What is research?

What is Research?

So just what exactly is research? in the broadest terms we do research whenever we gather information to inform a question or solve a problem. An investigation directed to the discovery of some; information, fact or facts by a careful case study of a subject.  Research tends to be a natural thing that we always do throughout life but may not realise. Within the education system we are nearly always given facts primarily within the school stages where as when we move more on to college or university a more independent style of learning is tackled. We are asked to look at a given topic and explore the possibilities of said topic compare and argue alongside depicting this within a piece of art as an example.

What we find ourselves doing is researching into these projects as well as within the education system research happens all the time within external lives such as reading, watching documentaries, looking up recipes or methods on how to go about activities. But why do we do research?

Well essentially knowledge is power, this isn’t just a phrase. From personal insight and examination knowledge is power is very true the more we know the less ignorant we become within our own ways of thinking new ideas form, we begin seeing change. This new gained knowledge from the research can then be used for development whether this be personal or within the community.

Key Terms for Research:


Research Methods:

There is a range of research methods that can be used to gain new knowledge;

Exploratory Research- Little or no prior knowledge of a phenomenon we go about looking for new information about a subject.

Descriptive Research- Describes a particular phenomenon, focusing on an issue that is happening,  looking into current events and finding out more information on the subject matter.

Explanatory Research- Research that is involved with explaining why something happens.

Predictive Research- This type of research is essentially forecasting future phenomena based on previous happenings and suggested by explanatory research. An example of this being how the banks can predict the stock market.

Pure and Applied Research- Takes place to explore and particular concept or issue as well as undertaken to solve a specific problem to a solution.

Theoretical Research-  Generally uses the findings from existing works to develop new ideas.

Empirical Research-  Supports the development of new ideas through the collection of data.

Qualitative Research-Based on peoples opinions.

Quantitative Research- Based on data we can measure.

When writing an essay the best method of approach for research would be to first locate and read a few academic articles from a field in which you feel comfortable with. Read the abstract articles first and when reading through books only scan them or look for chapters which you feel are going to be of interest for you. Identify with the question and objective think why did the researcher use the example that they did look into this if you feel it can be relevant, what methods did they use and what where their most important findings from this. Do not be too concerned with statistical analysis and finally be critical not objective; you need to observe your case study within the essay without being too bias and passionate about the concept. When you bring your own opinions in always contrast these with other idealistic or support your own with valid sources although all this must be quoted and referenced.

(developed notes from lecture at SAE Institute Liverpool)

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