Formulation Of Research Problem And Hypothesis

One of the most difficult phases of any research project is the choice of a suitable problem. The beginner is likely to take a very long time in making his choice. In this first step of any research the research worker should not take a hasty decision. Every problem, which comes to his mind or even that suggested by a more experienced person, may not be a fit research problem. The identification of a good research problem should be considered a discovery in it self.

Identification of a research problem is the first step in scientific inquiry. A problem in simple words is some difficulty experienced by the researcher in a theoretical or practical situation solving this difficulty is the task of research.

The problem defines the goal of the researcher in clear terms. Thus, with out a problem, research can not proceed because there is nothing to processed from and proceed toward. In social sciences, quite a number of researchers may be faced with this problem, i.e., the problem of not being able to see a problem.

Personal values play an important role in the selection of a topic for research. Social scientists with different values tend to choose different topic for investigation. Of course, personal values are not the only determinants in selecting a topic for inquiry. Social conditions do often shape the preference of investigators in a subtle and imperceptible way.

There are also a number of powerful and overt inducements to selection of one topic rather than another. Societies differ in respect of premium they place on the work in different fields. These differential premia affect the choice of research topics. In a given society, it may bring greater prestige to do research on a deadly disease rather than on say, the patterns of socialization.

The selection of a topic for research is only half a step forward.

How to Proceed?

The formulation of the problem consists in making various components of the problem explicit.

Says John Dewey: It is a familiar and significant saying that a problem well put is half- solved. To find out what the problem or problems are which a problematic situation presents…. Is to be well along in inquiry. To mistake the problem involved is to cause subsequent enquiry to be irrelevant. With out a problem there is blind grouping in the dark.

There are three principle components in the formulation of a problem.

  • The originating questions (what one wants to know?)
  • The rational- theoretical or practical (why one wants to have the questions answered?)
  • The specifying questions (possible answers to the originating) questions in term of that satisfy the rationale.)

The Originating Questions

  • Represent the beginning of certain difficulties or challenges
  • Are formulated in such specific indicate where exactly the answers to them can be searched for.
  • Constitute the initial phase in the process of problem formulation.
  • May be formulated in terms of broadly delimited categories of social variable but do not indicate specifically which particular variables in each class might be germane to the issues.
  • Usually derive from a general theoretical orientation rather than a definite theory.

Rationale of Questions

  • Is the statement of reasons why a particular question is worth putting a cross .
  • States what will happen to other parts of knowledge or practice if the question posed is answered, i.e., how the answer to the question will contribute to theory and/ or practice.
  • Helps to effect a discrimination between scientifically good and scientifically trivial questions.

Specifying Questions

  • Culminate the process of formulating a research problem
  • Involve the breaking down of originating question in to several specifying questions related to particular aspects and their consequences.

Necessary Conditions for Formulating a Research Problem

We may now list some of the conditions that experience has proved to be conducive to formulation of significant research problems.

Systematic Immersion in the Subject matter through first hand observation

The researcher must immerse him/her self in the subject matter area with I which he/ she wishes to pose specific problem. This exercise helps a great deal in suggesting to the researcher the specific questions that may be posed for the study to answer. This process is know as pilot survey, preliminary survey or exploratory study.

Study of Relevant Literature on the Subject.

This would help the researcher to know if there are certain gaps in the theories (his/her research will then be to bridge this gap) or whether the prevailing theories applicable to the problem are in consistent with theoretical expectations and so on. This is also an aspect of exploration.

Discussions with persons having rich practical experience in the filed of study.

This is often known as an experience survey, which again is an exercise at exploration. These people help in sharpening the focus of attention on specific aspects with in the field.
Sources of Research Problem
The research problem may be selected from the following sources:

  • theory of ones own interest
  • daily problems
  • technological changes
  • un explored areas
  • discussions with other people

A research may select a problem for investigation from a given theory in which he has considerable interest. In such situations the researcher must have thorough knowledge of that theory and should be sufficiently inquisitive to explore some unexplained aspects or assumptions of that theory.

Research problem can also be selected on the basis of daily experience of a researcher. Everyday problems constantly present something new and worthy of investigation and it depends on the worthy of investigation and it depends on the sharpness of the researcher intellect to knit his daily experiences in to a research problem.

Technological changes in a fast changing society are constantly brought forth new problems and new opportunities for research. What is the impact of a changed technology on the existing socio economic set up, always interests the researcher and tempts him to under take such studies as are revealing regarding the impact of new technology on the existing system.

Research problems can be both abstract and of applied interest. These may also be selected from those areas which have not been explored so far. Such area may be theoretical or empirical in nature.

Some times the researcher while discussing the interest with some other people may come across a problem that can be researched by the investigator. The problem may relate to any source as discussed above. In the same way reading assignments in text books, special assignments, research reports and term papers may also suggest some additional areas of needed research. Many research articles suggest some additional areas of needed research. Many research articles suggest problem for further investigation that may prove fruitful.

Criteria of a Good Research Problem

Factors to be taken in to account in the choice of research problem are both external and personal. External criteria involve such issues as newness and significance for the area, availability of data and method and administrative and institutional cooperation personal criteria include such consideration as interest, training, cost and time. The following are move detailed list of criteria for the choice of research problem.


