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Adigrat University

College of Engineering and

Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering

Basic research &

Research Methodology
Man coming to grips with his environment and to
understand the nature through experience , reasoning
and research
1.Experience(includes a number of sources of information)
personal experience, i.e. body of knowledge and skills derived
from encounters and acquaintance with facts and events in his
Experience of others
Deductive (Aristotle) -From whole to part
Inductive (Francis bacon) From number of observations
3. research
Systematic, controlled, empirical & critical
investigation of hypothetical propositions
about the presumed relations among natural
phenomena i.e.
Systematic & controlled
Research is a combination of both experience
&reasoning and must be regarded as the most
successful approach to the discovery of truth
( particularly in natural science)
Background cont
Definition research
Research as a scientific and systematic search
for pertinent information on a specific topic.
i.e. research is an art of scientific investigation
Research comprises
Defining and redefining problems
Formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions
Collecting, organizing and evaluating data
Making deductions and reaching conclusions.
Background cont
The purpose of research is to discover
answers to questions through the
application of scientific procedures.
To solve a problem
To get intellectual joy
To serve society
To face a challenge
To get degree
To get respectability
Background cont
Purpose of research
To increase standard of living in case of
Science and technology
To show the right path of the society in
case of Social and behavioral sciences
Terms Used
Research Techniques
Behavior and instruments used in research operations
Example: Scales , recording techniques, content analysis,
moving average , longitudinal/cross sectional collection of
data, etc
Research Method
Behavior and instruments used in selecting and consulting techniques ( a
range of approaches used to gather data)
Examples: Observation , questionnaire, interview, analysis of records,
case study ,etc
Methods are more general than techniques.
Methods &techniques are used in performing research operations
Collection of data
Statistical processing & analysis (test)
To evaluate the accuracy of the results obtained
Note : Research techniques and research methods are almost
interchangeably used .
Research Methodology
A science of study how research is done
A way to systematically solve the research
problem by logically adopting various steps
Methodology helps to understand not only
the products of scientific inquiry but the
process itself
Aims to describe and analyze methods ,
throw light on their limitations and
resources ,clarify their presuppositions and
consequences ,relating their potentials to the
twilight zone at the frontier of the knowledge.
Benefits of research
1.Advancement of wealth of human knowledge
2. Provides tools to look at the things in life
3. Develops a critical and scientific attitude ,
disciplined thinking or a bent of mind to observe
objectively (scientific deduction & inductive
thinks )
4. Provides chance to study subject in depth :
Enable us to make intellectual decisions
5. As consumer of research output helps to include
the ability to evaluate and use results of carrier
research with reasonable confidence and take
rational decisions .
6. Doing research is the best way of to learn and
Benefits of research cont
Other benefits of research includes
Enables critical evaluation of literature
Develops special interest & skills
Helps to understand attitude of others
Creates awareness of special needs of
research process.
Facilitates reference and information
Types of Research
1. Basic vs. Applied research
The distinction between basic and applied research
is largely by the focus of their applications.
This distinction comes from basic science vs.
applied science. Example: physics and
Basic research focuses on determining or
establishing the basic or fundamental relationships
within a discipline without paying attention to any
practical applications to the real world.
In contrast, applied research is usually conducted
to solve a particular and concrete problem.
Types of Research
2. Descriptive vs. Analytical: Descriptive research
includes surveys and fact-finding enquiries of
different kinds.
Major purpose is description and It is widely used in
social science and business areas
Main characteristic
The researcher has no control over the variables;
i.e. He/she can only report what has happened or
what is happening. For example, frequency of
shopping, preferences of people, or similar data.
Research methodology: Survey type of all
kinds, including comparative and correlation
Types of Research
2. Descriptive vs. Analytical
In analytical research, on the other
hand, the researcher has to use facts or
information already available, and
analyze these to make a critical
evaluation of the material.
Descriptive research attempts to
determine, describe, or identify what is,
while analytical research attempts to
establish why it is that way or how it
came to be.
Types of research Cont
3.Quantitative vs. Qualitative:
Quantitative research is based on the
measurement of quantity or amount.
It is applicable to phenomena that can be
expressed in terms of quantity.
Qualitative research, on the other hand, is
concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e.,
phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind.
Why people think or do certain things
Attitude or opinion research
Note: Qualitative research is specially important in the
behavioral sciences where the aim is to discover the
underlying motives of human behavior.
Types of research Cont
4. Conceptual vs. Empirical
Conceptual research is that related to some abstract

idea(s) or theory.
It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop
new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones.
Empirical(experimental) research relies on experience

or observation alone, often without due regard for system

and theory
It is data-based research, coming up with conclusions which

are capable of being verified by observation or experiment.

