studies in which the researcher seeks to measure such items as, for example, frequency of shopping, preferences of people, or similar data. Ex post facto studies also include attempts by researchers to discover causes even when they cannot control the variables. The methods of research utilized in descriptive research are survey methods of all kinds, including comparative and correlational methods. In analytical research, on the other hand, the researcher has to use facts or information already available and analyze these to make a critical evaluation of the material.

ii) Applied vs. Fundamental:

Research can either be applied (or action) research or fundamental (to basic or pure) research. Applied research aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society or an industrial/business organization, whereas fundamental research is mainly concerned with generalizations and with the formulation of a theory. “Gathering knowledge for knowledge’s sake is termed ‘pure’ or ‘basic’ research.” Research concerning some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics are examples of fundamental research. Similarly, research studies, concerning human behavior carried on to make generalizations about human behavior, are also examples of fundamental research, but research aimed at certain conclusions (say, a solution) facing concrete social or business problems is an example of applied research. Research is done to identify social, economic, or political trends that may affect a particular institution or the copy research (research to find out whether certain communications will be read and understood) or marketing research or evaluation research are examples of applied research. Thus, the central aim of applied research is to discover a solution for some pressing practical problem, whereas basic research is directed towards finding information that has a broad base of applications and thus, adds to the already existing organized body of scientific knowledge.

(iii) Quantitative vs. Qualitative:

Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It applies to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with qualitative phenomena, i.e., phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind. For instance, when we are interested in investigating the reasons for human behavior (i.e., why people think or do certain things), we quite often talk of ‘Motivation Research’, an important type of qualitative research. This type of research aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires, using in-depth interviews for the purpose. Other techniques of such research are word association tests, sentence completion tests, story completion tests, and similar projective techniques. Attitude or opinion research i.e., research designed to find out how people feel or what they think about a particular subject or institution is also qualitative research. Qualitative research is especially important in the behavioral sciences where the aim is to discover the underlying motives of human behavior. Through such research, we can analyze the various factors which motivate people to behave in a particular manner or which make people like or dislike a particular thing. It may be stated, however, that to apply qualitative research in Scientific Social Surveys and Research, practice is relatively a difficult job, and therefore, while doing such research, one should seek guidance from experimental psychologists.

(iv) Conceptual vs. Empirical:

Conceptual research is that related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones. On the other hand, empirical research is dependent on experience or observation alone, often without due regard for system and theory. It is data-based research, coming up with conclusions that are capable of being verified by observation or experiment. We can also call it an experimental type of research. In such research, it is necessary to get at facts firsthand, at their source, and actively to go about doing certain things to stimulate the production of desired information. In such research, the researcher must first provide himself with a working hypothesis or guess as to the probable results. He then works to get enough facts (data) to prove or disprove his hypothesis. He then sets up experimental designs which he thinks will manipulate the persons or the materials concerned to bring forth the desired information. Such research is thus characterized by the experimenter’s control over the variables under study and his deliberate manipulation of one of them to study its effects. Empirical research is appropriate when the proof is sought that certain variables affect other variables in some way. Evidence gathered through experiments or empirical studies is today considered to be the most powerful support possible for a given hypothesis.

 

(v) Some Other Types of Research:

All other types of research are variations of one or more of the above-stated approaches, based on either the purpose of research, or the time required to accomplish research, on the environment in which research is done, or based on some other similar factor.

1. From the point of view of time, we can think of research is either one-time research or longitudinal research. In the former case, the research is confined to a single period, whereas in the latter case the research is carried on over several periods.

2. Research can be field-setting research or laboratory research or simulation research, depending upon the environment in which it is to be carried out.

3. Research can as well be understood as clinical or diagnostic research. Such research follows case study methods or in-depth approaches to reach the basic causal relations. Such studies usually go deep into the causes of things or events that interest us, using very small samples and very deep probing data-gathering devices.

4. The research may be exploratory or it may be formalized. The objective of exploratory research is the development of hypotheses rather than their testing, whereas formalized research studies are those with substantial structure and with specific hypotheses to be tested. Historical research is that which utilizes historical sources like documents, remains, etc. to study events or ideas of the past, including the philosophy of persons and groups at any remote point of time.

5. Research can also be classified as conclusion-oriented and decision-oriented. While doing conclusion-oriented research, a researcher is free to pick up a problem, redesign the inquiry as he proceeds, and is prepared to conceptualize as he wishes. Decision-oriented research is always for the need of a decision-maker and the researcher, in this case, is not free to embark upon research according to his inclination.

6. Operations research is an example of decision-oriented research since it is a scientific method of providing executive departments with a quantitative basis for decisions regarding operations under their control.

 

RESEARCH APPROACHES

Research is a Systematic Process

There are two basic approaches to research,

1.       Quantitative Approach

It involves the generation of data in a quantitative form which can be subjected to rigorous quantitative analysis in a formal and rigid fashion.

It can be further sub-classified

a. Inferential approach

b. Experimental approach

c. Simulation approach.

a. Inferential approach

The purpose of the inferential approach to research is to form a database from which to infer characteristics or relationships of a population. This usually means survey research where a sample of the population is studied (questioned or observed) to determine its characteristics, and it is then inferred that the population has the same characteristics.

b. Experimental approach

The experimental approach of research is characterized by much greater control over the research environment and in this case, some variables are manipulated to observe their effect on other variables.

c. Simulation approach.

The simulation approach of research involves the construction of an artificial environment within which relevant information and data can be generated. This permits observation of the dynamic behavior of a system (or its sub-system) under controlled conditions. E.g. Simulation approach can also be useful in building models for understanding future conditions.

2.       Qualitative Approach:

Research is a Systematic Process

A qualitative approach to research is concerned with subjective assessment of attitudes, opinions and behavior. Research in such a situation is a function of the researcher’s insights and impressions. Such an approach to research generates results either in non-quantitative form or in the form which are not subjected to rigorous quantitative analysis. Generally, the techniques of focus group interviews, projective techniques, and depth interviews are used.