It should be sufficiently original so that it does not involve objectionable duplication. Ignorance of prior studies may lead a student to spend time a problem already investigated. The study should also employ the most recent data. Although originality is an important consideration, there is also a constant need for verification of the findings of the previous investigations, using newer and better devices and procedures. There is also a need for the testing of former findings under changed conditions.


The problem should be interesting for the investigator him self. If he is not interested in to, he will be able to face and overcome the obstacles which come at every step in research. His interest should be purely intellectual and should not be there only for a reward, material benefit, advancement in position, increased authority, etc.


If it is not worth while, if adds to neither knowledge nor lead to any improvements in the current practices, it would be in vain set up as a discipline and to previous research findings in any way.

Immediate Application

The investigator should ask him self question, will my research help in solving an urgent problem

Feasibility or Amenability

The suitability of the problem for a particular research worker is the matter of its feasibility. The investigator should be able to carry it to a successful conclusion. He should possess the required competence, knowledge and understanding. He should be skillful enough to develop, administer, and interpret the necessary data gathering devices and procedures etc.

Feasibility issue of research includes the following

  • Availability of data
  • Availability of cooperation
  • Availability of guidance
  • Availability of other facilitates
  • Experience and creativity
  • Coverage and confidence

Formulating and Stating the Problem

After the problem has been selected it must be definitely formulated and stated in precise terms. The type of statement to be employed depends on the preference of the worker and the nature of the problem.

There are two alternative ways of stating a problem.

  • Posing question (s)
  • Making declaration statement (s)

One may choose any of these ways remembering that the question form has an advantage in sharpening and focusing the issue, but the declarative form is perhaps more common and both of the ways may be combined easily in an initial statement.

Definition of the Problem

It implies the separation of the problem from the complex of difficulties and needs. It means to put a fence around it, to separate it by careful distinction from like questions found in related situations of need.

To decline a problem means to specify it in detail and with precesion. Each question and subordinate question to be answered is to be specified. Sometimes it is necessary to formulate the point of view or educational theory on which the investigation is to be based. If certain assumption is made they are explicitly noted.

It is important to define and elucidate the problem as a whole and further define all the technical and unusual terms employed in the statement.

Common Errors in Formulating Research Problem

Naming a Broad Filed

To choose the broad area of study instead of specific problem makes no justification .

Narrowing or Localizing a Topic

The problem should not be narrowed to such an extent that it becomes too small and insignificant from research point or view.

Lock of Precisions in the Instrument

It the tools, tests, or devices, which are proposed to be used in data collection and analysis are no precise enough, they may result in another constant error.


The derivation of a suitable hypothesis goes hand in hand with the selection of a research problem. Hypothesis is a statement temporarily accepted as true in the light of what is, at the time, known about the phenomenon, and it is employed as a basis for action in the search of new truth. A hypothesis is a tentative assumption drawn from knowledge and theory which is used as a guide in the investigation of other facts and theories that are yet unknown. It is a guide, supposition or tentative inference as to the existence of some fact condition or relationship relative to some phenomenon which serves to explain such facts as ready are know to exist in a given area of research and to guide the search for new truth. A hypothesis is a tentative supposition or provisional guss which seems to explain the situation under observation. A hypothesis states what we are looking for. A hypothesis looks forward. It is a proposition which can be put to a test to determine its validity.

Importance of Hypothesis

  1. It provides direction to research. It defines what is relevant and what is irrelevant. Thus it prevents the review or irrelevant literature and the collection useless or excess data.
  2. It sensitizes the investigator to certain aspects of situations which are relevant from the stand point of the problem in hand. It spells the difference between precision and haphazardness, between fruitful and fruitless research.
  3. It. Is a guide to thinking process and the process of discovery. It is the investigators eye a sort of guiding light in the world of darkness.
  4. It focuses research with out it research would be like a random and aimless wandering.
    1. It places clear and specific goals before us. These clear and specific goals provide the investigator with a basis for selecting samples and research procedures to meet these goals.

Characteristics of a Usable Hypothesis

The criteria for judging the usability of the hypothesis are non else than those that help the hypothesis perform their designated functions vis- a vis research and the growth of knowledge. Hence, a good useable hypothesis is the one which satisfies many of the following criteria.

  • A hypothesis should be empirically testable
  • A good hypothesis in agreement with the observed facts.
  • A good hypothesis does not conflict with any law of nature which is know to be true.
  • A good hypothesis is expert.
  • It should be so designed that its test will provide an answer to original problems which forms primary purpose of the investigation.
  • It must be stated in final form early in the experiment before any attempt at verification is made.
  • The hypothesis must be conceptually clear.
  • The hypothesis must be specific

Advisedly, the hypothesis should be related to a body of theory or some theoretical orientation.

