What is research?
- Generally, research is the organised and systematic method of finding answers to questions.
- It is systematic because it is a process broken up into clear steps that lead to conclusions.
- Research is organised because there is a planned structure or method used to reach the conclusion.
- Research is only successful if we find answers, whether we like these answers or not.
- Development research is focussed on relevant, useful and important questions. If there are no questions, there can be no research.
Meanings of Research
The word research is composed of two syllables, re and search. The dictionary defines the former as a prefix meaning again, anew or over again and the latter as a verb meaning to examine closely and carefully, to test and try, or to probe. Together they form a noun describing a careful, systematic, patient study and investigation in some field of knowledge, undertaken to establish facts or principles. (Grinnell 1993)
Definitions of research
- (Lundberg 1942) Burns (1997) defines research as ‘a systematic investigation to find answers to a problem’.
- According to Kerlinger (1986), ‘scientific research is a systematic, controlled empirical and critical investigation of propositions about the presumed relationships about various phenomena’.
- Bulmer (1977) states: ‘Nevertheless sociological research, as research, is primarily committed to establishing systematic, reliable and valid knowledge about the social world.’