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12 January 2009

What is research?

Research involves the way in which a problem can be investigated in a systematic and goal-orientated way to increase the sum of human knowledge.

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Research can be described as a certain way of thinking.

It involves the way in which a problem can be investigated in a systematic and goal-orientated way to increase the sum of human knowledge – knowledge that is subsequently used to devise new applications.

Research can also be used to test the validity of solutions proposed by others.

Scientific research is done to test ideas about the nature and operation of some aspect of the universe.

For example, those who claim that their remedy works, or is better than some other remedy, are usually asked to show the evidence for their claim. Similarly, those who claim that a particular diet is more healthy, should show the evidence in support of their claim.

The research process can be broken down into three steps: 1.) clarifying the issue to be researched and selecting a research method; 2.) collecting evidence about the research question; 3.) relating the evidence collected to the research question asked, drawing conclusions about the question, and acknowledging the limitations of the research.

Source: Bouma GD, Atkinson GBJ. A handbook of social science research: A comprehensive and practical guide for students. Oxford University Press (1995).

 
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