Difficulties in the Formulation of Hypothesis

  • Lack of knowledge and clarity of the theoretical frame work of the area in which the investigator chooses to work.
  • Lack of ability to make use of the theoretical frame work logically.
  • Lack of acquaintance with available research techniques. This result in failure of phrasing the hypothesis properly.
  • Vagueness of the statement

Research Methods And Techniques

Any research which makes use of observations based on past events is known as research in historical approach. The main aim of historical research is to apply the method of reflective thinking to social and economic problems still unsolved by means of discovery of past trends of events; facts and attitudes. It traces lines to development in human thought and action intruder to reach some basis for social activity. Historical research method like all other research methods is not merely concerned with collection of data and facts but editing analysis, evaluation and interpretation of data are integral parts of it. The historical research should conduct critical evaluation and interpretation of historical documents and records in such a manner that general law, treads or hypothesis can be framed. Historical research is essential for both basic and applied research in social sciences.

According to Walter R. Borg, Historical Research is the systematic and synthesis objective location, evaluation synthesis of evidence in order to establish facts and draw conclusions concerning past events.

To quote Sheik Ali Historical research is digging in to the past in order to re – enact the past in its entirety to reconstruct the past events as fully as they have happened to explain the meaning and significance of these events to correct the wrong notions so long prevalent, if any, and to elaborate analyse, synthesise and philosophies the ideas in the light of the knowledge we possess.

Robert G. Murdik says that Historical research is concerned with establishing the occurrence of unique events. Although one phase of historical research consists only of determining of past events the ultimate phase deals and present the establishment of pattern of relation ships and the starting point of projecting trends.

In the simple words, Historical method seeks to find explanation of questions of current interest by an intensive study of the past. Past always contains elements of the present. Past, present and future are all well inter-linked. Infect every project of research has more or less historical approach. In discussing any problem we must know the history of the problems and only then the problem can be solved easily, quickly and accurately. To quote P.V. Young, The past, if it can be located, contains the key to the present, though today is different from yesterday, it was shaped by yesterday. Today and yesterday will probably influence tomorrow.

Significance of Historical Method

Historical research is useful both for theoretical and practical purposes. It has made important contribution to various branches of natural as well as social sciences. Some problems are so typical that they can only be investigated by this approach. Thus this method fills a gap of making the research possible and meaningful and some problems other wise would have remained unexplored with out it. Many a times it is of considerable interest to use time series data for assessing the progress of the impact of several policies which can be done by looking in to historical records only.

Sources of Historical Data

Generally, there are the following major sources of historical information before a social researcher:

  • books and magazines
  • assessable documents, papers and literature
  • cultural and analytical history material
  • memories, personal letters and accounts
  • personal sources of authentic observers and witnesses
  • diaries and confessions
  • autobiographies
  • scared archives
  • diplomatic agreements
  • statistical materials
  • Artistic materials, historical paintings, portraits, charts, maps, etc.


The advantages of historical methods are

  1. Some problems are such which can be investigated only by this method and may not offer other methods. Therefore, historical method fills in the big gap of making the research possible and also meaningful on the problems that would otherwise have remained unexplore
  2. Historical data is not repeatable under any circumstances and therefore, historical method serves a needy hand method to the researchers whose problems depend on historical observations. It is fairly easy to repeat observations in laboratories under controlled conditions but can not be done in case of historical data. Historical method, therefore, has an advantage to offer the past data under the then prevailing conditions and afford an opportunity to the researcher to view these observations in the past setting.
  3. Historical records provide very useful information that goes a long way towards the solution of research problem. As already said the researcher is compelled to fall back up on past data since he can to create these afresh and hence it is highly advantageous to follow historical method where the use of time series data is unavoidable in any case.


Historical method is not free from limitations. The main draw backs are:-

  1. Non-Matching situations
  2. Over-generalization
  3. Subjective Interpretations

Limitations may also arise in the writing of history itself because

  • Historians can not write history life-sizes
  • Not all happenings in time and space can be known at the time of writing
  • Personal biases and private interpretations often enter unconsciously, even when honest attempts are made to select pertinent facts, to arrange them consistently, and to place them in a coherent and true frame of reference.

However, it should be observed that this approach can not be dispensed with as large number of problems can not be investigated in the absence of historical research many times even other approaches to research would desirably insight in to their own investigations.

Necessary conditions for Historical Research

  1. selection of topic for research
  2. social in sight
  3. Historical orientation
  4. Knowledge of related social sciences
  5. Wide educational back ground
  6. Familiarity with the topic and its objectives
  7. Dispassionate study
  8. Imaginative capacity
  9. Selection and rejection of the material
  10. Analyzing and coordinating capacity
  11. Knowledge of study field
  12. Knowledge of his own limitations
  13. Availability of necessary facilities

Steps Involved in Historical research

The main steps involved in historical research are

  • Selection of the problem
  • Objectives of the study
  • Formulation of hypothesis
  • Preparations for collection of data
  • Testing of hypothesis
  • Evaluation of data
  • Organization of data
  • Interpretation and writing report

A case study is deep and intensive study of a particular social unit, confined to a very small number of cases. Thus the field of study in the case study method is limited but it aims at studying all aspects of a social unit. It also seeks to determine social process; it reveals the complexity of factors and indicates their sequences and their relationships. It is also a diagnostic study oriented towards finding out what is happening and why it is happening and what can be done about it. Case study says Charles H. Colley, depends on our perception and gives us a clear insight in to life


Important definition of the case study method is

P.V young- case study is method exploring and analyzing the life of a social unit, a personal, a family, institution, cultural groups or even an entire community.

