WHAT helps in the solving new problems

WHAT IS RESEARCH?

 

Research
can be defined as the systematic approach to solving problems. The processes
involve includes data gathering, analysis and organization of result from which
the conclusion will be made.

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Research
is a very important aspect of improving knowledge as it helps in  the solving new problems and or ones that had
been left unsolved in previous works.

Thus,
the importance of research cannot be overemphasized, below are reasons research
should be done;

·        
Instrument for knowledge
building and efficient learning;

The whole process of research
exposes an individual to various texts and journals which had been written by
various authors and contributors to specific books. It therefore, enhances the
knowledge acquiring skills and gives such individual a kind of efficacy in
learning, as the text used in the process are from authorities who have
specialized in their chosen fields of work.

·        
It helps in
understanding various issues;

       Different perspectives of different
writers are being expressed in their various write ups. Thus, the mind of a researcher
will be exposes to different perspectives and different believes and values of different
writers, which thus broaden his or her knowledge on various issues which could
or might cause conflict of ideas.

·        
It helps in the
successful establishment and managing of businesses;

It is
pertinent to be aware of what a person will be going into, the knowledge of how
businesses can be established, the way to manage it, how to deal with competitions
and scalability means can be achieved bt having a deep research into how
successful previous business holders of the proposed business had fared during
the early days of establishment and afterwards. All the above can only be
achieved via the research process.

·        
Helps in confirming
various hypotheses into a theory or law.

The
main purpose of research is to clear off doubt which might have arose from different
previous works and turn it into an authoritative theory or law.

 

           

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF RESEARCH.

For a research to be complete,
there are some characteristics which must feature in it. They are as follow;

 

·        
There must be a clear statement of problem and
purpose;

 A clear statement of problem will give the
research a defined purpose and cleared view as to what the research is all
about. It explains the origin of the problem and why the researcher deem it
fit to be involved in it in the first place.

·        
There should be a detailed plan to executing the
research;

Rushing
into the research process without a plan on how to execute will only eventually
cause confusion and might delay the research process. Therefore, a specified
study design, which includes the subject of research, the research setting,
target population and sample size, should have been laid down before commencing
the research process.

·        
A research should build on existing data using both
positive and negative findings.

 

CLASSIFICATION OF RESEARCH

There are various classification of
research and they are as listed below:

 

·        
Classification according to usage or purpose.

Under
this classification, there are two types of research via; basic research and
applied research.

·        
Classification according to methods used

Under this
classification, we have quantitative research and qualitative research.

·        
Classification according to time.

Under
this classification, we have retrospective research and prospective research.

 

            SOURCES
OF RESEARCH PROBLEM

            The sources for generating research
problems are numerous, of all,some will be discussed here;

·        
Personal experiences:

During
a researcher course of study, he or she might have come across some
inadequacies and challenges which may serve as a source of concern, curiosity
may be raised as to why that challenge is there and reasons behind it not been
changed all the while. Thus, the researcher may decide to generate a research
problem and topic from the experiences gathered in that field of study.

·        
Literature sources:

Existing research literatures are
another source of ideas for researchers. Nearly every research study that has
been published comes with recommendation for further studies, from these,
researchers can find one that will serve as a research problem fir him or her.

·        
Existing theories:

Testing of existing theories to
know if they are still applicable to the recent years and situations is another
means of getting research problems.

·        
Previous studies:

A researcher may decide to
replicate or repeat a previous study.

 

            RESEARCH
PROBLEM CONSDERATION

 Many factors should be considered when trying
to decide if a certain chosen topic is appropriate for research study. Some of
these factors include the following:

·        
Significance to field
of study:

Every research study should have
significance to the researcher’s field of study.

·        
Personal motivation:

If a
person is not interested in the problem to be investigated. it will be
difficult to work happily for the project and conduct a worthwhile research
study. Without interest, the research process may become very tedious and the
study may never be completed.

·        
Researcher’s qualification:

 Not every individual is qualified to conduct
research, caution must be exercised when research skills are not well developed.
Inappropriate research design may be chosen and inadequate data collection
method used.

·        
Feasibility of study:

This
is an essential consideration of many research studies, the researcher needs to
be reasonably sure that the study can actually be carried out.

 

·        
Time:

When
considering a problem, researcher should take into cognizance the time at his
disposal

·        
Cost:

The
researcher must realistically consider the financial resources available.

