Research Methodology

Before my second year I had already come across the word research but in actual sense I was not aware of its full meaning. It was not long before havocing the school library a week later and found myself reading C.R Kothari's book on the methodology about research. Kothari defines research as a scientific and systematic search for pertinent information on a specific topic. The Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English also defines research as "a careful investigation or inquiry specially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge." Redman and Mory define research as "a systematic effort to gain new knowledge." According to Clifford Wordy, research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions, collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at-last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulated hypothesis. D. Slesinger and M. Stephenson in the Encyclopedia of social sciences define research as " the manipulation of things, concepts or symbols for the purpose of generalizing to extend, correct or verify knowledge, whether that knowledge aids in construction of theory or in the practice of an art." Research is therefore the search for knowledge through objective and systematic method of finding solution to a problem. It is the systematic approach concerning generalization and the formulation of  a theory. Research simply refers to the systematic method consisting of enunciating the problem, formulating a hypothesis, collecting the facts or data, analyzing the facts and reaching certain conclusions either in form of solutions towards the concerned problem or in certain generalization for some theoretical formulations.

 

Objectives of Research

1. To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insights into it (Explanatory or Formulative Research Studies).

2. To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or group (Descriptive Research Studies).

3. To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated with something else (Diagnostic Research Studies).

4. To test a hypothesis of a casual relationship between variables (Hypothesis-testing Research Studies).

Motivation in Research

1. Desire to get a research degree along with consequential benefits.

2. Desire to face the challenges in solving the unsolved problems i.e concern over practical problems initiates research.

3. Desire to get intellectual joy of doing some creative work.

4. Desire to be of service to the society.

5. Desire to get respectability.

Importance of a  Research

(i). The knowledge of methodology provides good training specially to the new researcher and enables him to do better research.

(ii). Research gives the ability to evaluate and use research results with reasonable confidence as it's helpful in various fields such as government or business administration, community development and social work where persons are increasingly called upon to evaluate and use research results for action.

(iii). Research methodology provides an intellectual tool and away of looking at the world and judging everyday experience and also making intellect decision concerning problems facing us in practical life at different point of time.

(iv). The knowledge of methodology helps the consumer of research results to evaluate and make rational decisions.

Qualities of a Good Research

(i). Systematic:- Is structured with specific steps to be taken in a specified sequence in a accordance with the well defined sets of rules.

(ii). Logic:- Research is guided by the rules of logical reasoning and the logical process (set of rules and procedures for preparing or designing research) of induction and deduction process.

(iii). Empirical:- Research is related basically to one or more aspects of a real situation and deals with concrete data that provides a basis for external validity to research results.

(iv). Replicable:- Should be verified by replicating the study and thereby building a sound basis for decision.

Research Types

There two main broad categories of researches. These are quantitative and qualitative researches. The two categories have two major approaches known as inductive and deductive approaches which I will discuss them later in the process.

1. Quantitative Research

There two main broad categories of researches. These are quantitative and qualitative researches. The two categories have two major approaches known as inductive and deductive approaches which I will discuss them later in the process called positivism and scientific inquiry.

1. Descriptive Research:- It attempts to examine (observation) situation in order to establish what is the norm ie what can be predicted to happen again under the same circumstance. It involves survey and fact-finding inquiries of different kinds. This type of research describes the state affair (things) as it exist at present time. The research has no control over the variables, he can only report what has happened or what is happening. In social sciences and business it is often used as ex-post facto research in which the researcher seeks to measure items such as eg. frequency of shopping, preferences of people or similar data

2. Correlation Research:- It is also known as analytical which involves the measure of association or the relationship between two phenomena. It involves two types of study:

i. Relational study:-An investigation of possible relationship between phenomena to establish if a correlation exist and if so, its extent (Exploratory studies).

ii. Prediction study:- Is used to predict possible future behavior or events on the basis that if there has been a strong relationship between two or more characteristics or events in the past, then these should exist in similar circumstances in the future.

