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Definition and Meaning of Research

Research: The word research is composed of two syllables Re and
Re is the prefix meaning Again or over again or a new and Search is
the latter meaning to examine closely and carefully or to test and try.
Research is the systematic process of collecting and analyzing information
(data) in order to increase our understanding of the phenomenon about
which we are concerned or interested.
Research refers to the scientific and systematic investigation aimed at
generating solution to a certain problem through planned and systematic
collection analysis interpretation other data and reporting the findings.
1. To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insights into it
(studies with this object in view are termed as exploratory or formulative
research studies);
2. To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual,
situation or a group (studies with this object in view are known as
descriptive research studies);
3. To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it
is associated with something else (studies with this object in view are
known as diagnostic research studies);
4. To test a hypothesis of a causal relationship between variables (such
studies are known as hypothesis-testing research studies).
Applied research refers to scientific study and research that seeks to solve
practical problems. Applied research is used to find solutions to everyday

problems, cure illness, and develop innovative technologies, rather than to

acquire knowledge for knowledge's sake.
Example of applied to investigate

Improve agricultural crop production

Treat or cure a specific disease
Improve the energy efficiency of homes, offices, or modes of


(fundamental or pure)





scientist's curiosity or interest in a scientific question. The main motivation is

to expand man's knowledge, not to create or invent something. There is no
obvious commercial value to the discoveries that result from basic research.
For example, basic science investigations probe for answers to questions

How did the universe begin?
What are protons, neutrons, and electrons composed of?
How do slime molds reproduce?
What is the specific genetic code of the fruit fly?

Descriptive research refers to research that provides an accurate portrayal

of characteristics of a particular individual, situation, or group. Descriptive
research, also known as statistical research.
These studies are a means of discovering new meaning, describing what
exists, determining the frequency with which something occurs, and
categorizing information.
Qualitative research is research dealing with phenomena that are difficult
or impossible to quantify mathematically, such as beliefs, meanings,
attributes, and symbols.
Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human
behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. The qualitative method

investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where,
Quantitative research
Refers to the systematic empirical investigation of any phenomena via
statistical, mathematical or computational techniques. The objective of






employ mathematical

models, theories and/or hypotheses pertaining to phenomena.

What makes people to undertake research? This is a question of fundamental
importance. The possible motives for doing research may be either one or
more of the following:

Desire to get a research degree along with its consequential benefits;

Desire to face the challenge in solving the unsolved problems, i.e.,

concern over practical problems initiates research;

Desire to get intellectual joy of doing some creative work;
Desire to be of service to society;
Desire to get respectability.

Criteria of Good Research

Research is scientific because it is logic, systematic, has a plan for
collection data and a theory that guides it.
Good research is systematic: it follows a specific procedure.
Rigorous: The procedures followed to find answers to questions should be









accuracy/consistency may vary from one problem to another problem.

Good research is empirical: The conclusions drawn should be based on
hard evidence, gathered from real life experiences or observations or it
implies that research is related basically to one or more aspects of a real
situation and deals with concrete data that provides a basis for external
validity to research results.

Good research is Verifiable/replicable: The findings should be valid &

can be verified by you or others at any time
Research is cyclical or helical: The process of research follows a cycle. It
begins simply and follows logical developmental steps.
Objectivity. In an ideal situation, a research is beyond the subjective bias of
the researcher. As a researcher, you have to make deliberate efforts to
eliminate all personal preferences. You should resist the temptation to seek
only such data which support your hypotheses or your
Significance of Research
Research inculcates scientific and inductive thinking and it promotes
the development of logical habits of thinking and organization.
Research provides the basis for nearly all government policies in our
economic system.
Research has its special significance in solving various operational and
planning problems of business and industry.
Research is equally important for social scientists in studying social
relationships and in seeking answers to various social problems
In addition to what has been stated above, the significance of research can
also be understood keeping in view the following points:
To those students who are to write a masters or Ph.D. thesis, research
may mean a careerism or a way to attain a high position in the social
To professionals in research methodology, research may mean a source
of livelihood;
To philosophers and thinkers, research may mean the outlet for new
ideas and insights;
To literary men and women, research may mean the development of
new styles and creative work;
To analysts and intellectuals, research may mean the generalizations of
new theories.

Research Methods versus Methodology

Research Methods refer to the methods the researchers use in performing
research operations. In other words, all those methods which are used by the
researcher during the course of studying his research problem are termed as
research methods.
1. In the first group we include those methods which are concerned with
the collection of data. These methods will be used where the data
already available are not sufficient to arrive at the required solution;
2. The second group consists of those statistical techniques which are









3. The third group consists of those methods which are used to evaluate
the accuracy of the results obtained.
Research methodology is a way to systematically solve the research
problem. It may be understood as a science of studying how research is done
scientifically. In it we study the various steps that are generally adopted by a
researcher in studying his research problem along with the logic behind
The scope of research methodology is wider than that of research methods.
Why a research study has been undertaken, how the research problem has
been defined, in what way and why the hypothesis has been formulated,

what data have been collected and what particular method has been
adopted, why particular technique of analyzing data has been used and a
host of similar other questions are usually answered when we talk of
research methodology concerning a research problem or study.
Research approach
It simply refers to a way of doing research.

Quantitative approach, the former involves the generation of data in

quantitative form which can be subjected to rigorous quantitative

analysis in a formal and rigid fashion.

The qualitative approach is concerned with subjective assessment
of attitudes, opinions and behavior. Research in such a situation is a
function of researchers insights and impressions. Such an approach to
research generates results either in non-quantitative form or in the
form which are not subjected to rigorous quantitative analysis.

Problems Encountered By Researchers in Tanzania

The lack of a scientific training in the methodology of research is a
great impediment for researchers in our country. There is paucity of
competent researchers. Many researchers take a leap in the dark without
knowing research methods. Most of the work, which goes in the name of
research is not methodologically sound.















departments and research institutions on the other side. A great deal of

primary data of non-confidential nature remain untouched/untreated by the
researchers for want of proper contacts
There does not exist a code of conduct for researchers and interuniversity and interdepartmental rivalries are also quite common.

Hence, there is need for developing a code of conduct for researchers which,
if adhered sincerely, can win over this problem.
Many researchers in our country also face the difficulty of adequate and
timely secretarial assistance, including computerial assistance. This
causes unnecessary delays in the completion of research studies.
Research studies overlapping one another are undertaken quite often for
want of adequate information. This results in duplication and fritters away
Many of libraries are not able to get copies of old and new Acts/Rules, reports
and other government publications in time.