Definition, Meaning, Importance, Types and Qualities of Research

Research can be defined as,

“a scientific approach to answering a research question, solving a research problem, or generating new knowledge through a systematic and orderly collection, organisation, and analysis of data to make research findings useful in decision-making.”

American sociologist Earl Robert Babbie states,

“Research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict and control the observed phenomenon.”

Research refers to a careful consideration of study related to a specific problem or concern applying scientific methods. The word ‘research’ originates from the French word “recerchier” which means to ‘search again.’

Definition of Research:

1. Clifford Woody :”Research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions, Collecting, Organizing and Evaluating data, Making deductions and reaching Conclusions to determine they fit the formulating hypothesis.”

2. John Best : “Research is a systematic activity directed towards discovery and the development of an organised body of knowledge.”

3. Waltz and Bausell : “Research is a systematic, formal, rigorous and precise process employed to gain solutions to problems or to discover and interpret new facts and relationships.”

Importance of Research 

1. Recognise Threats and Opportunities: Research enables one to be aware of the potential threats and opportunities existing in a particular environment. 

2. Problem Assessment and Opportunities: Research allows the researcher to research problems and opportunities so that the same can be estimated and analysed. Existing problems and its causes can also be determined by the researcher. 

3. Selection of Solution: Research enables practitioners to come up with various ideas for research problems based on a specific evaluation criteria so that the best solution can be determined. 

4. Course of Action Evaluation: Research is also helpful in allowing one to determine whether the course of action chosen has been applied properly and whether it is effective or not. 

5. New Knowledge: Once the research is conducted, a new area of knowledge or application always emerges. 

Types of Research 

1. Theoretical Research: It refers to knowledge gathered by discovering new ideas and theories through existing theories and explanations. However, the major emphasis is on studying rather than testing the theories and models. It focuses more on secondary data instead of primary data.

2. Empirical Research : It is a data-oriented research that provides insights through observation or experiences. The primary data are collected, analysed and tested to prove some hypotheses. 

3. Qualitative Research : This research  is conducted to study and analyse human behavior. It is the preliminary stage of quantitative research.

4. Quantitative research: It is contrary to qualitative research. It is a scientific technique that analyses the data using statistical measures for concluding the outcomes of a research problem.

5. Action research: It is also referred to as “participatory research”. In this, active problem-solving is done by the individuals to improve the research solutions. 

Qualities of Research 

1. Clearly Defined Objectives:

A good researcher must define its objectives clearly because it will be easier and more effective for the researcher to conduct the study if the objectives are well-defined. 

2. Flexibility:

Research involves re-examining the data till correct findings are arrived for which the research approach must be flexible in nature.

3. Ethically Conducted:

If the researcher abides by the ethics of research sincerely, the research is more reliable and hence, the research must be well scrutinised, explained, and documented. 

4. Reliable:

“A research is called reliable when it produces similar results for different samples drawn from the same population under similar conditions and procedures.”

5. Validity:

“It refers to the suitability and efficiency of the research Instrument or procedure regarding the research problem. It measures the accuracy of an instrument in measuring the problem.”

Pertaining to research, Theodorson and Theodorson (1969) states,

“it refers to any honest attempt to study a problem systematically or to add to man’s knowledge of a problem.” According to Gratton & Jones, 2009, “Research is a systematic process of discovery and advancement of human knowledge.”

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