Research: Definition, Meaning, Importance Types and Qualities of Research
Research is defined as a careful consideration of study regarding a particular concern or a problem using scientific methods. According to the American sociologist Earl Robert Babbie, “Research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict and control the observed phenomenon. Research involves inductive and deductive methods.”
Meaning:- Research comprises “creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.” It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories. A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. Research projects can be used to develop further knowledge on a topic, or in the example of a school research project, they can be used to further a student’s research prowess to prepare them for future jobs or reports. To test the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of prior projects or the project as a whole. The primary purposes of basic research (as opposed to applied research) are documentation, discovery, interpretation, or the research and development (R&D) of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge. Approaches to research depend on epistemologies, which vary considerably both within and between humanities and sciences. There are several forms of research: scientific, humanities, artistic, economic, social, business, marketing, practitioner research, life, technological, etc.
Types of Research
- Basic Research
Basic research is mostly conducted to enhance knowledge. It covers fundamental aspects of research. The main motivation of this research is knowledge expansion. It is a non-commercial research and doesn’t facilitate in creating or inventing anything. For example, an experiment is a good example of basic research.
- Applied Research
Applied research focuses on analyzing and solving real-life problems. This type of research refers to the study that helps solve practical problems using scientific methods. This research plays an important role in solving issues that impact the overall well-being of humans. For example, finding a specific cure for a disease.
- Problem Oriented Research
As the name suggests, problem-oriented research is conducted to understand the exact nature of the problem to find out relevant solutions. The term “problem” refers to having issues or two thoughts while making any decisions.
For e.g Revenue of a car company has decreased by 12% in the last year. The following could be the probable causes: There is no optimum production, poor quality of a product, no advertising, economic conditions etc.
- Problem Solving Research
This type of research is conducted by companies to understand and resolve their own problems. The problem-solving research uses applied research to find solutions to the existing problems.
- Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is a process that is about inquiry that helps in-depth understanding of the problems or issues in their natural settings. This is a non- statistical research method.
Qualitative research is heavily dependent on the experience of the researchers and the questions used to probe the sample. The sample size is usually restricted to 6-10 people in a sample. Open-ended questions are asked in a manner that one question leads to another. The purpose of asking open-ended questions is to gather as much information as possible from the sample.
Following are the methods used for qualitative research:-
- One-to-one interview
- Focus groups
- Ethnographic Research
- Content/ Text Analysis
- Case study research
- Quantitative Research
Qualitative research is a structured way of collecting data and analyzing it to draw conclusions. Unlike qualitative research, this research method uses a computational, statistical and similar method to collect and analyze data. Quantitative data is all about numbers.
Quantitative research involves a larger population as more number of people means more data. In this manner, more data can be analyzed to obtain accurate results. This type of research method uses close-ended questions because, in quantitative research, the researchers are typically looking at measuring the extent and gathering foolproof statistical data.
Online surveys, questionnaires, and polls are preferable data collection tools used in quantitative research. There are various methods of deploying surveys or questionnaires. In recent times online surveys and questionnaires have gained popularity. Survey respondents can receive these surveys on mobile phones, emails or can simply use the internet to access surveys or questionnaires.
Qualities of Research
- Empirical: based on observations and experimentation on theories.
- Systematic: follows orderly and sequential procedure.
- Controlled: all variables except those that are tested/experimented upon are kept constant.
- Employs hypothesis: guides the investigation process
- Analytical: There is critical analysis of all data used so that there is no error in their interpretation
- Objective, Unbiased, & Logical: all findings are logically based on empirical
- Employs quantitative or statistical methods: data are transformed into numerical measures and are treated statistically.