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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 ~~


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