Research is used to reaffirm the results of previous work, confirm or establish facts, solve existing or new problems, develop new theories and support theorems. Research comprises of the method of steps to collect and analyze information. The intent is to improve the understanding of an issue or topic.
The process is threefold:
- a question is posed;
- data is collected, and
- an answer is presented.
Research may replicate components of previous projects to test the validity of procedures, experiments or instruments. Basic research includes documentation, discovery, and interpretation whereas applied research involves the practical application of science. There are many forms of research but to name a few: educational, humanities, artistic, economic, scientific, social and marketing. Bogdan, Biklen and Knopp references specific method of educational research in expounding on expanded types of qualitative methods, techniques of data collection and analysis including (1) "Foundations of Qualitative Research in Education: An Introduction"; (2) "Research Design"; (3) "Fieldwork"; (4) "Qualitative Data"; (5) "Data Analysis"; (6) "Writing It Up"; and (7) "Applied Qualitative Research for Education." An appendix contains examples of observational questions for educational settings. (1)
Research begins with a broad spectrum idea or question and expands in the form of discussions and results. The steps of conducting research can be summarized in ten steps: identifying the research problem, literature review, specifying the purpose of the study, determining specific research questions, specifying a conceptual framework or set of hypotheses, choosing a methodology for data collection, data collection, analyzing and interpreting data, reporting and evaluating the research and communicating the research finding and recommendations. This representation is an overall process and should be treated and viewed as an ever-changing interactive process. Researchers begin with a broad and general statements, so there are not fixed sets of steps or standards. The literature review is usually conducted before the research question is identified as to serve as a catalyst for thought. Once a gap in the current literature is identified, the researcher then creates the research question. Once the research question is developed, the hypothesis or supposition is tested by collecting data. The data is then analyzed and interpreted through statistical methods to produce empirical research. The data analysis results can confirm or disprove the hypothesis rendering the researcher the need for further studies.
Since the goal of the research process is to deepen the understanding or produce new knowledge, the process takes on three forms: Exploratory research, constructive research, and empirical research. Exploratory research assists with defining or identifying a problem or question. Constructive research tests propose a solution to questions or problems by testing theories. The empirical research utilizes empirical evidence to test the feasibility of a solution. The research design is decided according to the nature of the research topics. Two main type of research designs is qualitative and quantitative research.