Goode and Hatt- Case study is a way of organizing social data so as to preserve the unitary character of the social object being studied. Expressed some what differently it is an approach which views any social unit as a whole.

F.I. Whitney – Case study is a complete analysis and report of the status of an individual subject with respect as a rule to specific phase of his total personality.

Characteristics of Case Study Method

  • It places more emphasis on a full contextual analysis of fewer events or conditions and their interrelations.
  • Although hypothesis is often used, the reliance on qualitative data makes support or rejection more difficult.
  • An insight on detail provides valuable insight for problem solving, evaluation, and strategy. This detail is secured from multiple sources of information. It allows evidence to be verified and avoids missing data.
  • Although case studies have maligned (criticized) as Scientifically worthless because they do not meet minimal design requirements for comparison, they none the less have a significant scientific role. Thus, a single, well-designed case study can provide a major challenge to a theory and can provide source of new hypothesis and constructs simultaneously.


The main advantages of case study method are it:

  • produces new ideas and fresh suggestions
  • helps in formulating a sound hypothesis
  • may also help in exploring new areas of research

Since the case study method makes an in depth study of a particular unit of investigation and is always approached with an open mind, it bestows upon the researcher further exploration of the research field.


Though the case study method has contributed much to the social research, some social scientists have raised some objections against the value and validity of case study. The case study method has often criticized on the basis of the following limitations.

  • It develops false sense of confidence which is detrimental to any scientific out look. Every thing about the subject can’t be known although each unit is studied.
  • Generalizations about similar cases are impossible
  • It does not provide universal, impersonal and common aspects of phenomena.
  • It is quite unsystematic in the absence of any control up on the informant or the researcher.
  • Case study situations are seldom comparable
  • It is difficult to apply the usual scientific methods without destroying the unique value of the personal document will be lost if it is formalized and abstracted.

Basic Assumptions of the Case Study Method

  1. The case study method is not in it self a scientific basic at all, it is merely a first step in scientific procedure.
  2. It is assumed that in the fact of apparent diversity among different units, there is an underlying unit. A particular unit has its uniqueness. But it is not different from other units in all respects. Under this method it is assumed that a unit selected is the representative of a group. In many respects it is similar to measures of central tendency or averages. It tries to locate the variations in the reactions and activities of the subject.
  3. It is also assumed that the study of a particular unit is helpful in the prediction and discussion of other units of the same universe.
  4. A unit is indivisible whole and can not be studied piece-meal and in fragments. We must study its life history and its back ground and to explain the behavior at a particular time are few, but more.

Steps Involved in Case Study

  1. selection of cases and identification of situations,
  2. collection and recording of data,
  3. interpretations of data,
  4. report writing,

The term survey is used for the technique of investigation by a direct observation of a phenomena or systematic gathering of data form population by applying personal contact, and interviews when an adequate information about a certain problem is not available in records, files and other sources. It is currently being used in those investigations also where published data is used.

Some of the important definitions of social survey are as follows:-

  • A.F Wells- Social survey is fact-finding study dealing chiefly with working class, poverty and with the nature and problems of community.
  • C.A. Moser- The sociologists should look up on surveys as way and a supremely useful one of exploring the field of collection data around as well as directly on the subject of the study so that problem is brought in to focus and points worth studying are suggested
  • Mark Abrams- A social survey is process by which quantitative facts are collected about the social aspect of community’s composition and activities.
  • F.L. Whitney-survey research is an organized attempt to analyze, interpret and report the present status of social institution group or area.

Survey method is, thus, the technique of investigation by direct observation of phenomena or systematic gathering of data from population. Survey research is defined as an organized attempt to analyze, interpret and the present status of social group.

The surveys may be classified with the following types:

General or Specific Surveys

A general survey is conducted for collecting general information of any population, institution or phenomena without any hypothesis while specific surveys are conducted for specific problems or for testing the validity of some theory or hypothesis.

Regular and Ad hoc Surveys

If the survey is repeated for regular intervals to obtain continuous information, it is known as regular survey. It helps in the study trend of the effect of time on the phenomena under the study for regular surveys a permanent machinery for collecting information has to be set up.

Ad hoc surveys are conducted once for all and are non-repetitive. Such surveys may also be conducted in testing the hypothesis or supplementing some missing information regarding any research problem.

Preliminary and Final Surveys

Preliminary survey is the plot study to get the first hand knowledge of the universe under study. It helps the researcher in preparing schedule or questionnaire and organizing the survey on proper lines. Final surveys are made after the pilot study has been completed.

Census and Sample Survey

Census survey deals with the investigation of entire population. Under this method the information is collected from each and every unit of the universe. Money, material, time and labour required for carrying out a census survey are bound to be extremely large but its results are no more accurate and reliable. In case of sample survey only a small part of the universe which is representative of the whole population is taken and the information is collected. Thus the sample surveys are more economical and less time and labour consuming.

