What is a research process? A short guide to starting a research process

What is a research process? A short guide to starting a research process
What is a research process? A short guide to starting a research process

What is a research process? A short guide to starting a research process

Research process comprises of a progression of steps or activities expected for effectively directing examination while forming the research problem, broad writing study, developing hypothesis, preparing the research design, determining sample design, gathering information, execution of the undertaking, investigation of information, speculation testing, speculation and understanding, and readiness of the report or show of the outcomes and results.

Research supports logical and inductive reasoning, other than advancing the improvement of legitimate propensities for thinking and organization. According to Clifford woody, research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions collecting, organizing and evaluating data, making deductions and reaching conclusions; to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis.

Step 1: Choose your topic

First you have to come up with some ideas. Your thesis or dissertation topic can start out very broad. Think about the general area or field you’re interested in—maybe you already have specific research interests based on classes you’ve taken, or maybe you had to consider your topic when applying to graduate school and writing a statement of purpose.

Even if you already have a good sense of your topic, you’ll need to read widely to build background knowledge and begin narrowing down your ideas. Conduct an initial literature review to begin gathering relevant sources. As you read, take notes and try to identify problems, questions, debates, contradictions and gaps. Your aim is to narrow down from a broad area of interest to a specific niche.

Make sure to consider the practicalities: the requirements of your programme, the amount of time you have to complete the research, and how difficult it will be to access sources and data on the topic. Before moving onto the next stage, it is a good idea to discuss the topic with your thesis supervisor.

  1. Select a topic within the parameters set by the assignment. Many times your instructor will give you clear guidelines as to what you can and cannot write about. Failure to work within these guidelines may result in your proposed paper being deemed unacceptable by your instructor.
  2. Select a topic of personal interest to you and learn more about it. The research for and writing of a paper will be more enjoyable if you are writing about something that you find interesting.
  3. Select a topic for which you can find a manageable amount of information. Do a preliminary search of information sources to determine whether existing sources will meet your needs. If you find too much information, you may need to narrow your topic; if you find too little, you may need to broaden your topic.
  4. Be original. Your instructor reads hundreds of research papers every year, and many of them are on the same topics (topics in the news at the time, controversial issues, subjects for which there is ample and easily accessed information). Stand out from your classmates by selecting an interesting and off-the-beaten-path topic.
  5. Still can’t come up with a topic to write about? See your instructor for advice.

Step 2: Identify a problem

So you’ve settled on a topic and found a niche—but what exactly will your research investigate, and why does it matter? To give your project focus and purpose, you have to define a research problem.

The problem might be a practical issue—for example, a process or practice that isn’t working well, an area of concern in an organization’s performance, or a difficulty faced by a specific group of people in society.

Alternatively, you might choose to investigate a theoretical problem—for example, an underexplored phenomenon or relationship, a contradiction between different models or theories, or an unresolved debate among scholars.

To put the problem in context and set your objectives, you can write a problem statement. This describes who the problem affects, why research is needed, and how your research project will contribute to solving it.

Step 3: Formulate research questions

Next, based on the problem statement, you need to write one or more research questions. These target exactly what you want to find out. They might focus on describing, comparing, evaluating, or explaining the research problem.

A strong research question should be specific enough that you can answer it thoroughly using appropriate qualitative or quantitative research methods. It should also be complex enough to require in-depth investigation, analysis, and argument. Questions that can be answered with “yes/no” or with easily available facts are not complex enough for a thesis or dissertation.

In some types of research, at this stage you might also have to develop a conceptual framework and testable hypotheses.

Step 4: Create a research design

The research design is a practical framework for answering your research questions. It involves making decisions about the type of data you need, the methods you’ll use to collect and analyze it, and the location and timescale of your research.

There are often many possible paths you can take to answering your questions. The decisions you make will partly be based on your priorities. For example, do you want to determine causes and effects, draw generalizable conclusions, or understand the details of a specific context?

You need to decide whether you will use primary or secondary data and qualitative or quantitative methods. You also need to determine the specific tools, procedures, and materials you’ll use to collect and analyze your data, as well as your criteria for selecting participants or sources.

Step 5: Write a research proposal

Finally, after completing these steps, you are ready to complete a research proposal. The proposal outlines the context, relevance, purpose, and plan of your research.

As well as outlining the background, problem statement, and research questions, the proposal should also include a literature review that shows how your project will fit into existing work on the topic. The research design section describes your approach and explains exactly what you will do.

You might have to get the proposal approved by your supervisor before you get started, and it will guide the process of writing your thesis or dissertation.

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