·        
Equipment and
supplies:

An
accurate determination of the needed equipment and supplies should be made
before the final decision to conduct the research study.

·        
Availability of
subject:

Subjects
for research should be available and willing to participate in the study.

·        
Ethical and value
consideration:

It is
the researcher’s responsibility to guarantee, to the best ability , that their
research studies are ethical. A researcher must be familiar with ethical
guidelines.

 

 

            THE
RESEARCH PROCESS

 

The
process of any activity is what will happen from its inception to its end. The
tasks and actions carried out by the researcher in order to find an answer to
the research question constitute the research process. Decisonins are taken in
choosing the tasks and the way in which they are carried out. A number of
factors may influence these decions. The thinking processes of the researcher,
the assumptions made and the theoretical stances are also parts of the research
process.

Whatever
the type of research , the research processes invariably consist of three main
components viz:

·        
The identification of the research question

·        
The data collection

·        
The analysis of data.

 

 

STEPS OF THE RESEARCH PROCESS

The
following are the detailed steps in research process

·        
Identify the general problem or topic of interest

·        
Critical review of the relevant literature

·        
Develop the theoretical framework

·        
Refine the topic into a research question, aim and
hypothesis

·        
Plan the research design, research approach,
populations and sample selections, ethical considerations, methods of data
collection, data collection tool and methods of data analysis.

·        
Pilot study

·        
Collection of data for the main study

·        
Process and analyze data

·        
Interpret the results

·        
Identify the implications based on the results

·        
Write a report

·        
Disseminate the result.

 

ETHICAL
PRINCIPLES IN RESEARCH

There
are ethical implications at every stage of the research process, including the
choice of topic to research, the section of the design and the publication of
the finding. There are six ethical principles that researchers should use to
guard their subjects or client from harm, these are:

1.      
Beneficence:

The
research project should benefit the participating individual and society in
general by contributing to the pool of human knowledge. Sometimes, the benefits
of participation is assessed to a new treatment not yet available to others,
participants are also likely to receive. On the other hand, when this attention
is suddenly withdrawn at the end of the study, it can cause a feeling of isolation,
which can be potentially harmful.

2.      
Non maleficence:

Research
should not cause any harm to participants. While the potential physical harm
may be obvious, the psychological effects may not be as transparent.

3.       Fidelity:

this is concerned mainly with the
building of trust between researchers and participants.

 

4.      
Justice:

 This involves being fair to participants by
not giving preferential treatment to some and depriving others of care and
attention they deserve.

5.      
Veracity:

 In order to build trust with subjects, the
researcher should be able to say the truth. Even if this may cause the subjects
not to take part in the research or to withdraw from the study. Being economic
with the truth can be a form of deception.

6.       Confidentiality:

The
confidentiality of the information gathered from and on the participants must
be respected. Giving consent to participant in a study does not mean giving
researches the right to consult the subject’s medical notes as well.

 

 

RESEARCH QUESTION AND HYPOTHESES

The
essence of any research undertaking is to find a solution to an identified
problem. As rational beings, whenever we are confronted with problem, a few
possible solutions immediately appears in our minds. Research questions posed
by the researcher, answers to which lead to the solution of the problem

 

HYPOTHESIS

 A hypothesis is a conjectural proposition, an
informed intelligent guess about the solution of a problem. It is an assumption
or proposition whose veracity and validity is to be established. Formulation
and testing of hypothesis are very essential steps in a scientific
research.  A hypothesis provides the
research with the necessary guide or direction in searching for the solution under
investigation.

The
formulation and use of appropriate hypothesis is so crucial and fundamental to
the success of any research undertaking. This is particularly so in studies
seeking to establish cause and effects relationship. However there are certain
assumptions which do not require formulation of hypothesis. These situation
includes preliminary or exploratory investigation aimed at gaining more
information about something or where research has n knowledge about possible
solution the problem.

Types
of hypothesis

•           Directional

•           Null directional

Function
of hypotheses

1.         Provide a guide and direction to the
investigator. They guide the researcher in his research for solutions to the
problem. This ensures that many pertinent data are collected and energy is not
wasted unnecessarily.

2.         Sensitize and draw the attention of the
researcher to the important items of the problem under investigation.

3.         Help the researcher to understand the
problem better in all its ramification as well as identify methods and
procedures that will be appropriate in the analysis of the data.

