Research Methodology: An Introduction
Meaning Of Research
Research may be very broadly defined as systematic gathering of data and information and its analysis for advancement of knowledge in any subject. Research attempts to find answer intellectual and practical questions through application of systematic methods. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines research as "studious inquiry or examination; esp: 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". Some people consider research as a movement, a movement from the known to the unknown.
It is actually a voyage of discovery. We all possess the vital instinct of inquisitiveness for, when the unknown confronts us, we wonder and our inquisitiveness makes us probe and attain full and fuller understanding of the unknown. This inquisitiveness is the mother of all knowledge and the method, which man employs for obtaining the knowledge of whatever the unknown, can be termed as research.
Research is an academic activity and as such the term should be used in a technical sense. According to Clifford Woody research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis. D. Steiner and M. Stephenson in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences define research as “the manipulation of things, concepts or symbols for the purpose of generalizing to extend, correct or verify knowledge, whether that knowledge aids in construction of theory or in the practice of an art.”
Research is, thus, an original contribution to the existing stock of knowledge making for its advancement. It is the per suit of truth with the help of study, observation, comparison and experiment. In short, the search for knowledge through objective and systematic method of finding solution to a problem is research. The systematic approach concerning generalization and the formulation of a theory is also research. As such the term ‘research’ refers to the systematic method consisting of enunciating the problem, formulating a hypothesis, collecting the facts or data, analyzing the facts and reaching certain conclusions either in the form of solutions(s) towards the concerned problem or in certain generalizations for some theoretical formulation.