Concept of Research
Research is a scientific investigation, inquiry, discovery and exploration of phenomena. Research means search again and gather the information to solve the everyday problems. Research generates the knowledge about the phenomena which is unknown. It is a systematic process of collecting and analyzing the information to increase the knowledge, ideas and vision. Research gives the original contribution for the academicians, planners, politicians and social workers. Research often go behind the “truth” therefore, researcher collect the information’s in decent manner. They explore the facts through the observation, comparison, case study, collecting biographies and interviewing to give the concrete answer of their questions, finally generalize the information. However, such generalization process helps to build the theory. Beside these, research builds the independent thoughts and abilities to find, interpret and present the materials. Researcher tends their professional work to examine the work what other have done or explore what have not yet done. Some pertinent definitions of the social science research are as follows.
“Scientific research is a systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical proposition about the presumed relationship among the natural phenomena”.
“Research is systematic effort to gain new knowledge”.
-L.U. Redman and A.V.H. Morry
“Research in this age and time means searching for a theory for testing theory or solving problems”.
-Consuelo Gt. Sevilla.
“Systematic methods of discovering new facts or verifying old facts, their sequences, interrelationship, causal relationship and causal explanation and the natural laws which govern them”.
Features of research
Research is systematic: Research is systematic because there is a definite set of procedures and steps which you will follow to get accurate results.
Research is organized: Research is organized because there is structure or methods. It is planned, objectives, controlled, focused and limited to a specific scope.
Research keeps the questions in its central point: If there is no question, there is no alternative ways of solving the problems. Therefore, each research focused on relevant, useful and important questions. Without a question research has no focus, derive and purpose.
Research explores the answer: Research finding answer of the questions what they have had at the beginning. Research is always directed towards the solution of the problems.
Research may aims at following things
- To find the new generalization with old data.
- To know the old conclusion with new data.
- To reach in conclusion from the same set of data.
- Put forward an entirely original ideas and theories or to discover an unexplored horizon of knowledge.
- To find or resolve contradiction existing in the study area.
- To test or retest their hypothesis of the research.
- To provide the accurate information of an individual and their study area.
Nature and trend of sociological research
Sociological research need to pre-occupy with sociological ideologies, methods and concepts. There must be proper application of scientific techniques including use of statistics, personal documents, typologies, case studies, and socio-metricy. Sociological research need to critically integrating sociological techniques and methods while conducting research. Sociologists often employ theories to examine the human behavior. The sociologists of the 19th century pre-occupied with theories profounded by August Comte, Herbert Spencer, Lester F. Word and Durkheim. The sociological Knowledge should synthesize the social science and social ethics. It has been corroborate relationship between sociology and other social sciences.
Choosing a research topic and problem
Define the topic: In this section researcher have to purpose the relevance of topic particularly in the area of social field. Suppose, you are working in the area of drug abuse you have to clearly manipulated future contribution for the society and provide the preliminary information related to your study. T. L. Baker (1999) argued that in short, topics must be grounded in some already known factual information, which is used to introduce the topic, and form, where the research question will be steamed.
Formulating the research problem: The formulating of the research problem is one of the complicated work for the researcher. B.N Ghos (1997) stated that research couldn’t be immediately started unless the specific problem is formulated—which can be investigated by scientific methods. Research question should be formulated before the collection of data which must be theoretical or practical. Formulation of the problem is more important than the solution R. K. Merton had mentioned the major components of research questions.
- Originality the questions.
- Reliable of questions.
- Specifying questions.
Researcher has to formulate the research questions in a broad general way rather than the ambiguities for the scientific investigation. C.R. Kothari stated that essentially two steps are involved in formulating the research problem; viz. understanding problem thoroughly, and rephrasing the same into meaningful terms from an analytical point of view. In the process of problem formulation researcher have to narrow down the issues. In problem formulation researcher should extensively to clarify their theories and concepts that makes the research more meaningful. It determines the nature of data and its relevancy, choice of the techniques and tools that we will use to explore information’s.
