Concept of Research: Definitions, Features/Nature

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Concept of Research

Traditionally, research is defined as gathering data to answer questions or find solutions to problems. Currently, the scope of research is not confined to the above statement only. Nowadays, research is conducted for two purposes: one is to enhance the knowledge or to develop a new theory in the concerned field and the second is to identify the problem and develop solutions to such problems. Thus, research refers to the process of systematic inquiry or investigation into a specific problem or issue that leads to new or improved knowledge for solving problems.

While segregating the word research, it is ‘Re’ and ‘search’. ‘Re’ means again and ‘search’ means finding new. So, research denotes the work of searching again and again based on the established theories through detailed, scientific, and structural procedures that help to develop theories or improvement in existing theories or solve the existing problems of a particular organization Thus, it can be concluded that research is a structured inquiry that utilizes acceptable scientific methodologies to solve problems and create new knowledge that is generally acceptable.

Various experts have their own views on the meaning of research. Some of the important views are as follows:

In the words of D. Slesinger and M. Stephenson in the Encyclopedia of social science define research is, “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.”

According to F.N. Kerlinger, “Research is a systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomena.”

According to Advanced Learners Dictionary, research is defined as, “a careful investigation or inquiry, especially through research for new facts in any branch of knowledge.”

According to D.K. Bhattacharya, research may be defined as “a documented and organized analysis of the subject based on borrowed materials with suitable acknowledgment and consultation is the main body of the paper.”

While analyzing the above definitions, it is clearly known that research is an original work that enhances the store of knowledge based on facts and figures. Concisely, it can be said that research is a systematic and organized study and analysis of an issue that helps to solve the problem or develop a new theory or add new knowledge to the existing bank of knowledge. Thus, the findings of the research must be supported by past research findings or expert opinions, or established theories.

Features/Nature of Research

The research undertakes the depth study of any issues or subjects based on the collection, analysis, and interpretation of information which helps to enhance the existing knowledge or solve any specific problem. Even though the features of different types of research are different but some common features of research are given below:

1. Objective:

Good research should be objective, and it must answer the research questions, This requires the formulation of a proper hypothesis which should not be based On hearsay, guess, and intuition otherwise there may be a lack of congruence between the research questions and the hypothesis.

2. Controlled:

Good research must be able to control all the variables This requires randomization at all stages e.g. in selecting the subjects sample size determination and the experimental treatments. This shall ensure adequate control over the independent variables. If means research controls the influence of other variables.

3. Generalizability:

We should be able to achieve almost the same results by using the same methodology so that we can apply the results to a similar situation. In other words, it can be said that the result developed by the researchers considering the same sample and methods should give the same results so that the results of the research can be applied in the practice. Finally, research findings found through the analysis of data collected from sample units should be applicable to large masses or populations.

4. Free from personal biases:

Good research must be free from the researcher’s personal biases and must be based on objectivity but not on subjectivity. It means that researchers should use such methodology that controls the use of researcher’s perceptions, intuition, and guess, and change the data for manipulating the results.

5. Systematic:

A good research study should follow various well-planned steps i.e. all steps must be interrelated and one step should lead to another step. The use of such steps of research helps to bring uniformity in research work and report writing. Thus, research should follow the steps of research serially.

6. Reproducible:

A researcher should be able to get approximately the same results by using an identical methodology if an investigation is conducted on a population having characteristics similar to the earlier study.

7. Directed toward the solution of a problem:

Research identifies the problems and investigates every aspect of the problems, It tries to find out the probable solutions to such problems through depth study. Thus, research is always directed toward the solution to the problem.

8. Logical:

The researcher collects the information from various sources and interprets the information, Research does not only present the result on the basis of analysis but should prove those results using various logics. Inductive and deductive approaches to research are examples of logical reasoning.

9. Replicable:

Conducting research using the same methodology is replicability. Conducting research on the same subject repeatedly helps to increase the reliability of research results. Previous theories should be tested again to improve the theories after a pace of time and such repeatedly tested results can be easily generalized in the numbers of organizations. Thus, the research should provide a clear methodology in its report so that it can be replicated.

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