Survey method has the following merits in comparison on with other methods:

  • fosters direct close contact between researcher and respondents.
  • greater objectivity it avoids the possibility of personal biases.
  • useful in testing the validity of many theories.
  • proved its usefulness in leading to the formulation and testing of hypothesis.
  • social surveys are based on actual observations.
  • it has a universal application.
  • Survey method is costly, time consuming and wasteful in certain cases where the objectives are limited.
  • Unsuitable if the number of persons to be surveyed is very large or where they are spread over a large geographical area.
  • Under this method personal bias may vitiate the result.
  • It lacks flexibility.
  • It is only useful for current problems and is not suitable for the problem that requires the study in the historical retrospect.
  • Does not permit more comprehensive and dynamic study of the society.
  • Under this method most of the surveys are conducted on sample basis.
  1. Selection of a problem
  2. Preliminary study or pilot study
  3. General objective of the study and specific objectives
  4. Resources and personnels
  5. Sampling
  6. Method of collecting data
  7. Training the investigating staff
  8. Organizing of the field work
  9. Content analysis
  10. Reporting

According to Festinger, The essence of an experiment may be described as observing the effect on a dependent variable of the manipulation of an independent variable.

In the words of Greenwood, An experiment is the proof of a hypothesis which seeks to look up two factors in a casual relation ship through the study of contracting situations which have been controlled on all factors except the one of interest the later being either the hypothetical case or the hypothetical effect.

According to V.H. Bedkar, Experimental method implies a controlled observation of a succession of events the aim is to search for casual connection

This research method goes by various names, the experimental methods, the cause and effect method, the pretest- post test control group design and the laboratory method. The basic idea behind this method is to attempt to account for the influence of a factor or, as in the case of complex designs, of multiple factors conditioning a given situation.

In its simplest form, the experimental method attempts to control the entire research situation, except for certain input variables which then become suspect as the cause of what ever change has taken place with in the investigation design. The experimental research method requires us the understanding of different variables. But what are variables?

The term variable is used by scientists and researchers as a synonym for the property being studied. In this context, a variable is a symbol to which numerals or values are assigned.

The numerical value assigned to a variable is based on the variable properties. For example, referred to as being dichotomous, have only two values reflecting the presence or absence of a property: employed- unemployed or male- female have two values. Variables can be seen in to two categories:

Independent Variable

Independent variable is a variable that affects the value or characteristic of another variable (the dependent variable). It can be manipulated or controlled by the researcher so that its effect can be seen. Independent variables can also be classifying variables.

For example (1) in a study about the effect of assignment provision on the academic achievement of students, the independent variable is assignment provision. The researcher can control the situation of assignment provision. He/she may or may not provide assignment to the subjects. So assignment provision is under the will of the researcher.

Dependent Variable

This is a variable being affected or assumed to be affected by the independent variable. It is a measure of the effect of the independent variable. In the first example given above academic achievement is the dependent variable.

Generally, if the investigator has control over the variable and is able to manipulate it or change it at will, then we say that variable is an Independent variable. If, on the other hand, the investigator has no control over the variable and it occurs as the result of the influence of the independent variable, then the variable is known as the dependent variable.

The matter of control is central to the experimental method. We frequently refer to this means for searching for truth as the control group, experimental group design. At the out set, we assume that the forces and dynamics with in both groups are equisetic. We begin, as far as possible with matched groups. These groups are randomly selected and paired so that, each group will resemble the other in as many characteristics as possible and, certainly, with respect to those qualities that are critical to the experiment.

Mathematically, Experimental group = control group

Characteristics of the Experimental Metho

The experimental method deals with the phenomenon of cause and effect.

Thus, we have two situations and we assess each to establish comparability. We attempt to alter one of these by introducing in to it an extraneous dynamic. We reevaluate each situation after the intervening attempt at alteration. What ever change is noticed is presumed to have been cause by the extraneous variable

Experimental research needs to be planned.

This planning is called the designing of the experiment. Experimental design refers to the architectonics and planning of the entire experimental approach to a problem for research.

Advantages of Experimental Method

Main advantages of experimental method may be summarized as follows.

  • This approach is more rigorous. It has the advantage of scientific and vigor and mathematical logic in so far as the entire piece of research work is based on a well founded model.
  • In comparison to other methods, this approach permits the determination of cause and effect relation ship more precisely and clearly.
  • Under identified conditions, a lot of it depends on the behavior of the respondents. A respondent is always under the in thecae diverse social organism and it all depends on the type of mental frame that he has at the time the researcher approaches him for information.

Problems of Social Experiments

  • Difficulty of co-operation
  • Difficulty of setting
  • Difficulty of control
  • Errors of Measurement

Field Investigation Research
A field experiment is a research study in realistic situation in which one or more independent variables are manipulated by the experimenter under as carefully controlled conditioned as the situations will permit. Where the laboratory experiment has a maximum of control, most field studies must operate with less control a factor that is often a severe handicap to the experiment. The weakness of field experiment, therefore, is of practical nature. The control can not be held as very tight, the investigator himself works under several influences and may at times be faced with unpleasant situations and the independent variables may got affected by uncontrolled environmental influences.

