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Published by Rozi Khan

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Published by: Rozi Khan on Dec 11, 2012
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The word research is derived from theMiddle French"recherche", which means "to go about seeking",the term itself being derived from theOld Frenchterm "recerchier" a compound word from "re-" +
"cerchier", or "sercher", meaning 'search’. The earliest recorded use of the term was in 1577.
 Research is theprocessof findingfacts.These facts will lead toknowledge.Research is done by using what is already known (if any). Additional knowledge can be obtained by proving (or falsifying) existingtheoriesand by trying to better explainobservations.Research process, both analytical and experimental, should be systematic, organized and objective.
Research has been defined in a number of different ways.A broad definition of research is given by Martyn Shuttleworth - "In the broadest sense of the word,the definition of research includes any gathering of data, information and facts for the advancementof knowledge."Another definition of research is given by Creswell who states - "Research is a process of steps usedto collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue". It consists of three steps: Pose a question, collect data to answer the question, and present an answer to thequestion.The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines research in more detail as "a studious inquiry orexamination; especially : investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretationof facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of suchnew or revised theories or laws".Thus research and experimental development is formal work undertaken systematically to increasethe stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of thisstock of knowledge to devise new applications (OECD-2002 Frascati Manual: proposed standardpractice for surveys on research and experimental development, 6th edition.) It is used to establish orconfirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, supporttheorems, or develop newtheories.A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. Totest the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of priorprojects, or the project as a whole. The primary purposes of basic research(as opposed toapplied research)aredocumentation,discovery,interpretation,or theresearch and developmentof methods and systems for the advancement of humanknowledge.Approaches to research depend onepistemologies,which vary considerably both within and between humanities and sciences.There are several forms of research: scientific, humanities, artistic, economic, social, business, etc.
Types of research
Basic research,
also called fundamental research or pure research.
 Applied research
which is targeting an application of the new knowledge into the practice.
Basic research
Basic research (also called
 pure research
) has as its primary objective the advancementof  
 and the theoretical understanding of the relations among variables. It is 
often driven by the researcher’s 
interest, or hunch. It is conducted without any practical endin mind, although it may have unexpected results
pointing to practical applications. The terms “basic”or “fundamental” indicate that, through theory generation, basic research provides the foundation
for Further, sometimes applied research. As there is no guarantee of short-term practical gain,researchers often find it difficult to obtain funding for basic research.Examples of questions asked in basic research:
Which aspects of genomesexplain organismal complexity?
How cancomputational methodsbe efficiently applied to larger and larger molecularsystems?
Applied research
Applied research is done to solve specific, practical questions; its primary aim is not to gain knowledgefor its own sake. It can be exploratory, but is usually descriptive. It is almost always done on the basisof basic research. Applied research can be carried out byacademicorindustrialinstitutions. Often, an academic institution such as auniversitywill have a specific applied research program funded by anindustrial partner interested in that program. Common areas of applied research includeelectronics, informatics,computer science,process engineering,anddrug design.  Examples of question asked in applied research:
How can Pakistan'swheatcropsbe protected from grasshoppers?
What is the most efficient and effectivevaccineagainstinfluenza? 
How cancommunicationamong workers in large companies be improved?
How can theGreat Lakesbe protected against the effects of greenhouse gas?  There are many instances when the distinction between basic and applied research is not clear. It isnot unusual for researchers to present their project in such a light as to 'slot' it into either applied orbasic research, depending on the requirements of thefundingsources. The question of genetic codes is a good example. Unraveling it for the sake of knowledgealone would be basic research
but what,for example, if knowledge of it also has the benefit of making it possible to alter the code so as tomake a plant commercially viable? Some say that the difference between basic and applied researchlies in the time span between research and reasonably foreseeable practical applications.
Forms of research
Scientific research
relies on the application of the scientific method, a harnessing of curiosity.Thisresearch providesscientificinformation and theories for the explanation of thenatureand the properties of the world. It makes practical applications possible. Scientific research is funded by publicauthorities, by charitable organizations and by private groups, including many companies. Scientificresearch can be subdivided into different classifications according to their academic and applicationdisciplines. Scientific research is a widely used criterion for judging the standing of an academicinstitution, such as business schools, but some argue that such is an inaccurate assessment of the
institution, because the quality of research does not tell about the quality of teaching (these do notnecessarily correlate totally).
Research in the humanities
involves different methods such as for examplehermeneuticsandsemiotics,and a different, morerelativistepistemology.Humanities scholars usually do not search for the ultimate correct answer to a question, but instead explore the issues and details that surround it.Context is always important, and context can be social, historical, political, cultural or ethnic. Anexample of research in the humanities is historical research, which is embodied inhistorical method. Historians useprimary sourcesand otherevidenceto systematically investigate a topic, and then to write histories in the form of accounts of the past.
 Artistic research,
also seen as 'practice-based research', can take form when creative works areconsidered both the research and the object of research itself. It is the debatable body of thoughtwhich offers an alternative to purely scientific methods in research in its search for knowledge andtruth.The phrase
my research
is also used loosely to describe a person's entire collection of informationabout a particular subject.
Steps in conducting research
Research is often conducted using the hourglass model structure of research. The hourglass modelstarts with a broad spectrum for research, focusing in on the required information through the methodof the project (like the neck of the hourglass), then expands the research in the form of discussion andresults. The major steps in conducting research are:
Identification of research problem
Literature review
Specifying the purpose of research
Determine specific research questions or hypotheses
Data collection
Analyzing and interpreting the data
Reporting and evaluating researchThe steps generally represent the overall process, however they should be viewed as an ever-changingprocess rather than a fixed set of steps. Most researches begin with a general statement of theproblem, or rather, the purpose for engaging in the study. The literature review identifies flaws orholes in previous research which provides justification for the study. Often, a literature review isconducted in a given subject area before a research question is identified. A gap in the currentliterature, as identified by a researcher, then engenders a research question. The research questionmay be parallel to the hypothesis. The hypothesis is the supposition to be tested. The researcher(s)collects data to test the hypothesis. The researcher(s) then analyzes and interprets the data via avariety of statistical methods, engaging in what is known asEmpirical research.The results of the dataanalysis in confirming or failing to reject theNull hypothesisare then reported and evaluated. At theend the researcher may discuss avenues for further research.Rudolph Rummelsays, "... no researcher should accept any one or two tests as definitive. It is onlywhen a range of tests are consistent over many kinds of data, researchers, and methods can one haveconfidence in the results."

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