Research: What Is It, Steps, Types

“Research is a systematic, formal rigorous and precise process employed to gain solutions to problems and/or to discover and interpret new facts and relationships”. (Waltz & Bausell, 1981. p.1). Research usually starts with a problem, and the objective of the research is to find a solution for the identified problem and also make some suggestions. The main function of research is to test a hypothesis and to check whether the hypothesis is good or not. Research usually provides proof or support to decisions that will usually have an impact on future events or activities. Research needs the help of adequate data so that we can prove that the conclusion is correct.

There are various steps involved in the research process. First of all, we have to select a topic of research, according to a person’s interest or a relevant challenging topic of recent importance. Avoid topics in which already research is done, also avoid too technical topics in which an adequate amount of sources are not available. After finding the topic, the next step is to collect the background information which is needed to support the topic that has been chosen.

The information can be collected from the internet, guides, reports, government publications, journals, and other related articles. It must be taken care that the information is collected from the sites that provide reliable information like the government sites, educational institution sites, and other organizational sites. Examine and assess the collected information and also assemble the full bibliographical information with URLs and page numbers for further reference. Further, some significant points and opinions may be stated in order to support the topic of research and prepare a synopsis of the topic with an introduction, body, and conclusion. (Chapter 1: How to write an A+ research paper, 2008).

The next step is to find a suitable methodology. There are two main types of research methods used to collect data. One is quantitative research, in which a large number of respondents is involved, the structured questionnaire is prepared to know sample response randomly and statistical methods are used for the analysis. The other is qualitative research in which research is conducted by collecting data by observing a small group of people and collecting their responses. It uses different methods for gathering information from a small group of respondents.

The qualitative research supports the qualitative data collected. Different methods of used for conducting research, like experiments, surveys, observation, or existing data. The researcher has to choose the most appropriate method for conducting the research. Through primary research, first-hand information can be collected from the sample by conducting surveys and through secondary research, primary research information could be supported. Therefore adequate skill thought and also experience is needed to conduct the research.

The survey is a common type of research method used by the researchers. For the process of conducting the survey, a sample of the entire population is taken so that the process of the survey is easy. There are different methods of sampling like random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified sampling, judgment sampling, quota sampling, etc. (Hashim et. al, 2006). From the selected sample population, the survey is conducted. There are mainly two types of survey research, one is the questionnaire method and the other is the interview method. In the questionnaire method, a systematic and well-organized questionnaire is prepared and the survey is conducted.

The questionnaire mostly contains a series of closed-ended questions in order to assess the opinion of the sample respondents. In the survey method, the questionnaire can be sent to the respondents through the mail, which allows the respondents to have sufficient convenience to answer the survey questions. This method is an inexpensive and convenient method of conducting a survey since a wide number of respondents can be covered within a short span of time. But the disadvantage is that the responses from the respondents will be often low and they may not take sufficient interest to fill the questionnaire in time. In the group administered questionnaire method, the responses are being collected from the sample group of respondents by bringing them together and are asked to fill the structured questionnaire.

This is a convenient method for the researcher since he can get the response in a short period and the response rate will be also high. If the respondents are not familiar with any questions, they can directly ask and clear their doubts immediately. But the disadvantage is that in most cases if the sample population is large, it will be difficult to organize them into groups. Another method is the household drop-off method, in which the respondents will drop the questionnaire in the house of the respondents and collect their response immediately. The advantage of this method is that the person who is conducting the survey will get first-hand information about the topic and they can get more apt information from the respondents. The main disadvantage of this method is that more cost will be incurred in conducting such a survey.

Another method of survey method is the interview method, which is a more personal method, in which the interviewer directly contacts each respondent with an open-ended questionnaire. In this method, the suggestions and opinions of the respondents are also collected which will further improve the understanding of the research topic and the researcher can also make an in-depth analysis on the subject. A personal interview is time-consuming and also utilizes more resources. Telephonic interviews can be also conducted, which will help the researcher in collecting the information more quickly. (William, 2006).