A field experiment is generally credited with a few virtues which are supposed to be unique to this category of a research. This virtues may be listed as: (1) the variables in a field experiment. This is because of the fact that field situation takes stock of realistic natural operations. (2) field experiments have the advantage of investigating more fruitfully the dynamics of inter- relationships of small groups of variables. (3) Field experimental studies are as so ideal to testing of the theory and the solution of the real world problems.
Ex-post facto Research
This is an empirical research and the researcher does not have any control over independent variables, because they have already been manifested. Ex-post facto researches systematic empirical inquiry in which the scientist does not have direct control of independent variables because their manifestations have already occurred or because they are in hearth not manipulability.

Inferences about relations among variables are made, with out direct intervention, from concomitant variation of independent are dependent variables. This kind of research is based on a scientific and analytical examination of dependent and independent variables- Independent variables are studied in retrospect for seeking possible and plausible relations and the likely effects that the changes in independent variables, produce on a single or a set of dependent variables.

In es-post facto research, the researcher’s control on the behavior of independent variables is very weak and in many cases no control is possible.

Some of the weaknesses of ex-post facto research are summarized here under.

  • The inability to control the charging patterns of independent variables.
  • The ex-post facto research findings owe the risk of improper interpretations
  • The ex-post facto research may not have any particular hypothesis as there is a likely hood that such an hypothesis may predict a spurious relationship between independent and dependent variables.

Laboratory Research
By definition, research of this type is confined to lab. Experiments alone. The basic feature of such research is that there exists a possibility of exercising control over independent variables and isolating their influences for plausible explanations. A laboratory experiment is a research study in which the variance of all or nearly all of the possible influential independent variables not pertinent to the immediate problem of the investigation is kept at a minimum. This is done by isolating the research in a physical situation apart from the or ordinary living and by manipulating one or more independent variables under rigorously specified, operational zed and controlled conditions. This type of research has a limited application in social sciences as it extremely difficult to study social variables in isolation of each other. However, it may, at times be possible to create a situation; where in a maximum control can be exercised to keep the variations among the independent variables at a maximum. In such cases laboratory experiment types of research may find its applicability in social research as well.
Action Research
This is a recent classification. This type of research is conducted through direct action. The actual study may consist of a number of phases, say, base-line survey, systematic action, periodical assessment, etc. A good example of action research is a study of test marketing. A base line survey is initially conducted and the informants are identified; and this is followed by the distribution of the product under study, and then an assessment of survey.

It is very useful method in consumer product. Even in the case of industrial products, machinery and consumer durables, the action research method is used when, instead of distributing the product, demonstration is made as part of action research. Action research is also termed as applied research because it is a type of research that will be conducted to solve immediate practical problem(s). By its very definition, it is research through launching of a direct action with the objective of obtaining workable solutions to the given problems.

In conducting research through launching of actions, this type of research has the quality of adapting itself to the changes take place in a given population. Action research is spread over different phases such as a base line survey, where all the possible information of research interest is collected to enable the researcher to acquaint him self with the existing operational situations. This also aims at collecting information from the other sources that have direct or planned action is particularly launched and then at the next phase action research carries out periodical assessment of the project.

At subsequent stage, changes, modifications and other improvements are made in the functional aspect of the project and finally the whole process culminates in the evaluation of the project as a whole.

The method used for this type of research is usually personal interviews method and the survey method. Some times attitude measurement techniques are also made use of some problems associated with action research are the personal values of the personal values of the individuals, lack of social scientists interest and exclusion locations with the respondent.

Generally, action research is directed to the solution of immediate, specific and practical problems. The findings of action/ applied research will be evaluated in terms of local applicability and not in terms of universal validity (usefulness). It is mainly intended to improve certain contextual problem and helps to add greater effectiveness in a certain practical manner. It focuses on the solution of day-to- day problems at the local level.

~~ These are the notes from my Research Process class @ UoM ~~


Concepts And Elements Of Research

Research is a means by which you will be able to acquire knowledge. For your understanding of how it is help full to acquire knowledge you need to know about its meaning and characteristics. Further Emory and cooper defined Research as, It is any organized inquiry carried out to provide information for the solution of a problem. Research is an investigation undertaken in order to discover new facts, get additional information, etc. In general research can be defined as an inquiry in to the nature of, the reasons for, and the consequences of any particular set of circumstances, either these circumstances are experimentally controlled or recorded just as they occur. Research can be a means to an end or an end in it self.

Both are perfectly valid uses, but each entails a rather different approach to the definition of the problem at hand and formulation of objectives. In simple words research can be defined as any scholarly investigation in search for truths, for facts, for certainties. (Gupta,S. —-) human being do not  operate under controlled conditions, on the contrary, they are always under the diverse influences such as environmental, psychological and Social and these influences freely interaction with each other and seldom operate in isolation. The complexity is further in testified by the uniqueness of each individual’s behavior. Trial and error method can no longer be appreciated and decision is to be accurate and timely and should be based on facts and realities. It is in this context that business decisions are now tremendously influenced by research and research findings.

While searching for a definition of research the novice research is Likely to get various definitions. This is because the term is used in different ways by different authorities Let us see how some leaders in the area have defined it.

