What is research and what are its meanings and definitions? Here we will discuss some of the definitions and meanings of research as conceived by different epistemology. The purpose of research is to search for knowledge and to add to the available body of knowledge in any field. Research can take different forms when it is taken in different disciplines. A research can be undertaken by natural scientists, artists, economists, social scientists, educationist, engineers, technologists, practitioners, students, or marketing persons. The aim of the research remains same to add to the available knowledge. The way the research is undertaken by different disciplines can be different in their approach but the aim remains same.
Every research aims at producing valid, reliable, authentic, accurate and replicable results. Another requirement of every research is that it should be original. The originality means that the person who claims to be the author of the research has actually undertaken the study. These requirements are the essence of every research. They make a research scientific, rigorous, and trustworthy. These requirements are met by the use of different tools in both qualitative and quantitative research. Nowadays mixed method research has also gained a lot of popularity because it helps the researcher in achieving the aims of the empirical research. Over the years scientists and researchers have developed standardized ways to conduct a research. These standards are meant to control the difficulties of research and to make research more empirical. These standards are the ethical and legal requirement of every research.
The way research is defined depends on the discipline in which it is undertaken. Though there are general definitions of research but none of the definition can assure that it can be applied to every approach of research. There are several definitions of research some of the below mentioned definitions are the one that are well established and accepted by the researchers.
One definition of research is provided by John W. Creswell, “research is a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue” This definition states that a research is a systematic way to find a solution of a problem and that solution helps in adding to the available knowledge. This step-by-step approach requires formulation of a problem, collecting data to solve that problem and analyzing that data to reach the conclusion about that problem.
Another definition of research is given by OECD, according to this definition research is, “any creative systematic activity undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications”.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines research as “investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws”. To achieve these goals the researcher has to make difficult decisions. The researcher has to decide how to conduct the study in the best possible way. Most of the research are sponsored by different organizations and institutions. The researcher has a big responsibility to undertake the study in a manner that the aims of the research can be fulfilled. Failure to conduct the research in the right manner can cause loss of resources and can slow the advancement of knowledge.
- “Research”.Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research
- “What is Original Research? Original research is considered a primary source”. Thomas G. Carpenter Library, University of North Florida. Retrieved on 3/6/2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20110709085129/http://www.unf.edu/library/guides/originalresearch.html
- “OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms – Research and development UNESCO Definition”. stats.oecd.org. Retrieved 3/6/2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20070219233912/http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=2312
- “Research”. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/research
- Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research Design: Qualitative Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. 4th Ed. Sage Publications: California. https://books.google.com/books?id=4uB76IC_pOQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22John+W.+Creswell%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjR46v3lO_gAhVLNd8KHVEGB84Q6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
- On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct Research. The National Academies Press: Washington D. C. 3rd Ed. https://www.nap.edu/read/12192/chapter/1