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 ~~


Rural ICT Development And National Level Implications

At the national level, a strong commitment to rural development policies is needed. To eliminate rural poverty and to obtain increased agricultural production, such steps as aspects of land reform may be introduced. This may even need a major political change. Government objectives should poor, low-income farmers and peasants. There should be coordination between national plans and rural and agricultural development programs projects under way in developing countries at present, very few of these developing nations have a well planned, well operated, articulate, systematic and efficient rural development program-me.

Often, in many developing countries, the relationships between input and output and also between the prices of agricultural products and prices in the other sectors of the economy are such that economic growth is not stimulated in the rural areas. Frequently, manufacturing and processing industries are favored at the expense of agriculture. Thus raising costs of inputs such as fertilizers, etc and making the adoption of new technology and new ideas by farmers risky or unrewarding. Also when cheap food is provided to urban areas with a subsidy to farmers, often large numbers of small farmer do not benefit by such subsides. It is, in the long run, less costly and more beneficial to have a minimum guaranteed price for farm products than to have subsides

In most developing countries, fiscal policies have shown considerable inconsistency in their approach to rural development. For example, when a large portion of public expenditure is used in favor of urban dwellers while in rural areas, only the few well-to-do benefit from many of the social and other services provided. Indirect taxation puts taxes on goods and services so that rural poor people pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes than the rich.

Cost recovery of publicly financed investments such as main highways, bridges, etc .., should be imposed in order to provide revenue for rural development and for the rural poor who are unable to pay any imposed progressive taxes. Absence of an imposed progressive tax on national investments or services will severely limit future undertaking by the government in rural areas, even though the economic and social returns may be high.

For rural development to be effective in developing countries, land reform can act as an essential element (see chapter 4). The income of peasants and subsistence farmers in many parts of the world depends on the extent to which they control the land and its output. Land reform is needed, especially in areas of difficult tenancy producers and also before government expenditure on farm inputs and other projects intended for the benefit of small farmers, rural workers and rural people, can be effectively undertaken. Land reform carried out without proper planning and provision of some physical and social infrastructure is doomed of fail.

In a developing country a rural development project may be composed of several programs with different objectives covering agricultural industrial and social services. Several sectors provide a whole range of facilities and services such as clinics, health centers, credit cooperatives feeder roads and water supply systems. Many of these services may best be located in small, rural towns serving the surrounding rural areas and villages. Small capacity service units may be located in the village and those with larger capacity in the towns. As rural development progresses and more workers migrate to towns, the regional planning of rural and urban areas has to be coordinated and given greater supervision. Before regional rural development policies are formulated careful study of human, physical and natural resources available to each region, in particular the less fortunate areas should be made. The growth potential and resource endowment of each area must be appraised to establish the procedures for finance and investment policy

In many developing countries 60 to 80 percent of small farmers have limited or no access to institutional credit. A high percentage of credit in these countries is short term. In rural areas, the use of credit for increased economic production will benefit rural people, provided the following conditions are observed

  1. New technology, innovations and improvements which show definite and clear economic grain for rural households or for the borrower should be adopted.
  2. Farmers should be using production credit, and also have access  to necessary training and skills to m make effective use of innovations and credit
  3. Existence of good delivery systems which provide the ready and timely inputs required farm produces and the market outlets for them.
  4. For small farmer, a comprehensive package program which increases the productivity and easy sale of farm product should be arranged.
  5. To replace to supplement credit from traditional sources that charge high interest rates, to overcome in elasticities in the supply of credit, to alleviate the seasonal financial problems of rural households, to encourage small farmers to raise their output, more and more institutional credit is required by farmers and rural people
  6. Land reform once implemented and pursued wisely, sharply

increases the demand for credit from former peasants and tenants

For most rural development program to be viable, the following points on the introduction and flow of technological ideas should be considered

a.   Continuous flow of field-tested easy to apply and proven technological information relevant to small holders small producers and to farm production, should be available at all times. This information must be revised and updated as more economical efficient, newer techniques and developed and implemented

b.   Without new technological improvement rural poor people cannot substantially increase their earnings as a result of the investment made by governments.

c.   For specific geographical areas with limitations on higher production, such as high and rolling country, mountain regions arid zones and hot and humid forests where population is spares and scattered etc, special techniques and technologies should be evolved.

d.   Technological factors important to small farmers and rural enterprises should be given special attention. Research priority should be given to matters such as easy pest and disease control methods, the use of high yielding varieties or poor man’s crops such as millets sorghum, cassava, yam, pulses and upland rice

e.   Applied research adaptation of innovations at the village level, well-planned extension service all are highly essential. Many failures of rural development projects in the past have been attributed to inadequacies in research, adoption of new ideas extension work, reliable evaluation methods and continuity

f.    The peasant on subsistence agriculture, the low- income small rural operator and landless rural poor people require as compressive an approach as the farmers in order to improve their production and other aspects of their lives.

Education of the rural masses and the poor is highly important as apart of a national plan for rural development. There are minimum learning needs in the form of ‘’basic education” which include educational literacy, numeracy, the knowledge and skill required for earning a living, operating a household including family health, childcare, nutrition and sanitation, and civic participation time and costs involved in providing primary school education has promoted many developing countries to turn to information about the most cost effective education for adults. A survey by the world bank (2,57) showed small scale training and education operations, by a wide variety of different agencies were often not integrated into a national development education of the rural masses in developing countries for the effective implementation rural development. Rural education should be considered in terms of the national plan and educational policy and should be based on the following principles:

a. Primary education should be low cost. Reduce waste and be of high quality

b.Use of mass media, simplification of curricula, adaptation of curricula to local needs. Age of entry to school, length of school cycle, adaptation of indigenous learning systems. And size of classes should be studied and implemented in educational policy.

c. Education may be integrated with employment and rural development where students receive effective training in skills, self employment and new opportunities as is the case with a project in Botswana (299) in the Swaneng Hill and Shahe river schools.

  1. The education of rural people at all levels should be functional in serving specific target groups and meeting their specific requirements.
  2. Rural education programs should be planned as part of a total education plan and delivery system. The programmers should also co-ordinate the other activities of the community such as health and credit by using multipurpose centers. Examples of multipurpose centers are the rural training centers and community education centers in Tanzania.
  3. Rural education projects literacy programs etc. should be integrated with other development activities, and whenever possible should provide appropriate inputs and services. Such integration and linkage can be seen in the Comilla project in Bangladash (209a) and the program on agricultural credit and cooperatives in Afghanistan (PACCA).
  4. Basic education and training of rural people should be flexible in terms of costs and management, and in using existing facilities and resources so that continued effective implementation of programs can be maintained.

~~ These are the notes from my Rural Development class @ UoM ~~