Designing a research or writing a research proposal
Research design: Research design is a strategy for a research. It supplies general outline for collecting, analyzing and evaluating the data what researchers wants to carry out. Research design clearly states exploring methods, time and budget estimation. Research design may be applicable in the different stages of research like exploring process of data, diagnosis and experimentation. Experimental research design can be informal (before-and-after without control, after-only with control, before-and-after with control) or formal design (randomized or sample). Appropriate research design carries these characteristics: It is a means in order to obtain suitable data and supplies the appropriate skills for the researcher i.e. expenditure, time and result. In research design we simply states topic or focus our inquiry, research questions, hypothesis/assumptions, importance and limitations and literature review. In addition, researcher should include his/her interest, curiosity, and methods of exploration of phenomena and theoretical applications for the research. The researcher simply tends to presents the overall plan. The research proposal is a plan for engaging in systematic inquiry to bring about a better understanding of the phenomenon and increasingly, to change problematic social circumstances (Catheine Marshall, Gretchen B. Rossman, 1999). They should clearly mention the worth of research, their capacity to explore scientifically and careful planning to success the research decently. Research design also includes the process of data collection and analysis procedures of writing and strategies of enquiry. According to Cresswell; “philosophical ideas must be combined with broad approaches to research (strategies) and implemented with specific procedures (methods). The components philosophical ideas, strategies and methods should combined together in the research proposal to conduct research scientifically.
Collecting / acquiring data through fieldwork
Without fieldwork there are no possibilities to get primary data. The more you serious in the fieldwork the more you receive accurate and reliable data. Without appropriate data there is no possibility to get appropriate result. There are several methods of data collection from the fields such as interview, observation, focus group discussion, case study, PRA, RRA, survey and census. Fieldwork supplies the primary information or firsthand information which will be carried out by researcher by himself or in group. For the collection of information from the field they need to use different tools and instruments such as questionnaire, interview schedule, checklist, audio, video, filed notes and field dairies. They should prepare field tools in accordance with research problems, objectives, place and nature of the informants. To conduct fieldwork decently researcher must be mentally and physically ready. They should spend the time with their informants as possible as they can to receive the appropriate information. In the field researcher should verifying the answer through the cross checking whether the information is accurate and reliable or not. They should integrate the observation, response and collected facts in systematic and logical order. During the fieldwork they need to jot down field diary in daily basis which may helpful to record observing phenomena, recording detail of events, narratives and their stories.
Processing, analyzing and interpreting data / findings
Processing: Data process is one of the important part to drawn the result, without appropriately processing we cannot receive the accurate data. This process helps to complete the research in time. For example, if we carry survey, we need to use structural questionnaires. They need to code the filled questionnaire. If the data collected through interview, researcher should select the reliable respondents and develop the manual for the interview. This is the process of refining data. Collected data must be keeps in the format which will later useful for the analysis. The archival process is also important part of processing which might be in computer, research center or university library-later such processing will be helpful for the interpretation and analysis.
Analyzing data: This step is only carried out after the process of data collection. In this step researcher must have coded, edited and tabulated the information what they acquire through the fieldwork. The coding process usually done at the stage when data transform into symbols—which will be helpful for the tabulation. The editing process of data improves the quality of data. The classification of data should be arranged in accordance with nature which make your search scientific, logical and coherence. There are various methods of data analysis where researcher use different statistical tools such as frequency tables, graphs, ratio scale, mean, median, mode and hypothesis testing.
Interpretation: Interpretation is a process of communication. It is an art which gives the logical explanation of facts while interpreting the information and there need to be clearly segregation of common of special features. While interpreting information there need to be threading and proper arrangements. The accuracy need to be check time to time. Researcher should interpret each table, graphs, maps, and diagrams to valid their research. The causal explanation is necessary to deal the research issue. Interpretation also includes the generalization. Generalization process also helps to build the theory. It produces the larger body of knowledge about the phenomenon and gives the way out to solve the problems.
Writing up the report and Presenting / disseminating the findings
Presenting: This is last process of research work wherein researcher has to prepare the report. In the process of write up, they need to prepare the report systematically. There should be great care particularly managing the preliminary pages, main text and editing matter. In the process of write up they should frequently contact with their supervisors-who may help you for editing, correcting and polishing the research report. Researcher also consults with peer group who can give several comments, advises, and necessary support to make their research free from the error and mistakes. At final stage of report they need to send the report for copy editor to polish the language and grammar which makes the research report readable.
Dissemination: Result dissemination is also one of the important parts of research. Result of your research must target to the audiences who may know what you did? How you analyze or interpreted your information. You may employ varies strategies to provide your information to the other. You should translating your knowledge into effective communication tools and disseminating those to particular audience. In the time of dissemination of your result you need to present your goals and objectives, your materials and tools. The result should be disseminate among the peer-groups, commentators, class mates and likeminded people either in seminars, discussion and lecturer series. Sometime, you can disseminate your result through the publication in books, articles and online.