Hypothesis Facts/data Prove/disprove

Such research is thus characterized by the experimenters control over
the variables under study and his deliberate manipulation of one of them
to study its effects.
Evidence gathered through experiments or empirical studies is today
considered to be the most powerful support possible for a given
Research Approaches

Two basic approaches

1. Quantitative approach
It involves the generation of data in quantitative form
which can be subjected to rigorous quantitative
analysis in a formal and rigid fashion and has two parts
Inferential : The purpose of inferential approach to research is to
form a database from which to infer characteristics or relationships
of population.
This usually means survey research where a sample of
population is studied (questioned or observed) to determine its
characteristics, and it is then inferred that the population has
the same characteristics.
Experimental approach: in this case some variables are
manipulated to observe their effect on other variables.
Simulation approach involves the construction of an artificial
environment within which relevant information and data can be
Research Approaches cont

2.Qualitative approach to research

It is concerned with subjective
assessment of attitudes, opinions and
Research in such a situation is a function
of researchers insights and impressions.
Such an approach to research generates
results either in non-quantitative form or
in the form which are not subjected to
rigorous quantitative analysis.

The research process is similar to undertaking a

journey. For a research journey there are two
important decisions to make:
1. What you want to find out about or what research
questions (problems) you want to find answers to;
2. How to go about finding their answers.
The path to finding answers to your research
questions constitutes research methodology.
Research methodology: is a way to
systematically solve the research problem.
. It may be understood as a science of studying how
research is done scientifically.
. The scope of research methodology is wider than that
of research methods.

In research methodology we not only talk

of the research methods but also consider
The logic behind the methods we use in the
context of our research study
Explain why we are using a particular
method or technique
why we are not using others so that
research results are capable of being
evaluated either by the researcher himself or
by others.
Research Process cont
Steps in Research Process:
1. Formulating the Research Problem
2. Extensive Literature Review
3. Developing the objectives
4. Preparing the Research Design including
Sample Design
5. Collecting the Data
6. Analysis of Data
7. Generalization and Interpretation
8. Preparation of the Report or Presentation
of Results-Formal write ups of conclusions
Research Process cont
Step1. Formulating the research problem:
It is the first and most crucial step in the research process
Main function is to decide what you want to find out about.
The way you formulate a problem determines almost every
step that follows.
Every research study has two aspects:
1. Study population - People: individuals, organizations, groups,
(they provide you with the information or you collect information
about them)
2. Subject area:- Problems: issues, situations, associations, needs,
Program : content, structure, outcomes, attributes, satisfactions,
consumers, Service providers, etc. Phenomenon: cause-and-effect
relationships, the study of a phenomenon itself (Information that you
need to collect to find answers to your research questions).
Research Process cont
Considerations in selecting a research
These help to ensure that your study will remain
manageable and that you will remain
1. Interest: a research endeavor is usually time
consuming, and involves hard work and possibly
unforeseen problems. One should select topic of
great interest to sustain the required motivation.
2. Magnitude: It is extremely important to select a
topic that you can manage within the time and
resources at your disposal. Narrow the topic
down to something manageable, specific and
3. Measurement of concepts: Make sure that you
Research Process cont
Considerations in selecting a research
4. Level of expertise: Make sure that you have
adequate level of expertise for the task you are
proposing since you need to do the work yourself.
5. Relevance: Ensure that your study adds to
the existing body of knowledge, bridges current
gaps and is useful in policy formulation. This will
help you to sustain interest in the study.
6. Availability of data: Before finalizing the topic,
make sure that data are available.
7. Ethical issues: How ethical issues can affect the
study population and how ethical problems can
be overcome should be thoroughly examined
at the problem formulating stage.
Research Process cont
Steps in formulation of a research problem :
Working through these steps presupposes a
reasonable level of knowledge in the broad
subject area within which the study is to be
undertaken. Without such knowledge it is difficult to
clearly and adequately dissect a subject area.
Step 1 Identify a broad field or subject area of
interest to you.
Step 2 Dissect the broad area into sub areas.
Step 3 Select what is of most interest to you.
Step 4 Raise research questions.
Step 5 Formulate objectives.
Step 6 Assess your objectives.
Step 7 Double check.
Research Process cont
Step 2. Reviewing the literature:
Essential preliminary task in order to acquaint yourself with the
available body of knowledge in your area of interest.
Literature review is integral part of entire research process
and makes valuable contribution to every operational step.
Reviewing literature can be time-consuming, daunting and
frustrating, but is also rewarding. Its functions are:
Bring clarity and focus to your research problem;
.The process of reviewing the literature helps you to understand the subject
area better and thus helps you to conceptualize your research problem clearly
and precisely
Improve your methodology;
.A literature review tells you if others have used procedures and
methods similar to the ones that you are proposing, which procedures and
methods have worked well for them, and what problems they have faced with
.Thus you will be better positioned to select a methodology that is capable of
providing valid answer to your research questions
Research Process cont
3.Broaden your knowledge base in your research area:
It ensures you to read widely around the subject area in which you
intend to conduct your research study. As you are expected to be an
expert in your area of study, it helps fulfill this expectation.
It also helps you to understand how the findings of your study
fit into the existing body of knowledge.