4.         Provide a framework for meaningful
interpretation and for drawing appropriate conclusions.

Sources
of hypotheses

Research
questions and hypothesis can be obtained from the following sources

•           Experience

•           The literature

•           Previous findings

QUALITIES
OF GOOD HYPOTHESES

A
good hypothesis should be

1.         Testable:
It should be such that empirical evidence to test its validity can be obtained
easily.

2.         Plausible:
It should be based on what is consistent with reason. It should state the
problem as well as provide a likely solution.

3.         Consistent
with previous research: I should not contradict established knowledge from
previous research.

4.         Unambiguous:
it should be stated in clear and simple terms.

SAMPLING
METHODS

It
is incumbent on the researcher to clearly define the target population in
relation to the research. There are rules to follow and the researcher must
rely on logic and judgment. The entire population may sometimes be small and be
used as a whole.

This
kind of research is called census study because data is gathered on every
member of the population. Usually the population is always large so a small
portion is drawn as the sample.

There
are two broad sampling methods:

1.         Probabilistic
(scientific) sampling method: These are methods in which the researcher is
required to utilize the principle of randomization (or chances of procedure) in
a least one of the stages of the sample process. These are four basis types:

a.         Simple
random sampling: This process of sampling is guided by chances of
procedure. A list of the whole population is collected, numbered and a sampling
is selected using balloting, dice, table of random numbered etc.

b.         Systematic
random sampling: This is the selection of the Nth sample in the sampling
frame. It involves securing a list of the center population in every subject is
listed only once. Then number all subjects in the list, determine the size of
sample to be drawn from the population; divide the population by the proposed
size; randomly draw from the sampling frame the first number of the sample;
beginning with the number selected, go down the population and systematically
add all the sampling intervals until the required number is attained.

c.         Stratified
sampling: This requires that the sample be drawn from the strata before
sampling takes place within each stratum. Sampling strata could be equal
(male/female, low IQ/high IQ etc) o unequal (if the major interest of the study
is to make findings that are generalized or applicable to the whole population.
This is done by selecting a list of the population in which subject is listed
only once; divide into different stratum ;then take a simple or systematic
random sampling of each stratum in the population.

d.         Cluster
sampling: This is a successive random sampling of units and sounds of the
population. It involves dividing the population into number of groups called
cluster from very large to the smallest cluster before sampling. The process
involves defining the population; identify all possible clusters from the
largest to the smallest; successively sample clusters from very large groups to
sub-groups until it gets to the stage of individual subjects then randomly
select subjects.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD RESEARCH
QUESTION

·        
Research question provide focus and direct attention to
the major issues in the project. They determine, what data to collect and where
to collect them, they should always be related to the problem at hand and
represent significant and critical issues in the study.

·        
Although there is no precise rule in the number,
research question should be neither small as to exclude very important aspects
of the problem nor too large as to bring unnecessary details.

·        
The language of the research question should be clear
and unambiguous. Research questions should be formulated in such a way that
they could be answered. Every research question included In the project should
be answered.

 

 

NON
PROBABILISTIC SAMPLING METHODS

·        
These are non-simple methods of sampling

·        
They do not apply the principle of randomization in
their procedure

·        
The basic ones include the following:

(a)   
Quota sampling

(b)   
Accidental sampling

(c)   
Purposive sampling

 

LEVELS OF MEASUREMENT /SCALE OF
MEASUREMENT

There
are four levels of measurement conventionally agreed by the research community:

(a)    The normal levels:

This
involves the classification of observation into a set of categories that have
no direction to them. It makes no assumptions about the value being assigned to
the data and each assigned value is a distinct category and serves as a label
or name for the value.

(b)   The ordinal scale:

This
level of measurement involves the classification of data into a set of
categories that have direction to them. The ordinal level is attained and
categories are ranked according to some criteria. Measures at this level are
either less or more than others, conveys no information or indication of the
distance separating the categories.

(c)    Interval level:

Measurement
at this level is the process of assigning real numbers to observations and its
intervals are equal. This measurement not only orders categories but also
indicates distances between them. It has the property of defining the distances
between categories in terms of fixed and equal units.

(d)   
Ratio level:

In
terms of precision, this is the highest level of measurement, it assign real
numbers to observations, it has equal intervals of measurement, it has absolute
zero point.

 

SAMPLE SIZE DETERMINATION

The
following formulas can be used on determining the sample size;

n  =  
z²pq

           d²

n = the desired sample size

² = the standard normal deviate,
usually set at 1.96

P = the proportion in the target population
estimated to have a particular characteristic

q = 1-p