Nature of Research Meaning, Characteristics and Types

Table of Contents:-

  1. Nature of Research
  2. Meaning of Research
  3. Characteristics of Research
  4. Types of Research

Research plays an important role in expanding knowledge and understanding of the world around us. The nature of research is systematic and objective. This process aims to answer questions, test hypotheses, and contribute to the existing body of knowledge. By following rigorous methodologies and ethical guidelines, researchers can ensure the reliability and credibility of their findings. The nature of research, when approached with diligence and dedication, becomes a powerful tool for advancing one’s understanding of the world.

Research comprises two different words, “Re” and “Search”. ‘Re’ implies a repetitive or iterative process, whereas ‘search’ signifies conducting a comprehensive examination or looking over carefully to find something. Various researchers have defined research in different ways because of its expansive scope. In general, researchers define research as a scientific process that establishes and/or validates new facts, ideas, and theories across diverse domains of knowledge. The research aims at adding to the existing stock of knowledge for the betterment of the world.

According to 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”.

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

According to Clifford Woody, “Research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions, collecting, organising and evaluating data. Making deductions and reaching conclusions to determine they fit the formulating hypothesis.”

Research involves scientific and systematic analysis of a specific area of study, culminating in the formulation of findings supported by sound reasoning.

Nature of Research

The following points can characterise research:

1) Systematic Activity

The research follows a systematic procedure to analyse a research problem in a better way. It is essential to avoid haphazard research methods and adhere to a well-structured approach for reliable outcomes. Researchers can proceed to the next step only after successfully concluding the previous one.

2) Logical Process

The basic tenet of research is “logic”. All the assumptions and analyses undertaken are based on certain logic. Research is a scientific, systematic, and planned investigation to understand the underlying problem.

3) Iterative Process

Research is an iterative process. Sometimes it becomes necessary for the researcher to review the work of earlier stages, which makes it cyclic. Often it becomes harder for the researcher to find out the starting and ending points.

4) Based on Empirical Evidence

Research studies are empirical. Researchers employ various scientific tools and techniques at every step of the research process. Accuracy and reliance on observable experiences or empirical evidence are verified in each research step. Therefore, quantitative research is easier to validate than qualitative research, which is more conceptual.

5) Controlled in Nature

Researchers frequently manage variable effects by permitting the variation of selected variables for testing purposes. Due to this reason, controlling the variables in scientific research is much easier than controlling the factors in social research. Hence in research, it is essential to control the variables carefully.

Characteristics of Good Research

A good research should qualify in the following essential criteria:

1) Ethically Conducted

A researcher should abide by the ethical standards laid down to conduct research accurately. Researchers must thoroughly examine, explain, and document both the research data and the limiting factors. This practice ensures transparency with the readers. The data should remain unaltered to accurately reflect the findings. The researchers must document the results of the study comprehensively.

2) Reliability

Reliability refers to the repeatability of a research, tool, procedure, or instrument. The degree of reliability of a research study depends on the consistency of its findings. Researchers determine the reliability of their work by observing consistent results under similar conditions and procedures. For example, a researcher may study the effect of a course written in English on the final grades of a group of students. To ensure the reliability of the study’s findings, researchers can replicate the study with a different group of students and achieve consistent results.

3) Clearly Defined Objectives

Researchers must clearly define the objectives of a research study. Well-defined research objectives provide researchers with a clear roadmap to follow. It helps the researchers to determine the type of data required to efficiently conduct the research.

4) Accuracy

Accurate research occurs when the research process, instruments, and tools interconnect seamlessly. It verifies that researchers are appropriately selecting their research tools. For example, Observation is the recommended data collection method when researching mental patients, as it helps overcome the challenge of potential inaccuracy in questionnaires or interviews.

5) Flexibility

Research involves re-examining the data till correct findings are arrived. This is possible only if the research approach is flexible. There should always be scope to add on significant data or modify existing data as needed.

6) Generalisable Results

The degree to which the result of research can be applied to a bigger population is called generalisability. While carrying a research, the researcher selects a small sample from a target population. Hence, the sample and the research findings accurately reflect the characteristics of the target population. If the research results can be applied to other samples from a similar population, then the research findings can be considered generalisable.

7) Validity

Validity is a measure of the applicability of the research. It refers to the suitability and efficiency of the research instrument or procedure regarding the research problem. Validity measures the accuracy of an instrument in measuring the problem. It is a measurement of the applicability of the research. Validity is the basis of deciding whether a research conclusion, assumption, or proposition is true or false. The validity of research is maintained by clearly defining the concepts involved.

8) Credibility of Sources

Credibility means that the research data should be taken from trustworthy sources. Although the use of secondary data in research allows the researcher to complete the research within the timeframe, he loses credibility, as the secondary data are usually manipulated and hence relying exclusively on it can lead to erroneous and faulty research conclusions. A researcher should try to use primary data to the greatest extent feasible. If primary data is not available, then a specific amount of secondary data can be used. However, conducting research completely based on secondary data can harm the credibility of the research.

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