3. Empirical (Experimental):- Is a type of study research that heavily relies on experience or observation alone, often without due regard for system and theory. It is data-based research, coming up with conclusions which are capable of being verified by observation or experiment. The researcher gets facts at first hand, at their source and actively go about doing certain things to stimulate the production of desired information. This research specifically deals with the phenomenon of "cause and effect." The researcher strives to isolate and control relevant conditions which determine the events investigated so as to observe the effects when the conditions are manipulated. Classes of such experiments include:

i. Pre-experimental:- The design is unreliable and primitive in which assumptions are made despite the lack of essential control of variable.

ii. True-experimental:- This design rigorously check the identical nature of the groups before testing the influence of a variable on a sample then in controlled circumstance.

iii. Quasi-experiment:-Is where an identical group is tested for the influence of a variable and compared with a non-experimental group with known difference (control group) which has not been subjected to the variable. In the absence of a control group, testing is repeated over-time of one group with and without variable (ie the same group acts as its own control group at different times).


 

4. Applied (Action):- Aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society or an industrial or business organization. It can be related to experimental research, though it is arrived out in real world rather than in the context of a closed experimental system. it depends mainly on the observation and behavioral data. Acton research is an 'on the spot' procedure, principally designed to deal with a specific problem in a particular situation.

5. Historical Research:- It is the systematic and objective location, evaluation and synthesis of evidence in order to establish facts and draw conclusions about past events. It utilizes historical sources like documents, remains etc, to study events or ideas of the past, including the philosophy of people or persons and groups at any remote point of time. It can also be classified as conclusion-oriented and decision-oriented.

6. Case Study (Clinical or Diagnostic):- Follows case based study methods or in-depth approaches to reach the basic casual relations.

7. Fundamental (Basic or Pure):-It is concerned with the generalization and the formulation of a theory. It state "Gathering knowledge for knowledge's sake termed as pure or basic research."

8. Comparative research:- Often used together with historical research. Researcher compares people's experience of different societies, either between times in the past or in parallel situation in the present.

9.Evaluation Research:- Is specifically designed to deal with complex social issues. it aims to move beyond just getting the facts in order to make sense of the myriad human, political, social, cultural, and contextual elements involved. It involves two approaches:-

i. System analysis:-Is a holistic type of research which reverses the three-stage order of thinking which is typical of scientific inquiry.

ii. Responsive evaluation:- A series of investigative steps is undertaken in order to evaluate how responsive a program is to all those taking part in it.

10. Conceptual Research:- It is a research related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It s generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to interpret existing ones.

2. Qualitative Research

This type of research is concerned with the subjective assessments of attitudes, opinions and behavior. They include:

1. Ethnogenic research:- In this approach the researcher is interested in how the subjects of the research theorize about their own behavior rather than imposing a theory from outside. This approach has three characteristic features.

i. It aims to represent a view of the world as it's structured by the participants under observation by eliciting phenomenological data.

ii. it takes place in the undisturbed natural settings of the subjects.

iii. It attempts to represent the totality of the social, cultural and economic situation regarding the context to be equally important as the action (Uzzell, 1995, pp. 304-5)

2. Feminist Research:-Is a particular model of social research which involves the theory and analysis that highlight the differences between men's and women's live.

3. Cultural Research:-Is concerned with the subjects of language and cultural interpretation of text (tactile, visual, aural aspect, even smells and tastes). Consistent interpretation of cultural text has three approaches;

i.  Content analysis:-Involves a quantitative approach by counting the frequency of the phenomena within a case in order to gauge its importance in comparison with other cases.

ii. Semiotics:- By attempting to gain a deep understanding of meaning by the interpretation of single elements of text rather than to generalize through a quantitative assessment of components. the approach is driven from the linguistic studies of Saussure, in which he saw meanings being derived from their place in a system of signs.

Note: Semiotics as a method focuses our attention on the task of tracing the meanings of things back through the systems and codes of conduct through which they have meaning and make meaning (Slater, 1995 p. 240)

iii. Discourse analysis:- Studies the way people communicate with each other through language.

Positivism and Scientific Inquiry

There two type of approaches or techniques representing the extremes of method in scientific inquiry.

1. Inductive Research Approach:- This is a research approach that uses particular facts and examples from or based on observation to form general rules and principle (theory). This approach aims to establish theory purely on the basis of observations. It is a 'research then theory'  approach (Bottom-Top). The conditions needed to carry out such a study approach include:

i. There must be a large number of observation statements.

ii. observations must be repeated under a large range of circumstances and conditions.

iii. No observation statements must contradict the derived generalization.

2. Deductive Research Approach:- This is a research approach that uses already available knowledge or facts (theory) about things that are generally true in order to think (research) and understand particular situations or problens(Deduction and the principal of falsification). This approach aims to deduce theories by intellectual means and then test them through observations. It is the "theory then research" approach. research is guided by the theory which precedes it (dependent approach).