By Dr Than Lwin Tun
Research is defined as creating new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way to generate new concepts, methodologies, and understandings. This definition of research encompasses pure and strategic basic research, applied research and experimental development.
Market and social research provide accurate and timely information on a population’s needs, attitudes, and motivations: It plays a vital social role, assisting our government and businesses to develop services, policies, and products that are responsive to an identified need.
It creates knowledge and development designs and builds prototypes to prove their feasibility. Engineering then converts these prototypes into products or services that can be offered to the marketplace or into processes that can be used to produce commercial products and services.
It encourages scientific and inductive thinking, besides promoting the development of logical habits of thinking and organization. The role of research in applied economics in the context of an economy or business is greatly increasing in modern times.
It begins when we want to know something. It provides us with the information and knowledge needed for problem-solving and making decisions. In this context, the purpose of research is the ways for ‘problem-solving’.
An original and systematic investigation is undertaken to increase existing knowledge and understanding of the unknown to establish facts and principles. Some people consider research as a voyage of discovery of new knowledge.
It comprises the creation of ideas and the generation of new knowledge that leads to new and improved insights and the development of new materials, devices, products, and processes. It should have the potential to produce sufficiently relevant results to increase and synthesize existing knowledge or correct and integrate previous knowledge.
Good reflective research produces theories and hypotheses and benefits any intellectual attempt to analyze facts and phenomena.
The word ‘research’ perhaps originates from the old French word “recerchier” that meant to ‘search again.’ It implicitly assumes that the earlier search was not exhaustive and complete, and hence a repeated search is called for.
When do we call a research scientific? Any research endeavour is said to be scientific if it is based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. It consists of systematic observations, measurement, and experimentation. It relies on the application of scientific methods and the harnessing of curiosity. It provides scientific information and theories for explaining nature. It makes practical applications possible; and ensures adequate analysis of data employing rigorous statistical techniques.
Scientific research has multidimensional functions, characteristics, and objectives.
Keeping these issues in view, we emphasize that research in any field or discipline: Attempts to solve a research problem; Involves gathering new data from primary or first-hand sources or using existing data for a new purpose; based upon observable experiences or empirical evidence; Demands accurate observation and description; Employs carefully designed procedures and rigorous analysis; attempts to find an objective, unbiased solution to the problem and takes great pains to validate the methods employed; and deliberate and unhurried activity that is directional but often refines the problem or questions as the research progresses.
- Characteristics of Research
Keeping this in mind that research in any field of inquiry is undertaken to provide information to support decision-making in its respective area, we summarize some desirable characteristics of research:
The research should focus on priority problems.
The research should be systematic. It emphasizes that a researcher should employ a structured procedure.
The research should be logical. Without manipulating ideas logically, the scientific researcher cannot make much progress in any investigation.
The research should be reductive. It means that one researcher’s findings should be made available to other researchers to prevent them from repeating the same research.
The research should be replicable. It asserts that there should be scope to confirm previous research findings in a new environment and different settings with a new group of subjects or at different times.
The research should be generative. It is one of the valuable research characteristics because answering one question leads to generating many other new questions.
The research should be action-oriented. In other words, it should be aimed at reaching a solution leading to the implementation of its findings.
The research should follow an integrated multidisciplinary approach, i.e., research approaches from more than one discipline are needed.
The research should be participatory, involving all parties concerned (from policymakers down to community members) at all stages of the study.
The research must be relatively simple, timely, and time-bound, employing a comparatively simple design.
The research must be as much cost-effective as possible.
The research results should be presented in formats most useful for administrators, decision-makers, business managers, or community members.
Goals of Research
The primary goal or purpose of research in any field of inquiry; is to add to what is known about the phenomenon under investigation by applying scientific methods.
Though each research has its own specific goals, yet we may enumerate the following four broad goals of scientific research: Exploration, Description, Causal explanation and Prediction.
Areas of Research
The most important fields of research, among others, are; social, health, population, business, marketing, agricultural, biomedical, clinical, outcomes, internet, archival, empirical, legal, education, engineering and historical researches.
In addition, living with research is one of the essential issues in changing world.