What is research
Research is a way of thinking, bringing out new ideas, solving problems, exploring new possibilities and making new discoveries. The approach to seek this knowledge is always scientific and hence systematic. The job of the researcher is to be rigorous in the search of knowledge. The researcher has to make sure that he is using the most empirical method to solve the problem.
Definition of Research by Kerlinger
Kerlinger defines research as systematic, controlled, empirical, and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomena.
Purpose of research
In day to day life we all do research to solve problems, make correlations and to understand situations and facts. In strict scientific sense research is undertaken rigorously and with an aim to seek the right knowledge. All research aim at increasing the available body of knowledge. Any research can take several forms and hence there are different purpose behind different researches.
Develop new theories
The purpose of a research can be to develop new theories about any phenomena. The researcher develops a set of principles on the basis of which an activity can be performed. Theory is still a proposition or hypothesis and once a theory is developed many other researches undergo to affirm or reject it.
Testing preexisting theories
Theories are suppositions and they can be rejected with further researches. When theories are affirmed again and again by several researches they become law. Testing preexisting theories is also an aim of research. Once a theory is developed it is necessary that further researches on that theory should be conducted to make it more valid.
Some researches aim at supporting other theories to make them sound. In the field of medicines several researches go hand in hand to support the existing theories.
Problem solving is also an aim of research. In the field of humanities most of the research are based on solving the problems by providing solutions.
Some research are focused on establishing or confirming facts.
A very different approach to research is to test the validity of the research tools, procedures and equipments itself. The purpose of research here is to increase the validity and reliability of the research. The researcher aims at doing lots of research and development to improve the process of research.
To be proactive
A research can also be undertaken to proactively solve a problem or overcome happening of a situation.In recent years the scope of proactive research has been increased. In many fields of life proactive approach to research is favored.
There can be an maths assignment that a teacher assigns to his students, the student gets help from different sources like books, journals or newspaper to accomplish that assignment. Take another example another student is surveying people to find answers about a question that has been posed by his teacher in his mass communication class. In both of the above examples the purpose of the study is to find a solution or get an answer to a problem, can we call it a research? yes, we can call it a research if the process used by both students has the following characteristics.
Research follows a controlled process to find answers. In every research there are variables, some variables have been selected by the researcher to study. There are other variables that are called as controlled variable. The researcher should control the other variables that can ruin the whole research.
Validity is one of the most important consideration in every research. The researcher has to maintain validity of his research throughout the process. As the term suggests validity implies that your research is sound. In data collection,analysis and processing every possible chance of bias should be eliminated.
Every research should follow a scientific or empirical approach to find the answers. By empirical we mean that it should have a scientific and systematic process and it should follow it. Empirical and scientific researches negates the use of personal experiences and observations. They work on the use of sound objective approach to finding answers to the questions.
In modern world it is quite easy to find out plagiarism in research, the research should be as original and new as any new discovery can be.
Painstaking effort is required to go through all the steps in the research process. Rigorousness and attention to each and every detail is very important because a small thing can have a bigger impact on the conclusions of the research. Having a controlled research, though, already means that you have taken great caution in the planning, developing and execution of the research.
A scientific or empirical research should have to be systematic in nature. The research should follow a strict procedure, tools and techniques. The planning, developing, controlling and executing stages of the research should all go smoothly and should follow each other.
Critical here does not imply that in research you should keep finding faults but it means that you should analyze your work at each step. You should become critical yourself or ask help of someone else with an experience in research. Find out the merits and demerits of doing things one way and the other before executing it.