The best example of a survey method is to know the customer satisfaction of the products, which is the research method adopted by the marketing companies. A customer satisfaction survey is conducted to know the awareness of the customer about a particular product and also to know the opinion of the public about the performance of the company. By conducting such survey, the problems of the customers could be also traced out and further measures can be adopted to improve them. High-quality customer is the most essential factor for the success of any business, thus it is very important to retain them. It is difficult to collect the response of the customer individually since it is a time-consuming and costly affair. Thus a survey is conducted by taking a sample from the whole population of the customers.

This sample population represents the whole population and then the customer satisfaction survey is conducted. The advantage of this method is that the cost can be minimized since the survey is conducted among the sample respondents. The survey could be finished in a short period and the results are more accurate and efficient since the sample is representative of the entire population of customers. A high degree of flexibility and more in-depth analysis could be made using the customer survey method. This kind of survey is very relevant in the present scenario of a more complicated and competitive market. Through conducting such surveys, the company will be more benefited since they have ready access to the existing data and reports based on that which could be used for further reference. (Customer satisfaction survey, 2008).

The survey is a non-experimental and expressive research method that is also used widely in the library and information science, in order to study the attitude of the wide variety of the people who are accessing the library books. Different methods of the survey are conducted for studying the opinion of the population. One method is the trend method in which the researcher merges data from several related studies which show the same type of results. For example, the yearly survey is conducted among the librarians in order to know the percentage of reference questions they have replied to using the internet. Another method is a cohort survey in which the respondent students who are accessing the library will be surveyed in order to know their attitude towards some new resources available in the library. The same question will be repeated after some fixed years of time in order to know the trend of the responses.

Also, they will conduct panel studies in which the respective panel of the respondents will be asked questions regarding their library usage, which will be continued year after year to know any changes or improvements in the responses. One main disadvantage of the library surveys is that they are not planned and managed appropriately and the result is that the data collected is not perfect. (Types of surveys: Survey methods). Experimental research is another method of conducting research, which helps the researcher to have an idea about the relationship between two variables. In the experimental research, there will be a dependent variable and an independent variable and by conducting research the independent variable is influenced by keeping the dependent variable constant. Thus experimental research is used to test the influence of a variable on one group.

The dependent variable is the observed variable. Thus the experimental research predicts the future behavior of the dependent variable and also controls the independent variable. The experimental research possesses both internal and external validity. Internal validity takes into consideration whether any changes have occurred internally due to the experimental treatment and the external validity measures the influence of external variables on the experiment.

Many factors affect the experimental research results, which can be both advantageous and disadvantageous to the researcher. For example, anti-chemical experimental research is being conducted by using a 60 item anti-chemical test to know the response of people on the environmental effects of the chemical. After watching the movie, the response of the pre-tested people was high compared to the non-pre-tested group which shows that the pre-test has reduced the effect of the experimental research. Similarly, experimental studies are conducted in some organizations in order to study the response of the department heads to their subordinates and also to their work. But if they realize that they’re being watched, the entire result of the experiment will mess up. (Key, 1997).


Waltz., & Bausell. (1981). Research skills: What is the purpose of research? by Dr. virginia cano. hospiweb: assets. P.1. Web.

Chapter 1: How to write an a+ research paper. (2008). A Research Guide for Students. Web.

Hashim, A. H., et. al. (2006). Stratification & sampling of electricity supply customers for outage costs survey. IEEE: Xplore. Vol. 28(29). P. 292-296. Web.

William, M. K. (2006). Types of surveys. Research Methods: Knowledge Base. Web.

Customer satisfaction survey. (2008). Confirmit. Web.

Types of surveys : Survey methods. Web.

Key, James P. (1997). Module r13: Experimental research and design. Experimental: Research Design in Occupational Education.Web.

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