Definition and Features of Research

Definition and Features of Research


The unique characteristic of human mind is the curiosity to know about the universe. Innumerable questions arise in our mind about our environment, planet and the universe. Most of these questions starting with what, why, how and soon. For example, what are stars? why day and night alternate? How is rain formed and why the mode of life and activities of human beings vary from place to place? Whenever such questions arise we seek answer to them or we try to find out solutions to them. Seeking answers to questions and finding solutions to the problems have been the basis of human progress. A systematic search for an answer to a question or a solution to a problem is called research.                                                                                          
The word research is derived from the Middle French "recherche", which means "to go about seeking", the term itself being derived from the Old French term "recerchier" a compound word from "re-" + "cerchier", or "sercher", meaning 'search'. The earliest recorded use of the term was in 1577.
“A systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Activities which meet this definition constitute research for purposes of this policy, whether or not they are conducted or supported under a program which is considered research for other purposes.
Research, Simply means, a search for facts – answers to questions and Solutions to Problems. It is a Purposive investigation. It is an “Organized inquiry” (It seeks to find explanations to unexplained phenomenon, to classify the doubtful propositions and to correct the misconceived facts).
Research is systematic and organized effort to investigate a specific problem that needs a solution. It contributes to the general body of knowledge. It also corrects human knowledge. Actually research is simply the process of arriving as dependable solution to a problem through the planned and systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of a data. Research is the most important process for advancing knowledge for promoting progress and to enable man to relate more effectively to his environment to accomplish his purpose and to solve his conflicts. Although it is not the only way, it is one of the most effective ways of solving problems.

The term research has two words Re+Search. Re means again and Search means to find out something new. In fact research is a process which unrevealing the facts underlying a phenomenon. Thus it is a simple process to look at phenomenon again and again from different dimensions. Research is oriented towards the discovery of relationship that exists among different phenomena of the world. Research is based on fundamental assumption that invariant relationships exist between certain antecedents and certain consequents so that under a specific set of conditions , certain consequents can be expected to follow the introduction of given antecedent.
Research is a point of view, an attitude of inquiry or a frame of mind. It asks questions which have hitherto not been asked, and it seeks to answer them by following a fairly definite procedure. It is not a mere theorizing, but rather an attempt to elicit facts and to face them once they have been assembled.
The research has mainly four objectives, which are Theoretical objectives, Factual objectives, Establishment of truth as objective and Practical objectives.
§  According to Black and Champion, “scientific research consist of obtaining information through empirical observation that can be used for systematic development of logically related propositions attempting to establish casual relations among variable”.
§  Emory defines research as “any organized inquiry designed and carried out to provide information for solving a problem”.
§  Kerlinger defines research as a” systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical relations among natural phenomena”.
§  According to Clifford Woody “research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis”.
§  L.V. Redman and A.V.H. Morry have defined “systematic effort to gain new knowledge we call research”.
A broad definition of research is given by Godwin Colibao: "In the broadest sense of the word, the definition of research includes any gathering of data, information, and facts for the advancement of knowledge."
Another definition of research is given by John W. Creswell, who states that "[r]esearch is a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue". It consists of three steps: pose a question, collect data to answer the question, and present an answer to the question.[

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines research in more detail as "a studious inquiry or examination; especially investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws".
Research seeks to find out explanations to unexplained phenomena to clarify the doubtful propositions and to correct the misconceived facts. It simply means a search for facts, answer to questions and solutions to problems. The search for facts may be made through either (a) arbitrary (unscientific) method or (b) scientific method.
Arbitrary method of seeking answer to questions is based on imagination, blind belief or impression. It is vague and inaccurate. Scientific method is a systematic rational approach to seeking fact. It is objective, precise and arrives at conclusions on the basis of verifiable evidences. Hence research is systematic and logical study of an issue problem or phenomenon through scientific method. Following definitions may reveal the proper meaning of the concept of research.
§  Research is a process to discover new knowledge and this process is known as scientific method.
§  Scientific method is a systematic investigation (i.e. gathering and analysis of information) designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.
§  Scientific inquiry is a systematized effort to gain new knowledge or activity to know the unknown.
§  Scientific method tries to rediscover every aspect of man’s evolution as a social animal and every moment even adds new knowledge about the behavior of man.
§  Application of scientific method in the social field to discover new knowledge is social research.

FFeatures of Research

The above definitions reveal the following characteristics of research.
§  Research is a systematic and critical investigation to a phenomenon.
§  It aims at interpreting and explaining a phenomenon.
§  It adopts scientific method.
§  It is based on empirical evidences and observable experience.
§  It develops generalizations, principles or theories.
§  It directed towards finding answer to the questions and solutions to the problems.

   Moreover, There are more distinct features of Research, such as:
§  Empirical – research is based on direct experience or observation by the researcher.
§  Logical – research is based on valid procedures and principles.
§  Cyclical – research starts with a problem and ends with a problem.
§  Analytical – research utilizes proven analytical procedures in gathering data, whether historical, descriptive, experimental, and case study.
§  Critical – research exhibits careful and precise judgment.
§  Methodical – research is conducted in a methodical manner without bias using systematic method and procedures.
§  Replicability – research design and procedures are repeated to enable the researcher to arrive at valid and conclusive results

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