  • Research is the manner in which we solve knotty problems in our attempt to push back the frontiers of human ignorance. Research is ultimately a way of thinking. It is a way of looking at accumulated fact so that a collection of data speaks to the mind of the researcher.
  • Research can be defined as any scholarly investigation in search for truths, or for certainties.
  • Research is essentially a systematic inquiry seeking facts through objectively verifiable methods in order to discover the relation ship among them and to deduce from it the broad principles /Laws.
  • Research refers to a critical and exhaustive examination / investigation of experimentation having as its aim the revision of accepted conclusion in the light of new discovered facts.
  • Research is the process of arriving at dependable solutions to problems through the planned and systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of data
  • Research is the activity of solving problems which leads to new knowledge using methods of inquiry which are currently accepted as adequate by scholars in the field.
  • Research is a systematic, controlled empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomena. The terms systematic and controlled in this definition refer to the degree to which the observations are controlled and alternative explanations of the outcome are ruled out. On the other hand the terms empirical and critical point to the requirements for the researcher to test subjective beliefs against objective reality and have the findings open to further scrutiny (detailed examination) and testing.

Therefore, the best research should be reliable, variable and exhaustive. Research starts with a problem, collection of data or facts, analyzing them critically, and reaching to decisions based on the actual evidence. In general, a synthesis of the above definitions indicates that research is structured inquiry that utilizes acceptable scientific methodology to solve problems and creates newly applicable knowledge. According to John Best, a summary of some of the characteristics of Research had made to clarify its methodology.

  • Research is directed towards the solution of a problem. It may attempt to answer a question or to determine the relation between two or more variables ;
  • Research emphasizes the development of generalization, principles of theories that will be helpful in predicting future occurrence ;
  • Research is based up on observable experience or empirical evidence ;
  • Research demands accurate observations and descriptions ;
  • Research involves gathering new data from primary or first hand sources or using existing data for a new purpose ;
  • Research requires expertise. The researcher knows what is already known about the problem and how others have investigated it ;
  • Research Strives to be objective and logical, applying every possible test to validate the procedure employed, the data collected, and the conclusions reached ;
  • Research is characterized by patient and un unhurried activity ;
  • Research is carefully recorded and reported, and
  • Research sometimes requires courage.

There are two broad classification of research

  1. Research in physical or natural sciences.
  2. Research in Social or human sciences.

Physical Science deal with things, which can be put to laboratory tests under guided conditions. These researches deal with physical phenomena upon which man has complete control. Researches in social sciences are based on human behavior, which is influenced by so many factors such as physical, social, temperamental, psychological, and economic. We can never hope to put such human beings to laboratory testes. Even, if it is done, their responses would not be natural but subject to the awareness of the artificial conditions.

Social research is that part of research, which studies human behavior on a part of sociality. Social research is to find explanation to unexplained social phenomena, to clarify doubts and correct the misconceived facts of social Life. The complexity of human or social data can largely be attributed to this. To have knowledge for the sake of knowledge is termed as pure research, but gathering knowledge that could aid in the better meat of human destiny is known as applied research. It is very difficult to draw demarcation between these two types of research, as each is dependent on the other for development and verification.

Social research can be defined as; the part of research which studies human behavior as a part of society.

Social Research is devoted to a study of mankind in his social environment and is concerned with improving his understanding of social orders, roups, institutions and ethics. (Rummel).   Systematized investigation to gain new knowledge about social phenomena and surveys, we call social research. (prof. C. A. Moser). From the above few, but more, accepted definitions the following characteristics of social research may be drawn

A. Social Research Deals with Social Phenomena

It studies the behavior of human being as members of a social and their feelings, responses and attitudes under different circumstances. It encompasses the study of social phenomena covering economic, political, Social, educational, administrative and related aspects of social. Life also the Social groups and institutions. Thus, the social research was born out to solve man’s problem.

B. Social Research Aims at Discovering of New Facts

The scientific research techniques are applied to find out truth reasoning or relationship of various kinds of human behavior.

C. Social Research is a Scientific Undertaking

Social research is a scientific undertaking in which logical and systematized techniques are used. Social research also develops new scientific tools and concepts which facilitate reliable and valid study of human behavior.

D. Social Research Assists in the Understanding of Evolution of New Theories

Every research highlights some broad principles, establishes some scientific truth and analyses their sequences, inter-relationships and casual explanations. This results in expansion of knowledge, improvement in the understanding of the social phenomena and in the evolution of new theories.

E. Social research requires deep knowledge and minute investigation of the topic concerned.

F. Social Research must be objective

Researcher should not take his own interest because any personal bias vitiates (lowers the quality of) the universality criterion of a scientific preposition.

G. In Social Research, We Study Social Phenomena or Human Behavior

Since in social research, we study social phenomena or human behavior, therefore, experimentation is not possible in social sciences. However, in some cases social sciences take shelter of controlled experimentation.

H. In Social Research Inter relationship between Variables Understudy is Must

Besides it, the variables of social research study can not be measured correctly; only rough estimation of variables is possible.

I. Social Research is of Dynamic Nature

Social research is of dynamic nature; therefore, what was true of past might not be true of present.

J. Social Research in Any Field is Inter-related

Therefore, we can not draw water tight compartments for each sector or we can not say whether it is purely political, economical or sociological research.

