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What is Research: Definition, Methods, Process [Updated]

What is Research

In this article, I have explained the research process, types, methods, definition, and purpose. You can read another article on research ethics too.

What is Research?

Definition: Research is defined as the careful consideration of study regarding a particular concern or problem using scientific methods.

In simple words, research is the process of discovering new knowledge. This knowledge can be either the development of new concepts or the advancement of existing knowledge and theories, leading to a new understanding that was not previously known.

According to the American sociologist Earl Robert Babbie, “Research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict, and control the observed phenomenon. It involves inductive and deductive methods.”

Inductive methods analyze the observed phenomenon and identify the general principles, structures, or processes underlying the phenomenon observed; deductive methods verify the hypothesized principles through observations. 

See Also: Steps of the Research Process: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting the Research Process

Purpose of Research

The following are the purposes of doing research:

  • Identify potential and new customers
  • Understand existing customers
  • Set pragmatic goals
  • Develop productive market strategies
  • Address business challenges
  • Put together a business expansion plan
  • Identify new business opportunities

See Also: Literature Review: Definition and Tips & Techniques for Beginners

What are the Characteristics of Research?

  1. A systematic technique for capturing correct data is used in good research. When making observations or drawing conclusions, researchers must follow a code of ethics and conduct.
  2. The analysis is based on logic and employs both inductive and deductive reasoning techniques.
    Actual observations in natural environments are used to generate real-time data and knowledge.
  3. There is a thorough examination of all data obtained to ensure that there are no irregularities.
  4. It paves the way for new questions to emerge. Existing data aids in the development of new research prospects.
  5. One of the most important parts of research is accuracy. The data must be exact and complete. Laboratories, for example, provide a controlled setting in which to collect data. The accuracy of the instruments employed, the calibrations of instruments or tools, and the end result of the experiment are all factors to consider.
  6. It is analytical and uses all the available data so that there is no ambiguity in inference.

Types of Research Methods and Examples

The basic types of Research Methods are the following: 

1. Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is based on the measurement of a certain amount or quantity of a phenomena, as the name implies. It focuses on collecting and evaluating numerical data, and it can be used to find averages or patterns, as well as make forecasts.

This type of research is based on numbers and is one of the two main research types. To obtain a conclusion, it employs tables, facts, and graphs. Unlike qualitative research, the results of this study are measurable and repeatable. This research method is primarily used in scientific and field research.

Quantitative research usually entails a large number of people and a great amount of data, and there is a lot of room for error.

Quantitative research methods

  • Experiment Research – This method controls or manages independent variables for calculating the effect it has on dependent variables. 
  • Survey – Surveys involve inquiring questions from a certain specified number or set of people either online, face to face or over the phone. 
  • (Systematic) observation – This method involves detecting any occurrence and monitoring it in a natural setting. 
  • Secondary research : This research focuses on making use of data which has been previously collected for other purposes such as for say, a national survey. 

2. Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is a method that collects data using conversational methods, usually open-ended questions. The responses collected are essentially non-numerical. This method helps a researcher understand what participants think and why they think in a particular way.

By conducting an in-depth interview with some potential customers in this category, qualitative research would be able to determine why males are not visiting the business.

This type of research is interested in delving into the reasons behind human behaviour, such as why people do particular things or think specific thoughts.

The elements that influence people to behave in a certain way or regulate their preferences towards a given thing can be interpreted through this research.

Motivation Research is an example of Qualitative Research. This study focuses on uncovering underlying intentions or goals using complex approaches such as in-depth interviews. It entails a number of exams, such as storey completion and word association.

Opinion research is another example. This type of study is conducted to learn about people’s opinions and perspectives on a particular issue or situation.

Qualitative research methods

  • Observations: In this method what the researcher sees, hears of or encounters is recorded in detail.
  • Interviews: Personally asking people questions in one-on-one conversations.
  • Focus groups: This involves asking questions and discussions among a group of people to generate conclusions from the same. 
  • Surveys: In these surveys unlike the quantitative research surveys, the questionnaires involve extensive open ended questions that require elaborate answers. 
  • Secondary research: Gathering the existing data such as images, texts or audio or video recordings. This can involve a text analysis, a research of a case study, or an In-depth interview.

3. Descriptive Research

Descriptive research is a type of study that includes surveys as well as various types of fact-gathering inquiries. This type of research is concerned with describing the current state of circumstances. Ex post facto research is another phrase for descriptive research.

This research method emphasizes factual reporting; the researcher has no influence over the factors involved and can only record the specifics as they occurred or are occurring.

Researchers typically employ a descriptive research strategy when they’re trying to figure out things like traits, frequency, or patterns.

4. Analytical Research

Analytical research is a type of study in which the researcher must work with the data and factual information that is given to them and interpret it in order to conduct an in-depth analysis of the data.

Researchers frequently do this type of research in order to unearth information that supports and authenticates their current research. It’s also done to come up with new thoughts about the subject of the study.

There are numerous techniques for performing this research, including meta analysis, literary research, scientific trials, and public opinion polling.

5. Applied Research

When a company or society is confronted with a problem that requires immediate attention, Applied Research is the research method that comes to the rescue.

When it comes to resolving issues that affect our daily life, such as job, health, or welfare, we mostly use Applied Research. This form of research is used to find solutions to problems in a variety of fields, including education, engineering, psychology, and business.

The 3 Types of Applied Research:

  1. Evaluation Research – Research where prevailing data regarding the topic is interpreted to arrive at proper decisions
  1. Research and Development – Where the focus is on setting up fresh products or services which focus on the target market requirements
  1. Action Research – Which aims at offering practical solutions for certain business issues by giving them proper direction, are the 3 types of Applied Research. 

6. Fundamental Research

Fundamental research (or academic research) is “experimental or theoretical works mainly performed to obtain new knowledge on the basics of observable phenomena or facts, without prior consideration that it will result in any practical application or use”.

This is a Research kind whose primary goal is to develop a hypothesis or gain a better understanding of a natural occurrence. Fundamental research tries to find information with a broad application base that can be used to supplement existing concepts in a specific subject or industry.

7. Conceptual Research

This study is based on a theory or an abstract idea. It is used by thinkers and philosophers to build new notions or re-examine old ones.

Conceptual research is defined as an approach for conducting research that involves seeing and evaluating existing knowledge on a certain issue. It does not include any type of practical experimentation.

Famous philosophers such as Aristotle, Copernicus, Einstein, and Newton used this methodology to establish new theories and discoveries about the workings of the world, as well as to examine current ones from a different perspective.

8. Empirical Research

This is a technique of research that focuses only on aspects such as observation and experience, rather than the theory or system. It is data-driven and can generate results that can be validated or confirmed by observation and experiment. Empirical research is mostly used to establish proof that certain factors influence others in a specific way.

Experimental research is another name for this type of study. All data must be obtained personally, directly from the source, so that the researcher can go out and actively carry out the actions and manipulate the relevant materials to obtain the knowledge he requires.

Read Also: The Symposium Method of Teaching | Purpose, Advantages & Examples

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