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In the broadest sense of the word, the definition of research includes any gathering of data,
information and facts for the advancement of knowledge.
Reading a factual book of any sort is a kind of research. Surfing the internet or watching the
news is also a type of research.
Science does not use this word in the same way, preferring to restrict it to certain narrowly
defined areas. The word review is more often used to describe the learning process which is one
of the underlying tenets of the rigid structures definingscientific research.

Researh problem
A research problem is a statement about an area of concern, a condition to be improved upon, a
difficulty to be eliminated, or a troubling question that exists in scholarly literature, in theory, or
in practice that points to the need for meaningful understanding and deliberate investigation. In
some social science disciplines the research problem is typically posed in the form of one or
more questions. A research problem does not state how to do something, offer a vague or broad
proposition, or present a value question.

What are the research objectives?

In general, research objectives describe what we expect to achieve by a project.
Research objectives are usually expressed in lay terms and are directed as much to the client as to the
researcher. Research objectives may be linked with a hypothesis or used as a statement of purpose in a
study that does not have a hypothesis.
Even if the nature of the research has not been clear to the layperson from the hypotheses, s/he should be
able to understand the research from the objectives.

A statement of research objectives can serve to guide the activities of research. Consider the following

Objective: to describe what factors farmers take into account in making such decisions as
whether to adopt a new technology or what crops to grow.

Objective: to develop a budget for reducing pollution by a particular enterprise.

Objective: to describe the habitat of the giant panda in china.

In the above examples the intent of the research is largely descriptive.

In the case of the first example, the research will end the study by being able to specify
factors which emerged in household decisions.

In the second, the result will be the specification of a pollution reduction budget.

In the third, creating a picture of the habitat of the giant panda in china.

These observations might prompt researchers to formulate hypotheses which could be tested in another
piece of research. So long as the aim of the research is exploratory, ie to describe what is, rather than to
test an explanation for what is, a research objective will provide an adequate guide to the research.

Research methodology
The process used to collect information and data for the purpose of making business decisions.
The methodology may include publication research, interviews, surveys and other
research techniques, and could include both present and historical information.

Research questions
A research question is an answerable inquiry into a specific concern or issue. It is the initial step
in a research project. The 'initial step' means after you have an idea of what you want to study,
the research question is the first active step in the research project.

A metaphor for a research project is a house. Your data collection forms the walls, and your
hypothesis that guides your data collection is the foundation. So what is the research question? It
is the ground beneath the foundation. It is what everything in a research project is built on.
Without a question, you can't have a hypothesis. Without the hypothesis, you won't know how to
study what you're interested in.
A research question forms the base of where you are going, so we have to write a good research
question. If your foundation is built on something shifty, like a house built on sand, then
everything following that will be about correcting that initial issue instead of on making an
awesome home/research project.

The four main approaches

Quantitative research
Quantitative research is generally associated with the positivist/postpositivist paradigm. It
usually involves collecting and converting data into numerical form so that statistical
calculations can be made and conclusions drawn.
Qualitative research
Qualitative research is the approach usually associated with the social constructivist paradigm
which emphasises the socially constructed nature of reality. It is about recording, analysing and
attempting to uncover the deeper meaning and significance of human behaviour and experience,
including contradictory beliefs, behaviours and emotions. Researchers are interested in gaining a
rich and complex understanding of peoples experience and not in obtaining information which
can be generalized to other larger groups.
Pragmatic approach to research (mixed methods)
The pragmatic approach to science involves using the method which appears best suited to the
research problem and not getting caught up in philosophical debates about which is the best
approach. Pragmatic researchers therefore grant themselves the freedom to use any of the

methods, techniques and procedures typically associated with quantitative or qualitative research.
They recognise that every method has its limitations and that the different approaches can be
They may also use different techniques at the same time or one after the other. For example, they
might start with face-to-face interviews with several people or have a focus group and then use
the findings to construct a questionnaire to measure attitudes in a large scale sample with the aim
of carrying out statistical analysis.
Depending on which measures have been used, the data collected is analysed in the appropriate
manner. However, it is sometimes possible to transform qualitative data into quantitative data
and vice versa although transforming quantitative data into qualitative data is not very common.
Being able to mix different approaches has the advantages of enabling triangulation.
Triangulation is a common feature of mixed methods studies. It involves, for example:

The use of a variety of data sources (data triangulation)

The use of several different researchers (investigator triangulation)

The use of multiple perspectives to interpret the results (theory triangulation)

The use of multiple methods to study a research problem (methodological triangulation)

Advocacy/participatory approach to research (emancipatory)
To some degree, researchers adopting an advocacy/participatory approach feel that the
approaches to research described so far do not respond to the needs or situation of people from
marginalised or vulnerable groups. As they aim to bring about positive change in the lives of the
research subjects, their approach is sometimes described as emancipatory. It is not a neutral
stance. The researchers are likely to have a political agenda and to try to give the groups they are
studying a voice. As they want their research to directly or indirectly result in some kind of
reform, it is important that they involve the group being studied in the research, preferably at
all stages, so as to avoid further marginalising them.

The researchers may adopt a less neutral position than that which is usually required in scientific
research. This might involve interacting informally or even living amongst the research
participants (who are sometimes referred to as co-researchers in recognition that the study is not
simply about them but also by them). The findings of the research might be reported in more
personal terms, often using the precise words of the research participants. Whilst this type of
research could by criticised for not being objective, it should be noted that for some groups of
people or for certain situations, it is necessary as otherwise the thoughts, feelings or behaviour of
the various members of the group could not be accessed or fully understood.
Vulnerable groups are rarely in a position of power within society. For this reason, researchers
are sometimes members of the group they are studying or have something in common with the
members of the group.