K. Social research fells that the social events are also governed by the rules and regulations as Physical events.

L. Research is Social Science is Complimentary to Research in Physical Science

Research is social science is complimentary to research in physical science and actually both branches of knowledge help each other and the way to progress. In this context Good and Scats states. The good life makes demand on all fields of science. The problems of producing a good life are in part Physiological in part biological and in part physiological or sociological. Man finds his need distribution through all areas of knowledge and he like wish finds his satisfaction arising from the meeting of his need in all areas. Continued study and research programs must, therefore, be maintained over a broad range of interest.

P.V Young has mentioned four motivating factors of social research.

Curiosity about Unknown

In his own words Curiosity is an intrinsic trait of human mind and a compelling drive in the exploration of man’s surroundings. It is natural instinct in the making. A man is always curious about the unknown and mysterious objects that he notices around him and tries to understand them in his own.

Desire to Understand the Cause and Effect Relationship of Social Problems

According to P.V. Yong the research of cause and effect relationship has been more relentless than almost any other scientist effort up on which human energies have been spent. People want not only the results of the events but also want to know how they have happened. What was their cause and what was their effect? The research is undertaken to remove doubts and uncertainties which result from misconceptions about social phenomena

Appearance of New and Unexpected Situations

In a modern complex and dynamic world a man is often faced with many acute and difficult problems. It is the duty of the social scientist to find out their real cause and suggests solutions to such problems.

Desire to Discover New and Test Old Scientific Procedures

It concerns with the technique or methods used in social research. Social scientists have been busy in devising and developing new methods and techniques in place old ones for dealing with social problems. In order to make research results more definite and precise, the use of quantitative or statistical methods is increasing day-by-day. In this connection, it is said that social scientist are professionals trouble makers; they must challenge old briefs create new ones and then turn to the challenge on these new once.

Types of Research

  • Methods of research may be classified from many points of views
  • Application: pure research or applied research
  • Character of data :- objectives, Subjective, quantitative or qualitative
  • Field of application: social science, education, philosophy,, etc
  • Purpose:- reporting description, explanation, or predication
  • Forms of reasoning: – inductive, deductive, or combination of the two.
  • Place where it is conducted:- the laboratory or in the social setting
  • Extent of control of factors:- controlled or uncontrolled experiments
  • Techniques of data gathering :-tests, observations, or questioning

The two type of research that deserve description at this point are Basic Research and Applied research.

Basic research that is sometimes known as pure research or fundamental research has as its main purpose the disclosure of its fundamental truths or principles. It is usually sent towards the testing and development of theory and are not immediately concerned with direct application. Thus in basic research control and precision are emphasized while less attention is paid to direct application of the outcomes in field situation. Basic research in the business arena might involve a researcher for an advertising agency who is studying the results of the use of coupons versus rebates (discounts) as demand stimulation tactics, but not in a specific instance or in relation to a specific client’s product. It is usually conducted to develop theories, principles, and laws that are found in different subjects (areas) and helps to extend the frontiers of knowledge.

Applied research or filed research deals mainly with determining relationships and testing theories in the field situation. Because transfer of the research out – come directly to a field practical is often the purpose of applied research; control and precision must be sacrificed to a certain degree in order to conduct the study in a situation identical to that in which the outcomes will be applied. Applied research may be   directed at the testing of theoretical constructs.

~~ These are the notes from my Research Process class @ UoM ~~

 Of course, research is always problem based. Both types of research should provide an answer to some questions.

Applied research has a practical problem solving emphasis. The problem Solving nature of applied research means it is conducted to reveal answers to specific questions related to action, performance, or policy needs.

Pure or basic research is also problem solving based, but in a different sense. It aims to solve perplexing (puzzeling) problems or questions of a theoretical nature that have little direct impact on action, performance, or policy decisions. It is used to understand natural phenomenon, but not to solve problems directly and immediately.

Thus, both applied research and pure research are problem based, but applied research is directed much more to making decisions.

A good research involves the following characteristics:

  • Purpose clearly defined
  • Research process detailed
  • Research design thoroughly planned
  • High ethical standards applied
  • Limitations frankly revealed
  • Adequate analysis for decision makers needs
  • Findings presented unambiguously
  • Conclusions Justified
Characteristics What a manager should show look for in research
Purpose Clearly defined Researches distinguish between organizations problems systems and the research problem
Research process detailed Research provides complete research problem
Research design thoroughly planned Research procedures (exploratory, descriptive, or casual) are outlined with constructs defined, sample units is clearly described; data collection procedures are selected and designed.
Limitations frankly revealed Desired procedure is compared with actual procedure; desired sample is compared actual samples impacts on findings and conclusions are detailed.
High ethical standards applied Safe guards are in place to protect study participants, organizations, clients, and researchers.
Adequate analysis for decisions makers needs Sufficiently detailed findings are tied to collection instruments and the analysis is fact data based
Unambiguous finding Finding is clearly presented in words, tables and graphs are logically organized to facilitate reaching a decision about the mangers problem.
Conclusion Justified Decision based conclusion are matched with detailed findings.

~~ These are the notes from my Research Process class @ UoM ~~