What is Research?

What we mean when we say “research” is an investigation into a topic with the goal of finding a solution.

The Role of Research in Our Everyday Lives

Research is a part of everyone’s everyday routine. Newspaper articles, books, studies, and TV shows all provide us with the findings of many types of study. For instance, television news stories provide us with crime statistics, and shows and publications alike tend to focus heavily on certain areas like nutrition and fitness. As a result, we have been used, via a variety of media, to being exposed to research and, whether or not we want to admit it, to generating our own evaluations of study results.

If we use nutrition and health as an example, many of us have thought about what we’ve heard about “healthy eating” and made decisions about our diets based on how they fit into our own circumstances. We evaluate the data provided to us, create a judgment on the reliability and applicability of the study, and draw our own findings based on factors like:

·         The issue or problem, as we see it, that needs solving

·         the method used to show the results

·         discuss the study’s motivations

·         what we know about the researchers who did the study

·         the opinions of other individuals who have read the material

·         Discuss the significance of the study results

We may either choose to disregard the information, determine we don’t understand what it means, disagree with the results, or agree with the findings and opt to either alter our diets or conclude that the costs of doing so outweigh the advantages. There will always be those for whom knowledge like this has little immediate usefulness due to external factors like a lack of food, for example. You may not realize it, but you already know something about how research is conducted, what it is for, what ideas are central to it, and how it is judged.


Conducting research is a multistep procedure.

The research process may be seen as a chain of interrelated steps leading from one point to another. The first step in doing research is identifying an issue to investigate and then developing a set of goals to achieve via that investigation. From there, the researcher selects what information to gather, how it will be acquired, and how it will be analyzed to provide an answer to the research question.

However, research exploration is typically an iterative process, whereby new ideas are generated throughout the course of performing the study and then flow back into the data gathering and analysis stage. It is common practice to reevaluate preliminary choices in light of new information gleaned or difficulties encountered as a study progresses.

No matter where the investigation goes from there, it must first identify the issue and formulate relevant questions. If the goal of your study is to find answers to specific questions, then your methodology of choice should naturally flow from those questions. Select the approach that will allow you to collect and analyze the data you need to address your specific inquiry. This highlights the need of being specific in your questions.

There are clearly several paths to choose when conducting a study. You should think about these four interconnected topics as you plan your study. • Research’s philosophical foundations, as outlined by the conceptual approach

Data gathering methodology, or the research design.

Methods of data collecting; how information is gathered

Data are acquired from a sample population, hence sampling is an important consideration. The many stages of study design may be seen as the layers of an onion. Research philosophy, research strategy, technique, etc., may be thought of as an onion, with several layers representing alternative options. In any study, decisions are made at each of these stages, albeit they are not usually articulated. Some decisions deeper in the onion depend on others, although this is not always the case.

Some Other Factors

The following are additional considerations that should be made at the planning stage of a research project:

·         the desired information outputs, including but not limited to: who will use the data and why

·         time, money, space, people, and connectivity are just few of the many research resources that must be considered.

·         ethical factors, such as whether or not it is feasible to gain informed permission from all participants, whether or not the researcher’s safety is at danger, and whether or not the researchers can guarantee the confidentiality of all information disclosed.

For the sake of clarity, let’s define certain terms.

When reading about research, you may find that various writers use a wide variety of terms to describe the many steps involved. That’s why you could find some of the background reading on the topic murky and puzzling.

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The following words are often used and may be confusingly similar to one another.

·         The phrase “research subject” is often used interchangeably with “research issue” and “research circumstance,” or to signify the same thing as those terms are used by others.

·         Many people use the terms “research strategy” and “research approach” interchangeably or to signify the same thing.

·         The term “method” may be used interchangeably with either a general approach to gathering information or a particular method or set of techniques for doing so. In certain contexts, terms like “survey” or “ethnography,” “interview,” and “observation” are all considered methodologies. Because of this, we’ll try to avoid overusing the term “method.”

·         Different writers classify methods and structures in different ways, however these classifications often overlap and may be utilized in tandem with one another. Some ideas or parts of the research process overlap, making it more difficult to utilize consistent language (for example, in our definitions below, the word “experiment” refers to both a study design and a strategy). This is a result of the many ways in which the same vocabulary is used and the fact that designs may be merged. Within the context of this unit, the following definitions will be used as guides.


Outline of the strategy and methodology to be used in answering the research questions.

Means of Investigation

This is where the study’s concepts and theories come from. The positivist, interpretivist, realist, and other schools of thought.

Plans for Research

How information is gathered to address the study’s central question. Basic design categories are: (1) Situation, ‘snap-shot’ or Baseline (also termed case-study); (2) Crosssectional comparison; (3) Longitudinal; (4) Longitudinal comparison; (5) Experiment.

Plan of Expansion of Knowledge

Refers to a methodological technique or tradition: Studies like experiments, surveys, and case studies are all good examples.

Tools for Gathering Information

Methods of information gathering include the use of questionnaires, interviews, observations, and archival research.