A research process is a mean to answer questions that cannot be answered otherwise. The researcher needs to follow a step-by-
step plan to execute the research. These steps are also called as research model.
Reviewing the literature
The research basically starts with a research problem in hand. To formulate a researchable research problem, you need to review the existing literature. This enhances your knowledge about the subject area on which you want to do the research. At times researcher altogether bring new ideas about the research problem and the research topic when they review the literature. This is the first step in the research process and a great time to think and evaluate about the research topic.
Formulating a research problem
A research problem is the central point and heart of the research process. A research problem should have the following characteristics; well defined, addressable, empirically reachable, specific and clear. You will need to formulate a research question to make the research process more directional and to bring clarity and vision to the research.
Once the research question has been formulated the researcher needs to analyze the variables that need to be studied in the research. A research cannot be undertaken in the absence of clear variables. Concepts should be converted into variables to make them workable. In scientific research, variables are clearly defined. Extraneous variables, though, need to be controlled more to avoid any impact on the other variables to be studied.
There are millions of studies that have been undertaken in the absence of a hypothesis. Hypothesis brings several benefits to the study, but a study can be undertaken without a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a theory, speculation or assumption that helps initiate a study. It helps in further clarifying the research problem. Hypothesis like research problem can be formulated conveniently after reviewing the existing literature. Suppose you want to study the impact of the attitude of maths teachers on the children’s problem-solving skills in class. You need to develop a hypothesis to bring clarity to this problem. Suppose you build a hypothesis that a good attitude from the mathematics teacher in the class brings enthusiasm and focus in the students while bad behavior brings disinterest and detachment when confronted with activities related to problem solving. This hypothesis has given a direction to the problem that you wanted to study.
Conceptualising a research design
The research design
While in the previous phases of research the researcher brings clarity to the research problem in order to undertake it. In this phase, the researcher builds a workable study design that helps him undertake the study. The study design is a plan that helps you attain answers to your research questions.
Selecting a study design
The study design can be selected keeping in mind the nature of the study and the availability of the resources like time, money, instruments and manpower.
Constructing an instrument for data collection
Selecting a method of data collection
Data can be collected from various sources and it can be classified into primary, secondary and tertiary sources. In experimental researches, the source of data is always primary (experiments). In social sciences and humanities, the source can be primary or secondary (experiments, observation, interviews or books and government publications). The use of tertiary sources in research is not common but in the absence of primary and secondary evidences they can be used.
The selection of the source depends on the nature and extent of the research study. In the study design, the data collection instrument and the source has to be decided.
Establishing the validity and reliability of the research instrument
The research instrument can be taken from various sources. There should have to be one characteristic common in any research instrument; the validity and the reliability. Validity and reliability are crucial to the success of any research.
Selecting a sample
Sampling is the process of selecting a few from a larger group that is the population. There are basically two types of sampling random sampling and nonrandom sampling. Sampling may compromise the accuracy of the research to some extent. Therefore, the researcher builds a confidence interval and confidence limit for the sample that he has taken. The confidence limit determines the accuracy, validity and the reliability of the research.
Writing a research proposal
Writing a research proposal
A research proposal needs to be submitted for the approval of your study design. The research proposal contains the framework of your research that the audience can question. It helps you in editing anything at this point. The success of the study is ensured in this way.
With data collection, the actual research findings start to appear in your hand that you have to analyze later. Data collection process is an essential process in any type of research. The data can be qualitative or quantitative, but it should be collected in a rigorous manner.
Ethical issues in data collection should also be kept in mind. The respondents identity and their safety should be kept safe.
The data is processed to convert it into codes that can be analyzed and presented. An analysis framework is designed and the coded data is then analyzed manually or through the use of computer.
The data that is now highly organized can be tabulated and displayed in the form of tables and graphs. Displaying data helps in better understanding the result findings. It also helps you in presenting it to the audience and to draw conclusions.
Writing a research report
Writing a research report
The last phase of the research process is definitely writing the research report, dissertation or thesis. Though in many cases the process of writing goes hand in hand and the researcher start writing it as soon as he designs the study design. Editing and manipulating the written manuscripts is always required at the end of the research to avoid any mistakes.