4.Contextualize your findings:

. How do answers to your research questions compare with what
others have found?
. What contribution have you been able to make in to the existing
body of knowledge?
. How are your findings different from those of others?
. For you to be able to answer these questions, you need to go
back to your literature review.
. It is important to place your findings in the context of what is already
known in your field of enquiry.
Research Process cont
Procedure for reviewing the literature:
i) Search for existing literature in your area of study;
Sources are:
ii) Review the literature selected;
After identifying books and articles as useful, the
next step is to start reading them critically to pull
together themes and issues that are associated.
iii) Develop a theoretical framework;
Set parameters by reviewing the literature in relation
to some main themes pertinent to your research topic.
iv) develop a conceptual framework.
systematic comparison of your findings with those
made by others.
Research Process cont
Step 3 The formulation of objectives:
Objectives are the goals you set out to attain in your study.
They inform a reader what you want to attain through the
It is extremely important to word them clearly and specifically.
Objectives should be listed under two headings:
a) main objectives ( aims);
The main objective is an overall statement of the thrust of your study.
It is also a statement of the main associations and relationships that
you seek to discover or establish.
b) sub-objectives.
The sub-objectives are the specific aspects of the topic that you want
to investigate within the main framework of your study.
They should be numerically listed. Wording should clearly, completely
and specifically Communicate to your readers your intention.
Each objective should contain only one aspect of the Study.
Use action oriented words or verbs when writing objectives.
Research Process cont
The objectives should start with words such as

to determine,
to find out,
to ascertain,
to measure,
to minimize
to explore etc. example
To minimize the effect of noise in mobile
To design noise resistive amplifier.
Research Process cont

Identify main variables to be
Identify the direction of relationship
Research Process cont
Research design is the conceptual structure within
which research would be conducted.
The function of research design is to provide for
the collection of relevant information with
minimal expenditure of effort, time and money.
The preparation of research design, appropriate
for a particular research problem, involves the
consideration of the following :
1. Objectives of the research study.
2. Method of Data Collection to be adopted
3. Source of information
4. Tool for Data collection
5. Data Analysis: qualitative and quantitative
Research Process cont
Having formulated the research problem, developed a study
design, constructed a research instrument and selected a
sample, you then collect the data from which you will draw
inferences and conclusions for your study.
Processing and analyzing data involves a number of closely
related operations which are performed with the purpose of
summarizing the collected data and organizing these in a
manner that they answer the research questions (objectives).
Writing the report is the last, and for many, the most
difficult step of the research process.
The report informs the world what you have done, what you
have discovered and what conclusions you have drawn
from your findings.
The report should be written in an academic style. Language
should be formal and not journalistic.