General Research Process – Discovering and analyzing a range of significant and reliable information about a particular issue or problem with systematic planning is known as the research process. This process involves several steps for a complete analysis of the research problem. These steps are required for identifying and analyzing important information about a research topic. The steps of the research process are described as follows:
General Research Process
1) Selecting the Business Problem:
In order to carry out the research in an orderly and coherent way, a sequence of actions or steps is needed to be followed. The foremost work in this direction is selecting a topic or problem for the research. While selecting the business problem for research, the foremost task is to narrow down the potential ones among the available issues in that particular area of research.
2) Defining Research Problem:
The next step of the research process after selecting a research topic is defining a research problem. The research problem should be defined clearly and precisely. The research problem which is clearly defined solves half of the problem. Defining the research problem precisely for some researches is not possible. For example, defining a research problem for poor sales is a difficult task, as it needs exploratory research to explore the area further.
3) Objectives of Research:
After defining the research problem, the next stage is to set the research objectives. Research objectives defined in clear terms help the researchers to proceed in a certain direction. It prevents the researchers from further distractions and enables them an issue to focus on. Research objectives construct the foundation for the research work. It is an essential ingredient of research, as the entire effort and resources are applied to accomplish the research objectives. It helps the researchers to provide answers to the specific research questions. Thus, determining research objectives is a critical part of the research process as it supports the completion of the whole research. While defining research objectives the researchers should always remember that these should be comprehensive as well as attainable.
4) Literature Survey:
The next step in the process of research is to analyze the available literature related to the research area. Available literatures allow the researcher to analyse the previously researches that have been published by different researchers in that field. The prime purpose of literature survey is to provide the researchers an idea about the area of knowledge and highlights the issues that needs be researched. Hence, surveying the literature is one of the most important steps in the research process.
5) Formulating Research Hypothesis:
When literature is thoroughly surveyed, the researchers move to the next step, i.e., formulation of hypothesis. To formulate the research hypothesis, the prime task is to identify the potential variables of the study, after which relationship statement is formulated on the basis of an expected relation between the variables. This statement is more focused compared to the research objectives. For example, in case of a research problem related to the effect of violent content of TV on the behaviour of children, the hypothesis may be formed as “Violent content of the TV is responsible for the aggressive behavior of the children”. Here violent content of the TV is an independent variable and the behavior of children is dependent variable, and a positive relationship is predicted by the researcher. General Research Process
6) Selecting Research Design:
The next step in the research process is developing the research design. Research design allows the researchers to answer (the research questions in an accurate, economical, and objective manner. Any research design performs two major functions:
- Preparing a structured plan outlining various methods and techniques required in conducting the research.
- Making sure that these methods and techniques are suitable for research. It also ensures that these techniques will help in finding objective, precise, and suitable answers to the research questions. According to Kerlinger, this function is called “control of variance”.
7) Sample Design:
As soon as the design of the research is selected, the next task is to select the sample design. The sample design sets a platform for effective data collection and analysis. A sample design is responsible for the effective selection of research samples. Selecting sample design affects many aspects related to the research work. Hence, selection of suitable sample design should be carefully performed. Designing of sample includes many important decisions such as deciding the sample frames, selecting suitable sampling technique, determining sample size, etc. Sampling design should be performed in such a way that the quality of research is maintained in an economic way. Sample design permits the study of a representative part of the target population, which results in reduction of unnecessary utilisation of money, time, and effort. This representative part or sample provides useful information which represents the larger target population.
8) Collection of Data:
After finalizing the sample in the previous step, the required data is collected from the sample of the population. Actually this step is an intermediary stage between theoretical and practical aspects of research. At the beginning of the research process, a basic idea about a research problem is developed with the help of available knowledge. After the research problem is formulated, data collection is performed systematically. Without having accurate data about the research problem, it is not possible to complete a study as it works as a source of information helpful in getting the solution. The methods used for data collection depend on the type and nature of the research. The few common methods are surveys, interviews, observation, case studies, etc.
9) Execution of Project:
It is the next step in the research process after the collection of data. In this step, the real execution of the research takes place. It is also known as the implementation stage of the research process. This step is responsible for the systematic execution of the research in a reasonable time. The correctness and reliability of the collected data depend upon the efficient and feasible execution of the research process. To ensure the smooth execution of a research project, a structured questionnaire can be used, where the questions and answers should be machine-coded. General Research Process
Various types of interviews can also be selected for data collection, but the interviewers should be trained and skilled enough. In this step, the researcher ensures that the research is executed as per the pre-set standards. The research process should be executed in an ethical manner. There should be no restriction on the publishing of the collected data. Other important aspects of the execution step are interpreting data accurately and designing suitable formats for presenting the findings to particular audiences. General Research Process
10) Analysis of Data:
After collecting data and successfully executing the fieldwork, the collected data are analyzed. Data analysis is very essential to draw-out the required information from the raw data by making it organized and meaningful. Organizing and analyzing the data facilitates the researchers to understand the feature of the sample. There are many techniques available to analyze the data Sometimes during data analysis, researchers manipulate the data to get desired conclusions or outcomes. Therefore, it is very important for the researchers to pay attention to the data analysis process and the procedure through which outcomes are calculated.
11) Testing of Hypothesis:
The next step after analyzing the data is to test the previously formulated hypothesis. In this step, researchers perform certain statistical calculations to accept or reject the hypothesis. Based on the collected data, a suitable hypothesis about a probability distribution is chosen. This stage comes under the purview of statistics as the analysis is performed with the help of statistical techniques. The prime motive behind testing a hypothesis is to check its accuracy. By testing a hypothesis researchers can check whether it represents the population at large or not. as the hypotheses are formulated on the basis of the sample. A hypothesis is said to be accurate if it shows the true differences and does not contain random sampling error. The true difference is measured by testing the hypothesis.
Also Read:- Concept and Process of Research Design Process
12) Generalization and Interpretation of Data:
As the collected data is analyzed through different statistical techniques and methods, the final results should be given value and meaning. The meaning and valuation of the results depend upon the process of interpreting results. On the basis of interpretations. various conclusions and generalizations are made. Researchers can generalize the research results if they conduct the testing a number of times, and the outcomes are found similar every time. But, if there is no hypothesis, then the outcomes are explained on the basis of some theories or concepts. This explanation often triggers new issues for further researches. Generalization means applying the findings and conclusions of the research to the actual world. Data interpretation is a step of the research process where the measurements and statistical observations of the study are scrutinized to develop evidence for.responding to a research problem. General Research Process
13) Preparation of Research Report:
The final step of any research process is the preparation of a research report. After collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data, the next task is to compile all the steps and present those phases in a written form. It includes a detailed description of the research design, sample design, tools for data collection, and statistical techniques for the analysis of the collected data. Since research report is very useful for current as well as further researchers, hence proper care must be taken while preparing the report.